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120   MARRIAGE TIE,   [CHAP. vn,

oxen, and so relieve myself of all anxiety about them. I had found it such a luxury both at Schmelen's Hope and Okamabuti, to have kraals to drive the cattle safe into at nightfall, for, dismissing from our minds all care about them, we could then sleep undisturbed throughout the night. The men of my party were, besides myself and Andersson, John Allen, John St. Helena, and Timboo. I had five picked Damaras with four wives. The women are very useful, for they carry the men's things, and make their huts, and cook for them, leaving the men unhampered and disengaged, ready to run and drive the oxen, and do anything that might be wanted. Damara women have not much to complain of; they are valuable helpmates; and divorce themselves as often as they like. The consequence is that the marital rule depends not upon violence nor upon interest, but upon affection. A wife costs a Damara nothing, for she ,crows" her own pig-nuts, and she is of positive use, because she builds and plasters his hut, cooks his victuals, and carries his things when he moves from place to place. A Damara seldom beats his wife much; if he does, she decamps. This deference of husband to wife was a great difficulty in the way of discipline; for I often wanted to punish the ladies of my party, and yet I could not make their husbands whip them for me, and of course I was far too gallant to have it done by any other hands. They bored me to death with their everlasting talking; but I must own that there were many good points in their character. They were extremely patient, though not feminine, according to our ideas: they had no strong affections either for spouse or children ; in fact, the spouse was changed almost weekly, and I seldom knew, without inquiry, who the Iro terpore husband of each lady was at any particular time. One great use of women in my party was to find out any plan or secret that the natives I was encamped amongst were desirous of hiding. Experience tells us of two facts; first, that women delight in communicating everybody else's secrets to each other; secondly, that husbands and wives mutually tell one another all they know. Hence the married women of my party, whenever I stayed near a werft, had very soon made out all the secrets of the inhabitants, which they retailed directly to their husbands, and they to me. It was a system of espionage which proved most effectual. A difficulty arising from women's gossipings had occurred at Okamabuti, in which Chik behaved very well. My man Kambanya told his wife, who told other wives, who told their husbands, that the Ovampo intended to rob and murder me as soon as I arrived in their country. The story,