234 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
a few days about 300 miles to the East for a little Elephant shooting. I can get horses now, and after all my trouble I want a little amusement, and I expect to gain some information that I want in that direction. A ship comes to Walfisch Bay in January and by it I shall go if all is right to St Helena on my road home. I cannot express the interest I feel to hear about England. No post has come here since I arrived but the ship is to bring everything. We have been most fortunate as regards health none of us have ever as yet suffered from illness, and everybody did his duty with the greatest good humour. For myself I feel in better health than I ever did in England. I hope that your occupations have not induced you to abandon the noble sport of fox hunting. I have now tried many sorts of hunting but I candidly assert] that fox hunting will bear comparison with any. T[here may be] greater excitement (but not much) in going after a large and vicious be[ast, but] the excellent horses of England, the music of the hou[nds and the nice] society are wanting in this country. I don't know that I have had any particularly hair breadth escapes ; perhaps the one that was most so was in running up a hill I was quite blown and jumped up on a ledge of rock, when I had a little lost my balance. It happened that I had leapt on a large serpent's tail, one said to be of the most venomous kind, a black creature 7 feet long. He was up in an instant as high as my face in a fearful wrath, and drew back his head to dart at me ; but I had recovered my balance, and did not wait for him, for I leapt clean down the steep rock near. He came down too, but when I at last found a stick he was going best pace among the bushes, and though I had a long chivy after the rascal, I could not kill him. Pray remember me to Lady Stratheden, and to. your party and believe me ever sincerely yours, FRANK GALTON. I regret much that I could get only a bag of the new corn for the Harmonicon that I was entrusted with.
EIKHAMS, NAMAQUA LAND, S. AFRICA. Augt. 16th, 1851.
DEAREST MOTHER, I have a long story to tell, so long that I think it will tire you to read it, all about captains and chiefs and all that sort of thing, which interests people in these parts, but about which you cannot be expected to care. I have returned after a journey not so long as I had hoped to have made, but still extensive enough to save my credit as a traveller. Of bran new country I have explored about 500 miles out and then went back again by much the same route. The Portuguese and the magnificent intervening river, of which the Cunene is but a branch, I did not quite reach. Those abominable waggons have been like a drag chain upon me. All has ended well and we have had no sickness whatever. Andersson is a right good fellow and I have had plenty of occupation in mapping the country, so that altogether the time has passed pleasantly. Of game there is next to nothing, my guns have been quite idle.-After leaving the farthest Missionary Station, I got just between the two principal Black chiefs, who were on the point of fighting. I managed to get myself and party clear of the massacre, and without guides had the good luck to find a sufficient quantity of water from place to place for ourselves and oxen, so that we had no hardship that way. The country was a dense mass of thorns, not simple straight thorns like a quickset of hedge, but curved likefish hooks, the oxen would not face them, it was terrible work getting them on. I often tried the strength of these thorns by fastening a bit of rag to a spring balance and pulling till the thorn broke-one thorn stood a pull of i7 lbs, just conceive. Our