CnAP. Vnr.) THE SLAVE DEALINGS HERE.
what could I do? Even if I walked back to the waggons, leaving things of the greatest value to me in Ovampoland, the want of rideoxen would be felt most seriously throughout the return journey. They were everything to me. It was on them that I explored the roads, followed tracks, and made the most successful expeditions. If Omagunde, through whose pasture grounds' I must return, was to attack us, as I thought he most probably would, it must be by the ride-oxen alone that we should have a chance of escaping. I could not spare them nor risk losing them. It would be impossible to replace them before many months, as it is not one ox out of forty that will make a ride-ox, for only those are fit to break in that show far less gregariousness of disposition than oxen ordinarily do. The beasts that walk first and lead the herd, are the only oxen that can be ridden with any comfort or success; the others jib and crowd together and fight with their horns, when you try to urge them on, and the whole caravan comes to a standstill. It takes half a year to break in an ox to anything like travelling purposes ; he has not only to learn to be quiet, but also to bear a weight on his shoulders. Now, with great trouble I had collected together fifteen efficient ride- and pack-oxen : they were the stay of my party in cases of difficulty or danger, and I would not for any but the weightiest considerations run the risk of losing them. With no better supply of water and pasturage than they were now. allowed, I felt sure that though they might reach the river, and even return to Nangoro's, yet that they would never see Damaraland again. I also feared that the Portuguese traders might play me some tricks, as these half-castes are by no means scrupulous, even less so than traders are elsewhere ; and I could not help thinking of the way in which our own countrymen had behaved to the late Mr. Ruxton, when he landed at Walfisch Bay, with a view to explore the interior. 1 confess that greatly annoyed as I was at being unable to visit the river, I could not help feeling that Nangoro's refusal to let me proceed was all for the best, and I accommodated myself to his orders, and put myself in readiness to start on my return.
I made many inquiries as to whether there were any slave-dealings between the Ovampo and the Portuguese, but I was always answered in the negative. I afterwards heard at St. Helena that slaves were not exported from the south of Benguela, because they never thrived when taken away, but became home-sick and died. This is exactly what I should conceive of the Ovampo ; they evidently have strong