CHAP. IX] TRAVEL FROM EIKHAMS. 157
for game had been so scarce in Damaraland that it made shooting a real toil.
I sold my cart and harness which were lying at Otjimbingue, and the three mules which were at Scheppmansdorf, to Jonker; he gave me twenty oxen and forty milch goats for them ; but all my efforts to buy horses were unavailing. He, however gave me a mount to Rehoboth, where I went to induce Swartboy to meet Jonker and Cornelius and settle many matters that were in dispute between them, and also to overawe Cornelius and keep him in better order, for he had lately been stealing a great deal of Damara cattle.
My Hottentot interpreters now were Eybrett and Phlebu ~ ; but Eybrett was an educated man, and could interpret from English to Hottentot at once, so that I generally employed him. He was an excellent interpreter into Dutch when he chose to take pains.
We had between us a motley command of languages; for including those of Europe, one or other of the party could converse fluently in nine different languages-English, French, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Hottentot, Damara, and Movisa ; besides having some acquaintance with German, Arabic, Caffre, and a smattering of Ovampo.
It will be tedious to describe my journey now as minutely as I did that in Damaraland, for it was much the same thing over again-uncertainty of the way and want of water; but we had become far quicker and more self-confident in emergencies, and were altogether a very active and efficient body of men. Among my Damaras I had two of the smartest men and best runners that could be found in the country ; all of them, indeed, were picked men, and they had become much attached to us, and worked very well, and willingly.
In a few hours from Eikhams we had emerged from the valley of the Swakop on to the high plateau. Thence we followed the Quieep River easterly : this we left for the Noosop, crossing a broad plain, and having some shooting; we then followed the Noosop, and game began to appear in abundance. We passed one great herd of springboks that were migrating ; they eat up the grass almost as locusts would on their way. It was by no means so numerous a herd as is often seen in Bechuana country; but the tufts of white hair on the backs of the males were as thickly scattered over the country as daisies on a lawn. We never had to kill oxen,-only sheep now and then, for the sake of the fat ; for all the game was very dry ; and where you have no vegetables, fat becomes an essential element of food.