CHAP. VI.] THE OVAMPO CARAVAN, log
men were despatched to bring us back. They were ugly fellows, immensely muscular and most determined looking; they insisted that we should go back; we laughed at them; they took our Bushman aside, and used all kinds of threats to him, till he hardly dared proceed. In the meantime I was much struck by the cool, fearless bearing of the men, and their peremptory, yet not uncivil manner; and seeing at once that I had quite a different style of men to deal with from either Bushmen or Damaras, I acknowledged that it was but reasonable that they should desire to know something of a stranger before they could allow him to pass into their country, and I returned with them to the encampment we had that morning left.
My new acquaintances were entirely a different looking race from the Damaras, but very like the Ghou Damup. They were ugly, bony men, with strongly marked features, and dressed with a very funny scantiness of attire. Their heads were shaved, and one front tooth was chipped out. They carried little light bows three and a half feet long, and a small and well made assegai in one hand. On their backs were quivers, each holding from ten to twenty well-barbed and poisoned arrows, and they carried a dagger-knife in a neat sheath, which was either Fixed to a girdle round the waist, or else to a band that encircled the left arm above the elbow. Their necks were laden with necklaces for sale, and every man carried a long narrow smoothed pole over his shoulder, from either end of which hung a quantity of packages. These were chiefly little baskets holding iron articles of exchange, packets of corn for their own eating, and water bags.
The Ovampo were twenty-four i her, with a tall enterprisinglooking young man as captain. I admired greatly the neatness and order of their encampment, and their demeanour was really polished. We soon became good friends, and I killed a young ox for them and for ourselves ; they added some corn, which was a most grateful change of diet to us. They paid us every attention, but refused most decidedly to let any of their party guide us, and insisted that we should return with them to Chapupa's werft, promising at the same time that when they had finished their bartering and returned they would take us with them. The first question that Chikorongo-onkompe (their captain) zsked us, was whether we were rain-makers. I regretted that we were not, else we could travel when we liked and where we liked, and be independent of guides. He told us a long and minutely circumstantial lie-at least he afterwards denied every word of it-to the effect that