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46   REACH OKAMABUTL   [CHAP. VIII.

out beasts, with all the savage Damaras and a dried-tip country in front.

June 30t11.-Three hours from Okamabuti, we came upon Damaras ; they said that the waggons were to have started that very morning to rejoin Chapupa, who had changed his encampment some days previously. Hans, they said, was well, but they knew nothing more. We rode to Namboslura, took a drink of water there, and then, two hours after, came upon our waggons' spoor, and upon Okamabuti at the same time. We anxiously examined the now deserted kraal for tokens that all was right. We found John Morta's cooking fire still burning, and unmistakable signs of his handiwork about, so that no harm had happened to him. Phlebus' spoor was recognised directly; he had a large foot and walked flatly, and we found some signs of John Williams. As the cattle kraal was well trodden down, my oxen were probably all well ; after a long search and comparing remarks, we rested satisfied that no great mishap could have befallen the party, and that Hans had trecked on, either for better pasturage or for some other good reason. It was clear, from what the Damaras said, that the waggons were not very far off; and as the news of our arrival would reach them the same night, I off packed the tired beasts and intended to give them a good feed in the morning-waiting till Hans either sent me some Damaras or came himself to fetch me on. As we were off-packing, to my dismay I found that we were one pack-ox short, and he was the animal that carried my MSS., nautical almanac, gun tools, bullet moulds, and numberless knick-knacks, that were particularly necessary to me. One never counts oxen on the road ; they are so gregarious, that, as a general rule, it is quite unnecessary. In this case we had all been pressing forwards and riding in front of the drove, and none of us could tell whether we had seen the lost one since our first start. It was a very awkward case, for the country was stony in part, and, where not stony, ploughed up with the spoors of the lately migrating Damara oxen. Tired as they were, two of my men and three Damaras went back after him, and, strangely enough, at Namboshua, and by one of those chances that travellers are so often indebted to, one of these Damaras came right upon him as he was lying down, tired, among some thick trees ; he was, of course, brought back in triumph.

The next morning a posse of my Damaras came running joyfully to me; they had heard of my arrival at the waggons the previous