CHAP. M] EXC'ESSII7E DROUGHT. 555
and they on their part earnestly longed for his death. One day he was missing, rumour gave out that he was killed, and the sons gave way to the greatest paroxysms of merriment, during which they behaved in such an unseemly manner before the eyes of their fine lady Hottentot connections that on Hadji-Aybib's return,-for he was not killed after all,-they were obliged, from absolute shame, to hide themselves away from his presence, and fled to the hills, bearing with them the reproachful name of Ghou Damup.
August 13tla,---Our party separated, one detachment en route to the
bay, and Andersson, Timboo, John Morta, Phlebus, and myself, travelling towards Lake 'Ngami. I took only five or six of the most active Damaras with me, and appointed the neighbourhood of Jonker's werft as a place of rendezvous for both parties at the beginning of November.
The dryness of the country was now really alarming; all the watering-places that remained were crowded with cattle, and every blade of grass within miles of them was being eaten off. Over a great part of Damaraland rain had not fallen more than ten times during the whole rainy season; and a mortality from actual starvation had already begun among the cattle, and the year will probably be remembered and named by the Damaras as that of the great drought.
It was therefore no easy matter for me to travel about; but I had one advantage on my side, which was, that on the road, when far away from watering-places and the grazing limits of the cattle by them, I, often found grass, and there I outspanned to sleep, and let the oxen feed, then travelling on in the morning I came to the next watering-place at the middle of the day, when the cattle of the natives were all sent off to the fields, and the wells were disengaged. I thus ensured an evening's meal to the oxen, and also one in the early morning, if they chose to eat it, and water in the middle of the day, but no more.
On the road to Jonker we found hardly any grass, and I do not know how I should have been able to keep my cattle at his place, if it were not that a valley was left unoccupied, owing to a superstitious feeling arising from a cattle-watcher having been lately murdered there by the Damaras. Jonker received me very kindly, and I expressed to him how glad I was to hear of the excellent manner in which he had kept order among his people during my absence. He had, I knew, been put to very great trouble in doing so, as the disposition