ISO RETURN TO EIIKHAMS. [CHAP. X,
we little low what fearful passions exist in our own European minds until they are thoroughly roused. A young terrier or kitten seems the most harmless and mildest of creatures until he has been brought into contact with rats and learnt the luxury and taste of blood, and many an instance may be found along the distant coasts of this wide world where a year or two has converted the Saxon youth, who left his mother all innocence and trust, into as diabolical and reckless a character as ever stabbed with a bowie-knife.
Two more ride-oxen were now knocked up; they were Buchau and Sweetland. I left them under the care of Saul, near to whose werft we had now arrived, and whom I paid off. Travelling on we managed to take the remaining oxen to Elephant Fountain, which we reached 22nd of October; we had left 'Tounobis loth of October; the entire distance between the places is fifty-three hours, or one hundred and forty-six miles, which gives our pace of travelling as usual, viz., ten and a half miles a day. It is very remarkable how steady the pace of travelling is. I minuted with great care all our journeys from Omanbonde to Ovampoland, and the whole way from Ovampoland to 'Tounobis, and thence again to Eikhams, invariably registering the time of every stoppage. The going and returning journeys seldom differed one hour in thirty. Thus, from Okomavaka to 'Tounobis we were twenty-one and a half hours going, and twenty-one and a quarter returning, and so on; but when the hours are reduced into miles, much less accuracy must be expected. I allow two and three-quarter miles an hour, which is near enough to give general ideas of distance; indeed, if a traveller has the geographical positions of the main points of his journey laid down, and also knows how long in actual travelling it will take him to get from one point to another, he is furnished with all the information he can require.
I had by this time reduced my method of travelling over unknown ground to a principle which I will mention here, for want of a better opportunity. When a given direction has to be followed, which is learnt by the pointing of the natives, the compass is of course the guide by day, but it is very important to have one that is not too delicate, or when you rein up to look at it, so long a time elapses before it settles that the animal becomes fidgety and disturbs the needle again. By far the best pocket-compass to have, is one that has a glass bottom as well as a glass top to it, like those which are commonly hung up in the cabins of ships, only, of course very much smaller, say one inch across,