CRAP. X.) PLAN AN ATTACK TO AVENGE THEM. 177
must return. I had no object in staying longer, for I became tired of massacring the animals, and it is better when on a journey not to rest oxen longer than a week, unless you can afford at least a month's delay, as their galled backs become half healed, and they lose their working condition, without having time to really recruit their strength. My oxen were all in a very poor way, but I now cared little, as I was homeward bound. We left'Tounobis October roth, and arrived safely at Okomavaka with no incident except a fright from all the oxen having run away the second night that we were on the road.
My first inquiries were about the fate of poor Timmerman and Frieschland, and I at last found out their history from some wandering Damaxas, for they never can keep a secret. The two oxen had both returned to Okomavaka, but a lion caught Timmerman, and in the morning the Damaras found him half eaten ; they then spoored and found Frieschland, whom they stabbed and eat, I discovered who the man was that actually killed my ox; he was Kaipanga, the captain of a werft of these wandering Damaras, and who naturally had decamped when he heard of our arrival.
I therefore held a consultation with Amiral on the subject, whose eyes glistened with pleasure at the notion of a raid upon the Damara werft. I, of course, stipulated that we should have no firing, but only catch the culprits and flog them. I had been desirous of witnessing the arrangement of a Hottentot attack, and this case occurred opportunely, so I desired Amiral to manage everything in exactly his own way, which he did. He found out where Kaipanga was staying; it was opposite to a gorge two hours ahead of us, and down in the flat at the foot of the ridge, but far from it and among the trees, and quite two and a half hours away from the watering -place there.
Amiral then told everybody that we were going home as quickly as we could, for we had no time to spare to make further inquiries about the lost oxen, and on we went. Our first day was three hours, and we purposely overshot the gorge which was our mark, that the Damaras who were on a keen look-out might be convinced that we knew nothing of Kaipanga's rascality, and were really going home in good earnest. Amiral's men slept a couple of miles away from mine, so as to disarm all notion of a concerted expedition, but at one o'clock in the morning the old scamp got up quietly with about half his men and joined me. I left sufficient people behind to resist any Damaras in case they attacked the camp during my absence, and we were all off under the escort of Amiral's