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CHAP. VII L]   START FOR THE OMARAMBA.   147

night, and came to tell me the news, and escort me to them. My party had trecked on with Chapupa, to be near him for the sake of protection, as the Bushmen had of late been stealing a great deal in the neighbourhood.

July ist.-After three or four hours' ride, I recognised the burly form of my faithful servant Hans, on the look-out at the top of a hill. To my extreme relief I learnt that all had gone on well ; that Chapupa, although troublesome, had done no mischief; that several sheep had been bought, that the oxen were well, and the axletree was as successful a piece of carpenter's work as the one that had been broken. Chapupa had bought things and never paid for them, and, being in disgrace, sneaked away from me. Kasupi was our principal friend now ; he said that it was absurd to try to go back the way we came, as of all the watering-places at which we drank between Kutjiamakompe and Omanbonde, a journey of three weeks, not more than two now remained that were not dry. He said that we must return by the Omoramba, where we should find both water and grass, and that he would guide us there and start us. A lad made his appearance, who said that he knew the Omaramba road perfectly, and under these escorts we proceeded. Numbers of Damaras wished to join me: I allowed a few to do so, and my party now numbered thirty-four. We returned by our old road to Okatjokcama, and then turned to the left. At a werft there I found my old guide who had stolen the horse-rug and ran away from me. He had the impudence to wear it before my eyes. He was six feet seven inches high, and large in proportion, and therefore too heavy for me to give a shaking to, and I dared not whip him, so I only pulled the rug off his back and rated him soundly.

We hit the Omoramba and followed it to the confluence of its two branches. Game began now to show, and we had no need to kill any oxen. We had some charming hunts-one after wild boars. Kasupi could not, any more than the other Damaras, give me much information about the road down the Omoramba. It seemed most unfavourable to waggon travelling. They said the Omoramba ran between hills where Ghou Damup lived, and the Damaras dare not go there.

If my ride-oxen had not been so entirely worn out, and the country so arid, I should have much liked an excursion in that direction, which, as I have since discovered, would be a most interesting route. Now, however, it was out of the question.

July 12th.-My entire werft at Okavar8 consisted of eighty cattle,