CHAP, Vt.] DAMAZ r-ANUUAGE. 117
can grow up into such fine men. The Damaras do not dance much, only on great occasions, when they perform war-dances ; neither do they sing together, although they are very fond of chaunting solos in a sing-song air, inventing the words as they go on, and having a chorus to break in now and then. I have seen one guitar amongst them, but it was, I think, an Ovampo~importation ; their only musical instrument is their bow. They tie a piece of reim round the bow-string and the handle, and bind them tight together, then they hold the bow horizontally against their teeth, and strike the tense bow-string with a small stick. A good performer can produce great effect with it ; they attend more to the rhythm than the notes, and imitate with its music the gallop or trotting of different animals to perfection. The baboon's clumsy canter is the chef d'cvuvre, and when well executed makes everybody roar with laughter.
The natural colour of the Damaras is by no means easy to determine, except during the heavy rains which wash off the layers of grease and red pigment with which they so plentifully besmear themselves. In dry weather the Damara comes out ruddy and glossy like an old well-polished mahogany table; he is then reeking with oil, his features are plump and smooth, his appearance genial and warm, but a few hours' steady deluge quite alters the man. His skin becomes deadlooking and devoid of all lustre-there is not a tinge of ruddiness in it ; it is not even black, but of a pale slate colour, or like old iron railings that want fresh painting, and the Damara, when cleaned, becomes a most seedy looking object.
Concerning their language I shall say little, as it can only interest philologists, and for their benefit a most copious manuscript grammar and dictionary has already been sent by the Rev. Messrs. Hahn and Rath, to Bonn. Its grammar is much the same as that of the Sichuana and Caffre languages; which are said to be kindred to that of nearly every known negro language in south Africa. It is highly flexible, so that when a new word is once obtained they can express immediately and intelligibly every derivative from it. Thus if they learnt the word "bread" they would have no difficulty in forming the word "a baker." The great clumsiness of the language is its want of comparatives and of adjectives. It has one great but not peculiar beauty in the prefix which every substantive possesses. These prefixes have all a special power which it is not easy to define, but which is soon caught up by the learner. To take a simple instance, Omu is the prefix that signifies