RECORD: Burchell, William John. 1824. Travels in the interior of Southern Africa. 2 vols. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, and Green. Volume 2.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by AEL Data 02.2014. RN1

NOTE: This work formed part of the Beagle library. The Beagle Library project has been generously supported by a Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 grant and Charles Darwin University and the Charles Darwin University Foundation, Northern Territory, Australia.

[page i]







[page ii]

Printed by A. & R. Spottiswoode,

[page iii]














[page iv]

[page v]


CHAPTER I. Journey from Klaarwater, to Kaabi's Kraal 1
II. Transactions at Kaabi's Kraal 46
III. Journey from Kaabi's Kraal, to the Borders of the Colony 80
IV. Journey from the Borders of the Colony, to the village of Graaffreynét 104
V. Transactions at Graaffreynét 139
VI. Return from Graaffreynét, to the Boundary of the Colony 168
VII. Return from the Colony, through the country of the Bushmen, to Klaarwater 186
VIII. Transactions at Klaarwater, after the return from Graaffreynét 222
IX. Journey in the country of the Kō;ras, from Klaarwater to Sensaván 233
X. Journey from Sensaván, to the Kamhánni Mountains 260
XI. Journey in the country of the Bachapīns, from the Kamhánni Mountains, to the river Makkwárin 291
XII. Occurrences and observations at the river Makkwárin 311
XIII. Journey from the river Makkwárin, to the town of Litākun 340
XIV. Reception at Litākun 358
XV. Residence in the town of Litākun; and affair of the gun 381
XVI. Transactions and occurrences during the first residence at Litākun 434
XVII. General description of the town of Litākun. Its history; regulations; population; architecture; domestic arrangement; situation; and climate. 511
XVIII. General description of the Bachapīns. Their origin; population; government; warfare; policy; trade; and laws. Nature of their Chief's authority. Their religion or superstition; moral character; natural disposition; mental capacity; figure; cast of features; women; marriages; clothing; personal ornaments; utensils; disorders; modes of cure; language; food; agriculture; manufactures; arts; and, amusements 529
The Itinerary, and Register of the Weather 601
The Zoological and Botanical Index 611
The General Index 619

[page vi]


Faciing Page
1. A natural Obelisk, in the country of the Bushmen 44
2. Descending from the Snow-Mountains 133.
3. Portrait of Jūli, a faithful Hottentot 160
4. View of a Bushman Kraal 198
5. View on entering the Town of Litākun 360
6. A View in the Town of Litākun 464
7. Portrait of Massisān 484
8. Portrait of Mahūtu 494
9. Section and Plan of a Bachapīn House 515
10. Portrait of Cháasi, a Bachapīn 561


Page Described at Page
1. Heads of two Bush girls 1 25. 59.
2. Bushman utensils 45
Digging-stick 45 29
Stone-pot 45 34
Clay-pot 45 47
Dancing-rattles 45 65
3. Dancing-rattles 45 65
3. The Two-horned Rhinoceros 46 74
4. Head of the Two-horned Rhinoceros 79 75
5. Geranium Rocks; a Station 80 98
6. Inside of a Bushman's Hut 103 53
7. Great Table-mountain, on the borders of the Colony 104 103. 105.
8. Ascending a rugged Pass 138 109
9. View of the Drostdy at Graaffreynét 139 145
10. The plant called Hottentot's Bread 167 147
11. Little Table-Mountain, and Verméulen's house 168 117. 183.
12. Spitskop, the highest peak of the Snow-Mountains 185 125. 184.
13. Weapons of the Bushmen 186 198
14. Bushman arrows 221 199. 200.
15. A group of the Hunting Hyenas, called Wild Dogs 222 229
16. A Wild Dog, or Hunting Hyena 232 229
17. Sensaván, the Sibīlo mine 233 255
18. The Unlucky-wood 259 258
19. A scene at Knegt's Fountain 260 269
20. Triaspis hypericoïdes 290 280
21. Portrait of a Bachapīn Herdsman 291 303
22. The Péeli, or Antilope villosa 309 302
23. The Linō;ng, or Vultur occipitalis 310 325. 329.
24. The Crescent-horned Antelope, or Antilope lunata 335 335

[page vii]

25. Tail and Hoofs of the Crescent-horned Antelope 339 336
26. Travelling over the Great Plains of Litākun 340 260. 340.
27. Houses at Litākun 357 356. 360.
28. First Interview with the Chief of the Bachapīns 358 364
29. Bachapīn Sandals 380 363. 570.
30. The Chief and his party, sitting in the Móotsi 381 374
31. Portrait of Boklóokwe 433 392
32. A Bichuāna Blacksmith, at work 434 482
33. A Nuákketsi Hat 510 507
34. The Dwelling-house of Krámori, a Bachapīn Chieftain 511 445.
35. View and Plan of the Dwelling-house of Mollémmi, the Chief's brother 528 521
36. Heads of two fashionable young Men of Litākun 529 562. 573.
37. Bichuāna Ornaments 567
Necklace 567 567
Ear-ornaments 567 566
Copper Bracelets 567 567. 568.
38. Bachapīin Ornaments 571
Ivory Armlets 571 362. 571.
Platted Bracelet 571 572
Dancing-rattles 571 572
Amulet 571 550
39. Bachapīn Knives 575 362. 575.
40. Needles 576 576
41. Whistles 578 578
42. Milk-bag 593 593
43. Spoons 595 594
44. Carving-instrument 595 595
45. ornamental Carving 596 596
46. The Kō;veh, a kind of Hassagay manufactured by the Nuákketsies. 599 597

[page viii]



Page vii. line 5. from the bottom, for are read is.
xi. 24. for page 550. read 350.
85. 7. for is read are.
122. 18. for drank read drunk.
133. 12. for fixed read placed.
153. 8. for they read the rains.
164. 37. for riffle read rifle.
168. 29. for incumbrance read encumbrance.
172. 15. for browze read browse.
182. 9. for are read is.
198. 27. for were read was.
236. 26. for tract read track.
259. 11. of the note, for tortuosa read tortuosum.
263. 12. for coot read coots.
265. 7. of the note, for Namaquana read Namaquanus.
270. 15. dele which.
275. 19. for bring read brings.
276. 21. for irruption read eruption.
288. 4. of the note, for piligenu read piligera.
308. 5. for their read the.
310. 3. of the note, for Peteoli read Petioli.
317. 3. ——— for viginti, read quinquaginta.
319. 32. for is read are.
343 6. dele seldom.
361. 33. dele all.
366. 21. for it read them.
387. 9. of the note, after Folia insert opposita.
——— for rigidia read rigida.
389. 7. ——— for 14. read 18.
11. —— — for petiloantia read petiolantia
414. 5. for was read were.
430. 10. for mover read more.
482. 13. dele totally.
501. 17. of the note, for cristatus read cristatum.
516. 1. for idea read ideas.
Page 516. line 2. for they read it.
3. for them read it.
536. 25. for these read those.
543. last but one of the note, for 140°. read 120°.
562 9. in the column of Stations, for 218½ read 216½.
10. ———— for 701 read 699.
564. 3. ———— for 791 read 789.
4. ———— for 308½ read 306½.
10. ———— for 180 read 183¼.
576. 23. and 27. for have read has.

In the Map (in some impressions) in the last line of 'the Interpretation of Dutch words,' after contradistinction add to achter.

——— for Schoornsteenberg (in the Roggeveld Karro), read Schoorsteenberg.

——— for Decr. 4. and Decr. 6, (on the Sunday and Kuga rivers) read Novr. 4, and Novr. 6.

——— for Further (in the Bokkeveld and Roggeveld) read Farther.

——— dele Grooce R. (in the Cape Peninsula.)

———, the words 'The new River,' are not intended as its proper name, this being unknown: it has, in the narrative, sometimes been called the Friendly River.


Page 16. line 21. after could, insert have.
21. 1. of the note, for candicans, read albicans.
69. 19.& 20. transpose the words pleasing and unpleasing.
121. 10. after praiseworthy, add in their sight.
222. in the title of the chapter, for Graffreynet read Graaffreynet.
225. 29. dele who.
549. 5. for emigrations read migrations
592. 14. dele In size.

[page 1]



THE sun had scarcely risen above the horizon, when already we had begun to prepare for departure. Some further arrangements, together with packing our baggage upon the oxen, yoking the team to the waggon, and taking leave, each one of his particular friends, detained us still four hours longer at Klaarwater, notwithstanding the eagerness which the whole party evinced to commence the journey. For my own part, taught by past experience how soon disappointments and unforeseen difficulties might overtake me at this unpropitious place, I dreaded every moment's delay; and therefore hurried my Hottentots away, taking the lead myself, and ordering the ox-riders to follow immediately. They were assembled before the hut of the captain, who, with his companions and partisans, continued to express their disapprobation of my plans, and to consider the undertaking as an ill-advised and perilous attempt,


[page] 2

which might lead to our destruction; and which, at best, presented, according to their views, little probability of a successful result. The principal inhabitants of the kraal, when we bade them farewell and rode off, viewed us as persons whom they had no expectation of ever seeing again.

As soon as we had lost sight of the village, and my party had all joined company, I rejoiced at finding myself once more free; and felt relieved from an oppressive and teasing load of daily vexations, which the lightness of my spirits now assured me I had left behind. As the African custom (Vol. i. page 173.) of accompanying a traveller for a short distance out of their kraal, was in this instance either forgotten or intentionally omitted, our communication with the inhabitants of Klaarwater ended when we passed their huts: and we were thus left sooner at liberty to turn all our thoughts forward.

Not to allow time for the disheartening and ill-foreboding remarks which had just been sounded in our ears, to make any impression on the minds of my men, or to shake the courage, or cloud the alacrity, with which they had commenced the undertaking, I seized the first moments to speak of our journey in a manner which should convince them that there was in my own mind not the least doubt of success. I know not whether such an address might have been at that time really necessary, or how far it might have operated in re-inspiring them with confidence; but I felt truly happy at noticing the pleasure with which they talked on the subject, and their congratulations to each other on having at last completed all arrangements, and on being now actually on the road.

We drove with us six sheep, as a resource whenever our hunting should fail to supply us with game; and the appearance of the party was much enlivened by the company of our faithful dogs; to all of which, I confess, I felt a kind of attachment which derived additional strength from the peculiar circumstances of the journey now before me. But Wantrouw had gradually rendered himself the favorite, and seemed conscious of the preference, as he always kept close by my side, excepting when the chase, in which he was eager to excess,

[page] 3

called him away. Having been for a long time past disused to travelling, the sharpness of the road soon rendered their feet sore; and it was fortunate that at the beginning of the journey we had an opportunity of letting the poor animals ride in the waggon.

In seven hours we reached Gattikamma, where we halted and passed the night.

25th. As the sun, rising in a cloudless sky, announced that the day would be oppressively hot, we resumed our journey early in the morning and while the air still retained some of the coolness of night.

I now looked in vain for that rosy wild flower-garden which decorated these plains on our former visit to the Asbestos Mountains. It had totally disappeared; and so astonishingly, and almost incredibly rapid, is the progress of vegetation in these regions, with respect to bulbous flowers, that in the short space of ten days the beautiful lilies*, then observed just coming into bloom, had completed their flowering, and ripened their seed; the flower-stems were dried up, had parted from the roots, and were nearly all blown away.

Many burrows of the Springhaas† attracted our notice. These animals, making their holes in soft sandy ground, were said to derive great assistance from their hinder feet, in throwing out the sand which they loosen with their fore paws; and which, as the nails of these paws have so little the appearance of being worn, may perhaps be the only reason why they have been supposed to dig only with their hinder feet; a supposition which I have before recorded, although contrary to my own opinion.

The heat of the day compelled us to rest during three hours at Aakaap; but we arrived at the Kloof village an hour and a half before sunset. Here we found Ruiter waiting in readiness for us; although Captain Berends had not been able in the mean time to

* Amaryllis lucida: noticed in the first volume at pages 536. and 541.

Pedetes Caffer.—Compare the above remarks with what has been said in Vol. I. at page 487.

B 2

[page] 4

procure any further addition to our number: I was, however, well satisfied at having secured even one more.

Our viaticum of corn consisted only of about half a bushel of wheat, which the people immediately set about grinding; the mill at this place being fortunately in better order than the one at Klaarwater.

26th. We obtained a quantity of dakka, or hemp-leaves, a very acceptable present to the Bushmen, who, as before stated, use it for smoking instead of tobacco. As a precaution, I ordered a large jug of milk to be boiled, that we might take it with us; for I had remarked, that when not boiled, it had, in a few hours' travelling, either turned sour, or by the constant motion become buttermilk, the butter having been completely separated by this kind of churning, and formed into round balls, which floated on the surface. We also cast an additional store of bullets, that we might be prudently prepared against any attack from the inhabitants of the country through which we were about to pass, and whose disposition was equally unknown to all of us; although, while making this provision, we were more inclined to believe it would only be consumed in hunting. I made another drawing of the village and surrounding mountains, from a point of view different from those of my former sketches.*

The business of grinding corn detained us till past three in the afternoon; when I took my leave of the friendly Captain Berends, to whom, indeed, I was indebted, in the affair of hiring men, for all the assistance which I had received, beyond what had been affected by my own Hottentots. The inhabitants of his kraal assembled around us to witness our departure, and bade us farewell in a manner which afforded pleasure to myself, and animated all my party with the highest spirits, and raised their confidence in a safe return; a confidence of no small importance on such occasions, and not of mere imaginary utility in contributing to ultimate success.

We followed the course of the rivulet as it winds along the nar-

* See the Vignette in Vol I. at page 323.

[page] 5

row valley which conducts it through the Asbestos Mountains towards the Gariep.* This valley is more romantic and picturesque than any which I had seen since leaving the Hex-river kloof. The mountains, which are essentially the same sort of clay-slate which has been already described, rose close on either hand in bold majestic forms, in some places clothed with luxuriant verdure, or more frequently exhibiting their steep rocky sides sprinkled here and there with light bushes growing out of their crevices, and enlivening with tints of verdure the rich and varied browns of their broken crags. Along the dale below we rode in many places over a thick and verdant carpet of the most beautiful grass†, shaded often by the soft foliage of large trees of acacia, whose branches were loaded with festoons of clematis hanging wild with all the grace and charms of Nature, and decorating them with a profusion of white flowers, which diffused their delicate and grateful odor through the airy grove. In one spot, an immense mass of rock, or rather a mountain, reared its lofty precipice high above our heads, and, partially covered with evergreens and various shrubs, presented a subject for both admiration and regret, since time and circumstances allowed me no opportunity for making a drawing of the scene.

Our road became more irregular and hilly, leading us sometimes through the dry bed of the rivulet; sometimes halfway up the sides of the mountain; and often through thickets of acacias, which abounded throughout the whole length of the valley; and, as we passed, lent their friendly aid in sheltering us from the burning rays of the sun.

A clear refreshing spring which we perceived hard by beneath the trees, tempted us to halt a few minutes to quench our thirst: it was the cool fountain of a Kraal of Koras, whose sheep and oxen were in sight grazing upon the sides of the hills around. A few of

* Vol. I. page 334.

† Catal. Geogr. 2570. Exceedingly like the Wire-grass of the island of St. Helena (Agrostis linearis, Willd. S. P.), and near akin to that which is called Cocksfoot-grass by the English farmers. (Panicum Dactylon, Linn. Cynodon Dactylon, Pers.)

[page] 6

its inhabitants advanced to greet us as we rode by, and one or two of the men acknowledged us as old acquaintances, having met us before when we were hunting hippopotami on the banks of the Kygariep.

To avoid a long circuit, which the rivulet now began to take, we quitted the deep valley and ascended to an elevated level country, very thickly covered with large trees of the Hookthorn, between which we were obliged very cautiously to wind our way for about a mile and a half. After this we descended again into the valley, and continued, among acacias, to follow the bed of the rivulet, which at this season was every where dry.

A little farther we came to another spring of water equally pure and delightful, and our party again felt it necessary to quench their thirst. This fountain was occupied by a kraal of Mixed-Hottentots, the friends and relations of those who dwelt at the village of the Kloof. The men and women were at this hour absent, hunting or tending their cattle, or in search of wild roots, or collecting firewood; but several little groups of children ran out from the thickets which concealed their huts, to view us as we passed. They knew old Cobus and Ruiter, and were therefore not afraid to creep out of their hiding-places and run towards us; but they eyed me with some doubt and shyness, and seemed half-inclined to run back again.

At a short distance beyond this kraal we found another, consisting of seven huts and a large proportion of inhabitants, who were also of the race of Mixed-Hottentots; their chief was named Jan Bloem.* With the people of this kraal most of our party were well acquainted, and, as few amongst us were good swimmers, and nearly all of these were expert in that art, from having resided so long on the banks of the Gariep, they were easily persuaded to lend us their assistance in crossing the river; especially as I promised to reward them for their services. It was therefore agreed, it being already past sunset, that we should pass the night at this kraal, that they might put themselves in readiness to accompany us in the morning.

* He was son of a freebooter of the same name, hereafter mentioned under date of the 17th of June.

[page] 7

The situation of this little village, if such an appellation does not express too much, was exceedingly sheltered and rural: on one side embosomed in a grove of tall acacias, overtopped by the surrounding mountains; on the other, enclosed by a rocky precipice, under which stood their mat-houses and the cattle-kraals. Their oxen and goats appeared to be numerous, and were seen every where around, coming home from pasture. There was a small garden fenced round with a dry hedge, and irrigated by a trench which conducted water from a spring not far off; and in it were cultivated chiefly tobacco, maize, pumpkins, and dakka. The lowing of the oxen, the milking of the cows, and the playfulness of the goats butting against each other, or familiarly browsing close to the huts, or mingling with the dogs and cattle, gave a truly pastoral character to the spot; while the abundance of trees rendered the scene rich and harmonious to the eye, and solicited the attempts of my pencil.

In verdure and beauty, the wire-grass far excelled every other grass of the valley; and I doubt not that its qualities, in an agricultural view of them, would equally prove its superiority in the climate of the Gariep. At least, analogy with the wire-grass of St. Helena and the doop-grass of India, induces me to form this opinion, and to recommend a trial of it to the agriculturists of Africa: and if, indeed, this be not identically the same species, it so closely resembles it, as hardly to be distinguished but by a botanist. In this romantic valley it formed a thicker turf, and appeared of a softer and finer nature, than any other grasses which have fallen under my notice in these regions.

A trifling circumstance which happened here, is worth mentioning, because it confirms what has been asserted on a former occasion*, respecting the faculty possessed by these natives, of distinguishing and recognising their cattle individually. In the team which drew my waggon, were several oxen, all of an uniformly black color, and ap-

* Vol I. page 175.

[page] 8

parently of equal size and form. Immediately on my arrival here, one of them was, without any previous examination, or the least hesitation, pointed out by one of the Hottentots of the kraal, as having several years before, when he lived in Namaqualand, belonged to him; and on my expressing a doubt that it could be the same ox, since I had purchased it in the neighbourhood of Cape Town, he desired my driver to put his finger into its nostrils, when he would feel the hole through the septum, which had been made by him to receive the bridle, as it had been trained, while in his possession, for a riding-ox. And this was directly ascertained to be the fact; although the hole had hitherto escaped the notice of my own people; who, now, were pleased at finding that we possessed a riding-ox among the number. This animal, which perhaps originally had been obtained by barter from some more inland tribe, happened, as its owner recollected, to have been one of a large herd which had been brought into the colony and exchanged to some of the boors, for articles of which they were then more in need. In this manner it had changed masters till it became Frans Van der Merwe's, and had now completed the tour of Southern Africa; but it was yet destined to visit other regions in the interior, until at last it was, I believe, one of the four-and-twenty which were stolen from me one night by the Caffres in the Zuureveld.

My people were supplied by their friends here with pumpkins and milk for their supper. In the evening, Gert, who was exceedingly attentive, and desirous of evincing, by every act of service in his power, his gratitude for my past kindnesses towards him, came to me to beg in the name of the rest that I would play on the flute, as this was to be the last evening they could have an opportunity of hearing this instrument until my return. I willingly granted their request; and thus myself took leave of a valuable friend: for the fear of accidents, on so rough a journey, prevented my taking it with me farther than the river. Perhaps this was the first time since the creation, that these groves and rocks re-echoed the sound of the flute; and the novelty of the entertainment commanded the attention of the whole kraal, who had for this purpose assembled at a little distance round my waggon.

[page] 9

The complete silence which prevailed, indicated their fondness for music; however rude the sounds which the wild uncultivated Hottentot himself may be able to produce. He will sometimes take his goráh, and, unintelligible as his notes may seem to a more polished ear, will sit by his fire, or in his hut, playing them over for hours together, with increasing pleasure and satisfaction: while his friends around him listen without growing weary; and perhaps among their number some one, captivated by so great a display, as they may deem it, of musical power, may catch the spirit of emulation and long to play as well: or even may his notes inspire more tender feelings; and youth and innocence may listen to them with delight. I confess that I warmly participated in the amusement of the evening; and never before felt so satisfied and proud of my own performance: but my pride was surely allowable on such an occasion, and I doubt whether the most accomplished performer in Europe, feels at the rapturous applauses of a refined audience, a gratification greater than that which I received on witnessing the pleasure which my music afforded to a kraal of simple Africans. It was the pride of being able to render my fellow-men happy, even though but for a few hours: it was the heart, and not the head, which claimed the whole enjoyment. How often, when far removed from these wild regions, has memory carried me back to scenes and amusements such as these, again to try the question whether man find not an equal portion of happiness, and feel not equally the care of a kind Providence, in the civilized, and in the uncivilized state. How often have I travelled over my journey again, to dwell a longer time at those places where the goodwill of my fellow creatures, and innocent pleasures, have beguiled my hours, and soothed the pains of the more rugged and unkind parts of my road.

27th Early the following morning we left Jan Bloem's Kraal, accompanied by its chief and six of his people. The distance to the river was not more than four miles; but having quitted the valley, that we might take a more direct road to the ford, we no longer met with the same romantic scenery, nor even with rocks of the same nature; these appearing every where, in this day's journey, to consist


[page] 10

of a stone formed of various fragments conglutinated by a calcareous basis*; and such as might be classed as a species of "pudding-stone.'

The spot where we had intended to cross the river, bore the name of Engelsche Drift (English Ford) among the Klaarwater people, on account of its having been passed eleven years before, by a party from Cape Town, sent into the Transgariepine to purchase cattle for the government. The river, being here divided into two streams by an island, was found to be at this time too rapid and rough to be forded without danger: we therefore again yoked the oxen to the waggon, and proceeded to another place about two miles and a half higher up the stream. It was at this spot where the unfortunate Cowan and his party forded the Gariep, never more to return.

Here we found a kraal of Koras stationed with their cows, oxen, and goats: they appeared, like most of the natives in this part of the country, to possess but few sheep, a fact which is to be accounted for, perhaps, by the greater care, and better pasture, required for these, than for the rearing of goats. Their huts were irregularly placed in the acacia groves, and so completely concealed by intervening thickets, that we might have passed the river without discovering them, if their inhabitants had not, in their usual friendly way, come out to make their salutations, as soon as they knew we were arrived.

The branches of the acacias here were frequently decorated with a handsome kind of Mistleto (or, more correctly, a species of Loranthus,) whose fine scarlet berries appeared very conspicuous and ornamental. The delightful scenery of the Gariep had lost nothing of its power of pleasing, by having been admired so often before; but as I had not till now beheld the willows in their sober autumnal colors, they possessed for me, a new charm. In Africa we look in vain for those mellow beautiful tints with which the sun of autumn dyes the forests of England. Examples of this change of color meet the eye so rarely in these arid deserts, that whenever they do perchance occur, they will forcibly, and by a natural association of ideas, remind

* To this rock may be referred generally the description and remarks given in the first volume, at pages 398 and 399.

[page] 11

the European traveller of his native land. To call the shrubs and trees of these countries, evergreens, would occasion very erroneous ideas to those whose notions are formed by what are commonly denominated so, in the gardens of our own country: although, in fact, there are few which are at any season quite destitute of leaves. But that broad and green foliage, that fresh and lively complexion, do not belong to the general character of the woods and thickets of the Interior; notwithstanding some exceptions. These last remarks, however, must be considered as applicable only to the regions remote from the sea-coast: there are forests and woods in other parts, which exhibit a very different and superior character.

As it could not be expected at this season of the year, that the waters of the Gariep would be so low as to admit of our fording it, our object had been to find a part of its course where the stream was of the least width, or of greatest depth; as in this latter case the surface would be more still and smooth, and the current less rapid and powerful. We now, therefore, had to construct a raft fit for conveying over our bedding and goods, our guns and ammunition, as well as those of our party who were unable to swim across.

With this view, our first business was to collect a number of logs of dead willow wood; the acacia and other woods being too heavy for the purpose; and even the willow when green, having the same defect. The raft was made of a quadrangular form, of six feet in length and the same breadth, by several regular layers of logs crossing each other, and bound together with long strips of acacia bark. The Hottentots have found by experience that, on such occasions, green bark is preferable to thongs of leather or raw hide; because the leather or hide, when soaked in water, soon grows soft, stretches, and becomes loose.

The raft being launched and loaded, was found not capable of carrying more than the half of our goods; and it then required ten men to manage it. Some swam before and dragged it on by a rope, while others behind pushed it forwards; but the strength of the current continuing to carry them down the stream, they crossed in

C 2

[page] 12

an oblique direction; so that the point where they landed made an angle of about fifty degrees with the point directly opposite to that from which they set out.

Two of my own men who went over with the raft, to the other bank, were left there to guard the goods; and when the others returned, a glass of brandy to each was found very necessary for reviving their courage for another trip. But they had meditated a scheme for obtaining payment for their services on their own terms, and this they deemed the proper moment for putting it in execution, when one half of our goods and two of my best swimmers were on one side of the river, and the rest on the other; for they perceived that the raft required a greater number of hands to conduct it, than I had with me. I had intended to pay them in tobacco and some other useful articles; but, it seems, they had resolved on having gunpowder, which they knew to be a commodity I was not willing to spare, as they found from my own Hottentots that I had brought with me no more than it was judged we should require for our present journey.

They therefore made their demand, and considering the circumstances in which I stood, I at last consented to pay them what they asked, and even more, at my return, when I could better give up my ammunition, without risking the lives of my party by rendering ourselves defenceless. But as they were too cunning not to know how far I was in their power, they resolved to be paid on the spot, and therefore, without saying any thing further, walked away, as if to return to their kraal. My own men, though they felt as much as myself, how little we could spare that which was so essentially necessary, both for our safety and for procuring food, begged me at all events to agree to their terms; especially as the late hour of the day admitted of no delay. They immediately ran to inform them of my consenting to their terms; and soon brought them back. They then resumed the work, and plunged into the stream with another raft-load.

In the meantime I concerted the arrangements for Gert's return with my waggon to Klaarwater, and left with him a goat and some

[page] 13

goods with which he might purchase provisions during our absence. I gave him instructions to meet me on our return, at the river with the waggon, should he be able in time to get intelligence of our being on the road. He then, with the assistance of Old Daniel's son and Muchunka, began to put the oxen to the yoke, and, as soon as he perceived that I was safely landed on the other side, set out on his journey home.

To save the swimmers the fatigue of bringing over the raft when they returned, we were obliged for each load to construct a new one; and as soon as the third raft was put together, I seated myself upon it, with four of my dogs, and launched into the stream. I was attended by twelve swimmers, including all the remainder of my men, excepting Ruiter and Nieuwveld, who remained behind to bring over the horse, and the oxen and sheep.

We reached the southern bank just at sunset, and as soon as Jan Bloem and his people had received the gunpowder, they returned to the other side on 'wooden horses.'* As they had exerted themselves to their utmost in transporting our baggage over the river, and must have been excessively fatigued before they reached home, I freely forgave them the unfair stratagem by which they had outwitted me; and allowed them to plead their own necessities in excuse. We parted good friends, and they promised to give their assistance in swimming the cattle through in the morning; as it was become too late to attempt it this evening.

At the place where we landed, a high precipitous bank confined us close to the water's edge, where it would have been highly imprudent to have remained till morning, exposed to the risk of being swept away, should the river suddenly swell. It grew dark before we had removed the goods to the higher ground; and in this operation fate seemed to declare that no luxuries were to be allowed me on this journey; for the only article I had provided, which could be considered so, excepting tea and a bag of biscuits, was a stone bottle,

* An explanation of this term, has been given in the first volume, at page 415.

[page] 14

wine; but which a small fragment of rock accidentally rolling down from the top of the bank, now broke to pieces.

The difficulties which heavy baggage might occasion, and the impediment it might become in crossing a pathless or mountainous country, were considerations sufficient to restrain us from taking any thing which was not absolutely indispensable; and when, in debating this question, I put aside the influence of habit and custom, and of those necessities which belong only to civilized society, I discovered that we might dispense with nearly every thing; even with all our cooking utensils, excepting a small tin pot and a tea-kettle. Without either gridiron or saucepan, we cooked all our meat, either broiled on the embers, or stuck on forked sticks before the fire. Nor could we admit the encumbrance even of plates and forks. We therefore entered upon this journey with no other provision than our watch-coats and covering for the night, our guns and ammunition, a hatchet, a quantity of tobacco intended principally for presents to the Bushmen, and five sheep. To this I added for myself, three blankets, an umbrella, and two tin boxes, one to hold my papers, my journal, and sketches, my compass, and a few other light articles of this kind; and the other, a change of linen, and a small assortment of the more important medicines, particularly the volatile alkali, or liquid ammonia, for the bite of serpents.

28th. We passed the night without having been observed by the natives; and rose at day-break, hoping to see Ruiter and the cattle: but neither were visible, though we repeatedly called over to them so loudly that our words must have been distinctly heard, had any person been there. Hour after hour elapsed, and no answer was given; nor was any human being to be seen along the bank. Our uneasiness continued increasing, and every unpropitious accident was in turn surmised, to account for their absence.

At last towards noon they made their appearance on the shore, and in less than an hour afterwards, I had the satisfaction of viewing the whole of my party safely landed on the southern side of the Gariep.

Ruiter's delay had been occasioned by an untoward circumstance,

[page] 15

and which now deprived us of the use of one of the cattle. The ox on which Cobus was to ride, was missing; and, having been supposed to have strayed back again to the village at the Kloof, one of the Hottentots was despatched thither in search; yet after wasting much time, it was at last found on the road nor far off, its rein having been accidentally caught by a bush, from which the poor animal had not only been unable to extricate itself, but in the struggle had dislocated its foot. Being therefore unfit for service, it was left under care of the people at the kraal; and we were obliged to give up one of the pack-oxen to supply its place; although we were then left with no more than three for carrying all our goods, together with the game which we might expect to shoot from day to day.

At length all being ready and the baggage properly adjusted, we commenced our journey in the Cisgariepine, my party consisting of six Hottentots, the Bushman Nieúwveld, and Rúiter the Bachapin whose proper name amongst his own countrymen, was Măkhówta.

Having gained intelligence that a friendly Bushman, who, by frequent visits to the Hottentots of the Asbestos Mountains, was personally known to one of my men, had lately pitched his hut on the banks of the river a few miles lower down, we bent our course that way, intending to persuade him to accompany us; not indeed as a guide, but for the purpose of introducing us as friends, at the different kraals of his countrymen, at which he might be known, and of assuring them of our good intentions towards them and of our peaceable disposition; but more especially, of testifying that I was not one of the boors,—men with whom they have been unfortunately too often on hostile terms, and of whose views they are generally too suspicious, to allow them to pass through their country without molestation.

We traversed a very extensive plain, covered with grass so tall that the dogs were completely hidden by it; but the ostriches stalked through exposed to view, and stonebucks* here and there starting up, bounded over it and were soon out of sight.

* Antilope rupestris, mentioned in the first volume, at page 202.

[page] 16

We reached the Bushman kraal at a little before sunset. It consisted only of three huts, where we found no one at home but the women. They informed us that all the men were out hunting or in search of food, but would return in the evening. They seemed already satisfied of our friendly disposition, and appeared to rejoice at the arrival of men with fire-arms, for they immediately told us that a hippopotamus had just that moment been heard snorting in the river close by, and begged us go and shoot it for them.

At about eight the Bushmen came home, but we found that the man whom we wished to see, and whose name was Riizo (Reezo), had parted from them and gone to a kraal situated at a considerable distance farther down the river. Our communication with these people was attended with no difficulty, as three of our party fortunately could speak their language; Hans Lucas, Ruiter, and Nieuwveld: although the latter understood nothing of Dutch, but was sufficiently acquainted with that dialect of the Hottentotish, which is spoken by the people of Klaarwater.

One of these natives was therefore immediately sent off to inform Riizo of our wishes, and to desire him to come to us. In the mean time I had the satisfaction of learning that he and some others had long meditated an excursion to the southward, and, if it could been done with safety, a friendly visit to the borders of the colony.

Our station, with all its living appendages of men and cattle, presented a scene so romantic, so curious, and so fit for a picture, that I employed the remainder of the daylight in making a drawing of it. It was in a thick grove of acacias on the top of a high bank, at the foot of which flowed the Gariep, extending its stream to a greater breadth as it here changed the direction of its course, glittering with the reflection of the warm harmonious colors of the western sky, and the last rays of the setting sun. Evening was quickly leading forward the darkness of night, when the broad moon in unclouded brightness rose to give us a day of milder and serener light, and as she cast her beams obliquely through the branches of our sylvan hall, made us forget the hour of rest, and pass our time as if the night were not yet come. On one side the Bushmen and my

[page] 17

own men mingled in a group round the fire, sat with mutual confidence, talking and laughing with each other, or silently engaged in smoking, though frequently taking the pipe from the mouth to join in the laugh. The subject of their conversation I could not discover; but the women were eager to bear their share in it, and it was I believe merely a natural overflowing of pleasure which they felt at receiving a present of tobacco. In another quarter, our patient oxen lay quietly chewing the cud; and nearer at hand the sheep with their heads turned towards the light, stood peacefully looking on. Some of the dogs lay in different places, asleep at the foot of the trees, while others familiarly took their place in the circle round the fire. Various parts of our baggage, the guns and the saddle, the karosses and skins of my Hottentots, were hanging on the branches. Every nearer object within the grove was partially illuminated by the blaze, and their reddened hue contrasted strongly the pale silvery light which the bright moon shed on all without, and which here and there gleamed between the stems, or played upon the thin and feathery foliage. On the edge of the bank, under a wide-spreading acacia of many stems, my own sleeping-place and baggage appeared at the distance of a few paces, in a more retired situation; while close at hand, but lower down the bank, stood my horse made fast to one of the trees. Between the light foliage above our heads, the twinkling stars enlivened our aërial canopy; and at that hour the brilliant Sirius in the zenith, rivalled the brightest of the planets. For a long time after I had lain down for the purpose of taking my night's rest, the novelty and singularly romantic character of the scene kept me from sleep; and admiration at the objects by which I was surrounded, gave rise to the most agreeable sensations and reflections, the pleasure of which was enhanced more especially by the friendly reception which, it now began to appear, we were likely to meet with.

29th. I awoke long before sunrise, and watched the gradual approach of day. As soon as the eastern sky began to assume the rosy tints of morning, the moon faded slowly away, and a


[page] 18

multitude of birds, which every where inhabit the groves of the Gariep, commenced their early song, and charmed me with their soft enlivening notes. Notes which, though they presume to no comparison with those of our thrush or nightingale, delight and soothe the ear not less, and are equally expressive of the peace of nature, and the happiness of the feathered tribe, the unmolested tenants of these woods.

Having waited at this spot till more than two hours after midday, in fruitless expectation of seeing Riizo, we took our departure; and had scarcely advanced a mile when we met the Bushman who had yesterday been sent to the kraal lower down the river. He brought a message from Riizo, that we should come to that place and wait till he returned from the village at the Asbestos mountains, whither he was going to fetch some tobacco which he was to receive from the Hottentots at that place. Hearing this, I immediately sent off Ruiter, to bring him to us without delay; promising that he should be well supplied with tobacco from our own stock.

We then proceeded in a southward direction, and, leaving the valley of the Gariep, ascended a rocky cliff, at the top of which the surface of the country continued at the same level. Hence we had a commanding view of the river and its winding course for several miles; and of the Asbestos mountains to the north, and some other distant mountains on the west. The most remarkable feature of this plain was a number of scattered trees, distinguished from all I had hitherto seen, by the color of their trunks, which appeared at a little distance as if they had been whitewashed. From this singular character, they have gained the name of Wit-gat boom, which may be represented in English by that of White-stem.*

After quitting this plain and crossing an extensive level covered with abundance of fine grass three feet high, we came to the bed of a considerable periodical river, where, as it was now past sunset, we unpacked our oxen and took up our station for the night. This

* Capparis albitrunca, B. — Vide p. 343. Vol. I.

[page] 19

proved to be the new river, which hitherto was known to the Klaarwater Hottentots, only at its confluence with the Gariep, and for a few miles higher up its course. The water in the pools along this part of its bed, being of a strongly brackish quality, they had designated it merely as the Brak rivier. This name, at length, was taken into common use by our party, and occasioned us totally to neglect inquiring of the natives its proper name: a neglect which I the more regret as the name of Brak rivier has already been given to too many streams in the colony, to admit of increasing the number by fixing it upon this one; to which indeed it is not applicable, excepting a few miles of the lower part of its course. As a river of this length bears, doubtlessly, some distinctive appellation among the Bushmen, I have not presumed to give it one of my own; but leave this blank in my map to be filled up by some traveller who may hereafter discover the name by which it has been always known to the aboriginal inhabitants of the country.

The spot where we now for the first time fell in with it, is pointed out on the map by the words First Station. At this season its bed was in most places dry; and that which in the time of the rains, must be a deep river, was now merely a line of ponds or pools, separated from each other, in some places by only a few yards of dry ground, and in others by the distance of a quarter of a mile. That pool, by the side of which we had halted, was of an intolerable alkaline taste; but the people were obliged to drink from it, and gladly took advantage of the excuse it afforded, to ask for a glass of brandy to counteract its nauseous effects. It was the more fortunate that the water of this river was nowhere of this unwholesome nature, excepting at the lower part of its course, as our whole stock of brandy was contained in a quart bottle.

The country every where around us, was flat and open; and though lightly covered with low stunted bushes, not a tree was to be seen. At night we tied the horse and oxen to the strongest of the shrubs; and pulling up a quantity of others, formed them into a semicircular hedge, to shelter us from the wind and rain with which the clouds began to threaten us.

D 2

[page] 20

March 1st. We remained at this station till half-past eight in the morning, in the hope that Ruiter would join us; but as we knew that he and the Bushman could easily overtake us, we were glad to depart from this miserable lodging. Our good-fortune conducted us by a solitary Buffalo-thorn (Buffel doorn*) where we found a small pond of fresh water.

Having halted a few minutes to quench our thirst, and allow the oxen to drink, we rode forward by the guidance of the compass in a southerly direction over a sandy plain of fourteen miles; in which the river twice crossed our course. In some places I observed swallows circling in the air, a cheering sight to the thirsty traveller, and a sure indication of water being near.

In our way over the plain, we fell in with an ostrich's nest; if so one may call a bare concavity scratched in the sand, six feet in diameter, surrounded by a trench equally shallow, and without the smallest trace of any materials, such as grass, leaves, or sticks, to give it a resemblance to the nests of other birds. The ostriches to which it belonged, must have been at that time feeding at a great distance, or we should have seen them on so open a plain. The poor birds at their return would find that robbers had visited their home in their absence; for we carried off all their eggs. Within this hollow, and quite exposed, lay twenty-five of these gigantic eggs, and in the trench nine more, intended, as the Hottentots observe, as the first food of the twenty-five young ones. Those in the hollow, being designed for incubation, may often prove useless to the traveller, but the others on the outside will always be found fit for eating. In the present instance the whole number were equally good.

The expedient resorted to by Speelman on a former occasion, was now adopted to a certain extent: after filling all our bags, the sleeves of their watch-coats, and their second pair of trowsers were crammed full of eggs. It was considered as an auspicious omen

* Zizyphus bubalinus.

[page] 21

that at the commencement of our journey, so valuable a prize had been placed in our way. Our faithful dogs were not forgotten in the division of the spoil; and their share, which we immediately broke into a bowl, was eaten up on the spot.

Meeting again with the river, we halted and unpacked our oxen, that they might graze for an hour or two; though little benefit was to be derived from the situation, as the pool at this place was quite salt, and not less unfit for use, than the alkaline water at the First Station. The quality of the ponds in the lower part of this river, is probably not at all seasons equally objectionable, and while the stream continues to flow along its bed, the water will every where be serviceable, because the saline solution from the soil, is then constantly weakened and carried off by the accession of fresh water from the higher part of its course. At other times, when the stream ceases to run, the pools remain, at first tolerably drinkable; but in proportion as the quantity of water is lessened by evaporation, this solution becomes more concentrated. It should not be supposed that occasional showers in the immediate vicinity of these brackish ponds, would tend to improve them, because those showers must wash down more of the same salts from the surface of the soil, which, at the part where we had now halted, was covered principally with such shrubs and plants as afford alkali: these were the Kannabush, and another whose name of Brak-boschjes* (Brackish Bushes) indicates that their nature has been well observed by the inhabitants.

We made our dinner from the ostrich-eggs; each of the Hottentots eating a whole one, although containing, as already mentioned, as much food as twenty-four eggs of the domestic hen. It is therefore not surprising that I found myself unable to accomplish my share of the meal; even with the aid of all the hunger which a long morning's ride had given me. The mode in which they were cooked, was

* A shrubby species of Atriplex, probably the A. candicans. Yet the name of Brakboschjes does not exclusively belong to this plant.
A sort of Statice was found growing in abundance on spots of the saline nature here described. (Compare with p. 454. of Vol. I.)

[page] 22

one of great antiquity; for all the Hottentot race, their fathers, and their grandfathers' fathers, as they express themselves, have practised it before them. A small hole the size of a finger was very dextrously made at one end, and having cut a forked stick from the bushes, they introduced it into the egg by pressing the two prongs close together; then by twirling the end of the stick between the palms of their hands for a short time, they completely mixed the white and the yolk together. Setting it upon the fire, they continued frequently to turn the stick, until the inside had acquired the proper consistence of a boiled egg. This method recommends itself to a traveller, by its expedition, cleanliness, and simplicity; and by requiring neither pot, nor water; the shell answering perfectly the purpose of the first, and the liquid nature of its contents, that of the other.

During the time of our halt, the weather which had been fair all the forenoon, began to change; and clouds thickening over the sky, threatened us with instant rain. Seeing this, the Hottentots were preparing a shelter, with the view of remaining at this spot till the morrow; but deeming it better to be riding, than sitting still, in the rain, I ordered them to re-pack the oxen, that, by proceeding farther, we might reach some better water before dark.

We had but just set out, when a party of eight people was perceived hastening towards us; and a nearer approach enabling us to discover that Makhowta (Ruiter) was of the number, we halted till they came up with us. He had not only, without much difficulty, prevailed on Riizo to relinquish his tobacco journey, and come directly to us, but our good fortune had so arranged it, that there happened to be at the same time at that place, the captain, or chief, of a large kraal which lay exactly in the direction of our course. This man, being about to return home, had himself proposed to join our party, and was now, with that intent, accompanied by three of his men, and three women, one of whom was his wife.

I immediately fulfilled the promise of tobacco which Makhowta had in my name made to Riizo and at the same time made a present of an equal quantity to the captain, and to each of his party. This

[page] 23

act of generosity at once established me in their good opinion, and Kaabi, for that was the chief's name, to express his gratitude, pledged himself for my safety while I remained in his part of the country, and for a friendly reception at his village.

We then rode forward; our Bushman friends following on foot, and evidently as happy at having gained my friendship, as I was at securing theirs. Guided only by my compass, as the day was dark and cloudy, we continued for nearly three hours travelling over a plain having no visible termination, nor any eminence to break its perfect uniformity. Its soil differed totally from that of the plain which we had crossed in the morning: the surface was of a harder nature, and in some places it was strewed with pebbles; but scarcely any grass, and not a bush or shrub higher than half a foot, was any where to be seen.

A herd of antelopes* of the species known among the boors by the misapplied name of Gemsbok† was observed at a distance, but on account of the openness of the country, it was useless for us to pursue them, as we could never have approached within musket shot.

It rained incessantly the whole afternoon; but towards sunset the weather began to clear up; and, as all were most uncomfortably wet, we resolved to unpack at the first spot which offered any shelter for the night, and the means of making a fire to dry our clothes. But no such place presenting itself, we were at last content to take up a station amongst a few stunted Driedoorns‡ (Threethorns) the largest of which was not higher than three feet. Here, exposed upon the bare open plain, we passed the night.

* Antilope Oryx.

† The name of Gemsbok belongs properly to the Antilope rupicapra of Europe, the Chamois of the Alps. By the same misuse of names, the Kanna of the Cape Colony is called Eland, which is the proper name of the Cervus Alces or Elk. So also is the name of a common European animal, the Reebok or Roebuck, applied to two animals of another genus, and which are found only in Southern Africa.

Rhigoxum trichotomum; described in the 1st volume, at page 299.

[page] 24

Only one of the Bushmen had kept up with us; all the rest having parted company during the rain. As soon as we halted, his chief care was to make a call to his companions, to inform them where we were; and for this purpose he continued for some time at intervals to blow his pipe. This was nothing more than the tibia, or shin-bone, of one of the smaller antelopes, into which he blew at one end, in the manner of a 'Pan's reed.' It produced an exceedingly sharp and shrill sound, which might easily, in so open a plain, have been heard at a great distance. To this noise we added a shout from our whole party at once.

But these signals were not answered, nor did any of the Bushmen join us that night; having either missed our track in the rain, or preferred remaining under shelter during the heavy showers. As two of the women were loaded, each with an infant at her back, I could not but feel compassion for them, exposed all night, perhaps without shelter, food, or fire. I was, however, wrong in measuring their sufferings by the standard of European hardships: they are accustomed, from their birth, to such a mode of life, and have been gradually inured to all the inclemencies of the weather. They feel, possibly, much less of these hardships than we may suppose; because they are never made sensible of them by the contrast of luxuries enjoyed at other times. But to a European, the case is widely different; and some powerful feelings of the mind are required for supporting the body through all the inconveniences and privations of savage life.

The rain had ceased; but lightning at a distance in every quarter, made us to look around for materials to form some shelter from the gathering storm; but nothing could be found suitable to this purpose, and the threethorns, being scantily furnished with leaves, were not better than dead sticks. Our cattle supped sufficient water from the puddles, but we ourselves remained without any till the morning.

Philip and Nieuwveld were sent to explore a narrow beaten track which had been made by the wild animals. From the long-trodden appearance of this path, we knew that it would conduct us ultimately to water, but in the dusk of the evening, they were unable

[page] 25

to discover the right direction, and unfortunately took that which carried them farther from it; for, in the morning, it was found close at hand on the opposite side.

In this wet and cheerless state, and to console them for the disappointment, the Hottentots begged that the remainder of the brandy might now be distributed; and, heedless of the prospect of being more in want of it than at present, seemed glad at any excuse for asking for it.

We spread our skins and bedding upon the wet ground; and, if Wantrouw felt the advantage of being my favorite, I now reaped the benefit of being his; for he slept so close to my feet that I passed the night without the least inconvenience from cold, although my blankets were covered with a heavy dew.

Under my saddle, which at night was always used as a pillow, I found in the morning that two lizards, induced also by the warmth, had taken their lodging. Harmless as I judged them to be, and little as these creatures excited any apprehension, they could not but remind me that I was now exposed to the risk of sometimes having more dangerous bedfellows—snakes and scorpions.

2nd. At sunrise we were joined by Kaabi and his companions. This man seemed to be about the age of forty; sedate, and rather reserved in his manners: but his wife could not have been more than fifteen, and among Bushwomen might certainly pass as pretty. Her height was less than five feet, and her figure proportionally delicate. Her face was plump and oval; and, owing to her youth, had not yet begun to exhibit that peculiar Hottentot feature; the narrow pointed chin. Her eyes were remarkable for being bright and open; a beauty which is never retained beyond the days of youth; as constant exposure to the winds, and the glare of light in a dry open country, soon induce the habit of always keeping their eyelids half-closed. She wore a leathern cap ornamented with beads, in the manner represented by the engraving at the head of this chapter*,

* The figures there, of two young women of the Cisgariepine tribe of Bushmen, are intended for giving a general idea of their dress and appearance.
The figure on the right hand is represented with a leathern kaross wrapped close about her, as it is usually held in cold weather. The cap is also of leather, and ornamented with beads, as here described. In her ear are two small copper ornaments of Bichuana manufacture, better represented in the 37th vignette, and more particularly explained in that place.
The figure on the left is clothed in a sheep-skin kaross; and wears a copper ring in each ear, two cowry shells pendent from a lock of hair on her forehead, and a row of buttons surrounding the head and fixed also to the hair. The crown of the head is shaved bare; this being considered a very becoming fashion for girls and young women.


[page] 26

and was not without some personal vanity, as may be concluded from her wearing a great number of leathern bracelets, and a pair of cowry shells hanging from her forehead, similar to the ivory ornaments described on a former occasion*; and to which was added a large copper ring in each ear. The beads, which were displayed upon her cap, were arranged not without some taste, and with great attention to regularity. Her child, of which she was very careful and fond, seemed to be at least eight months old, and was never, during the whole day, removed from her back. It was supported there by one of the hinder aprons, turned up and tied over the shoulder; and in this situation the poor little infant was suckled, by bringing its head forward under the mother's arm.

At her back also she carried a roll of skins: these being spread on the ground at night, served both for bedding and for a protection from the dampness of the earth. To this load were added a siftingmat, and three sticks about five feet in length, used either for assisting in walking, or for digging up the wild roots which she might happen to observe on the way.

These sifting-mats are about three feet long and two broad, extended by a stick tied along each side, and by others fastened to them transversely. They are made in the same manner as other mats, excepting that the rushes are not so close together. When a spot of ground is met with, where abundance of little roots are to be found†, the earth is broken up and carefully sifted with these mats; by which

* Vol. I. page 414.

† The roots of Cyperus usitatus, called Boschman's uyentjes, (see Vol. I. p. 417.) are those which are most plentiful in this part of the country.

[page] 27

contrivance a quantity of such small roots are collected in a much shorter time than could possibly be done by digging them up singly with the stick.

Just as we were beginning to pack up our baggage, we were suddenly surprised by a sound from a distance, which all of us believed, or rather fancied, to be the report of a musket. Thinking it might possibly be a signal from some one sent after us by captain Berends, we fired a gun in answer; but as no reply was made, I sent off Speelman, Daniel, and Hendrik in that direction to reconnoitre, and ascertain if any person with fire-arms was on that side. But in less than an hour they returned without discovering any traces of strangers; and we at last were satisfied that we had mistaken the sound. Yet I continued, for a day or two, a little uneasy at the circumstance, until convinced that it could only be a mistake; since no stranger could come into the country of the Bushmen, without his arrival being immediately known to them.

We had at this time advanced much beyond the farthest point to which the Klaarwater Hottentots had ever extended their huntings; and Hans and Cobus, the most experienced of our party, considered that we were now on unexplored ground. We became therefore the more watchful and observant of every occurrence connected with our safety and success.

We departed from Drie-doorn station at eight in the morning, and continued our course over a plain as level and boundless as the ocean, excepting on the west, where the rocky mountains near Modder-gat interrupted the evenness of the horizon; and before us, where the Nappika mountain, and the very distant summits of the Hyena mountains, presented a faint object on which the sight could rest. These latter are distinguished by the natives, with a name of correspondent import in their language, but which in our hurry I neglected writing down.

I here, for the first time, had an opportunity of observing that singular phenomenon and optical illusion, of the appearance of water, which has often been seen in the deserts of Northern Africa. It exactly resembled a distant and extensive lake, receding from us

E 2

[page] 28

as we advanced; and offered a prospect the most tempting and delightful, but at the same time the most tantalizing, to a thirsty traveller; and, to complete the illusion, its surface seemed to play in a lively rippling motion. The day was warm and cloudless. The cause of this phenomenon is, very probably, the vapor and heat of the sun's rays, reflected from a great extent of level surface. A similar effect, on a small scale, may be observed even in England, on very hot days: not asserting that it ever produces the appearance of water; but meaning only that the operation of the same cause may often be witnessed, by looking obliquely along any heated and extensive surface. In the present example of this phenomenon, and in all others which I have seen in Africa, the optical lake is only visible when backed by very distant mountains, whose angle of altitude is not greater than ten or fifteen minutes of a degree; that is, just appearing above the horizon: for, as the traveller advances, and these mountains appear higher, the lake always vanishes. Consequently, it divides itself into separate lakes or ponds, as soon as the spectator's nearer approach occasions the higher mountains of the range, or the loftier peaks, to rise above that angle; a fact which I have invariably noticed in such circumstances.

As if in compensation for this tantalizing illusion, we soon afterwards came to a large pool of real water, and had cause for rejoicing when we found it perfectly fresh. The newly-discovered river, which we had hitherto wronged by the name of the "Brackish river," seemed as if kindly resolved to keep us company and lend us its friendly assistance during this journey; for it held the same general course, which, according to my calculation, we ought to take towards the Colony; although in its meanderings it often quitted us, and as often crossed our track. From this spot, which is marked on the map with the name of Freshwater Halt, the river in every part upwards affords abundance of wholesome water; and its pools, which occur at very short intervals, are in many places nearly confluent.

Reeds, exactly resembling the common reeds of the English rivers, almost every where mark its course. These are a sure

[page] 29

indication of fresh water, and, if attended to, will often be of service in pointing out a spring at a distance, which might otherwise be passed unnoticed. In cases where a traveller may be in want of water while traversing the arid regions in the interior of Southern Africa, he may sometimes be relieved from his distress by ascending the nearest eminence, and thence carefully examining the country with his telescope; when he may chance fortunately to discover some clump of reeds, to which he may direct his steps, with the greatest probability of finding sufficient for quenching his thirst. Some species of trees, easily distinguishable from afar, are also peculiar to moist situations*, and are therefore equally useful as guides to a spring or rivulet. These facts are well worth an African traveller's attention; and a little observation will bring to his knowledge many others of the same kind.

We immediately unpacked the oxen, and turned them loose to graze in some meadows of excellent grass. After making our breakfast from the ostrich-eggs, my men found employment enough in drying our clothes and baggage, which were thoroughly soaked with yesterday's rain. Philip entered upon his new office of "washerwoman,' nor was Speelman, or Uncle Hans, or Old Cobus, at all surpassed by him in versatility of talents: and I believe that, had there been amongst them a missionary of a certain class, it would not have hurt his conscience to assert that we carried on "eighteen different trades.'

We were visited by two natives, whose kraal, they said, was at some distance eastward; and who being out in search of wild roots, happened to observe our track, and had discovered us by following it. One of them wore on the side of his head, as an ornament, and tied close to the hair, a circular plate of shining brass three inches indiam eter. The other carried, what my Hottentots called a graafstok (a digging-stick), to which there was affixed a heavy stone to increase its force in pecking up bulbous roots. The stone, which was

* Such as the Karree-wood (Rhus viminale), the Buffalo-thorn (Zizyphus bubalinus), the Willow (Salix Gariepina) and the Karro-thorn (Acacia Capensis).

[page] 30

five inches in diameter, had been cut or ground, very regularly to a round form, and perforated with a hole large enough to receive the stick and a wedge by which it was fixed in its place. A figure of the "digging-stick' may be seen at the end of the chapter.

These two men, seeing that others of their countrymen were in our company, approached us without fear, and were in all respects friendly. We rejoiced at these symptoms of confidence, and I was mindful to profit by every opportunity of confirming them, that they might be induced to report favorably of us at their return to their homes. I gave them food, of which they seemed to be much in need; and gratified them not less by a present of a small quantity of dakka.

But I found it not so easy to gain the good-will of the children, as of their parents; for, wishing by caresses to please one of them, I offered it a biscuit, but looking for an instant in my face, it turned away in fright and cried most sadly; nor could the mother, who seemed much pleased by my taking notice of her child, overcome the poor little infant's terror at the sight of a white-man; a terror of which we may sometimes behold the counterpart with English children when they are caressed by a black. To me these infants were interesting, from their small and delicate make, and their innocent playfulness. Even their crying was not disgusting, because it had not the tone of petulance or vulgarity: but this may be easily accounted for; their tempers had certainly not been spoilt by overindulgence.

In compassion to our oxen, horse, and sheep, we rested six hours at Freshwater Halt, that they might be sufficiently recruited by the wholesome water and pasture; as we knew not whether they would meet with the same good fortune at our next station.

In the afternoon we resumed our journey, still over a plain without either eminence or hollow, or any visible termination either on our left hand or before us. In this pathless expanse, we advanced as a ship on the ocean; and, to keep my party from wandering from the right course, I steered in a direct line, by selecting two bushes ahead of us, and keeping them both in one, till we

[page] 31

came up nearly to the first, and then in the same manner selecting another beyond the second: thus continuing, from point to point as we advanced, taking a fresh object farther onwards.

Our average rate of travelling, during the whole of this journey, was proved to be three miles and a half in the hour. Not venturing, from fear of accident, to take my sextant on this expedition to the Colony, I have had only the bearings and estimated distances to guide me in laying down this part of my track on the map. But having travelled twice over the same ground, and taken the bearings and distances, on my return as well as at this time; and having, as fixed and determined points at each end, the Kloof Village in the Asbestos Mountains, and the village of Graaffreynet, I am inclined to think that the positions assigned to my stations are not far from the truth. And although I had not the advantage of ascertaining our rate of travelling, by the revolutions of the wheel of my waggon, as already explained*; yet having assumed a certain proportional scale of hours, making occasional allowance for an accelerated or a retarded rate, I each evening carefully plotted on paper the route of the day; and this proportional survey being finally laid down between the true latitudes of those two extreme points, it is evident that the situations of the intermediate places cannot be very erroneous.

The surface of this plain was composed of good loamy soil, generally covered with shrubs two feet high, but varied with frequent extensive patches of grass, and sometimes with bushes of Lycium which were of a greater height than any of the other shrubs. Plants of that singular genus Stapelia were here and there observed; particularly one with large flowers of a blackish-red color, and another with yellow flowers growing in lateral umbels. Hares were seen during this day's ride; and many quakkas were perceived grazing at a distance.

At sunset we ended the day's journey, and took up our station on the banks of the river, which we here found almost hidden by

* In the first volume, at pages 289 and 290.

[page] 32

grass of the most luxuriant color and growth, and which meandered through extensive meadows of excellent soil. This spot is marked by the name of Grass Station; and hence upwards, the pools of the river follow each other so closely that a few showers would soon render them confluent.

We did not discover any fish in these waters; but observed a very pretty and new species of frog* of a green color, and marked by a longitudinal yellow stripe on its back, and by transverse stripes of brown on its hind legs. It was further distinguished by its silence, or at least by croaking very seldom. Whether this silence be only occasional, or a constant character throughout the year, I could, as a traveller, have no opportunity of ascertaining.

Immediately on our arrival we made a fire and discharged a musket as a guide and signal for Speelman and the others, who had kept at a distance from the main body in hopes of falling in with game; and who were then out of sight. In half an hour they came home: they laid the blame of their absence upon the Bushman who was with them; who, on the way, happening to observe a lizard, pursued it with great eagerness, and having caught it, begged them to halt while he made a fire. This was soon done, and almost as soon was the lizard roasted: then cutting open the body, which he knew contained a number of eggs, he greedily devoured them in a manner which shewed that they were considered a dainty morsel. Speelman, who, though a Hottentot, had a more delicate stomach than this man, declared that, as he stood looking on with astonishment and disgust, he could hardly restrain himself from vomiting: indeed the bare recital of the circumstance seemed to revive all the nausea which he had then felt.

But before we agree with Speelman, and pronounce this Bushman a monster, let us lay aside all the prejudices of education and

* Rana fasciata, B. Viridis. Parùm vociferans. Dorsum fasciâ longitudinale flavâ pictum. Femora transversè fusco-fasciata. Corpus parvum breve. Pedes vix palmati.—Ranœ (nec Hylœ, nec Bufonis, nec Pipœ) est vera species, formâ pedum non obstante.

[page] 33

custom, and plead his cause. Or, if we cannot gain for him an acquittal of the crime of eating unclean food, let us at least examine whether his judges be not themselves equally guilty: unless we at once decide the question by admitting to its utmost extent, the maxim that, there should be no disputing about tastes.

To all animals, excepting man, Nature seems to have pointed out some particular class of food as their proper nourishment; and when, from any morbid or depraved inclination they acquire a habit of taking other substances, we may with justice accuse them of having an unnatural taste. But man is left omnivorous: a fact which his history, and daily observation, sufficiently prove; even without the testimony of our own Materia culinaria. Throughout the whole zoölogical system, there is scarcely a class from which, either in one or other country, he does not convert some or many of its species to the purpose of food, and which in all instances afford wholesome nourishment. But it is remarkable how little mankind are agreed in these matters, and how few substances are eaten universally, or how few there are which are not rejected by one nation, or another: and so patriotic in this respect, are the inhabitants of various, and even of polished, countries, that they, or at least, the illiberal part of them, entertain a species of contempt for those whose habits or necessities lead them to the use of aliments different from their own; and pity their want of judgment in not preferring those things which they themselves find most agreeable to their own palate. To enumerate instances in substantiation of these assertions, is unnecessary, because they are too numerous, and too well known: but the application of the mode of reasoning derivable from them, seems on the other hand, to be too little practised. To mitigate poor Speelman's abhorrence at the Bushman, I would have told him that there was a nation in Europe who sometimes ate frogs, and that many of my own countrymen were excessively fond of an animal like an enormous toad, and not only ate its eggs, but its whole body; and that some of the most luxurious and polished nations of the world ate lizards* also: but

* The Iguana of the West Indies and South America; where it is esteemed a great delicacy.


[page] 34

I feared he would then have thought a European worse than a Bushman.

Having hitherto been unable to procure any game, the diminution of my little flock of sheep became to my men as well as to myself a subject of some anxiety; and the addition of a number of natives to our fire-side, increased our uneasiness. Yet resolved on omitting nothing which could gain and secure their good will, we always gave them a share of our provisions; and when a sheep was killed, they seemed to expect all the entrails as their due. The pretty young Bushwoman was my men's favorite, and to her they often gave a larger portion; but the act of receiving a pot of blood with smiles and evident pleasure, had so little of elegance in it that their master was not likely to be one of her admirers. In slaughtering cattle, both the Hottentots and Bushmen save the blood. This being set on the fire, and kept stirred, soon becomes nearly of the consistence of liver, and is then eaten as a dainty.

The Bushmen received a share of the fat with equal delight, and immediately began to melt it in a little pot of their own manufacture, and one which, apparently, was intended only for that use. It was indeed the rudest piece of workmanship imaginable, being simply a rough bit of stone, in which they had contrived to hollow out a small cavity: it, however, perfectly answered the purpose for which it was used. As we stood at their fire admiring rather the rudeness, than the ingenuity, of it, these poor beings with all their wretchedness even possessed vanity at their own works, and seemed to smile at our ignorance, and to view our surprise with feelings of conscious superiority. The figure of this pot may be seen at the end of the chapter; where, opposite to it, on the right, is the representation of another, made of burnt clay, the workmanship of which, if not Bachapin, does them more credit, being moulded to that form by the hand only.

The great extent of the plain and evenness of its surface, admitted my viewing the constellations until they disappeared below the horizon. At this time the three well-known stars in the belt of Orion were just setting, and induced a train of reflections on the

[page] 35

important uses to which the heavenly bodies are applied in modern times, and on the essential service which they rendered in former ages to the traveller while crossing the trackless sands of Northern Africa. That a modern traveller, under circumstances similar to those in which I was at this time placed, might derive some advantages from them, it will be admitted; if it be supposed that necessity might require him to travel over a plain by night, without instruments, and at the same time to keep some account of the direction of his route. For by noting that setting star towards which he seems to be advancing, the bearing of his track may readily be calculated, or afterwards ascertained by a celestial globe, to a degree of exactness quite sufficient for such purpose. And this method will be found more accurate in proportion as the country is nearer to the equinoctial line; but perhaps not sufficiently correct, in those beyond the thirtieth or fortieth degree of latitude. Thus the setting of δ Oriontis, or the north-westernmost star of the belt of Orion, might point out to him the west more truly than the polar star does the north. But in aid of these advantages, a habit of judging of angular distances, would be required whenever the atmosphere should be too dense on the horizon, or whenever it became necessary to make use of a star not directly in his track. Even the length of time occupied in travelling, may be known nearly, if be note what star sets when he commences, and what other when he ends, his night's journey. It must be confessed that these methods can hold but a low rank in the science of practical geometry; but it is easy to imagine very probable circumstances in which they would be exceedingly valuable.

3rd. We were half-unwilling to quit these delightful pastures; and suffered our cattle to continue grazing the whole morning In the mean time our fires had been observed from a great distance by a kraal of natives situated on a low hill nearly nine miles farther onwards, and in sight from our station. They came immediately to see who we were; and, after cautiously reconnoitring, and perceiving that we were accompanied by some natives who were personally known to them, they advanced towards us with friendly salutations, and without hesitation joined our party. There were about eight or ten of

F 2

[page] 36

them, the greater part being women. To all I gave a piece of tobacco, which was received with great joy. On this, the men forming one party and the women another, they proceeded instantly to light their pipes; and sat talking and smoking with the highest glee and enjoyment. But in spirits, the women excelled their companions, and chatted with each other in a style of volubility which I had not supposed the Bushman language, with all the impediments of its numerous claps, susceptible of. They invited us to hunt a rhinoceros which had lately been observed browsing in the vicinity of their kraal.

So much confidence and goodwill, shown us by a people whom the Klaarwater missionaries had represented as the most ferocious of savages, warmed my heart with equally kind feelings towards them, and dispelled from my own mind every sensation of fear, however firmly I had resolved that no favorable appearances should ever lull our vigilance to sleep, or tempt us to think that precaution might ever be dispensed with. But most of my own Hottentots betrayed their timidity; and both by their looks and conversation, declared their uneasiness at seeing so many visitors coming around them; although their number, including the women, amounted only to fourteen.

As soon as the heat of noon had passed, we left the verdant meadows of Grass Station, and rode the whole of this day in a south-easterly course over plains, in a right line towards Water-point, the eastern point of the Hyena Mountains, where we had been informed that we should find the kraal of our Bushman friend Kaabi. The natives give it a name importing "Water-point," on account of the river taking its course round it. At the western end of this range, two table-mountains form a remarkable feature.

When we had travelled nearly eight miles, we ascended a low hill on which we were glad at finding a small pool of water, and though it was quite muddy, halted that all the party might drink; for the weather had become so excessively hot, that it felt almost as though the sun were pouring down liquid fire upon us.

I had suffered myself to be guided over this hill by our last

[page] 37

visitors, because they were desirous of conducting me to their kraal, as a mark of friendship: which it certainly was, if we consider with what jealous care this nation always conceal from the colonists the place of their abode. They brought us to the summit of the ridge, where, situated between heaps or hillocks of large stones, and unsheltered by either tree or bush, we found half a dozen wretched weather-worn huts, having only one-third of the circumference enclosed, and utterly incapable of protecting their inhabitants from the inclemency of wind or rain. But at this kraal not one individual had been left at home; want had driven every one abroad to dig up his daily food in the plain. Within these huts there was no property of any kind, except in one or two, a dirty furless skin, or the shell of an ostrich-egg. Never before had I beheld, or even imagined, so melancholy, so complete, a picture of poverty.

"Here;' said they, as they pointed to the huts, "this is our home.' — And having paused a few moments, they seated their thin emaciated bodies on the ground, and looked up to me with such speaking expression of humility and want, that I felt a tear, which could not be suppressed, trickling down my cheek. Abstracted from every other thought, my whole mind was absorbed in the contemplation of what was before me. Well! I involuntarily exclaimed to myself, and is this the home of human beings! Have I been sleeping on the bed of ease, and pampered with a thousand useless luxuries, while my fellow-creatures have been wandering the burning plains from day to day, and have returned at last to their wretched huts to pass the painful night in hunger, and unsheltered from the storm! Yes, unfavoured savages, unpitied and despised as ye are by the thoughtless and unfeeling, ye still are men, and feel the pains of want, the misery of care; untutored as ye are, ye still are not too ignorant to know that injustice and oppression confirm no right, and that God has given liberty equally to all; rude and uncivilized as ye are, ye still are not insensible to the dictate of conscience, that kindnesses should be remembered with a grateful heart. Unblest among the nations of the earth, ye seem but to share these plains with beasts of prey, and but to stand the next degree above them: yet do ye breathe the

[page] 38

breath of eternal life; some rays of reason faintly light your path; ye hold, in common with the head that wears the diadem, a lamp which death can not extinguish, a soul which, though it would, can never die. Your Creator and your Judge will pass unheeded all our arrogant pretensions, and will, without respect to persons or to nations, reward alone the good and virtuous, though His mercy may forgive the guilty.

These reflections moved rapidly through my mind. I lost no time, but desired my people to give these poor creatures some meat. The Hottentots represented to me the uncertainty of our own resources, and that our present stock of provisions was already so much reduced, that prudently nothing could be spared. But feelings of humanity and commiseration rendered it impossible for me to quit this spot without affording some relief to their necessities; and I ordered a large quantity to be cut off, and given to them. Their starving appearance pleaded so powerfully, and spoke the truth so plainly, that I could not but be convinced that these miserable destitute savages had seldom tasted animal food; and had often passed the day without having been able to procure any sustenance whatever.

I still in imagination see the happy air of these poor simple creatures, and the joy and thankfulness which lighted up their meagre countenances, when they received this supply. Their grateful voices, raised with one accord to express their feelings, still sound in my ear; and though their words were unintelligible, their looks bespoke their meaning and conveyed to the heart sensations the most delightful, and repaid a thousand times the trifling sacrifice we made.

I felt unwilling to quit this little community, and wished, by being present, to participate in the happiness which I had occasioned. The inhabitants had by this time all assembled, and I still lingered with them, standing by my horse and closely surrounded by the happy group, who pressed towards me to behold him whom they thought their benefactor. I felt ashamed at receiving so much thankfulness for doing so little; and had we remained much longer, I should not have been able to resist my desire of giving them all we had left. Their feast would not have been complete without the luxury of

[page] 39

smoking; and I distributed to every one a portion of tobacco and hemp-leaves, that the measure of their day's happiness might be full. To this I added a promise of more, if they would meet me on my return from the Colony, where I expected to get a supply which would then enable me to give more liberally than at this time.

The women, though not more grateful than the men, expressed their feelings in a more animated manner, and seemed to view me, not as a stranger, but as one of their own kraal, as a member of their own family. The children too, seemed rather to believe it was some long-absent relation returned home again; and, encouraged by the universal joy which they beheld in their parents, they wished to approach me and touch my horse. I took one from the arms of a woman who was standing nearest to me, and placed it on my saddle; but the little thing, half-pleased and half-afraid, could only be kept in so strange a situation by the encouragements of its mother, who appeared delighted at my taking so much notice of her child. The longer I stopped amongst them, the more these people treated me like a friend whom they had known for a great length of time.

Amidst the crowd was a young woman of very engaging appearance, who attracted my notice by the solicitude she felt for her child. I perceived the cause of her care; and inquired by signs, what had occasioned so large a wound upon the infant's leg. To this she instantly replied, also by signs, in a manner so intelligible, that the dullest apprehension could not have failed to understand that the child, while playing by the fire in the absence of its mother, had burnt itself. Not trusting to signs as a mode of conveying medical advice, I employed one of my Hottentots to interpret to her the manner in which she should treat the wound. As none but the simplest remedies would suit a people like this, I was careful to recommend only such as were within their reach; and principally insisted on her washing off all the dirt and red ochre, which probably had been the chief cause of its remaining so long unhealed. She received my advice with the warmest gratitude; and when I assured her that, by attending to my instructions, her child would soon be

[page] 40

enabled to walk again, I saw a tear of joy and thankfulness moistening her anxious eye.

While I was thus engaged, some of my men had been busily trafficking with the natives, and had been taking advantage of their simplicity, by purchasing their clothes from off their backs; and at so low a rate, that in this, my people showed themselves to have neither conscience nor feeling. So thoughtlessly fond of smoking, were these Bushmen, that one old man took off from his shoulders a beautiful leopard-skin, and bartered it to Hendrik for less than two ounces of tobacco; and Ruiter got from another poor creature's back, a fine skin of a lion's whelp for which the Bushman foolishly thought an ounce of Dakka-leaves to be an equivalent.

When I discovered these transactions, I felt highly irritated at the ungenerous advantage which had been taken of the folly of these savages, not because favourable bargains had been made, but because they were so very far below the current rate of bartering on this side of the Gariep, that they bordered closely upon fraudulence. I declared that such conduct displeased me, and that I would not countenance their unfairness; that I objected, not to their acquiring the skins at a cheap rate, but to their getting them for nothing. While I was relieving their poverty, they were stripping them naked and giving nothing substantial in return. I reprimanded Ruiter for his unconscionable dealings, and immediately gave the Bushman as much tobacco as I thought to be a fair payment.

Though all these remarks were made in the Dutch language, the kraal, who attended to every thing which I did, clearly comprehended the tenor of what was said, and well understood, though ignorant of our words, the reason of my giving him more tobacco. They watched this latter proceeding; and then, as if to testify applause, turned their countenances towards me, that I might behold their satisfaction.

As I rode away from their dwellings, which I have distinguished by the too-appropriate name of Poverty Kraal, a general salutation was given by the whole assembly; and in a tone so mild and expressive of so much gratitude, that a man must have no heart at

[page] 41

all, who could witness a scene like this, unmoved. I confess that to my ear the sound was grateful in the highest degree; and while I turned my head to view them for the last time, the pleasure which beamed in their happy countenances, communicated itself to my own feelings, in a manner the most affecting and indelible.

We continued our journey across the mountain, and descended to an extensive plain covered with threethorn shrubs, and abounding in pitfalls for catching wild animals. Eastward, a pointed and very distant mountain was seen, which probably was only rendered visible by the effect of a temporary and extraordinary refraction in the atmosphere. After travelling about eight miles over the plain, we again fell in with the river, and as the evening was fast approaching, we halted for the night at a spot on its banks, where we were surrounded by the most beautiful fields of grass.

4th. A number of very small finches, (Loxia Astrild) frequented the bushes at this place, and I took advantage of the circumstance, to distinguish it by the name of Astrild Station. This little bird is not peculiar to Southern Africa; it is very common at St Helena, and is said to be equally so at Madeira and the Canary Islands, in the tropical countries of Africa, and in India. It is known to the Dutch colonists by the appellation of Roode-bekje (Red-beak).

From this station the bearing of the most western of the two table mountains forming part of the Hyena mountains, was S. 20 W., by the compass. Here were lying the bones of a rhinoceros, which, as our Bushmen informed me, had been shot by one of their countrymen, who by some means had come into possession of a gun, and had learnt the use of it; but who was himself afterwards shot by the Boors, for sheep-stealing.

At a few miles beyond Astrild Station, we passed through an opening formed by an insulated round hill on one side and by the end of a rocky ridge on the other, and entered upon a plain which had more the appearance of a verdant corn-field, than of a wild uncultivated country. The soil was clayey, and the luxuriant herbage sufficiently proved its fertility; while the river, well supplied with water


[page] 42

and traversing the plain in a widely meandering course, seemed to offer all that agriculture could require, and to tempt a more laborious race of men than its present inhabitants, to bring it under cultivation.

The river many times crossed our path, and quitted us only when we ascended to an elevated stony level. Here we saw, with much pleasure, several herds of kannas (or elands) and quakkas grazing at a distance and appearing not much to heed the presence of our party. We halted; and Philip, mounting the horse, immediately pursued them; but he could not overtake any till he had ridden above two miles, when he was so fortunate as to bring down a large kanna, which he had singled out and continued to follow, till he had fairly hunted it down.

The chase having led him in a northerly direction, we turned back as soon as the Bushmen brought us information of his success; and, falling in with the river at about half-way to where the animal lay, we again unpacked on its banks, about an hour before sunset, at a spot marked on the map by the name of Hunter's Station.

Philip, Speelman, and Hendrick, with pack-oxen, proceeded on to the eland, and were accompanied by Riizo, and Kaabi, and all the Bushmen of our party. But a heavy shower coming on before they had skinned and cut up the carcase, they were obliged to remain there till the next morning.

5th. At eight o'clock they came home; and the whole of the Hottentots found full employment all the forenoon, in cutting the meat into slices and laying them on the bushes to dry: in which operation we were fortunately favoured by a very hot and drying day.

We gave Kaabi and his companions so large a portion of our game, that finding it more than they were able to carry, he had been obliged to send off one of his people on the evening before to his kraal to fetch a pack ox. His messenger returned with the ox this afternoon, and was accompanied by eight others, some of whom were boys.

These occupations detained us till a late hour of the day; yet we determined on packing up and proceeding farther, as the Bushmen were anxious to reach their kraal, and had assured us that we might arrive there before dark. To prove to them our confidence,

[page] 43

we entrusted them with the office of driving forward our sheep and loaded oxen. And, indeed, our fellow-travellers, Riizo and Kaabi, evinced a truly honest and friendly inclination towards us; so that, without meaning to neglect that prudent circumspection so necessary to a European travelling in this country, I would as willingly have committed myself to them, as to my own countrymen. The former of these two, was naturally of a more reserved disposition, but was always ready to lend any of the Hottentots his assistance, whenever he thought he could be useful; and seemed as much at his ease with them, as with his own friends.

During this day's ride we passed many small rocky hills of a remarkable kind, presenting a character different from all which I had hitherto observed. They were generally quite bare, especially on the top, and were composed of huge rounded pieces of rock, most frequently about five feet in diameter, piled loosely upon each other, and apparently without any earth between them: as may be seen in the first plate. But their most striking character was the smooth shining blackness of their surface, not unlike that of iron polished with black-lead. * They were composed of 'primitive green-stone,' probably containing iron, from which they derive their lustre and color after long exposure to the atmosphere; but within, on being broken, they were found to possess their proper greenish or blueish hue. Rocks of this species occur very frequently in various parts of Southern Africa, but till now none had been seen with so glossy a surface. The rocks at Dwaal river †, and in that vicinity, were, excepting this particular, not very different from these, and both, when fitly poised, were capable of giving a sound like that of a large bell; and both, I believe, affect the magnetic needle. They must be considered as boulder stones, though found on the tops of the hills; but beyond this, conjecture can afford nothing

* At a sybsequent period of these travels, rocks of the same nature and apperance were observed in abundance along the ciurse of the Nugariep or Black River; I am inclined to euppose that it was this circumstance wich grave to the name which the stream bears among the native.

† Described iin the first volume, at page 277.

G 2

[page] 44

satisfactory, and the How and When will probably remain for ever unanswered. All the smaller hills which we passed, were covered with, or perhaps consisted entirely of, these stones, or gigantic pebbles as they may be called: yet the larger hills, or mountains, consisted of regular stratified rock; as may be perceived in the plate referred to.

We passed over a tract thickly covered with a variety of bushes, the height of which was generally about two feet, and intermingled with mesembryanthema. Such land is called Karro ground by the Cape farmers, who esteem it more wholesome, and better suited to the African sheep, than grass-land.

The Hyena mountains terminate on the east, in a number of low rocky hills; many of which are of the nature just described. Kaabi, who here assumed the office of guide, conducted us through a wide opening, or what the boors would name a poort, where we again found our Friendly River, (as I would in twofold gratitude have named it,) passing the same way, as if desirous of travelling with us. Its channel was narrow and deep, and almost hidden in fields of luxuriant grass. Its winding course along the valley, or rather, plain, was only to be distinguished by the verdant reeds. The hill upon our left was composed of those black shining 'boulder-stones,' above mentioned; and that upon our right was rendered still more remarkable by an object which, at first sight, excited my greatest surprise, as I viewed it, for a few moments, as a work of art; and was lost in wondering what nation, able to erect such a monument, had inhabited these, now wild and deserted, regions. But though an Obelisk, it was not the work of man: it was planted there by the hand of Nature. It stood at the foot of the hill, and appeared to be composed of sand stone. The mountain, of which it formed a part, exhibited regular strata; and the obelisk itself, besides its pedestal, was formed of four blocks, piled, as it seemed, one upon another; but most probably left in that form and position, by the mouldering away of the adjoining rocks. Yet such an explanation would require that this monument should be of harder stone than that which had surrounded it: a fact which would be still more extraordinary. Or,

[page break]

[page break]

[page] 45

could it be possible that the savages had assisted Nature, and had taken the trouble of pulling down the adjoining stones, on finding them already cracked and loosened by the hand of time? As the setting sun warned us not to lose a moment, I could not examine it, excepting at too great a distance; but while the rest continued their route, I stopped my horse, and made a sketch of it This scene is represented in Plate 1. and is marked on the map by the name of Pyramid Pass, (for the sake of euphony, instead of Obelisk Pass).

Soon after leaving this spot, we crossed a low neck between rocky hills, and came into a small plain covered with grass, and enclosed on every side by mountains. Through this pleasant dale our river continued near us; and, following it through an opening at the south-eastern corner of the plain, we there took up our station on its banks, at the foot of a hill on which stood the kraal of our friend Kaabi and of the Bushmen who had accompanied us from the Gariep.

[page] 46



IT being dark when we arrived at this station, I did not go to the kraal this evening, but Kaabi and our Bushman fellow-travellers passed the night at their own huts, where they entertained their friends with some account of us, and extolled the generosity of the white-man, so highly, that many of the inhabitants came down the hill, and sat round our fire till nearly ten o'clock. These strangers had been much prepossessed in our favor by what they had heard, and behaved with the greatest cordiality and good-will, but I was obliged to let them know that no tobacco was to be given away till the morning; when it was my intention to distribute some to every person in the kraal. With this promise, they were perfectly satisfied, and remained conversing with us, and occasionally obtaining the favor of a whiff out of the pipe of one or other of my Hottentots.

Having brought with us no boiling-pot, we requested them to

[page] 47

lend us one from the kraal; and immediately they ran up to their hut sand fetched one of their own manufacture, made in a neat manner, of hardened clay, and capable of holding about a gallon and a half. (The figure of this may be seen at the end of the preceding chapter.) This was filled with eland meat; and our visitors, as might be expected, were careful not to be absent at supper time

This spot is distinguished among the natives by the name of Water-point, implying, as before stated, that it is the point of the Hyena Mountains, close to which the river flows.

6th. My bed, if such it may be called, was made under a bush at the distance of a few yards from the spot where my men had their fire. I was awoke soon after sunrise, by the voices of a party of eight or ten of the natives who passed close at my feet and took their seat at the fire, without attempting to disturb me; as they supposed me to be asleep. Others following them immediately, I arose; and as soon as I had dressed myself, I went towards them: on which we exchanged the usual salutations.

For the space of half an hour, men, women, and children, of all ages, continued descending from the hill, and assembling at our station; till at last we were completely surrounded by a numerous crowd. They were all unarmed; a state in which hitherto I had not seen any of this nation; having remarked that they constantly carried with them their hassagay and bows, and never, even when they put them out of their hand, layed them beyond their reach. I had, indeed, never till this moment, had an opportunity of beholding them in their own domestic circle, and at home at their ease.

I began now to appreciate my singular good fortune, that so many favorable circumstances had unexpectedly combined to give me an opportunity of studying and knowing the real character of this nation, such as seldom, if ever, has fallen to the lot of travellers in these regions; and, I believe, never to those whose observations have been laid before the public. As a European, I was alone in the midst of their hordes, and trusting my life in their hands: I associated with them, and by conforming to their ways and customs, yielded apparent respect to their prejudices. It was this confidence, which so completely gained

[page] 48

their good-will; and which pleased them the more, as they had been unused to witness in the conduct of white-men, so unequivocal a mark of amicable intentions. They had never seen these dangerous strangers within the limits of their country, but in large and strong bodies, which, though they commanded their respect, always excited their fears and mistrust. They were satisfied that from me, they had nothing to fear; and it was the novelty of this circumstance which gave me, in their eyes, a character of peculiar interest; while the evident desire I showed, of obliging them as far as it was in my power, won their good opinion without any aid from the false oratory of mere verbal professions, and dispensed with the necessity of language to convince them of what was rendered much more intelligible by facts. It was by facts and conduct only, that I could hold communication with the tribe; for my ignorance of the language, as for the purpose of conversation without the intervention of an interpreter, rendered the power of pleasing words, unavailable in this case.

Kaabi their chief now made his appearance in a more distinguished manner, wearing a white hat which by some means he had obtained out of the Colony. Whether it was the vanity of giving himself a more important character in my sight, or the desire of paying a compliment by proving that he admired and valued the dress of white-men, which induced him to dress different from all the inhabitants of his village, I could not ascertain; but I am more disposed to regard the former, as his real motive.

For the purpose of giving an idea of the quantity of tobacco distributed on such occasions, and to show What these poor creatures considered as a handsome present, it is necessary here to explain the form into which the tobacco of the Cape colony is generally manufactured.

After the leaves of the plant are properly dried and divested of the stalk and midrib, they undergo the usual process of steeping, and are then twisted into long ropes of the customary thickness of about an inch, sometimes thicker, but oftener thinner. These ropes are coiled up in the form of rolls of various sizes, weighing from five to eight or ten pounds. Among the boors, these are sold by the pound: but

[page] 49

to the Hottentots, they are more commonly meted out by the span of about eight inches, the weight of which is usually between an ounce and a half and two ounces; and bargains among the latter are most frequently made for a certain number of spans of tobacco. Yet it is not therefore to be supposed that many Hottentots are ignorant of the use of weights and money: it is the inconvenience and scarcity of these, which causes them to prefer, on ordinary occasions, the readier mode of measurement. I am particular in a description which would otherwise be trifling, because, as tobacco is one of the principle articles of barter with the nations of the Interior, it will be referred to as a "money-table" for the remainder of the journey; and may furnish some hints, or useful information, to those who may hereafter be desirous of visiting the same countries.

The crowd, having gratified their curiosity by surveying me attentively for some time, gradually became more talkative and familiar; and understanding that they were all to receive a present, the joy of these poor simple people was manifested in a manner as artless as that of children. Their liveliness increased as they observed me about to commence the promised distribution: but the women were much more noisy and uncontrollable than the men, and it was some time before their chieftain was able to still their joyous vociferation.

To Kaabi I gave three inches of tobacco; to each man about one inch; and to the women a little less. With this trifling quantity they were all completely happy; because they were contented. The delight depicted in their countenances, was not less remarkable here than at Poverty Kraal, but it exhibited not that melancholy species of thankfulness, which was there so irresistibly affecting.

This ceremony occupied more than half an hour, on account of the difficulty of restraining their vivacity and persuading them to remain steadily in one place: for had they been permitted to change their station, I should have found it impossible to have gone through this business with regularity. Having previously estimated, and put into my pocket, the number of pieces which would be required, I took them out one by one, in order that no jealousy might be excited,


[page] 50

by their observing one piece to be larger or smaller than another. I confess that I used this artifice, with the view of leading the kraal to think that I had given them all I had: for knowing that they would continue to ask for tobacco as long as they thought there was any remaining, I showed them my empty pockets; in consequence of which I was not troubled by any further solicitation. Otherwise, I should have been importuned during the whole day.

Yet, so eager were they to obtain tobacco, and so essential did they think it to their comfort and enjoyment, that for the sake of it they would, without hesitation, have parted with any thing they possessed. My men, though they thought it equally essential to their own comfort, could not, however, resist the temptation of some very good bargains which the Bushmen offered to them; and in this manner they procured by barter, several handsome skins. My whole party were now in good spirits, and full of courage: and our reception by these natives, who had been represented to us as formidable savages, proved so truly friendly and so different from that which, I confess, I had myself expected, that every one was now lamenting that he had not provided himself, on his own private account, with a larger stock of tobacco, with which he might here have set up for a fur-merchant. But it was far better that they were not so provided; for these foolish improvident people would certainly, as soon as we had entered the colony, have bartered all their furs for brandy; and their fine commercial speculations would have ended, as they always do end with Hottentots, just where they began.

The whole village seemed to keep 'holiday' on this occasion, and the crowd remained with us for a long time after they had received the presents; while those of my party who could speak their language, found full employment in answering the various questions which were put respecting myself. In this duty, Ruiter proved himself a valuable addition to our number, as he was not only able to interpret, but at this time, was willing also. As soon as they found that I was not one of the boors, but even of a different nation and language, and that I had no other desire or intention than that of being always on friendly terms with them, they again declared, as it

[page] 51

were by common consent, that I was free to travel in their country, wherever I chose, and that I might feel assured that nobody would ever harm me.

When they had satisfied their minds, respecting my object in passing through their territory, and had ascertained that I bore an unfeigned good-will towards them, but more especially, that 1 was not one of the Dutch colonists, whom, by the bye, they knew their countrymen had irritated by repeated robberies; when they were satisfied on these important points, and that there was no cause for mistrust, it was as surprising, as it was pleasing, to me, to observe how soon their countenances were freed from a certain anxious look which, notwithstanding their friendly conduct, was very visible as long as they were under any uncertainty whether I was really what I professed to be, alone and unconnected with the colonists, or whether there might not be a larger party following me.

Nothing was now heard but laughter and the liveliest talkativeness, on all sides. The women soon began to lay aside their timidity, and took their turn in the debate; and in rapidity of utterance and animation of gestures, far excelled even the men. They left no time for my interpreter to perform his duty, and were so full of gaiety that they could not restrain themselves from breaking in upon each other's conversation; I was often addressed by three or four at a time, and almost think that they were pleased at seeing me at a loss to know who was to be answered first. Ruiter used his best endeavours in all this hurly-burly of liveliness and clack; but a great deal of their information went for nothing; nor did they on that account allow the want of answers to disappoint them, or in the least degree to check their questioning.

One woman, among the rest, was however, resolved upon being heard; and seemed to think that the importance of her communication entitled her to my first attention. She said that she had, only the day before, arrived from some part of the colony; and on this she exhibited a small dirty rag of a checkered shirt, which I found on explanation, was intended as her credentials to authenticate her declaration that she had really come from the country of the white

H 2

[page] 52

people, where alone such an important proof could have been procured. She complained that the boors on the borders, were very harsh and unkind in not giving them tabak, when they had travelled so far on purpose to beg a little; and if they at last were so fortunate as to obtain any, it was but a crumb; shewing me at the same time the tip of her little-finger, to impress an idea of the smallness of the quantity. But oftener was it their lot, she said, to be driven from the house with a whip. Here she imitated the act of whipping, in a manner so natural, and mimicked so well the tone of pain and crying, that the bystanders were highly amused by her imitative talents. She smiled however; and went on to inform me, that the Caffres* and the colonists were at war against each other, and in one of their rencontres a boor was pierced through the thigh with hassagays.

At length their attention was directed to the eland-meat, which my men were then placing on the bushes to dry. Our exposing before them so great a temptation, was a sufficient excuse for their 'coveting and desiring'; and I distributed among them a portion sufficient to fill their largest pot

The natives now made another request, and appeared very solicitous that we should stop a day or two with them, and hunt the rhinoceros; four of which animals had been seen at a short distance from their kraal. To this, my own people, who were now quite at ease as to the sincerity and friendly disposition of the Bushmen, were much inclined; and all parties therefore were gratified when I consented to remain here a day for that purpose. The natives had in this, an additional proof of my goodwill towards them; though it was, I confess, a favor which repaid itself, as our own stock of provisions would be replenished by the same means by which the Bushmen would be supplied. It was therefore agreed that the hunters should set out early on the morrow, and that a party from the kraal

* The Caffres to which she alluded, were that same wandering kraal, often mentioned in the first volume, as having emigrated to the banks of the Gariep; this part of the Colony lying in the direct route between their present station and their own country.

[page] 53

should attend them as guides, to conduct them to the haunts of these animals.

The great heat of the sun gradually thinning the number of the crowd, and compelling them to take shelter in their huts, I was left to enjoy some rest after the boisterous ceremonies and fatigues of the morning; while some of my Hottentots stretched themselves in the shade to sleep, and others who were able to converse with the natives, betook themselves to the huts.

The fear, on so rough a journey, of breaking the only thermometer which I had remaining, induced me to leave it at Klaarwater till my return: consequently, all observations of this nature were suspended during the present expedition. In the meantime, the thermometrical value of such expressions as 'very hot,' &c. may be collected, by comparison, from the preceding and subsequent parts of the 'Itinerary.'

My curiosity to view this Bushman village, would not suffer me to rest long; and at noon, protected by my umbrella, from the scorching heat of the sun, I ascended alone to the kraal; a distance not greater than four hundred yards. It consisted of twenty huts*, placed irregularly in a circular line, and contained about a hundred and twenty inhabitants, two-thirds of whom appeared to be females. This, therefore, among the Bushmen of this portion of the Cisgariepine, is rated as one of their largest kraals.

I was received every where with smiling faces, as I quickly passed their huts, searching and inquiring for Ruiter. I now discovered that he had another name, and that among Bushmen, to which nation his mother belonged, he bore that of Arrée, signifying, as I was told, one who has lost a tooth; for in fact, his right eye-tooth was deficient. At length I found him and Nieuwveld, lying asleep in one of the houses.

Seeing a small party of men sitting by the side of a hut, I went and seated myself down amongst them, and passed half an hour in

* Similar to that which is represented by the vignette at the end of Capter III.; and to those which may be seen in the fourth plate.

[page] 54

talking and in questioning them on various subjects; but, although exceedingly amused by the novelty and strangeness of the scene, I cannot say that this mode of employing my time was very instructive, or that I gained many new ideas from their conversation. Still, it was extremely interesting, because it gave an opportunity of observing man in an uncivilized state, and enabled me to distinguish some of those characters which may be regarded as common to all the human race. And, if among Bushmen, are to be met with, many of those failings, of which we find examples too frequently among ourselves; there are, to counterbalance these, several good qualities, which usually, we are not disposed to allow that savages can naturally possess. It is a negative, or rather an equivocal, species of praise, to say of them, that ambition never disturbs the peace of the Bushman race. And I believe that in this people no existence can be traced of the sordid passion of avarice or the insatiable desire of accumulating property, for the mere gratification of possessing it Between each other they exercise the virtues of hospitality and generosity; often in an extraordinary degree. It must, however, be admitted that in general, they are more inclined to supply their wants by robbing the colonists and neighbouring tribes, than by honest industry and patient labor: while too often, yet not always, that essential virtue, veracity, is disregarded, and the neglect of it considered a mere venial offence. The mental powers of Bushmen are never to be extolled; for whatever concessions may be made in favor of their heart, nothing can be said in praise of their mind, at least in their present rude state. The feelings of the heart and all its various passions, whether good or bad, are the common property of all mankind, the educated and the uneducated, the civilized and the uncivilized; but in the higher faculties of the mind, and in the cultivated powers of reason, the savage claims but little share. It is in the improvement of these faculties and powers, that civilized nations may place their high superiority, and their just boast of pre-eminence.

These people expressed no curiosity to be informed respecting any article of European manufacture; nor, when told that I was one

[page] 55

of a nation differing in language from the white-men of the Colony, did they ask me a single question respecting my country, or seem at all desirous of gaining any new idea, or any additional knowledge. Their character possessed nothing of dullness or stupidity; but, on the contrary, they were lively enough; and on those topics which their peculiar mode of life brings within their observation and comprehension, they often showed themselves to be shrewd and quick. They talked with much pleasure and animation on the subject of the proposed rhinoceros-hunt; and, very naturally, admired the great utility of my umbrella in protecting me from the burning sun, for at that time they felt, on their own uncovered heads and naked bodies, all the inconvenience of its scorching rays.

I quitted this party in order to take a further survey of the kraal and its domestic œconomy: while they still remained sitting in their place, without attempting to follow me. Its situation was on every quarter exposed and without a tree to interrupt the view. Bushmen, in pitching their kraal, always chuse a spot, so bare and open that no enemy can approach them without being seen. The top of a hill which stands separately on a plain, is therefore an approved site; because, with eyes little inferior in optical power to small telescopes, they can, while they themselves remain unobserved, watch every movement around to a great distance.

I noticed that the opening, or entrance, of each hut was always directed towards the inside of the circle*, so that the area surrounded by their dwellings, and where they keep their cattle at night, was within sight of all the inhabitants; and no attempt by their enemies to carry off their cattle in the night, could be made without being immediately perceived. With a view, as I imagine, of having their arms always in readiness, their hassagays were stuck upright into the ground close by the side of the hut, being, in fact, too long to be placed conveniently within it: while their quivers, arrows and bows, as being their principal weapon, lay by their side, ready at hand for the first moment of alarm.

* The fourth plate of this volume is referred to, for the representation of a kraal similar to that which is here described.

[page] 56

These huts were constructed exactly in the manner already described*; and differed only in the greater size of their door-way or opening. Not one of these was high enough to admit even a Bushman to stand upright within it; nor was that of their captain, or chief, in any respect different from the others. The inside formed but one apartment, where all the family slept; their bed being nothing more than a skin spread upon the ground, and on which they lay themselves down, generally coiled up in their karosses like a bundle of clothes; so that neither head nor legs can be distinguished. But it is not every man who has the good-fortune to own a cloak long enough for this purpose. The area comprised within the kraal, or ring of houses, is more or less extensive in proportion to the number of cattle belonging to the community, or to the number of dwellings.

I saw no more than five or six oxen, and as many sheep; but of goats they possessed at least a hundred. Before one of the huts I saw eight kids, but did not observe that they were tied by one foot to a peg fixed in the ground, till the sight of my umbrella alarmed them, and caused the animals to break loose. Their owners, who were within the hut, looked up at me with a goodnatured smile, as they rose to drive the kids back, and make them fast again.

The dogs most common among the Bushmen, are a small species entirely white, with erect pointed ears: and as this sort was not noticed in the Colony, it is probably a breed which may have been long in the possession of the native tribes. (See the fourth plate).

On the head of one man I remarked an unusually large fur cap. It was made of spring-buck skin, of a shape extending far behind the head, and intended to have as much as possible the appearance of that animal's back. This was for the purpose of deceiving the game, and of enabling the wearer, as he creeps along between the bushes, to approach the animal within reach of his arrow. It is called a be-creeping cap (Bekruip-muts); and is only worn when in pursuit of game.

* In the first volume, at page 325; and represented in the seventh plate.

[page] 57

Many carried constantly in their hand a jackal's tail, which they frequently drew across their eyes, for the purpose, as I was told, of improving their sight, agreeably to their belief that it possesses a virtue of that kind: but I think the benefit which it does them, by wiping away the dust, is a sufficient reason for the practice.

The reticule is with the Bushmen, as with us, a fashionable and useful appendage in their morning walks, and differs from ours only by its want of cleanliness and elegance, and in being called a bulb-bag (uyentje-zak). No Bushman goes abroad to collect roots, without a bag of this kind. But it is, in most instances, worn constantly, and is with them what pockets are with us. It is generally suspended at their side by a leathern strap passing over the opposite shoulder, and is more commonly ornamented with a great number of strings similar, though shorter, to those which form the fore-kaross, or front apron of the women.*

I noticed many persons, both men and women, who had every appearance of great age. Their skin, which resembled old leather, hung about them in loose wrinkles; and the dirt with which they were covered, together with their clotted hair, proved how disgusting human beings may render themselves by neglect of personal cleanliness. Whether they were really so old as I thought them to be, was a question which they themselves could not have determined, since a nation who only live from day to day, and look no farther forward than from one meal to the next, can have no inducement for burthening their memory with accounts of years that have passed, or of days that are behind them. I have had occasion before † to remark how early in life they begin to assume the looks of age; and this consideration renders it still more difficult to guess how old a Bushman may be. Yet it should not therefore be concluded that their lives are, on the average, shorter than the natural term, or that many examples of longevity may not exist among them.

* A more particular description of the Hottentot dress, between which and that of the Bushmen there is scarcely any difference, has been given at page 395 to 398. of the first volume; and may now be referred to.

† At page 415. of the first volume.


[page] 58

I next introduced myself to a female party, and without further ceremony sat down in the midst of the group. It was a mixture of young and old, of mothers and daughters. They were engaged in no occupation, excepting that of talk; and in this, my presence was very far from being an interruption; it doubled their loquacious industry. But I have great pleasure in making the remark, that the natural bashful reserve of youth and innocence is to be seen as much among these savages, as in more polished nations: and the young girls, though wanting but little of being perfectly naked, evinced as just a sense of modesty, as the most rigid and careful education could have given them.

Their mothers allowed themselves more privileges, and felt no hesitation in answering my questions relative to their marriage customs. Such characters as men and women passing their lives in a state of celibacy, do not exist among the wild nations of Southern Africa; and in this particular, savages hold a superiority over the most polished nations of Europe. The women informed me that girls are most commonly betrothed when not older than a child whom they pointed out to me, and whose age appeared to be about seven years; that is, the husband early bespeaks her, in order to preclude every other man, in the meanwhile, from all pretensions, and from all hope of gaining her: and, as these men generally take a second wife, as soon as the first becomes somewhat advanced in years, this custom of securing another beforehand, is perhaps necessary, in order to avoid those contentions which might otherwise arise in cases of this nature, and where the girl herself is seldom allowed a voice in choosing her husband. In two or three years, or less, according to circumstances, after being thus betrothed, the girl changes her abode, from her mother's hut to that of the bridegroom. These bargains are made with her parents only, and without ever consulting the wishes (even if she had any) of the daughter. They are made by offering them a leathern bag, or some similar article, which, if accepted, ratifies and confirms the match. I saw at this kraal several mothers, who could not have been more than ten or twelve years old.

[page] 59

When it happens, which is not often the case, that a girl has grown up to womanhood without having previously been betrothed, her lover must gain her own approbation, as well as that of the parents; and on this occasion his attentions are received with an affectation of great alarm and disinclination on her part, and with some squabbling on the part of her friends.

Several of these girls might be said to be pretty, more on account of their youth and the pleasing expression of their countenances, than of any beauty of features: but it is doubtful whether, throughout the whole nation, one could be found whom a European could deem handsome. When, in the morning, they came to the general distribution of tobacco, they had not yet performed the duties of their toilet; but I now had the pleasure of beholding them as fine and as captivating as buku and red-ochre could make them. The former, as a green powder, was sprinkled over their head and neck, and the latter, mixed with grease, was applied in daubs or streaks over or along the nose, and across the cheek-bones: and what was thought by these simple Africans to be the most graceful and fascinating style of adorning themselves, was precisely the same as that which the clowns and buffoons at our fairs, have adopted in order to render their appearance absurd and ridiculous.

Many of the women were distinguished by having the hair of the forehead, by the constant accumulation of grease and red-ochre, clotted into large red lumps, like stone: this was not through neglect of cleaning it away, but from a fancy that it was highly becoming, and that it added greatly to their charms. Some had the crown of their heads shaved, or, rather, scraped bald, (as represented by the vignette at page 1.) and a row of buttons fastened round the remaining hair which had been left in its natural state. All of them wore bracelets, either of leather, or of twisted sinew, or copper; and most of them were decorated with some kind of ornament hanging from the ear. Their stature was extremely small, and their figure in general delicate; their height being universally less than five feet

I noticed a singularity of figure, which I had not hitherto observed among Hottentots; nor was it since found to be, in any tribe,

I 2

[page] 60

so remarkable as in Bushwomen. The thigh bones of those who were above the middle age, appeared bowed outwards in an unusual degree, or rather, the outer part of them was exceedingly protuberant. As to the cause of this deformity, I can only venture a supposition, that it may be an enlargement of that process of the bone, called trochanter major. But in this I do not pretend to any positive opinion; and leave it to be determined by those who may hereafter have an opportunity of examining the skeleton of a Bushwoman of this conformation.

One of the mothers told me, with evident distress, that she was soon to be parted from her only daughter, of whom she was affectionately fond, and who was now considered old enough to live in her husband's hut. The girl herself was sitting by, and, on hearing this mentioned, she turned her face downwards, with an unaffected bashfulness, and with a natural and interesting expression of genuine innocence, which would well have become the most civilized of her sex.

With regard to polygamy, I was told that a second wife is never taken, until the first, as before stated, has become old, not in years, but in constitution: and sometimes, though rarely, a third supplies, in like manner, the place of the second. This was generally the greatest extent of their polygamy; nor, were the old wives, on that account, neglected or left unprovided for by their husbands; but constantly remained with him on the same terms as before. I could not learn that any nice feelings of jealousy between these wives, ever disturbed the harmony of the family.

Some men passing by, seemed much amused at my questions, and joined us: on which, I inquired of the women if their husbands ever beat them; well knowing that this subject was one of great importance in their domestic arrangements. The men laughed, and quickly replied, "No No." The women as loudly cried, "Yes Yes, they beat us on the head—so." And sufficiently proved the truth of their assertion, by the ready and natural manner in which they imitated this act of conjugal discipline.

I then quitted this party, who appeared happy and pleased at my stopping with them so long, and continued my visit to the

[page] 61

different houses. In one, a little family group were drinking their goats-milk from a leathern bowl, and in a manner perfectly novel. Of all the instruments for conveying liquid to the mouth, a brush must appear the least adapted to such a purpose: but with no other means than this, they emptied their bowl; and perhaps have discovered that the greater length of time which this mode requires, prolongs also the pleasure of their meal. The brush was made of strong hair, and of a thickness sufficient to fill the mouth. The manner of using it, was by dipping it into the bowl, and sucking the milk out of it.

A short distance farther, I met an old woman, who, having heard that I was desirous of knowing every thing relative to their customs, very good-naturedly stopped me to show her hands, and bade me observe that the little finger of the right hand had lost two joints, and that of the left, one. She explained to me, that they had been cut off at different times, to express grief or mounting for the death of three daughters. After this, I looked more attentively at those whom I met, and saw many other women, and some of the men, with their hands mutilated in the same manner; but it was only their little fingers which were thus shortened; and probably the loss of those joints was found to occasion no inconvenience.

Coming up to another party of men who were repairing, and putting in order, their bows and arrows, I requested one of them, an old man who seemed to be their head, to shoot at a mark, that I might have an opportunity of witnessing their expertness in hitting an object. He readily granted my request, by appointing another, who, he said, was a much better marksmen than himself, to exhibit his skill. The skin of an antelope, measuring in surface about seven square feet, was fixed to a pole, at the distance of forty yards. The Bushman then advanced towards it, stooping down, or creeping slowly along the ground, as if in pursuit of game and endeavouring to approach it without being seen. He let fly his arrow when within twenty yards, and, to my surprise, missed the skin even at this short distance; but, on a second trial, he was more successful.

[page] 62

The great skill of the Bushmen in using the bow, had been so often extolled to me, that I now could not avoid the conclusion, either, that those accounts had been exaggerated for the purpose of relating something wonderful; or, that these men had cunningly dissembled their power with a view of misleading me, should circumstances ever place me under the necessity of guarding against it. I incline to the latter opinion, although the former is not altogether unfounded.

The heads of all their arrows were covered with a deadly poison; but they explained, that some were more especially intended to be used against their enemies, and that others were made only for killing game.

Many of the men were observed to have lost an eye, but the cause which they assigned for this, has not been recorded in my journal, and I will therefore not incur the risk of misleading by any surmise of my own. The fact is remarkable.

I continued for some time longer strolling about the village from hut to hut, and from group to group, and was everywhere received with a friendly and happy countenance. It was to them, as I have already observed, gratifying to behold a white-man in the midst of their dwellings, unarmed and unprotected, trusting with unbounded confidence to their good faith, showing respect to their prejudices and customs, and, pleased with his new friends, entering, as one of their own tribe, familiarly into their society.

This was the situation in which I had so long been desirous of placing myself; and an opportunity of viewing these tribes as they really are, had been one of the principal objects of my wishes. Till now, imagination only had amused my mind; but here the interesting reality itself was before my eyes.

After passing four hours in the kraal, and having collected a head-full of information, I returned home to deposit the observations in my journal. There I continued the rest of the day, employed in this manner; except when visitors came down from the hill to fetch water: on which occasions, many of them good-naturedly took their seat by my side; and, in the absence of an interpreter, we

[page] 63

found no small degree of amusement in holding a conversation by signs. As, in these dialogues, we must frequently have-mistaken each other's meaning, information thus obtained was very rarely committed to paper: but they had their use, and a very important one,—they often supplied a source of mirth and good humour, and always contributed to our mutual confidence.

In the evening, about eight o'clock, I again went up to the kraal, having heard from the Hottentots, that these hordes are so fond of dancing, that scarcely a night passes without some party of that kind at one or other of the huts. Nor was I disappointed, for in. the circle of houses, most of which were enlivened by a fire, and all quite filled with people, I soon discovered one of a more busy appearance than the rest. It was nearly the largest, and contained as many persons, both men and women, as could find room to seat themselves in a ring, leaving but space enough in the centre for the dancer to stand in. A fire, just without the entrance, threw its cheerful light upon this singular assembly, and was, from time to time, supplied with fuel for the purpose of keeping up a blaze.

My arrival, though unexpected, did not interrupt their amusement, or occasion the shortest pause in the dancer's performance. He was then wrought up to that high degree of animation and internal satisfaction, at which he heeded nothing around, and thought only of himself. The spectators, when I approached, turned their faces towards me with looks which plainly spoke how pleased they were to see me come amongst them; and I, therefore, in imitation of their own familiar manner, seated myself down in the circle.

As the size of these huts, does not admit of a person's standing upright, even in the largest, the dancer was obliged to support himself by two long sticks, which he held in his hands, and which rested on the ground at as great a distance from each other, as could be done with convenience. His body was consequently bent forwards in a position which seemed as constrained, and as unsuited for dancing, as imagination could devise: but it was not possible for the motion of the limbs, to be less impeded by clothing, as he wore

[page] 64

nothing more than his 'jackal.'* In this attitude he continued his dancing without cessation.

Sometimes, however, this is performed without the support of sticks; and although the same person kept on dancing during the whole time I was present in the hut, yet each one of the company is allowed to take his turn, till, having danced as long as he chooses, he retires to the circle, and another rises, who, after tying on the rattles, takes his place; for, one pair of these rattles serves the whole party. The man who, being, perhaps, proud of the interest which I appeared to take in his performance, had continued so long to exhibit before me his indefatigable powers, gave up his place soon after I quitted the hut; and was succeeded by others, who prolonged the pleasing harmless amusement without interval.

This dancing is indeed of a singular kind; and I know not if among all the tribes of savages on the globe, any thing similar is to be found; it certainly is not to be met with in any civilized nation. One foot remains motionless, while the other dances in a quick wild irregular manner, changing its place but little, though the knee and leg is turned from side to side as much as the attitude will allow. The arms have little motion, their duty being to support the body. The dancer continues singing all the while, and keeps time with every movement; sometimes twisting the body in sudden starts, till at last, as if fatigued by the violence of his exertions, he drops upon the ground to recover breath; still maintaining the spirit of the dance, and continuing to sing, and keep time by the motion of his body, to the voices and accompaniments of the spectators. In a few seconds he starts up again, and proceeds with renewed vigor. When one foot is tired out, or has done its share of the dance, the other comes forward and performs the same part; and thus, changing legs from time to time, it seemed as though he meant to convince his friends that he could dance for ever.

* That part of a Hottentot's dress, which is called the jackal, has been described at p. 397. of Vol. I.

[page] 65

Round each ankle he wore a sort of rattle, made (in this instance) of four ears of the springbuck, sewed up and containing a quantity of small pieces of ostrich-egg shell, which at every motion of the foot produced a sound that was not unpleasant or harsh, but greatly aided the general effect of the performances. The figure of these dancing-rattles may be seen at page 45, and supersedes the necessity of a more minute description.*

Although only one person could dance at a time, the surrounding company were not therefore the less employed or amused: all joined in the accompaniments, and were equally essential with the dancer himself, to the evening's entertainment, and contributed not less to the pleasure it afforded. These accompaniments consisted in singing and beating the drum. Every one of the party sang, and all kept time by gently clapping hands. The words made use of, and which had no meaning in themselves, were simply Aye O Aye O, repeated during the whole time; and at the sound O, the hands were brought together: the dancer only, using the syllables Wawakoo. Both men and women assisted in this singing, and though not in unison, were still correctly in harmony with each other: but the voices of the girls, pitched a fifth or sixth higher, were maintained with more animation.

The drum was nothing more than a bambus or wooden jug † having a piece of wet parchment strained over the top, and containing a little water. This instrument was occasionally inverted for the purpose of wetting the parchment, as often as it became dry. It was beaten with the right forefinger, by one of the women; while she regulated the pitch or quality of the sound, by placing the forefinger and thumb of her left hand, upon the parchment. It seemed to be accurately in tune with the voices of the assembly; a concordance, which could hardly be accidental.

The following notes, which I wrote down on the same night,

* The figure on the right shows the manner in which they are tied to the leg; and that in the lower corner on the left, will give an idea of their construction. Above this latter figure, one of the rattles of which it is composed, is represented in profile.

† Similar to that which is represented at page 406 of the first volume; excepting only that it was much larger and had a wider mouth.


[page] 66

are here given precisely as they were sung in the hut, and repeated during the whole time, with scarcely the least variation. The measure of time was exactly half a second to each crotchet, or two seconds to a bar. The upper notes were sung by the company; those of the middle line, by the dancer; while those in the bass clef express the beating of the water-drum.

I find it impossible to give by means of mere description, a correct idea, either of the pleasing impressions received while viewing this scene, or of the kind of effect which the evening's amusement produced upon my mind and feelings. It must be seen; it must be participated in: without which, it would not be easy to imagine its force, or justly to conceive its nature. There was, in this amusement, nothing which can make me ashamed to confess that I derived as much enjoyment from it, as the natives themselves: there was nothing in it which approached to vulgarity; and in this point of view, it would be an injustice to these poor creatures not to place them in a more respectable rank, than that to which the notions of Europeans have generally admitted them. It was not rude laughter and boisterous mirth, nor drunken jokes, nor noisy talk, which passed their hours away; but the peaceful, calm emotions of harmless pleasure. Had I never seen and known more of these savages than the occurrences of this day, and the pastimes of this evening, I should not have hesitated to declare them the happiest of mortals. Free from care, and pleased with a little, their life seemed flowing on, like a smooth stream gliding through flowery meads. Thoughtless and unreflecting, they laughed and smiled the hours away, heedless of futurity, and forgetful of the past Their music softened all their passions; and thus they lulled

[page] 67

themselves into that mild and tranquil state, in which no evil thoughts approach the mind. The soft and delicate voices of the girls, instinctively accordant to those of the women and the men; the gentle clapping of the hands; the rattles of the dancer; and the mellow sound of the water-drum; all harmoniously attuned, and keeping time together; the peaceful happy countenances of the party; and the cheerful light of the fire, — were circumstances so combined, and fitted to produce the most soothing effects on the senses, that I sat as if the hut had been my home, and felt in the midst of this horde as though I had been one of them; for some few moments, ceasing to think of sciences or of Europe, and forgetting that I was a lonely stranger in a land of wild untutored men.

Thus the evening passed; and thus the pleasing recreation beguiled the hours of night, and stole their sleep away; till morning light announced that other duties claimed their time. But the past fatigues of the day, sensibly reminded me of rest, and forced me reluctantly to quit the party at midnight; leaving them still intent on dancing.

7th. When I rose the next morning, I found that my Hottentots had changed their mind with respect to hunting the rhinoceros, and wished to defer it till the following day. A fit of laziness had suddenly come upon them; for which, as they had rested the entire day before, there was no excuse, unless the expectation of a hotter day than usual might have been urged. But as we had publicly promised to the whole kraal, that we would hunt on this day, and as the Bushmen were already preparing to show them the way, I insisted on making good our word, lest we should be considered as unwilling to oblige them, and, thus forfeit some portion of their present favorable opinion of us. They therefore prepared immediately; and at seven o'clock they started, having with them about a dozen natives to assist in looking out for the animals. In this instance, one feature in the Hottentot character was strongly exhibited; the uncertainty and fickleness of their plans: for, on being roused from their laziness, they seemed now to be as eager and ready for the chase, as before, they had been disinclined and dilatory. Instead of the hunters only, or such as were good marksmen, all now of my own people

K 2

[page] 68

who were able to sustain the fatigue, were desirous of going. To this I consented; and retained by the baggage, only old Cobus, who complained of being unwell, and Hans Lucas, whose services, in the meantime, as interpreter, could not be dispensed with. It was previously agreed on that the horse, which I allowed them to make use of on this occasion, should be sent back for me, in the case of their being successful.

Soon after their departure, I received, as a present from Kaabi, a whole goat skinned and cleaned ready for cooking. So unexpected a thing as a present from the indigent Bushmen, was an incident which afforded me, situated as we were, peculiar pleasure, and was rendered affecting by the truly benevolent air with which he gave it, and the undisguised simplicity with which he acknowledged that 'I had been very good to him during our journey from the Gariep, and therefore he had wished to do some good to me.' There can be no man possessing any sensibility, who would not have been moved at witnessing his artless manner, and the kind expression of his countenance; both so indicative of gratitude and sincerity.

I was prevented from accompanying the hunters, by the necessity of recording in my journal the observations of the past day, before the impressions which they had made became weakened, or mingled with those of succeeding objects and occurrences.

I was, however, not suffered to remain long alone; for, in the course of the morning, many visitors, chiefly old people, came to me at the bush under which I had slept and taken up my station. Sometimes in parties they seated themselves around me, while I amused, and possibly instructed, them by exhibiting various articles of my baggage, and explaining their uses, the nature of their manufacture and their construction. Yet, whatever was totally different in principle and use, from any thing to which they had been accustomed among themselves; such things, very contrary to what we should expect from the influence of curiosity, excited little surprise or attention: but my blankets, which approached, in the nature and use of them, to their own sheep-skin karosses, were greatly admired; and many of my visitors rose from their places to examine them. The leather of my pistol-belt was highly approved of, because it was

[page] 69

within the reach of their capacity to comprehend its nature, and to perceive that it was prepared in a manner much superior to their own leather; but its make and form, as adapted to the use of carrying pistols, was neither understood nor in any manner attended to.

While these explanations were being made to them, my attention was attracted by a little affair which had upon my stomach, an effect similar to that which Speelman felt at seeing the Bushman eat lizards' eggs. One of the women, who had a child at her back, seemed to be eagerly in search of something which she saw between the folds of her kaross and the twists of her bracelets, and leathern necklace. I noticed that her hand was frequently lifted to her mouth, or held out to her babe. My curiosity induced me to look more narrowly into these operations, and I discovered, not without some strong sensations, that the objects of her active and earnest pursuit, were certain little crawling things which, though in England viewed with disgust, were here sought for with complacence, and presented by an affectionate mother, to her tender infant, who held out its little innocent hand to receive them as bonbons.

The fidelity of my narration has required me to relate the pleasing, as well as the unpleasing, parts of this people's character; but justice to them obliges me, at the same time, to say, that I do not believe this filthy practice to be general among them, however such examples as this, of depraved taste, may often be met with: yet I never witnessed a similar circumstance, on any other occasion, during the whole of my travels.

Fortunately, the arrival of Ruiter with the horse and intelligence that Speelman had shot a rhinoceros, put a stop to this barbarous employment, and turned my thoughts another way. The news instantly spread to every hut in the kraal; the joy was universal: the men, never travelling without them, quickly snatched up their arms, and hastened away to the westward, to the spot where the animal was reported to lie. Those who remained at home, came dancing and singing down the hill, as if suddenly seized with a fit of goodhumoured insanity, unable to suppress their thankfulness to me for having allowed my men to hunt for them. Our five pack-oxen were quickly fetched in from pasture and saddled; and the Bushmen immediately

[page] 70

got ready their own five, the whole number which they at this time possessed.

It was late in the afternoon when we set out; the sun being not more than two hours high. Our road leading us through the kraal, we were stopped by the crowd who gathered round us, and who seemed half-crazy with joy; and the overflow of spirits. The scene was truly laughable; it was happiness burlesqued. Old women skipping and dancing about with clots of red ochre hanging from their hair, and a protuberant bundle of petticoats behind; laughing, and clapping their hands; all talking to me at the same time, without any possibility of my understanding a word of what they said; they themselves seeming not to care for an answer, could they but have the pleasure of telling me their own joy; these, and some girls with their faces daubed with streaks of red ochre, and a few old men, continued thronging round me, till my horse stood still, unable to get through the crowd. But when Ruiter announced that the rhinoceros was at a great distance, and remarked to them, that it was already late in the day, they immediately made way for us, and we trotted off at full speed.

On our road we met Philip, who very prudently had decided on returning home for the purpose of reïnforcing those who were left in care of the baggage: although I cannot allow myself to think that the people of the kraal would have taken the most trifling article belonging to us; even if every thing had been left under the bush, without a single person to guard it. And I feel persuaded that no one of Kaabi's Kraal would have been base enough to rob me; whatever might be the inclination of the inhabitants of other kraals with whom we had formed no acquaintance, and whose good-will we had not yet secured by similar acts of friendship.

We proceeded nearly the whole way at a brisk step, sometimes trotting and at other times galloping; while the three Bushmen who drove the pack-oxen on before us, hurried them over the rocky ground at so extraordinary a rate, that even on horseback, I found it not easy to keep up with them; and often, when the surface was so thickly covered with stones and large fragments of rock that my horse could scarcely find where to place his foot, I was obliged to call out to them

[page] 71

to slacken their pace. These men displayed all that beautiful ease of motion and flexibility of joint, which struck me as so remarkable when I first became acquainted with this nation; and which have been noticed on a former occasion.*

This circumstance afforded a most favorable opportunity of ascertaining, by my own experience, how rapidly these wild people could drive a herd of cattle, and how much more rapidly they themselves can travel; for, the necessity of passing these rocky mountains before dark, forced them to a display of those powers which, on no other occasion, probably, would they have exhibited so fully. I now clearly saw, and subsequent observations confirmed this remark, that whenever the Bushmen steal cattle out of the Colony, the Boors can have little hope of recovering them, unless they instantly, and with fleet horses, commence the pursuit, so as to overtake them before they can have reached the mountains. In stealing cattle, Mercury himself could not have been more expert, or more cunning, than the Bushmen.

During two hours, we travelled on the elevated and mountainous tract which, extending from the southward of Kaabi's Kraal, to the northward and westward of the Obelisk, constitutes what is called the Hyena Mountains. In our ride this afternoon, the prospect, which we had from their summits, of the plains extending to the northward, was, like that of the wide ocean, terminated only by the horizon.

The sun was just setting when we reached the western edge of the mountain, whence we could distinguish the smoke of the hunters' fire down in the plain below; but still at a considerable distance. Great care was required in descending the rugged pathless side of the mountain; which we fortunately accomplished before the twilight was withdrawn. In half an hour after this, having ridden at least fourteen miles since leaving the kraal, we arrived at the spot where the rhinoceros was lying.

The first salutation from my Hottentots, was the agreeable information that Speelman had shot another rhinoceros. This he had left in the middle of a plain situated farther westward, and separated

* At page 422, of the first volume.

[page] 72

from the plain in which we now were, only by a low range of hills. Speelman himself came forward immediately to give me an account of all his feats; and was, in his manners, so animated and lively, that he might have been ascribed to any tribe rather than to that of the Colonial Hottentots. As the hunting of a rhinoceros is attended with danger, he certainly had some reason to be proud, when he had in one day killed two of these formidable animals.

His account of the affair was, that when they came to the place where the Bushmen expected to find them, the animals had changed their ground; but, that it was not long before they discovered no fewer than four, feeding quietly on the bushes in another part of the plain. They advanced towards the creatures, at various distances, according to each man's courage, but Speelman came the first within shot, and wounded one mortally. The other people coming up, fired till it had received seven balls; when it fell dead. He then went in pursuit of the other animals, which had fled over the hills; and having discovered one in the middle of the open plain, approached fortunately unperceived, and brought it down with a single ball: nor did he fail with exultation to remark, that he had on that day fired off his gun but twice, and at each time had killed a rhinoceros.

This was not the first rhinoceros which Speelman had shot in the course of his life, and to prove his knowledge of these animals, and to save me the trouble of asking him questions, he voluntarily communicated all that he had learnt by his own experience. Their smell, said he, is so keen and nice, that they know, even at a great distance, whether any man be coming towards them; and on the first suspicion of this, take to flight. Therefore it is only by approaching them against the wind, or from the leeward, that the hunter can ever expect to get within musket shot. Yet in doing this, he must move silently and cautiously, so as not to make the least noise in the bushes, as he passes through them; otherwise their hearing is so exceedingly quick, that they would instantly take alarm and move far away to some more undisturbed spot. But the dangerous part of the business is, that when they are thus disturbed, they sometimes become furious and take it into their head to pursue their

[page] 73

enemy; and then, if they once get sight of the hunter, it is impossible for him to escape, unless he possess a degree of coolness and presence of mind, which, in such a case, is not always to be found. Yet if he will quietly wait till the enraged animal make a run at him, and will then spring suddenly on one side to let it pass, he may gain time enough for re-loading his gun, before the rhinoceros get sight of him again; which, fortunately, it does slowly and with difficulty. The knowledge of this imperfection of sight, which is occasioned perhaps by the excessive smallness of the aperture of the eye (its greatest length being only one inch) in proportion to the bulk of the animal, encourages the hunter to advance without taking much pains to conceal himself; and, by attending to the usual precautions just mentioned, he may safely approach within musket-shot. This creature seems to take as much pleasure in wallowing in the mud, as the hog. As far as my own experience enables me to speak, I can attest the correctness of Speelman's remarks.

The present animal was a male of large size, but being nearly cut up when I arrived, I was unable to ascertain its particular dimensions. No hair whatever was to be seen upon it, excepting at the edge of the ears, and on the extremity of the tail. Our bullets, though cast with an admixture of tin to render them harder, were flattened, or beat out of shape, by striking against the bones; but those which were found lodged in the fleshy part, had preserved their proper form; a fact which shows how little the hardness of this creature's hide corresponds with the vulgar opinion, of its being impenetrable to a musket-ball. It is however, to be admitted that bullets of pure lead, fired from too great a distance, or with too weak a charge of powder, will sometimes fail to penetrate the skin, and fall flattened from the animal's side, should they happen to strike one of the thicker parts of the hide, or where a coating of mud has dried fast upon it. This skin when dry and formed into shields, may possibly turn a ball; as it is then become so much harder than when alive. In cutting up this Rhinoceros, my people found one bullet more than they had fired: it appeared to have lain in the flesh a considerable


[page] 74

time. This animal therefore had probably lived formerly within the Colony, but having been hunted and wounded by the boors, it had, though in vain, sought refuge beyond the boundary.

On each side of the carcase the Hottentots had made a fire to warm themselves; and round a third fire, not fewer than twenty-four Bushmen were assembled, most of whom were actively employed the whole night long, in broiling, eating and talking. I watched them with astonishment: it seemed that their appetite was insatiable; for no sooner had they broiled and eaten one slice of meat, than they turned to the carcase and cut another. I scarcely think that they allowed themselves any time for sleep. Some of the natives whom I had seen at the dance, were among the number of those who assisted at this nocturnal feast.

The meat of the rhinoceros was excellent, and had much of the taste of beef; and although the flesh of this, which was an old animal, was somewhat tough, perhaps on account of being but just killed; yet that of the female, being fatter, proved exceedingly well-tasted and wholesome. The tongue would have been pronounced a dainty treat, even by an epicure.

I laid myself down to sleep by one of the fires, but in the night awoke with a violent headache and nausea occasioned by the wind shifting round to the opposite quarter, and blowing towards me the smoke of the green fuel, and the stench of the entrails and filth. Towards sunrise the air became very cold; and having no other covering than my watch-coat, I arose at daybreak, little refreshed by broken rest, and feeling my whole frame exceedingly chilled.

8th. Taking with me one of the Hottentots, and some Bushmen as guides, I crossed the rocky hills on the west, and descended into a dry and extensive plain thinly covered with low bushes. In the middle of this, we found the second rhinoceros; at which Speelman, with a party of natives, had arrived an hour earlier, to prevent its being cut up before I had seen and examined it. I immediately proceeded to make drawings both in front and in profile, and a separate sketch of its head on a larger scale, principally from measurement. Two of these are given in this volume; the one in front at page 46,

[page] 75

and the head in profile at the end of the chapter. The animal lay in a position very favorable for this purpose; having fallen on its knees, and remaining nearly in the same attitude as when alive.

The first view of this beast, suggested the idea of an enormous hog, to which, besides in its general form, it bears some outward resemblance in the shape of its skull, the smallness of its eyes, and the proportionate size of its ears: but in its shapeless clumsy legs and feet, it more resembles the hippopotamus and elephant. It is, in fact in many less obvious particulars, closely allied to all these; and by later naturalists, has been well arranged in the same class with them.*

Its length over the forehead and along the back, from the extremity of the nose to the insertion of the tail, was eleven feet and two inches, of English measure; but in a direct line, not more than nine feet three inches. The tail, which at its extremity was complanated, or flattened vertically, measured twenty inches; and the circumference of the largest part of the body, eight feet and four inches. On examining its mouth I found, agreeably to common opinion, no incisive, or fore, teeth in either jaw: in the upper jaw on each side, were five large grinders, and a smaller one at the back; but in the lower, there were six grinders besides the small back tooth. The ink which I had brought with me, being nearly dried up, I was obliged to write this description in my memorandum-book, with the animal's own blood,†

* Of this species of rhinoceros, we shot nine in the course of these travels; besides a smaller one. This has been presented to the British Museum.

† This Rhinoceros is of the species already described by Sparrman, under the name of Rh. bicornis. But other species with two horns, having been since discovered, the name of Rh. Africanus has been substituted by Cuvier. And as I have subsequently discovered another species in Africa, also with two horns, this name would now, according to that principle of nomenclature, require again to be changed.
The new species here alluded to, I have named Rhinoceros simus, ("Bulletin des Science;" livr. de Juin 1817, p. 96.) from the flattened form of its nose and mouth, by which, and by its greater size, and the proportions of its head, it is remarkably distinguished from the other African species. A more complete account of this, is reserved for a future opportunity, as it belongs to a part of my journal not included in the present volume. In the mean time the work above named, may be referred to for a figure of it, and for some further particulars.

L 2

[page] 76

The horn of the rhinoceros, differing in structure from that of every other animal, and placed in a situation, of which it is the only example, had long appeared to me to be an anomaly very deserving of examination; and therefore on the present occasion, it was the first object of my curiosity and attention. The view which I now began to take, of its structure and nature, was afterwards, in the course of my journey, further confirmed by the following mode of reasoning, which, to render it less complicated, I shall confine to the class of Mammalia, or, as it is more commonly called, quadrupeds. Dispersed over the skin of all animals, are pores which I have supposed to secrete a peculiar fluid, which may be designated by the name of corneous matter. This secretion, or fluid, is designed by nature for the forming of various most useful and important additamenta, all of which, continue growing during the whole life; have an insertion not deeper than the thickness of the skin; and are further distinguished by the absence of all sensibility and vascular organization, being purely exuvial parts like the perfected feathers of birds. In all these parts, the growth takes place by the addition of new matter at their base. When these pores are separate, they produce hairs. When they are confluent and in a line, they produce the nails the claws and the hoofs, the fibrous appearance of which, naturally leads to the supposition of their being confluent hairs: and the same may be said of the scales of the Manis. The quills of the porcupine, hedgehog, and other animals, may be regarded as hairs of extraordinary size. When the pores are confluent and in a ring, they furnish the corneous case of the horns of animals of the ruminating class; and when confluent on a circular area, they supply matter for the formation of a solid horn, such as we see on the rhinoceros. An examination of the structure and appearance of this latter, will be found to support my explanation of its nature; as about its base, it is in most instances, evidently rough and fibrous like a worn-out brush.* It grows from the skin only, in the same manner as the

* This appearance, has not escaped the notice of an eminent zoolögist; who says, that these animals "portent une corne solide adhérente à la peau et de substance fibreuse et cornée, comme si elle était composée de poils agglutinés." Cuvier, Règne Animal, tome 1. p.239.

[page] 77

hair, a circumstance which entirely divests of improbability the assertion of its being sometimes seen loose, although by no means so loose as some writers have supposed. Nor is it at all extraordinary that the rhinoceros should possess the power of moving it, to a certain degree, since the hog, to which, in a natural arrangement, it so closely a pproaches, has a much greater power of moving its bristles, which if concreted would form a horn of the same nature. With respect to the idea, which I had entertained, of a single horn being an anomaly, it arose from the consideration, that all the osseous parts of animals, excepting the spine, were in pairs; those which appear single, being in fact divided longitudinally by a suture. So that any bony process, such as that which supports the corneous case of horned animals, must, to be single or in the central line of the face or head, stand over a suture; a case which no anatomist has hitherto discovered in Nature.† The single horn of the rhinoceros, is therefore no anomaly; because, having no connection with, or not deriving its origin from, the bones, and being, as I have endeavoured to show, only concreted hair, Nature might, if its mode of life required, have given it other horns of the same kind on any part of the body, without at all disturbing that system and those laws, which she has followed in the structure of every quadruped.

It is this rule of nature, and consequent reasoning, which will not allow me to believe that the unicorn, such as we see it represented, exists any where but in those representations, or in imagination: and many circumstances concur to render it highly probable, that the name was at first intended for nothing more than a species of rhinoceros.

As we professed to shoot these animals for the advantage prin-

† It is scarcely necessary to remark that the horn (as it is called) of the Sea-Unicorn, (Monodon Monoceros) is in reality one of two teeth or tusks, and is inserted on the side of the central line, or suture, of the skull; the other tusk remaining always buried within the jaw-bone. So that this unicorn is, in structure, a two-horned animal, and has in fact sometimes been found with both tusks grown out to an equal length.

[page] 78

cipally of the natives, we had not intended taking for ourselves, more of the meat than enough for a day or two: but, as another proof of the improvident disposition of Hottentots, I discovered that my people, satisfied with what they had eaten on the spot, were not preparing to bring any away with them, till I ordered a quantity to be loaded up for at least my own use, as the meat of the second, seemed, as a change of food, more wholesome, and of a better taste, than our mutton. These foolish men thought only of the brandy and tobacco which they were to get by selling their shamboks at Graaffreynet, and therefore had cut up the hide of both the animals, into strips for this purpose.

Although so chilling at sunrise, the weather had, by noon, changed to the opposite extreme. Exposed in the middle of a dry plain, where not a tree to afford shade was to be seen, I scarcely could endure the rays of the sun, which poured down, as it were, a shower of fire upon us. At this time I began to feel symptoms of fever from the cold which I had taken in the night, and this, probably, might render me less capable of supporting the heat of the weather; yet I viewed with astonishment the bare-headed and naked Bushmen, who seemed to be not in the least incommoded by it.

When I had finished my drawings, and the Hottentots had loaded up as many shamboks as the oxen could carry, we left the natives busily employed in cutting up their meat; and returned to the place of the first rhinoceros. Here I assembled all my own people, and, as soon as they had taken another meal as a farewell to their game, and had packed up another quantity of the hide, we set out on our return home to the kraal.

In our way we met a large party of the natives, men and women, who, joyously greeting us as they passed, told us they were going to their friends at the rhinoceros, to lend their assistance: that is; to eat and feast, day and night, till they had consumed the whole of it.

We did not reach home till twilight had ended. I now found my fever much increased: I therefore adopted the remedy which had on similar occasions been found successful, and which consisted merely in drinking a quantity of hot tea immediately on going

[page] 79

to bed. Some additional bushes were cut, and placed so as better to keep off the wind; and this precaution, in addition to the remedy, induced a degree of perspiration which, in the course of the night, considerably abated the disorder.

9th. I still considered it prudent to remain thus wrapped up all the morning; but as the weather presented every appearance of continuing fine all day, I resolved to proceed on our journey.

At five in the afternoon we departed, bearing with us the goodwill of a whole kraal; to whom we had given perhaps greater happiness than it had been their lot to experience, for a long time. They were much pleased when I assured them it was my intention to return by the same route in a few weeks; and Riizo, who now informed me that this was the kraal to which he properly belonged, although residing at so great a distance as at the Gariep where we first met with him, was particularly instructed by Kaabi to remain with us until we reached the country of the white-men. One of his companions, who had hitherto been our chief attendant, and who was to remain at the kraal, now took his leave of us.

[page] 80



WE followed the general direction of the river, and in the course of this day's ride, crossed it four times. Thus far, its course had not been marked by tree or bush larger than those of the plains; but here it began to assume a better character: besides a more constant supply of water, it was distinguished by abundance of reeds and bushes of greater size.

We travelled till daylight began to fail; when we took our night's station on the banks of the river, at Reed Station. Here my people prepared for me, as I was still weak from the fever, a sheltered sleeping-place, in the centre of a thick clump of reeds which stood on dry ground at a little distance from the water.

10th. On the following day's journey, the surface became gradually more hilly as we advanced, but was every where thinly covered with small bushes, although in other respects it was a wide open

[page] 81

country. As we made our way through bushes and over rough ground, where no path could be found to guide us or render our travelling easier, the Hottentots sometimes, by chusing a smoother road, were scattered at a considerable distance from each other.

To this circumstance, we were indebted for some delightful wild honey, as one of them chanced thus to observe a number of bees entering a hole in the ground, which had formerly belonged to some animal of the weasel kind. As he made signs for us to come to him, we turned that way, fearing he had met with some accident; and, indeed, when the people began to unearth the bees, I did not expect that we should escape without being severely stung. But they knew so well how to manage an affair of this kind, and had gained so much experience, that they robbed the poor insects with the greatest ease and safety. Before they, commenced digging, a fire was made near the hole, and constantly supplied with damp fuel to produce a cloud of smoke. In this the workman was completely enveloped, so that the bees returning from the fields, were prevented from approaching, while those which flew out of the nest, were driven by it to a distance. Yet the rest of our party, to avoid their resentment, found it prudent, either to ride off, or to stand also in the smoke. About three pounds of honey were obtained; which, excepting a small share which I reserved till tea-time, they instantly devoured in the comb; and some of the Hottentots professed to be equally fond of the larvœ, or young imperfect bees. This was the first honey which had been found since we left Cape Town, or, at least, which I had partaken of: it appeared unusually liquid, and nearly as thin as water; yet it seemed as sweet, and of as delicate a taste, as the best honey of England, unless the hard fare to which I had been forced to accustom myself, might, by contrast, lead me to think it much better than it really was.

As we advanced we saw at a distance around us, in every quarter, innumerable herds of wild animals, quietly grazing like tame cattle. Quakkas, springbucks, kannas, and hartebeests* on all sides,

* The Hartebeest of the Cape Colony, called Caama (or Kaama) by the Hottentots, was considered by Linnæus and many naturalists, to be same as the Bubalis of the ancients, which is an animal of Northern Africa; but some later writers distinguish it as a separate species, by the name of Antilope Caama: a distinction which I am more inclined to doubt, than to adopt; until an actual collation of the two animals, shall decide the question.


[page] 82

was a sight we had never before seen during our whole journey; and Philip immediately mounting the horse, took a circuit for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the nearest herd.

In the mean time we halted: this gave us an opportunity of noticing the footmarks of lions. Our Bushmen added their advice to keep close watch over our cattle, as we were now entering a part of the country where those formidable beasts were known to abound. This fact might, without having seen the footmarks, or without incurring much risk of being mistaken, have been inferred from the great numbers of wild animals just observed: for, where no game is to be seen, there no lions are to be feared; since these, it is evident, can live only in those parts of the country where they can procure daily food. Travellers, therefore, who are obliged to depend upon the chase for their support, will consider the dangers and inconvenience of lions, to be more than counterbalanced by the advantage of abundance of game.

Philip had pursued the antelopes far out of sight; we had waited more than an hour, without seeing him return; and the sun fast sinking to the horizon, warned us to look out for a place where we could safely pass the night We therefore proceeded a short distance farther, in expectation of falling in with the river; and having met with it and crossed to the right bank, we soon found a convenient station and unpacked the oxen. But we were not forgetful of Riizo's advice, and carefully made all our cattle fast to the bushes.

As soon as twilight began to advance, we heard the lions roaring at a distance, and commencing their nightly prowl. Philip had not yet returned, and our fears for his safety, as well as for that of the horse, caused us much uneasiness. To direct him to the spot where we had stationed ourselves, a large fire was made, and several muskets were discharged. Guided, first by the sound of these, and afterwards by the light, he at length found his way home; but

[page] 83

although he had ridden into the midst of the herd and turned their course, he had killed nothing; for it had happened that several times, on attempting to shoot, his gun unluckily missed fire; which was occasioned by the lock having been accidentally put out of order during the chase.

In the early part of the night, the jackals at a little distance were yelping around us; and, although they might not have filled the office of 'lion's provider,' vulgarly assigned to them, yet I had no doubt of their having attentively performed the duties of clearing their royal master's table. To prevent him making his supper-room in the midst of our oxen, we kept several fires burning all night.

11th. In the morning we were visited by four Bushmen; to whom, according to my custom, I made a present of some tobacco. In their way to us, they happened to pass by the spot where a lion had last night been preying upon a quakka: they found every part of the carcase devoured, excepting the feet, which they brought away with them; these being all that the jackals had left.

Although not absolutely in want of food, yet as the number of my sheep was already much lessened, I resolved on giving up a day for hunting. The men had not been out long before Philip shot a quakka. When this was brought home, it was so warmly praised by my Hottentots, as being excellent meat, that I ordered a steak to be broiled for my dinner. The novelty, and my own curiosity, must have had some influence on this occasion, since I was induced to consider it good and palatable. It was tender, and possessed a taste which seemed to be between that of beef and mutton. I made from it several meals: but this was the only time when I ate of quakkas or zebras from pure choice; for, I confess, I could not, with respect to these animals, resist altogether the misleading influence of prejudice and habit; and allowed myself, merely because I viewed this meat as horseflesh, to reject food which was really good and wholesome. In this respect, the Hottentots are much wiser than the Boors, who reject it for the same reason with myself, but who, nevertheless hunt these animals for the use of their Hottentots and slaves. On all subsequent occasions, when necessity compelled me

M 2

[page] 84

to eat of it, the fat, which was yellow and oily, always smelt rather strong and disagreable; but I cannot assert that such food was ever found to be unwholesome.

12th. During the night and this forenoon, there was much rain; and being thus prevented drying our meat, we departed from Quakka Station at an early hour. Soon after setting out, we crossed the river twice; after which we turned to the south-east in order to visit a kraal which lay in that direction; having on our right some high mountains in the distance, and before us an exceedingly large table mountain, which had been seen for the first time, on our last day's journey. This latter is pointed out on my map, by the name of the Bushman Table-Mountain, and is very remarkable by the perfect regularity of its form, and by having at each end a small, but equally high, mountain standing in advance, and apparently separated from it down to the base. Farther behind this mountain, were several others of the same formation, and which extended beyond the visible horizon. From the distance and spot at which it was viewed, it appeared inaccessible, being surrounded on all sides by a precipice; but experience teaches that however steep and lofty a mountain may appear, its summit should not be pronounced inaccessible until its ascent have been attempted on every side. I was induced, how justly I know not, to consider it of greater height than all the other mountains in this part of the country, by the circumstance of a cloud resting upon it, an appearance which had not been seen since we quitted the Roggeveld.

At a little after three in the afternoon we arrived at the kraal, and unpacked our oxen by the side of a rocky hillock at the distance of two hundred yards.

I was received by the inhabitants with repeated acclamations of Tway! Tway!* and with every demonstration of their being glad at seeing me: although I do not flatter myself that their joy was entirely personal, as the words Gooen dakka; Tabakka! Gooen dakka;

* Their word of salutation. It is pronounced as the Dutch word twee, and would be written toué by a Frenchman.

[page] 85

Tabakka!* plainly betrayed their expectations and the source of their gladness. By this they intended to say "Good day; give us some tobacco:" wishing thus to render themselves more intelligible by addressing me in Dutch. They were in such high glee, that a merry spirit of rhyming seemed to have inspired them upon this occasion: having first converted the word dag into their more favorite one of dakka, they considered it a happy thought, and quite a new idea, to transform tabak into tabakka: the only instance I ever noticed, in these travels, in which that word was spoken as in English. I do not mean to infer from this, that the Bushmen speak English; nor, that I have discovered in them a brilliant poetic genius; but I have no hesitation in declaring, with such a proof as this, that they can rhyme as well as many poets of my own country, and possibly may have as much genius.

Their chief, or captain, was distinguished in a manner so singular, that my Hottentots were highly diverted at the ridiculous insignia of his rank; and, as they could not clearly understand his proper name, gave him that of Oud Kraai-kop (Old Crow-head), as he wore the head of a crow fixed upon the top of his hair.

It will be immediately perceived that this mode of ornamenting the head, corresponds with the ancient custom of distinguishing men in armour, by some figure placed as the crest of their helmet. Should therefore the science of heraldry ever be introduced among the Bushmen, the family of the Kraaikops would hereafter be distinguished by the crow-head as their crest; but what should be emblazoned on their shield, or whether the field should be gules, or vert, or sable, can only be determined by the learned men of their own tribe.

In a country where we found few places marked by particular names, this was a fortunate circumstance to my men, who always afterwards spoke of this as the Kraai-kop Kraal, and of the mountain as the Kraai-kop Tafelberg (Crow-head Table-mountain.)

* By which words, they meant to say Goeden dag; Tabak.

[page] 86

As soon as I could prepare my presents, I desired the captain to assemble the whole of his people; and in the midst of a crowd not less happy than those of Kaabi's Kraal, I distributed to every individual a piece of tobacco. It is unnecessary to describe the effect which was produced on these poor creatures, as it would only be a repetition of what has been said on a preceding occasion. They now declared aloud, that I was the best man they had ever seen, for the boors, they said, never gave them either tobacco or meat, though they came into their country and killed their game. Some of these people had been living a short time in the Colony, in the service of the farmers, as shepherds or herdsmen, for the purpose of earning a few sheep-skins for karosses; which by them are more valued, on account of their greater warmth, than the skins of any of the wild animals, and nearly every person here wore cloaks of that kind.

This village did not appear in such good circumstances as Kaabi's: I counted no more than ninety-eight goats and kids, as the whole of its riches, and fifty souls as the greatest amount of its population. It was situated in the middle of an open plain covered with low bushes, and was at least, two miles from any water. The table-mountain, of which I took this opportunity of making a drawing, was at the distance of a two or three hours' walk to the eastward; although the unvaried surface of the intervening ground would have induced me to suppose that it was much nearer.

Notwithstanding the poverty of this kraal, the captain thought himself bound to testify his gratitude; and sent me a goat ready skinned: but I was much vexed at discovering that Ruiter, not waiting for a voluntary gift, had been mean enough to ask for it, founding his claim upon the great quantity of tobacco which I had given to the captain and his people. Not doubting that he had acted the part of a treacherous interpreter, and had demanded it in my name, I immediately presented to the chief and some of his friends, a much larger quantity of quakka-meat in return.

My obligations, however, would not have remained unpaid, even had I not made them this return; for nearly all the men, and several of the women, came to sup with us; so that, when the meal was over,

[page] 87

we found no part of the goat left. Soon after this, they returned to their huts, well satisfied with the treatment they had met with; and, certainly, not sorry that a white-man had visited their kraal.

My own people, having now dismissed all those apprehensions which their first uncertainty respecting a friendly reception by the natives, had excited, enjoyed the evening apparently as much as they; and even followed them to the huts, and remained sitting by their fires till a late hour.

I also, passed some part of the night at the kraal, to witness again the pleasures of the dance. Here I found the 'ball-room' so crowded that there was but just space enough left for the dancer's feet: but this seemed not at all to incommode the party. Riizo was the chief performer; and I heard the next morning, that he continued incessantly dancing during the greatest part of the night. The style of the dance, and the accompaniments, were exactly the same as at Kaabi's Kraal, excepting that instead of the words Wa wa koo and their corresponding notes, Riizo made use of Lok a tee (Lok a táy), thus:

The syllables Lok a tay have no more signification than those of Wa wa koo, and were intended only as an assistance to the notes. These the dancer kept on singing, as if heedless of every thing but himself: without appearing to take any notice of the company about him, he continued his dancing, first with one leg, and then with the other, much to the gratification of his friends, though they had allowed him barely room for the sole of his foot; while the lowness of the hut

[page] 88

exceedingly cramped his movements, and obliged him to bend forward in a posture the most inconvenient.

Having satisfied my curiosity, I left the party and retired to rest, it being my intention to proceed on the journey at an early hour in the morning. There was much lightning and thunder during the night; and, to render it more unpleasant, I had not long fallen asleep, when I was awakened by a cold piercing wind blowing so keenly through my blankets, that it felt as if there had been no covering whatever upon me. Our fires being out, I was obliged to content myself with wrapping my blankets, and watch-coat closer about me; but scarcely had I again laid my head on the saddle, when a heavy shower of rain and hail poured down, and soon ran through my bedding and completely flooded the ground. As it was not possible at such a time to make a fire, and as the night was extremely dark, I remained patiently in that situation till morning, still hoping for sleep.

13th. As soon as daylight appeared, I rose from my miserable bed, which I found literally lying in water; and, shaking off the hailstones from the blanket, dragged it over a bush that it might dry a little before it was packed up. Few of these hailstones were much less than half an inch in diameter; and I found them, under the bushes, where they had been drifted in large quantities by the wind, frozen together into solid masses. The thermometer therefore, if I had had one with me, would have been found at least as low as the freezing point.

As soon as fuel could be collected on the plain, the men made a fire and cooked breakfast; but though Hottentots are always bad cooks, these men had lately become worse; and my meat was brought to me, more in the state of something picked up after a conflagration, than of any thing intended to be eaten. Though never boasting myself Epicuri de grege porcum, my patience in these matters, was now exhausted: I scolded my cook, and for the first time on the journey, I made some attempt myself at cooking; and, although I could not help smiling at my own inexpertness and at this laughable

[page] 89

specimen of culinary talents, I broiled my own steak, in order to show him how, I conceived, it might be managed so as to be rendered a little more eatable.

Ruiter, of whom I had been much inclined to think well, betrayed at length some slight symptoms of roguishness, in a trifling affair which was to him, too tempting an opportunity for cheating. I had commissioned him to purchase a pair of dancing-rattles, and had given him tobacco more than sufficient for that purpose: but he soon returned to tell me that this quantity was not thought enough. I therefore doubled it, and in a short time he brought me the rattles. On the following day I observed him wearing a beautiful leopard-skin kaross, and, on inquiry of the other Hottentots, discovered that he had obtained the rattles for a very small portion of the tobacco I had given, and that with the remainder he had purchased the skin.

The captain of this kraal, having heard of our killing the two rhinoceroses for Kaabi, requested me to stop a day longer, and hunt for him also. But fearing to establish a custom which would hereafter prove extremely inconvenient to us, as it might lead every kraal to expect that we should do the same for them, I thought it most prudent at once to refuse Old Crowhead; though at the same time I promised him a share of whatever we might chance to kill on the road, if he would allow some of his people to accompany us for the purpose of carrying it back. On which he ordered an old man and his son to attend us.

Both these people being excessively thin, and apparently reduced to that state by want of food, they immediately received from my Hottentots the names of Oud, and Klein, Magerman (Old, and Young, Lean-man). It seemed to be an act of charity to take these poor creatures with us, that we might feed them plentifully for a few days.

The Hottentots, and, perhaps, all the tribes of Southern Africa, have a custom of thus giving names to strangers when they are of a different nation from themselves. This arises chiefly from the difficulty which they find, either in pronouncing, or in remembering, a name to which their ear has never been accustomed, or the meaning of which they do not understand. This is often done through inatten-


[page] 90

tion or idleness in neglecting to inquire the proper name. In the present case, however, the boy, whenever we asked him his name, always declared that he had none; a circumstance which much amused my people who considered themselves in a high state of civilization, because they wore clothes of European make, carried a gun, spoke Dutch, and had two names.

We took leave amidst the grateful salutations of the kraal; our party now consisting of three Bushmen in addition to my own men.

Soon after we set out, the clouds began to collect, and for more than three hours it rained without ceasing. As we rode along I observed, in many places, considerable quantities of hail lying under the bushes, and which the air was not warm enough to thaw. The weather was very unsettled, and the wind blew extremely cold during the whole of the day.

When we had travelled twelve miles, we again fell in with the river, and crossed to its left bank. Here we were met by a shower of rain and hail so violent that my horse refused to face it, and we were therefore obliged to halt and turn our backs to the storm. The loudest claps of thunder burst over our heads, and followed the flashes of lightning without any perceptible interval of time. I could not discover in our Bushmen any symptoms of fear, though nothing could be more awful than the thunder, which seemed close above us and exploded with a violence almost sufficient to destroy the hearing.

About four miles farther, we crossed to the right bank of the river, which appeared to have taken a winding course from a considerable distance westward, where some high mountains were in sight. Here many herds of quakkas were observed; but as they grazed only in the middle of these extensive plains, it was found impossible to approach within musket-shot.*

At a mile beyond the river, our Bushmen brought us to a spring of excellent water, situated in a kloof, or opening through a range of

* In these plains a small species of Loranthus was observed, growing on the branches of the larger shrubs, and, being of a hoary appearance, was named
Loranthus canescens, B. Catal. Geogr. 2119. 5. Planta parva tota canescens, ut etiam flores. Folia ovalia obtusa parva canescentia. Crescens in campis aridis, in ramis Lyciorum.

[page] 91

rocky mountains. Concluding that we had now accomplished the half of our journey to Graaffreynet, I announced this circumstance to my Hottentots; and distinguished the spot on my map, by the name of Half-way Spring. It was concealed in a thicket of tall reeds inhabited by numbers of little birds*, whose chirping and singing greatly enlivened the spot. The water was remarkably pure, and free from all calcareous or ochraceous deposition. As the thicket of reeds was large and might possibly be the concealment of some lion, we took the precaution of sending in the dogs first, to ascertain whether we might safely venture to approach the spring.

A great quantity of these reeds was cut down for the purpose of making a shelter for the people, as the appearance of the sky bade us prepare for a rainy night. In the mean time I climbed up the rocks which form the eastern side of the pass, to take the bearings of our last station and of the Bushman Table-mountain; but the compass was much affected by the ferruginous quality of the stone. Here on a large crag I scratched, with a piece of rock, the initials of my name.

14th. After leaving this station, we travelled over a plain nearly nine miles across, and surrounded by mountains. At the southern extremity, we passed through an opening between them, where our 'friendly river' once more presented itself, and took its course through the same opening. This, as I afterwards learned, was known to the boors by the name of Rhenóster Poort (Rhinoceros Pass), and here we had a sight, in the highest degree pleasing to us all; that of the track of a waggon. On examining the bushes stones and grass, over which it had passed, we ascertained that it must have been two years since that time, and that its direction was to the south-east.

In every circumstance connected with the track of animals, and consequently of waggons, the Hottentots and Bushmen, as well as all

* The Roode-bekje (Redbeak) or Loxia astrild, of Linnæus.—The Koorn-vreeter (Corn-eater) Fringilla arcuata of Gmelin.—And a small species of Reed-sparrow, (Motacillæ (Currucæ) sp.

N 2

[page] 92

the tribes of the Interior, are admirably quick and discerning. Their experience enables them to distinguish almost with certainty, the foot-mark of every animal in their country; although many of them so closely resemble each other that few European eyes would see the difference, even if it were pointed out to them. But these natives, whose food and clothing so greatly depend on knowledge of this kind, are most acutely observant of every thing relating to it; and the results of their judgment by combining these observations, are often surprising and would lead to a belief that in the powers of reasoning and reflection they are not so low as, in most other matters, they appear to be. And if it can be admitted that this is really the case, it affords in the same individual a striking, and an instructive, example how much the human intellect may be raised by being duly exerted, and how low it will insensibly sink, if not carefully cultivated and brought into use. These Africans pay an extraordinary degree of attention to every little circumstance connected with the habits and mode of life of the wild animals. The footsteps of some are too remarkable to be mistaken; but with respect to others, they are obliged to examine not only their form, but even their distance apart, and their greater or less depth of impression; by which latter observation they are enabled to distinguish a heavy-bodied animal from a lighter. If it be an animal of the cat or dog genus, they discover the kind by attending, not only to the size of the foot, but to the different protuberances of it and to their relative position. These marks conjointly with a knowledge of the different situations and nature of the country and ground preferred by each species, lead them to conclusions in which they rarely err. In estimating the time elapsed since the animal had passed that way, they consider the effects of the weather, the sun, the wind, or the rain: if these have not altered the freshness of the impression, they naturally conclude it to have been made since the last of these occurred; if the impression appear to have been made upon wet ground but partly filled with dust or sand or leaves, they then know that the animal must have passed over the ground since the last shower, but before the storm of wind. Of this nature there are a multitude of other

[page] 93

circumstances, from which they deduce information: but what has been mentioned will be sufficient for showing what reliance may be placed upon their opinions. Cases occurred frequently during these travels, when this knowledge proved of the utmost importance: it is therefore a subject deserving of attention.

In the instance which gave rise to these remarks, the track of the waggon was, at the spot where we first saw it, not very discernible. But one of the Hottentots having noticed the middle stems of a low shrub to be broken down close to the ground, in a manner different from that in which they would have been broken by the foot of any animal, immediately examined all around at the distance where the other wheel should have passed; and soon discovered other similar appearances, by which we were all convinced that a wheeled carriage must have been there. All these stems or branches being observed to incline forwards in the direction in which we were travelling, it was thus ascertained that the waggon had advanced in that direction also; as every one, as well as a Bushman, knows that a wheel pushes forward any small bodies or obstructions in its way. The same conclusion was drawn from those stems which had not been broken down, but the bark of which had been torn. Those which had been beaten to the ground, still remained in that position; but we observed other shoots rising upright from them; and, from these being of two years' growth, we drew the conclusion that it must have been about two years since the waggon had passed that way.

At Rhenoster Poort* we found the space between the river and the rocks but just wide enough to admit a passage. We crossed to the left bank, and continued for nearly an hour to follow the waggon-track, which, as we advanced, became more visible, but at length it re-crossed the river, while we pursued a course inclining westward, and having close on our right, lofty mountains covered with grass.

* On the rocks of this pass I found a new and very neat shrubby species of Salvia. A variety of plants grow on these mountains, but the circumstances of our travelling did not admit of collecting and preserving any; and unfortunately the mode which I have recommended in such cases (Vol. I. p. 133 and 134.) did not at this time occur to me.

[page] 94

Observing here a large herd of quakkas, between thirty and forty, Philip pursued them, and before he had approached within shot, they were suddenly driven away by the report of a gun on the other side, the smoke of which we perceived even from the spot where we stood waiting. Knowing that we were now upon ground to which the hunting excursions of the bordering colonists had sometimes extended, we concluded that the shot had been fired by a party of boors. We soon, however, discovered that this report was from Speelman's gun: he had started before us early in the morning, for the purpose of getting a first shot at the game; as it had been found that they were often alarmed and driven away by the sight of the whole party. Soon after this a heavy rain set in, and continued to pour without intermission till the next morning.

After travelling six hours, and finding ourselves close on the left bank of our river, we resolved to proceed no farther this day, as the weather was so unpropitious, and as all of us were exceedingly wet and cold.

15th. The night passed most unpleasantly, as a strong wind much increased the chilliness of the air, and, in the morning, our clothes and bedding were found soaked with the rain. I have marked this spot by the name of Southern Station, as it was the most southern of all our sleeping-places along the banks of this river.

We were now fast advancing towards the borders of the colony, according to the account of our Bushmen, who pointed out a distant table-mountain, on the other side of which, they said, we should find the residence of a boor whom they called Baas Jacob. Although exceedingly anxious to know what part of the colony it was, to which we were approaching, they could give me no clue by which I could discover this; nor did they know any thing respecting the bearing of Graaffreynet, nor even the boor's surname.

As we could not expect to find much game within the colonial boundary, I determined on remaining a day at this station, for the purpose of hunting; that we might obtain a stock of dried meat to serve us till we reached the drostdy. But, although four of the best marksmen were out the greater part of the day, nothing was shot.

[page] 95

A copious spring of good water had been discovered by the hunters, not far from us, in the direction of south-south-east: and from several indications, this part of the country appeared to be well watered.

In the afternoon we were visited by a small party of natives consisting of two men, and six women, two of whom carried each an infant at her back. They informed me that they had yesterday travelled from Oud Baasje Jacob's (old Master Jacob's); where the men had been employed as shepherd and herdsman, and the women as assistants about the farm-house. These people, viewing me, as all their countrymen had hitherto viewed me, as a friend, were eager to relate to me their grievances. They had quitted this boor's service because he had beaten one of the women. The poor creature herself came forward to tell the story; she was a young girl of harmless engaging appearance, and I could not suppress the irritation of mind which I felt at hearing that any man had been brute enoughto lift his hand against so weak and defenceless a fellowcreature; for she was, as all girls of her nation are, of very small and delicate frame. She told me that Oud Baas had tied her up to one of the wheels of the waggon and flogged her for a long time. The other women all joined in the tale, and two or three at once were showing me the position in which she was tied, first imitating the act of flogging, and then that of crying and supplicating for mercy: but she implored in vain, for no mercy was in his heart, till he had vented his rage.

Unfortunately it was not in my power to afford them any redress, or to investigate whether she had, or had not, been punished undeservingly. I could only compassionate the poor girl; and this, if it could be any alleviation to her feelings, I did from my heart I gave them some tobacco, to cheer them; nor did it even in so unfavourable a state of mind, fail to gladden their countenances. This gave them an occasion to complain that they had very seldom received any from the baas, and whenever they did, it was but an extremely small piece, which, they said, he threw down on the ground to them as if they had been dogs. This last remark should not pass without notice, as it gives us admonition which cannot be too strongly

[page] 96

inculcated and remembered; it shows that savages, however low or debased may be their rank among the nations of the globe, are not insensible to an indignity.

I could not learn for what crime this flogging had been inflicted; nor do I pretend to interfere with the question, whether, from mere ignorance, or misled by the habits of a lawless life to which she had been born, she might not, though unwittingly, have committed some offence which, in a civilized or better instructed society, might justly be visited with punishment; but I shall not hesitate to pronounce that man to be a cowardly unfeeling brute, who could treat with such merciless severity, one of that sex which it is a natural duty to protect from wrong, and shield from unkindness.

Another of the Bushwomen complained that this baas had compelled her son to remain in his service against his wish; nor could they by any means obtain leave for him to return with them to their kraal. Whatever might have been the stipulated wages for these people's services, they certainly carried away with them none of the rewards of their labor, unless a cap of scarlet cloth, and a pair of old cloth trowsers, are to be considered as such, or the sheep skins which the women wore over their shoulders and which were probably given to them by their kind-hearted baas.

As the events of these travels are, without partiality or prejudice, related as they occurred, and the observations recorded faithfully in that light in which they appeared, I cannot allow the unfavorable qualities of an individual, to be adopted as the general character of the Dutch colonists, any more than I would admit selected examples of individual worthiness, to be taken as specimens of the whole colony. Of the latter, I know many: of the former, I wish that I knew none.

From these natives I learned that the boors were apprized of my coming, and that the intelligence had reached them by means of some men of Kaabi's kraal, who had been to communicate with some of their friends residing on the borders. I was not surprised at these Bushmen having outstripped us in travelling, because I had witnessed sufficient proofs of their powers, to believe that they can

[page] 97

whenever they please, traverse the country in at least half and sometimes a third of the time required by a colonist.

The party remained with us this night, and partook of our supper. While they were happily engaged in smoking, I took the opportunity of a fine evening, and abundance of fuel to give me light, to lay down on the map of my route, the last days of our course; which I had till now been prevented doing, by the unfavorable state of the weather. I carried with me a small Dutch pocket-map of the Colony; but in this part it was so deficient and so incorrect, that not the least advantage could be derived from it, to guide my course, or to enable me to guess what particular part of the boundary I was now approaching.

16th, Our stock of meat being now consumed, I sent off Philip and two others to hunt in advance, giving them instructions respecting the direction in which I intended to travel. Our two last visitors, finding that it was not in our power to supply them with provisions to take home, went out early in the morning to hunt in a distant part of the plain. They returned unsuccessful, though they had found an aardvark* or ant-eater; but it took refuge in its hole, and after considerable labor in endeavouring to unearth it the animal escaped by burrowing still deeper. These Bushmen and the women who came with them remained with us till the moment of our departure; when bidding me farewell in the colonial manner, by repeating the word dag, they hasted away to their kraal.

We had not travelled more than eight miles, and had just passed through an opening between some low rocky hills, where there were two large ponds of fresh water, when five distant reports of a musket, which we supposed to proceed from a party of boors, induced us to halt, and watch if they came in sight.

Both Riizo and the old Bushman advised me to stop here for the night, as they were not acquainted with any other water which it would be possible for us to reach before daylight failed us.

* A more particular account of this animal has been given in the first volume, at page 342.


[page] 98

We therefore returned to these ponds, and unpacked our oxen by the side of some remarkable masses of rock, which had much the appearance of works of art, as if huge square blocks of stone had been regularly piled one upon another. This station is pointed out on the map by the name of Geranium Rocks; and a representation of some of these rocks, is given in the vignette at page 80. After passing the Karro Poort*, plants of the Geranium tribe had rarely been met with; and of these few, none had been found of so shrubby a growth, or perhaps of so pleasant a scent, as the species† which decorates this place. Around the ponds, I observed small quantities of fuller's-earth, a substance which had not hitherto been any where noticed.

I immediately sent Hendrik out to reconnoitre, and to observe if any colonists were in the neighbourhood. But soon after he was gone, Philip and his party appeared in sight, and, when they came up to us, explained that the five shots which had been heard, were fired by them, at a troop of quakkas; none of which, however, they had been so fortunate as to obtain.

Yet as no one had eaten since the preceding night, it was resolved to make a second attempt; and another troop of quakkas at that moment making their appearance on the plain, my whole party instantly went in pursuit. By dividing, and taking a wide circuit, they were enabled slowly and cautiously to advance upon them from every side; so that it became impossible for the animals to escape without coming within shot of one or other of the men. This chanced to be Speelman; and he was too good a marksman not to

* The botanical remarks in the first volume, at pages 208 and 209, may in part be referred to this place.

† As there was no opportunity of preserving a specimen of this plant, I cannot mention the species with certainty; although I believe it to have been the same which I found twelve months afterwards on the Table-mountain in the vicinity of a place denominated Horse's Grave; and of which plant, the following is the description.
Pelargonium tragacanthoides, B. Catal. Geogr. 2693. Frutex erectus ramosus bipedalis, odore gratè terebinthaceo. Rami erecti subdichotomi, supernè densè tecti petiolis emortuis persistentibus. Folia bipinnata, pubescentia, erecta, confertissima, basibus petiolorum imbricantibus. Paniculæ terminales, compositæ ex umbellis altemis subquadrifloris. Pedunculi umbellarum patentes.

[page] 99

profit by the opportunity: he fired, and a quakka fell. With the assistance of his companions, the carcass was skinned and got home in the evening, in time for us to make from it a meal, which was both breakfast and supper.

17th. Before the sun had risen to its greatest height, we mounted our oxen and departed from Geranium Rocks, directing our course towards the south. We travelled, with pleasant weather, over two large plains, which derived a beautifully verdant hue from an extraordinary abundance of Cyperus usitatus, which from its growth and appearance might easily be mistaken for grass: but it was remarkable that no true grass was observed in any part of these plains; the surface being almost every where clothed with this plant, intermingled in various places with low bushes, such as are generally met with in lands partaking of the nature of Karro. This is the cyperus already described as producing the numerous little bulbs which constitute One of the principal articles of food used by the Bushmen.

These plains were about five or six miles across, and divided from each other by a ridge of hills of moderate elevation. Here our dogs caught a common jackal, and a young gemsbok (ghemsbok): the latter was not bigger than a domestic goat. One of the stragglers of our party fell in with the fresh remains of a kaama, or hartebeest, which we supposed to have been hunted down by the 'wild dogs,' as they are called, or the animal which I have in the former volume described under the name of Hyæna venatica. As they had devoured nothing more than the haunches and entrails, it was a prize worth halting for; and besides a large quantity of meat which we thus gained, the skin is considered as one of the best and strongest for leather and small thongs. The business of flaying and loading up the meat, detained us more than an hour.

At the termination of the plain we climbed a rocky ascent, which brought us up to an elevated mountainous country of a mile or two in extent, abounding in bushes and grass, and where the air felt cooler than in the plains. Here the geological nature of the mountains assumed a new feature: their strata were still horizontal, and, although the table form might in general be discovered, their out-

O 2

[page] 100

line was more varied and pleasing. But a feature which had into been observed in the other mountains of the Cisgariepine, at least since we had left the Asbestos Mountains, was a deep stratum, sometimes forty or fifty feet thick, of sandstone, running through them at a little distance below their summits, and of a paler color than the other strata. Huge fragments, or blocks, of this stone, lay every where scattered about the valleys; and the scenery as we rode along them, became more picturesque as we advanced, and very different from all which we had now seen in the country on this side of the Gariep.

This change in the geology of the mountains, was accompanied by a change in botany: their sides were clothed with a richer foliage, and with many plants hitherto new; particularly a species of Rhus* which grew from between the rocks, and decorated the foot of the hills with pleasing light soft masses, in rounded, yet beautiful, forms, and generally of the height of six or eight feet. This elegant shrub was found no where but in these regions.

Being eager to discover some proof of our immediate vicinity to the Colony, I rode on before, with two of my men. We ascended a very rocky ridge connecting loftier mountains, whence I had an opportunity of taking the bearing of the 'Bushman Table Mountain.' With some difficulty we descended to the flat on the other side, where we found a small pond of water, and discovered, to our great pleasure, that it had been frequented by flocks of sheep: and our suspicions of having actually entered the Colony, were confirmed soon afterwards by Philip, who, having been obliged to take the loaded oxen round by a lower opening between the mountains, had seen the remains of an old leg-plaats or cattle-station.

As the sun was nearly setting, we halted here for the night. All my people were highly pleased at finding that we had thus safely accomplished the passage through the country of the Bushmen, and evinced a considerable share of satisfaction, by talking and laughing

* Rhus serræfolium, B. Catal. Geogr. 2697. Frutex sexpedalis ramosissimus. Foliola linearia grossè serrata glabra; (juniora præsertim) lucida et quasi vemice oblita.

[page] 101

more than usual. Plenty of fuel close at hand, enabled them again to indulge in one of their great enjoyments, a blazing fire: in this, I followed their example; but instead of taking the tobacco-pipe, I amused myself in the evening with the pen.

18th. As Riizo was soon to take leave, having now fulfilled his promise of accompanying us until we had arrived at the habitation of a colonist, I drew his portrait, that I might ever preserve, for my own gratification, the features of a man who, though one of a lawless and despised race, one who, though doomed to live and die in ignorance of all that improves and civilizes the mind, had yet a heart which taught him to be grateful to a friend, and a just sense of fidelity to his engagements. These features would not indeed, according to the judgment of a European, be thought of a prepossessing cast; but the judgment of a European is often as much perverted by customs and prejudices, as that of a Bushman. I constantly struggled against this influence of national habit, that I might, wherever my travels led me, view the expression of men's countenances as they were viewed by their own countrymen; and the length of time during which the wild natives of Africa were daily before my eyes, has enabled me, I hope, to overcome, at least those prejudices which are commonly occasioned by color and feature.

Riizo, though a great dancer, as it has been shown, was nevertheless a man of much sedateness; seldom allowing his joy at any occurrence, to break forth in the unrestrained manner of many of his countrymen: but he was exceedingly active, and at all times ready to do any thing which I desired. He was always foremost to lend his assistance in loading and unloading our pack-oxen, and was perfectly content with whatever reward I thought proper to give him for his trouble.

I also drew the portrait of the boy whom my Hottentots had named Klein Magerman (Young Lean-man). Both he, and his father, were much improved in appearance, during the few days they had lived upon our provisions; yet still they were far from having outgrown their new name. I had drawn Riizo in the attitude in which he happened to be sitting; and when this boy was told that I wished

[page] 102

also to take his likeness, he instantly came and seated himself down in the same place, and in the same attitude. I mention this little circumstance, because it shows marks of a tractable disposition, and of a goodnatured readiness to do what he supposed to be proper; imagining that sitting in that position, was the only mode in which a portrait could be taken. His features, assisted by the roundness of youth, had a very pleasing expression; and when the drawings were shown to him, he smiled as if conscious of their being resemblances of himself and his countryman. My own men were much amused at the representation I had given of the boy's leanness and Riizo's flat nose; Speelman exclaiming, net zo mager; net zo lelyk (just as lean; just as ugly).

I now discovered in part, what were the contents of my Hottentots' bags. Being on the point of making our appearance before Kriste-mensch (Christians) as they thought, each one had dragged into light some new piece of dress, which had been reserved for this grand occasion. Old Cobus displayed a new pair of leathern trowsers, and Uncle Hans did the same; Hendrik produced a new leathern jacket quite red with the dye given in tanning; and Philip, being the washerwoman, did not forget to put on a clean shirt, and dress himself out in his blue cloth trowsers and jas (watch-coat).

But Speelman, whom I had long marked as the dandy of our party, with this exception to the character, that he was a man and had brains, outshone them all. He dressed in a fashion, I believe, of his own; or at least, I never saw its like in any part of Africa. Besides the cocked hat which I have already commemorated, he wore a blue cloth jacket, and new leathern trowsers. Over these were drawn blue cotton stockings, which came up above the knees; over the lower half of the stockings, he had buttoned on a pair of leathern gaiters; and to complete the neatness of his leg and foot, he added to the gaiters a new pair of hide-shoes.

Thus equipped, we set out early in the forenoon, anticipating the comfort of taking up our next quarters under shelter of a Dutch farm-house. The day was fair, and the weather now appeared to be more settled. The scenery was exceedingly picturesque; the sand-

[page] 103

stone stratum continued a principal feature, and the saw-leaved rhus every where decorated our road. We directed our course towards the Table Mountain, near which, the Bushmen had told us that we should find a boor's habitation.

When we had travelled through the mountains about fourteen miles, we came all at once upon the edge of this elevated tract; whence we had a very extensive view of a large plain below, stretching out to the southward, and bounded by distant hills. The Bushmen pointed down to the plain, and we there beheld the dwelling of a colonist.

Like sailors who after a long voyage at last make land, but having lost their reckoning, know not what coast it is which they behold before them, and are anxious to meet a pilot, or some fishing-boat, who may inform them of the place at which they have arrived; so we, who knew not what part of the Colony we had entered, were hoping to meet some shepherd, or stray Hottentot, of whom we might ask the name of the district before us.

The mountain which had hitherto been the object to which we had directed our course, was now close at our right and immediately connected with that on which we were standing. While we halted to collect the party together, I made a sketch of this, and of our first view of the Colony. We then, in a body, descended the steep and rocky declivity into the plain; and in less than a mile farther, arrived at the farm-house.

[page 104]



I RODE immediately to the house, but did not dismount, as I expected that the master of the place, who was standing at the sheepfold a few yards off, would, according to colonial hospitality, as soon as the first salutations were over, welcome me to his abode and invite me to enter. Neither the master, however, nor his wife, ever came near us; but remained the whole time at the fold, evidently with the intention of keeping away in order to avoid all communication. But two men of the family, and several women and children, came and stood round me: their complexion struck me as unpleasantly fair and colorless, their features as disagreeably sharp, and the expression of their countenances, as wild and senseless. How much of this singular impression, was to be attributed to my having been for several months accustomed to Hottentot and Bushman features and complexion, and to my having seen none but two or three sun-burnt white people; or,

[page] 105

how far it was occasioned by any peculiarity in the appearance of this family, I cannot determine exactly; but it was certainly the effect of both: for, on comparison with those whom we afterwards saw at other houses on our road, these women were insipidly fair, and rendered therefore the more remarkable by the contrast of strong black eyebrows. To this, both in them and in the men, was added a very illshaped and projecting nose.

I accosted them with the usual salutations, which they slightly and coldly returned. I inquired of them, what part of the colony I was in, and at what farm I was arrived: to which they replied, that the mountain (pointing to that which had been our beacon) was Groote Tafelberg*, and the farm that of Jacob Van Wyk.† On this, instead of an invitation to come into the house or to dismount, they proceeded, in a tone of intolerable insolence, to put a long string of impertinent questions. These I patiently answered; because, as I soon began to perceive that they were perversely inclined, I conceived it to be advisable, as a traveller desirous of beholding them in their true colors, not to check them from giving me an undisguised display of their natural disposition. And, with the view of leaving the first colonists, whom we should meet, at liberty to do on this occasion, just as their own sense of hospitality might dictate, I had, before we came in sight of the house, strictly ordered that no one of my men should ask for any refreshment or assistance. In answering their numerous questions, I gave them the information, that I bad left my waggons on the other side of the 'Groote river'; that I had been three weeks travelling through the country of the Bushmen; and was going to Graaffreynet to hire Hottentots. They seemed to doubt this last

* A representation of Groote Tafelberg (Great Table-mountain), as viewed from the south-east, may be seen in the preceding page. In this name, the word 'great' is not to be taken absolutely, but merely comparatively with reference to another table-mountain of smaller size, hereafter mentioned on the 20th.

† In the map of this place, a trifling mistake in engraving has escaped correction: the shading of the mountains should have been carried a little farther northward, so as to have included the dwelling of Van Wyk, which now, improperly, appears to stand upon the mountains, instead of being at the foot of them.


[page] 106

remark; and asked how I could expect to hire Hottentots, when the boors found them so scarce. I replied, that Landdrost Stockenstrom would assist me. The landdrost, said they, was murdered by the Caffres a few weeks ago. The apathy with which they mentioned this, must have appeared strongly contrasted by my own expression of the shock which I felt at the melancholy intelligence. I asked, if it was quite certain; they briefly assured me that it was: yet still I hoped to hear, as I advanced, that this sad news was not correct.

Thinking it possible they might suppose that by remaining on horseback I had no wish to halt, I dismounted and gave the horse to the care of one of my men. On this they removed into the house; and as I was uncertain whether I was not expected to follow, I entered; but instead of offering a seat, they began to put further questions merely to satisfy their curiosity respecting the nature of the country and the quantity of game beyond the borders.

Finding that no civility was intended to be shown me at this house, and the family having given me sufficient proofs of their true character, I ended the conversation by inquiring the bearing and distance of Graaffreynet; resolving to depart from a place, the inhabitants of which, were so much inferior in benevolence, to the savages, — men in whose kraals we had been received with artless joy and genuine good-will.

My own Hottentots, not supposing it possible that their master, could meet with any other than a hospitable reception, or at least with a civil one, had proceeded to some bushes at the distance of a few yards from the fold, where they had unpacked the oxen and were preparing to rest till the next morning. Though so close to the old baas himself, and his wife, no one came near them, lest their speaking to the men might be taken as a welcome to stop there. As I passed by the fold in my way to this spot, I made the customary salutation to him, with the view of ascertaining to what degree this hoggish disposition could be carried, and of leaving him no excuse for omitting the common civilities of the colony: neither he, nor his vrouw, made any return, nor took any notice of the respect which I paid them;

[page] 107

but continued looking at their sheep, and scarcely deigned to turn their heads.

If I did not attribute it to a brutal insensibility, I should be totally at a loss in imagining what could have induced this boor and his family to conduct themselves so differently from other colonists to whom I was equally a stranger and equally unknown. My own Hottentots had given them to understand that I was not their inferior, and that, notwithstanding the weather-beaten appearance of my dress, I was an 'Engelsche Heer.' It is, however, not improbable, that their having previously discovered that the person who was approaching their habitation was an Englishman, might have been the cause of the ungracious reception which they gave me; and which it is very likely, would have been much worse, had they not observed that we were all armed.

In various parts of the colony may be found men who, without any love for a Dutch government, hate that of the English, because it has enforced their own colonial laws, and put a check upon those persons who would rather live without any law at all. The inhabitants of this settlement can surely have no reasonable or honorable excuse for disliking a government under which they have risen to a degree of prosperity and affluence, unknown to them before. Nor do I believe, that the honest and reflecting part, and the general bulk of the community, entertain any sentiments of this kind; sentiments which are confined within a narrow compass, to a set of men who would prove themselves unworthy subjects in any country, and such as criminal codes have ever been made for.

I ordered my Hottentots to reload our bedding. The poor fellows took up their bags, and, with dejected and disappointed looks, packed them on the oxen again. They had been anticipating, certainly not very unreasonably, the enjoyment of again tasting bread, and of having some change of food, which for a long time had consisted only in meat; and even that, without salt. My mind having been prepared for travelling without luxuries, I felt for these men, much more than for myself, as they had, elate with pleasing expectation, put on all their best clothes, in order to show respect to the first form-house which

P 2

[page] 108

should receive us. Their disappointment was very evident; and it was only by the strictest injunctions, that I could restrain them from the open expression of their indignation at the want of feeling which those men must have, who could suffer any persons under our circumstances, to pass their door without a welcome, or even a civil salutation.

Of one of the Hottentots of the place, we asked instructions respecting the road which we were to take; and as soon as all were ready for starting, our friend Riizo, to whom I had as great pleasure in making a present of a large stock of tobacco, as he had in receiving it, took his leave to return to Kaabi's Kraal. We separated under an expectation, equally agreeable to both, that we should soon meet again. I had supposed that the old Bushman and his son would also have quitted us at this place; but after witnessing the little respect which, at this farm, had been shown even to a white man, he was so fearful that, as soon as I was gone, Oud Baasje Jacob would seize the boy and detain him as a slave, to work for him, that he resolved to leave him under my protection; begging that he might be kindly taken care of, and restored to him at our return.

As soon as this arrangement was agreed to on my part, the father and Riizo, hasted away back to the mountains, while the son (Little Leanman,) well pleased with his lot, slung his bow and quiver at his back, and considered himself now, as one of the Englishman's own party.

As Van Wyk's hospitality, and the business of unloading and loading up again, had not delayed us longer than an hour and a quarter, we had still four hours' sun to enable us to reach some more friendly place. Soon after we left the house, the boor drove off in his waggon, and we saw him going across the plain to the eastward, for the purpose, as we afterwards heard, of reporting to the veldcornet, that a party of strange men had entered the colony.

For two hours we rode along a beaten waggon-road, an accommodation which we had not met with for several months, and which enabled us with ease to travel at a quicker rate than usual. From this we turned out to the right in order to take a nearer path, and

[page] 109

ascended a rugged kloof practicable only for cattle. A representation of this pass is given in the vignette at the end of the chapter.

At this high level, we entered upon a very extensive open plain, abounding, to an incredible degree, in wild animals; among which were several large herds of quakkas, and many wilde-beests or gnues: but the springbucks were far the most numerous, and, like flocks of sheep, completely covered several parts of the plain. Their uncertain movements rendered it impossible to estimate their number, but I believe if I were to guess it at two thousand, I should still be within the truth. This is one of the most beautiful of the antelopes of Southern Africa; and it is certainly one of the most numerous. The plain afforded no other object to fix the attention; and even if it had presented many, I should not readily have ceased admiring these elegant animals, or have been diverted from watching their manners. It was only occasionally, that they took those remarkable leaps which have been the origin of the name; but when grazing or moving at leisure, they walked or trotted like other antelopes, or as the common deer. When pursued, or hastening their pace, they frequently took an extraordinary bound, rising with curved or elevated backs, high into the air, generally to the height of eight feet, and appearing as if about to take flight.* Some of the herds moved by us almost within musket-shot; and I observed that in crossing the beaten road, the greater number cleared it by one of those flying leaps. As the road was quite smooth, and level with the plain, there was no necessity for their leaping over it; but it seemed that the fear of a snare, or a natural disposition to regard man as their enemy, induced them to mistrust even the ground which he had trodden.

* When Mr. Barrow asserts of the springbuck (Trav. p. 104.) that "its usual pace is a constant jumping or springing, with all four legs stretched out, and off the ground at the same time," he only proves how little he himself knew of a subject on which he was attempting to give information to others; and presents us with a specimen of the accuracy with which his book has been put together. I do not mean to say that in this description he is guilty of any intentional misrepresentation; for I really believe that he wrote it as well as he could.

[page] 110

This plain was nearly six miles across, and terminated by ranges of mountains or rocky hills. Its surface was uniformly covered with low bushes, diminishing in size as we advanced, till they were, in that part where we halted, not higher, on an average, than nine inches; nor could I find any which exceeded a foot. They were all of that dwarf kind which has been described on a former occasion.*

In the south-eastern quarter of the plain, we came to a large pond; and as it was at this time an hour after sunset, and it was thought too dark to venture farther, we here unpacked, and took up our station in a spot the most bare and unsheltered that can be imagined. Not a shrub could be found, by the side of which we might sleep somewhat protected from a cold wind which at night blew keenly along the surface of the ground; nor was there fuel sufficient for keeping, according to our usual custom, a fire burning till morning. Barely enough of these pigmy bushes could be pulled up before dark, for cooking our food. As stones were every where found scattered about, I ordered a few to be piled up in the form of a low semicircular wall, to shelter my head from the wind; but the men preferred exposure to the weather, to the trouble of collecting a few more pieces of rock for themselves. We were obliged to make our oxen fast, if it can be so said, to loose stones; but they, and the sheep, were nearly as tame as the dogs, and had become so used to the daily routine of our travelling, that they seemed to understand their duty; and, in fact, gave the people very little trouble in looking after them. This spot is distinguished on the map by the name of Pond Station.

19th. On account of the scarcity of fuel, we left this station before breakfast, and after having travelled a little less than two miles, arrived at the termination of this bleak plain; where we found the dwelling of a colonist. It was a mere hut, and had not been inhabited by its owner for some time, but two or three 'tame Bushmen' were living there, to take care of the garden; that is, to keep the cattle out of it, and watch that it was not plundered. They came out to

* At page 314. of the first volume.

[page] 111

greet us, when we halted a few minutes to inquire respecting our road and the name of the place. This they said was Groote Fontein (Great Fountain, or Spring).

From this place the country continued level and open during the remainder of the day's journey. Great numbers of springbucks were seen, and some gnues; but nothing worth remark was observed during a distance of eighteen miles, excepting the uniformity, and karro-like nature, of the country, every where apparently destitute of water. At the southern extremity of this plain, a few temporary pools were found, near some low hills which form its boundary; but not a tree was any where to be seen in the whole district.

The clouds now began to assume a threatening appearance; we therefore hastened our pace in hopes of reaching some shelter, before the storm commenced. At not more than a mile farther, we came in sight of a farm-house; and, after what I had experienced at Van Wyk's, it was not without some hesitation that I rode up to the door.

On seeing me arrive, one of the family came out, and, after the usual salutations, welcomed me into the house, and, immediately on entering, offered me a seat, in the same hospitable manner which I had found generally practised in most parts of the Cape Colony. To my request that my people might be allowed to take shelter for the night, in one of the out-buildings, the answer was, instantly, "Yes, certainly;" and when I said that more of my party were coming on, they replied, "There will be room for them all."

Scarcely were we under the roof, before there fell as violent and heavy a storm of hail and rain, as I had ever witnessed: the hailstones were three quarters of an inch in diameter. The rest of my people with the pack oxen, were not so fortunate, as they did not arrive till half an hour afterwards; but finding a house ready to receive them, they were in the best spirits, though thoroughly soaked with wet. The rain continued during the remainder of the day, to pour down in torrents.

The name of the place was Krieger's Fontein, and that of the owner Piet Vermeulen. The master himself was at this time absent on the commando, or militia-service, against the Caffres in the

[page] 112

Zuureveld; where he had been on duty, nearly three months; but his wife received us with the most willing hospitality.

Before it was mentioned by myself, she had discovered that I had eaten nothing that day; and immediately spread the table herself, and set before me, meat, eggs, butter, and some excellent bread. These, although so great a treat after privations such as those of a journey on horseback through the wild country of the Bushmen, were not so gratifying as the benevolent kindness with which they were offered. She had given orders, that my men should be supplied with both bread and meat, and that my cattle should be taken into the fold, along with her own. She expressed great surprise at the journey we had performed, and that a white-man should have ventured in so unprotected a manner amongst the Bushmen; but was still more surprised that I had escaped alive.

These are the common sentiments of the colonists living on the borders, and who are accustomed to regard these savages as a most dangerous race of beings; the very name of them conveying with it the idea of, stealing cattle, and of a cruel death by poisoned arrows. These ideas have not been admitted without cause; and even at this time, the boors occasionally suffer heavy losses: but the Bushmen, in exculpation, declare that they rob in retaliation of past injuries. Thus, the recollection of injustice on both sides, still operates to produce an international enmity which nothing but great forbearance and good sense can ever convert into mutual confidence: a result which I believe to be attainable by means of a steady co-operation of the government and the colonists, as soon as both these shall concur in the undertaking, as in one which is equally their religious duty and their moral policy.

Having been now nearly nine months without having received any intelligence from the Cape, I made many inquiries respecting the state of affairs; but in this remote corner of the colony, nothing was heard from Cape Town; and but little more was known of what was passing at Graaffreynet. At these farms the visit of a stranger is a rare occurrence; and, excepting their neighbours, for so they call those who reside within forty or fifty miles, scarcely any one is seen to pass this

[page] 113

way. Not even the butcher's man, or slagters knegt*, ever made his appearance at this distant farm; although the owner possessed a flock of not less than four thousand sheep; and many of his neighbours, not less than six.

Still, however, the rearing of cattle was their chief means of subsistence: the family, with their slaves and Hottentots, being fed with mutton at every meal, caused a daily consumption of two sheep, the fat of which was considered almost equal in value to the rest of the carcass, by being manufactured into soap. It was, as they informed me, more profitable to kill their sheep, for this purpose only, than to sell them to the butchers at so low a price as a rix-dollar or less, and even so low as five schellings.† Formerly the alkali necessary for this manufacture, was obtained here from the Ganna-(or Kanna-) bosch; but that being at length, all consumed through a constant demand for it, another species of Salsola growing wild in many parts of the country, was taken as a substitute, and found to be even preferable to the ganna. In the house, I saw a great number of cakes of this soap, piled up to harden, ready for their next annual journey to Cape Town; whither they go, not merely for the purpose of selling it, but of purchasing clothing and such other articles as are not to be had in the country districts, but at an exorbitant price.

The pasture of this farm, and of the whole of the neighbouring country generally, is thought to be less adapted for oxen, than for sheep; on which account, Vermeulen holds a farm in another division, better suited for his larger cattle.

The country in which we now were, is that division of the Graaffreynet district, which is called Achter-Sneeuwberg (Behind the Snow-mountains). It is, as well as several others in this part of the colony, very deficient in trees of dimensions large enough for planks;

* The office of slagter's knegt has already been described in the first volume, at page 201.

† That is; from four shillings to half a crown currency; or about half that sum in sterling money.


[page] 114

and its inhabitants, therefore, fetch the principal part of their timber from the forests beyond Bruyntjes Hoogte, from those growing on the Bosch-bergen (Forest Mountains), and from the borders of Kafferland, about the Baviaan's rivier (Baboon's river). Doors and tables, and the larger beams, were here observed to be all of Geelhout (Yellowwood); but the rafters were of willow, which is found to answer sufficiently well for this purpose, and is more easily attainable by the colonists living northward of the Snow-mountains, and, who find the banks of the Groote rivier, as they here call the Nugariep where it abounds, a much shorter and easier journey.

From the immense number of cattle kept on these farms, their manure accumulates in the fold, to a great thickness; and this, from time to time, is cut into square pieces in the manner of peat, and appeared to answer the purpose of fuel equally well. The walls of these cattle-pounds, are at many farms here, built entirely of such pieces of manure piled up to dry; and which go by the name of mest-koek (manure-cake). This fuel produces a strong heat; but gives out a disagreeable smell, until it is well ignited.

At this house, there resided one of those itinerant tutors of whom some account has been given on a former occasion.* He was a man of ingenuity, and of some experience of the world, having been in the Dutch service at Malacca, and Batavia, and having passed some time at Moccha in Arabia. He was related, he said, to an opulent family of the same name in Cape Town. At this farm he had been nearly a twelvemonth, employed in giving instruction to three sons of Vermeulen, who, besides these, had five other children.

This meester, as he was called, (that is; schoolmeester, or schoolmaster) considered it part of his profession, like the meester at Pieter Jacobs's, to let every person know the extent of his acquirements. But this was done without any inordinate share of vanity; and, I confess, I was not sorry at his making this display; for, although there was nothing which any person but a Cape meester

* Vol. I. p. 199.

[page] 115

would boast of, it was an agreeable relief from the monotony of a conversation on agricultural subjects, the only topics which generally are to be expected at such farm-houses. He exhibited some small drawings which, he told me, were done entirely with the juice of the petals of a species of oxalis producing a blue color, of the tint of indigo. He had very ingeniously made pencils from the hair of the springbuck; and as far as my present stock of drawing materials would permit, I was glad at being able to supply his wants, by furnishing him with a few camels-hair pencils and a piece of China-ink. With these be employed himself in the evening in making a copy of my drawing of the rhinoceros. His powers in penmanship were not despicable; and as a proof of steadiness of hand and of good sight, he gave me a piece of paper on which, by the naked eye, he had written the 'Lord's Prayer' twice in a circular space of less than seven tenths of an inch in diameter.

At night I sat down with the family to a hot supper of mutton; to which were added, a salad of cucumbers, and a large bowl of milk: this last being usually the concluding dish at a boor's supper.

The description, in the former volume, of Peter Jacobs's dwelling and of his whole establishment, will convey a tolerably just idea of the place. The rooms in the principal house being but three (that is, one in the middle in which the family sit and take their meals, and one bed-room at each end) a visitor could not be accommodated with a chamber to himself. A bed was therefore prepared for me, in the same apartment with the meester and his three scholars.

This tutor was in every respect, qualified for finishing their education, and for completing them for Dutch farmers; for a man who does not smoke, is a rare phenomenon in this colony, and is generally looked upon by the boors as an imperfect creature; a disadvantage which I myself laboured under, but which, for want of any natural talent for this accomplishment, I was never able to overcome. I might perhaps have partly retrieved my character in their estimation, could I even have shown them that I enjoyed it in taste; or even in smell, by exhibiting both nostrils blackened, and hermetically closed, with that elegant and fashionable dirt, called in

Q 2

[page] 116

England, snuff: but in both these arts, unfortunately, I was equally deficient.

This tutor, then, as soon as he was in bed, placed the candle by his side, as I at first thought and hoped, to extinguish it, that I might be left to close my eyes for that sleep which nature demanded after two days of fatigue with little intermediate rest. But finding that the light still remained, I turned my head towards it, and, to my double mortification, beheld the meester lying very quietly, with a short crooked German pipe hanging from one corner of his mouth, while from the other, arose clouds of smoke rapidly following each other, till the room was filled with the fume of tobacco, and myself almost suffocated.

At length when that pipe was finished, I had some little respite, but it was only while he was occupied in filling it again. In this interval, finding that I was not asleep, a circumstance not much to be wondered at, he began to relate to me some of his adventures in foreign parts; and these reminiscences afforded him so much satisfaction, that he allowed himself to talk and smoke in alternate fits, so that the second pipe, unfortunately, lasted twice as long as the first. But, as it would ill become a guest so hospitably received, to interrupt his entertainers' enjoyments, I endured it all with perfect patience till the last; though, at an hour when most mortals desire to be 'lulled into sweet oblivion,' his candle, his pipe, and his conversation, kept three of my senses in a state of continued irritation.

By degrees the smoking became fainter; the anecdotes of Malacca, Batavia, and Moccha, were at length all exhausted; he stretched forth his arm to put out the candle; and bade me Goodnight. But the long-wished-for hour of sleep was not yet come; and it now fell to his turn to be annoyed. Scarcely had we begun to doze, when repeated claps of the most violent thunder, roused us again; and flashes of lightning glaring through the window, gave us opportunities of beholding each other once more.

In a few minutes after this, the sound of the rain out of doors, pouring down in torrents, made me, notwithstanding the tobacco smoke, consider myself fortunate in being at such a time under the

[page] 117

shelter of a roof. Presently, I heard the meester start up, and, with furious rattling, begin dragging his bed, with the frame which supported it, from one side of the room to the other. He cried out, in a mixed tone of lamentation and surprize, that the rain was running down upon him in a stream, from the groot gat in het dak; and truly enough; for on looking upwards, I saw, what I had not noticed before, a 'great hole in the roof,' just above the place whence he had so long been issuing his fumigations, and his anecdotes of Malacca, Batavia, and Moccha. When I saw this, I began to regret that the storm had not commenced an hour or two sooner. Yet it would have been ungenerous, not to have condoled with him for having to sleep in a wet bed; as he had given himself the trouble of telling his adventures, purely from a wish to amuse me.

20th. These misfortunes consumed the greater part of the night; and the next morning was little better suited to cheer us. The rain had never ceased since it first began, and there was little appearance of our having any sunshine during the day. The clouds hung so low that the surrounding mountains were hidden from our sight; and the ground was every where deluged with streams of rain water, supplied by the torrents, which were seen at a distance rushing down the foot of the mountains.

Our breakfast consisted of coffee, the usual beverage at this meal; after which I was compelled by the rain, to remain in the house more than three hours; the good lady of the house at the same time, and the meester, assuring me that they had known it to rain there with little intermission for a fortnight, before they had any return of fair weather; and that a four or five days' rain was not unusual. But fortunately this was not the case at present; and as soon as it cleared up, I walked out to take a view of the place, while my men were packing the oxen. The clouds had risen above the mountains, and now gave me an opportunity of making a sketch of the house, and of a hill which was very remarkable on account of its great resemblance to the Table Mountain at Cape Town.* The colonists have dis-

* A view of Kleine Tafelberg and Vermeulen's dwelling, is given in the engraving at the head of the sixth chapter. The distant mountains on the right, are a part of Sneeuwberg.

[page] 118

tinguished it by the name of Kleine Tafelberg (Little Table-Mountain): it appeared to be about a mile and a half distant from the farm-house; and had the pleasing effect of inducing me, for some moments, to fancy that I was standing in the vicinity of that town.

In front of the house, there was a small garden: I saw growing in it, maize, dakka, cabbages, pumpkins, lettuces, cucumbers, and tobacco; but the latter had been stripped of all its leaves, and utterly destroyed by the hail which had fallen yesterday. Wheat and barley are grown on this farm in small quantities; but the climate has been found too cold to ripen grapes; and from the same cause their peach-trees appeared to be in a very unthriving state. In the month of April, they usually expect frost sufficiently severe to kill all their garden-crops; but it must be confessed, that in general the boors take very little pains with their gardens, and, from either ignorance, or slovenliness, are very bad gardeners. The productiveness of the Colony, or its aptitude for horticulture and agriculture, cannot therefore be fairly estimated from such specimens of cultivation as are commonly seen in travelling through it.

It was nearly two o'clock before all were ready for departing. At taking leave, Juffrouw (Mrs.) Vermeulen, who could not be persuaded to accept any remuneration for what we had eaten at her house, repeated her invitation for us to stop there on our return. It was not more on my own account, than for the character of the colonists, that I rejoiced at having, under her roof, met with a treatment which served to do away the unfavorable impressions received at the dwelling of Jacob Van Wyk.

So unusual a quantity of rain had fallen during the last twenty-four hours, that many parts of our road were covered with water, and but just passable.

About eleven miles and a half, brought us to the highest, and principal, branch of the Zeekoe rivier, (Sea-cow, or Hippopotamus, river,) which we attempted to ford, but found it too much swollen to be passed without danger. Just at this place, was the residence of a colonist of the name of Nieukerk, who, as we were endeavouring to cross the river, came out; and, perceiving that it could not be done

[page] 119

without risk, invited me to stop the night at his house, as the waters, he said, would probably have sufficiently subsided before the next day. I therefore proceeded no farther; but accepted the invitation and entered his friendly cottage; while our baggage was unloaded at a small straw hut in which my men were lodged.

All the buildings were of the most miserable description, and very little superior to that of which a representation has been given in the first volume.* The hut which was on (this occasion, appropriated to my Hottentots, could not, strictly, be called a shelter, as the rain in the night, ran through the roof upon them. Yet still we experienced hospitality, and the evening passed in a manner which was far from unpleasant.

Nieukerk was just returned from the commando, as the farmers term every expedition of a military nature; where he had been three months on duty; and gave us some account of the Caffre war, the object of which, was to drive the Caffres out of the Zuureveld, a district formerly purchased, or taken from them, by the Dutch; but which they afterwards invaded, and had kept possession of for some years, and obliged the white inhabitants to take refuge in the older districts of the colony. This warfare had been going on, already four months, and was not likely soon to terminate; for although possession of the country had been regained by the Cape troops aided by the militia of boors, it was found necessary to keep these troops constantly stationed on the frontier, to confine the enemy within their own territory; but who nevertheless kept the soldiery and farmers always on the alert to prevent their predatory incursions into the colony.

This militia, or commando, consists of boors drawn from the different districts of the Colony, by the immediate requisition of their proper veldcornets, who, on such occasions, call out the inhabitants, not by lot, but by routine. The men so called out repair to the rendezvous, generally mounted on horseback and armed with a musket of their own; and most frequently attended by one of their

* At page 238.

[page] 120

Hottentot servants. They wear no uniform, but are divided into squadrons, under the command of a veldcommandant, who is also a boor, nominated by the government, and who at all times retains that title, and with it, a rank superior to that of veldcornet. This militia is never called into service, but in cases of necessity; and if the duty should appear likely to continue for a considerable length of time, as in the present case, they are allowed, after serving a certain period, to return to their homes; and are replaced by others called out by the same authorities.

I now heard a confirmation of the lamentable news respecting Mr. Stockenström the late landdrost of Graaffreynet, a man so much esteemed and respected, and so peculiarly well fitted for the station he held, that his death was considered as a loss to the Colony. The circumstances which I afterwards learnt more fully, were, that being under the necessity of conferring with the commander of the troops stationed in the Zuureveld, he went escorted by a cavalry party of twenty-two Burghers (or Citizens; as the Dutch colonists are frequently termed) and their attendant Hottentots. Desirous of going by a shorter road, he ventured, contrary to the advice of the boors, through a part of the country from which the Caffres were, at that time, not completely expelled. He had no hesitation in taking this step, because, having on all occasions before the breaking out of the war, behaved with the greatest kindness towards that nation, he would not believe it possible that they could illtreat one who had been so much their friend. But unfortunately, it happened that a chief who had not been one of those who had shared his liberality, was in that neighbourhood, and heard from his spies that the landdrost was passing. This chief hastily collected a body of men, and sent them off with orders to destroy the whole of the party. When the Caffres met them, they accosted the colonists in an amicable manner; and the landdrost, as he had often done before, made them presents of tobacco, accompanied with friendly advice, to them and to their whole nation, to retire quietly out of the Zuureveld, that the soldiers might not be under the necessity of shooting them. They continued a short time longer in conversation; but at last perceiving

[page] 121

them growing insolent, and thinking it unsafe to remain amongst them, he was preparing to mount his horse; when they treacherously seized the opportunity and, at the moment of turning his back, pierced him mortally with their hassagays. At this signal, the burghers were surrounded, and ten of them killed on the spot: the rest escaped, only by being on horseback; though several were deeply wounded. On this occasion, the savages displayed a degree of barbarity which had not hitherto been supposed to belong to their character, but which their own mistaken notions respecting warfare, rendered perhaps praiseworthy or, at least, not dishonourable.

At this period, as Nieukerk informed me, the war had cost the lives of not more than thirteen Burghers, exclusively of soldiers and Hottentots; while the Caffres had lost two hundred of their number, before the former could dislodge them from the woods of that district: and, as they still ventured to make incursions, from time to time, many more of these tribes were shot.

I had much reason, in common with the Colony, to lament the death of the landdrost; whose character was, besides, an assurance that I should meet with every liberal assistance in obtaining the object of my journey to Graaffreynet. No other had yet been appointed in his place: the duties of the office, therefore, were fulfilled by one of the Heemraaden, of the name of Maré.

The inmates of Nieukerk's cottage, besides himself and his wife, were, his two brothers, and his wife's father and mother. The two last were far advanced in years, and complained much of the coldness of the climate of Sneeuwberg (Sneeberg), to which they were not yet inured, having resided here not more than two months; before which, they had lived in the Boschjesveld, a warm and dry country. Every one, in fact, seemed to be troubled with a cough; and as they were but new-comers, they found these highlands unpleasantly chilly. They all wore their hats within doors; but the effects of early habits and of a natural pleasure which I felt in showing respect to honest men, though tenants of the meanest cottage, always prompted me, on entering such a dwelling, to testify that respect by the same forms


[page] 122

which good-breeding pays as readily to the inferior as to the equal. This however the good old father-in-law would not allow, and though the feebleness of seventy, might have excused his moving, he rose from his chair, and fetching my hat, put it on my head, saying, he feared that I should take cold in the same manner as they themselves had done.

After tea, I was required in my turn, to tell the wonders of the Bushmen's country. My account of the treatment which I had received amongst the savages, did not fail to interest and surprise them. The old people, to whom more particularly, anecdotes of Bushmen were subjects of a novel kind, listened, with the greatest attention; and would have forgotten the hour of the night, if supper had not put an end to the conversation, and brought me a respite: for at last, the onus loquendi rested entirely upon myself. Both before and after supper, a pretty long grace was said, or rather sung, by one of the younger branches of the family.

I now for the first time, had an opportunity of witnessing the old colonial custom, of washing feet after supper. A maid-servant carried round to each member of the family in turn, according to age, a small tub of water, in which all washed in the same water. It must be regarded as a proof of their good sense, that they showed respect to the habits of a foreigner, by not pressing me to join in this ceremony: the tub was merely offered to me, and then passed on. But this custom is, I believe, gradually wearing away, throughout the colony. Its utility was more evident in former times, when the colonists went without stockings, as indeed many do at the present time; but since the country has become so much richer, that almost every person can afford to clothe himself more completely, this practice is falling into disuse.

The whole house formed but a single room; and in this a large fireplace at one end served for kitchen, where slaves, and some Hottentot maids, sat within the chimney, cooking both for the company and for themselves. At the other end a screen of mats parted off a bed-room for the female part of the family; while a few blankets spread upon

[page] 123

a row of mats on the floor, between the supper table and the fire, formed the only sleeping-place for the two young men, and for any casual visitors.

Here I was first informed that in the buiten districten (out-districts, or those far from the Cape) it is the general custom, to sleep without undressing, the coat excepted: but this custom has, I believe, many exceptions; especially at those houses where some degree of affluence enables the owners to furnish them more perfectly in the European style. Where there is nothing better to rest on, than a mat upon the floor, the practice may not be quite unreasonable; but in any case, it is not favorable either to personal cleanliness, or to health.

21st. In front of this house, and commencing immediately on the opposite side of the river, the mountains of Sneeuwberg (Sneeberg) stand full in view, and present a grand and interesting landscape; and which I was tempted to add to the number of my sketches.

On making an attempt to cross the river early in the morning, its waters were found to have risen even higher than they were on the day before; but by eleven in the forenoon, they had run off sufficiently to admit of our fording. In doing this, we were indebted to Nieukerk and his brothers, for pointing out the shallowest part; and as soon as we were safely through, we were saluted by the whole family, who stood on the opposite bank, with Goede reis, (A good journey to you.)

Along the right bank of the Zeekoe river, I observed a road much frequented, which led to the northernmost limits of the colony, and, as I was informed, to the southern banks of the Nugariep, whither the boors often go for the purpose of cutting timber. The mat-rush* grows here in abundance; but not a tree was any where to be seen: with this rush, all the houses in these parts of the Colony, are thatched. The country was mountainous on all sides. We kept gradually ascending, after having, at the distance of about four miles from Nieukerk's, recrossed the Seacow river, which takes its rise amidst the high mountains on our left, and after flowing along the

* Of the sort called Hard matjes-goederen: the Scirpus tegetalis, Vol. I. p. 263.

R 2

[page] 124

foot of Kleine Tafelberg, runs northward inclining to the east, and, passing by Plettenberg's Baaken, takes a more easterly course, as I was informed, and finally joins the Nugariep. A contrariety in the accounts which had been given me, of its course below the Baaken, leaves me in doubt whether, in laying it down on the map, I have adopted the true direction, or not.

At about eight miles and a half from Nieukerk's we passed the next farm-house, the residence of a colonist of the name of Coenraad Herholdt, where a garden with poplars, pine trees, willows, roses, and peach trees, presented in these wild highlands, a solitary glimpse of cultivation.

Beyond this, the road begins to ascend more rapidly, and enters the cold elevated region of Sneeuwberg proper. As we approached it, the air felt very sensibly colder; the grass became more plentiful in the valleys; and nothing presented itself in the prospect around us, but rocky mountains, the summits of which were enveloped in misty clouds. The unsettled state of the weather, assisted in strengthening the character of frowning grandeur which belongs to this scene. The rude and bold features of the wild landscape, and the sublimity of nature, were unmingled with any trace of human works; and the beaten track under our feet, was the only mark which could inform the traveller that these rugged valleys had ever been frequented; or that the abode of man was to be found in a region apparently so deserted and solitary. I halted, to make some sketches, but my fingers were so much benumbed with the coldness of the misty vapor, that I succeeded with difficulty. In less than two hours after passing Herholdt's, we gained the most elevated point in the road over the Snow Mountains. Here the declivities and valleys were covered with abundance of thick grass of a growth equally fine with that which we call 'sheep's fescue-grass.'* The road continued at this great elevation; and we travelled for more than three quarters of an hour, before there was any considerable descent.

On our left we sometimes caught sight, between the mountains, of an immense and lofty peak, the highest point of Sneeuwberg. This is

* Festuca ovina, Linn.

[page] 125

called by the colonists, Spitskop* (The Peak) on account of its remarkably pointed form, by which it is distinguished at a great distance over all the surrounding country, as much as by its superior height. It has been in later years, very unnecessarily re-named Compasberg.

That this is the most elevated part of the Cape Colony, there can, I think, be no doubt, if in addition to the peculiar and constant coldness of its climate, we deduce an argument from the circumstance of the different streams which proceed from it, taking their course in opposite directions: those on the northern side, flowing through the Seacow, and Gariep, rivers, to the western coast of the continent; while those on the southern and eastern, carry their waters to the eastern sea.

The first step in our descent from this chilly region, brought us to a fine grassy flat, covered with, what is the greatest rarity in Southern Africa, a real turf or sod, though in many places abounding in the mat-rush. Since quitting the Hex river, every stream which we had crossed, flowed towards the west; but at this spot, in a ravine on our right, we found a rivulet taking an opposite course; this may be considered as the highest source of the Sunday river.

A keen chilling mist, or rather a misty rain, now enveloped us; and my whole party complained of being extremely cold. I therefore resolved on taking up our night's station by the river, at the first spot where fire-wood could be procured; as we were all utter strangers to the country, and knew not whether by going forward, we should come to a better, or a worse, place. Wood however was, in this instance fortunately, so scarce that we were kept advancing, till, through the mist, we discovered a house before us, just at a time when evening began to approach. It was the dwelling of Piet Van der Merwe; who very readily, and with marked kindness, received us under his roof. My men, together with my young Bushman protegé, were comfortably lodged in the 'corn-house;' while I myself was

* See the vignette at the end of the sixth chapter; and the note appended to the 5th of May.

[page] 126

hospitably entertained in the house with the family; who considered themselves well repaid for their trouble by the information which they obtained respecting the Bushmen. They also, in return, communicated some information; that those tribes who inhabit the banks of the Nugariep, or Groote river, as they here called it, were considered so extremely savage, that the boors had never yet been able to bring about any friendly communication with them.

The name of Van der Merwe is one of the most common in the Cape Colony. In cases where several of the same baptismal, and surname occur, it is customary, in noticing them in writing, as well as when they sign their own name, to add the Christian name of their father, either at full length, as in the form, for example, of Jacobsz or Jacobszoon; or by the initials only, as Jz; a practice analogous to that by which, probably, we have obtained such names as Richards or Richardson, Johnson, Jackson, &c. But among neighbours, colonists of the same name are distinguished in a more familiar way, either by the place of their abode, or by some other circumstance. Thus my hospitable host was known to the boors around, by the appellation of Piet Dikwang (Thick-cheek,) on account of a swelling, or wen, upon his cheek.

Most of the family seemed to be troubled with slight coughs, the same as I had observed at Nieukerks; occasioned perhaps, by the foggy state of the weather. A cough appeared the more remarkable, as it was an ailment of very rare occurrence in the countries of the former part of my travels. But it is not to be pronounced a prevailing, or a common, complaint in the Snow Mountains, since I did not afterwards find it to be general; yet, it is more than probable, that the misty cold atmosphere of Snéeberg proper, renders its inhabitants very liable to be attacked by similar affections of the lungs.

The rhinoceros-bush grows abundantly on different parts of these mountains, and was the only fuel which I saw used at this house; other firewood being exceedingly scarce. The rhinoceros, as my host informed me, and as my own experience afterwards confirmed, is now nearly expelled from the Colony; it being very rarely to be seen within the boundary: and hippopotami, formerly so numerous in the

[page] 127

Zeekoe river, are no longer, unless accidentally, to be found there; but have all retreated to the Black River or Nugariep, where they may, for the present at least, live more undisturbed.

Van der Merwe had learnt from the observations of many years, that at this place, a southeasterly wind, such as we had at this time; almost always brings with it rain. In the winter, long icicles hang from the thatch of his cottage, and the water is covered with a thick ice. At that season the cattle, he asserted, would perish with cold, if they were not all removed to a warmer farm, or leg-plaats.

22nd. The air was exceedingly cold, and a misty rain continued to fall during the whole of the day. I became every hour more anxious to reach Graaffreynet, and therefore, as there was little prospect of gaining better weather by waiting till the afternoon, I determined to depart; not more, for the purpose of getting forward on our journey, than of descending from this cold region, into some warmer tract.

Just as I was on the point of mounting my horse, a man arrived from a neighbouring veldcornet who had received intelligence of a party of strange armed men having entered the Colony. This man had orders to discover, who we were, and what were our intentions. I briefly informed him, that we had none but peaceable intentions, and that I was on my way to the landdrost. This messenger, who by his manners and tone of voice, seemed to think that he was now employed on a very serious affair, preferred the information of Van der Merwe on the subject, to the suspicious stranger's own account of himself. After a few minutes' questioning, he rode off, well satisfied that the business turned out no worse: for it appeared that some alarm had been excited by the fact of people having come into the Colony, in a quarter where no arrival of the kind had ever been known before.

At taking leave, Van der Merwe gave us a warm invitation to make his house a resting-place on our way back. A near prospect of the termination of our present journey, put all my Hottentots in good spirits, and enabled them to set out without feeling disheartened at the weather which they saw we should have to encounter.

[page] 128

All were now wrapped up in every piece of clothing they possessed; and Ruiter had so tied himself up in skins of various sorts and colors, sheep-skins, leopard-skins, and goat-skins, that he looked more like an automaton pile of furs, than a man. The rain and mist became colder as we advanced; or rather, we felt it more keenly in proportion as we lost the warmth which we had acquired by the fire-side. The mist penetrated, where the rain could not; and every thing was either wet, or damp. The cold grew more piercing, and my people, more silent and dejected. I endeavoured to keep up their spirits, by assuring them that as soon as we should descend the mountain, we should find fair and warm weather: for we were then among the clouds; or rather, the clouds had sunk upon us. Yet, though much chilled and benumbed, I did not myself suffer so much as my Klaarwater Hottentots: they had long been accustomed only to the warm climate of the Transgariepine; and three of them were, besides, advanced in years, and one of these much enfeebled by age. Speelman and Philip, who, like myself, had been somewhat hardened by constant exposure to every kind of weather, and being, excepting myself, the youngest of the party, were the least of all affected by the cold. The sheep, of which we had only two remaining, and the dogs, began to droop. Still, the hope of soon descending to a lower level, gave us courage to go forward.

In this state we had been travelling about two hours and a half, when Philip, as I was riding in advance, hastily came on to tell me that the people were unable to proceed any farther, and that they were of opinion that the Bushboy was dying. When I returned, they all declared that they could endure the cold no longer. Old Cobus Berends's countenance was so much changed, and in so weak a voice he told me that the cold had seized his heart, that I really believed, considering his age, that he was struck with death. I had never before thought myself in so serious a situation: the poor little Bushboy who, excepting his kaross, was nearly naked, had seated himself down by the road-side. When I went to him, I found him affected to so alarming a degree, that he had no power either to move or to speak, and his face had assumed that peculiar yellowness

[page] 129

which, among blacks, is the visible symptom of, either approaching dissolution, or the decay of energy in the vital functions.

The most distressing reflections crowded on my mind. It appeared that the hand of death lay already upon him. What was I to tell the father at my return! That he had died of cold? This would not have been believed. I should have been accused of being the cause of his death; or of having left him in captivity under some of the boors. My return through the Bushmen's country would be impracticable. Kaabi, and the whole tribe, would have considered me no longer as their friend; but as one who had treacherously deceived them and betrayed the confidence of a father. The whole plan of my travels was deranged. I could not rejoin my waggons but by making a circuit by the Sack river again, and waiting for some favorable opportunity of crossing the Cisgariepine. These sad forebodings rushed upon me, and entirely occupied my mind: they made me forget my own personal feelings, and that every one of my men was now suffering from the severity of the weather.

We had therefore no alternative but to halt, although in an exposed open place without a tree, or scarcely a bush, that could afford us shelter. While those who were able to move, were unloading the oxen, two others went in search of firewood. This spot I have distinguished on the map, by the name of Cold Station; a name which, at this time, was more applicable to it, than to any other station in the whole of my travels.

On account of the rain which continued falling, and the wetness of our fuel, we found the greatest difficulty in kindling a fire; but the people took care afterwards to supply it with large quantities of wood, so that for some hours, it continued to burn in spite of the mist and rain.

My first concern was to bring the Bushboy to life; for he had no other appearance than that of a dying person. We placed him by the fire, and I wrapped him up in one of my own blankets: but he remained for half an hour completely speechless, and nearly unable to move. He took no notice either of the fire, or of any


[page] 130

thing around him; and Philip and Speelman repeatedly gave their opinion, that he would never speak again.

I saw that it was necessary to restore the activity of the vital functions, which the cold seemed to have nearly stopped: I was regretting that we had nothing of a stimulating quality to give him, when the recollection of having a bottle of volatile alkali, gave me some hopes. I immediately prepared in water, as much as half a teacup-ful, of as great a strength as could safely be administered.

It would appear by the use which I made of it, that I regarded this medicine as my panacea; for I gave a dose to the three old men; and the rest had so much confidence in it, that they were desirous of taking some also; but as I thought they could be restored without its aid, I judged it more prudent to reserve it for those who might have the misfortune to be bitten by serpents. Ruiter suffered almost as much as the boy; and was also speechless: but the warmth of the fire at last re-animated him. Hans Lucas's appearance was most miserable, and Berends's countenance was equally sad; but our Bushman Nieuwveld bore the cold much better than his countryman.

At length the boy was enabled to move his limbs; he crept nearer to the fire, and in a little time afterwards recovered his speech enough to tell me that the medicine had done him much good. After nursing him for about two hours, I rejoiced to find him sufficiently restored to be able to eat; and in order to fortify him against the night, I desired him to eat a large quantity of food; a request which is never unseasonable to a Bushman. Cobus, and the rest, revived by degrees; but all the party sat over the fire very melancholy and dejected.

The rain now had ceased for a short time, and the men took the opportunity to cook their dinner, or rather, supper. The apathy or forgetfulness of Hottentots, was here well exemplified: they had taken their own meal, without ever once thinking of their master, who, in the mean while, had been too much engaged in attending the boy, to think of himself. But being reminded by hunger, I ordered Philip to broil a piece of meat, while I sought for a place where I could pass the night: for it was then evening; the clouds had

[page] 131

again sunk upon us; and a violent and heavy rain, which ceased not during the whole night, had just commenced. At a little distance from my men, I prepared a spot, by forming a layer of bushes to keep my baggage and bedding from the ground which, being on a declivity, was deluged with streams of water. As it would have been folly to spread out my bed in such a situation, I seated myself upon my baggage, and held the umbrella over me. I waited for nearly an hour, expecting supper; but nothing was brought. I at length rose, and on going to the fire, found it extinguished, and all my people wrapped up in their karosses, for the night. My cook, with true Hottentot sang-froid, informed me that the water, which ran down from the higher ground, together with the rain, had washed away the fire, before the meat was half broiled. So that, finding this, he had put the chop intended for me, upon the bush, and laid down to sleep, without thinking it necessary to put me out of suspense, or to let me know that I was to have no supper that evening.

I therefore resumed my seat upon the layer of bushes, and covered myself up with my watch-coat. In this situation I passed a miserable night; with a cold rain pouring down from above, and torrents of water running under me. I sometimes fell asleep, but my feet being seized with cramp, I soon awoke again, and had sufficient reason for rejoicing at the return of daylight.

23rd. The rain had ceased, but was now succeeded by the same drizzling mist as before; yet I had the consolation of finding all my people able to bear another day's travelling, and the boy not only alive, but recovered.

That a Bushman could suffer so much from the inclemencies of the weather, was a case which I had never expected; nor do I think it one which occurs often. This poor little fellow was young and extremely slender, and at the same time, almost naked; circumstances which might well render him obnoxious to a degree of cold which perhaps, to be estimated correctly, should be considered as extremely severe and uncommon in this part of the globe. I could not but admire the fortitude with which he bore his sufferings: he never complained; but continued without a murmur, patiently walking on, till

S 2

[page] 132

inability to move his limbs prevented his proceeding farther; and then, he merely said to the Hottentots, that he was very cold.

Early in the morning, two boors on horseback, attended by two Hottentot achter-ryders, or according to colonial pronunciation, achter-ryers, (after-riders,) passing by, halted for about ten minutes, and as usual, made inquiries, whence we came and whither we were going. These men, as I was afterwards informed by the landdrost, were then going to Graaffreynet for the purpose of reporting to him our numbers and of explaining who we were. One of them was the veldcornet: their manners led me to suspect this; and I asked if either was the veldcornet, but they replied, No; and to my question, whether they were going to Graaffreynet, they gave the same answer. The Hottentots, who knew the tricks of the boors in such cases, better than I did, were of opinion that the cause of their telling so unqualified a falsehood, was the fear of my putting the veldcornet in requisition for some assistance; as he had been informed by the messenger he sent to Van der Merwe's, that I had that privilege. They asked if we were not afraid to venture in so defenceless a manner through the Boschmans-land; — at this moment, I could not help turning my eyes from them to poor little Magerman, and wondering that men of such gigantic stature, should not feel ashamed to confess that so diminutive a race of savages could inspire them with personal fear.

These achter-ryders are servants intended both for outward show and for use, and correspond in this twofold nature of their duty, to many of our English grooms. A colonist generally takes with him a Hottentot of this description, when he undertakes a journey to any considerable distance from home: and near the borders, such an attendant is far from useless, as he ensures to him some additional safety.

Soon after we left Cold Station, we descended below the clouds and mist, into a drier region; where, had we been better acquainted with the country and my men had been able to travel farther yesterday, we might have passed the night in a less wretched situation.

The country was very mountainous though in some places we

[page break]

[page] 133

found intermediate spaces of level ground. At the distance of about five miles from Cold Station we crossed a branch of the Garst (Barley) river, which was at this time so full, as to be but barely fordable; and a mile farther we passed a house and farm belonging also to Piet Van der Merwe, and which he had mentioned to us as a place where we might take up our quarters. From this house, till we quitted the Sneeuwbergen, the hills resume the tabular form so common in the Cisgariepine; and many, which were both large and lofty, succeeded each other, with intervening levels of various extent. The country of the Sneeuwbergen, may be described as a very elevated region, level in many parts, but almost every where thickly studded with high rocky mountains.

After this, we travelled between four and five hours longer, without halting; and were rejoiced at finding ourselves arrived at the top of the descent from the Snow Mountains. The prospect was exceedingly fine, as wild and rocky scenery. Lofty mountains in the distance seemed to close the view before us, but the road, after descending into the valley, leads round on the right, into the extensive plains which lie between the Sneeuwbergen and Graaffreynet. This view, and the appearance of our party, are represented in the second plate.

The descent was very steep, and the road in some places broken and dangerous. Here we found trees of a larger size than we had seen for some time; and the deep glens and bold sides of the mountain, were rendered verdant by an abundance of large bushes of spekboom (fat-tree*,) and were well covered with wood of rich and beautiful foliage. Amongst these were many which I had no where met with before, but which, at this time, I had no opportunity of collecting.†

* Portulacaria Afra.

† Of these, I noted in passing,
Grewia robusta, B. Catal. Geogr. 2845. Ramuli robusti rigidi. Folia parva ovata obtusa crenulata subtus tomentoso-albida. Fructus subhirsutus, sub-tetracoccus. Pedunculi solitarii oppositifolii, foliis paulò breviores uni- vel bi-flori. Flores purpurei.
Celastrus linearis, B. Cat. Geog. 2872. Frutex 6—8-pedalis. Folia integerrima linearia. Spinæ internodiis duplò longiores rectæ horizontales folia proferentes simul cum cymis sessilibus. Incolis Hollandicis dicitur Pen-doorn; nomen aliis fruticibus pariter spinosis commune.

[page] 134

We continued descending for a long time: the sun had already set, when we reached the foot of the mountain. Here, very opportunely, we found a deserted hut which, though in a very ruinous state, we were happy in taking possession of. It consisted only of one room; part of the roof had been blown off; the floor was covered with the rubbish of the thatch which had fallen in; and the door and windows had been taken away. This I considered as placed in my way by good-fortune; as I began to perceive symptoms of a violent fever; having felt a chill and shivering, even in the sunshine, and the cold I had taken, having already produced a hoarseness.

A fire was made within the walls, and my blankets, which were still very damp, were spread in one corner of the hut, upon some straw which luckily had escaped the rain. I layed myself down immediately and wrapped my driest covering about me, hoping that this treatment and my former remedy, would, before morning, remove the fever, as they had done on similar occasions. As soon as enough embers had been burnt, the men baked in them some bread made with the flour which I had purchased of Van der Merwe.

24th. In the morning, finding the fever rather increased than abated, I resolved to try the experiment of a dose of 'antimonial powder,' and was obliged to keep my bed. The weather was fair, and the day sunny and pleasant; but I was now, for the first time since leaving Cape Town, unable to travel. I sent Philip on the horse to examine if the Zondag (Sunday) river was fordable; and in less than two hours he came back, and reported that we might pass it with safety.

Soon after his return, three burghers on horseback, armed with muskets and well provided with ball and powder, arrived from Graaffreynet, which was about ten miles distant, having been sent officially by the landdrost, for the purpose of ascertaining the truth of the reports respecting us. They entered the hut, when my men having pointed out to them their master lying asleep, I was awakened by the sound of Dag, which they repeated till I uncovered my head and returned their salutation.

They began by stating that they were sent by the landdrost to

[page] 135

make inquiries respecting me and my party, and wished to know when I should be at the village; I replied that it was uncertain, but that it would not be to-day. After some further parley, they became importunate for me to go to Graaffreynet that day, and said, that they had orders to bring me to the landdrost. To this I quickly replied, that I was unwell; and that I neither could, nor would, remove from that place; that they could have no authority for disturbing me; and that they might inform the landdrost, that it was my intention to come to him as soon as I could conveniently. This, and the tone in which it was spoken, put an end to their importunities. But I must in justice to these men, admit that the situation in which they saw me, lying on the ground in the corner of a roofless hovel, was ill calculated to command much respect.

They then, with a little more civility, requested to be informed who I was. Their civility obtained for them, far more than their rudeness would have done; and I gave them to read the government papers which authorized my travelling without hindrance, and permitted me to require assistance. This immediately brought about a revolution in their sentiments and behaviour: they offered to send for a paarde-wagen* and every necessary accommodation for conveying me to the village; and a letter was without delay sent off to the landdrost. I ordered a chop to be broiled for them; and as they had accomplished their mission, they remained merely to gratify their curiosity by questioning my men respecting the countries we had passed through; and continued sitting at their ease for two hours afterwards.

Before these visitors had left me, there arrived two others of a more agreeable kind: I was surprised to see enter my hut, an officer of the 21st regiment of light dragoons; a regiment which I always remember with pleasure. It was Mr. Menzies the surgeon of the regiment, and Mr. Oloff Stockenstrom the younger son of the late landdrost, who now had the kindness to visit a stranger, personally

* A paarde-wagen is a light waggon drawn by horses, and used more frequently for the conveyance of persons, than for carrying any other loads: it is in fact the colonists' carriage of pleasure.—Compare this with the note at page 28. of the first volume.

[page] 136

unknown to them both; but report having informed them of the circumstance of an Englishman having entered the colony in an unusual manner, they judged it not impossible that it might be either Dr. Cowan or Captain Donovan; and under this persuasion they had brought with them an army list, that I might be gratified with a sight, as they supposed, of my own promotion. They sat down by my bed, and expressed themselves exceedingly shocked at the fatigue which they concluded I must have suffered, and at the wretched lodging in which I lay. I felt so much pleasure in thus unexpectedly meeting with a person with whom I could speak my own language, that as long as they remained, I never once thought of my fever. I asked innumerable questions, and inquired for news of every description.

They afforded me some amusement by relating that, on my account the whole village of Graaffreynet had been for several days in a state of alarm. The current report was, that three hundred of the Klaarwater Hottentots, under the command of a white-man, were marching to attack the colony, taking advantage of the favorable moment when so many boors were absent from their homes and detained on the commando in the Zuureveld. So greatly had the inhabitants magnified my little party, and so strongly was the report believed, that not only constant guard had been kept; but, on account of my near approach and hourly-expected attack, a number of persons remained under arms, and the guard and night-watch had last night actually been doubled. When I explained the circumstances of my journey and the object of my visit to Graaffreynet, Dr. Menzies in a most friendly manner, offered me accommodation in his quarters during my stay.

They had not long been gone, and I had just wrapped myself up again, when Philip came to announce the arrival of two other visitors. They were the acting landdrost and his brother, who, having at last correctly ascertained who I was, had brought the clergyman's carriage, the only one in the village, to convey me to town. They expressed themselves, as my preceding visitors had done, shocked at seeing me ill, and at the miserable abode in which I

[page] 137

was lodged; but I replied, that had so good a shelter presented itself the night before, I should not at this time have been so unwell. They pressed me to quit the place, and were desirous of taking me to the village, where I should find every necessary refreshment and attention. I resisted all their kind solicitations, as I felt too indisposed to be able to move; but promised, if the fever left me in the night, that I would be at Graaffreynet, on the following day. With this they took leave: and I once more covered myself up with my blankets.

Towards evening, the fever and hoarseness increased, and with the addition of a violent head ache, prevented all sleep. I endeavoured in various ways to excite perspiration; but without success.

25th. In the morning, however, my remedies had their full effect, and greatly relieved my pain. I have described my illness more particularly than I should otherwise have done, because it was, as I afterwards learnt, a species of 'influenza' which had pervaded the whole Colony. Few escaped its attack; and I was told that in Cape Town alone, six thousand persons had been seized with it; although comparatively few had died. A similar complaint was not known to have ever visited the settlement before. This epidemic, after passing over the whole Colony, for I never could hear of any symptoms beyond the boundary, was now on the decline, or supposed to have expended itself; but the air was not yet cleared from its pestilential quality, and we, unfortunately, arrived just in time to prove, that it had ceased, only because it found no more subjects to act upon.

I was still in bed when the landdrost returned: he was accompanied by Mr. Kicherer, the clergyman of Graaffreynet, who having heard that I had letters for him from the missionaries at Klaarwater, came for the purpose of inviting me to take up my abode at his house during my stay. As soon as I was dressed, I left the miserable, but most serviceable, hut; and was persuaded in a very friendly manner, to accept his invitation.

After leaving directions with my people to follow in the afternoon, I entered the carriage and we drove from a spot which, for some moments during my illness, I thought it possible I might never quit again.


[page] 138

Before we reached the town, we were obliged to cross the Sunday river three times: its greatest depth was, at this time, about three feet.

The missionary's letter began by stating, that they had endeavoured to dissuade me from the attempt to cross the Bushman country; and that, although they had thus written letters, they had little expectation of their ever reaching their destination. Mr. Kicherer, before he was appointed minister of this place, had spent several years as missionary among the Hottentots and Bushmen. For the latter people, he opened a mission at the Zak river; and when that failed, he accompanied those Hottentots who, it has been stated, (vol. I. p. 361.) were living an unsettled life on the banks of the Gariep, and persuaded them to remain stationary at Aakaap, whence they finally removed to Klaarwater. He was therefore well acquainted with the nature of that settlement; and expressed surprise at the fact of the missionaries there, not having been able to render me assistance in hiring the required number of Hottentots; and wondered at their making objections to my opening a road to Graaffreynet, which he considered as an important discovery, and highly advantageous for the missionaries themselves.

[page] 139



BEFORE noon we entered Graaffreynét; where I was introduced by Mr. Kicherer to his family and friends, as the person on whose account they had suffered so much alarm. The news of my having arrived in peace, soon spread through the village; and when busy report had reduced my dreaded party of three hundred, back again to eight, and had changed the expected hostile attack, into a friendly visit, all further apprehensions ceased, and the folly of the mistake, became a source of considerable amusement.

The landdrost who, I was afterwards informed, was at first so much alarmed as to give orders for guarding all avenues to the village, told me that he had received a correct report of the number of my men, but could get no one to believe that it was so small; and that it was found difficult to quiet the fears of the inhabitants, who magnified their danger to a distressing, though ridiculous, degree.

The affair, which had cost me so long and fatiguing a journey, being to myself of more importance than every other object, I lost

T 2

[page] 140

no time in conferring with the acting-landdrost, on the readiest mode of hiring the number of Hottentots required. He called upon me in the evening, for this purpose, and stated that he was unable to point out where any such men could be found; that he knew of none who were at this time out of service; that this scarcity was in great part, occasioned by the commando against the Caffres, the demands for which, had drained all the neighbouring districts; and that he had himself no power in this case, because, being merely an acting-landdrost until the regular appointment of another, he felt unwilling to proceed without the instructions and authority of the commandant of the troops on the frontier, who happened to be the same Colonel Graham, from whose regiment I had obtained my Hottentot Philip. It was therefore agreed, that he should write on the morrow to explain the affair to the commandant, and solicit his assistance, and an early answer.

On the death of the late landdrost, the duties of the office devolved in the interim, according to established custom, upon one of the Heemraaden: and this now fell to the lot of Mr. Paul Maré, a respectable burgher and shopkeeper of the village. This situation of affairs was, therefore, not the best suited to my visit, and appeared likely to detain me longer at Graaffreynet, than I had calculated, on the supposition of finding that office held by Mr. Stockenström. l felt much disappointed at hearing it stated by the landdrost, that he had not this power; as, whatever might have been the reasons which induced him to think so, I myself at the same time believed that he was fully competent to give me the assistance I required, and was afterwards convinced that my opinion was right.

My men did not arrive till the dusk of the evening, but the little Bushman was not with them. He had remained in the hut till the moment of their coming away; when he had taken an opportunity of slipping off unperceived by any one. They waited a long while searching for him in every direction; but could discover no traces; and therefore concluded that his absence was intentional, and that he meant to return to his kraal. We remarked that he had appeared very contented with us, as long as we were alone; but when

[page] 141

so many strangers with their carriages and attendants continued visiting my hut, yesterday and this morning, and the boy not comprehending whether their object was good or harm, he was observed to look about him with mistrust, and to become evidently uneasy: yet he made no remarks to any one. I had myself while lying in my bed, noticed him very busy in putting in order his arrows, of which he had only fifteen in his quiver, by warming the heads over the fire to soften the poisonous compound with which they were covered; and then rolling them cylindrically on a flat stone, to smoothen the poison and bind it firmer to the arrow: but at that time I had not the least suspicion that he was preparing to leave me, otherwise I would have quieted his fears. Knowing his own intention, he had provided for his return, by begging tobacco from every one of the Hottentots, but had not ventured to take any provisions, as that circumstance would have betrayed his design; nor had he even a tinder box, an article almost indispensable for such a journey. Although uneasy at losing him, I was far less anxious on his account, than I was at Cold Station, where I expected he would die while in our hands. I had now a hope that he would find his way back in safety to his father, and that, by travelling in the night, he would escape detention by the boors; yet the subject remained a source of some anxiety, lest the event should happen otherwise.

A small tent was lent me by Mr. Kicherer, for the use of my men, and they pitched it on the open ground at the back of his garden.

26th. The bustle and variety of business had yesterday completely occupied my attention and given me temporary strength; but I was not so far recovered from my illness as I supposed. I relapsed into a state of great debility, and, in the course of the preceding night and during this day, became much worse than before. The fever and hoarseness increased to a high degree, and l was unable to leave my bed. Nothing could be more truly hospitable and friendly than the attention paid me by Mr. and Mrs. Kicherer, in whose house I thus lay sick: the lady, whose knowledge of domestic medicines was considerable, prescribed for me all those remedies which had been found, or thought, serviceable in the late epidemic;

[page] 142

but this complaint appeared to be of an intractable nature, and in spite of all which was done, seemed still to take its own course. One of its remarkable symptoms, was, an unusual heat at the throat, followed by a violent cough attended with expectoration. This, I was told, had universally been found to be the effect of the disorder.

On the following day, I received a visit from Dr. Menzies and Lieutenant Schonfeldt, the commissary for troops at Graaffreynet. In most cases friendly visits to an invalid are beneficial, as they divert the thoughts, and thus often operate more successfully towards the recovery of health, than the most efficacious medicines. The polite attention which I experienced from Dr. Menzies during the three weeks of his stay at this village, contributed much to render my detention here less irksome to me, than it otherwise would have been. There were no English residents at Graaffreynet, excepting a few dragoons for the purpose of conveying despatches; nor, during the whole time of my abode here, was it visited by any of my countrymen, excepting once by Colonel Arbuthnot, with whom I had the pleasure, at Lieutenant Schonfeldt's table, of conversing in my own language; a gratification only to be appreciated by those who have long been deprived of it.

28th. Thirty waggons with colonists and their families from various parts of the district, some from a distance of two or three days' journey, arrived and were outspanned on the plain which surrounds the church, and to which the number of white tilts gave somewhat the appearance of a fair. These people came for the purpose of attending divine service and of receiving the sacrament; the following being one of the quarterly days appointed for that duty. On such occasions, it is said, thrice this number are usually seen; but the absence of many boors who were on militia duty in the Zuureveld, had greatly reduced it; and the clergyman, on inquiring why so few now attended, was told that many more communicants would have come, had they not been deterred by a report that a body of three hundred Hottentots were marching in a hostile manner to Graaffreynet.

It is very difficult to account reasonably for the propensity which men, not only in this Colony, but in other countries better informed and more polished, have for propagating false reports. Their fears,

[page] 143

their credulity, or their folly, may obtain a perverse influence over their judgment; or their private views, or some secret motives, may seduce their feelings and respect for veracity, and lead them to repeat and spread such reports; but those who first set on foot tales which they know to be untrue, are the very worst and most dangerous characters in society, and deserve the heaviest punishment, if any can be found heavier than the universal contempt which follows detection. In the present instance, the misrepresentation was, I believe, to be attributed only to ignorance and fear combined.

April 1st Graaffreynet holds a regular communication with Cape Town, by means of a mail which sets out every first and second Wednesday in the month. This mail is conveyed on horseback from stage to stage, by Hottentots who are under the superintendance of farmers, or other persons, residing at certain distances along the road. It does not proceed directly to Cape Town, which, by the nearest way over the Karro and round by Tulbagh, may perhaps be about six hundred and fifty miles distant; but it is carried to Uitenhage, and thence forwarded to the Cape. By this day's post, I informed my friends at the latter place, of my arrival here, and of the present uncertain state of the question respecting the hiring of Hottentots.

Having now sufficiently recovered my strength, I took a ramble along the river. The rains of the two last days, had rendered this stream impassable for any carriage, and as there is no practicable road towards the south, but through the stream, several of the waggons which arrived on the 28th, were detained two or three days. This, which is a serious inconvenience to the town, might be remedied by a ferry-boat similar to that which has been described when passing the Berg river: or it might perhaps not be found impossible to form a road, for foot-passengers at least, along the mountains on the eastern side; by which the river might be avoided altogether.

The village of Graaffreynet has its advantages, as well as its disadvantages; it is situated in the heart of a country productive in cattle and corn, rapidly increasing in population and property, and surrounded by a fertile soil; it enjoys abundance of water, and, it is said, a healthy climate. Fruits and vegetables of all kinds grow

[page] 144

here in perfection. An experienced farmer, in this district, informed me that the produce from good corn-land, is, in ordinary seasons, much greater than the same quantity of seed would have yielded in Europe.* The high mountains on either side of the town, add a grand feature, and great beauty, to the view; although they circumscribe rather narrowly the fields of the environs. But for all the purposes of horticulture, there is more land than will in all probability ever be required. These mountains are the haunts of tigers, or, as they are called in Europe, leopards; and abound in baboons of the same species which is common all over the Colony; but, as a counterbalance to this, serpents, it is said, are rarely seen in this vicinity.

This village, with its adjoining gardens and fields, is nearly surrounded by the Sunday river, and sheltered on each side by lofty mountains decorated with perpetual and beautiful verdure, by the abundance of Spek-boom (Portulacaria Afra) which covers their rocky declivities. It consists of one broad principal street, of detached houses, adjoining to each of which is a garden well planted with fruit-trees and continually supplied with water. The church, a

* The following abstract from the official returns, will be the more interesting, as it may be taken as an example of the rapidly improving state of the whole Colony.
1804 In the District of Graaffreynet 1811. Increase in 7 years. Total in 1811.
764 Men 1541 777 white Population 6683
575 Women 1154 579
950 Boys 2001 1051
917 Girls 1987 1070
2397 Male Hottentots 3057 660 Hottentots 6366 Black Population 8336
2527 Female Hottentots 3309 782
579 Male Slaves 1186 607
385 Female Slaves 784 399 Slaves - 1970
1766 Draught and Seddle Horses 3274 1508
3149 Breeding Horses 5810 2661 Horses 9084
9903 Draught Oxen 15,637 5734
36,042 Breeding Cattle 54,747 18,705 Large Cattle 70,384
55,597 Goats 107,395 51,798
536,634 Sheep 1,293,740 757,106 Small Cattle 1,401,135
One circumstance in the above statement is remarkable;—while the numbers of the Dutch colonists and their slaves have more than doubled; the Hottentots have increased but little more than a fourth. A colonist's wife with twelve children, is not extraordinary; but a Hottentot woman with six, is considered more unusual.

[page] 145

large handsome building, on the ground plan of a cross, stands on a spacious plain at the northern end of the main street, of which it forms the terminating object; while the river, with its banks beautifully clothed with trees and shrubs, closes the southern end. The drostdy, though inferior to the residence of the landdrost at Tulbagh, is a respectable edifice. It stands near to the church, at the upper end of the street, and on the western side. A representation of this building and part of the street, is given at page 139. The plain or green in which the church is situated, is bounded by a hill, from which the lofty Snow-mountains appear full in view. An opening between this hill and the mountains on the east, is the only approach to the village, from the north: from the south, there is no other entrance than through the river. The residence of the clergyman was, at this time, on the western side of the street, and towards the lower end; but a large and handsome edifice intended for the parsonage, was at this time being erected in another street. On the northern side of the principal street, several others intersecting at right angles, together with many detached dwellings, were rapidly rising in every quarter.

At this time Graaffreynet could only be called a village; but, from the projected improvements, and the activity with which they were being carried on, the name of town, would soon become more appropriate. Seven years before this, the number of houses was between fifteen and twenty; but at this date there were seventy-four; of which, indeed, some were not yet completed; besides eight more already planned. I saw at this time, three smiths'-shops, a waggon-maker's, and several shops or houses at which a variety of European goods might be bought. There were also a town butcher and baker, and a pagter, (pakter) or retailer of wine and brandy; who are appointed by licence from the landdrost. Along the principal street a row of orange and lemon trees, at this time loaded with fruit, formed a decoration as novel to an English eye, as it was in itself beautiful by the clean glossy verdure of the foliage, and the bright contrast of the golden fruit. The general fruit-season was just past, but quinces were still hanging on the trees. All kinds of


[page] 146

vegetables were exceedingly cheap. The price of meat was equally low; that of beef being no more than two stuivers a pound*, and of mutton, one schelling † for five pounds. But house-rent was even higher than at Cape Town. ‡ the immediate vicinity of Graaffreynet, but little timber can at present be found suitable for the purposes of building. All planks and the larger beams are fetched from a considerable distance south-eastward, where they are cut in the forests about Baviaans river, and on the Boschberg.§

The banks of the river were thickly covered with willows and Acacias; many of which were clothed with a species of Clematis climbing upon their highest branches, while others were decorated with festoons of an elegant species of Periploca, the beautiful shining dark-green foliage of which, was interspersed with. a profusion of fragrant white flowers: this plant often grew so luxuriantly that it quite concealed the tree upon which it entwined itself. The branches of these Acacias were sometimes ornamented with a handsome Loranthus, and two or three kinds of Missletoe. Another remarkable plant found on these banks, is a climbing sorrel, which often mounts by the aid of other shrubs, to the height of fifteen feet.║

* One penny English currency, or, at this time, less than three farthings sterling.

† Six pence English currency, or four pence sterling.

‡ A further account of Graaffreynet and its natural history, belongs more properly to a later period of my journal; for which it is therefore reserved.

§ In the forests on this mountain, I found, at a subsequent period of my travels, a beautiful flowering tree, remarkable, not only for rivalling our Laburnum in profusion of bunches of fine yellow flowers, but as an instance of what I have formerly stated respecting the features of Cape Botany (Vol. I. p. 182.), as this tree bears a close resemblance to one which is peculiar to Japan, Sophora Japonica. It sometimes attains the height of thirty feet, but produces flowers at a much smaller size, and even in the deepest shade of the forest. It is the
Sophora sylvatica, B. Catal. Geogr. 3I88. Arbor pulcherrima sub-trigintipedalis (sæpe frutex) glabra. Ramuli virides. Folia pinnata sub-sexjuga cum impari. Foliola opposita ovalia, vel obovata, apice rotundata. Racemi vix foliis longiores multiflori. Flores flavi conferti longiùs pedunculati. Vexillum obcordatum subreflexum; alæ patent. Legumen membranaceum compressum polyspermum (semina circiter 12) per suturam superiorem alatum, vel margine tenui auctum.

Rumex (Acetosa) scandens, B. Catal. Geogr. 2890. Radix tuberosa. Caules ramosi scandentes. Folia petiolata sagittata acuminata. Panicula terminalis divaricate supradecomposita. Pedunculi filiformes. Valvulæ nudæ orbiculatæ integerrimæ, basi cordatæ. An R. sagittatus, Th. Fl. Cap. 2. p. 348. ?
At this place I met with a shrub which occurs in various parts of the country; it is not the only species of the genus Ehretia which I have found in Southern Africa.
Ehretia Hottentotica, B. Catal. Geogr. 2117. Frutex sub-5-pedalis. Ramuli albidi. Folia petiolata obovata integerrima lævia, margine scabro. Cymæ paucifloræ extraaxillares. Flores purpurei. Laciniæ corollæ ovatæ obtusæ, marginibus vix conspicuè tomentosis. Calyx profunde 5-fidus, divisionibus acutis subtomentosis. Bacca globosa flava tetrapyrena.

[page] 147

These mountains are the native soil of an extraordinary plant called Hottentots Brood (Hottentot's Bread). * Its bulb stands entirely above ground, and grows to an enormous size, frequently three feet in height and diameter. It is closely studded with angular ligneous protuberances, which give it some resemblance to the shell of a tortoise. The inside is a fleshy substance which may be compared to a turnip, both in consistence and color. From the top of this bulb arise several annual stems, the branches of which have a disposition to twine round any shrub within reach. The Hottentots informed me, that, in former times, they ate this inner substance, which is considered not unwholesome, when cut in pieces and baked in the embers. It will easily be believed that this food may not be very unlike the yam of the East Indies, since the plant belongs, if not to the same, at least to a very closely allied, genus † as the membranaceous capsules, with which it was at this time covered, clearly proved.

* A representation of this plant, in the proportion of one fifth of its natural size, is given at the end of the present chapter.

Testuddnaria, Salisb.
By the liberality of my friend, Mr. R. A. Salisbury, I am enabled to anticipate a portion of his long-expected work on a general arrangement of plants according to their natural affinities. In that work, which will soon be given to the public, the present genus stands, along with six others, in his 3d section of the order Dioscoridœ, or among those having a membranaceous pericarp, all the lobes of which are fertile. The name of Testudinaria is peculiarly appropriate, and is meant to express the resemblance which the bulb, or tuber, has to a tortoise. The following generic character is copied from that work.
"Testudinaria. Petala in cyathum coalita, dein reclinata, oblonga, interiors parum latiora. Filamenta 6, longiuscula in hoc ordine. Antheræ oblongæ emarginulatæ. Styli coaliti. Stigmata recurva, obtusa. Semina apice alata.—— Herbæ in Promontorio Boncæ Spei, 7—12-pedales. Radix in tuber grande areolatum supra terram emineus. Caulis superne volubilis, teres, rigidus at quotannis periens. Folia alterna, renifbrmia, in una Soldanellæ. Flores dioici: masculi spicis laxis parum ramosis; fœminei spicis brevioribus; viridi-flavescentuli. Pedicelli breves. Bracteæ solitariæ. Species 2. Tamus Elephantipesy L'Her., aliaque nondum edita."
The present plant, which has much smaller leaves than the species long known by the above name, may be distinguished as the
Testudinaria montana, B. Catal. geogr. 2912. Folia cordata, semicollapsa, latiora quàm longa, obsoletè nervosa, subtus glauca.

U 2

[page] 148

5th. At this time I had nearly recovered from all the effects of my illness; but two of my men were now seized with the same disorder, and in two days afterwards, the whole of them were lying sick in the tent None appeared to suffer so severely as I had; in some, the symptoms were but slight, and more resembling a violent cold. It was now my turn to attend on them, for considering that it was I who had brought them from their homes, where they would have escaped this attack, I felt it more especially my duty to take care of them.

At the end of ten days, all were well again; excepting Cobus, whose age was perhaps the only cause of his remaining indisposed a few days longer than the rest This old man, after making many inquiries among the Hottentots of the country, was unable to gain any certain tidings of his daughter whom he expected to find at Graaffreynet, and on whose account he had taken this long and fatiguing journey.* All that he learnt was, that she was alive, and had, not long since, removed to another part of the Colony. With this intelligence he was obliged to remain satisfied; and now had no other wish left than to return to his friends in the Transgariepine.

Hans Lucas was more fortunate in his journey, for he regained an ox, which he had lost two years before, and which he had relinquished all hope of ever seeing again. He accidentally discovered it among a herd of cattle belonging to the Drostdy. He immediately recognised and laid claim to it: and fortunately the circumstances were so clear, that it was delivered up to him without hesitation. Hans was at that time on a journey to Cape Town, and it was very well recollected by the Hottentots who then drove the landdrost's waggon,

* See Vol. I. p. 542.

[page] 149

that a strange ox, supposed to have belonged to the Klaarwater people, had mingled itself with their teams, and was brought along with them to Graaffreynet.

7th. On the arrival of the post from Cape Town, many of the inhabitants of the village, and particularly the female part, most of whom had never been inoculated, were put under great alarm by an account of the Small-pox having made its appearance there: and in consequence of this, some intended journeys to the metropolis were postponed.

Among the boors, the demand for Hottentot labor on their farms is everywhere so pressing, that all my search and inquiries for men, ended unsuccessfully. The landdrost declined acting in this business, without instructions from the commandant on the frontiers; and as no answer had yet been received from that quarter, every further arrangement was postponed.

In the interim, having no means of preserving the objects of natural history which I might have procured here, I employed myself in collecting information on the affairs of this part of the Colony, and often amused myself in drawing. The absence of my flute, was now felt to be a greater loss than I had supposed; but I occasionally supplied its place with an instrument which I little expected to meet with in this remote corner of Africa. In one of the cottages of the village I discovered an organ: and through Mr. Kicherer's introduction to the owner, obtained free access to it during my residence at this village. It was at the house of a worthy Hollander of the name of Bremmer. Here I often passed an hour or two; and many times would the sound beguile my thoughts to a land where I had heard it so much better played; and the recollection of distant scenes, or the memory of some delightful hour recalled by a few notes to which my fingers accidentally ran, have afforded me in the honest Bremmer' s cottage, a gratification which I would not have exchanged for all the pleasures of a grander mansion. Whenever they saw me at the door, some one of the family ran with a smile to let me in, and pleased at my coming, immediately went to open the organ and place a seat for me. The two daughters, the eldest of whom was not fifteen, sometimes very goodnaturedly took upon themselves the trouble of blowing the

[page] 150

bellows; but I usually took with me my Hottentot, Philip, for this purpose, who was more amused perhaps than any one else, and not a little pleased when I was obliged to tell him that I could not play unless he helped me; for it often happened that, his attention being entirely engaged by the music, he forgot to blow. The eldest of the daughters could play some psalm tunes, which she had been taught by the person who 'worked' the organ at the church; for so I must term it.

I had, previously to hearing of Bremmer's, made, by the clergyman's permission, an attempt upon that organ, attended by the organist himself; but was completely disappointed at finding it exceedingly out of order. It was however the donation of a pious boor of the district, to whom it had cost a considerable sum of money, though quite old when he purchased it. Yet, notwithstanding the price, it had a few defects over and above being thoroughly worn out: the keys were so rattling and noisy, and some so loose, and others so tight, that it was difficult to know what force each one required; and often, one or other, after being pressed down, would remain in that position while the pipe kept on growling, or squealing, till accident, or some assistance, stopped it again.

A regular musician could hardly be found to accept a situation which so badly repaid his services; for this person, who played merely psalm tunes in a plain manner and made no pretensions to a voluntary, was glad to accept, in addition to his music, a trifling salary as assistant in the village-school under the clerk.

The number of children taught in this school, was about fifty; and the charge was — for learning to read, including a book, one rixdollar a month; for writing, one more; and for arithmetic, another rixdollar. The master himself was allowed besides these emoluments, a house and garden.

14th. At length a polite letter from the commandant, dated at Bruyntjes Hoogte on the 12th, in answer to one from me on the 31st of the preceding month, informed me that he had written to the acting-landdrost to desire him to assist me in procuring men; and at the same time requested me to restore Philip to his regiment, unless I found him to be indispensably necessary. Now it seemed that I

[page] 151

was destined always to have favorable opportunities thrown in my way, for trying and proving my patience: for not more than six hours before the receipt of this letter, the landdrost himself had set out on a journey to the commandant, for the purpose of arranging some business which required a personal conference. Nothing therefore could be done with respect to my own affairs, till his return.

As there appeared so much difficulty in obtaining men at any rate, I considered that giving up one out of the only two which remained in my service, would really be 'advancing backwards' in the affair which brought me to Graaffreynet. I however mentioned his colonel's wish to the Hottentot, and now gave him his option of being a soldier again, or of returning with me into the Transgariepine; but he had so little hesitation in the choice, that he was even uneasy at the idea of the bare proposal of sending him back to his regiment. I afterwards repeated this proposal, but as he persisted in the same answer; and as he had been trained to my mode of travelling, and was now a veteran in my service, I considered him to be 'indispensably necessary.'

Speelman also, was claimed again by a person whom he happened unexpectedly one day to meet in the village, and to whom he had formerly been hired for a twelvemonth, but had not served out the whole period. But he escaped from him, by promising to work out the remainder of the time, after his return from the present journey.

During my stay here, much of the time was employed in keeping my people together, and in watching to prevent their falling into harm. They occasioned me continual uneasiness; for as they had now scarcely any occupation, I greatly feared that idleness would lead them into disorderly habits. The money I had paid them, together with that which they derived from the sale of the shamboks cut from the hide of the two rhinoceroses, was to them no source of advantage; and I had the mortification of discovering that nearly the whole of it was spent at the pagter's. I seldom went to the tent without perceiving evident symptoms of one or other of these foolish men having taken too much brandy: but I have a pleasure in doing them

[page] 152

the justice to declare, that, when in a state of intoxication, at which times there would be no restraint upon vicious inclinations, they generally exhibited a goodness of disposition which, I shall always think, belongs naturally to the Hottentot character.

One day, when they were in this state, Old Hans and Speelman came together into my room, with hearts overflowing with zeal for my service and the most respectful regard for my person. The object of their communication was some information respecting a Hottentot whom they expected to persuade to join our party. Their solicitude for the interest of my journey, and their repeated declaration that they were ready to do any thing to serve me, left nothing further for me to wish, but that they were sober.

Old Cobus had saved his wages till within a day or two of our departure, and had nearly established himself in my good opinion, as a Hottentot who was careful of his property; but, unable to resist temptation and bad example, he faltered at last; and I found him one day lying in the tent, after a fit of intoxication, bewailing the loss of all his money. This misfortune brought him sufficiently to his senses, to confess that he had spent a great part of it at the pagter's; but that the rest, being usually kept in his hat, had been stolen away, while he lay in a state of insensibility, or, as he more delicately called it, sleep. The thief was never discovered, nor even suspected.

One of my men appeared in his manners very different from the rest; he was always silent and sullen; seldom quitted the tent; and whenever any strangers from the village came there, as they frequently did for the purpose of learning some particulars of our journey, he used to cover himself up in his kaross and lie down in one corner as if asleep. On one occasion, when I ordered him to fetch some sheep which I had purchased at a neighbouring farm, he evinced the greatest reluctance to go, and, pretending that he was unacquainted with the road, begged that I would send another instead of him. This diabolical wretch had sufficient cause for desiring thus to hide himself from observation; yet, although the rest of my people sometimes remarked that his behaviour was strange and unaccountable, no one had any suspicions of his being the man whom he was afterwards

[page] 153

proved to be. I reserve the horrid story for that part of my journal to which it properly belongs; but I cannot without shuddering, reflect how often my life has been in his hands; nor remember without gratitude, the protection of Providence, which shielded me during my travels, from the many dangers, both seen and unseen, to which I have been exposed. This miscreant was he whom we have called Old Daniel

15th. From so irregular a mode of passing their time, my people fell into a neglect of, or rather an inattention to, the only duty required of them during our stay; and I was therefore not surprised at being told that all the oxen were missing. I despatched men in parties, to seek in different directions; and it was not till the seventh day of their search, that all were recovered. One of these animals, influenced by its long habits of sleeping by the waggons and of lying down to rest near our fires and in the society of men, returned home of its own accord: the rest were at last discovered at a distant place, grazing in company with a large herd belonging to the village.

On one of the days while the men were engaged in this search, one party was sent to explore the mountains; and, as tigers were said to haunt those places, they took the dogs with them for safety.Baboons* are also met with here in great numbers; and unfortunately the dogs, through a natural antipathy to this tribe of animals, pursued a small company, which turned upon them, and defended themselves most effectually. They killed one of the dogs on the spot, by biting it through the jugular artery; and another, they severely disabled by tearing a large piece of flesh out of its side; so that, a part of the ribs was laid bare.

18th. In the preceding fortnight, the weather had been dry and

* Cercopithecus ursinus. I have taken the specific name from Pennant, as being sufficiently characteristic, but have not perceived the necessity for adopting the generic name of Cynocephalus proposed by Cuvier. In this, I am supported by the opinion of the learned Illiger, who says "Anne genus Cercopithecorum cum sequente (Cynocephalorum) jungendum." Prod. Syst. Mamm., p. 69.


[page] 154

pleasant; but in the course of the following week, much rain fell: and for the remainder of my stay at this village, I was troubled continually with a 'cold in the head,' a complaint which had never attacked me while nightly sleeping in the open air. In this, the powerful effect of habit, on the bodily constitution, was remarkably exemplified; while, on the other hand, it proved that luxuries, as the convenience of sleeping in a warm bedroom might now be considered, may be attended with disadvantages.

19th. During my residence at Graaffreynet, I had constant opportunities of noticing Mr. Kicherer's extraordinary zeal in religion, and unremitted attention to the duties of his situation. Through his exertions religious assemblies took place every day in the week, either in the church, or at the meeting-house, or at private dwellings; and similar meetings of females were conducted by his lady. Four times a year, he undertook journeys through his district for the purpose of holding these assemblies in various places, for the convenience and instruction of those whom distance prevented from coming to the church. These pastoral visits were called huisbezoekings, or domiciliary visitations. Though enthusiasm in the evangelical cause is not an uncommon sentiment; I have no hesitation in believing Mr. Kicherer's religious feelings to have been as sincere as they were warm, and that his labors were directed by an earnest desire for the diffusing of the Gospel.

23rd. The landdrost, whose arrival I had been long expecting, did not return till yesterday; and this afternoon he sent to inform me that five Hottentots were waiting at his house ready to engage themselves in my service. Rejoiced at this agreeable intelligence, I repaired thither, immediately, and found them not only willing, but even desirous of undertaking the journey, as he had urged every favorable circumstance to encourage them, and was himself equally desirous that I should hire them. He fixed the wages which they were to receive; and to these, they instantly agreed. I therefore believed myself to be fortunate in having at length obtained the object of my visit to the Colony, and was happy at finding the affair thus at length settled. They had not, indeed, the looks of Hottentots of the

[page] 155

description I required; yet, as the landdrost assured me they would all prove valuable servants, I had no hesitation in engaging them; although three appeared to be mere boys. On the following day they presented themselves at my tent, ready for the journey; and I then paid to each one, a portion of his money in advance.

24th. Through Mr. Kicherer's recommendation and assistance, I also engaged two other Hottentots, or rather Half-Hottentots, who were considered to be of a much superior class, as having been baptized and taught to read: on this account I agreed to pay them a salary double that of my ordinary men.

The name of one, was Cornelis Goeïman the offspring of a Hottentot man and the daughter of a Dutch colonist; a mixture as rare, as the converse is common; most of the Mixed-Hottentots, in whom there is any Dutch blood, deriving it from the father, but very seldom from the mother. He was taller than the usual stature of men of his father's race, his complexion was fairer, and features nearly European; but his hair was still as woolly as that of a negro, though much less so than in the genuine Hottentot

The other, was Jan Van Roye (or Van Rooyen), a man formerly well known in England and Holland, as one of the three Hottentots who were brought to Europe about the year 1803 by Mr. Kicherer, and exhibited as specimens of missionary conversion. The names of these three, it may be recollected, were Martha, Mary and John. They excited great interest among the curious, more especially among the favorers of missionary labours; and met with much notice from all ranks of the community. Mary, or, as she was here called, Mietje, was the wife of John, or Jan Van Roye. After Mr. Kicherer's return from Europe, John, together with Mary and Martha, remained for some years under his protection as domestic servants; and were treated, as it will readily be supposed, with the greatest indulgence and kindness. But at length, Jan and his wife, giving way to their propensity to that ruinous vice, inebriety, and proving in other respects immoral and undeserving, their protector found himself compelled to put them out of his house; although he still continued, with benevolent feelings towards them, to watch over their conduct.

X 2

[page] 156

The candour with which he exposed to me the faults of these two men, is highly to be admired. He apprised me that they were too fond of brandy, and that, as they could always have access to the pakter's, they often, at Graaffreynet, proved troublesome and refractory; but that, in the journey they were about to undertake and where they could have neither temptation nor the means of gratifying that propensity, he did not doubt that they would be found valuable servants; especially as they were baptized and knew the Christian duties; qualifications which he naturally urged as a strong inducement for preferring them to ordinary Hottentots.

The truth of this account of their defects, was proved on the very same evening; for Cornelis made his appearance at the parsonage, in a state of complete intoxication, and had probably been induced to over-indulgence in his propensity, by the prospect of the wages of his new service. Both the minister and the landdrost, with the view of putting some check upon his excesses, had very wisely, though not perhaps legally, as the man was by his baptism entitled to the same privileges as the Dutch colonists, forbidden the pakter to sell him any brandy, unless he produced a paper signed by the one or the other, specifying the quantity which they allowed him to purchase; according to a colonial regulation framed, expressly for Hottentots, but which, I fear, is too often neglected. In this state, the man, finding his demands for more brandy, resisted by the pakter, flew to the landdrost; and, with violent and impertinent language, insisted on having his right. That step not availing him, he came to the minister, and in a turbulent indignant tone, asked what right any one had to restrain him as if he were a Hottentot: Was he not a Christian! and could he not have as much brandy as he pleased, without being obliged to ask leave of any man!

As these two people, but more particularly Jan Van Roye, might, from the instruction they had received, easily be believed to possess a degree of knowledge much superior to other Hottentots, I conceived they might, in an equal degree, prove superior to them in usefulness; and was, therefore, satisfied at having engaged them, as I could have little to fear from a disposition to drunkenness, in

[page] 157

countries where they would find nothing to drink but water. To lose no time in securing them for my service, I took them immediately to the office of Mr. Muller the District-secretary, where they were bound for the term of my journey, not in the forms customary for Hottentots, but a regular stamped agreement.

Soon after my arrival at Graaffreynet, Mr. Menzies had mentioned to me a German at that time with the 'commando' on the Caffre frontier, as a man who would probably be willing to serve me, and might be found useful in superintending my Hottentots and in looking after my cattle and waggons; therefore conceiving that such a person would be of great assistance, Mr. Menzies, at my desire, obligingly took the trouble of ascertaining his readiness to accompany me. Mr. Andries Stockenström, who, three years afterwards, became landdrost of Graaffreynet, was at that time on duty in the eastern districts as an officer of the Cape regiment, and, when informed of my wish to hire this man, who belonged to the detachment of which he had the command, he took the very friendly part, with the concurrence of Colonel Lyster, of granting his release from the militia, as he happened fortunately to be one of the disposable force; and without delay, sent him to Graaffreynet, where he arrived on the 14th.

This German had formerly been a corporal in the Dutch East India Company's service, and having lived many years in the Colony, had travelled over a great part of it. He expressed himself exceedingly pleased at the idea of a journey into the Interior, and made promises of the utmost obedience and fidelity: he was, however, very illiterate. His place of residence was on Sneeuwberg; but he appeared to have, on what account I could not clearly discover, several enemies or opposers, at this village. He was free in his religious opinions, and it therefore was not surprising that the clergyman, who had recommended the two Hottentots as valuable servants because they were Christians, should dissuade me from taking a man professing such sentiments: and in this he acted with a consistency becoming his professions. Among others who threw difficulties in his way, on this occasion, was the acting-landdrost,

[page] 158

Paul Maré*, who raised my suspicions as to the motives of his readiness to accompany me; and proposed, as a security for his good behaviour and to prevent his desertion on the journey, that he should sign a bond in the penalty of confiscation of all his property, on Sneeuwberg. This bond was to be deposited at the drostdy; and to be, either acted upon, or cancelled, agreeably to a certificate which I was to give him at the termination of the journey. To this arrangement the man would on no account consent; because no one, he said, could be answerable for the use that might in his absence be made of the bond, although the property it involved was of little value: nor could my promise of giving him immediately the certificate, or a paper to counteract its effect, induce him to agree to the landdrost's proposal. I was therefore left in equal uncertainty, whether the cause of his obstinacy might not be a consciousness of double-dealing, or whether it might really be the fear that some advantage would be taken of his bond. At length it was, in a few days afterwards, finally settled between us, that the signing of the bond should be relinquished, and that he should proceed home, as soon as possible, to arrange all his affairs for the journey; and that he should meet me on Sneeuwberg, at Herholdt's.

As soon as it became known in the village, what men the landdrost had given me, I received intimation from different quarters, that they were all, excepting one, known for incorrigible scoundrels, and the refuse of the tronk Hottentots.

It must here be explained that the tronk, or jail, is the general receptacle, not only of convicted criminals, but of such Hottentots or slaves as are found, improperly or illegally wandering about the country, without a passport, or unable to give a credible account of themselves; and who are lodged there for examination, or until their masters or owners fetch them away. These are commonly called by

* This is the colonial mode of expression, when mentioning the name of a boor: and it is not from want of respect that they always thus omit the title of Mr. when speaking of a person of this description.

[page] 159

the colonial term of drossers or gedrost Hottentotten (runaways). It is also a refuge for those who, having been illtreated by their masters, fly to the landdrost for redress: these are called Klagt-Hottentotten, or 'complaining Hottentots;' and are usually kept employed on the Government works, or set to labor at the drostdy, until their masters can be summoned to appear and answer to the charge. If this is clearly substantiated, the man is either released from his engagement with the boor, or given over to another master, or retained to work as a tronk Hottentot; although it often happens, when the baas's story is heard, that he is proved to deserve punishment, instead of redress. It may therefore sometimes occur, that among these tronk volk (jailpeople), there may be good and deserving Hottentots, as well as worthless.

Now, it happened unfortunately for me, that the selection had been made from those of the latter description: as it appeared from the best authority, that before my arrival at Graaffreynet, the landdrost and heemraaden had resolved upon dismissing from the jail, nine of the least useful, or rather, the more worthless; because, as it was said, there could not be found at the drostdy work enough to employ them. Several months afterwards I discovered that one of them had been kept in jail for having, after running away from his master, joined another Hottentot of the same stamp, and lived for several months by stealing cattle. It was reported, how correctly I cannot say, that some one had remarked that such men were good enough for the Englishman, as neither he, nor they, would ever return alive. My people were often called the Englishman's dood volk (dead men); but they assured me that, although many persons of the village had endeavoured to deter them, by saying that I was going to take them amongst the menschvreeters (men-eaters), yet they considered it only as a tale invented for the purpose of frightening them.

25th. Having, on the following day, obtained from the same quarter, the names of such tronk Hottentots as were recommended as fit for my journey, and whose courage and fidelity might be relied on, I immediately sent the German with some of my own men, to

[page] 160

ascertain if they were willing to be hired. They answered without hesitation that they would gladly engage themselves. On this, I went to the landdrost and requested that I might be allowed to have these men, instead of the five whom I had seen at his house; and at the same time intimated that I had been informed by persons who knew the characters of all of them, that the first set were not such as I ought to trust myself with. His reply was, that he must refer the matter to the heemraaden: which he would do on the following Monday; that being the regular council-day. But in the mean time, he assured me, that the men he had already given, were all trustworthy people, and that, on the contrary, those whom I now wished to hire, were some of the greatest scoundrels in the district.

One of these last Hottentots deserves to be particularly noticed. He had been waggon-driver to Landdrost Stockenström, and since his death, had continued to work at the drostdy. I ascertained that his services were no longer required by that family, who spoke favorably of his character, and that he was resolved if possible to add himself to the number of my party. His name was Júli, a man of whose good and invaluable qualities I was not at this time aware, but who, during the three years and four months that he was constantly with me, continued always to gain on my good opinion, and prove by his fidelity, how fortunate I was in taking him into my service. I shall not, in this place, say all that could be said in his favor: as I became gradually acquainted with his value, so shall his character be gradually unfolded in the course of my journal. The accompanying plate* presents both a portrait of his person, and a correct likeness of his features; and I hope that the physiognomist will not suffer himself to be misled by the want of European beauty or proportions in a Hottentot face, to suppose that in Juli's counte-

* Plate 3. This portrait was drawn in August 1815; only a few days before I sailed from the Cape; but he still continued in my pay nearly two years longer; after which he returned with his wife and child to Graaffreynet. He is here exhibited in his usual dress; a blue cloth jacket, leathern trowsers, a cotton handkerchief round his head, and another about his neck. It was by his own desire that he is represented holding his musket; and the position is that in which he used to carry it when approaching any wild animal.

[page break]

[page break]

[page] 161

nance may not be seen an expression of real goodness of heart. If he has had the same experience among that race, which I have, he will discover it most clearly.

Júli was a Hottentot of the mixed race; as were also his father and mother. The hair of men of this class, being longer and looser or less in tufts, than in the genuine Hottentot, is well expressed in the engraving. His features do not differ very widely from those of the unmixed race. His age was, probably, nearer fifty than forty; as he was the oldest man of the party, whom I took into the Interior.

His father lived in the vicinity of Algoa-bay, but was killed by the Caffres while hunting in the Zuureveld. The mother, induced by distress at her loss, resolved to quit a district which had been fatal to her husband, and removed with her two children, a girl and a boy, to the western side of the colony. Here she was still more unfortunate; for, falling in the way of a brutal colonist who resided on the river which runs through that tract, he seized her children, then nearly grown up and strong enough to be made useful on his farm, and drove her away from the place, as she herself appeared too old to render him much service by her labor. He therefore procured Juli and his sister to be registered in the field-cornet's books, as legally bound to serve him for twenty-five years; which was in fact to make them his actual slaves for that time. The mother clung to her children, wishing to resist this unjust seizure, and desiring to be permitted either to take them away, or to live on the farm with them; but the farmer repeatedly drove her off, and at last, with a resolution to deter her from coming there again, he one evening flogged her so unmercifully that she died the next morning! This, and the harsh treatment which he himself received, were sufficient to drive Juli to despair; and he, in consequence, took the first favorable opportunity of making his escape.

This is a tale which he several times repeated to me during my travels; but as the colonist is now dead, it rests alone upon his veracity. Yet as the word of a Hottentot gains, in general, but little credit in the Colony, so has his story, if he ever dared to make a formal complaint: which I believe he never ventured to do. If he


[page] 162

or his wife should still be living, when this volume reaches the Cape, I hope there will be found enough humane persons to afford them protection, should they stand in need of any: it will be the greatest personal favor which can be conferred on myself.

Juli and Van Roye, who were acquainted with all the Hottentots at Graaffreynet, had found one named Platje Zwartland, who was very desirous of being of our party; and recommended him to me as a steady useful man. He was shepherd and herdsman to a man of the name of Schemper, the village butcher, and had been engaged to him for the term of one year, which had already expired some little time before: and although the Hottentot wished to quit him, the master was resolved still to detain him, contrary to a law which expressly provides, that 'as soon as the period for which he has been engaged, shall have expired, all further service shall cease, and the Hottentot, together with his wife and children and all their property, shall be allowed to depart without let or hindrance:' a wise and necessary law, which wants no other amendment than a clause decreeing punishment for the infraction of it

Platje informed us, that as soon as the master knew of his intention of going with us, he contrived to get him into a state of intoxication, as he little suspected the cause of his being so liberal with his brandy; and made him in that state promise to continue his servant for another year. Of all this, the man was perfectly unconscious, and declared that he never intended at any rate, to stop with him longer; but that he had always, when asked the question, persisted in his refusal. He seemed much rejoiced at being told that he should go with us, if it could be clearly made out that his story was true.

On the next day, I brought this Hottentot before the landdrost, for the purpose of ascertaining whether he was legally at liberty to enter my service. On searching the official register, nothing was found to prove the truth of the master's assertion, who was present himself; and who, finding that Maré had no power to detain the man, and hoping that the District Secretary could befriend him, referred me to that office: but neither here, could any record or proof be

[page] 163

found. The Secretary was exceedingly warm with the Hottentot for leaving the butcher, after having promised to serve him another year; and told me that he had been credibly given to understand that he was truly, though only verbally, hired.

Still, with the strongest evidence against him, the master made another struggle to detain Platje, and persuaded the jailer or onder-schout (under-sheriff) to send me a note certifying, fortunately for his conscience, not upon oath, that to his knowledge the man, with his wife and five children, was hired for a twelvemonth at the Secretary's office, on the last day of May in the preceding year, at the sum of twenty rix dollars: wishing by this, to show that his time had not yet expired. For, after having failed to prove that he was legally, or actually, hired for another year, he thought it would answer his purpose equally well, and prevent the man's leaving the village with me, if he could induce me to believe that the period of service would not terminate till the end of May, at which time, he knew, I should long have quitted the colony.

All these endeavours, only served to convince me of the truth of the Hottentot's story; and as he was exceedingly desirous of making one of my party, and anxious lest he should be detained by the butcher, whom he was resolved at all events to leave, I determined, as much on his account as on my own, to take him with me. I therefore requested the landdrost to sign an order to the Secretary, that he should, if no legal objection could be found, prepare the usual agreement, and register him as my servant. This was accordingly done.

But on the Hottentot's demanding the arrears of his wages, of which he had only received nine rix dollars, his master not only denied his claim, but took from him some clothes, which, he said, the man had not paid for. Platje, the following day, summoned him before the landdrost; the butcher asserted that no money was due; and the Hottentot, who was unable to bring forward any witness, or to produce any written testimony, relinquished his demand, and came away, well satisfied with having gained at least his freedom.

I have related the particulars of this story, with the view of showing more forcibly than bare assertion could do, how useful and

Y 2

[page] 164

necessary a race of men the Hottentots are considered by the colonists; who feel, and by their conduct prove, that the business of the farms cannot proceed without the labor of their hands. The difficulty which I experienced, not at Graaffreynet only, but in every other part of the colony, in obtaining men for the prosecution of my travels even within the boundary, has, in conjunction with other evidence, convinced me that the demand for them is much greater than the supply: a circumstance which should obtain for this peaceable race every reasonable encouragement, and which must convince the colonists that their true interest consists in securing their fidelity by kind treatment. I do not mean to stand forward on all occasions indiscriminately, as the advocate for the Hottentots against the Boors, nor shall I undertake to defend them against many just complaints made by the latter; for I know that their conduct may sometimes be exceedingly vexatious, and sufficiently provoking to exhaust the patience of their masters. I wish merely to point out how greatly the comfort of both parties depends on a mutual good understanding; and that fidelity on one side, and justice and kindness on the other, are the only means of doing away that mutual suspicion and recrimination, which has so long subsisted between them, and which none but the worst enemies to society and good order, endeavour to cherish and perpetuate. Connected with this question, there exist among the inhabitants of the Cape two opposite parties; and, as I have had numerous opportunities of hearing the opinions of both, and have formed my own upon the evidence of facts only, and the experience of several years, I shall not make to either, any apology for saying, that I believe much blame to be due to both. For, where party spirit exists, there of course, will impartiality not be found; and where there is no impartiality, there of course can no justice dwell: for justice holds an even balance; but partiality, or party spirit, throws a deceitful preponderance into its own scale. A legislature has done but half its duty, when it has made good laws; the other half, is to watch that they are duly obeyed, or enforced.

26th. I sent again for the five tronk Hottentots whom I wished to

[page] 165

hire, and offered them as wages, considerably more than the landdrost had fixed as the sum to be paid those whom he had first given me. At this, they expressed themselves fully satisfied, and every thing was now finally settled, excepting the act of legally binding them to me before the landdrost. I therefore went without delay, to apprise him that every arrangement excepting that one, was agreed on; and that nothing more was wanting but his consent. This he now granted; and, without referring the matter to the heemraaden, the following morning was fixed as the time for meeting the people at his house, and according to law, entering into engagements with them in his presence.

27th. In consequence of this, he sent word the following morning, that four of the men were then waiting at his house; but on coming there, I found to my great surprise and mortification, that they had all changed their minds and now refused to engage themselves, and even declared to the landdrost that they had never promised to go on the journey with me; an assertion so notoriously false, that I should have believed that he had not been mistaken in their character, had I not known enough of Hottentots to feel aware that, on some occasions, their timidity and dread would make them say any thing which they thought likely to get them out of present trouble. I readily forgave these poor misguidedcreatures, because I suspected that some one in the village might have told them that ifthey went with me, they would never return, or that other arguments might have been used to excite their alarm and dissuade them from their purpose. Besides the landdrost, there was present a person named Carel Gerots, who, I was told, had the superintendance of the tronk Hottentots.

Júli was one of the five Hottentots whose names were on my second list; but he boldly persisted in his intention of accompanying me, although the landdrost declared that, being a good waggon-driver, he could not be spared from the drostdy work. Yet nothing could shake this honest fellow's resolution; therefore, as he was not a slave, but a free man, it would have been an illegal stretch of power, to have restrained him from chusing his own master.

[page] 166

Thus was I reduced to the necessity of making up my number with three of the first set: of these Keyser Dikkop (Emperor Thickhead) was the only one to whose character no particular objection had been made. The names of the other two were, Stuurman Witbooy, and Andries Michael.

The object of my journey into the Colony being now to a certain extent, obtained, for there was at this place no further prospect of hiring serviceable men, and I judged it would have been even dangerous to take a greater number of such as had been proposed for me, I gave orders to prepare for leaving Graaffreynet on the next day.

I purchased of Maré an additional supply of tobacco, not only for the purpose of distribution among the Bushmen of the Cisgariepine, but in order to increase my original stock; being well assured that a traveller in Southern Africa can never have too much of this commodity. In Maré's shop, I was shown a large quantity which he was just about to send by a fieldcornet, to the borders of the Bushman country northward of Sneeuwbergen, to be distributed among the natives as a present from the Cape government.

During my residence at Graaffreynet, I experienced many acts of friendship from several of its inhabitants, amongst whom the Rev. Mr. Kicherer and his lady, stand the foremost, and well deserve my warmest and most sincere thanks for their hospitality, and the kind interest which they took in my affairs. Even at the last moment he seemed happy at having an opportunity of testifying the continuance of that Christian benevolence with which he hastened to my hut at the foot of Sneeuwberg; for, learning that I had ordered from a neighbour and friend of his, named Hendrik Meyntjes, fifteen sheep as a provision for the journey, and for which I was to have paid two rixdollars each, he privately interfered with his friend, and on my preparing to discharge this debt, I was told that I had nothing to pay: nor could I even discover whether my thanks were due most to Mr. Kicherer, or to Mr. Meyntjes. So unexpected a gift was truly gratifying; because it carried with it, that which only can make a gift agreeable or acceptable — the pure expression of the giver's kind and friendly sentiments.

[page] 167

To Mrs. Stockenstrom I was indebted for a most useful addition to my store of beads: these were the more valuable because they were not, as I found by experience, easily to be purchased at this distance from Cape Town. They were the remains of some which the late landdrost had brought to Graaffreynet for the purpose of distribution among that very nation by whom he was so treacherously murdered.

From the acting-landdrost and the district-secretary Mr. Muller, I at all times received civility and attention: from the former I readily obtained cash for a bill on my agents in Cape Town. Neither do I forget a voluntary offer made by honest Bremmer, of supplying me with money for my draft to any amount: knowing that there was a scarcity of cash at this place, he wished to prove himself desirous of rendering me a more material service, than the use of the organ.

I indulge myself in acknowledging every act of goodwill towards me, because in doing this I enjoy a second time, the pleasure which they first gave me: and if the course and consistency of my narrative, or the justification of my own proceedings, should compel me sometimes to notice acts of a contrary kind, I hope that every one will do me the justice to believe that I do so, with pain and great reluctance.

[page 168]



APRIL 28th. Every preparation for departure being now completed, Mr. Kicherer assembled his family and servants, to whom were added some visitors then stopping at his house and part of my own people, for the purpose of joining in prayers on this occasion. I must have had neither feeling nor religion, not to have been affected at beholding an assembly of this kind, on their knees, praying 'with one accord' for my safety and for that of my people, and offering supplications that we might be shielded from the many dangers to which we were about to be exposed. When acts of devotion have the effect of drawing man nearer not only to his Creator, but to his fellow-creatures, he may feel assured that he possesses true religion. But who will be so impious and weak as to assert that prayer can be a useful exercise of the mind, unless it produce both these effects ? It is not their professions, but the actions and conduct of men,

[page] 169

which prove their virtue or their sincerity. It is not the shadow of forms, but the substance of upright conduct in life, which constitutes real or practical religion. At the head of human nature stands the honest man; at the bottom, the hypocrite.

This ceremony occupied a quarter of an hour; after which I mustered my party, and sent them forward, with orders to make the best of their way to Sneeuwberg, and wait for me at Herholdt's, the place appointed as our last rendezvous. For, Mr. Kicherer had proposed that I should accompany him to the farm of an opulent boor, named Barend Burgers, his particular friend, and who, at that time, happened to be on a visit at his house, and had proposed taking us thither in his paardewagen, promising that he would provide for me the means of conveyance afterwards to Herholdt's. To this proposal there could be no objection, as it gave me an opportunity of seeing another part of the Snow Mountains, and of acquiring further information on the affairs of that part of the Colony.

Mr. Oloff Stockenstrom, whose friendly attentions were continued during the whole time of my residence at Graaffreynet, politely desired to accompany me a part of the way on my journey, as far as my hut at the foot of the mountains, where, in so singular a manner, I first had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him and Mr. Menzies.

It was nearly noon, before we took our departure from Graaffreynet. In the environs, I passed my men, who, instead of hastening forward, had been loitering in the village with their friends. These, knowing that their separation must be for a long period, and not quite free from the fear of never seeing them again, were as unwilling to say farewell, as my people were to hear it. I could not therefore be displeased at their disobedience to my orders, but permitted them to indulge the feelings of nature, and merely required that they should take their final leave before the day was too far advanced for travelling with safety.

The plains which intervene between the Sunday river and the mountains, were now enlivened with numerous herds of springbucks; although none had been observed when we passed here a month


[page] 170

before. This animal, and, indeed, many other species of antelope, remove from one part of the country to another, and sometimes to the distance of many day's-journeys, according to the state of the pastures, and season of the year.

As I passed my hut, I silently thanked it for the shelter which it had so opportunely afforded me; and without which, the fever might possibly have gained a fatal ascendency.

The heap of manure in the cattle-kraal, which we found burning at that time, was even now scarcely extinguished. If by any means the ground of a cattle-pound, which consists entirely of manure, happen to take fire, it will continue, without producing flame, to burn for a great length of time, depending only on the quantity of fuel: nor will rain very easily quench it. The fire generally makes very slow progress; creeping along the ground, and sometimes beneath the surface, in a remarkable manner. It is the nitrous salts which so long support the combustion.

When we ascended the mountain we turned to the west, leaving my former road on the right, and soon afterwards came to the hut of Hans Van der Merwe, where we halted to dine. At this place, near the house, I was shown, as a remarkable circumstance, a deep glen, enclosed by rocky cliffs or precipices, in which peach trees grew, as it were, wild, and sowed themselves: the warm sheltered situation causing them to bear abundance of. fruit.

After this refreshment we resumed our journey, travelling over a level country, bounded on either hand by mountains of the tableform already noticed on our former passage over this part of Sneeuwberg. The waggon halted while I went to examine a waterfall at a short distance on the left of the road; having just crossed the stream by which it was supplied. By falling over a perpendicular precipice of great depth; into a woody glen below, this stream forms a very singular unbroken cascade, which would have afforded, from different points of view, several interesting sketches. I was, however, obliged to content myself with taking that one which best exhibited its situation and nature.

Our road presented nothing remarkable; or rather, perhaps, the

[page] 171

rapid travelling of a vehicle drawn by six horses in hand, left little time for making remarks of any kind. We flew past every object, and, hardly had I turned my eyes to any thing remarkable by the roadside, than it was already behind us. Such expedition was, indeed, a novelty to me, and very different from the rate to which I had been accustomed during the last ten months; but, as a traveller desirous of observing the features and productions of a strange country, I abhorred galloping horses, and would have preferred sitting behind a team of my own oxen, whose steady pace seemed to have been measured exactly to suit an observer and admirer of nature.

Yet, notwithstanding what appeared to me to be great expedition, it was nine o'clock in the evening before we arrived at Cootje Van Heerden's where we had purposed to pass the night. This farm house was superior, in most respects, to all which I had hitherto seen in this quarter, and nearly equal to the best in the Cape District. It was built on a larger scale, and in a more substantial manner, than the general class of Colonial dwellings, and therefore it scarcely need be added, that the owner was in affluent circumstances. My fellow travellers, being the intimate friends of Van Heerden, were received, and myself also, in the most hospitable manner. The appearance of the place and its inhabitants, was altogether as respectable as any I had seen in the colony.

29th. At this farm were many servants: among them a girl was pointed out to me, whose history was. interesting; and who was, besides, a surprising lusus naturæ. Her parents were genuine Caffres, and resided at this farm when she was an infant: on some occasion they went back to their own country, while their child, under pretence of being unequal to the fatigues of the journey, was left at Van Heerden's. But as they never afterwards returned for her, it was supposed that her singular appearance had induced them to desert her. At the time when I saw her, she was sixteen years old, of a very stout make, and of short stature: in which respect she was not different from many Caffre girls, whom I saw about a year afterwards. But the color of her skin, was that of the fairest European; or, more correctly expressed, it was mere pink

Z 2

[page] 172

and white. Or, perhaps, it will be more intelligible to a painter, if I describe it as being compounded of pure white and a moderate tint of vermilion, without the admixture of any other color; and therefore, not strictly to be called the complexion of a European. Her hair was exactly of the same woolly nature as that of her countrywomen, but it was of a singularly pale hue, nearly approaching to that which is termed flaxen. Her features, however, were those of a true Caffre.

Southward from this place, is a very elevated tract of land, called Coudveld (Cold-land; or the Cold Country), which, seen from a distance, presents the form of a table-mountain. On the summit of this, there is a single farm-house; it was inhabited by a respectable Dutch widow, who, among her neighbours, passed under the familiar name of Hannah Coudveld. This spot is considered by every Sneeuwberger, as undoubtedly the coldest place in the whole colony.

Van Heerden assured me that, at his house, snow had sometimes fallen in such quantities, that he had seen it lying of the depth of two feet: but probably this depth is not usual, or, at least, it may be partly occasioned by drifting winds. The places along the upper part of the Sea-cow river, are said to be some of the coldest habitations on Sneeuwberg (Sneeberg). That river, in the dry season of the year, is merely a chain of ponds, called 'Zeekoe gatten' (Seacow, or Hippopotamus, holes).

Near the house, were the largest 'Spanish reeds' which I had observed in any part of the colony: but I do not recollect having seen the Bamboo, which requires a warmer climate, growing at any place on the Snow Mountains, or in the Achter-sneeuwberg.

After breakfast we took leave, and, resuming our journey, came in three quarters of an hour to the Buffels rivier (Buffalo river), the highest branch of the Camtoos river, one of the larger streams which flow into the 'Cape sea.' On the banks of the Buffalo river, which we now crossed three times, I noticed a willow, which appeared to be

* Arundo Donax L.

[page] 173

of a species different from the willow of the Gariep: the branches were less drooping, and it was, here at least, a much smaller tree.

Burger's house stood near to the river, in an open, though not unpleasant, situation. The building and the whole establishment were not only the best on Sneeuwberg, but as far as my recollection serves me, I have not seen a better farm-house in any district of the colony; and no intelligence from this part of the world, would afford me more gratification, than to hear that the Cape settlement had so far advanced in improvement and riches, that every boor possessed so comfortable and respectable a dwelling. It was built of red bricks, in the usual Dutch style of architecture; and it appeared not only externally neat, but was within exceedingly clean: and, if compared with the houses of the greater number of farms in this part of the country, it might seem to deserve the name of palace; although in reality nothing better than an ordinary English farm-house. The surrounding buildings and an excellent garden, rendered this place a little village of itself, and almost an independent settlement. Here were separate and complete workshops for, smiths, waggon-makers, and carpenters; and to these, although not noted in my original journal, I may, I believe, add, a corn-mill turned by a water-wheel. The owner, who was a man far advanced in years, was acknowledged as the greatest sheep-grazier in the colony; a fact which I had no difficulty in crediting, when assured that he possessed 30,000 sheep, besides other cattle.

Immediately after our arrival, servants were despatched on horseback, to apprise the neighbours of the arrival of their minister, and of his intention of holding a religious meeting on the following day at this house; and, to invite them to attend. In the evening all the household together with the slaves and Hottentots of the farm, were assembled; when one of the parables of the New Testament, was explained to them, and commented on, in a manner suited to the capacities of the latter, for whose instruction more especially, it was selected.

30th. The whole of my morning was employed in writing letters

[page] 174

to my friends both in England and at the Cape, from whom I had not for a great length of time received any intelligence.

In the afternoon the house was crowded with neighbours, who arrived in their waggons, some from a considerable distance, and none without having come a journey of several hours. Coffee and other refreshments were handed round: and in the evening, was held, what is called, an oeffning (or, meeting; as distinguished from the regular church-service); which consisted in alternately reading and expounding parts of the New Testament, in extemporaneous prayers, and in singing psalms.

May 1st. Early this morning, the ground was whitened with frost. That this was the first which had occurred this season, was indisputably proved by the circumstance of all the capsicums in the garden, and which on the preceding day were standing in a flourishing state, being now destroyed by it.

In this family, I found the same friendly disposition, which I have recorded as having been experienced at the houses of many other colonists. One of the family, having discovered that some articles which I had deemed mere luxuries, but which were thought by them to be absolute necessaries, were not among my travelling stores, insisted upon adding them to my baggage, although I was fearful of encreasing its weight or bulk by taking with me any thing which could be dispensed with.

Among the visitors, was the brother of the Van der Merwe, at whose house I had stopped on my way over the Snow Mountains. He kindly undertook to convey me part of the way towards Herholdt's, as far as his son-in-law's, who, he engaged, would assist me in proceeding farther.

Before ten o'clock the whole party began to disperse. Mr. Kicherer returned to Graaffreynet; while, at the same time, I took my leave of the family, and departed in an opposite direction, with Van der Merwe, in his horse-waggon.

As soon as we arrived at the cottage of his son-in-law, whose name was Hendrik Lubbe, we found a dinner ready prepared. After

[page] 175

we had partaken of it, Van der Merwe continued his journey homewards, leaving me in the care of Lubbe, who immediately harnessed six horses to his waggon, for the purpose of carrying me forward. As my bedding was being put into the vehicle, his wife perceived that I had no other covering than blankets; on which she brought out a scháap-vel kombáars (sheep-skin coverlet), and, to induce me to accept it, she represented, with a solicitude which could only have proceeded from sentiments of true hospitality, that if I slept out of doors in the winter-season with blankets only, I should perish with cold. To this present, she added a bag of salt, an article which, in the hurry of packing at Graaffreynet, had been fongotten.

This kombáars *, or coverlet, is a genuine South-African manufacture, being nothing more than a Hottentot karóss of large dimensions; but which has been adopted by the boors in every district, either from necessity or utility, or from both. The African sheep generally, are covered with fur or hair, instead of wool; and when these skins are properly dressed and cleaned, and a number of them sewed together, they form a much warmer covering than could be made from any other materials. The richer inhabitants, and those of Cape Town, who can afford themselves more expensive coverings brought from Europe; affect to dislike the cheaper kombáars, because, as they say, it smells of mutton. The boor is enabled by his immense flocks, to select only such as have a smooth fur; and thus, he obtains a handsome coverlet, so unlike what a European would imagine for sheep-skins, that it may be doubted whether many persons would ever guess, from what animal it was made. Those which I have brought to England, have often been viewed as the skin of some unknown quadruped.

Few furs can be more beautiful than the selected skins of lambs, thus prepared: and if prejudice did not stand in the way, I think they might supplant many which are seen in our furriers' shops, and with

* This word, agreeably to Colonial pronunciation, would be written by an Englishman, Cambáirce.

[page] 176

the advantages of being afforded, perhaps, at a far lower price, and of their white color admitting of being changed by any of the dyes suited to woollen. Such a branch of commerce might prove not unimportant to the colonists or to the Colony in general: it might open a new source of profit, and turn to better account those innumerable flocks, for the rearing of which, the greater part of that country seems by nature peculiarly adapted. I would hope that these remarks might induce some judicious speculative person to pursue the subject farther, and ascertain to what extent a trade of this kind, may be rendered lucrative. Since the Cape settlement, it seems, is not so fortunate as to possess a climate and herbage, like that of New South Wales, suited for the growth of the finest wools, it may prove equally favoured in having such as give to its sheep a soft and useful fur.

Hitherto, our road on the Snow Mountains had been level and tolerably easy; but after leaving Lubbe's, it became rough and in some parts dangerous; leading along the steep sides of mountains, or over very rocky and rugged places. From one part of the road we had a full view of Coudveld. The country became more mountainous, and the air colder, as we entered the highland track of Sneeuwberg proper.

It was not till sunset, that we reached the abode of old Jan Viljóen, where Lubbe was to leave me. He came out of his hut to receive us; but when my companion informed him that I was so situated as to require his assistance in proceeding to Herholdt's the next day, he became rather cross and out of humour, and, to my mortification, told him that he had neither waggon nor oxen at home. Hearing this, I began to take into consideration the possibility of going thither on foot, and afterwards sending one of my men with a pack-ox to fetch my baggage. But, fortunately, Lubbe knew his neighbour too well to be deceived by him; and persisted in the necessity of his helping me forward: he urged that it was the minister's particular request to him, and slightly hinted that I carried a government-letter. Whichever of these considerations might have had most weight with him, I know not; but fortunately for me, he at last, and, I am sorry to say, with reluctance, consented to furnish

[page] 177

means of conveyance; although he had just declared that he had no such means in his power.

The place, the house itself, and every thing about it, formed the greatest possible contrast to what I had seen at Burger's. The principal dwelling hardly deserved the name of house; it was a most forlorn and miserable hovel, about which, nothing could be seen which bespoke an owner's care. Every object displayed neglect: the Hottentot servants, the huts they lived in, and the few outbuildings, were of a character consistent with the house. This dwelling was certainly a degree worse than any which I had observed since re-entering the colony: its inhabitants were, the baas, and his vrouw (wife) and son, two men, a little boy, and two or three female servants, all Hottentots, excepting one slave. Its elevated situation in the midst of lofty mountains, rendered the air extremely cold.

As soon as old Viljoen had a little recovered his usual temper, and manners, which in their best state were naturally coarse, we entered the house together, and were offered seats. By degrees, after a few mutual questions, and some little conversation, we became better friends; and he seemed not to think me so obnoxious a visitor, as at my first introduction I appeared to be. Neither he nor his wife had any curiosity about my affairs; for which I was not sorry, as it saved me the trouble of telling my story over again, and allowed me to take a warmer seat by the fire at the other end of the room; while he amused himself, and his other guest, with reading a small religious tract which he had lately obtained; if, halting at every difficult word; taking time to consider the meaning of a sentence; overrunning the stops; and going back again to find them out; could be called reading. Although it may be doubted whether any one but himself, knew a word of the subject, he now and then turned to his wife or to Lubbe, and exclaimed, "Very true!" During all this time, the Hottentots were quietly sleeping in the chimney corner; excepting two girls who were busy cooking some mutton.

At length supper was ready, and we sat down to a frugal meal; as he had probably forgotten to tell the girls to put a piece more into the pot on account of his visitors: for, in a country where he could


[page] 178

not have sold his mutton for more than a halfpenny the pound, it could hardly be supposed that he did so from thriftiness.

This being over, and grace said, he sent the Hottentot boy to conduct us to our bed-room. There was no waste of compliments on retiring to rest: and indeed, as the ease turned out, his good wishes for my having a comfortable night's repose, would all have proved null and void, and of none effect.' We followed the boy out of doors, and were brought to a place without a window, at one end of the house, where, pushing open an old door nearly falling off its hinges, our page said; "Here is where baas is to sleep." At the first glance I could not distinguish what sort of a den he had put us into; it resembled a coal-hole, both in size and color; every part, the walls, and the roof, which were all it consisted of were as black as a chimney; no place could exceed it in dirtiness and in wretchedness of appearance. At each end we discovered the bedsteads: they were formed of stakes driven into the ground. Of these I gave Lubbe his choice, who immediately threw himself down upon his couch; and Morpheus shortly afterwards strewed his poppies over him. But it was not so with me: the filthiness of the place was so disgusting that I felt not the least inclination to sleep; and even if I had, my fellow-traveller would not have allowed it; for, dreaming, no doubt, that he was in a pigstye, he very naturally snored in imitation of its proper inhabitants.

Finding that it was in vain to think of rest, I went out to look for the boy. There was no returning into the house again: the doors were fastened, and all were asleep. The moon being exceedingly bright, I attempted to make a sleeping-place in Lubbe's waggon; but the air was frosty, and the waggon had no tilt, it was found so extremely cold, that I was glad to remove back into the black hole again. Fortunately I found the Hottentot, who was not yet gone to bed; and the poor little fellow well-pleased at having to wait upon an Englishman, brought some sticks and made me a fire in one corner of the building. The place we were in, had formerly been occupied by the slaves and Hdttentots of the farm; but was now used only for the accommodation of 'slagter's knegts' and visitors.

[page] 179

Here I sat nearly the whole of the night, with him for my companion; and as he was both shrewd and communicative, I was for some time much amused by his remarks, and by his mode of viewing things. He had discovered from our conversation in the house, enough to know that I was not a boor; and now, therefore, began to lay open all his complaints, in the usual Hottentot style. Oud baas, he said, never gave them enough to eat: a very common complaint of Hottentots, and often very ill-founded; although possibly it might, in the present instance, be the truth exaggerated. Supposing the interior of Africa to be the country to which I belonged, and that I was now on my return home, he wished to make one of the party, and was delighted at the idea of going to a land where there were no boors; for, said he, they care nothing for 'us black things:' the two other Hottentots would, he hinted, be glad to leave their place if they dared: in short, no one was comfortable. Thus he continued to run over a long list of grievances.

These are the terms in which this people commonly speak of the colonists; but I would recommend that their stories be received with caution. There may have been formerly, I have little doubt, sufficient foundation for such; and it may be credited that among the white population of the colony, there exist even at this time, too many individuals destitute of a proper feeling towards this race; but it should always be remembered that the Hottentots, from having originally had just cause for complaint, may in later days, by hearing the tales often repeated, have acquired a habit of inveighing against the boors. The irregularities, to use a mild term, which have been committed in this part of the world, are not to be defended; nor do they admit of any excuse: but, it may be asked, what would have been the state of any country in Europe, had society not been kept in order by the vigilance of proper laws; or what would it now become, if those laws were to be relaxed, and men left to act as they pleased.

2nd. I experienced from the old man no incivility at parting; and certainly he deserves my thanks for relenting, after having determined to refuse me all assistance. His son yoked six oxen to his waggon;

A A 2

[page] 180

and, as it carried no load, we travelled at a quick rate; although along rugged and steep roads, through the highest and most mountainous part of Sneeuwberg. For a considerable part of the way, our course was directed towards Spitskop; and afterwards, by a very steep descent, we joined my former road, at a few miles southward of Hérholdt's, where we arrived before noon.

This colonist and his wife received me with much hospitality and attention, and expecting that I should have been accompanied by the minister, they had made preparations for our accommodation.

Not only the whole of my party were here waiting for me, but several more than I expected. One was a Hottentot whom I had rejected at Graaffreynet, and was one of those who had been selected for me by Maré so that it was thus clearly proved that the men intended for my assistance and protection on a long and perilous journey into unknown countries and among savage nations, were such as had been thought too useless to be retained at the public works; since those whom I had no need of, were turned loose to seek a master elsewhere. This boy being thus adrift, and finding nobody at the village willing to employ him, had followed my people in hopes of being allowed to accompany us; to which step he was encouraged by my having already consented to receive in the same manner, one who had not been hired. As a Hottentot of this description would only have been a trouble to me, I positively forbade his coming.

My party, who were lying at a fire at a little distance before the house, surprised me at first sight by their number: but on examination I found that a whole family had joined us, under the thoughtless supposition, that they would be permitted to remain with us during the whole journey. These were Platje's wife and her two eldest daughters; besides whom, she had three other children left at Graaffreynet. As I already knew by experience that such people would be a heavy encumbrance, independently of the greater difficulty of finding food for so useless an addition, and who could not assist in providing for themselves, I refused my consent to their coming, although Platje pleaded for them, and assured me that they could bear the fatigues of the journey, as well as the men. But this affair was

[page] 181

ultimately arranged to the satisfaction of all parties; as Herholdt offered to receive them into his service and take care of them, on condition that Platje should consider himself as hired to him, from the day when he should be released from his engagement with me.

The other new-comers were Juli's wife, and her child only three months old. At first he was told that she could not be allowed to follow us beyond the boundary, and, notwithstanding the earnestness with which he begged permission for her, I considered it would be folly to take a woman with so young an infant, on an expedition of this kind; of the real nature of which, my new men seemed not sufficiently aware; although I had explicitly told them that it most probably would not be free from danger and great fatigue. He then solicited that she might go as far as Klaarwater, and promised that she should be left there during our journey farther into the Interior. The poor creature herself, looked so anxious while I was considering the reply, and there was something in her countenance so innocent and mild, and so expressive of goodness, that I could no longer refuse to grant, what I saw would make them both happy, and render them perhaps more contented in my service.

Her name was Truÿ*. She was a genuine Hottentot, although perfectly ignorant of that language, and was, like her husband, acquainted with none but the Dutch. She was of small and very delicate form, with hands and feet of those neat proportions, for which the women of the Hottentot and Bushman nations are remarkable. For her child, whom she had named Windvogel, she appeared to possess the greatest maternal affection. All that I have said on the good qualities and fidelity of her husband, might here be repeated of hers, which if weighed impartially, would I think preponderate. I should do this good creature injustice, if I did not declare, that it is not in my power to point out a fault in her character; or at least, I never had, during all the time of her being in my ser-

* Trúÿ, or as it was here commonly pronounced, Tróëy, is the familiar name for Geertruyda or Gertrude.

[page] 182

vice, the least reason for saying one angry word to her; and of this, she often used to boast when speaking in praise of her master. But it was not at this time, that I knew her worth, or that of her husband; and I regret that the present volume will not comprise that period of my journal, which would best display it.

I was exceedingly rejoiced, and surprised, at seeing Little Mágerman amongst the party. He had been found at the house of Piet Van der Merwe, who, happening to meet the boy after he ran away, and recollecting that he belonged to me, kindly took him home, with the intention of restoring him on my return; and in the mean time, had employed him in tending sheep. The boy being well fed and housed, and feeling assured that we should pass that way, had remained there very contentedly, without ever attempting to escape. My men had, in consequence of his former invitation, taken up their night's lodging at Van der Merwe's; who treated them as hospitably as before, and delivered the boy into their hands. Thus, by recovering him, I felt relieved of much anxiety, as I could now without fear, venture to pass again through his father's kraal.

Although the party had been sent off with a sufficient stock of meat, I found my little flock of sheep reduced to thirteen, and the people just finishing the second, which had been killed and eaten on the road. Their account was, that some dogs had bitten one to death, and the second accidentally had its leg broken by the shepherd throwing a keeri (or stick) for the purpose of turning it.

The German who was to meet me at this place, came directly he heard that I was arrived. He declared that he had now given up all intention of going with us; for, as soon as the acting-land-drost knew of his having left Graaffreynet, he sent a messenger, who overtook him on Sneeuwberg, and informed him that 'if he crossed the colonial boundary, the landdrost would seize and confiscate all his property.' This would have been an extraordinary, and I think, illegal, stretch of power: at least, the boors on the northern borders are in the habit of infringing the regulation against passing over the boundary, without being visited with confiscation or without any notice being taken of the fact. Besides which, I carried a formal

[page] 183

permission from the government, for myself and all my people, to go beyond the limits of the settlement. However; as the case was, I shall not say that I complain; because, it might probably have been the more prudent resolution, to pursue my travels without adding any white person to my party, as some suspicions, which I could not wholly lay aside, but which were rather strengthened by what I heard at this place, had been raised in my mind.

3rd. Of Herholdt, I purchased three horses, chosen out of a stud of forty colts, none of which had been broken in. Of these, one was for Van Roye and another for Cornelis. I also bought a musket in addition, as I had several men who must remain unarmed till we reached my waggons.

The people set out early in the morning, while Herholdt hospitably detained me to dinner: after which, he drove me in his paardewagen to Vermeúlen's. At this place we were all received with the same disinterested and friendly treatment as before; and I had the satisfaction of thanking the owner himself, as he was now returned from the 'commando.' *

4th. Here we took our last leave of the colonists; as I intended, if possible, to avoid the dwelling of Jacob Van Wyk, that I might not again give that family an opportunity of showing disrespect to an Englishman.

The party, as far as Klaarwater, now consisted of fifteen men, one woman and her child, four horses, eight oxen, thirteen sheep, nineteen dogs, besides two puppies of an excellent breed, given me at Graaffreynet by Mrs. Maritz.

We advanced this day as far as Groote Fontein, a day's-journey of above nineteen miles. Here we took up our quarters in the unoccupied farm-house, as the weather at night was extremely chilling.

5th. Having from day to day, during our journey into the colony, laid down my track upon paper, I was, by these means, enabled to

* The engraving at page 168. is a representation of Vermeulen's humble, but hospitable, dwelling; and of the mountain called Kleine Tafelberg.

[page] 184

discover that our course would be more direct, if we kept more to the eastward of that track, leaving Geranium Rocks to the left.

Accordingly we quitted our former road, at Pond Station, and proceeded across a plain of a mile and a half; at the termination of which I halted to take the bearings of Spitskop* and Groote Tafelberg, which were both in sight. These, but more especially the former, will be found of great use whenever a survey is made of this part of the colony, as they are too remarkable to be mistaken, and can be seen in different directions, from a very great distance.

At the distance of an hour and a half farther, we passed a farm named Wortel Fontein (Carrot Fountain); but none of its inhabitants had any communication with us. At about six miles and a quarter beyond this, we found the last colonial habitation on our road; and as no one was residing here at this season, we took possession of the empty house.

So large a party occasioned a rapid consumption of our stock of provisions, and we were obliged to kill a sheep, which, had we waited half an hour longer, we might have spared. For Keyser, desirous of proving that he was a good marksman, had immediately on our halting, taken his gun to go in search of game, and soon returned to let us know that he had shot a quakka. This circumstance was doubly pleasing, as, besides giving us a large supply of meat, it showed that this Hottentot had at least one useful qualification.

I climbed the rocky hill close behind the house, to get a view of the country and take some bearings for the construction of my map, and was pleased at distinguishing on the horizon, the Bushman Table-Mountain near Kraaikop's Kraal, although at the distance of not less than sixty-seven miles by the road. This remark is a sufficient proof,

* The vignette at the end of this chapter, represents the mountain of Spitskop, or the Peak of Sneeuwberg, as viewed from the south-east, at the distance of about twenty miles in a direct line. The sketch from which this engraving has been made, was taken about eleven months afterwards when on my final return into the Colony. The intervening country here shown, consists of lofty rugged mountains, which appear to shut in one behind the other, and above which, this lofty and remarkable mountain stands highly pre-eminent.

[page] 185

and indeed the best that could be had, of the open, and generally level, nature of the intervening country.

6th. The only stranger who came near us, was a Hottentot shepherd belonging to some boor, whose place, he said, was not far off. This man was therefore the last person whom we saw belonging to the colony.

After travelling about ten miles from Elands Fountain, we considered that we had crossed the boundary of the Colony, a line very ill-defined, especially along the northern border, and marked by no appearance which can inform the traveller precisely when he has quitted the settlement, or when he enters the wild country of the Bushmen; both being equally wild, and, excepting immediately around the boors' dwellings, equally destitute of every trace of cultivation or human labor.


[page] 186



THE first occurrence after quitting the Colony, was that of meeting with the friendly river so often mentioned on our former journey; and as it appeared by the map which I had then made, to run in a direction sufficiently near to what would have been our shortest road homewards, I resolved to follow it the whole way, and not to incur, with so many people and cattle, the risk of suffering from want of water, by attempting any other more direct course.

Just before sunset we arrived and unpacked at an excellent spring of water, surrounded by abundance of reeds. It was known to Platje, who had once formerly visited it on a hunting excursion with a boor in whose service he then was, and who at this place administered a flogging to his slave named Nieuwejaar (New-year); on which account this spot, is called by the Hottentots Nieuwejaars fontein.

[page] 187

7th. At about eleven miles beyond this spring, we joined our former track; and a little more than six miles farther, we passed Rhenoster poort (Rhinoceros Pass). It was dark before we arrived at the Halfway Spring: here we conveniently stationed ourselves for the night, and made use of our shelter of reeds, which we found remaining just in the state in which we had left it.

My new men, who were all utter strangers to the following part of the journey, and to whom the existence of a kraal of Colonial Hottentots in this direction, was hitherto unknown, seemed much pleased at an opportunity of learning the way to it, and took great interest in our daily progress. Some indeed were a little inclined to fear, at thus venturing into the heart of a country which had always been reported as unsafe for a colonist; but my other people now boldly talked of the Bushmen and their friend Kaabi, in so familiar a tone, that these fears were soon quieted; yet they often expressed their surprise that we could have found any means of gaining the good-will of a race of savages, whom they had been accustomed to look upon as the greatest scoundrels in Africa.

Not one of the natives had yet approached us, although we were certain that we had been seen by them, as two were observed at a distance by some of our party who had straggled from the main body. Their absence was occasioned by our numbers being so much greater than before, that they at first feared it might be a commando sent in search of stolen cattle; and our increased number of horses strengthened that suspicion.

A troop of horsemen is the most alarming sight which can present itself to a kraal of Bushmen in an open plain, as they then give themselves up for lost, knowing that under such circumstances, there is no escaping from these animals. Their conscience allows them little hope of mercy; as they feel aware, that by their repeated incursions and robberies, they have given the colonists sufficient excuse for treating them with severity, and that their own plea of retaliation, or revenge for former injuries, is now turned against themselves.

We had no doubt that, when they had fully reconnoitred us

B B 2

[page] 188

from the tops of the hills, and had clearly ascertained who we were, they would come to us as gladly as before; and on this subject I was not under the least uneasiness, as my little Bushman protegé was now with me, and would at any time give notice to his countrymen that we were friends. Had they not at first, mistaken us for boors, we should have been visited by them, the moment we entered their country.

My Graaffreynet people were greatly encouraged when I announced to them the name I had given to this spring, and the certainty of our having advanced half way to Klaarwater; as all, excepting Van Roye and Cornelis, were obliged to travel on foot a great part of the way, and it was only now and then, that they could be relieved by changing places with the ox-riders. The woman with her child, however, was always allowed to ride, either on my horse, or on one of the oxen; and occasionally I dismounted, and gave up my seat to one or other of the people who appeared most fatigued. It will be seen, therefore, on looking over the Itinerary, that we in general made, what under such circumstances must be considered, long days-marches. We had this day advanced more than twenty-five miles, notwithstanding all impediments and many stoppages occasioned by our baggage getting frequently out of order.

8th. The confidence which my Klaarwater party had gained by their former friendly reception among the Bushmen, was very remarkable. As an instance of this, Speelman, accompanied only by Platje, set out early this morning, that they might reach Kraaikop's kraal before the rest, and give notice of our approach.

After a march of above nineteen miles, we arrived at the kraal, where its inhabitants rejoiced to see us again, and greeted us as old friends. The father of the Bushboy soon made his appearance and seemed most happy at finding his son safely returned. What account the boy gave of his adventures, I could not possibly learn; but he was grown so much fatter since he first joined our party, that it was not necessary for him to tell his countrymen that he had been well treated. He was of very sedate and modest manners, and seldom indulged in open mirth and laughter; probably because he had little opportunity

[page] 189

of conversing freely in his own language: but, after the anxiety I had suffered on his account, it afforded me the greatest gratification to observe the brightness of his countenance, at his return home, and his smiling happy looks. When I reflected on the misunderstanding and possible consequences which might have ensued from our not bringing him back with us, I regarded it as providential good-fortune, that he had been intercepted in his flight, by an honest boor, and by his means placed again in our hands.

As the people of the kraal informed us that the spring, which supplied them with water, was at a considerable distance farther, I judged it most convenient to proceed thither. The chief sent some of his men to guide us; for without that assistance we should certainly not have found it that night, as it lay about two miles and a quarter northward in the open plain. The reasons which they gave, for pitching their huts so far from any water, were, I think, such as could be imagined only by a nation like the Bushmen;—the commandoes of boors in search of stolen cattle, would not so easily find them out in their present situation; while, by being at a distance from the spring, they not only escaped the annoyance of lions and beasts of prey, but they left the water open for the use of other animals, so that they often had an opportunity of shooting game, by lying there in ambush.

It was quite dark when we arrived at the spring. As the Hottentots were much fatigued, and desirous of retiring early to rest, I was not sorry that the natives did not follow us to our halting-place. Their visit was reserved till the morning, which was the time I had appointed for making the distribution of tobacco.

9th. My new stock enabled me to give more liberally than I had done on my former visit, and the whole kraal were rendered as happy as before.

When I mentioned to them, that the boors laid heavy complaints against their nation for coming into the colony and committing so many robberies, they cunningly replied, that they knew other kraals did so, but as for them, they never stole cattle from any body, but were content to live always on game and wild roots. I

[page] 190

must however, beg old Crowhead's pardon, for strongly doubting the truth of his declaration; but as this was no affair of mine, and I could do the colonists no actual good by preaching to these people against stealing, I thought it more prudent to leave him under the supposition that I believed him to be a very honest man.

At noon we bade these poor creatures farewell; and took a course across the plain in a direction intended to bring us to our former resting-place at Quakka Station. There were very few objects in the country around, sufficiently remarkable to have guided any but men accustomed to traverse pathless deserts; yet from the character of different parts of these plains, and some distant low mountains, we were enabled to find our way without deviation, exactly to the place we wished; although there was neither bush, nor hillock, to mark its position, nor any thing by which it could be recognised at a distance. As we approached the place, we had various opinions whether we should find the same spot again, but most of the Hottentots felt assured that we should not miss it; and I was as much pleased as surprised, when the result proved how direct had been the course which we had steered. We found the remains of our fires, and the bushes which had formed our shelter two months before: but there were evident proofs of much rain having fallen here since that time. On the way we fortunately fell in with an ostrich's nest containing ten eggs, a prize which always afforded us an agreeable and wholesome change of food.

10th. Speelman and Juli had yesterday separated from the rest, for the purpose of hunting, and had, though on horseback, been absent the whole night. But Juli came home this morning with the agreeable information, of their having shot a large male kanna (or eland), which he had left in the plain at a considerable distance northward and a few miles to the right of our course. They had also fallen in with two lions, but had wisely declined having any dealings with them.

We therefore immediately packed up our baggage, and departed, under his guidance. The day was exceedingly pleasant, and not a cloud was to be seen. For a mile or two, we travelled along the

[page] 191

banks of the river, which in this part abounded in tall mat-rushes. The dogs seemed much to enjoy prowling about and examining every bushy place, and at last met with some object among the rushes, which caused them to set up a most vehement and determined barking. We explored the spot with caution, as we suspected from the peculiar tone of their bark that it was, what it proved to be, lions. Having encouraged the dogs to drive them out, a task which they performed with great willingness, we had a full view, of an enormous black-maned lion, and a lioness. The latter, was seen only for a minute, as she made her escape up the river, under concealment of the rushes; but the lion came steadily forward and stood still to look at us. At this moment we felt our situation not free from danger, as the animal seemed preparing to spring upon us, and we were standing on the bank at the distance of only a few yards from him, most of us being on foot and unarmed, without any visible possibility of escaping. I had given up my horse to the hunters and was on foot myself; but there was no time for fear, and it was useless to attempt avoiding him. Poor Truy was in great alarm; she clasped her infant to her bosom, and screamed out, as if she thought her destruction inevitable, calling anxiously to those who were nearest the animal, Take care! Take care! In great fear for my safety, she half-insisted upon my moving farther off: I however, stood well upon my guard, holding my pistols in my hand, with my finger upon the trigger; and those who had muskets kept themselves prepared in the same manner. But at this instant, the dogs boldly flew in between us and the lion, and surrounding him, kept him at bay by their violent and resolute barking. The courage of these faithful animals, was most admirable: they advanced up to the side of the huge beast, and stood making the greatest clamor in his face, without the least appearance of fear. The lion, conscious of his strength, remained unmoved at their noisy attempts, and kept his head turned towards us. At one moment, the dogs perceiving his eye thus engaged, had advanced close to his feet, and seemed as if they would actually seize hold of him; but they paid dearly for their imprudence, for without discomposing the majestic and steady attitude in which he

[page] 192

stood fixed, he merely moved his paw, and at the next instant, I beheld two lying dead. In doing this, he made so little exertion, that it was scarcely perceptible by what means they had been killed. Of the time which we had gained by the interference of the dogs, not a moment was lost; we fired upon him; one of the balls went through his side just between the short ribs, and the blood immediately began to flow; but the animal still remained standing in the same position. We had now no doubt that he would spring upon us; every gun was instantly reloaded; but happily we were mistaken, and were not sorry to see him move quietly away; though I had hoped, in a few minutes to have been enabled to take hold of his paw without danger.

This was considered by our party to be a lion of the largest size, and seemed, as I measured him by comparison with the dogs, to be, though less bulky, as large as an ox. He was certainly as long in body, though lower in stature; and his copious mane gave him a truly formidable appearance. He was of that variety which the Hottentots and boors distinguish by the name of the black lion, on account of the blacker colour of the mane, and which is said to be always larger and more dangerous than the other which they call the pale lion, (vaal leeuw.) Of the courage of a lion, I have no very high opinion, but of his majestic air and movement, as exhibited by this animal, while at liberty in his native plains, I can bear testimony. Notwithstanding the pain of a wound of which he must soon afterwards have died, he moved slowly away with a stately and measured step.

At the time when men first adopted the lion as the emblem of courage, it would seem that they regarded great size and strength as indicating it; but they were greatly mistaken in the character they have given to this indolent skulking animal, and have overlooked a much better example of true courage, and of other virtues also, in the bold and faithful dog.

As its skin could not have been brought away, all our oxen being already overloaded, I did not think it worth while to pursue the beast till we had killed it; and judged it much wiser not to run the risk

[page] 193

of losing any of my men, especially for an object to which we were led neither by necessity nor advantage.

After a march of above twelve miles, we arrived at the place where the kanna lay: it was in the middle of a plain covered with low scattered bushes. Here we found Speelman, who had remained to guard the carcass and prevent its being devoured by vultures, of which great numbers were discoverable hovering at an immense height in the air, and sailing round in circles directly above the spot. This place is distinguished therefore, upon the map, by the name of Vulture Station.

We were soon afterwards joined by a party of natives, the greater number of whom were women, removing with their oxen, sheep, goats, and the materials of their huts, to Kaabi's Kraal.

11th. We had with us seventeen Bushmen, some of whom made themselves useful in lending their assistance to cut up the elandmeat, for which service they and the whole party were, as usual, well paid in meat and tobacco.

At noon, when we began to pack up, we discovered that the backs of some of the oxen, but more particularly of that which carried my baggage, were become so sore, and galled by their loads, that we found them unable to proceed. This inconvenience was the more serious in its consequences, as it would, by travelling, grow every day worse. In this dilemma, I despatched two of the Bushmen to my friend Kaabi, from whose kraal I supposed we were not more than a day's journey, to beg that he would lend me two of his pack-oxen.

In the mean time I sent five of my men out hunting, that I might be enabled to make him a handsome present of game. They were not, however, successful, though the whole plain was covered with the foot-marks of antelopes and other wild beasts which were seen on all sides. Amongst these the lions made constant havoc; and at night the cries and moans of an eland, which we heard one of them devouring close by our station, awoke me in the middle of my sleep.

12th. In the morning, one of the Bushmen fetched away the


[page] 194

remains of the lion's supper; which, however, was little more than the legs. It was therefore probable that more than one lion had feasted upon the carcass or that a pack of jackals and hyenas, or the vultures, had finished the rest.

The hunters set out early; and it was not long before they had shot an eland. These unfortunate animals were not allowed to rest in safety either day or night, and were now pursued by more formidable enemies than lions. Their flesh being, as before remarked, much superior in taste and in fatness, to nearly all other kinds of game, they were always, by preference, chased by the Hottentots, while other animals were passed by unmolested.

The vultures, attracted from afar by the smell of so much meat, descended in great numbers, and walked around us at the distance of one or two hundred yards, with as much ease and familiarity as oxen or sheep. Accustomed as they are, to feed in society with beasts of prey, they appeared very little disturbed by the presence of our dogs, which sometimes, as if the birds had been merely strange dogs, ran to drive them away from the offal, which they considered as belonging exclusively to themselves.

Of these birds I observed five distinct species, but not having shot any, I am unable to describe them with certainty. They sometimes approached so near, that, besides the two already noticed*, I could distinguish two others, as being new, and probably undescribed species; and which I never afterwards met with again. They both equalled, as well as I could judge under such circumstances, the largest of the African vultures. One was entirely white, and the bare skin of its neck, white also: this might possibly be the female of the following species: of which I made a sketch. This latter was of a sooty black plumage; the naked skin of the neck was of a pale rose color; and the top of the head was covered with feathers of the same color as that of the wings and other parts of the body. Its

* Vultur percnopterus, at page 338, and the large black vulture at page 377, of the first volume.

[page] 195

beak was straight and long as in the Percnopterus, and the end of it was hooked and orange-coloured.*

One of the old Bushwomen was so characteristic a specimen of her nation at that age, that I made her sit for her portrait. This was no inconvenience to her, as she naturally sat like an inanimate mass. She scarcely, indeed, looked like a human being: a rough sheep-skin kaross, only served to give her a more shapeless appearance; and eyes so sunken as hardly to be visible, together with large clots of red ochre hanging over and covering her forehead, gave to her miserable dirty wrinkled visage, the strongest character of poverty wretchedness and neglect.

The two Bushmen, whom I sent off yesterday at about one o'clock in the afternoon, had made such surprising expedition, that at four o'clock this day, they returned with the two oxen; having travelled on foot a distance of sixty miles within fifteen hours; from which is to be subtracted the time required for their meals and rest. They were accompanied by four of their countrymen, who came with a request from Kaabi that I would send him some tobacco. As soon as they received this, and had hastily taken some refreshment, they started again, to return home.

I was now informed that Kaabi and all his people had for the present removed their kraal from where I first saw it, to a distance of several miles farther northward. Here they were expecting us, and accordingly sent word that they wished me to deviate from our old track along the river, that we might take this new kraal in our way.

13th. With the addition to my own party, of the people and cattle who were removing to join Kaabi, we formed a strong caravan, and perhaps as motley and singular a group as ever could be formed into a picture. The whole affair appeared so curious and strange, and the circumstances so unlike every thing English, that, happening

* Vultur pileatus, B.
Totus fuliginoso-niger. Colli pars superior nuda pallidè rosea. Caput pennatum nigrum. Rostrum capite multò longius, rectum, apice adunco aurantiaco. Species inter majores.

C C 2

[page] 196

in the midst of all this, to turn my thoughts back to my own country, I seemed for a few moments to believe that I was only in a dream; and that the scene before me was one of those inconsistent medleys of ideas, which are often produced by a wandering imagination.

The first part of this day's-march was through a country covered with low mountains and rocky hills. Under the guidance of the Bushmen, we next proceeded over a large and rugged plain; and afterwards ascended to a higher level, on which, after travelling two or three miles farther, we found a pond of water; and, as it was already dark, halted there for the night. Kaabi's new kraal was not more than an hour and a half beyond this place, yet it would have been unsafe, in the midst of lions then beginning their nightly prowl, to have travelled at that hour with so many cattle; as the dread of these destructive beasts, would certainly have thrown them into confusion, and scattered or destroyed our baggage. We had marched, according to estimation, twenty-five miles and a half, and the greater part of which being over ground profusely covered with large loose stones, most of my Graaffreynet people were much fatigued.

As soon as we arrived, the Bushmen made, upon the heights, three fires at the distance of about sixty yards apart, and forming an equilateral triangle. These were intended as some private signal, either to let their friends in the surrounding country, know that we were approaching, or to signify that our fires were those of friends, and consequently, to prevent any hostile attack upon us in the dark. I have therefore marked this spot by the name of Three-fires Station.

14th. This morning so many visitors continued arriving, that we were at length surrounded by a large crowd, whom we found to be nearly the whole of Kaabi's people. Among them I was glad to see Riizo; and he appeared equally gratified at meeting us again. These natives came merely for the pleasure of seeing us, and of telling us that they were glad at our having returned into their country. They assisted us in packing our oxen, and we then moved on together in a numerous body.

The distance being but little more than four miles, we reached the kraal in less than an hour and a half; where I was greeted by

[page] 197

Kaabi and many others whom I personally knew, with happy friendly countenances.

As I had promised to bring them more tobacco at my return, I was immediately surrounded by the crowd, who looking upon me now as an old friend, laid aside all timidity and restraint; and gave loose to the most ridiculous manifestation of their pleasure, when they saw me about to distribute this precious gift. They pushed in amongst one another with heedless eagerness to get near to me, and pressed each other so closely that neither I nor the chief had room to move, and my clothes began to assume the same red color as theirs. The lively clamor which the crowd sent forth, prevented all attempts at speaking, and rendered it impossible for any one to gain a hearing: each one, but more particularly the women, endeavoured to out-do the rest, in the noisy expression of their joy, and I could have fancied myself in the midst of a crowd of happy children to whom I was about to make presents of toys and sugarplums. Kaabi raised his voice and spoke to them; but he was not heard: all that he could do, was to smile, and wait patiently till this sudden ebullition of joy had subsided. My new men seemed astonished at such a familiar, and to them unusual, reception from Bushmen. At length, finding the noise and confusion too great to suffer me to make a regular distribution myself, I announced that their chieftain had undertaken to give to each one his due share; and accordingly I delivered to him the whole quantity of tobacco which I had previously laid apart for our friends at this kraal.

These people were now possessed of large herds of cattle; and when asked how they had so suddenly become rich, the only explanation they gave was, that they had received them from another kraal. That they were stolen, I had no doubt; and Keyser even assured me that he knew the greater part of the oxen to be some which belonged to a boor named Cobus Pretorius, living on Sneeuwberg. I counted forty; but my men afterwards observed ten more; and besides these, a flock of about two hundred sheep.

The policy of this kraal, had induced them to station themselves at a distance of five miles from any water, in an open situation which

[page] 198

was somewhat concealed from distant view, by a low surrounding ridge of hills. (See the fourth plate.*) I employed the afternoon in making drawings of the scene; together with portraits of Kaabi, of a young woman and her child, and several other sketches. Among the people of this kraal, I observed one woman with very red, or carroty hair; and have since seen in different tribes of Bushmen, other instances of this color; but they were not frequent. Grey hair is equally a rarity.

The vignette at the head of this chapter represents the arms of the Bushmen. From a strap which passes over one shoulder, are suspended the quiver, the bow, and the kirri (keeri) in the manner there seen. Behind these, are shown an arrow and the upper half of a hassagay; all drawn to the same proportion, the bow being usually between three and four feet long, sometimes shorter, but rarely longer. The bowstring is always formed of catgut or the twisted entrails of some animal. The bow itself is made not always of the same sort of

* The huts represented in this plate, are constructed of mats (Vol. I. p. 114. 263.) made of rushes, in the manner shown in a former plate (pl. 7. Vol. I. p. 325.) and more particularly described in a preceding part of this volume. (p. 55. and 56.) The Bushmen of the Cisgariepine most commonly paint their mats lengthwise with stripes of red-ochre. The outermost figure on the left, will give an idea of the appearance of a Bushman as he is usually equipped for travelling, having his bow, quiver, hassagay and kirri. Before him is a representation of one of their dogs, (p. 56.) which are of a race perhaps peculiar to these tribes. Hassagays and sticks, when not in use, are most frequently stuck in the ground by the side of the hut. This plate exhibits, not only the particular view of the spot, but the ordinary appearance of a Bushman Kraal, and the genuine domestic state of its inhabitants, such as they are in their proper and original mode. In this picture, therefore, the number of figures and their occupations, are only those which are consistent with this intention, and have no reference to the unusual and busy scene which this kraal became in consequence of my arrival among these people. The nearest figure in the middle of the picture, is that of a man returning home from hunting, carrying a fawn or young antelope at his back. To the left of him, are two men, and a woman having her child in her arms, sitting in front of their hut, a very common manner of spending their time in fine weather: other parties of the same kind are seen at the other huts. Most of the figures have leathern caps of various forms according to the fancy of the maker or wearer. The outermost figure on the right is a man returning from the neighbouring spring with an ostrich-egg shell filled with water. On the left of him, and close to the hut in the foreground, may be seen one of those sticks already described (p. 29.) as being loaded with a perforated globular stone for the purpose of digging up various eatable wild roots. The soil here is of a reddish color, and scantily covered with herbage and low bushes.

[page break]

[page] 199

wood, as the materials vary according to the country in which the kraal resides: that from which the figure was taken, was of the wood of a species of Tarchonanthus from the Transgariepine. The karree-tree (Rhus viminale) is most generally used for this purpose. The quiver is usually made of some thick hide, as of the ox, or the kanna; but the natives more towards the western coast, frequently use the branches of the Aloë dichotoma, which is therefore called by the Hottentots and Colonists, kokerboom or quiver-tree. The hassagay is not made by themselves: these weapons are either purchased from the Caffres, or derived from the Bichuanas by means of barter from one kraal to another.

The arrow is so purely a Bushman manufacture, that the surrounding tribes, often procure them from this nation, as being better arrow-makers than themselves: and I much doubt whether in fact these weapons are ever made by the Bachapins. The shaft is made from the common African reed, and at each end is neatly bound round with sinew, to prevent splitting. The head consists principally of a long piece of bone cut very smoothly to fit exactly into the reed, so as to remain fast without being absolutely fixed. The length of the whole arrow is generally between eighteen and twenty-two inches. At the end of this chapter may be seen, of their natural size, the figures of arrow-heads of various forms. They are tipped with a thin triangular piece of iron made exceedingly sharp at the edges. Immediately below this, is a thick coating of the gummy poisonous compound, already described*; and in this poison, is placed a barb made from a piece of quill. The whole of the head is separate from the shaft, and is made merely to fit into it; so that neither man, nor animal, can draw it out of the wound by means of the reed, which in the flight, may drop off, while the head will still be left buried in the flesh. Sometimes the head consists only of the bone, without the piece of iron, and it is then made very sharp and slender, and is also covered with the poison: when the arrows of this form are not immediately wanted,

* In the first volume at page 539.

[page] 200

the poisonous point is turned inwards into the reed. The bone of the leg of the ostrich, is the most esteemed material, yet other bones are as commonly used for the purpose. The shape and make of these heads, though essentially the same, vary in some trifling particulars, according to different tribes.*

On my requesting Kaabi to lend me four pack-oxen to assist in carrying my baggage as far as the Gariep, he immediately, and with great willingness, promised that I should have them on the morrow.

Judging from my former track, as it appeared upon paper, that we might reach the Gariep by taking a course directly across the country, I consulted with him respecting the probability of finding water by the way. His opinion was, that there was no impediment to travelling directly northward from this kraal, as the country was open, but we should not find any water; and that it was safest for us to follow that river the waters of which we had so long drunk. I therefore resolved to follow his advice; yet I discovered afterwards, that the natives, at least, can traverse that tract, and consequently must know where to find springs by the way; though it would be too great a risk for a large party of strangers and cattle, situated as we were, to venture on such an uncertain route. Notwithstanding this, Kaabi's advice was most probably given with reference to our circumstances; as he might know that there would not be water enough for so many mouths; as our dogs, horses, and oxen would require perhaps a larger quantity than those springs could supply.

At night there was dancing in one of the huts, the same as

* In the engraving at the end of this chapter, the upper figure shows the arrowhead taken out of the shaft or reed, part of which is seen on the right. The thicker and darker part under the triangular tip of iron, is the poison, at the bottom of which is the quill-barb: the rest is bone. The second figure is a bone-head without the iron tip, and in this the poison is layed on the thinner part. Of the three middle figures; that on the right represents the lower end of the arrow, or that which is applied to the string: that on the left explains the manner in which the piece of iron is fixed into the bone. The above figures are taken from arrows used by the Bushmen visited in these travels: the three lower ones are from those used in Little, and Great, Namaqualand.

[page] 201

already described; and observation inclines me to suppose that it is a common amusement with these people.

15th. Platje, Van Roye, and Cornelis, requesting leave to ride forward on horseback and hunt through the country before the game should have been disturbed, I permitted them to set out several hours earlier than the time fixed for the departure of the whole party: while at the same time Speelman, Keyser, and Stuurman, went on foot. This I did with a view to procuring a sufficient quantity of meat to be sent back as payment with Kaabi's four oxen.

Before our departure, much delay was occasioned by sending our oxen and dogs to the water, which, according to the report of the Hottentots who took them, lay at a distance which, thither and returning, made a journey of nearly ten miles. The sheep were spared this fatigue, by being naturally better able than the oxen to endure thirst.

When we were about to pack up our baggage, Kaabi came to inform me that it was not in his power to lend us the four pack-oxen; that he himself was perfectly willing to give me that assistance, but that he had been opposed in this affair by some of the principal members of the kraal.

Now it appeared that the presence of my Graaffreynet Hottentots, had created among them some alarm and mistrust: for Keyser, who understood their language, overheard them mentioning to each other, their suspicions that he and Stuurman were spies sent by the boors; as they were recognised as having been seen in the service of the colonists, and Keyser was even pointed at as having been one of a former 'commando' which came into their country to retake some stolen cattle. Platje also made to me a report of the same nature; and all who understood their language, discovered that the cause of their having removed their kraal from Waterpoint, was, the fear of being pursued, and that they now, in consequence of the place of their retreat being known to Hottentots connected with the boors, had resolved to remove to another spot, on the very next day after our departure. On this account, they were themselves


[page] 202

in want of pack-oxen to transport their mats and the other materials of their huts; for, among the stolen cattle, were none which could be of use to them in this service. There was one grey-headed old man, whose fears, and even displeasure, were much excited by the sight of my new men: he strongly opposed Kaabi, who as strongly insisted on lending me the oxen; but the old man's opinion, that they could not be spared on account of their being obliged to remove immediately, coinciding with that of some other principal persons, the debate terminated in Kaabi's telling me that he could lend me only one, and which was his own. At one time the dispute between the chief and old Gryskop (Greyhead), as my Hottentots named him, was very vehement, as he appeared quite averse from affording us any accommodation at all. His wife, however, interfering and representing how wrong and imprudent it would be, to have any quarrel with us, he at last was pacified, and consented that a second ox should be lent me, as I complained to Kaabi of the unkindness in not giving me assistance when they saw that the backs of my oxen, and even of the horses, were so much galled that I should not be able, without the greatest difficulty, to reach the Gariep with the whole of our baggage.

For the use of these two oxen, I promised not only that he should be paid in tobacco, but that they should bring him back a great portion of the game which we might happen to shoot on the road: and it was therefore agreed that three of his people should accompany us for the purpose of driving them home.

At eleven o'clock I took my leave of Kaabi, and departed from his kraal, with strong impressions of his friendly good-will towards me personally, and of his naturally mild and kind disposition. I have given the character of him and his countrymen, with the moat conscientious impartiality. I have exposed all the objectionable part of it, which came to my knowledge; and if I have given a preponderancy to the better and more pleasing, it is because that part appeared really to preponderate. Their robberies of cattle from the Colony, are committed under the influence of what has now,

[page] 203

unfortunately, become a long established custom, at least for several generations. They are committed under the influence, too, of temptation by the carelessness of the Hottentot shepherds and herdsmen, and by the very weak protection given to the numerous flocks which graze on the borders. Nor, in weighing this crime, would it be just to omit throwing something into the opposite scale, for poverty and want; for an inveterate and inherited enmity to the boors; for ignorance; and even, for their wild habits and lawless mode of life.

I now could give myself the answer to that question which I had long marked as one of the desiderata of my travels*: but, alas! it is in the negative; and I must now believe, that these savages have not been rendered happier by their communication with Europeans; I must too, believe, that they have not been made better or morally wiser; and I fear I must conclude that the present state of all the Hottentot race, is far less happy, far less peaceful, than it was before our discovery of the Cape of Good Hope. If they rob us of cattle, what is that crime to ours! who have robbed so large a portion of these tribes, of their liberty and of the land of their fathers. If European policy require our taking possession of the country, (and I do not dispute that policy,) let us in return, as the smallest boon, be kind to its aborigines; kind to men who may no longer tread the ground over which their forefathers have led their flocks; over which their ancestors were probably the first to imprint the human footstep.

When we departed, no one accompanied us, as I had expected. Uncertain of the exact course we ought to hold, as I had had no opportunity of laying down my track from Quakka station, we took at first a north-westerly direction for two hours. This brought us in the neighbourhood of two kraals, lying at a distance from each other, of not more than two miles. We met three of their inhabitants; from whom we learnt that the second belonged to those poor creatures who, at the time of my first journey, dwelt at Poverty Kraal. They were exceedingly pleased at seeing us again, and fortunately apprized

* At pages 5 and 6, of the first volume.

D D 2

[page] 204

us that, by keeping on in that direction, we should not reach the river that night; an opinion which I had just expressed to my men. We were therefore thankful for the information, and turned our steps to the west.

Continuing to travel for above five hours and a half longer, during the greater part of which we followed a path made by quakkas passing from their grazing ground to the water, we did not arrive at the river till the dusk of evening. This spot is distinguished as Lion Station.

The two Bushmen of Poverty Kraal soon left us; but it was for the purpose of going home to inform their friends of my return: and soon after we had unloaded our oxen and made our fires, their whole kraal arrived at our station, and remained with us till the next day. I now made them all a larger present of tobacco, which failed not to gladden their hearts and give them for the evening, as much happiness and content as the simplicity of their minds renders this race capable of enjoying.

As for myself, I could not feel so much at ease; as I became, during the night, every hour more anxious for the safety of the six Hottentots to whom I had given permission to set out to hunt in advance. I expected that they would have fallen in with our track, and have thus been guided to our station; or that, if, which was more probable, they had reached the river before us, our fires would have been a beacon which might have readily conducted them home: or had they shot any game, one of the party would have been sent to us for pack-oxen. But the chief cause of my uneasiness arose from a supposition that they might, in the dark, have fallen in with lions; animals much more to be dreaded at that hour than by day; and of which it may with equal propriety be said, that, like the owls, they are destined by nature to live and prey only at night.

Although much in want of food, we were unwilling to kill a sheep, until the result of the hunting was known. Thus the time passed in waiting; till we at last lay down supperless to sleep: while our Bushman friends, seeing that we ate nothing ourselves, were content to fast also.

[page] 205

16th. But in the morning I gave my visitors a meal; for which they were exceedingly thankful, as they had not, I fear, feasted much in our absence.

At two in the afternoon, Speelman arrived, extremely fatigued and exhausted. The sky having been all day cloudless, the heat of the sun had reduced him to a state of great lassitude. He declared that he had neither eaten nor drunk since yesterday morning; and his appearance confirmed his statement. He could give no account of the others, as they had parted company soon after setting out: and he himself had been wandering about, and traversing the country, in hope of getting a shot at some game; but had been quite unsuccessful. He had fallen in with two of the natives; and they passed the night together, under shelter of a bank of earth, where they found a small cave, in which they slept.

I gave to the people of Poverty Kraal, a large quantity of dakka, and desired them, in their way home, to look out for my people, and, if they saw any, or could discover them by following their track, to give them directions respecting our situation. They took leave of us at three o'clock; and in a most friendly manner assured me that they would search for my people and send them home.

On observing some quakkas at a distance in the plain, Philip and Juli with their guns went after them; but were strongly enjoined not to pursue them out of sight of our station. In an hour afterwards, one of them returned with the agreeable intelligence of their having shot a kanna (eland); the other remained by the carcass to guard it from vultures and wild beasts. Pack-oxen were immediately sent off; but it was not till eight at night, that the meat was brought home, and we were enabled to satisfy the cravings of hunger.

In an hour and a half after the Bushmen left us, Keyser and Stuurman arrived, faint and weary from their long wanderings, and suffering much from thirst. I ordered them to have as soon as possible, a cup of coffee, which I knew to be, for persons in their state, a much safer and more refreshing beverage than water. They had, in their way this morning, shot a Gemsbok (Ghemsbok); and to so high a degree had the heat of the day raised their thirst, that they eagerly cut open the animal's stomach, and with the greatest

[page] 206

avidity drank the liquid, which it contained; but this not being sufficient, they also drank the blood; after which, they made a fire on the spot, and broiled some of the meat. It was the smoke of this fire which fortunately made their situation so soon known to the Bushmen whom we sent in search of them, and who were thus very opportunely and deservingly repaid for this friendly act, by receiving the whole of the game; neither of my Hottentots having as yet recovered strength enough to bring away more than the tongue and two or three slices of the flesh.

In the middle of the night I was awakened by the roaring of a lion; but the sound was peculiar, and very different from that which the animal usually makes. I am assured by the inhabitants of these countries, who have had opportunities of ascertaining the fact, that he produces this noise by laying his head upon the ground and uttering, as it were, a half-stifled roar, or growl, by which means the sound is conveyed along the earth. It now seemed to us very much to resemble that which we had heard in Cape Town at the moment of the earthquake: it seemed also to have a progressive movement, as if it came from the west. I instantly sprang up, and seeing that our fires were nearly out, called to the Hottentots to put on a large quantity of fuel to make a blaze, for the purpose of keeping the beasts at a distance, as they are said to be afraid of flame. But though several of them were awake, they remained without attempting to move, until I called out. As they had supposed it to be really an earthquake, and knew that by sleeping in the open air, there was nothing to fear if such had been the case, they lay very quietly wrapped up in their karosses, till I ordered them to make up the fires. From the uneasiness of the oxen, two of which broke loose from the bushes to which they had been made fast, and from other circumstances, I was convinced that it was a lion; and at length most of the people began to think the same as myself; but Speelman persisted in declaring that it was only an earthquake, till, on examining the ground the next morning, we found the animal's footmarks within fifty yards of the spot where we had been lying asleep. There is little doubt that the beast's intention was to have seized one of the oxen; and as little, that the timely making up our fires prevented

[page] 207

him. His roaring, was intended to strike fear into the cattle and to put them to flight; in which case, he would have pursued, and easily have secured, his prey. It was his natural fear of man, which alone withheld him from springing upon them at once, or even upon us, as we lay quite exposed upon the bare ground; for we had, as I have remarked, little or no fire burning at that time.

As far as I am enabled to judge, there is no region in any quarter of the world, which can hold competition with Southern Africa in number of large animals. It would be a novel and not uninstructive mode of comparing the zoölogy of different countries, by noting the aggregate weight of the wild animals of each country (meaning one individual of each species) divided by the total number of species. If a table of this kind were formed, I think there is little doubt that Southern Africa would be found to stand at the head of it.

Although we are taught to believe that man is the supreme animal of this globe; and every thing we behold, even in civilized countries, confirms that belief; yet still the mind can never derive so perfect a conviction of this truth, as when viewing a country in a state of nature, where men and multitudes of wild beasts of every class, roam unrestrained, in all the freedom of creation. Can we view animals of immense bulk and strength, either flying from man, or submitting to his domination and labouring in his immediate service, without acknowledging at once that their timidity or submission forms a part of that wise plan, predetermined by the Deity, for giving supreme power to him who is physically the weakest of them all? or can we doubt that a part of that plan was, that man should rule alone by the divine spirit of reason and superior intellect, and, at his own option and freewill, either by the exercise of these, elevate himself above the rest of the animal creation, or by the neglect of them sink himself below the beasts? For man has nought else of which to be proud, but reason and virtue: without those he is still but mere animal, his existence is useless in the great final cause of the universe, and he will surely have to answer for his voluntary deficiencies in them, to that Aweful, Good and Great, Power, who will know no other distinction among man-

[page] 208

kind than that which they themselves make by their virtuous or vicious conduct.

17th. The absence of the other three men, caused me considerable uneasiness, as we were unable to account for their having remained away two nights. They were all mounted on horseback, and could easily have overtaken us; or have escaped from any inimical kraal of natives who, mistaking them for part of a commando, might have made any hostile attempt upon them. At one time, a suspicion arose in my mind, that they had deserted, and returned back to the Colony; at another, I believed them to be waiting for us lower down the river. In hope, if they happened to be near, of giving them notice of our situation, I sent one of the people to a hillock close by, to make a large fire and keep it burning for several hours; and I resolved in the afternoon to move forward along the banks of the river.

Having waited till more than two hours after mid-day, I gave orders for packing the oxen: but just as we were on the point of departing, Van Roye, Cornelis, and Platje, made their appearance; having been guided by our fire on the hill. Their story was, that having hunted for a great distance northward, and not discovering our track, nor falling in with any Bushmen of whom they could ask information, they concluded that we were still remaining at Kaabi's new kraal, which we had distinguished as the kraal where we had obtained the two oxen, and that they had returned thither in search of us. The inhabitants there had behaved very kindly towards them; and, being just about to remove their whole village, Kaabi had not thought it worth while to send any of his people with us to bring back the two pack-oxen; but desired the Hottentots to tell me that I might keep them till I again returned to his country.

We travelled parallel with the river about eleven or twelve miles, over a flat covered principally with a species of Mesembryanthemum*; and at twilight halted on the banks, at a spot abounding in rushes, and

* Resembling Mesembryanthemum veruculatum.

[page] 209

which I have therefore marked as, Rushy Station. Here the water was found still to continue perfectly fresh: and it is probably only at the lowest part of this river, and in the dry season, that it becomes brackish.

At this place I found Marsilea quadrifolia, an European plant, growing in the water and along the bed of the river, in abundance. The wide dissemination of many species of cryptogamic vegetables all over the earth, is an interesting fact, and one which might deserve particular attention: from a philosophical view of it, there is much to be learnt. Instances of a similar dispersion of what are called phænogamous plants, are much more rare, and may often be traced to some visible cause, such as the current of rivers or of the ocean, or the winds; or even to the instrumentality of man. I shall not here stop to discuss the subject, but shall merely remark that the seeds of cryptogamic vegetables, being infinitely finer than those of the other class, and so excessively minute as to be, in most cases, invisible, even by the aid of the strongest microscope, are more easily borne along by currents of air: and this consideration should be taken in addition, when contemplating philosophically the admirable harmony and wisdom of their primitive location; by which term I would express, the situation assigned to each species at the creation or commencement of the present order of created objects upon the surface of this globe.

We were visited by a few natives: they were personally strangers, but, having long heard of our passing through their country, they came to us in the usual friendly manner. Some of them were ornamented with a fresh necklace of twisted entrails. This is one of the most common ornaments, not only of the Bushmen and other tribes of the Hottentot race, but also of the Bichuana nations. To imagine that these entrails are hung round their necks just in the same state in which they are taken out of the animal, would be to entertain an exceedingly false idea of them; but it is one which those persons, who do not think, in giving an account of a foreign country, that the truth is sufficiently interesting, endeavour to create, supposing that by such means they render the proverbial filthiness of Hottentots


[page] 210

more striking and wonderful. It is a representation, not more correct, than it would be, to tell the Bushmen, that the ladies of Europe play upon a musical instrument composed of the entrails of animals, extended between three pieces of wood. These necklaces of entrails, are washed and cleansed as properly and completely as the strings of a violin or a harp; and it is only by the subsequent accumulation of grease and red-ochre, that they become, what we call, dirty, but which Bushmen consider as highly improved.

At midnight we again heard the lion. Although it is impossible to know whether it was, or was not, the same animal which had disturbed us on the preceding night, it is probable that, having been then disappointed, he had followed us in the hope still of getting hold of an ox.

18th. As the sheep, on a long day's-journey, were found unable to travel so fast as the oxen, they were sent forward early in the morning, with two Hottentots under the guidance of Speelman: and after a march of above four-and-twenty miles, we halted late in the evening, for the last time on the banks of our friendly river, at a spot considerably below the place at which we first became acquainted with it. This is therefore marked as the Lower Station.

On our road we spoke with two Bushmen, who informed us that a white-man, or as they expressed it in their language, a'Gowsa, had crossed the Gariep in his way to Klaarwater. This, till we obtained better information, excited the curiosity of all of us, to know who this person could be, or his object in coming into these countries: but the whole story was either a fabrication on the part of the Bushmen, or a misunderstanding on ours; for no person of that description had made his appearance in any part of these countries, since myself.

19th. This day's march brought us once more to the delightful woody banks of the beautiful Gariep. I hailed its airy acacia groves and drooping willows, and derived pleasure from fancying that they waved their branches to bid me welcome again to their cooling shade, and to greet me on my safe return.

Throughout the whole country which we had traversed in our

[page] 211

present journey, from the Sunday river to this place, not a single Acacia had been seen; and if this fact be coupled with another already noticed*, that this tree does not exist between the Roggeveld Mountain and the Gariep, a very singular geographical circumstance will be discovered: — that although that part of Southern Africa which has fallen under my observation, every where else abound in acacias, there appears to be one large and central region perfectly destitute of every trace of that plant. This region is bounded on the south, by the ridge of mountains, or rather cliffs, which extends in one continued, though irregular, line from the Farther Bokkeveld, along the northern side of the Great Karro, connecting the Roggeveld Mountains with those of the Nieuwveld and Sneeuwberg; as may be more clearly seen by inspecting the map. It is bounded, on the east by the Rhenosterberg and the Nugariep, and on the north by the Gariep, and does not, probably, extend so far westward as to the seacoast. This region, so remarkably by nature distinguished in several respects from the other parts of Extratropical Africa, is in fact that which I have attempted to distinguish in a geographical view, by the denomination of the Cisgariepine.† The sciences of Geography and Botany here elucidate each other: the generally great elevation, and consequently colder climate, of this region, will not allow the Acacia to thrive: and the absence of this, being one of the species of a numerous genus the whole of which are the inhabitants of warm climates, affords some proof of the greater cold, and consequently of the greater elevation of this region. As it is evident that these conclusions can only be drawn from remarks made along my own course, it remains to be confirmed by future observation, whether my supposition that the whole of this region contains no acacias, be either literally, or only generally, correct.

Those of my men who had never before seen this stream, were astonished at its magnitude, and declared that they had no notion of

* At page 314. of the first volume.

† See Vol. I. p. 581., and also page 324.

E E 2

[page] 212

there being so large a river in Africa: it contained, they said, more water than all the rivers of the Colony put together. To them this was the first stage of the journey; and it was a circumstance not unimportant to me, that they felt pleasure at having, in our course hitherto, beheld and learnt many things which they thought interesting. The glory of shooting a 'sea-cow' had long, in prospect, occupied their thoughts, and the moment, therefore, the baggage was unloaded, they ran down the steep bank of the river to discover if any were then within shot. As soon as they had taken supper, they posted themselves by the water-side, and remained on the watch during the greater part of the night; but this eagerness was not repaid with success. The light of our fires, and the voices of so many people, had probably alarmed the animals and driven them, either higher up the stream, or, nearer the opposite bank.

At this ford, the place of which is marked on the map by the words Ox-Ford, we found a Bushman kraal of ten huts, the inhabitants of which were of taller stature than the natives whom we had hitherto met with in the Cisgariepine. Or, to prevent any supposition that these were tall men, which would be a notion quite false, as they are every where that small race which I have described, it ought rather to be said, that the Bushmen of the country between the Colony and the Gariep, are among the smallest of the Hottentot race. This difference of stature in those who inhabit the vicinity of the river, is probably to be attributed to a mixture of Kora blood: and the same difference has been observed in other places where the intermingling with other tribes may readily be supposed to have occasioned it: but the genuine Bushmen are all excessively small.

20th. At this ford the river is divided into two channels, by an island; and before we attempted to pass with the whole party, we made some previous trials, and found the ford too deep to be practicable without the aid of oxen; and even then, the water flowed over their backs. As old Lucas and Cobus were supposed to be well acquainted with every part of the river hereabouts, we were guided by their opinion that this was the shallowest place; and therefore prepared for crossing, by collecting together a quantity of dry wood for

[page] 213

making rafts to pass the channel on the northern side of the island, that being much too deep to be forded in any manner. While thus employed, we were observed by three Koras on the opposite bank, who goodnaturedly swam over to give us their assistance, knowing by previous report who we were.

My men had laboured the greater part of the day, in collecting the wood and carrying it to the farther side of the island, and we had just made the raft and all was nearly ready, when some Bushmen came to inform me that another ford higher up the river, was much more shallow. In consequence of this advice, I ordered my people to desist from further preparations, and resolved on removing thither: for, having now in my party a number of Hottentots unaccustomed to swimming, and a woman and infant besides, I considered myself responsible for their safety as far as it depended on my judgment, and therefore determined to adopt that plan which offered the least possible risk; although some of the Hottentots seemed little pleased at finding that all the labor of collecting wood must be begun again.

It being too late in the day to commence a journey, we remained at this place, and took advantage of the remaining daylight, to put our baggage in the best order we were able. I amused myself in the mean time, in examining the stones in the bed of the river. The shores of the Gariep, not only at this spot, but every where along its course, as I am informed, abound with pebbles of various sorts, and of considerable beauty. They have been found well adapted for seals and necklaces, or other ornaments of that kind; and from their hardness, are susceptible of a high polish. Of these I now collected a few; among which were some very handsome chalcedonies, some curious agates, and other varieties of this class; together with some of porphyry, primitive amygdaloid, amygdaloidal greenstone; and separate pebbles of zeolite, a substance frequently occurring embedded in the other stones of the river.

21st. Before sunrise we began the business of packing the baggage; but in consequence of the Hottentots' dilatoriness and

[page] 214

want of method, it was not till two hours afterwards, that the whole party were on the march. We soon arrived at the ford, which we found to be the same which bore the name of Engelsche Drift or English Ford. This was also formed by an island which divided the stream; and although it was not so deep as the other, it still required the aid of rafts for passing the channel between us and the island.

On the opposite bank, at some distance higher up, was a kraal of Koras, the same people whom we had seen when we crossed the river before. These soon observed us, and nine of them swam over, and readily, even unasked, lent their assistance in collecting wood for our rafts. The stony shore, partly overhung by trees, was soon a busy scene; which, by the addition of the Koras to our number, together with the horses, oxen, sheep, and dogs, presented a crowded and lively appearance. The broad expanse of water, was the more attractive to the eye, as it was a sight so rare in this part of the globe.

While they were engaged in swimming the cattle through to the island, I employed the time in preserving the memory of these occupations and of this scene, by placing it in my sketch-book. Every additional sketch was, I considered, an additional triumph over oblivion, and a powerful assistant to recollection. I trust I shall be excused for here obtruding the advice upon those who may propose to visit countries little known, or seldom frequented; that they would regard the art of drawing as of the highest importance; not merely as the means of giving their friends an idea of those scenes and objects which they have beheld, but for their own gratification, and for the pleasure of a renewal of past impressions far more lively than any pen can render a written journal.

It was nearly sunset before the whole of my party, and the baggage and cattle, were landed on the island; three hours having been consumed on account of the number of times it was necessary to cross and recross the first channel. In one of these trips, the bands of acacia-bark with which the raft was bound together, broke

[page] 215

while in the middle of the stream, and a great part of the raft separated and was, together with one of the karosses, and some other goods, carried away by the stream and lost. At this time Truy and her child were going over, and narrowly escaped drowning, as the raft fortunately held together till just the moment when they had nearly gained the shore.

This island was narrow, but of considerable length in the direction of the stream. A few trees or bushes grew upon it, and some rushes of a new and peculiar sort*, which were never met with in any other part of my travels. It was subject occasionally to be overflowed; and the fresh grass and other rubbish left upon the branches by the inundation, proved that the river had very lately risen fifteen feet above its present level. The woods along the banks, were still in their antumnal dress.

The two men on horseback were the first to ford the northern channel; while the rest of us waited on the island to watch the result, whether it would be shallow enough for carrying our baggage over without a raft. This we judged it possible to accomplish by packing the goods high upon the oxen's backs. As soon as these were ready, as many of us as could be mounted, entered the stream. The depth of water was five feet, but we found, as we advanced towards the middle, that the current being straitened by the island, was excessively rapid, and rendered our fording an affair of considerable danger. We found it necessary to keep our view directed only to the opposite bank, to prevent giddiness; an effect which the rapid motion of the water flowing past us, produced upon every one. I confess that I was not less in fear, than my men; for the strength of the flood was almost greater than that of the cattle upon which we depended entirely for our safety; and, added to this, the channel was

* Cyperus scirpoides, B. Catal. Geogr. 2128. Culmi 2–3-pedales, nudi teretes: plurimi steriles. Folia nulla? Involucra et involucella brevissima ex squamis 2 vel 3 erectis lanceolatis. Panicula constans ex spiculis sessilibus et pedunculatis, ex umbellulis paucifloris, simplicibus et compositis. Spiculæ lanceolatæ 8–16-floræ.

[page] 216

every where covered with large stones. The oxen were more steady than the horses, but their bulk exposed them more to the force of the current: my horse had in this respect the advantage, but being less strong in the legs, he stumbled more frequently; and at one time, when the roughness of the bottom occasioned a false step, he providentially fell upwards against the stream. Had he fallen in the opposite direction, we must both have been swept away with the flood. My men were in not less alarm: all preserved a fearful silence as long as they were in the water, which was between ten and fifteen minutes; but the moment we reached the shore, they congratulated each other on having landed without accident. Old Hans, who was near me and had observed my horse stumbling and scarcely able to stand against the force of the current, exclaimed very fervently when we gained the bank; 'Thank God! Mynheer is safe.'

The sheep were with much difficulty compelled to enter the stream, and it was only by pelting them with stones, that they were afterwards forced to swim over; they were, however, carried far down with the current before they could gain the land.

I had been careful to preserve the watch which I carried on my person, by placing it where the water could not reach it; but unfortunately the one which had been packed in the tin box, was now rendered utterly useless for the rest of the journey. This box had carelessly been placed so low upon the ox, that on coming to land it was found full of water; in consequence of which, I had to sit up a great part of the night to dry my journals and papers before the fire; and anxious to save these from damage, the watch was neglected till too late, when the springs had already contracted rust.

It being now too dark to drive the oxen back for those who had been left behind, we were not till the next morning quite free from uneasiness on their account; as it was not impossible that the river might swell during the night, and overflow the island. Juli, with his wife and child, and Keyser, remained there till morning without any bedding or protection from the cold; but fortunately they found a sufficient quantity of wood to keep up a fire till daylight

[page] 217

22nd. The first intelligence gained on my arrival in the Transgariepine, was, that of the death of Mulihában*, the chief of the Bachapins, or Briquas, the nation which I intended to visit first; and that, as usual on such an occasion, his successor, Mattivi, had sent to the Klaarwater chief, Adam Kok, a present of two oxen, as expressive of his desire that the two nations, or tribes, should continue on peaceable and friendly terms. This information was given by two Briquas who were in the service of some of the Klaarwater people, as herdsmen, and who, knowing that I was about to make a journey to their country, came for the purpose of apprising me of the circumstance. This certainly was an affair in which we were much concerned; but as the character of their new chief had not yet declared itself, we were left in uncertainty whether the change would be for our advantage or disadvantage.

At noon all the party being at length collected together, we left the river, and proceeded towards the village of 'The Kloof.' On arriving at Jan Bloem's kraal, mutual inquiries compelled us to halt and satisfy their curiosity. He and his friends were eager to learn some particulars respecting the country we had traversed, and we, as eager to hear something of Klaarwater affairs.

The beautiful wire-grass, so much admired on my former journey, was now all dried up, or consumed by the cattle; and the acacias were nearly in a leafless state.

At sunset we entered the Asbestos Mountains, and arrived at The Kloof. Here Willem Fortuyn, the Hottentot who has been mentioned in the former volume as a man possessed of more industry than his neighbours, came immediately to invite me to take up my quarters in his house, which he had cleaned on purpose for my reception, having been apprised of my coming by Van Roye and Cornelis, who, being on horseback and having started early, had preceded us several hours. This was a degree of attention and hospitality, which I had not before experienced from the Klaarwater

* The Bachapíns sometimes pronounce this name Mulihában or Mollihában, and at other times Mulihaváng or Mulihaváng: the first is the most usual.


[page] 218

people, and I was therefore the more struck with this proof of the man's superior degree of civilization, and felt the more gratified by his consideration of the fatigues and privations which he knew I must have suffered. But as the passing but a single night in a warm house might occasion me afterwards to take cold, I preferred sleeping in the open air, to which I was now more accustomed. When he found this to be my determination, he sent a jug of milk, as the most acceptable present which it was in his power to offer. How superior, in the common feelings of human nature, must this man have been, to the inhabitants of the first farm-house at which we arrived, on our entrance into the Colony.

Fortuyn informed me that Captain Berends and a large party with several waggons, had departed but the day before, on a journey farther into the Interior, for the purpose of hunting elephants: and, that the horses from the Roggeveld, which, as mentioned in the former volume, had been sent there to avoid the paardeziekte, had returned in the preceding week; and by this opportunity, the missionaries had received several packets of letters from the Cape. The latter part of this intelligence, it may be supposed, was most interesting to me, as I hoped that among these letters there might be some for myself.

At another piece of information I was much more surprised: that Kaabi and the old Bushman Gryskop, had been to Klaarwater to fetch the two pack-oxen, supposing that we had already arrived there. They, however, did not think it worth their while to wait for our coming; but on finding us not there, they immediately returned home. Although this report was found to be correct, I could not at first believe them to have been the same Bushmen, because Kaabi was seen by three of my men, at his own kraal on the 16th; and this account having reached the Kloof yesterday and having been two days coming from Klaarwater, three days only were left for them to perform the journey, including the crossing of the river; which proves them to have travelled at the rate of at least forty miles each day.

A serious calamity, according to Hottentot estimation, had be-

[page] 219

fallen the gardens of this village: an unusually heavy storm of hail had cut all the leaves off their tobacco plants, and totally ruined the expected crop, on which so much of their comforts, and even profits, depended.

23rd. Hans Lucas, Hendrik Abrams, and Nieuwveld, now took their leave of us, and returned to their homes at Groote-doorn, by a nearer road across the mountains. Lucas had proved himself to be a worthy good-hearted Hottentot, and though neither he, nor any of the others excepting my own men, had much more to do on the journey than merely to accompany me, I found in him always a readiness and goodwill, which failed not to gain my esteem. In Abrams I discovered nothing either to censure or to commend; unless I censure him for inactivity, and commend him for quietness. Nieuwveld, as a Bushman, deserved praise for his constant and steady attention to his duty in driving the loose cattle, as long as we had any to require his care. I had very little communication with him by conversation, because he spoke no language but his own; yet in his deportment there was something which claimed my good opinion.

At this village, we left Cobus Berends and Ruiter. The former was, I believe, a good old man; but on account of his age, was of no use whatever to us as an assistant; although his presence, to give the appearance of greater strength to the party, and occasionally his judgment and experience, rendered him an acceptable companion. Ruiter was at the commencement of the journey, a very useful man as an interpreter, but having taken offence at my finding fault with some unfair bartering of which he had been guilty, he became sullen and often refused to interpret; so that ultimately he was of little advantage, excepting by his mere presence: and this was the utmost extent of Old Daniel's service. It appeared to me remarkable that no one of the party, excepting my own people, shot any game, although gunpowder was delivered to all in the same proportion; yet it was always reported as having been consumed. However, we all parted good friends; and I had the satisfaction of having accomplished my journey, without accident to any one, and with the gratification of knowing that no one was the worse for having accompanied me.

F F 2

[page] 220

From this time till we reached home, the party, excepting one, consisted only of my own people; and I departed from the Kloof with very agreeable feelings, as I viewed upon the road, the number of men engaged in my service, and with whom I might now look forward without disappointment, to the execution of my plans.

We arrived at Gattikamma just before it became dark; where, from the coldness of the air, we found a fire more necessary than food.

24th. This morning we were visited by several Hottentots from Gert Kok's kraal, which lay at the distance of a few miles northward, and who had last night received intelligence of our arrival, by means of Kok, who happened to pass by just as we were unpacking. Our journey had excited a considerable share of curiosity among the Hottentots generally; as they felt more especially interested in a road being now opened to a part of the colony with which they had not before had any communication. The quantity of game which might be met with along that road, formed for them, a subject of inquiry, not less important.

We left Gattikamma before nine in the morning, and marched at a brisk step, that we might arrive early at Klaarwater. The people seemed to have no idea of the necessity which such a journey imposed on us for keeping together in a body; and had, notwithstanding my orders to the contrary, allowed themselves to straggle and disperse in a manner which would subject us to the greatest danger, in countries where the natives might prove less amicably disposed, than the Bushmen among whom we had just been travelling. But as it is difficult to make Hottentots sensible of the advantages to be derived from good order, I found this likely to be a source of some trouble; for, though I had at starting, issued positive instructions that we should keep together, two of my jail Hottentots, Andries and Stuurman, continued in the afternoon, to lag behind, till, watching the opportunity of my being some little way ahead of the rest, they slipped away unperceived. As I missed them soon afterwards, I halted and sent Juli back to make search, and bring them on. After some delay, they came up with us, having been found

[page] 221

very composedly sitting smoking their pipes under a bush; where they had proposed to each other to remain till the evening. This, I am willing to believe, was not done in absolute defiance of my orders, but partly from a careless neglect of them, and partly from a wish of having their own way and from a desire of trying how far they might carry disobedience with impunity. Almost all my new men began their service by making experiments to ascertain the strength of my patience and forbearance; and therefore made continual attempts at slighting my regulations. This, however, was a point which I was firmly resolved, at all hazards, to maintain against them; as the safety of the whole depended upon subordination to their head. Fortunately for them, they had to deal with one who was determined on pursuing such measures as he conscientiously felt to be just and right. I watched therefore with a jealous eye, every attempt at disobedience, and considered nothing of so much importance as the preservation of my authority over them: although, I confess, there were subsequent occasions, on which this authority was preserved merely in outward appearance.

[page] 222



AT four in the afternoon we came in sight of Klaarwater. I halted my men at the top of the ridge above the village, and, according to colonial custom*, saluted the missionaries with twenty discharges of our muskets, as a complimentary mode of announcing our return. They had been yesterday apprised by a Hottentot called Lang Adam, that we were on the road from the Kloof, and should certainly arrive this day. But our salutation remained unanswered; not a musket was fired to welcome us; nor did any one make his appearance to receive us. At this, we were all naturally much surprised; as the noise was loud enough to have awakened the whole village, had every inhabitant been even fast asleep.

* See examples of this, at pages 173 and 328 of the first volume.

[page] 223

We rode up to the houses, where Gert was hastening to meet us; and my men went forward and unpacked the baggage at my waggons, which I rejoiced to behold once again.

None of the missionaries making themselves visible all this time, I knocked at Mr. Anderson's door: he at last came forward, and in an admirably calm manner, and without the least expression of any emotions, such as worldly men might naturally indulge in, on witnessing the return of a person whom he might consider as having risen from the dead, received me with; So, you're come back again. It must certainly have been vexatious to him, to find all his predictions respecting the dangers and difficulties of the journey, and my failure in the object of it, falsified in the eyes of those people by whom he wished to be thought an unerring example for their imitation; and I readily admit this excuse for his feelings. Therefore neither he nor his brother missionaries, had any reason for rejoicing at my success and safe return; a sentiment which, if they felt it, never once escaped their lips during the whole time I remained at Klaarwater; nor did they ever allow their consistency to be compromised by any vain curiosity respecting the occurrences of my journey; for on this head they preserved a silence well becoming men whose minds were occupied with better things. Nor was any reason ever given for taking no notice of my salute. However; I met with a civil reception from all. I know that it is the doctrine of this sect, to suppress, and even destroy, every lively emotion, and to strive to become serious people. But for my part, I never could bring my mind to so serious a state as to avoid being extremely glad at finding myself, with all my men, safely arrived at Klaarwater, or to avoid being equally rejoiced at getting away from it.

After a little time Kramer and Jansz made their appearance. I delivered a letter from Mr. Kicherer, and gave them some Cape newspapers. In return I received, what was most acceptable, three packets of letters, one of which was from England, and brought, as I have mentioned, by the men who returned with the horses from the Roggeveld. To these I had a fortunate opportunity of replying immediately, by means of some Hottentots going to Kok's Kraal, a place about nine or ten days journey lower down the Gariep. These people

[page] 224

being in connexion equally with Klaarwater and with the Kamiesberg, undertook to forward letters for the missionaries into the Colony; and mine, being put into the same packet, reached ultimately their destination.

Gert and Hannah, were both in excellent condition, having had nothing to do but to sit by the waggons and fatten themselves. They informed me that my waggons were in all respects in the state as when I left them. I was, however, much vexed at hearing that the Hottentot named Cupido Kok had taken my great rifle-gun with him to Litaakun; the consequence of which was, that I lost the use of it during my whole journey in the Interior. This man having greatly admired the gun, I consented to lend it him till we returned from Graaffreynet, as it was too heavy to be constantly carried in the hand; and as he offered to supply its place with a lighter musket. I gave him at the same time a pound of gunpowder, for which he engaged to let Gert have either game or a sheep in our absence; but this, I now was told, he had not done.

I made my complaint to the missionary, but soon dropped the subject, as I found that the man had been baptized, and that it was not pleasant to hear a bad character given to one of whom he held a good opinion.

I had given Gert at my departure, a quantity of powder and ball, with which he might obtain a supply of provisions during part of the time; but the person to whom he entrusted it, returned him no more than half a springbuck. Captain Kok, however, had fulfilled his promise, and had allowed him to have as many goats, on my account, as he required.

Although two of my men were sent out hunting every day, and their powder-horns were frequently replenished, we never got more than one springbuck during our stay at this village. It being known that I had plenty of gunpowder, I was beset in various ways, and have little doubt that in this particular, as well as in provisions, my own men were often successfully solicited to betray their trust; as they never reported having missed aim, so often as when we were in the neighbourhood of the Klaarwater Hottentots. Keyser, whom I had sent back from the Kloof to the river, for our hatchet, which he had care-

[page] 225

lessly left behind, returned on the third day with an empty horn, and with the story of his having lost all his powder and ball, and shot nothing: this might be accounted for by his having passed through The Kloof, and afterwards taken a circuit round by Grootedoorn.

25th. My oxen, which had been left under the care of Abram Abrams, were brought that I might see them, and as they appeared to be in the best order, he received the promised reward; and, my waggons being found all safe and in proper condition, Gert also received a present as an encouragement of his fidelity.

27th. A small party of Hottentots returned home to day from a journey to The Hart; where they had been to barter for cattle. They had intended going to the Roode Kaffers (Red Caffres); but were dissuaded by some Bachapins who accompanied them.

It seems to be a common maxim with all the nations of the Interior, to oppose the wishes of any strangers desirous of visiting the tribes beyond; always giving as a reason for doing so, that it is dangerous to travel among people so cruel as they represent them to be; but their real motive is, the desire that no tribe but themselves shall reap the advantages to be derived from trading with strangers.

June 3d. I had intended leaving Klaarwater in a week after my arrival; judging that that time would be sufficient for putting every thing in travelling order, and for making all those arrangements which circumstances might require. But as I had from no one the least assistance, and as my people were more inclined to loiter among their old acquaintances and smoke their time away, than actively to despatch their work, I found the period of our departure, greatly to my annoyance, prolonged from day to day, by various difficulties and obstructions arising in one quarter or another.

The two women Hannah and Truÿ, who, though brought on the journey contrary to my first intention, were still the object of care and concern: they were to be provided for, during our absence, whether we returned to this place, or proceeded through the continent. I, however, made their husbands manage the business as if on their own account, well knowing that otherwise I should have been assailed with the most unreasonable demands for gunpowder and


[page] 226

ball. It was settled that they should take up their residence at Grootedoorn, where our friend Hans Lucas, and Hendrik, very readily promised to give them protection. I mentioned their case to Mr. Anderson, and requested him to see that they were not in want, and engaged to repay whatever might be advanced on their account.

In Mr. Kramer's care, I left a chest containing my collection of birds, insects, botanical specimens* and drawings, to be taken to

* From the number of new plants discovered in the vicinity of Klaarwater, the following are selected;
Ipomæa suffruticosa, B. Catal. Geogr. 1838. Radix crassa fusiformis, vel bulbosa. Caulis ramosus, non volubilis. Folia argentea oblongo-ovalia, (aliquando obtusa.) Flores solitarii axillares magni speciosi purpureo-rosei. Sepala (calycis foliola) lanceolata sericea.
Mahernia Linnæoides, Catal. Geogr. 1878. Planta humifusa glabriuscula. Caules filiformes. Folia orbiculata petiolata crenata. Flores aurantiaci, longè pedunculati nutantes. Faciem habet plantulæ illæ borealis, ob nomen impositum colendissimæ.
Cleome oxyphylla. Cat. Greog. 1887. Planta sesquipedalis subramosa, scabra punctulis elevatis glanduloso viscosis. Folia longè petiolata, foliolis septenis lanceolatis utrinque acutis. Flores flavi.
Cotyledon trigyna. C. G. 1898. Acaulis. Folia glabra complanata carnosa cuneato-ovalia, (vel suborbiculata). Flores erecti alterni, in scapo elongato simplici (rarissimè bifido). Corolla cylindrica purpurascens, limbo albo brevi reflexo. Faux purpurea. Capsulæ tres.
Aristida (Arthratherum) lanuginosa. C. G. 1917. Culmus solidus (perennans?). Folia linearia striata, (apice sæpiùs pungente) vaginis extus lanuginosis. Panicula composita.
Chironia palustris. C. G. 1925. Herbacea acaulis. Folia plura radicalia conferta spathulata obtusa integerrima. Scapus apice paniculatus, medio bracteis duabus linearibus oppositis.
Asparagus suaveolens. C. G. 1956. Frutescens spinosus sesquipedalis. Caules erecli. Rami patentes breves, spinâ terminati. Ramuli numerosissimi fasciculati inermes; inter quos spinæ tres patentes rectæ. Folia subulata ternatim fasciculata. Flores copiosi albi solitarii vel bini, terminales.
Celosia recurva. C. G. 2111. Folia patentia linearia collapsa, apice recurva. Flores rubri spicati.
At this place several European plants are naturalized, having been introduced probably by means of their seeds mixed with the corn, or with garden seeds.
Veronica Anagallis.
Epilobium tetragonum.
Juncus articulatus.
Ranunculus philonotis, var. α., DC.
Sium latifolium.
Polypogon Monspeliensis. Per. Syn.
Polygonum lapathifolium.
Lolium temulentum.
Chenopodium Botrys. &c.

[page] 227

Cape Town by any of the caravan of waggons which were to accompany him: and as payment for the carriage of it, I left a draft for thirty rix dollars.† He promised to look after this chest in the mean while; and engaged to take charge himself, of a hippopotamus' tongue for my friend Mr. Hesse.

I paid the captain for the goats, sheep, and corn had of him; and made him a present of a blue jacket, a saw, and some linen which I purchased for him at Graaffreynet.

4th. The hook of the drag-chain belonging to my great waggon, was found broken, and Gert having told me that the captain had borrowed it for ploughing, at which time the accident happened, I sent it to him to be mended, as he occasionally exercised the trade of blacksmith. But it was soon discovered that Gert's story was entirely a fabrication, for the captain sent it back highly offended at the demand, declaring that it had never been used by him. With some trouble I found out, that it had really been lent to another Hottentot: and when Gert was questioned why he had made up so false a story, he replied that as, at my departure, I had desired him to lend the captain any thing which he might want in my absence, he thought it would make the least trouble to tell me that it was he who broke it.

This occurrence, trifling as it was in itself, created some serious misunderstanding for a time; and strangely enough, much irritation against myself instead of my Hottentot. But as Mr. Anderson took upon himself the guidance and regulation of the Klaarwater people, I imagined that, to let all parties have a mutual explanation, would be the shortest way of putting a stop to misrepresentations; and accordingly, on the following day, they met at the missionary's house, where, it soon appearing who was to be blamed, the captain with an openness and honesty too rare in the Transgariepine, and at which I was equally surprised and pleased, confessed himself in the wrong,

† At my final return to Klaarwater I learnt to my disappointment, that this chest still remained there, none of the waggons, as I was informed, having found it convenient to take it.

G G 2

[page] 228

and begged me to excuse what he had too hastily said, and declaring that he felt no displeasure towards any one but Gert. In these last feelings he was better justified, as it was an act of ingratitude to one who had, although paid for it, been kind to him in illness, and had regularly furnished him with provisions during my absence. But I now began to discover that this unfortunate Hottentot was a man whose gratitude was not to be won by kindness: he appeared already to have forgotten the treatment which he had received from me, and which was more that of a friend than of a master: he told me that as I had thus made an exposition of him by finding fault with him before all the village, he should cease to be so attentive and careful as he had hitherto always been, and should in future take no more pains than any of the other Hottentots. The sight of the poor fellow's hand checked all the anger which I ought to have shown at such a speech; and I contented myself with ordering him away. Yet I could not but be exceedingly hurt and disappointed, at finding symptoms of unworthiness, in a Hottentot, of whom I was so desirous of thinking well.

5th. Every thing belonging to my waggons being at length put in proper condition, and all our preparations and arrangements being now completed, I gave, with the utmost satisfaction, orders to Philip to fetch my oxen from Grootedoorn.

The missionaries obligingly sent me from their garden some potatoes and onions for my journey, which I accepted as a very useful present; it being my intention to plant them in the Interior, or give them to the natives. For this purpose I had brought a quantity of peach-stones, and other seeds, from Graaffreynet; and had also brought some potatoes from the Cape; but finding these would not keep till I reached Litaakun, I had given them to the missionaries, to receive fresh roots at my departure. I left in their hands, some beads, for the purpose of paying any of the natives who might be the bearer of my letters from the Interior, should I afterwards meet with an opportunity of sending any to Klaarwater.

6th. In the morning Philip returned with the oxen: but reported that in consequence of Abram Abrams neglecting on the night before,

[page] 229

to secure them, as usual, in the cattle-pound, the Wilde Honden (Wild Dogs,)* had bitten off the tails of three. One had only lost the brush, but the others were deprived of the whole.

This species of hyena is remarkable for hunting in regular

* Hyæna venatica, B. (See the note at page 456. of the first volume.) This animal is smaller, and of a more slender make, than either the common Striped Hyena, or the Spotted or Crocuta. The general, or ground, color is a sandy bay, or an ochraceous yellow shaded with a darker brown. The whole body is bloatched and brindled with black, intermingled in various parts with spots of white; and the legs are generally marked in the same manner. All these spots and markings are exceedingly irregular, and, in some degree, vary in different individuals. Its more constant marks are; a deep black stripe extending from the nose up the middle of the face and between the ears: these, blackish both within and without, and covered with short close hair which is sometimes very thin: at the anterior margin of the ears, on the inside, a thin and observable tuft of whitish hairs: the nose and muzzle, black. The tail is bushy like that of the fox, and is divided in the middle by a ring of black, above which, or towards the insertion, the color is nearly the same as the general tint of the body; but below, or towards the end, it is white.
The osteology of this animal throws some difficulty in the way of its generic arrangement, and even raises some doubt as to the propriety of dividing the Linnæan genus Canis by characters which might pass as merely specific, or as convenient only for a generic subdivision. The Dog, the Wolf, and this Hyena, correspond in having six grinders in their upper jaw: and in their lower, seven; of which the hindmost is very small. They also agree in the form, and number, of their ribs and lumbar vertebræ; having seven of the latter. Their ribs, of which there are thirteen, are thin and narrow. But both in the Striped, and the Spotted, Hyena, they are fifteen in number, and of an extraordinary breadth; and are, proportionally much stronger and larger, than in any quadruped of their size: in these, the grinders are only four, or at most five, in number; and the lumbar vertebræ not more than five.
The present animal, therefore, with respect to its teeth, ribs and lumbar vertebræ, would be arranged in the genus Canis; from which, however, it differs by having but four toes on each foot, and, it is said, in other essential particulars. With the genus Hyæna, it agrees in number of toes, but differs from it in teeth and in conformation of the skeleton. These differences were first noticed to me by Mr. Brookes, in whose valuable museum of Comparative Anatomy, and by whose liberality, I have had an opportunity of examining the skeletons of all these quadrupeds; and where the animal in question is considered as forming a new genus.
At page 222. and at the end of this chapter, are given figures of the Hyæna venatica in different positions. They were drawn from a living subject given me by my friend Mr. Hesse; and which I kept in my possession for thirteen months, chained up in a stableyard. During that time its ferocious nature deterred every body from an attempt at taming it; but it became at length so much softened in manners, as to play with a common domestic dog, also chained up in the yard, without manifesting any desire of hurting its companion; but the man who fed it, dared never to venture his hand upon it.

[page] 230

packs: though in general a nocturnal animal, it frequently pursues its prey by day; and as it is well formed by nature for speed, none but the fleeter animals can escape. Sheep and oxen therefore are more particularly exposed to its attacks: the first openly, but the latter only by stealth, as in the present instance, surprising them in their sleep and suddenly biting off their tails; which the large opening and great power of their jaws, enable them to do with ease.

I have never heard that large cattle are assaulted by them in any other way; but the loss of their tail is a cruel inconvenience to cows and oxen, in a country where the warmth of the climate subjects them to great annoyance from flies. The colonists are aware of this inconvenience, and have the good sense to allow all their horses to enjoy the use of this most serviceable appendage. There cannot be a greater proof of bad taste and thoughtless cruelty, than, in viewing so beautiful an animal as the horse, so far to pervert all reason and sound judgment, as to consider that a mutilated stump is more handsome than the fine flowing brush which Nature, from whose works all our ideas of taste and beauty ought to be derived, has wisely bestowed. And it is to be hoped that we may yet live to see the time, when this error and folly will be utterly exploded.

Before we started, I sent for Gert to the waggon; and after giving him some useful, but mild, admonitions relative to the faithful discharge of his duty, in showing, by due respect at least, that he had not forgotten all the former kindness of his master, I told him that, wishing that the whole of my party should commence the journey in mutual goodwill, it was my intention to overlook all which had passed, and that I would request Mr. Anderson to use his persuasion in making peace with the captain.

To this end, he was permitted to remain at Klaarwater till the next day, as he could, on horseback, easily overtake us; and the same permission was given to Cornelis and Van Roye, that they might remain still a few hours longer with their friends. The latter

[page] 231

was well known to many of the Hottentots here, as he had a son living under the protection of one of the families; and whom he now owned, though ashamed and displeased at finding that he knew much more of the Hottentot language, than of the Dutch.

At taking leave of their husbands, the two women shed tears, as if about to part for ever: and I confess that had I not believed in the probability, as well as possibility, of our advancing through to the western coast, I would have allowed them to accompany us. I promised that I would not take their husbands where there was evident danger, and assured them that we should return safe; but I cautioned them not to be uneasy if we remained absent longer than we expected, as it was quite uncertain, and depended upon circumstances, whether I should feel disposed to travel as expeditiously as possible through these countries, or whether I should proceed only at a slow rate. When I told them, they might rely on my taking as much care of the men as of myself, and that they should not be intentionally exposed to danger, Hannah in her usual manner, replied with a word, but Truy expressed herself warmly thankful.

In taking leave of the missionaries, my thanks were due for many little civilities: to Mr. Jansz I considered myself indebted for some friendly acts, which I have already mentioned; nor am I less grateful for whatever attentions Mr. Anderson or Mr. Kramer thought proper to show me: nor do I remember without pleasure, my obligation to Mrs. Anderson's kindness. Little was said at parting; and it was not without some emotion, that I finally bade farewell to the last Europeans with whom I could possibly converse, for a long period.

As I passed by their huts, several Hottentots were waiting to wish me a safe journey, and Dag! Mynheer Bairsey, was their last salutation.

When the waggons had gained the top of the ridge beyond the village, Gert earnestly requested me to allow a parting salute to be fired, and assured me that he knew the inhabitants would not leave it this time unanswered. At first, I deemed it wiser to save my

[page] 232

powder, than to waste it in mere form; but my people on this occasion, were extremely desirous of testifying an affectionate farewell to the various friends and acquaintances which so long an abode at this settlement, had given them an opportunity of forming. I therefore gave them leave to fire a dozen discharges; soon after which, seven or eight from different quarters, were given us in return.

[page] 233



IT was about four in the afternoon, when we took our last view of Klaarwater, and had fairly entered upon our journey into the Interior. The hills on this side of the country were well covered with shrubs*, though no where so thickly as to impede travelling.

Although I intended to make but a short stage the first day, night overtook us on the road, and extreme darkness, added to deep ruts and holes, required our greatest care to avoid overturning the waggons. That no accident of this kind might happen on the first day, which would have been interpreted as a bad omen, I preceded on foot to discover the more dangerous places, in time to warn the drivers, and leaders. Philip was the driver of the great waggon, and Juli of the other; and their leaders were Stuurman and Andries; an

* Chiefly a Tarchonanthus like T. camphoratus, Spartium cuspidosum, and Rhus tridactyle a shrub of very delicate and pleasing appearance.


[page] 234

arrangement which was preserved during the greater part of our travels in the Transgariepine.

Meeting thus with a deep hole, I called to the other driver who was at some distance behind, and directed him how to avoid it. We continued for some time to lead the way, till a signal from Juli's whip, announced that some occurrence there required our presence. On going back we found that the leader had carelessly brought the waggon into the very place which had been pointed out. It fortunately was not quite, though very nearly, overturned; but it was not possible for the oxen to drag it out. Spades and pickaxes were immediately fetched from the other waggon, and after an hour's work, the obstructing earth was sufficiently cleared away, and the hole filled with bushes, to admit of the vehicle being drawn safely out.

Without any further accident, we arrived at Moses' Fountain, between eight and nine. Near this spring resided the Hottentot named old Moses, whose cattle were at that time under the care of some Bachapins whom he had engaged in his service. These men had constructed for themselves two neat huts of bushes covered with grass. They were curious to learn from my men, what were my plans, and what was the object of my visiting their country; but I considered it more prudent to caution my people against giving them too much information.

7th. On rising this morning, I discovered that all the Hottentots, excepting Stuurman, were absent. His story was, that they were all, excepting Andries who was attending the oxen, gone in search of the sheep which had strayed away in the night. Speelman, however, who had been yesterday sent to Cupido Kok's place at Taaibosch Fountain*, arrived soon afterwards, with my oxen, having met them four miles off, wandering by themselves, without any herdsman within sight. In driving them home, he met two of the people on the search, who confessed that the oxen were early in the morning loosened

* Taaïbosch (Tough-bush) is a Dutch name given to several species of Rhus. This name was also given to a Kora captain or chieftain, hereafter mentioned on the 29th of July.

[page] 235

from the waggons, to which they had been made fast during the night, and turned to graze without any one to watch them. Stuurman, thinking I should be less angry at their neglecting the sheep than the oxen, had fabricated his story with that view: yet so far he was correct, that the sheep had also gone astray. But the greatest cause of vexation was, the discovering at our first setting out, that I had those with me, on whose word no dependence could be placed, and who were capable of deceiving their master, on the most trifling necessity.

My object in sending Speelman to Taaibosch, was to fetch the bullet-mould belonging to the gun which had been lent me by Cupido in the place of my great rifle; and to demand from his wife the sheep which was due for the gunpowder. But neither of these objects were obtained, as the woman was not at home, and old Daniel, who was left in charge of the place, refused to give them up.

When the oxen came home, it was too late to commence a day's journey, as the rest of the people did not return till the evening, and after a fatiguing and, on their part, fruitless search.

The weather of this day, might seem extraordinary in the twenty-ninth degree of latitude: the mercury in the thermometer, did not rise above 36; and, during the whole day, there was a light fall of snow attended with a chilling wind. This was the only time I have seen snow northward of the Gariep. It entirely whitened the ground, and remained unmelted till the next morning. This appearance was so unusual to an eye accustomed to Africa, that I viewed it as an interesting sight; but probably some unperceived association of ideas induced me to think so, as the weather was, to bodily feeling, so extremely cold, that it was found painful and scarcely to be endured without the assistance of a watch-coat, and the fur coverlet, the value of which latter as a warm covering, had been well proved during my return from Sneeuwberg, and was now considered as an indispensable article of a traveller's baggage. To him who may enter on a similar expedition, I would recommend

H H 2

[page] 236

it, with the certainty of his feeling as thankful for the hint, as I myself am to the person from whom I first received it.

8th. In the morning Van Roye arrived alone, the other horses having strayed away; but he left Cornelis and Gert, with several people in search of them. As they were expected soon to overtake us, I ordered the oxen to be immediately yoked; and permitted Van Roye, who complained of being unwell, to ride forward, and make the best of his way to our next station.

The country was open, and in many places abounding in bushes; but might every where be traversed with waggons; the tracks of which leading from Klaarwater to the different outposts, were crossed several times this day; and by following one of them as our guide over the plain, we were drawn considerably out of our way.

Discovering, at length, that it was conducting us to one of the kraals under Langberg (Long Mountain) a lofty and very extensive mountain in sight to the west, we turned again eastward and, after wandering in uncertainty for some time, fell in with the direct road from Gattikamma to Ongeluks Fountain: a track, however, very little beaten.

In this part of the country, I found, for the first time, a very beautiful species of Acacia, most remarkable for its low growth; being seldom more than a foot and a half in height, and of an herbaceous nature, the stems dying down to the ground every year. Yet its leaves, bunches of flowers, and pods, were larger than any of the arborescent species. It was not at this time in flower, but was afterwards met with in abundance in the sandy plains farther in the Interior; where I discovered that its roots constituted a favorite food with the elephant.* Its Sichuana name is metsissánni.

* Acacia elephantina, B. Catal. Geogr. 2410. Planta herbacea sub-bipedalis, inermis, glabra. Radix longissima lignosa. Caules pauci simplices, erecti, annui. Folia bipinnata, pinnis 12-jugis. Foliola lanceolata et lineari-lanceolata, (sæpe apice rotundato,) circiter 20-juga. Spicæ-elongatæ cylindricæ, solitariæ, axillares. Flores herbacei colons. Antherarum apices glanduliferi; glandula decidua. Legumen maximum (7-pollicare), compressum bivalve.

[page] 237

Ongeluks Fontein (Accident Fountain) being an inhabited place, it was to be expected that firewood would not, at night, easily be found near the kraal, and my men, therefore, took the precaution, when passing a spot where bushes abounded, to load up in the waggon, enough for our use till morning: as we found, it would be dark before we arrived there. This spring derived its name from the circumstance of a Hottentot having here lost his life by the gun of one of his companions accidentally exploding; by which he was severely wounded: yet there appeared, it was said, every favorable chance of his recovery, until the report of a musket, thoughtlessly discharged too near him, threw the unfortunate man into so violent a state of alarm and agitation, that his death soon followed.

9th. At Ongeluks Fountain, about fifteen huts placed irregularly, and dispersed so wide apart that some were out of sight of the others, form a kraal or outpost where many of the Klaarwater Hottentots reside with their cattle, as long as any pasturage can be found in the vicinity. Its size, and the number of its inhabitants, are, like those of all the Hottentot outposts, so fluctuating that sometimes the spot is quite deserted: nor does it seem that at any season, the least attempt at cultivation is ever made here; as the ground no where appeared to have been broken.

Van Roye, unknown to me, had passed the night at one of the distant huts; and though he heard us arrive, he left me till this morning in some anxiety on account of his absence. I should have supposed that his visit to Europe, and the instructions which he had received, would have taught him the propriety of letting me know that he was at the kraal; but he came to the waggons the next day without making any excuse, or even a remark.

Speelman, Platje, and Keyser, with the same Hottentot unconcern, made their appearance in the morning after having also passed the night at one of the huts. This kind of apathy is very common among Hottentots, and forms one of the unpleasant features of their character.

I had yesterday sent them a second time to Taaibosch for the sheep, of which we were beginning to be in want, as my flock was

[page] 238

already reduced to six; and gave them a message urging the necessity of its being delivered to us, especially as it was our due. Daniel, therefore, paid them their demand, although, as he said, Cupido had gone away, without leaving any instructions at home respecting the debt.

At noon Gert and Cornelis arrived from Klaarwater with the horses. I now congratulated myself on beholding at length, my whole party removed away from that village; a place, of which the recollection afforded me but little pleasure. The numerous vexatious occurrences and disappointments which I there met with, put my patience severely to the trial; while, to counterbalance these, few circumstances were found, to give my mind those agreeable impressions which I had anticipated when in Cape Town. The reality was indeed, different from the picture. But — I had now quitted it, and began to feel at ease again.

My men were this day employed chiefly in trying their guns, and in putting every thing relating to them, in proper order. It was established as a standing regulation, that the oxen should never, excepting through want of pasturage, be suffered to graze out of sight of the waggons; and that they should every night be made fast.

Speelman, whose future employment on the journey, was to be that of hunting, went out this morning, and in a few hours, returned, having shot a zebra; which, however, could not be fetched home till the next day. This meat though much eaten by Hottentots, is, as already noticed, rejected by the colonists: my two baptized men, therefore, informed me, that they were unable to eat it; and, as they declared that it always created a nausea, I suffered a sheep to be killed, as we had no other game to give them. I thus soon began to perceive, that I had with me, two men who were of a class superior to Hottentots.

10th. It having been previously agreed on, that my interpreter Muchùnka should join me at this place, I sent off Philip, Speelman, and Stuurman, at sunrise to find their way to Willem Casper's (or Jafter's) under the Langberg, where he was residing; to let him know

[page] 239

that we were waiting for him. This place had been pointed out to us, as bearing due west from Ongeluks; and, as it was at the distance of a long day's journey over a wild country, I delivered out to these three, a supply of ammunition for their defence, as well as for the purpose of shooting any game which might be met with on their return.

11th. At noon a waggon and party of Hottentots, halted for a few minutes, on their way from Klaarwater to Casper's kraal, where they reside. These people are naturally, or habitually, fond of journeying about from one kraal to another; and in this occupation they have worn down tracks across the country, which in several places, assume the appearance of regular roads. That which leads, from the Roggeveld is sufficiently beaten, if seen by daylight, to guide a stranger to Klaarwater: and it is probable that in time, the road which we had now opened to Graaffreynet, will become equally beaten.

The Hottentots who were lying here at this time with their families and cattle, possessed a great number of goats; but I saw among them no sheep. The former, requiring less care, and being at the same time less difficult to manage, are better suited to the indolence of these people; although the preference which they give to mutton, on account of its greater abundance of fat, is an inducement for rearing sheep; of which they might in these extensive pastures, breed innumerable flocks, if they possessed the prudence to refrain at first from using them too freely. The whole number of their cattle at this place, large and small, appeared to be about two hundred.

Observing a family busied in taking their house to pieces, I amused myself in watching the progress of their work, supposing they were about to pack it up and depart; but as soon as this was done, they carried all the materials, after having well beaten them, to a distance only of a few yards; where they soon erected it again. The whole operation of pulling down, removing, and building up, occupied no more than six hours; and it might possibly have been done in much less time. On inquiring the reason of what I thought an odd whim, their thus taking so much trouble,

[page] 240

and only to move so short a distance, one of the women convinced me of their having very good cause for changing the place, as the spot was swarming with fleas. This is a domestic misfortune very common among Hottentots; and as the active little insect is always found to be too powerful, they endure this ejectment, as one of the unavoidable evils of life, and quietly retreat, leaving their numerous enemies in possession of the field. In warm dry climates these insects are every where troublesome, the Dutch colonists, who in general are far from being neglectful of domestic cleanliness, are in the summer, obliged frequently to sprinkle their floors with water; a method which is found to be effectual for driving them away. But the Hottentots, to save themselves this daily trouble, prefer that of occasionally removing their huts altogether.

12th. In many parts of the plain, in the neighbourhood of this spring, the surface is thickly strewed with stones of quartz; among which are some having the nature of chalcedony, chert in nodules, and some containing thallite.

Here for the first time, I saw trees of a remarkable species of acacia, having thick brown thorns and an oval pod of a solid mealy substance within, and which never opens as those of other acacias: in this singularity resembling only the Acacia atomiphylla, from which, however, it differs in most other respects. The head of this tree is thick and spreading, and of a form and appearance which distinguish it at a great distance from the other trees of the country. It is called Kameel-doorn (Camelthorn), because the camelopardalis browses chiefly on it: but its more proper name is Mokáala; and by this, it is known to all the Bichuana nations. The general form and character of this tree, will be better understood by referring to the fifth and sixth plates of this volume. It is one of the largest in these regions, greatly exceeding the common Cape acacia, though closely resembling it in flower and foliage, but differing in growth, and by abounding only in dry plains and sandy deserts; while the common Karro-thorn is found principally on the banks of rivers. Its wood is excessively hard and heavy; of a dark or reddish brown color; and, is used by the Bichuanas for their smaller domestic utensils, such as

[page] 241

spoons, and handles of knives. There are some other undescribed species which resemble it in form and growth, and, though botanically distinct, are by the Hottentots, confounded with it under one name; but the pod alone is sufficient to make this particular sort easily known from the rest. The technical name, therefore, of Acacia giraffæ is adopted for this, although equally applicable to other species.

The principal shrubs about Ongeluks Fountain, are the Tarchonanthus, the Hookthorn, the Karrothorn, and a dwarf Acacia* called Síki by the Bichuanas. This last, which is about two or three feet high, is remarkable from the circumstance of its trunk or stem running just beneath the surface of the earth, and from which arise a multitude of shoots or branches. The spring affords an abundant supply of water at all seasons.†

In the vicinity, a number of Meerkats have their burrows: these are a species of squirrel‡ of about the size of our common squirrel. It has no outward ears, and its body is very thinly covered with short coarse hair, which is brittle and may easily be rubbed off; but the tail, which is longer than the body, is furnished with long spreading hairs as in the European kind. It was seen to live chiefly on the roots of plants, which it scratched up with its fore feet. It is common in some parts of the Colony, and being a pretty little animal, is sometimes domesticated.

The mountains which form the range called Langberg (Long-Mountain,) are in view from this place, notwithstanding they were, according to the report of the Hottentots, above thirty miles distant. During the last days of our stay here, they were not visible, on account of the great depth of hazy vapour arising from the intervening plains.

* Acacia stolonifera, B. Catal. Geogr. 2138. Caules subterranei stoloniferi. Ramuli, folia, et etiam spinæ, pubescentia. Folia bipinnata. Pinnæ 3—7-jugæ. Foliola oblongo-lanceolata 7—15-juga. Spinæ geminæ stipulares albidæ patentes, apicibus fuscis is subrecurvis. Flores flavi in capitulis axillaribus pluribus (2—6) globosis pedunculatis. Legumina recta, flava, obliquè striata, cava.

Mentha Capensis, was found growing by the side of the spring, even at this distance in the Interior: and in the water I discovered a species of Zanichellia, which corresponded with the description of Z. dentata.

Sciurus Capensis.


[page] 242

They appeared to be very lofty, and it was said that on the other side there is little descent, the country continuing at the same high level: which fact, as the air must there be colder than in the lower plains about Klaarwater, has induced the Hottentots to keep their horses there during the season of the paardeziekte (horse-distemper). The plains on the other side, are called by the name of Zandveld (Sand-country). There is another elevated tract between Langberg and The Kloof, where horses are also kept, and which is therefore named Paardeberg (Horse-mountain). Respecting the regions lying westward from Zandveld, I could obtain no information.

13th. Stonebucks were met with in the surrounding plains; two of them were shot by Juli, who soon began to prove himself a good marksman, a qualification which Hottentots in general are very desirous of acquiring, and which they consider as one of the most valuable and important.

The three men whom I had sent to fetch Muchunka, did not return till this morning, having found the journey to Langberg, longer than they were able to perform in one day. Their powder-horns were empty, all their bullets gone, and yet they had shot nothing: to account for which, they asserted that they had missed their aim every time they fired. But they had been at an outpost of Klaarwater people; and this was the true cause of all their ammunition being gone. What they got in return for it, I could not discover; it is probable that the people at the Kraal required it of them, as an act of friendship from one Hottentot to another. There are two things much wanting with many of these Hottentots, and which, it is to be hoped, the missionaries will not think too much beneath the notice of evangelical teachers to instruct them in the best mode of acquiring: these are, veracity and a conscientious discharge of the moral duties.

However, their arrival, with or without ammunition, gave me much pleasure, when I saw that Muchunka was with them; as I had long been greatly in fear that when the time for his services arrived, it would be found that he also had been dissuaded from venturing to accompany us: but fortunately for me, he was a man not much

[page] 243

wanted, and of no particular importance to the settlement. I was glad to add to my party, not only an interpreter, but a person whose manners were a little more lively than those of Hottentots; and I hoped therefore that his presence would give some animation to our fireside.

Mr. Anderson, who was desirous of having a drawing of Klaarwater, had requested that I would make one for him. With this I readily complied, as he engaged expressly that it should not be sent to Europe before I arrived there myself, and that it should not, at all events be engraved from. As I was exceedingly anxious to quit that village, I was unwilling to delay my departure on this account; but promised to finish it at Ongeluks, while waiting for Muchunka's arrival. This promise I now performed; and sent the drawing by one of the Hottentots of the out-post, who returned to Klaarwater on the following day.*

14th. All the members of the party with whom the journey was to be performed, were now at length collected together; and amounted only to ten Hottentots, and a native interpreter. As a body of men intended for their own defence, against the assaults of a hostile tribe, this number was very insufficient; but with a due proportion of prudence and personal courage, they would be enough for repelling any predatory attack; and might in a favourable situation, be able, with the advantage of fire-arms, to stand against a multitude of such opponents as those men would probably be, whom we were likely to meet, should they even prove disposed to harm us.

There was still some work to be done about the waggons, which would have employed my people here another day, but as I wished to remove them beyond the reach of further communication with the

* Sequel. — On my return to Cape Town, at the termination of my travels, I found that other people had been much more expeditious than myself; for not only had the drawing reached that town, and proceeded to England, but it had even made its way back again; and was recognised in the form of a print engraved to be the principal ornament of a book of Missionary Travels by a person who visited Klaarwater five months after I finally left it, and who so much admired this drawing, that he has thought it worthy of being published as his own.

I I 2

[page] 244

Hottentots of the outposts, who, I feared, might by their conversation give my new men false ideas of the dangers of our journey, I resolved to remove to Doorn river, a distance of six miles.

Here we arrived at ten in the morning; and found merely the bed of a river, in which water was to be met with only here and there in a few shallow pools. A grove of large trees of the common acacia or doornboom gave the spot a pleasant sheltered appearance. On our way we passed a few single trees of the camelthorn which, by their size, attracted our attention.

15th. In the middle of the night I was awakened by the barking of some of our dogs, which continued for a considerable time: thinking it might be occasioned by the approach of hostile Bushmen, I arose and woke some of the people, that they might keep watch against danger; but we should have spared ourselves this trouble, if we had not neglected to attend to the various tones of barking which dogs assume on different occasions; and should have known that it was not men, at which they were now so much enraged. For, in the morning one of the Hottentots found at some distance from our station, the remains of a kaama or hartebeest, which had been devoured by a lion: and this it was, which the dogs either heard or scented, although none of us were able to distinguish the slightest sound. A leg of this hartebeest was brought home and broiled for breakfast.

Our pack of dogs consisted of about five-and-twenty of various sorts and sizes. This variety, though not altogether intentional, as I was obliged to take any that could be procured, was of the greatest service on such an expedition, as I observed that some gave notice of danger in one way, and others, in another. Some were more disposed to watch against men, and others against wild beasts; some discovered an enemy by their quickness of hearing, others by that of scent: some were useful only for their vigilance and barking; some for speed in pursuing game; and others for courage in holding ferocious animals at bay. So large a pack was not, indeed, maintained without adding greatly to our care and trouble, in supplying them with meat and water; for it was sometimes difficult to procure for

[page] 245

them enough of the latter: but their services were invaluable, often contributing to our safety, and always, to our ease, by their constant vigilance; as we felt a confidence that no danger could approach us at night without being announced by their barking. No circumstances could render the value and fidelity of these animals so conspicuous and sensible, as a journey through regions which, abounding in wild beasts of almost every class, gave continual opportunities of witnessing the strong contrast in their habits, between the ferocious beasts of prey which fly at the approach of man, and these kind, but too often injured, companions of the human race. Many times when we have been travelling over plains where those have fled the moment we appeared in sight, have I turned my eyes towards my dogs, to admire their attachment, and have felt a grateful affection towards them for preferring our society to the wild liberty of other quadrupeds. Often, in the middle of the night, when all my people have been fast asleep around the fire, have I stood to contemplate these faithful animals lying by their side, and have learnt to esteem them for their social inclination to mankind. When wandering over pathless deserts, oppressed with vexation and distress at the conduct of my own men, I have turned to these, as my only friends, and felt how much inferior to them was man when actuated only by selfish views.

The familiarity which subsists between this animal and our own race, is so common to almost every country of the globe, that any remark upon it must seem superfluous; but I cannot avoid believing that it is the universality of the fact which prevents the greater part of mankind from reflecting duly on the subject. While almost every other quadruped fears man as its most formidable enemy; here is one which regards him as his companion, and follows him as his friend. We must not mistake the nature of the case: it is not because we train him to our use, and have made choice of him in preference to other animals; but because this particular species feels a natural desire to be useful to man and from spontaneous impulse attaches itself to him. Were it not so, we should see in various countries an equal familiarity with various other quadrupeds; according to the habits, the taste, or the caprice of different nations. But every where it is the dog only, which

[page] 246

takes delight in associating with us, in sharing our abode, and is even jealous that our attention should be bestowed on him alone: it is he, who knows us personally, watches for us and warns us of danger. It is impossible for the naturalist, when taking a survey of the whole animal creation, not to feel a conviction that this friendship between two creatures so different from each other, must be the result of the laws of Nature; nor can the humane and feeling mind avoid the belief that kindness to those animals from which he derives continued and essential assistance, is part of his moral duty. To me, during my travels, the horse and the ox were scarcely less the objects of my admiration and gratitude; and his patient performance of his unceasing and daily labors, strongly attached the latter to me.

As the expeditious loading of our muskets, might, under a variety of circumstances, be of the greatest importance, I employed six of the people in making cartridges; and in the course of the morning, we completed between two and three hundred. This being a work with which none of my men were acquainted, I was compelled to be their instructor and overseer.

As both Speelman and Philip had been in military service, I concluded that they would impress their companions with a proper idea of the advantages of this mode of loading. But although all confessed that it was excellent; yet such was the influence and force of habit and custom, that they never could be brought voluntarily to adopt this improvement. Having first learnt from the boors, to carry their powder in a horn, and their bullets in a kogel-tas (bullet-pouch) they were now either too awkward, or too lazy, to practise any new method. Though their ammunition was for a long time delivered to them in this form, and though they always professed to follow my instructions, I discovered that at length they frequently took the cartridges to pieces, and loaded their guns in the old manner; in which much powder is wasted. But during our travels in the Transgariepine, I continued the use of these; although at last they were allowed when hunting, also to carry loose powder and ball. A large stock of cartridges, however, was always kept ready in my waggon, in case of any sudden attack from the savages.

[page] 247

Andries and Stuurman, who had been appointed to attend the oxen and sheep at pasture, were now so neglectful of their duty, that the latter were suffered to stray. As soon as this was discovered, two men on horseback were sent in search, and they at length found them at Ongeluks Fountain, a distance of six miles. As a punishment for this neglect, and as an example to the others, I withheld their rations of brandy and tobacco.

In giving to the people their usual allowance of brandy, which was portioned so as to avoid the risk of intoxication, I noticed a singular expedient to which they resorted in order to counteract my precaution and to render more sensible the exhilarating effects of the spirit. They had made agreements with each other to give up their rations alternately; and were content to remain one turn without any, in order that on the next they might receive a double quantity. On coming to their fire in the evening, it was easy to perceive, by their unusual talkativeness and animation, whose turn it had been to have double rations.

Our biscuit and flour being all expended, we now began to make use of, what was intended for, our last resource, and opened the sack of rice. Afterwards, when this was all consumed, we continued from necessity, to live on animal food alone, and literally without the smallest addition of any thing of a vegetable nature.

16th. During this day, we travelled over an open country, the soil of which was generally a red loamy earth, thickly covered with grass, in which the track we followed was nearly obliterated, or very faintly marked. At this season we found the grass dried up, though it still remained standing in the same position as when alive and growing. As we were obliged to force our way through it much inconvenience was experienced from its barbed seeds and triple awns, which, adhering to my clothes, and their sharp points creeping through to the flesh, occasioned a constant irritation.*

These plains abounded also in large bushes of Tarchonanthus;

* These were the seeds of two or three species of Aristida (Chætaria), of an Anthistiria, and of different sorts of Andropogon.

[page] 248

and were varied with frequent clumps of the Karro-thorn. It was remarkable that, although most of the shrubs in these countries are food for various wild animals, neither the tarchonanthus, nor any of the species of Rhus, exhibited marks of having been browsed upon; a sufficient proof, that they are either unwholesome, or unpleasant to their palate.

Those who have acquired a taste for zoological information, will readily comprehend in what manner the footmarks of an animal could be interesting, or afford any particular gratification such as I experienced in this day's journey, when they are told that we now first distinguished the track of the tallest of all the quadrupeds in the world; of one which, from the time of the Romans until the middle of the last century, was so little known to the nations of Europe, as to have been at length considered by most people as a fabulous creature; one not existing on the globe. No person who has read, even the popular books of natural history, could, I think, behold for the first time, the ground over which he is walking, imprinted with the recent footsteps of a camelopardalis, without feeling some strange and peculiar interest at the sight. The animal itself was not observed, but our attention was now awakened by the expectation of soon getting a full view of this extraordinary creature; and the hope of being the first of the party to see it, kept all my men on the look-out the whole day.

Having travelled till sunset without meeting with any water, and being assured by Muchunka that the next spring was too far to be reached before night, we halted at a spot where a clump of acacias* offered us a convenient shelter. Our cattle were made fast to the stems, and carefully watched to prevent their breaking loose; for, as they were unable here to quench their thirst, they would otherwise

* In all the preceding part of the journey, the karro-thorn, having been the predominant species of the genus, has been most frequently noticed by the name of acacia; and whenever this word may in future occur without special distinction, it is to be understood as intending the Acacia Capensis, already described in the first volume, at pages 195 and 196, or a species so closely resembling it, as not to be distinguished but by the botanist.

[page] 249

by returning to our last station, have caused much delay, besides the trouble of going back a day's journey in search of them. We suffered no inconvenience ourselves from this want of water, as we had taken the precaution of filling two of our casks, before we set out.

17th. Early in the morning we yoked the oxen to the waggons, and, in less than two hours, arrived at a spring where there was still abundance of good water. This was called Bloem's Fountain, after a man named Jan Bloem* who had formerly resided in the Colony, but who stationed himself at this spring, and continued for some years to lead a lawless life. He associated with him a party of Hottentots and a considerable number of the surrounding natives; and, by giving them a share of the booty, induced them to assist him in his plundering expeditions against the Bachapins and other tribes, from whom he carried off innumerable herds of cattle, and thus, for a long time, supported himself by successful villany and unprovoked outrage. Tempted, at length, by the reported wealth of the Nudákketsi nation, he made, conjointly with a Bichuana chief named Makrakki, an attack upon their chief town; but this being situated on a hill and therefore in some respects naturally fortified, he was completely repulsed. It is said that his ally, whose people had formerly suffered also from his robberies, thus disappointed in his booty and fearing some future mischief from his dangerous associate, caused the water at which he was then lying, to be poisoned; and the death of this lawless disturber, was the well merited and unlamented consequence.

On arriving at Bloem's Fountain, we found the spot occupied by a lion, with a lioness and her two whelps; and at the same time a buffalo† was drinking there. On our sending the dogs to drive them out, they all took flight; but the buffalo was pursued on horseback by Philip, and, after a short chase, overtaken and shot.

The little waggon was immediately unloaded to fetch home the carcass; and I accompanied it, that I might have an opportunity of

* Already mentioned at page 6.

Bos caffer.


[page] 250

examining the animal before it was cut up; this being the first of the species which I had seen.

The name of buffalo, presents another example of the misapplication of European names to the wild animals of Southern Africa, and of the erroneous notions to which it gives rise. By those who are not read in zoology, the buffel or buffalo of the Cape, called by the Bichuanas Naari, is most frequently supposed to be the same with the animals which bear that name in Italy, Greece, and India, instead of a huge beast much more ferocious and dangerous, and which has never yet been tamed to the use of man. It is, however, an animal hitherto found no where but in the extratropical part of Southern Africa, and is widely distinct from every other species of the ox tribe, and most remarkable by its horns which, though not of more than ordinary or proportional length, are so unusually broad at their base as to cover the whole forehead, and give to it the appearance of a mass of rock; an appearance to which the ruggedness and unevenness of their surface greatly contribute. Its countenance exhibits a savage and malevolent expression. Its bulk far exceeds that of the ox, although its height be not much greater; but it is altogether more robust and strongly made. It is, when not young, but thinly covered with short scattered black hair; that on the under lip and about the corners of the mouth, being longer and somewhat resembling a beard. The wither rises high, but not sufficiently to form a hump; the tail resembles that of the common ox, but is much shorter, and the two spurious hoofs are rather larger in proportion. Its horns turn outwards and downwards; and their points are recurved upwards. The hide is much thicker than that of the ox, and is valued by the Colonists and Hottentots, for its great strength, and for possessing the qualities proper for riems and trektouws. It is of a fierce and treacherous disposition, which, added to its size and strength, renders it dangerous to be attacked without caution, or without the certain means of escape at hand.

The true buffalo having been long domesticated and rendered a useful beast of draught or of burden, has suggested the possibility of taming this animal to the same purposes; and the attempt has several

[page] 251

times been made in the Colony, by taking them when very young, and rearing them under the domestic cow: but, partly from injudicious management perhaps, and partly from its natural ferocity, no permanent success has hitherto attended these endeavours. Yet, notwithstanding these failures, it is an attempt which might not be wholly relinquished, since it is not unreasonable to expect that a mixed breed between this and the common Cape cow, would produce a more powerful and hardy race of draft cattle, and one which might possibly be exempt from those diseases to which the oxen of the Colony are often subject.

The present animal was a male, and apparently not young, as the points of its horns were much worn, and its ears exceedingly torn and cut, probably in forcing its way through the thickets, or in butting or fighting with others of its species. The Hottentots say they are seldom found with ears quite entire; and my own observations confirm the remark. The meat was in taste like coarse beef; but in younger animals it is very palatable and wholesome, and free from any unpleasant flavour.

It not being possible to lift the animal entire into the waggon, it was cut into quarters on the spot; and as soon as it was brought home, every hand was set to work to cut the flesh into flaps and dry it on the bushes; an affair which occupied all the remainder of that day, and part of the next. The real value of our ammunition may be computed from this circumstance, that two charges of powder and two balls now obtained for us a waggon load of provisions.

I profited by this opportunity and the leisure occasioned by waiting for the drying, to make a finished drawing of the head, as expressive of the distinguishing characters of this remarkable species of buffalo.

The following specimen of the Kóra, or Kóraqua, dialect, was obtained mostly from Muchunka; and is here inserted merely for the purpose of giving some idea of the structure and nature of Hottentot languages in general. This dialect, as it has already been stated, has a greater affinity to that of the Hottentots proper, than of the Bushmen; and though requiring a more frequent use of the

K K 2

[page] 252

different claps of the tongue than the former, yet it does not employ them so often as the latter.

The system of orthography, and pronunciation here made use of, is the same which I have adopted for the Sichuana language, and will be found more fully explained in another part of this volume. But it is necessary to state, in this place, that the comma (') implies that the following syllable should be preceded by the first clap; the same mark inverted (') requires the second; and the double inverted comma, (") the third.

The first, or dental clap is produced by pressing the tongue against the upper front-teeth and suddenly drawing it away, so as to give a sound resembling that which some people make as a mode of expressing vexation. This is the most acute of the three, or that which gives the highest tone.

The second or palatial is formed by applying the tongue to the middle of the palate, or roof of the mouth, and by withdrawing it in the same manner, a clucking noise is produced, of a lower tone than the first.

The third or guttural is similarly formed by placing the tip of the tongue against the hinder part of the palate; by which the same kind of noise as the second, but of a graver or still lower tone, is produced; and requiring a greater effort of enunciation.

In all of these three, which have already been correctly described by Le Vaillant, the lips do not touch each other; and the sound is followed so immediately by the syllable, to which it belongs, that both seem to form but one syllable. The difficulty of pronunciation, for European organs, is least in the first, and greatest in the third. Yet without these clapping sounds, the words would be unintelligible to a Hottentot ear; and cannot therefore be omitted in speaking any of the dialects of their language.

Some writers, have adopted the mode of indicating all these claps, which they did not distinguish from each other, by prefixing the letter t to the word or syllable; as tky. It appears also that sometimes a g or a k has been used to express the third sort; as in the word gnu. This circumstance is here mentioned for the purpose of

[page] 253

explaining how it happens that such words are spelt sometimes without those letters and sometimes with them. But this method is liable to objections, as it introduces a false orthography, and consequently a false pronunciation.


One 'Kuii (or 'Quee, as it might be written according to English pronunciation).
Two 'Kam.
Three "Gŭná (or Goonah in English). The mark for 'short quantity' (˘) implies that the vowel beneath it, is to be pronounced in a short and indistinct manner.
The acute accent (′) is here, as in every other part of this work, used to indicate the syllable which bears the accent, or emphasis.
Four Hakaa, or Hakā. Double vowels are used merely to express a more lengthened sound, and are to be considered as bearing the accent: or the same thing is signified by the mark for 'long quantity' (¯) placed over a single vowel.
Five Kŭrū (Kooróo, in Eng.)
Six "Nánni.
Seven Hongkū (Hongkóo).
Eight 'Kýsi.
Nine Guési (Gooáysy).
Ten Dési (Dáysy).
Eleven 'Kùïka ('Kooë'ka). On comparing this with the word for 'one,' a difference in spelling and accenting, will be observed; but they are here written exactly as they were spoken. It appears that the pronunciation and place of the accent, change according to the composition of the word, or to its place in a sentence: and this probably, may be done merely for smoothness of sound.
Twelve 'Kam'kwa, ('Kam'qua).
Thirteen "Gùnăkwa. The remarks at 'eleven' are applicable to this and to several of the following words.
Fourteen Hákă'kwa.
Fifteen Kùru'kwa.
Sixteen "Nánni'kwa.
Seventeen Hónku'kwa.
Eighteen 'Kýsi'kwa.
Nineteen Guési'kwa.
Twenty 'Kamdésĭ.
Yes Aa, or ā.
No Hanhan, or Haan This has a nasal sound like that of the French words, dans, tems.
I Tírĭ (Teery, in Engl.)

[page] 254

Thou Tsaats (Tsarts).
Here Heeba, or Heeva (Háyba).
Where? Bába, or Bárha.
Sun Sŏrréip. Here the ei forms a true diphthong; in which the e and the i are equally blended, by pronouncing them both so closely together, that only one sound is produced.
Moon 'Kaam.
New-moon 'Kám'kaam. Here the dental clap belonging to the second syllable, was pronounced so weakly that it seemed almost to have been omitted. This was often found to be the case in compound words; and is done, probably with a view to soften the harshness of two claps in the same word.
Full-moon 'Ký'kaam.
Moon decreasing, or in the last quarter Ghydă'kaam. The h in this place gives a strong and guttural aspiration to the G.
Stars 'Kammărūka ('Kammarooka).
The Pleïades, or Seven-stars 'Koodi, or 'Kō;di ('Kody).
The three stars in the Belt of Orion "Kaankŭkwa ("Kárnkooqua).
Morning-star (Venus) 'Kwākŏmrup (Quarcumroop).
Shadow 'Karáap, or 'Karāp (Cataap).
Clouds 'Kùma (Koomer).
Rain 'Kăviip or 'Kăvīp (Kaveep). It is also called Tūs or Tuus (Tooce) by some kraals.
Hail "Nánkwa ("Naanqua or "Narnquar).
Lightning Tabāp (Tabárp).
Thunder "Gurūp ("Gooróop).
Wind 'Kŭāp ('Cooárp): in two syllables so closely connected, that this word might almost be written 'Kwāp.
Water 'Kámmă.
Fire 'Káaïp, or 'Kāïp, in two distinct syllables.
Smoke 'Ai' kanna. Here the ai forms a diphthong, and bears the accent.
Mountain Sesin (Saysin). Both these syllables were of equal force; so that the accent was not distinguished.
Many Mountains 'Kýse sesin ('Kýser saysin).*
Spring or Fountain Mù'kammă (Móo'camma).

* The Greek ε here introduced, is intended to signify that vocal sound of e, i, or u, before r, which is found in the words her, bird, curl; which, according to this system, would be written, , bεd, kεl: omitting, as the English generally do, that repercussion of the tongue which properly belongs to the letter r, and which, even in our most correct pronunciation, is not to be distinguished unless found between two vowels. The Dutch final e, as in lengte, hoogte, approaches to it nearly; and the French unaccented e in je, que, de, has some resemblance to it. In other places in the text, I have, to avoid the inconvenience of strange characters, used the è marked with the grave accent (').
For a further explanation of this system of orthography, the note appended to the following 28th of June is referred to.

[page] 255

Ford Khorūm (Coróom). Here the h gives a strong aspiration to the K.
Where is the ford? Barha, (or Baba) Khrùmka?
Sea-water, or Sea Hūri'kamma (Hóoricamma).
Whale 'Karrab.
Valley, or Watery place 'Karréep. In this word the p is nearly silent.
Path, or Road 'Tarró ('Tarrów).
Horse Haap (Harp).
Mare Has (Hars).
Goat Bri (Bree).
Ox 'Komáamp ('Comarmp). This and the following five words are probably written correctly; although (see Vol. I. p. 201.) they are not offered with certainty.
Cow 'Komáas, or 'Komās, ('Comáss).
Milk Biip (Beep).
Bread, or food of that kind Bariip (Bareep).
Knife 'Kwaans or 'Koāns (Cowarnce).
Waggon 'Korokemp.

The preceding list of words was written down, after they had been several times repeated by the native from whom I had them. The orthography will, I think, express exactly his pronunciation as it sounded to my ear; but it ought at the same time to be explained that some letters are in a few cases, commutable, as for instance, the v for the b, though this may be occasioned either by a careless manner of speaking, or by that species of impediment in the organs of speech, from which some individuals find a difficulty in uttering particular letters or combinations, and therefore substitute in their place, others of more easy enunciation.

18th. As the business of cutting and drying our buffalo-meat, had detained us till a late hour, we advanced but a few miles, and halted for the night at the foot of a hill known to the Klaarwater Hottentots by the name of Blink-klip (Shining Rock); but to the Bachapins, by that of Sensaván.

It is a very remarkable mass of rock rising out from the eastern end of a ridge of hills. As we approached it, I easily, even at a considerable distance, discovered by its brown color and shape, that it was of a nature different from any which we had hitherto seen.*

* The engraving at page 233. is a representation of it, as viewed on the northern side. The entrance to the mine is in front, at the foot of the rock; but is not visible in this point of view. On the side of the hill, and nearer towards the foreground, appear three small shallow caves, not connected with the Blinkklip, nor of the same nature.

[page] 256

Near it are two or three other similar masses, but much inferior in size.

The Sensaván is one of the most celebrated places of the Transgariepine; being the only spot where the sibílo* (sibeelo) is found. Hither all the surrounding nations repair for a supply of that ornamental and, in their eyes, valuable substance. It constitutes in some degree an article of barter with the more distant tribes, and even among themselves; so that the use of it extends over at least five degrees of latitude, or among every tribe which I have visited.

This sibílo is a shining, powdery iron-ore of a steel-grey or blueish lustre, and soft and greasy to the touch, its particles adhering to the hands or clothes, and staining them of a dark-red or ferrugineous color. The skin is not easily freed from these glossy particles, even by repeated washing; and wherever this substance is used, every thing soon becomes contaminated, and its glittering nature betrays it on every article which the wearer handles.

The mode of preparing and using it, is simply grinding it together with grease, and smearing it generally over the body, but chiefly on the head; and the hair is often so much loaded and clotted with an accumulation of it, that the clots exhibit the appearance of lumps of mineral. A Bachapin whose head is thus covered, considers himself as most admirably adorned, and in full dress; and indeed, to lay aside European prejudices, it is quite as becoming as our own hair-powder, and is a practice not more unreasonable than ours; with which it may in some respects be compared. There is however a real utility in it, or rather in the grease, for those who do not wear caps; it protects the head from the powerful, and perhaps dangerous, effects of a burning sun, as it equally does, from those of wet and cold. Although the color of the sibilo be a brownish red, yet the micaceous particles give it a blueish tint in those places which reflect the light more strongly.

I have succeeded in preparing from the sibilo a very singular

* See the note at page 414. of the first volume.

[page] 257

kind of paint, which may be used either in water-color drawing or in oil-painting, by grinding it either in gum-water or in oil: and in finishing my drawings of the natives, I have found it most admirably suited for giving the exact color together with that peculiar glittering which it would be impossible to imitate by any other means.

On ascending the hill and approaching the rock, I found a large open cavern or excavation about twenty feet high, and penetrating about thirty feet inwards. This, being open to the daylight, afforded a better situation for examining the mine, than the deeper excavations which can only be seen by the light of a torch or lantern. The whole rock appeared to be composed of this species of iron-ore, mingled in some places with a quartzose rock. The ore is mostly hard and ponderous; but frequently friable and easily falling to pieces, so that the floor of the cavern was found deeply covered with the loose powder. To the cieling, a number of small bats were hanging; and on the projecting crags, a species of dove (Columba Guineënsis) takes its nightly roost: thus this cave is never without inhabitants, either the bats by day, or by night the doves. These are called batseeba (batsába) in the Sichuana language; and the bats, mammatwán. A narrow and low passage leads from the outer cavern to an inner chamber, from which this ore is principally dug. The size of this excavation, supposing it to be wholly the work of art, proves that this powder has been in use during many generations; and indeed its glittering property, its red color, and its soft greasy quality, seem to render it exactly suitable to the ornamental taste of all the neighbouring nations.

Muchunka related a melancholy occurrence which took place a few years before, when several Bachapins lost their lives in this mine, by the falling-in of part of the roof while they were at work. The place being open to every one without restriction or regulations, each person had dug away the quantity he wanted, from that part where it was found of the best quality; and no one appears to have reflected on the necessity, in such excavations especially where the rock is in parts of a loose nature, of leaving pillars at proper distances to support the roof. To this ignorance in the art of mining, those poor creatures


[page] 258

fell a sacrifice, destined to be the means of giving their countrymen better experience, and a fatal proof of their mistake.

At the distance of a quarter of a mile farther westward along the top of the same ridge, Muchunka brought me to another mine excavated in the form of a large open pit of the depth of fifteen or eighteen feet. Here the mineral was more glittering, and contained larger particles of the shining scales; and this, though not obtained so easily nor in such abundance, was preferred to that which is found under the greater rock. As I walked along the ridge, I every where saw traces of the mineral; and am inclined to think that the whole range consists chiefly of this substance intermingled with quartzose rock.

At Sensaván I first met with a shrub* remarkable for being regarded by the Bachapins as bewitched or unlucky, and therefore unfit to be used as firewood. The reason of its having this character, I could never learn; but the fact of their believing it to possess some malignant power, was, on a subsequent occasion, fully confirmed to me. It grows only in rocky places, and is from four to nine feet high with broad oval leaves, between which are produced little clusters of small inconspicuous flowers, succeeded by a large round fruit not much less than an inch in diameter, but which is not eatable. The engraving at the end of this chapter, represents the foliage, flowers, and fruit, of their natural size.

This shrub is otherwise remarkable, as possessing a botanical character or complexion, different from that of the general botany of these regions, and indicating a certain affinity with that of the island of Madagascar, which contains the only species of Vangueria hitherto known; the present plant forming the second of that genus. A striking example of this may be pointed out, in the very close resemblance which exists between the Strelitzia augusta or Wilde Pisang (Wild Plantain) of the Cape Colony, and the Urania speciosa of that island. Of a similar vegetable affinity with that part of

* Vangueria infausta, B. Catal. Geogr. 2629. Frutex 4—9-pedalis. Folia tomentosa ovato-subrotunda, sæpe acuminata, decidua.
Here also a new and remarkable species of Hermannia, and which was found in no other part of these travels, was met with, growing between the rocks near the mine.
Hermannia bryoniæfolia, B. Catal. Geogr. 2141. Rami elongati debiles. Folia cordato-ovata scabra dentata sæpè sinuata. Flores in racemulis paucifloris axillaribus.

[page] 259

the globe, many examples might be given, if the present were a work exclusively on that science: even at our next station, other plants were found of correspondent stamp.

19th. Although we were now in the middle of winter, the weather during sunshine was generally very pleasant and well suited for travelling and hunting; but the nights were exceedingly cold, and not easily to be endured without a fire. The mercury of the thermometer never rose above 70 of Fahrenheit's scale (21· of the Centigrade scale) and was seldom observed even so high. This morning, just before sunrise, an hour which was always found to be the coldest in the whole twenty-four, it was found sunk to 29 (—1·6 Centig.); and the backs of the horses, as well as the herbage, were white with hoar-frost, an appearance not indeed very frequent, but still not so rare as to be considered by the natives a very remarkable sight.

In the time of the rains, water may be found here in the hollows of a channel which appeared to be at some seasons, the bed of a small rivulet; but at present not a drop was any where to be discovered; and as our cattle had not drunk since we left Bloem's Fountain, we were compelled to depart from Sensavan early in the morning.

[page] 260



FROM Sensavan the country was generally level and open, and abounding in tall dry grass, of so great a height that the oxen were half hid as they passed through it; and our party had exactly the appearance of riding through fields of ripe corn.*

This days-journey was, notwithstanding the abundance of grass, the most rocky of any between the Gariep and Litakun, as large spaces frequently occurred, in which the surface was a natural pavement of pure rock, in the fissures of which here and there grew a few shrubs. In some places this rock was of a brown color, and seemed outwardly as if scoriated; although it was certainly not volcanic or changed by the action of fire. It was a primitive limestone, and seemed to be in many parts coloured by some ferrugineous property; it was of the

* A similar scene is represented in the 26th vignette.

[page] 261

same kind as that which has been noticed in the country between Klaarwater and Spuigslang fountain. In other places this pavement consisted exclusively of a coarse blueish-black cherty flint: and frequently extensive spaces exhibited a bare level surface of the white primitive limestone-rock, first observed about the former place.

The waggons suffered the most violent jolts; and we now felt the great difference between riding over a country strewed with loose blocks and stones, and one where the surface, though flat, is formed of a fixed mass of rock. In the first, the stones, however large, give way a little to the force of the wheels, and the jolts are thereby much softened, if such an expression may be used; but the obdurate immoveable resistance of fixed rocks, and the peculiar violence of the jolting they cause, are hardly to be conceived without having been actually experienced. No artificial pavement can produce an effect equally disagreeable; for in such there is, speaking comparatively, a certain degree of elasticity, the effect of which is not imaginary, nor is it imperceptible to those who have ridden over a natural pavement of solid unyielding rock.

Although the waggons did not appear to have suffered any damage by this day's-journey, yet it is not possible that they could have escaped without, in some respect, receiving injury; and I now could clearly perceive that a good and strong-built vehicle, is one of the most important of the preparations for such an expedition. Besides the strength of workmanship, the greatest attention is necessary to be paid to the quality of the materials; that the wood be well seasoned and of a sort which will not easily split. Much of the safety of a waggon depends on the nature of the iron; this should be of the tough and malleable kind, rather than the hard, which being generally of the quality termed 'short,' is very liable to break asunder.

At an early hour of the day, we arrived at a spring embosomed in rocky mountains, and called by the Hottentots, Klip Fontein* (Rock Fountain).

* In order to distinguish this from the Klip Fontein of the Cisgariepine, described in the first volume at page 294., we were obliged to refer to it by the name of Kora, or, Koraqua Klip Fontein; having already designated the other by that of Bushman Klip Fontein.

[page] 262

Juli, who, I now began to perceive, was one of the most quiet and steady of all my party, showed himself desirous of gaining my good opinion, by various acts of voluntary service, and a readiness and attentiveness on every occasion where he thought he could be useful. He undertook the office of cook, and succeeded extremely well in boiling the tongue of the buffalo, and in producing something in the form of a curry. To give him the character of being a good cook, according to the judgment of Europeans, would be ridiculously wide of the truth; but among Hottentots he deserved that of possessing superior talents.

None but those who merely 'eat to live' would undertake a journey in Africa, with no better cooks than Hottentots. By their methods, the finest meat is almost always rendered tough and nupalatable; every kind undergoes but one and the same process, which is simply that of cutting it into lumps of the size of a fist, and throwing them into a large iron pot of water, which is usually left standing on the fire till the men are ready to take their meal: the consequence of which is, that their meat is almost alway soverboiled and exceedingly hard. But this very well suits their taste; and from a strong dislike to meat too little boiled or roasted, they chuse rather to go to the opposite extreme. As it was not easy to change the system and notions of these men, I found it less troublesome to accommodate my palate to their cookery, than to pretend to teach them an art of which I knew as little as themselves.

I shall not be classed with those who only 'live to eat', if I place an experienced cook upon the list of persons necessary on such an expedition; as we have discovered by our own sufferings, that the same kind of food, though even of the best quality, continued from day to day for too great a length of time, without any variation in the mode of preparing it, ceases to excite the digestive powers, and no longer affords due nourishment. Under such circumstances, the body, instead of gaining strength, becomes daily weaker; the muscles relax, and an extraordinary debility gradually ensues. It is not disputed, that a change of food either in species or in mode, is necessary to health and strength; and as both these latter are absolutely essential

[page] 263

to a traveller, it is but common prudence to provide the reasonable means of securing them. This was, I confess, a point of prudence which, among my preparations, was never once thought of, because the full enjoyment of health induced me to regard it as very unimportant and quite unnecessary.

Attended by one of my men, I took a ramble to examine the mountains on our left, which form as it were an extensive amphitheatre around the spring. They are composed of rock of a granitic kind, and in some places of a black rock of a siliceous nature. As it was considered dangerous to venture far among these mountains, on account of the Bushmen who might be watching us from behind the crags, and who were reported to be hostile to all Hottentots, I confined my stroll within this amphitheatre which was well clothed with a variety of shrubs and bushes, and to the course of the rill formed by the spring.

Here, however, I found many new and interesting plants, particularly a species of Croton* forming a handsome bushy shrub from four to seven feet high, closely resembling a species peculiar to Madagascar: and this affinity with the botany of that island, was farther marked by a species of Melhania †?which grew close by it; and on the same spot with the Vangueria infausta. This Croton is called Mulókha by the Bachapins. I was informed that the leaves, reduced to powder, are used by the Koras as a Buku; and it is in

* Croton gratissimum, B. Catal. Geogr. 2154. Frutex pulcherrimus 4—10-pedalis ramosus sempervirens. Folia ovato-lanceolata integerrima petiolata alterna, suprà viridia nuda, subtùs argenteo-albida. Spicæ terminales. Flores suavissimè odorati. Folia (contusa) odorem aromaticum (Lauri nobilis) spirantia. Calyx patens profundè 5-fidus. Petala 5 lanceolata patentia, longitudine calycis. Stamina ciciter 15, discreta.
Sir James E. Smith has obligingly compared this with the specimens in his valuable herbarium, once the property of the immortal Linnæus, and informs me that, although a distinct species, it is exceedingly like the C. farinosum, with the description of which, as given in Willd. Sp. Pl, it so well agreed, that at the time of discovering it, I had supposed it might possibly be the same plant.

Melhania prostrata, B. Catal. Geogr. 2153. Frutex. Caules elongati, 2—4-pedales, prostrati ramosi. Folia petiolata linearia, basi ovata, mucronulo terminata. Stipulæ subulatæ. Flores axillares solitarii, longiùs pedunculati, flavi. Pedunculus rectus, medio geniculatus.

[page] 264

fact of a much more pleasant scent than any other of the Hottentot Bukues. I detected, by the delightful fragrance which it emitted as I walked over it, a small frutescent kind of basil * not less aromatic than the garden species. An exceedingly pretty sort of Celastrus †?with red branches and very small leaves, decorated these rocks and occupied the same situations here, as at the Asbestos Mountains.

Just where the spring flows out of the rock, I observed some ochraceous deposition; but the water was, nevertheless, wholesome and of a good taste. This fountain affords a constant supply of water throughout the year, and the mountains in the vicinity are said therefore to be inhabited by Bushmen.

Seven years before this, two Hottentots in the service of a missionary named Jan Kok who was himself a Half-Hottentot, were returning home from the Briqua country with their wives and children, with a waggon loaded with elephants' tusks, and a large herd of oxen belonging to the missionary; when the temptation of so much booty protected only by two men, induced the Bushmen to attack them; and after repeated assaults along the road, one of the Hottentots was killed just beyond this spring, and the other not far from Doorn river: while at the same time, one of the daughters was inhumanly stabbed with a hassagay, and several of the children wounded with arrows. The murderers succeeded in carrying off the greater part of the cattle, and were on the point of returning to attack the waggon, now defended only by women and children, when the most providen.

* Ocymum fruticulosum, B. C. G. 2160. Planta fruticulosa pedalis erecta. Folia lanceolata nuda semicollapsa. Racemi terminales nudi. Flores verticillati brevè pedunculati. Verticilli 4—6-flori. Herba tota odore gratissimo (Basilici) gaudet

Celastrus saxatilis, B. C. G. 1671. Frutex rigidus spinosus 4-pedalis glaber. Ramuli juniores castanei coloris. Spinæ sæpiùs nudæ rectæ patentes. Folia integerrima, in ramulis junioribus solitaria ovata, in ramulis anni præcedentis fasciculata elongatè-obovata. Pedunculi laterales ex fasciculis foliorum, pauciflori. Capsula majuscula coccinea.

At the Kora Rock-Fountain were also found

Olea similis, B.
Acacia stolonifera, B.
Acacia detinens, B.
Acacia Capensis, B.
Acacia elephantine, B.
Pteris ? calomelanos.
Justicia. 2 Sp.
Celastrus. &c.

[page] 265

tial and unexpected arrival of a large party of colonists under Landdrost Van de Graaff, rescued them from the death which awaited them, and obliged the barbarous robbers to take instantly to flight.* The two unfortunate Hottentots were certainly to blame for their imprudence in venturing, with so little probability of being able to defend themselves, to traverse a country of lawless savages, with a large quantity of property, by which the wretches were too strongly tempted to attack them.

This fatal occurrence has contributed to impress the Hottentots with the idea that the Bushmen inhabiting the country between Ongeluks fountain and the Kamhanni mountains, are more ferocious and dangerous than any others; and, consequently, a mutual mistrust and enmity now exists between them. While we were at Klaarwater, it was not omitted to infuse into the minds of my men, serious fears on this account, and I had the vexation of witnessing their effects on several occasions.

Under the impression, probably, of this story, Gert, when he came to my waggon in the evening, seemed, by several indirect questions which he asked, to be very desirous of ascertaining the course and extent of my journey, and spoke as if he hoped, and expected, that I should advance no farther than Litákun. He, and all the rest of my people, knew that it was my intention to explore the country beyond; and therefore, as these questions could only be the result or symptoms of that timidity with which they had been infected at that village, the discovery of such symptoms at so early a period, and at so great a distance from any real cause for apprehension, could not but open a source of some uneasiness. I had no doubt that, being admitted, in compassion to his late misfortune, to more familiarity than the rest, he was employed to find out the real plan of my journey, and at the same time to hint to me their disinclination to venture far into the Interior. On being told that he must not expect our journey to terminate at that town, he replied

* Dr. Lichtenstein, who happened to be one of the landdrost's party, gives in his Travels, an interesting account of this occurrence.


[page] 266

"Then, Sir, we shall, not one of us, ever come back; we are all murdered men !"

20th. From the Kora Rock-Fountain, we travelled over a level country varied here and there with hills of moderate elevation. The soil, which was of a sandy nature and remarkably red, was every where thickly covered with standing grass about three feet high, which, being at this season quite dry and having assumed an autumnal tint, presented exactly the appearance of European cornfields of boundless extent; and which, from its height and color, very much resembled that variety which farmers term 'red wheat.'*

When we had travelled about twelve miles, my Hottentots, who, like all their tribe, possessed an extraordinary power of sight in discerning objects at a distance, came to me and with evident alarm, reported that they saw on before us, six strange men whom they believed to be Bushmen. The story which I have just related, or the impressions they had received at Klaarwater, appeared to have taken fast hold on their minds, so that they were ready to view every dubious occurrence as the forerunner of danger. I immediately took out my telescope, but although with the naked eye I myself saw nothing, I was enabled with the glass to distinguish but little more than they had already discovered without it. Two of these strange men appeared to carry guns, and as they were running with great speed, we concluded that they had fallen in with Speelman and Keyser who had preceded us for the sake of hunting; and that having murdered them, and robbed them of their muskets, they were thus hastening out of our reach. This suspicion, which was instantly taken for fact by all my men and which I could not myself think very improbable, seemed to be confirmed by our observing

* The chief grasses were of the genera Andropogon, Aristida, Anthistiria and Poa.
A new species of Cissampelos met with here, is to be found generally in every part of the Transgariepine; it is the
Cissampelos calcarifera, Catal. Geogr. 1795. Fruticosa scandens volubilis (sæpè humiliar et erecta). Folia lineari-elliptica, pubescentia. Petioli ad bases subtùs calcare brevi aucti. Flores parvi herbacei.

[page] 267

eight more Bushmen standing at the top of a low hill close on our right, apparently watching us.

As there was, even under these circumstances, not much danger in an open country, for a person mounted on horseback, I would have sent some of my people forward to ascertain whether the two men with muskets, were natives or not; but every one of them exhibited so much fear and reluctance for this service, that, to save my authority and avoid their refusal to obey my orders, I thought it most advisable not to insist on this step. My own station and duty in cases of danger, should, I conceived, always be that of protecting and defending the waggons, in which were contained all our property, our ammunition, and our provisions. My two baptized men betrayed more timidity than several of their companions; and Cornelis to anticipate and prevent my orders, came to assure me that the backs of all the horses were too much galled to bear the saddle; and was not ashamed to assert this, though he and Van Roye had ridden on horseback almost every day.

In the mean time the enemy disappeared; but I took the precaution of making all the men keep together in a body, and carry their muskets instead of leaving them tied up in the waggons, which they had done to spare themselves that fatigue. We now resumed our march, after having halted half an hour on account of this affair; and advanced with watchful circumspection, not knowing how far we might proceed before the natives poured down from the hills to attack us: at least these were the sentiments of most of my men, who looked around them expecting to find the bodies of poor Speelman and Keyser. This they actually did; for we had scarcely proceed a mile farther, when they were discovered at some distance on the left of our road, —but still alive, and, in good health and spirits, making the best of their way towards us, and having four Bushmen in company, with whom they appeared to be on perfectly friendly terms. At the same time the enemy on the hills poured down upon us, and —with every appearance of peaceable intentions joined our party. One of them being personally known to Muchunka, and being able to speak the Kora language, an amicable communication

M M 2

[page] 268

immediately commenced between us. The two men running off with guns, who had occasioned among my people so much consternation, were now found to have been, Speelman and Keyser in pursuit of a buffalo, and who, having followed the animal between the hills without being able to overtake it, had turned back by another way, to meet us.

The Bushmen, now about ten or twelve in number, remained with us till the next morning, and were entertained with a few pipes of tobacco, and as much meat as they could devour. I observed that the natural color of their skin was much lighter than it had appeared to me among the other tribes of this nation which I had hitherto examined. Whether these men kept their persons more free from dirt, or whether they were really of a less tawny complexion than the others, can not be positively decided; but their skin was certainly, not much darker than that of the browner nations of Europe.

In their costume, with respect to that part of their dress which has been already described* under the name of jackal, they had adopted the more compact fashion of the Bichuanas; and this departure from the genuine dress of the Hottentot race, was doubtlessly occasioned by their proximity to, and their intercourse with, those nations. Their stature also was larger than that of the pure Bushmen: a circumstance which was attributable probably to a mixture with the Koras; but certainly not to any consanguinity with the Bachapins, as this would rather have given them a darker, than a lighter, skin. The features also of this party, were of a more agreeable mould. Five of them were merely boys in appearance, yet all were completely armed; and, besides two bows at their back, some carried in their hand a bundle of four or five hassagays. Several wore a necklace of a new kind, composed of the seeds or beans of one of their wild plants. †

At five in the afternoon we arrived at a plentiful spring of water, surrounded by a grove of Acacias; and as Muchunka was unac-

* At page 397. of the first volume.

Acacia elephantina, B.

[page] 269

quainted with any name for it, I have been obliged to distinguish it on the map by that of Knegt's Fountain, in compliance with the name which was given to it by my party in consequence of having at this spot buried my dog Knegt, which here was taken ill and died. This scene is represented by the engraving at page 260.

The Bushmen made their fire at the distance of fifty yards from ours, where they in their own manner, cooked the meat I gave them; and where, after having passed the evening with my Hottentots, they laid themselves down for the night

21st. This fountain and the acacia grove were enlivened by numerous small finches of a new species allied to the Wax-bill or Astrild. Its general color was a cinereous brown, with every feather prettily marked at the top with the transverse stripes of black and white: the forehead, and sides of the head, were of the color of redlead.* It seemed to be peculiar to this region and the country about Litakun, as I never met with it in any other part of the continent

Since leaving the Gariep, I had observed but few birds, excepting in the neighbourhood of the different fountains; for, as the smaller kinds require to drink frequently, their nature and wants render them unfit for inhabiting those extensive arid plains which intervene between one spring and another. From the Kora Rock-Fountain to this place, was a distance of-thirteen miles, and as no water was to be found in all that extent, it will not, on consideration, appear a surprising fact, that none of the smaller birds were seen during that days-journey. This is intended as a general remark, applicable in every similar case, to the deserts of Southern Africa.

That our cattle might have sufficient time for grazing, we delayed yoking them to the waggons till it was nearly two hours after mid-day. This consideration for our oxen and horses, was dictated as well by prudence as by humanity, and appeared to be one of the essential prin-

* Loxia maculosa, B. Fusco-cinerea, plumis omnibus ad apices nigro alboquè fasciatis. Frons genæquè, miniatæ, in mare; in feminâ concoloræ. Avis parva gregaria, victitans ex seminibus.

[page] 270

ciples of this mode of travelling; as the violent and forced speed of those who would pass through these regions more for the sake of saying they had seen them, than of collecting correct information and of understanding what they saw, would strongly prove, by the great number of cattle they would wear out, that hasty travellers should never seat themselves behind a team of oxen. This valuable animal, whose natural pace, as I have before remarked, is quite expeditious enough for the observer, and admirer, of nature, ill deserves, in return for his daily labors, to be denied the time necessary for grazing and rest, and to be forced onwards at the caprice of his driver, till at last, through want of food and strength he sinks under the yoke and, without remorse, is left to perish. Nothing but the safety of the whole party, or the urgency of peculiar and inevitable circumstances, could ever, during my whole journey, induce me to forget the consideration due to my cattle; always regarded as faithful friends whose assistance was indispensable. There may be in the world, men who possess a nature so hard, as to think these sentiments misapplied; but I leave them to find, if they can, in the coldness of their own hearts, a satisfaction equal to that which I have enjoyed in paying a grateful attention to animals by whose services I have been so much benefited.

Our course still continued over a level surface, but with many rocky hills on either hand. The mountains northward of the Gariep no longer exhibited that tedious, though singular, uniformity of tabular summits, which I have noticed as being so common in the Cisgariepine. The soil was a reddish sand, almost every where covered with the tall corn-like grass, before described; through which, a few ostriches were seen stalking, fully visible notwithstanding its height, which would easily have concealed the smaller antelopes, or have favoured the escape, or approach, of an enemy.

In one part of this days-journey, for the space of a mile and a half, the whole plain had in the preceding year, been set on fire, and every bush, as well as the dry grass, consumed or killed; but this circumstance gave me a favorable opportunity for discovering the goodness of the soil, presumable from the rapid growth of the Tar-

[page] 271

chonanthus the prevailing shrub in these plains. Where they had been burnt down to the ground, they had in one season thrown up a multitude of strong shoots not less than five feet long. In most instances the old charred stems and branches still remained standing, and, being perfectly black, presented a shrubbery of extraordinary appearance. The different sorts of Tarchonanthus are called by the Bachapins, indiscriminately by the name of Mohákă; and their shoots and branches are much used for shafts to their hassagays, and for the outward fences to their houses.

At four we came to a plentiful spring of good water, distinguished as the Little Kósi Fountain, at which grew an abundance of tall reeds *, and on one side a thicket of acacias; but as the great Kosi Fountain was but little more than three miles farther, we halted only a few minutes to allow the loose cattle to drink.

As we advanced we found no variation in the country or its productions, and the same grassy plains brought us just at sunset to the great Kosi Fountain. Here, to guard against surprise by the Bushmen, should they really have those hostile intentions which my men had been taught to believe, I took our station in an open spot, under the shelter only of some bushes consisting of a species of Asparagus. But the men, who, notwithstanding their fears, had neither prudence nor foresight, wished rather to have placed the waggons in the acacia grove, merely because it was more sheltered and pleasant.

The Kosi Fountain is a constant and plentiful spring rising in an open valley, through which a small rivulet appears, at certain seasons, to take its course. This flat, is clothed with grass and rushes, among

* The reeds mentioned in the course of this journal, and from which the Bushmen make their arrows, are to be understood as a species very closely resembling the common English reed, or Arundo Phragmitis; from which, however, it may be botanically distinguished by its ligulæ pilosæ, or bearded joints. Besides this character, there seems to be some difference in the color of the leaves and in the substance of the stalk, which, in the African variety, are yellower, and harder. Having succeeded in raising this plant from seed since my return to England, and cultivated it several years, though hitherto without flowering, I have found these differences constant; and the same having been observed by Mr. Lambert (the author of the magnificent work on the genus Pinus,) in the plants in his collection, and considered sufficient to distinguish it from the English reed, I venture to propose it as a new species under the name of Arundo barbata.

[page] 272

which a few reeds indicate to the traveller the situation of the water. On the borders of the valley, and in several other places, a considerable number of acacias, forming a little wood or grove, add greatly to the pleasant appearance of the spot: and behind them, on the side towards the north, a long ridge of rocky hills, stretches eastward and westward.

In the character of the landscape and its peculiar tints, a painter would find much to admire, though it differed entirely from the species known by the term 'picturesque'. But it was not the less beautiful: nor less deserving of being studied by the artist: it was that kind of harmonious beauty which belongs to the extensive plains of Southern Africa. The pale yellow dry grass gave the prevailing color, and long streaks of bushes as it seemed, parallel to the horizon and gradually fading into the distance, sufficiently varied the uniformity of a plain; while clumps of the soft and elegant acacia, presented a feature which relieved these long streaks by an agreeable change of tint, and by the most pleasing forms backed by low azure hills in the farthest distance. Our horses and oxen grazing close at hand, added a force to the foreground, and, by contrast, improving the tenderness of the general colouring, completed a landscape, perhaps altogether inimitable; but which, if put on canvass, would form a picture of the most fascinating kind, and prove to European painters, that there exists in this department of the art, a species of beauty with which, possibly, they may not yet be sufficiently acquainted.

This fountain takes its name from a Bachapin chief who formerly resided here. The word kō;si in the Sichuána language signifies rich, and is by metonymy therefore used to imply a chief, as riches seem in all countries, in the early stages of society, to have been the origin of power and importance, and the principal source from which individuals have derived permanent authority. Whether the word was in this case the proper name of the chief or merely an appellative, my interpreter was unable to state; but I have remarked that with this nation, appellatives are very commonly assumed as proper names.

Scarcely were the oxen unyoked, when a large mixed herd of

[page] 273

wilde-paards (Wild Horses) elands and hartebeests, from the neighbouring mountains, appeared in sight near the water. They were instantly pursued and a wilde-paard (Equus montanus), or quakka, as it was oftener called, was shot. This was a timely and welcome supply to the Hottentots, as the buffalo-meat was already become so dry and hard, that it afforded us but tough and unpalatable food.

So much had been told us by the missionaries and Hottentots, of the peculiarly hostile disposition of the Bushmen who inhabit the vicinity of the Kosi fountain, that, not despising their advice, and chusing rather to be over-prudent, than neglectful of measures of precaution, I delivered out ammunition to my people, and ordered them two by two, to keep regular watch throughout the night; relieving each other every two hours. With these orders their fears rendered them very ready to comply, however uncongenial to the nature of a Hottentot, night-watching might be, under circumstances of less apprehension.

Gert, who had so long in our absence, an opportunity of hearing these tales, and who seemed to have deeply imbibed the timidity they were meant to inspire, related to me a story which he had picked up at Klaarwater, respecting the fate of the first party of Hottentots who ventured among the Briquas; and who were the first visitors which that nation had ever received from the side of the Colony. This party, consisting of a considerable number of Mixed Hottentots, had reached the chief town of these Briquas or Bachapins, and were received apparently with friendship: an ox was on the occasion killed for them by the chief, and a large party of natives were also assembled to partake of it. At this time, it was discovered that some of their pack-oxen were missing; on which, a part of the Hottentots went to look for them: but in the mean time, as it was said, the Briquas seeing the party thus divided, fell upon them and murdered all but five. Of these five, only three reached home alive, the others having, on the way, died of their wounds.

This story, he had learnt from the widows of those who were thus murdered: but the whole appeared so inconsistent with other


[page] 274

facts with which I was better acquainted, that I had no hesitation in classing it as one of the numerous tales contrived for the purpose of alarming my men; nor was I quite without suspicion of its having been invented by Gert himself, with a view of inducing me to give up the idea of penetrating so far into the interior of these countries, as I had designed.

Had I been earlier aware of this Hottentot's weakness and timidity, I should certainly have left him at the missionary settlement, and should have spared myself much vexation and trouble on his account; but as I did not, at this time, suspect him of a total deficiency of courage, I continued long afterwards to treat him with partiality and to rely on his fidelity. He communicated also a secret of his own, and which probably had no little influence over his conduct towards me; after the termination of the journey, he intended returning to Klaarwater to marry the widow of one of the two Hottentots who unfortunately joined Dr. Cowan's fatal expedition, and who had agreed to become his wife;" for," said he "the one I left at home at Groene Kloof, is a bad one."

22nd. Early this morning we were roused by the very unexpected sound of a waggon approaching, and which soon afterwards halted and unyoked at a short distance from us. The party proved to be Cupido Kok with four other Hottentots and six Koras, returning from Litakun, where he had been to barter for ivory and oxen. He had in his waggon about twenty Elephant's tusks, which had been obtained in exchange at the rate of a sheep for each tusk; the Bachapins being very desirous of procuring cattle of that kind, it having hitherto been little known to their nation, or, at least, seldom reared by them. He was driving home a herd of above forty oxen which had been purchased with beads and tobacco.

I was exceedingly glad at falling in with this man, as I now expected to get back my great rifle. But it seemed that all my dealings with the people of that village, were to produce nothing but disagreeables and vexation; for although I obtained my gun again, it was rendered useless by the want of the bullet-mould, which, he said, he had left at home at his place at Taaibosch Fountain, as he

[page] 275

had no occasion for it on the journey, having previously cast as much ball as the quantity of gunpowder he took with him would require. This quantity, I found, was no more than the pound which I had then given him, and which was now very nearly expended; so that he was, as he confessed to Gert, venturing his journey homewards with scarcely any ammunition for his defence. He had, indeed, another gun in his waggon, the bullet-mould of which he offered me instead of my own; but this could be of no service as it was much too small. He was therefore told that, as the rifle was the most important of all our guns, and its use absolutely indispensable for the prosecution of my journey, I would wait at our present station till he had returned home and despatched a man on horseback to me with the mould; that I would not proceed without it, and that as soon as it was received I would return him his own gun, which I had brought with me in expectation of meeting him at Litakun; and that it was entirely through his own neglect, or want of reflection, that he had not brought it, knowing as he did, that my gun was useless without it. He at first objected to the trouble of sending a horse and man back so far; but it was represented to him that the distance was barely fourteen hours at a usual and moderate pace, and might be performed with ease, and without danger even for one man; and that it was but just that he should take this trouble, as he alone had occasioned the necessity for it.

Although he was apparently little pleased with my proposal, yet as he made no objection to it, I concluded that the matter was thus settled; and returned to my waggon.

I sent to him the buffalo-skin, to be given to his nephew Captain Dam, as payment for an eland-skin which he had supplied for the use of my waggons: and Speelman and Juli on their own account, requested him to take home for their wives some dried meat; but, not being in a very obliging humour, he gave them an immediate refusal, though he might have granted their request, without the least inconvenience to himself.

Apparently with a view of giving vent to his ill-temper, and to be revenged for my insisting on having the mould, he took advantage of

N N 2

[page] 276

this last opportunity, to relate a number of tales to impress my men with the belief that I only intended to lead them into danger. To these, and all similar accounts, they were too ready to listen; while their serious countenances visibly betrayed the doubts and fears with which their minds began to be agitated. This Cupido asserted many things which he could not himself have believed; for, after exaggerating the dangers which, he said, lay before us, he even declared that all the black nations were much more afraid of bows and arrows, than of guns; and that after advancing, and receiving our first fire without fear, they would immediately close upon us, and stab every one, before we could have time to load again. Thinking that my intention was to visit the Nuákketsi, or, as the Klaarwater people call them, the Wánketzen *, he attempted to counteract this, by relating the old story about the murder of Dr. Cowan and his party, and adding to it all the artful fabrications which he had picked up from among the natives. He concluded by telling them that the Nuákketsies, having heard of our coming, had made many remarks on the folly of sending a mere handful of men against them, and had openly declared that they would kill every stranger who should in future venture into their country. In short, he declared that there was the greatest danger in going amongst those nations; as they were all at this time, in a state of warfare and fighting one against the other. Fortunately he remained at the Kosi but three hours; and then collecting his party together, he yoked the team to his waggon, and drove off without further ceremony,

I was just beginning to rejoice that he was fairly gone and out of sight, when Gert delivered a message from him, that as it would be too far to send a man back, it was not his intention to do so; that as I had thought proper to detain his gun as a pledge for the mould,

* This is a corruption of the proper word both by the addition of the Dutch plural termination en, and by mistaking the true sound. At least, the manner in which I have written the name, is conformable to the only mode in which I heard it pronounced by the Bachapins. By not distinguishing the Dutch plural, some writers have set the English plural also upon its back, and the word Wanketzens has been formed in this manner.

[page] 277

I might keep it; for, as he had now no ammunition for his defence, he did not think it worth so much trouble to redeem it.

I desired Gert to hasten after him and let him know that, notwithstanding his message, I should wait at our present station time enough for him to send the mould, which in our circumstances was of so much importance, that I hoped, and should expect, that he would return it. After this, he finally departed; and I had then little doubt that his desire to recover the gun, would induce him to act as I wished; although it was evident I had nothing to expect from any feeling or principle of justice, which might teach him how much injury he did us, especially in our unprotected situation, by depriving us of the proper use of our largest gun; the peculiar advantage of which, depended on being loaded with a ball which fitted the calibre exactly.

As soon as this party was gone, we began therefore to consider ourselves as stationed at this place for some days. Several of my people went out hunting, and a Hartebeest was brought down by Juli. A new species of antelope which had been shot by Speelman late on the preceding evening, was fetched home; but during the night the hyenas, or wolves as they are usually called by the Boors and Hottentots, had devoured all the flesh; leaving us only the head and the hide. It might be classed as a species of Gnu, which, in general appearance and color, it closely resembled; yet presented marks of difference which immediately showed it to be very distinct. This animal and the hartebeest were nearly of the same size. It is entirely of a black-brown color; having a bushy tail like that of the gnu, but quite black, while in the gnu it is white. It has a long black mane and beard, and two large spurious hoofs. Its horns, which are neither annulated nor twisted, are curved outwards and downwards, and their points recurved upwards; in the same position as in the Cape buffalo. Its horns, more remarkably than in any other antelope, resemble those of oxen in general; and in this particular it differs essentially from the gnu, whose horns are turned forwards, but not outwards: neither is their enlargement

[page] 278

at the base so remarkable as in that sort. In young animals, the horns are not decurved, but rise more immediately upwards; yet in time they take a downward direction. Its manners and general appearance, are exactly those of the gnu; and it puts itself in the same attitudes, holding its head down, and lashing its tail as it prances about. It is also seen sometimes solitary, and sometimes it is met with in herds. I have distinguished it by name of Antilope taurina.* The Mixed Hottentots have given it the name of Bastaard Wildebeest, implying that it is considered as a spurious kind of Gnu: Wildebeest being the Dutch Colonial name for that antelope. The Bichuanas call it Kokūn (Kokoon), or rather, with a nasal sound of the n, Kokūng (Kokoong). Of this animal, five were shot in the course of our travels. †

Two beautiful zebras made their appearance near the spring, and were fired at. Some of the hunters falling in with the skeleton of a giraffe, or camelopard, in the plains, were struck with astonishment at its size, and the great length of the bones of the leg; and at their return home, excited the attention of their companions by their wonderful account of it, for Philip was the only one among them, who had any knowledge of the animals of this part of Africa. To the eastward of this fountain, and under the same range of hills, there is a place named by the Hottentots, Kameel-hoek, (Camel-Corner,) on account of its being much resorted to, by camelopards.

Not chusing to depend wholly on the Hottentots, for keeping watch against the Bushmen, I sat up myself till a late hour of the

* Antilope taurina, B. Tota nigro-fusca; Cornua lævia extrorsum decurvata, versus medium recurvata. Juba longa, barbaque, nigræ. Cauda equina nigra. Species Antilopi Gnu proximè ordinanda, cui habitu moribusque simillima.

† Of these, two were preserved and brought to England; one of which has been presented to the British Museum.
As in both these species of Gnu, the food passes in the same form as in sheep, deer, and in all the rest of the Antelope genus, one is surprised at finding it asserted of the first Gnu, in a late French work, that "ses excrémens ressemblent à ceux de la vache:" and also, that its horns take a direction "d'abord en bas, et en dehors." Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles, par plusieurs professeurs, &c. tome 2. p. 248.

[page] 279

night to discover if my sentinels did their duty; and employed myself in the meantime, in affixing labels to the botanical specimens hitherto collected, and in registering them in my Catalogue.

At about an hour after midnight, when it was Juli's and Keyser's turn to be on guard, I left my waggon, and took my seat by the fire, as the air was then exceedingly cold. The rest of the people lay fast asleep, some on the ground by the fire, some close under the asparagus-bush, and others either beneath, or within, the baggage-waggon. Those who lay round the fire, always took off their shoes and uncovered their feet, which they placed as near as possible to the embers; a reasonable mode of keeping their bodies generally warm, as the feet, when sleeping in the open air in cold weather, become chilled much sooner than any other part of the body. It seemed almost incredible that Muchunka could sleep at all; exposed, nearly naked, to the freezing inclemency of the night, and having no other covering or clothing, than a short leathern kaross scarcely the length of his body. It was, however, a proof that the human frame may, by custom, become inured to every inconvenience; as it may by the same means, be pampered till at length it can bear none. The dogs were all quietly dozing, and the oxen lying at their ease; circumstances which gave us a confidence that neither wild beasts, nor wild men, were lurking near us. Juli and his companion being both Graaffreynet people, were amusing themselves by talking over the affairs of that part of the colony.

I joined their party without interrupting their conversation, and was much surprised, as well as pleased, at finding that Juli had lent so little ear to the alarming tales we had heard, or had given so little credit to those who told them, that he viewed the spot at which we were now stationed, as a place so far from being dangerous to live in, that he seriously communicated to me a plan which the pleasant appearance of the country had induced him to form, of returning to Kosi Fountain after the termination of our journey, and of bringing all his cattle, which he reckoned at nearly forty in sheep and oxen, and fixing his residence here, in preference to living any longer among the Boors.

As I viewed the poor fellow's plan merely as one of those foolish

[page] 280

thoughtless schemes which the unreflecting Hottentot often takes into his head, and of which the execution is generally prevented by some other whim equally ill-advised or unpromising, I did not think it necessary, to check the pleasure he seemed to derive from the fancied advantages and riches which he calculated on gaining by that step. I even allowed myself to be amused by listening to his proposed measures: he had already fixed on a spot for his garden; it was in the valley near the clump of acacias beyond the water.

23rd. On the following morning I went with him to inspect it; and it was certainly an excellent and pleasant situation, and very judiciously chosen. As I had brought with me the seeds of various sorts of useful plants, for the purpose of dissemination in the countries of the Interior, this appeared a proper opportunity for commencing it. I gave him therefore, some of peach, quince, almond, and several kinds of esculent vegetables, which he sowed in a suitable soil; and as the moist ground about the spring appeared a natural place for the celery-plant (Apium graveolens) I scattered a considerable quantity of it there. On our return to this fountain six months afterwards *, a few of Juli's seeds were found to have vegetated, and the celery seemed already to have naturalized itself, as it was then in flower and seed; but of so diminutive a size, that it might have been mistaken for another species, had I not recollected that it had been sown there by myself.

* At that time I collected at Kosi Fountain, a variety of new plants, among which the following is remarkable as being the first of that Natural Order which has been found in Southern Africa.
Triaspis hypericoïdes, B. Catal. Geogr. 2531. Frutex 3—4-pedalis pulcher erectus ramosus. Rami fusci glabri oppositi patentes. Folia ovato-linearia glabra pedunculata glauca integerrima opposita (rarò subalterna). Pedicelli axillares solitarii 3—6-flori. Flores pedunculati inodori rosei. Calyx 5-phyllus, sepalis lanceolatis erectis. Petala 5 unguiculata, patentia ovata concava, ad margines laciniato-fimbriata. Styli tres. Stigmata obsoleta. Stamina 10 basi discreta. Pollinis particula globosa. Fructus immaturus conspersus pilis medio affixis. Samaræ tres alâ maximâ peltatâ rotundatâ auctæ. Genus ex ordine Malpighiacearum, et maximè affine Hirææ; cum quâ conjungendum, nisi hæc et Tetrapteris separatæ fuissent a Triopteridibus. Nomen a τζεīς tres et άσπίς clypeus: ob samaras tres scutiformes. —Vide iconem magnitudine naturali, huic capitulo subjunctam.

[page] 281

Here his scheme ended; as I never from that time, during our whole journey, heard him mention it again. He probably soon afterwards became convinced of the danger he would incur by residing alone and unprotected in the midst of a tribe of Bushmen of suspicious character, who, there is little doubt, would not long have withstood the temptation of his cattle, seeing that their owner might be so easily overpowered, and that he was beyond the reach of all assistance.

Those who view a fine country in which, at the same time, an honest and well-disposed man cannot live in safety, will have learnt by experience how to set a proper value on the blessings of laws and a good government: and an Englishman who is dissatisfied with his own country, needs only to witness a lawless state of society and the mis-rule of many other nations, to make him turn with affection to his own, and forgive those errors to which all humanity and the wisest of men, are liable; and to deplore corruption, as an evil for which there is no permanent or radical cure, but universal honesty.

The groves about this place were much frequented by the birds called Guinea-fowls or pintadoes. Two of these were shot; and were boiled into soup, which, with the addition of some parsley and celery seed, formed an excellent mess. For this purpose, these birds are much superior to any four-footed game.

Our buffalo-meat was become so dry, and even the flesh of the hartebeest, though antelopes in general are dignified by the inhabitants of the Cape, with the name of venison, was so lean, that my Hottentots asked permission to kill a sheep. This they did, not through want of provisions, but merely for the sake of fat, to render the other more palatable.

In the evening, from a very favourable observation, I computed the latitude of Kosi Fountain to be 27°. 52′. 16″.*

24th. On rising this morning, I found all the men absent,

* On the 23rd of June 1812, at Kosi Fountain, the observed meridional altitude of Arcturus was 41°. 59′. 00″.


[page] 282

excepting four; and was informed that the sheep had been, through the carelessness of Andries whose turn it was to attend them, allowed to stray away; and that the rest were gone in different directions in search of them.

However; he and Stuurman, soon returned, recollecting that the oxen had, in this confusion, been left in the plain without any person to watch them. Soon after this, the dread of being seen by the Bushmen, drove Van Roye and Cornelis home, though they were both mounted and armed, and could have little danger to fear; as that nation are themselves, as I have before remarked, greatly afraid of horsemen: from whom they have, if inferior in numbers, no chance of escaping on the plains; nor, if superior, any possibility of pursuing them. It was therefore pure timidity and cowardice which compelled these two men to return so soon and before they had discovered any traces of the sheep. On such occasions it was more especially the appointed duty of the horsemen to go on search of lost cattle. They excused their return, by pretending that Speelman and Platje had undertaken to follow the track. This was a mere pretence; though it was true that Speelman and Platje were the only two who continued the search: and who, indeed, caused me much anxiety by remaining absent during the night.

25th. As they did not make their appearance on the next morning, I ordered Philip and Van Roye to ride out in the direction in which they were last seen, and make some signal to guide them, in case they might have lost their way. On arriving at a distant part of the plain, they fell in with a camelopard, at which they fired, but without effect. They soon afterwards came upon a Kanna (Eland) which Philip immediately shot. It fortunately happened that the reports of their muskets were heard by Speelman, though still at a great distance; and, these plains being, as already described, covered with tall dry grass, he directly set fire to it; and soon the country for a great extent, was put in a blaze, and clouds of smoke ascended high into the air. Knowing that we could not but be uneasy at his absence, he understood the sound of the guns as a signal made to him; and adopted this most effectual mode of answering it, and of

[page] 283

more readily pointing out his situation. As soon as Philip and his companion had, by riding forward, ascertained that the two Hottentots and sheep were safe and returning home, they made the best of their way to the waggons to give us speedy intelligence that all was well.

In the mean time, we had observed the smoke; and various were the debates among us, respecting the occasion of it: but all concluded that it bore a suspicious appearance, and was to be interpreted as a signal of some misfortune, or of their having been found murdered by the Bushmen; and when, in about an hour afterwards, we saw the two horsemen galloping at full speed towards us, we were filled with the most melancholy forbodings of the sad tidings which, we supposed, they were bringing to us.

Our rejoicing therefore was the greater, when we were told that the lost men, and the sheep were all safe and on their way homewards.

When Speelman and Platje arrived, they were received with general congratulation; and provisions, of which they stood much in need, were immediately set before them. Their account was; that, having fallen in with the track of the sheep, they followed it in expectation of soon overtaking them; and with this hope were led on the whole day, till the darkness of evening prevented their discerning the footmarks any longer. They then lay down to sleep, and passed the night in the open plain, without fire or food. On their way they had seen two springs of water, one of which appeared capable of affording a copious supply at all seasons. At day break the next morning they continued to follow the track, surprised at being led by it so far; and at length came up with the flock, at some distance beyond our last station at Knegt's Fountain. That they were not discovered and carried off by the Bushmen, or devoured in the night by beasts of prey, was a circumstance to be attributed only to singular good fortune.

These two men had seen nothing of the natives during the whole time; and as none, excepting the few already mentioned, came near us, on our journey from Klaarwater to the northern limits of their

O O 2

[page] 284

country, this fact might be taken as a proof, either of their hostile disposition towards strangers, or of their fears of retaliation for past robberies, or of the scarcity of inhabitants in this part of the country. Which last supposition is the least probable of the three; for a land which, it would seem by Speelman's discovery yesterday, is in general not deficient in water considered as a Bushman country, is not likely to be totally unoccupied by their tribes: besides which, we had, during our stay at this station, every night observed their fires at a distance, in several directions around us. I have before made the remark, that, according as the Bushmen view strangers either as friends or as foes; or suppose themselves to be viewed as one or other of these, so their country will appear, either well inhabited, or perfectly deserted.

We had, however, sufficient reason for concluding that at this time they were not watching our motions; otherwise they might easily have made a prize of the sheep. But I could not avoid noticing on this, and on many other, occasions since leaving Graaffreynet, how little prudence belongs to the Hottentot character; and how inconsistent with their fears of the Bushmen and other native tribes, is their want of precaution and vigilance. How often have they through heedlessness and neglect of order and discipline, exposed themselves unnecessarily to the risk of being cut off by the savages, had these been so inclined, or really so ferocious and illdisposed, as their own fears, or the tales of others, taught them to believe.

Having recovered the sheep and our two companions, whom we were just beginning to deplore as lost, and never to be seen more, all our affairs became smooth again, and every one seemed happy and freed from care; even the dread of the savage Bushmen of the Kosi, and the fear of being taken too far into the Interior, appeared to have left them, like an intermittent fever: and there now ensued an interval of tranquillity which lasted for some time.

As soon as Philip returned, the baggage waggon was unloaded without delay, and sent for the kanna which he had shot: this was brought home by eight o'clock the same evening. It being

[page] 285

a young and fat animal, the meat was excellent; and even Hottentot cookery could not spoil it.

Every night, the jackals, attracted perhaps by the smell of so much meat, approached us, and for two or three hours after dark continued at intervals to bark around us, at the distance, as it seemed, of about two hundred yards. Our dogs never failed to give them an answer each time; but took no trouble to go after them, or to drive these impertinent visitors away. The sound of their barking was peculiar, and might not inaptly be compared to that of laughing. It would not have been easy to shoot one, as they are real cowards, slinking away the moment they perceive any person coming towards them; and, being a nocturnal animal, they can see too well in the dark ever to be surprised or approached by man, who not being at such a time able to take aim, could have little chance of killing one, excepting by mere accident. Thus, to avoid wasting our ammunition and taking much useless trouble, we found ourselves obliged to leave their noisy intrusion unpunished; as they could do us no harm, or, at least, as they would not dare to advance nearer to so numerous a pack of dogs. These seemed to be of the same opinion as their master, and appeared to consider the jackal as a troublesome fellow, beneath their notice, and, among quadrupeds, what some men are, among bipeds.

26th. Cartridge-boxes being, according to our new regulation, a necessary article of our equipment, I undertook to instruct my men in the method of making them out of dry hide; and to render my instruction more intelligible, I assisted in making one as a pattern. But their stupidity and laziness, or perhaps unwillingness, rendered it a business of very slow progress; and it was, at last, evident that unless I would make them all myself, they would never be finished; nor, in fact, could I ever get the requisite number made, but was obliged to remain contented that three of the Hottentots carried them, hoping that the rest would in time be convinced of their utility more especially in saving them trouble. But the same obstinate adherence to old customs, which made them averse to the use of cartridges, counteracted equally my wish to introduce the car-

[page] 286

tridge-box among them: I was at length obliged to give up the point; and in a month or two, all the people reverted to their kogeltas or bullet-pouch.

Even Van Roye and Cornelis were as stupid, and as unwilling to adopt improvement, as the rest: and the expectations which I had been induced to form of the great usefulness of the former, on account of his having seen Europe and been exhibited as a select example of an improved Hottentot, were already completely disappointed. None were more lazy than these two; and they seemed to consider themselves as hired only to ride along with me for the gratification of their own curiosity to see the country. They had done, literally, no work since the day when they first entered my service; yet, on account of their being Christemensch, they rated themselves so high, that they actually regarded it as degrading, to do the same work as a Hottentot. They carried this ignorant mischievous pride so far, as to deny all knowledge of the Hottentot language; which, with respect to Van Roye, I knew certainly to be an untruth, and always believed the other to be better acquainted with it than he pretended. It was disgusting, though ridiculous, to hear these two woolly-headed men, call their companions, Hottentots, as an appellation of inferiority good enough for Heathens, and proper for making these sensible of the superiority of Christians. This unbecoming spirit was frequently the cause of broils and discords; and their tempers and conduct, so very different from what I had expected, were the source of continual vexation to me, and the germ from which many of my difficulties and disappointments sprang; an example of laziness and insubordination which in time infected the others, and required the utmost vigilance and resolution, to check it.

As the men had been living on animal food for nearly three weeks, I gave to each a ration of vinegar as a corrective of the supposed unwholesome effects of such diet when unmixed with vegetable juices. This, they were all glad to receive; not indeed, in the light in which it was given; but, because its stimulating quality gave it some similitude to wine or brandy. Muchunka, who perhaps had never tasted any before, and appeared ignorant of its nature,

[page] 287

was just at the moment stopped from drinking it all off at once as he had seen the others drink their sopje (sópy) or dram. His companions were much amused at the simplicity of his mistake, and in the evening when seated round the fire, they made it the subject of their jokes.

Stuurman and Andries were also performers on the goráh; but their powers on this singular instrument were much inferior to those of the old Bushman whose portrait is given in the first volume. In their hands, it produced but little effect, as I could discover no tune in its notes, although its tone was powerful and musical. To my ear, their music sounded unmeaning and monotonous; yet they themselves were very well satisfied and amused, with their own performance. It is perhaps one of the most fortunate circumstances attending the practice of music, and at the same time a very natural effect, that the performer who pretends to nothing above his own amusement, should in general be pleased with his attempts, though even below mediocrity. Were it otherwise, the soothing pleasure of harmonious sounds and the enjoyments of melody, would be the most partial gratification which Providence has bestowed on man.

Speelman's fiddle now lent its powerful aid every evening in enlivening their fireside; and, as Philip was become a musician and Gert had gained the use of his hand by the help of a bandage sufficiently to hold the bow, this ingenious instrument seldom lay unemployed. By occasional praise, I encouraged them in this mode of spending their evenings, conceiving it to be the most harmless in which they could indulge, and one which was of considerable service in promoting a cheerful good-humoured temper among the party: nor was it altogether unimportant to my own views, as it kept their minds from silently brooding over imaginary or anticipated dangers; and in some degree rendered them fitter for the expedition.

They even considered it a relaxation of strict discipline and a favor, that I permitted such an instrument to be used: this I discovered by Juli's seriously asking me, whether it was really sinful to dance, or to play on the fiddle; for, said he, the missionaries tell us

[page] 288

that such things are an abomination to God, and that a fiddle is Satan's own instrument!

I should not readily have believed that any person of sane mind could have held such opinions, or have thus deliberately misled the poor ignorant Hottentot, if I had not myself heard from the pulpit at Klaarwater, a similar denunciation of the vengeance of the Deity, upon all who delighted in dancing, which was pronounced to be a work of darkness! If such fanaticism and folly is to be called preaching the Gospel, I much fear that the savages will have reason for thinking, in compassion to our ignorance, that it will be their duty to send missionaries among us, to lead us out of our darkness.

I preached, however, the contrary doctrine, that music and dancing possessed, in themselves, nothing of a sinful nature; and that, so far from wishing to see the people serious or hear them groaning, it was always much more pleasing to me, when they spent their evenings in this manner and in harmless mirth and conversation, than when they lay in dull inanimate idleness; a state which I believed to be, both disgraceful to themselves, and displeasing to their Creator. Happy indeed, would it have been for the whole party, had they always followed this doctrine, and had they conducted themselves under a conviction of the truth of my last assertion.

27th. I had now waited six days at this place, in expectation that Cupido Kok would send the bullet-mould and fetch his gun; but more than sufficient time having already elapsed, my men, who seemed to know more of his intentions than I did, were clearly of opinion that we should hear nothing further from him, and that it would be fruitless to remain here longer. Seeing myself thus, for the whole of my journey, deprived of the proper use of my best gun, by an ungrateful Hottentot whom I had formerly shown myself desirous of obliging, and whom I had treated in a manner which proved my good-will towards him, I could not but feel irritated, in whatever light I viewed his conduct. But, as no remedy was now to be had, I resolved to consider this privation as one of the inevitable accidents of my journey.

[page] 289

I therefore gave orders for our departure; and at an hour and a half after mid-day we drove away from Kosi Fountain. Juli, who complained much of toothache, was obliged for a day or two, to resign to Platje his office of driver of the baggage-waggon.

This waggon was now loaded with as much meat as it could carry; and so large a stock ought, with proper care and management, to have lasted almost as many weeks, as in fact it did, days. But a Hottentot, or a Bushman, must have either gluttony, or famine; either waste, or want. In time of plenty, moderation and economy seem to them, greater evils than absolute hunger.

After clearing the low rocky ground, which may be considered as a flattened part of the Kosi Hills, we continued travelling the remainder of the day, over a sandy country covered with grass. When we had advanced about six miles, I halted to take the bearings of Kosi Fountain, and of the Kamhánni Pass; the country being so open and level as to admit of both being seen at the same time.

As the distance from Kosi Fountain to the next water, was a journey of two days, or, at least, of thirty-seven miles, we had taken the precaution of filling the water-casks, and of allowing the cattle and dogs to drink at the spring just before we set out. Our only care, therefore, was occasioned by the want of fuel; and as these plains produce few bushes, Stuurman and Andries were sent forward on horseback, and followed on foot by Muchunka, to collect a quantity of firewood ready to be taken up by the waggons as they passed. But so great was the scarcity of dry wood in this part of the plain, that we travelled till dark without coming up with the men. At that time, perceiving a tolerably large clump of Tarchonánthus, (C. G. 2173.) and fearing that we might not fall in with so good a shelter if we proceeded farther, we judged it more prudent to halt here for the night. This is distinguished on the map, by the name of Tarchonánthus Station.

The Hottentots not returning by the time the oxen were all unyoked, we fired two muskets to call them back; and immediately made a blaze with a heap of dry grass. We collected from the Tarchonanthus thus bushes, here eight feet high, wood enough for cooking and for keeping a fire burning all night. This the three absent people perceived, and finding we were not coming on, at length turned


[page] 290

back: but it was ten o'clock before they reached home, as they had, at the time we fired, advanced too far to hear the report.

As the men had not yet forgotten the trouble occasioned by the cattle straying away, these were carefully made fast to the waggons and bushes, and a kraal for the sheep, was formed with green boughs.

28th. In order to bring our cattle sooner to the water, we resumed the journey early in the morning, directing our course northward across the plain, to a range of mountains which forms the boundary between Bichuania, if I may use the word, and the country inhabited by the Bushmen. We were now to take our leave of those hordes of wild men, as they are justly called, and to quit their dubious tribes: —men who are moved by various motives either to hostility or to friendship; to the former, often by feelings of revenge or retaliation, and too often by a spirit of plunder; to the latter, often won by trifling acts of kindness, and by treatment founded on a due and reasonable view of their untutored state and of the comfortless existence of a nation without a head, without laws, without arts, and without religion. Towards such men, vengeance and punishment, however justly merited, should be mitigated by pity and forbearance, such as we are taught by the mild and genuine spirit of Christianity.

[page 291]



SIX miles from Tarchonanthus Station, brought us to the entrance of the pass through the Kamhánni Mountains. These I have taken for the line of separation between the two races of the Hottentots and Caffres; as it is, in fact, the middle of that neutral, or rather, common, ground which intervenes between one African nation and another, and is partially inhabited by both. The range appeared at this part of it, to stretch from the south-east to the north-west; and to be formed by a great number of low grassy mountains, a sight rarely seen in the Hottentot portion of the Transgariepine. This range, a little farther onward, takes a northerly direction, and rises into more lofty and rocky mountains: among them, one which I have distinguished by the name of Kamhánni Peak, appeared the highest and most remarkable.

P P 2

[page] 292

This pass might be described as a winding defile between the mountains, and which had no perceptible ascent nor descent. The breadth of the Kamhanni range may easily be imagined, from the circumstance that, the passage of it occupied three hours and a half at our usual rate of travelling.

On clearing the mountains, we entered upon a grassy plain perfectly level, extending before us as far as the eye could discern, and presenting, on the north-east and east, a boundless expanse of country. On our left, the mountains continued, as it were, to accompany us at the distance of a few miles.

This I could not but feel to be an interesting point of my travels: I had now entered their territory, and was about to behold a totally different and superior race of men, a nation among whom I was to find some traces of industry and art, and who, by living in fixed abodes and in large communities and by following agriculture, had advanced the first steps in civilization. These considerations excited reflections of the most pleasing kind, the power of which chased from my mind every vexatious sentiment, and banished every thought of those troubles and difficulties which naturally attend a traveller venturing into these countries under circumstances such as mine. Having set my foot in a new region, I prepared for examining with attention all its features, and for enjoying the feast of novelty and instruction, which lay spread before me in every quarter.

Here, the new and interesting forms of some scattered trees of Camel-thorn, or Mokaala, gave a most picturesque and remarkable character to the landscape; more especially as no other large tree of any kind, nor scarcely a bush, was any where to be seen.

Muchunka was also in high spirits, on entering his native country, and communicated to the less lively Hottentots, some portion of his own vivacity, by extolling its pastures, its water, and its abundance of game; and by giving an animated description of the town to which we were advancing, and of the friendly disposition of his countrymen. It was evident that the circumstance of having quitted the district in which they had been so much in dread of the Bushmen, contributed not a little to quiet the minds of my men, and to restore ease and cheerfulness to our party; although

[page] 293

it was probable that they would not have been without an equal degree of apprehension, on account of the unknown tribe to which we were about to commit ourselves, had not Muchunka's assurances, and the familiar manner in which he spoke of this nation, persuaded them that no hostility was to be feared.

After a day's-journey of nearly seven hours, we arrived at a spring of water, which the natives distinguish as the Little Klíbbŏlĭkhónni Fountain: that which is properly called Klíbbŏlĭkhónni, the source of the Krúmăn river, being situated at a distance of two miles farther eastward. At this time the spring was in its lowest state, as its waters were too weak to run more than two hundred yards from the spot where they rose out of the ground. In the rainy season they form, by the aid of showers, a rivulet which joins itself to the Krúman.

I had already, by the assistance of Muchunka, gained a sufficient insight into the language spoken by the various Bichuana tribes or nations, to enable me to establish a system of orthography capable of expressing with certainty, its proper sounds and pronunciation; and had, in a desultory manner and without any systematic arrangement, composed a small vocabulary. But as I advanced nearer to the country where it was spoken, and became assured that it prevailed over a great portion of the Interior, I conceived a stronger interest in it, and felt both the necessity and the desire, of acquiring a more correct and extended knowledge.

With this view, I now resolved to commence a more regular investigation, and to form, on the plan of a dictionary, a more comprehensive collection of raw materials, in words and phrases; and which might be considered as comprising the whole body of the language, and serve as a source from which, by future examination and study, might be drawn a knowledge of its nature and peculiarities, and of its grammatical construction. I still, however, continued adding to my vocabulary such words and phrases as my daily intercourse with the natives enabled me to learn, and to confirm myself in the right understanding of their meaning. This was used as a repository for that only which was learnt in a more practical manner.

[page] 294

I therefore in the evening commenced the work, intending to dedicate to it, till completed, every hour of leisure which my other labors and occupations might occasionally permit. As all the party were now in good spirits, and our affairs seemed to proceed more smoothly than they had for a long time, this was the proper season for such an employment; and, having first put my interpreter in good humour by a present of a new handkerchief, I took him to my waggon, to begin his task. To prevent his misapprehending the meaning of my questions, I kept one of my Hottentots sitting by us, to explain in his way any question which I might happen to put, as a European is very liable to do, in terms above the capacity and judgment of an uncivilized and untaught person.

The method which was then pursued, may still be the best by which a traveller may reduce an oral language to a written form, and acquire in the shortest possible time, a tolerably complete knowledge of it; or at least, may fix it on paper in a state in which it may afterwards be more fully and critically examined. I had before me a printed dictionary (in this case it was in Dutch, because in that language all my questions were put), from which were selected, in their order, all those words which admitted of interpretation in the dialect of a people ignorant of science or nice moral or metaphysical distinctions; or, in other terms, such words only were taken, the meaning of which could be made intelligible to their simple minds. My question was begun by endeavouring to obtain a native word exactly equivalent to that which was in the book; but if it was perceived that my interpreter found any difficulty in understanding it, a short phrase was proposed, in which the meaning of that word was involved; and his translation was then written down exactly as it was pronounced; taking care at the same time, to divide the syllables by placing points beneath the word, and to note the accent and short vowels.* This, however, was not done without much trouble and many explanations; but he was desired to repeat it so often that one could not easily be mistaken in the words or their sounds. By these

* See page 253. at the word 'three'.

[page] 295

means, on several occasions, a variableness was discovered in his pronunciation, which my imperfect knowledge of the idiom, has not yet enabled me to account for.

Those, whose minds have been expanded by a European education, cannot readily conceive the stupidity, as they would call it, of savages, in every thing beyond the most simple ideas and the most uncompounded notions, either in moral or in physical knowledge. But the fact is; their life embraces so few incidents, their occupations, their thoughts, and their cares, are confined to so few objects, that their ideas must necessarily be equally few, and equally confined. I have sometimes been obliged to allow Muchunka to leave off the task, when he had scarcely given me a dozen words; as it was evident that exertion of mind, or continued employment of the faculty of thinking, soon wore out his powers of reflection, and rendered him really incapable of paying any longer attention to the subject. On such occasions, he would betray by his listlessness and the vacancy of his countenance, that abstract questions of the plainest kind, soon exhausted all mental strength, and reduced him to the state of a child whose reason was yet dormant. He would then complain that his head began to ache; and as it was useless to persist invitâ Minervâ, he always received immediately his dismissal for that day.

When at a subsequent period, another native was employed in this business, I discovered in him nearly the same inability to sustain mental exertion; and saw, therefore, the absurdity of seeking in their language for that which was not to be found in their ideas, —a mode of expressing those abstract qualities and virtues, and those higher operations of the intellectual power, which, perhaps, belong only to civilized society and to cultivated minds.

The Bachapins call this language the Sichuána; and as the inconvenience which would attend an increase of the bulk of this volume beyond its present size, compels me to omit the Dictionary or Vocabulary, together with various remarks on the language, and a fuller exposition of its structure, I have judged it not superfluous

[page] 296

nor useless in this place, to notice, in the note below*, some of the essential particulars; and which are more especially necessary

* The vowels may be considered as having the sound which most of the European nations, excepting the English, give to them. This may serve as a general precept; but their more exact pronunciation is reserved for a future opportunity.
The a, without here making nice distinctions, may be sounded as the a, in father or farther: but â with the circumflex accent above it, is intended to represent that broad vocal sound which is heard in the words all, awl, nor, nought, caught.
The e in most cases resembles the short e in tell; but when separate or bearing the accent it is like the a in able: and ee or ē like the long a in save. It is sometimes used with the grave accent (è) instead of c, [See the note at page 254.] to avoid the inconvenience of foreign characters in the text.
The i is the same as the e in delay: and the ii or ī as ee in deep.
The o is sounded as in motive. It has very rarely the English sound which is heard in cottage, solid; but in this case it is marked with the grave accent (ò). The oo or ò, is to be pronounced the same as the long o in bone; but not as the oo in boot. In the same manner all the other double vowels are to be pronounced as the single vowel much lengthened in sound: they always bear the accent, and generally one of them is omitted when the 'acute accent' is placed over the other; as Litaakun or Litákun. The ow is most frequently used in the text instead of the Greek character , and sounds as in the words owl, now.
The u in Sichuána, is sounded as the oo in tool, or the u in rule: it is the same as the German or the Italian u. It may generally be substituted for the W. I have used the ù with the grave accent (') to signify that vocal sound which is beard in the words sun, one, undone, begun, and which is, I believe, almost peculiar to the English tongue.
The y is always a vowel, and is sounded as in my or as the long i in mine.
Two vowels coming together are to be taken as diphthongs; unless separated by a diaeresis (").
The ch must be pronounced as in chin; and as the Spanish ch: it is the same as the Italian c before e or i.
The j is the same as the y in yes; and in general an i might be substituted for it.
When m, or n, begins a word, and is followed by a consonant, it forms a syllable by itself, and is to be pronounced in a close and peculiar manner, as though it were preceded by a very faint vowel rather more resembling an u than an e or an i.
The ng, when coming together, are not to be separated in pronunciation; they form a true and peculiar consonant, which I have in writing expressed by a character composed partly of the n and partly of the g; but this could not be imitated in printing, without casting a type for the purpose.
The ph is merely a p followed by a strong aspiration, but is never as an f or as we commonly pronounce the Greek φ. In the same manner, the th is not the Saxon ð, nor our Greek θ, but simply an aspirated t.
The ts is to be considered as forming an indivisible consonant; and also the tz, which is merely a modification of the same, and by some natives is used in its place.
For further explanations, the observations at the words 'three,' 'four,' 'sun,' 'moon decreasing,' and 'ford,' at page 253. may be consulted; as also may, the remarks on the Sichuána language, to be found in the last chapter of this volume.

[page] 297

to be attended to, by those who would read correctly the Sichuana names and words which occur in the course of this narrative.

The English reader, unacquainted with foreign pronunciation, may complain that by not adopting the orthography of his own language, the difficulty of reading the names in this journal, is much increased; but he might with equal propriety object to the use of French or German orthography in a book of travels through France or Germany. As an apology for the method here followed, it may briefly be stated, — that the vocal sounds of the two languages are essentially different; that English orthography, being, in its present state, referrible to no general principle, is so inconsistent as to modern pronunciation, that in some words it designates the same sound by several different letters, and in others, employs the same letters for several very different sounds: and, that the adoption of a system expressly adapted to the genius of the Sichuāna and following simple and rigid rules, is in reality attended with much less inconvenience, and with much more certainty, than the use of a system, if it can be called one, so multifarious in letters and uncertain in sound, as that of our own language. I have, nevertheless, for more general convenience, added in parentheses, wherever it was necessary, the same word spelt according to English orthography.

29th. The various duties of preserving what had been collected, of arranging the notes and recording the observations of the day, had employed me in the waggon the whole of the night, and this, added to a considerable fatigue occasioned by a long day's-journey, kept me so much later than usual, before I awoke the next morning, that my people began to fear that I was either dead or very unwell. At length Speelman's uneasiness increasing, he resolved to ascertain whether I was alive or not, and knocked against the side of the waggon, when he told me that, instead of morning, it was afternoon, and that the sun had already sunk more than two hours. I was not less surprised than my men; and could only attribute this extraordinary long and sound sleep, to an effort of nature, to repair that exhausted state into which a too great attention to the numerous affairs of the journey had insensibly brought me. The oxen were


[page] 298

put to the waggons without delay, and all were soon ready to depart

The magnetic needle was here so much affected by the particles of iron contained in the rocks at this station, that it was not to be depended on. It was my usual practice at every station, to take the bearings of as many of our former stations as were either in sight, or of which the situation could be indicated with tolerable exactness; and at the same time, those of any other remarkable objects, and of our next station forward whenever it was known and could be indicated with precision, were noted down. By these means, the bearings, being taken both backwards and forwards, gave a double check to any inaccuracy which might arise from errors of the needle, or from mistaking the position of stations not actually in sight

In order that this very necessary part of a traveller's duty might not, in the confusion of a multitude of heterogeneous occupations, be forgotten, these Operations were almost always deferred till the moment when the oxen were brought forward to be put in the yoke; so that I thus became habitually reminded of what was to be done, and my men were by the same means prepared for pointing out the bearing of these stations and places which were too distant to be visible. On such occasions I generally consulted them, and placed more or less confidence in their opinions, as these proved either unanimous or at variance.

Fearing that we should not reach our next station before dark, we hastened the oxen forward at their best pace, and advanced at the rate of eighteen revolutions* in a minute; which was equal to 3 miles, 1 furlong, and 170 yards, in an hour. As our road was over deep sands, this rate might be considered as very expeditious, for a waggon on narrow wheels, heavily laden and drawn by oxen. In some places, a black mottled flinty rock, showed itself through the surface of the ground.

* The mode in which this was ascertained, has been already explained at page 289 of the preceding volume.

[page] 299

Although the sun shone pleasantly the whole day, the air was cold, and the thermometer not higher than 56. (13·3 Centig.; or 10·6 Reaum.) It was now the middle of winter, or, more properly speaking, cold season: for the word, winter, seems to an English ear, to imply a severity of cold, and to raise ideas not consistent altogether with the weather of these latitudes. Occasionally, however, a degree of cold is felt, which the contrast of intervening warm days, renders almost as chilling as the wintry weather of our own latitudes. During the month of June, as may be seen by the 'Register,' the thermometer sunk several times below the freezing point; on one day the ground was whitened with snow; and hoar-frost at sunrise, was not unfrequent The middle of the day was generally pleasant and moderately warm: but the mercury never rose higher than 71; (17·3. R.; 21·6 C.) and for the greater part of the four-and-twenty hours, was below the temperate point.

At a little after sunset, we came to the Krúmăn, a beautiful little river running in a plentiful stream of the clearest water. At this part of its course it was fifteen feet broad and abounded in tall reeds. A sight so delightful for African travellers, had not been seen since we left the Gariep. This river, small as it was, as far surpassed all the others in the intermediate country, if rivers they could be called, as the Gariep surpassed this. It is formed by the Klíbbolikhónni, the most copious spring which I have seen in Southern Africa. Unlike Other rivers, the Kruman is largest at its source, and rises from the earth a full and broad stream, which, by the combined powers of evaporation by the sun and of absorption by the sandy soil, is gradually lessened as it flows on; till at last after a course of a few days-journeys, it is lost in the sands, and entirely disappears. It is said, that in the wet season, it is joined by the Moshea (Moshowa); and that, in those years when an unusual quantity of rain has fallen, the united streams find their way to the Gariep.

We continued for an hour, travelling westerly along the banks of the Kruman, till, it becoming too dark to venture farther, we were obliged to halt, and unyoke for the night, at a spot distinguished on

Q Q 2

[page] 300

the map, by the words Kruman Station, close to the Kamhanni mountains.*

Although we had advanced many miles into the country, we had not yet met a single Bichuana. In the evening, while sitting at my usual employments in the waggon, my attention was frequently attracted by Muchunka, whose extraordinary manner this evening, appeared for a long time unintelligible. He was sitting with the rest of the men around the fire, and conversing with them either in the Dutch, or in the Hottentot, language; when suddenly he started up, and without leaving his place, held a long oration in Sichuana, in a tone of voice astonishingly vociferous. This he did repeatedly in the course of the evening: yet none of the natives were seen, nor did any come near us that night. But the object of these theatrical movements, was to let them know, that we were friends; and, should any one, seeing the waggons and observing men in European dress, approach us with hostile intentions, to give them notice, by the sound of their own language, that some of their countrymen were with our party: or should they, on the contrary, be intimidated by our appearance, these speeches were to have the effect of encouraging them to come forward.

30th. We remained a day at this place, for the purpose of hunting; as it was necessary to recruit our stock of provisions before we proceeded farther. Six Hottentots were thus employed, and not without success, as they brought home two species of antelope which I had not before met with, and of which I found no account in any of the zoological books I had with me. Their skins were therefore a greater prize than the meat.

One is called Paala (Parla) by the Bichuanas, and is known by the name of Roodebok (Redbuck) to those of the Mixed Hottentots who have travelled into this country; for, although very

* The word Kamhánni may possibly be a corruption of Krúmani. I have once heard these mountains called by the name of Nchŏ Jamháan; which latter word may probably have been a careless mode of speaking Kamhánni.

[page] 301

numerous in most parts of the country of the Bachapins, it is rarely to be seen southward of the Kamhanni Mountains. It much resembles the springbuck in form and general color. It is, however, considerably larger, and has not those remarkable long white hairs on the back, which have been described* as peculiar to that antelope; but it takes occasionally the same leaps; and in this particular, as well as in general habits, it may be considered as a proximate species. Its color, as the Dutch name implies, is every where, on the upper parts of the body, of a uniform yellowish red, but darker than that of the springbuck. The sides are of a paler tint; and the under parts are white. The tips of the ears, are black; and the face is of a browner color than the body. The tail is short and white, and along the upper part a short black line run on to the rump. A similar black line or stripe passes down the hinder part of the haunch. These lines are not found on the springbuck, which on the contrary is marked along its sides with a broad dark stripe which is wanting in the paala. At the back of the hind legs just above the foot, is a remarkable black tuft of short hair, which has suggested its technical name.†?With respect to its horns, this species differs essentially from the springbuck; not only in having them of a different form, more than twice as long and spreading much wider apart, but in the want of them in the females. This last character, though at variance with the only systematic description which has hitherto been given, is certainly correct, as we shot, during these travels, not less than twenty paalas of both sexes, and saw several hundred others. It is a handsome and elegantly-made animal; but in beauty of color, yields to the springbuck. Its flesh is well-tasted and wholesome: but, like that of nearly all other antelopes, is very deficient in fat. This is one of the more rare species. Of the kokoon, described in the preceding chapter, and of the following animal, the skins obtained on this

* At page 290. of the first volume.

Antilope melampus, Licht.: Of this animal, and of the Springbuck, I have presented skins to the British Museum, where their differential characters and affinity, as above indicated, may be confirmed.

[page] 302

journey, were probably the first, now in England, which had ever been brought out of the country.

The other antelope shot at this place, is called by the Bichuanas, Peeli (Pály) or, with a strong aspiration, Pheli It is found in various parts of the Cape Colony, where it is known to the Boors and Hottentots, by the name of Vaal Reebok (Fallow Roebuck). It is entirely of a brown-cinereous or grizzled color, like that of our wild rabbits: the under part of the body is lighter. The legs, ears, and head, are of the same color as the body. The tail is short and bushy, and thickly covered with long white hair. The horns are slender, erect, and nearly straight and parallel; and are slightly annulated at the lower part. But the character best distinguishing it from every species of antelope which has fallen under my observation, is the soft curly or woolly nature of the hair, which, being unlike that of every other kind, has suggested the specific name here adopted.* The engraving at the end of this chapter represents the skull of the Peeli, and the horns in front and in profile.

Besides these two animals, the hunters shot a zebra at a considerable distance in the plain; and, happening to fall in with two Bichuanas, (or, as the Hottentots usually called them, Caffres,) they engaged them to remain by the carcass to save it from being devoured by the vultures or beasts of prey, until the waggon could be sent to fetch it home. These two natives were very willing to lend us their assistance, prompted, no doubt, by the expectation of receiving a share of the meat as a reward for their trouble; for nothing could be more wretched and pitiable than their meagrè starving appearance. They were men of the middle age, and of tall stature; that is, above five feet and a half high, which, to us who had been so long

* Antilope villosa, B. Cornua recta gracilia teretia parallelo-erecta, basibus annularis (fœminæ ecornes). Vellus lanatum molle fusco-cinereum. Cauda brevis densè villosa, pilis elongatis albis.
The name of lanigcra having been already applied to another species, I am precluded, by its similarity, from the use of that of lanata.
In the British Museum I have deposited a skin of this animal, the horns of which are rearly eight inches and three quarters long: but they are rarely found of this length, being most frequently of five or six only.

[page] 303

accustomed to the diminutive figure of Bushmen, appeared at this time remarkably tall.

Having been used to regard a well-greased skin as a proof of being well-fed, we viewed their dry bodies as a certain indication of poverty and want; which their disinclination to talk, and the depression of their countenances, sufficiently confirmed. They informed us, that they were Bachapīns * and had been herdsmen to the late chief Mulihában; that at present their only means of support was hunting, or digging up wild roots: and in this employment, it was unnecessary for them to say, that they had not lately been very successful. They informed us that it is the law of the country, that whenever men of their class kill any game, within a reasonable distance of the town, the best piece, particularly the breast, must be sent to the chief. The engraving at page 291. will give an idea of the general appearance of a poor Bachapin herdsman.

These two men stopped with us as long as we remained at this station; and were of some use in assisting us to cut the meat in pieces for drying. I ordered the Hottentots not only to feed them

* It may not be useless here to explain, that the word Bichuána is used when speaking generally of those tribes of the Caffre race, who speak a language which they call Sichuána, and inhabit the countries comprised in the northernmost part of the map; and that by the word Bachapīn (Bachapeen) or the Hottentot word Briqita (Breequa, signifying Goat-men) is intended that particular tribe only, which is governed by Mattīvi, and the chief town of which, is Litákun.
Bichuána (Beechuárna) is the plural form of the word Muchuána (Moochuárna); but as it has not been thought necessary in the journal to preserve this distinction, the first has been adopted for both cases. The root of the word seems to be, chuána; which, however, cannot correctly be used, as it is never spoken without the adjunct.
It is the singular property of the Sickuána language, to apply as prefixes, those particles which, in similar cases in other languages, are employed as terminations. Thus, as an example, in the names of the Bichuana nations, the syllable Ba, with which most of them begin, corresponds with the qua which terminates many Hottentot names: both of them answering to the English word man, as compounded in German, Norman. This remark is exemplified in the names Bachapīn, Bamakwīn, Batámmaka, (sometimes called Támmaka) &c.; and in Námaqua (sometimes, but less correctly, pronounced Namáqua) Bríqua, Mokárraqua, Dámmărăqua (which Hottentots substitute for Dámmara), Auteniqua Gónaqua (often called Gonáqua, or Gonáh), &c. By attending to this, it will be easy to distinguish many Hottentot and Sichuana names on the map, and to discover their nature.

[page] 304

well during the time they were with us, but to give them a large portion to take home.

They informed me that Makrákki, the chief of the Māibues *, a division of the Barolóng tribe, had fled, together with Mókkaba chief of the Nuákketsies, farther into the Interior; having heard that a body of white men were coming to take revenge on them for the alleged murder of the last English party which had visited their country.

Thus, at my first entrance into their territory, I began to experience some part of that deceit and disregard for truth, which, although pervading more or less every African tribe, seem scarcely to be considered by the Bichuanas as a vice or as a disgraceful practice; and which, in these countries, so deeply contaminate every class of society, that I afterwards proved by too many trials, that no man's word, not even the Chief's, could be relied on in any case where the least advantage was to be gained by falsehood.

This report which now reached me, perhaps not accidentally, had not the least foundation in truth; and therefore the mention of it might have been omitted, if the regularity and consistency of the journal did not require it to be noticed, in order to account for various proceedings, and for the colouring given to them. By adhering strictly to the daily record of the impressions and opinions of the moment, a more correct picture is given of our actual situation; and the nature of a journey in the interior of Africa, is more faithfully displayed. From this adherence to the original journal, some contradictory facts and sentiments will occasionally be met with; but the former are to be attributed to the difficulties which beset a traveller whenever he is reduced to the necessity of getting his information from the mouths of others; and the latter, to that change of sentiment and opinion which was induced either by a change of circumstances

* The es at the end of this and similar names, which in the singular end with a vowel, is not to be considered as belonging to the original word, but, as that plural termination which, in strictness, the English language requires; although I have not ventured in every case to follow this rule, wishing rather to leave those words as much as possible in their Sichuana form.

[page] 305

or by an opportunity of viewing the subject on another side. As they are the sentiments which belong to that date only; there are consequently some subjects, of which a just view cannot be obtained from detached portions of the journal. By recording these sentiments in their place, the reader is enabled ultimately to gain more correct ideas, and to form his judgment upon natural and unpicked evidence.

From an observation of the sun's meridional altitude, the latitude of this station was calculated to be 27° 22′ 25″.*

At the distance of about two miles lower down the river, is the spot where stood the chief town of the Bachapins, at the time when it was visited by Landdrost Van de Graaff and Dr. Lichtenstein, in 1805 †; who were sent by the Dutch government for the purpose of ascertaining the true state of the settlement at Klaarwater. This business being accomplished, they advanced as far as the Kruman, and after remaining there four days, returned to the Colony.— In the year 1801 the same tribe was visited by Dr. Somerville and Mr. Truter, who, with a large party, were sent thither by the English governor for the purpose of obtaining oxen for the supply of Cape Town.‡ Having, during a stay of fifteen days, obtained the object of their mission, they returned to Cape Town. This party found the chief town of the Bachapins not far from the spot where it stood at the time I visited this tribe: it then bore the same name of Litaakun.

These facts serve to prove that the nation has not yet arrived at that degree of civilization which is marked by permanently fixed abodes; but that it approaches it very nearly. This permanency of abode depends, as remarked on another occasion, on a two-fold cause; on the solidity and perfection of their architecture, and on their pro-

* At Kruman Station, 30th June 1812. The observed meridional altitude of the son's upper limb, was 39°. 42′. 40″.

† This party consisted of 25 persons. Of these; 12 were Hottentots; 5, slaves; and 8, white persons, among whom was the unfortunate Jacob Kruger (Krieger). They were 25 days beyond the boundary of the Colony.

‡ This party consisted of 40 persons. Of these; 12 were white men, among which number were, Mr. Samuel Daniell the artist, and Mr. Borcherds the present Deputy Fiscal at Cape Town. The others were, 24 Hottentots and 4 slaves. They were about five months beyond the Colonial boundary.


[page] 306

gress in agriculture; neither of which, it will be seen, has yet quite reached the requisite degree of improvement Until this shall be the case, none but the ruder arts can be cultivated; and to this it follows as a corollary, that the introduction of a taste for better arts, would soon bring them to that desirable point.

The country about our station once abounded in large mokaala trees (camel-thorns), till the Bachapins removed their town to the Kruman; when they were cut down, for the purposes of building, and to clear the land for cornfields: at this time but few were standing.

By the present state of vegetation, it appeared that the flowerseason was either past or not yet come.* Most of the shrubs were without leaves, and those which still remained on some of the deciduous plants, were rendered so brittle by the long continuance of dry weather, that they could not be handled without breaking in pieces.

July 1st. At noon we resumed the journey, and after crossing the Kruman which was about fifteen feet wide and a foot in depth, continued for the remainder of the day travelling over a boundless plain, generally sandy and covered with dry grass from three to four feet high. These plains, with here and there a little variation of scenery and diversity of surface, extend as far as Litákun; and, possessing in some respects a pleasing character of their own, it was found convenient during my journey, to distinguish this portion of the country as the Great Plains of Litakun. They in general abound, to use this word with reference to Africa, in springs of excellent water, the situation of which is always indicated to the traveller by little groves of acacias; though these trees are seen scattered in considerable number at some distance in their vicinity, or occupy those hollow places which receive water only in the rainy season.

Between their present capital, and the site of their former town on the Kruman, the natives have had so much communication, that, by constantly passing to and fro, they have formed what may be called a Bachapin highroad. This consists of a number of footpaths wide

* A small procumbent species of Eoolvulus was here met with: and is the first proof of the existence of that genus on African continent.

[page] 307

enough only for a single person, and running either parallel to each other, or crossing very obliquely. I counted from twelve to about eighteen or twenty of these paths, within the breadth of a few yards. They are nothing more than what may be supposed to be the beaten track of several men walking in company, each picking his own way wherever the ground may be most free from obstructions.

In a part of this plain, where grew many large bushes of tarchonanthus from six to ten feet high, we passed a fountain of clear water, in which stood a few reeds. This fountain or spring, though not copious enough to produce a stream, formed a small pond which had the appearance of being constantly supplied with water. A little farther, a number of small olive-trees, of the height only of eight feet, were observed; these had exactly the foliage of the European olive.

After a pleasant day's journey of nearly twenty miles, we arrived in the evening at the river Makkwárin (or Makklwárin), where we intended to remain several days, to put the waggons and all our baggage in order, and to make various preparations and finish all necessary work, previously to our arrival at the town of Litakun.

I would here take the opportunity of making some remarks on the name of this town. It may be written in various forms according as the Dutch, German, or English, orthography is followed. The first would give Litáakoen; the second, Litákun; the third, Letárkoon; the French, Litákoun; and the Italian, the same as the German. Conformably to the system of orthography cursorily explained at page 296. I have spelt it Lĭtākun or Lĭtaakun. The Bachapīns (Bachapéens) are never heard to place the accent on any other syllable than that which is here marked, although the forms under which it has already appeared before the public, would seem to indicate a very different pronunciation. It is sometimes, though very seldom, heard spoken as Tākun, by dropping the first syllable, without changing the accent; but this is probably a careless mode of speaking. The word Tăkoon, is almost as frequently made use of by the natives as Lĭtákun; and here the accent is shifted to the last syllable, which becomes lengthened, and is pronounced, as in English, Tăkóne; in Dutch, Takóon; or in French, Takaúne. To account for this variation, it must be

R R 2

[page] 308

explained, (according to the information of my interpreter,) that this town takes its name from the stone cattle-pounds, which, in the singular number, are called Takóon, and in the plural Litákun; the syllable li being the prefix used for marking that number, in nouns inanimate, in the same manner as ma is generally employed for nouns animate.

It is much to be regretted that an orthography, given at random and established without rule, should often be the means of introducing a false pronunciation. When such names have gained currency, which they the more readily do, as few persons in Europe can detect their inaccuracy, it becomes difficult afterwards to interrupt bad habits, and substitute a more correct orthography and pronunciation. These remarks, which I make with reluctance, are applicable to too many names which have already appeared in print; and as it would seem invidious here to point them out, I leave them to be discovered by a comparison with the map or the journal; at the same time, without its being pretended that either of these are infallible. It is freely admitted that such names cannot be obtained correctly without much trouble and repeated questions, nor without great attention, as the natives themselves sometimes substitute one letter for another, and even remove the accent from one syllable to another; but there is reason for believing that these are, for the most part, not arbitrary variations, and that they depend, either on euphony, or on the grammatical peculiarities of the language. It is conceived to be an indispensable part of a traveller's duty, when making known the names and words of an oral language, to mark at least the accented syllable, for the use of those who can have no other means of becoming acquainted with it. This could be attended with no trouble, but would, on the other hand, be of the greatest utility. It is, however, too often neglected.

Having since had occasion to observe that every person who has visited that country, writes the names of this language in a manner peculiar to himself, (among whom Lichtenstein appears to be the most correct,) and some in a self-contradictory manner, I cannot but with diffidence venture to adopt a mode which in so many

[page] 309

instances differs from all others. With respect to so remarkable a discrepancy, it must be concluded, either, that the natives are very careless and uncertain in their pronunciation, or, that the organs of hearing perform their duty very differently in different persons. Yet as that mode of spelling which is most at variance with the one here used, is that of a writer who, I regret that the case compels me to say, misunderstands even the commonest Dutch names and words, and spells them with extraordinary incorrectness, it may reasonably be supposed that his Sichuana words are still more incorrect. I have, however, followed the only and best guide which can be found for an oral language, and thus have written all the words exactly as they sounded to my ear, and according to a strict system of orthography. I may be allowed therefore to assert that this orthography is the true representation of what I heard; since I had never till then seen five-and-twenty words of it on paper, and am not aware that any considerable vocabulary of the Sichuana language has ever been formed before that which has been attempted by myself.

[page 310]



JULY 2nd. Our first business this morning, was to station the waggons in the most convenient spot; to make a shelter round our fire; and to construct a hut with mats, bushes, and dry grass.

At the place where we halted, the Makkwárin was merely a ditch about twenty feet broad, without a tree, or even reeds, to mark its course; although acacias are here and there scattered on the adjoining plain. There was abundance of water in the deeper hollows of its bed; and at two or three hundred yards below our station, it ran in a plentiful stream. The singularity of a river being dry in some parts, running in others, and in others merely a stagnant pool, has been already explained, when describing the Reed River in the Roggeveld.

The banks of the Makkwarin are in some places ten feet deep, and by this circumstance it was ascertained that the substratum of this part of the country, is a compact lime-stone rock of primitive formation. The depth to which this rock descends, or the nature of the next

[page] 311

stratum below it, I had no opportunity of discovering; but am inclined to suppose it to be of great thickness. It lies every where in a horizontal position; and in no place rises into hills, or above the general level of the country. I could not observe in its structure, the slightest appearance of stratification, nor have I ever seen, in any part of the Interior, the smallest trace of organic remains. It probably forms the foundation of the whole land of the Transgariepine; as far at least as the line of my travels extended; and may be considered as the great floor, upon which apparently all the mountains are placed; and upon which a superstratum of sand forms those immense plains which occur almost every where throughout these regions. The depth of this sand appeared very unequal; in some parts it is scarcely a foot: in many places the denuded rock itself forms the surface. It would seem that the abundance of springs depends on the proximity of this rock to the surface, or, in other words, on the less quantity of sand which covers it: for in those parts of the country where I have observed it near the surface, springs have more generally been met with; and in those where it is not visible, and where immeasurable plains of deep sand extend for many leagues, there the land is totally deficient in water. The fact explains itself: the water which falls from the clouds quickly sinks through the sand; and wherever springs flow out of the soil, or permanent ponds are found, it is evident that there must lie beneath them a stratum of compact rock, which prevents their being absorbed by the earth. This I believe, from many observations, to be the case in the Great Plains of Litákun; and the numerous springs or ponds of clear water which are there met with seem to confirm this hypothesis.

On this great floor of lime-stone rest, probably, the mountains of clay-slate, or of sand-stone. Green-stone, and sometimes serpentine or pot-stone, and granite, are found; though rarely, and in small proportions. The bed on which these repose could not be ascertained; but it seems not unlikely that it is the same primitive lime-rock, unless we adopt the supposition hereafter noticed on the 13th. The remarks in my journal are here anticipated, in order to give, previously to entering these regions, some idea of their nature.

[page] 312

The geological character of the Transgariepine, as far as my observations enable me to give an opinion, appears very simple. It is that which has been termed primitive. But its most remarkable feature, is the undisturbed, and generally unbroken state of its great strata: these lie in, what may be supposed, their original position, and present rarely any evidence of those violent convulsions of nature which, beyond all doubt, have once, at some immeasurably remote period of time, shaken the whole fabric of the globe.

Equally with astronomy, the science of geology is capable of leading the human mind to the most sublime prospects of the creation; and presents, for man's reflection, the most interesting subjects which can engage the attention of a liberal and enlightened understanding. It places before our eyes, and in our hands, the clear and legible record of an antiquity, compared with which, all other records are but the tale of yesterday. It offers to us, if I may use the expression, the most tangible proofs of the aweful power of that inconceivably Glorious, and Incomprehensible Being, by the spirit of whose Wisdom, all which we behold has risen into existence; and which may sink into chaos, whenever, at His nod, a similar convulsion may happen again.

In collecting information from the mouths of others, even the natives of the country, a traveller here should consider himself as always liable to be deceived, notwithstanding his greatest caution in examining into the probability of what is told him. On the authority of Muchùnka, whom there was every reason for supposing well acquainted with this country, I recorded in my journal that the source of the Makkwarin was at a great distance eastward of this place; which would imply at least a hundred miles: but an inspection of the map will show that we passed in every direction eastward, within a dozen miles, and yet found no traces of it, unless the ravine at my 'Garden' should lead into it; although it appears more probable that this is connected with the Kruman.

In these wild regions, where little is to be procured but what nature gives, every useful article of European manufacture becomes invaluable. With this conviction, it was judged worth

[page] 313

while to take a journey back to our last station, to search for a small pocket-knife which was now missed and supposed to have been lost at that place. It was composed of various articles of convenience, some of which were of great service in the operations of preparing the birds for my collection.

As the most important post for myself, was to remain by the waggons for their protection, I appointed Van Roye and Cornelis, as being the horsemen and having hitherto done less than any of the others, to ride back and seek for it at the spot where the waggon had stood. On this occasion, I made the unfortunate discovery, that, in time of danger, Van Roye's courage would be as little to be depended on, as Gert's: and I began to feel the mortifying persuasion, that he would prove on trial, to be as timid as he had already proved himself lazy. No sooner did he hear that he was appointed to this duty, than he began to complain of a pain in his back, which, he said, rendered him utterly unable to ride on horseback; although he had ridden twenty miles the day before, and had not till this moment, been heard to complain of any illness. One of the other Hottentots, however, betrayed the truth, that the only pain he felt was that of fear.

In this case, no compulsion could be used, as I had determined never to require any service, which my people could possibly call unreasonable; and therefore appointed Keyser in his place. Yet, on further reflection, suspecting that even these two would not really go so far as the Kruman, but would merely keep out of sight the whole day and make their appearance in the evening with a report of their not having been successful in their search, I resolved on going thither myself, Gert having hinted that most of the Hottentots had more or less reluctance to venture alone so far from the waggons.

Accordingly I set out early in the forenoon, taking with me only Cornelis. We were both well armed, and supplied with a good stock of cartridges; and had taken care to provide ourselves not only with four and twenty hours' provisions, but also with the means of producing fire.


[page] 314

On such excursions a leathern cup was always found to be a most useful part of the equipment; as it was made of a single piece without seam, and could be folded to lie flat in the pocket.

The Hottentots and Bushmen have, in travelling, no need of any drinking-utensil: they supply its place with their hand, in a most extraordinary manner: not, as we should suppose, by taking up the water in the hollow of it; but by bending over the stream or pond, and throwing, or scooping, the water up to their mouth with their fingers held straight and close together. I have often admired the expertness with which it is performed by those who have been long accustomed to this method; and have smiled at the awkwardness of those who would imitate them; as they generally threw the water over their face and clothes, without being able to guide it into their mouth.

We followed, as our guide, the track made by my waggons, although the Kamhanni Peak, which is in sight from every part of the country to the distance of two days-journeys, is generally depended on, as the chief beacon for those who wander over the surrounding plains. We found the waggon-track in most places more convenient; as the high grass, which would otherwise have impeded us, was thus beaten down. The ride was exceedingly pleasant, and the weather agreeably warm, yet not so hot as to occasion fatigue; and the corn-like appearance of the grass, seemed almost to persuade me that we were travelling through some district where agriculture displayed all her riches.

On arriving at the place, the horses were committed to the care of the Hottentot, while the object of our journey was sought for in every spot. But all was without success; and we concluded that the knife must have been found by some native who had passed by, after we left the station; or, that it was accidentally buried in the sand, and therefore irrecoverable.

After waiting till the horses had sufficiently rested, and had been allowed time to graze along the banks of the stream and take a draught of its pure waters, we saddled again, and returned homewards.

[page] 315

In our way, we saw a solitary kokūn (kokoon) in the open plain, prancing about, exactly in the manner of the gnu, holding his head very low, and lashing his tail. Suddenly he stopped and turned round to look at us for about a minute, and then galloped off; his erect mane giving him the appearance of having withers considerably higher than his head.

A little farther, two ostriches of the largest size, were feeding in company with a herd of about ten zebras. This latter animal is called by the Bachapins, Piitĭ or Pitĭ (Péetsy) and sometimes, Píitsĕ. It is remarkable that the ostrich and the zebra or quakka, are found most frequently in the society of each other.

I stopped to examine these zebras with my pocket telescope: they were the most beautifully marked animals I had ever seen: their clean sleek limbs glittered in the sun, and the brightness and regularity of their striped coat, presented a picture of extraordinary beauty, in which probably they are not surpassed by any quadruped with which we are at present acquainted. It is, indeed, equalled in this particular, by the dauw, whose stripes are more defined and regular; but which do not offer to the eye so lively a colouring. The dauw, or 'mountain-horse,' inhabits, as I was informed, the Kamhanni mountains, but was never seen in the plains, unless in their immediate vicinity, whither, on being pursued, it always fled for refuge.

It had been previously agreed on, with the people at home, that, on our firing a musket as soon as we came within hearing, they were to answer it immediately by another discharge, to let us know that all was well at the waggons. Otherwise, their not giving the answer, was to be considered as implying that matters went wrong with respect to the natives; and that we must advance with caution. This arrangement was made on the possibility that some prowling gang of robbers might fall in with them during my absence, and, discovering that the party was divided, might first overcome them, and afterwards place themselves in ambush to intercept the rest.

On arriving at this distance, at which time the sun had already set, I discharged a pistol, and before it was reloaded, the answer

S S 2

[page] 316

was given: when we rode forward without hesitation, and on reaching home, found all well. We had been just three hours and ten minutes on our return; which corresponds with the relative proportion usually supposed to exist between the pace of a draught-ox, and that of a saddle-horse, after making a proper allowance for the greater degree in which the latter is retarded by a sandy road.

3rd. The two Bachapins, whom we saw at the Kruman, had assured us that for several days-journeys we should find but little game, as the grass was dried up, and the animals had removed farther northward, where the herbage still remained green. This account was confirmed by Speelman, who reported that he had not fallen in with any, although the ground was every where imprinted with their footsteps.

He had observed two natives at a distance in the plain, who immediately on seeing him, concealed themselves under the bushes. He thought it not advisable to approach them, as these movements appeared suspicious; but, taking particular notice of the spot where they disappeared, he came home and informed Muchùnkă, who, following his directions, went to them and brought these formidable strangers home, when lo! they proved to be two old women, who had left their dwellings early in the morning, to seek at this distance their daily food, a few wild roots the scanty gains of many hours' search. On seeing the hunters, whose costume, being different from that of their own countrymen, had alarmed them, they hid themselves through fear; but were easily persuaded by Muchunka to come to the waggons, where he promised them a good meal.

From the meagre looks of these women, one might be authorised in supposing them not to have had, for many weeks, a sufficiency of food. The eldest of the two might have been mistaken for a Bushwoman; and her features proved that her parents had belonged to the Hottentot race, though she was herself a Bichuana the wife of a poor herdsman. They were provided only with a pointed stick to dig up these roots, and a dirty leathern bag in which they carried them. On examination these appeared to be of some species of Ornithogalum; but being without leaves or flower, this opinion was

[page] 317

mere guess: they were little bigger than a pigeon's egg, and were exceedingly bitter, yet roasting or boiling might lessen this quality, and render them more palatable.

After feeding these poor creatures, and giving them a meal very different from that which they had looked forward to when they left their home, they departed; having stopped with us above two hours and entirely overcome the fears which the first sight of us had occasioned.

Our principal work this day, was, casting bullets, making cartridges, and completing more cartridge-boxes. These bullets were of two sorts: one of lead only, which was intended for all general purposes of hunting and defence; the other, of a mixture of two thirds of lead and one of tin to render them harder, for shooting those animals whose hide was too thick, or too hard, to be easily penetrable by a leaden ball, which has been often found, if fired from any considerable distance, to flatten against the skin of a rhinoceros, or against the bones of other animals of that size. As tin causes such balls to be lighter than those of pure lead, and consequently, prevents their flying so far, they were never to be used but as the particular case required.

The great change of temperature in the course of this day, was very remarkable, at two in the afternoon, the thermometer rising to 79. (20·8 R.), and at midnight, falling to 37. (2·2 R.).

The weather was exceedingly pleasant; and notwithstanding the coldness of the evening, my men, seated around a large fire, passed their time cheerfully; and conversation, and playing the fiddle, seemed almost to make them forget they were in a strange land. When they retired to rest, they preferred lying on the ground by the fire, to sleeping in the waggon, which being elevated and exposed to the wind, is much colder than any other place. I allowed them, therefore, to make their bed where they found it most agreeable, although it would have been a greater check to robbery had they slept by the pack-waggon; but, for myself, I dared not indulge in the same manner, as it would have been extremely imprudent to have left unguarded my own waggon and the property it contained.

[page] 318

The fur-coverlet proved every night more useful and necessary; and in cold windy weather, it seemed the only covering which could enable a person to sleep with tolerable warmth in one of these waggons; for along both sides, there was between the upper le'erboom and the mats, a wide opening through which the wind found free entrance. In hot weather, however, it was exceedingly convenient, as it admitted, what then was only a delightful cooling air.

4th. After instructing my people in the use of cartridges, I delivered to each his proper complement, and repeated what I had before said on the great utility of them, in case of an attack, by enabling us to load more expeditiously.

Van Roye, in order to carry on the deception of his pretended pain in the back, was obliged to remain in the hut all day, and by this irksome confinement he inflicted his own punishment. I visited him, yet saw no appearance of illness; nor was he able to specify his complaint. On the following day he was perfectly recovered.

5th. About noon, a party of three or four Bachapins came to the waggons. They had no previous knowledge of our being in the country; but were passing at some distance off, on their way from Litakun to Sensaván, with several pack-oxen, for the purpose of fetching sibīlo: when, perceiving the tops of the two waggons which they at first thought to be two great rocks, their curiosity induced them to turn their steps towards us, while their companions and the oxen held on their proper course. They had, early this morning, left a cattle-post in the vicinity of the town, and intended reaching the Kruman this evening; at which rate they would probably accomplish the whole journey of a hundred and twenty-seven miles, in three days, unless through fatigue, their oxen should oblige them to rest, or to slacken their pace. They carried in their hand each two or three hassagays, their only weapons; and wore no other clothing than a red leathern kaross, which in their language is called a kō;bo.

In place of that kind of covering which has been described as used by the Hottentot race, under the name of a jackal, these men, according to the fashion of the Bichuanas, wore what they call a

[page] 319

pukoō;i.* This is formed by a piece of leather nearly of a triangular shape; each of the three corners ending in a lengthened point, to one or two of which, is frequently fastened a leathern thong. This piece of leather being placed in front as an apron, is tied round the waist by two of its corners, and the third fastened behind. It is this fashion which constitutes the only essential difference in dress, between the Bichuana nations, and the various tribes of the Hottentot race. †

On these Bachapins coming up to us, Muchunka met them, and at first, while asking a few questions, the tone of their voice was low and reserved, yet not timid; but it was not long before it changed to that of a free and lively conversation. One of them, who said he had been on a warlike expedition, or rather, a predatory excursion, which had lately been sent against the Nuákketsies‡, and in which six of that nation were killed, told me, as a voluntary communication, that he himself had seen many of them wearing European clothes, such as jackets and coats; and that these were part of the contents of the waggons belonging to the late unfortunate travellers, whom they had murdered. I was now informed, that the report of the Nuakketsies' having fled from their town and retired farther northward, was not true. These Bachapins expressed much regret that my party was so small; and asked me why the governor of the Cape did not send a strong body of white-men to punish the Nuakketsies. They gave me also the information, that the son of Mass or Massáo, (Massów) the chief of a neighbouring tribe, having been plundered of all his cattle by a body of marauders from another nation, had taken refuge at Litákun, where he was still residing when these men

* This is the name as pronounced by Mattīvi the chief. Some pronounced it pukō;ghe; and others, pokō;je. All of which are also the name of the animal itself, the jackal, or Canis mesomelas.

† The usual appearance of the pukō;ghe, may be seen in some of the figures in the 28th vignette.

‡ This word may be written Nuákketzies, with a soft z. The original form is Nuákketsi. (See the note at page 304.)

[page] 320

came away. They further informed me that the Bachapins intended to have a grand hunt in about a month, and in which all the principal inhabitants of the town were to assist.

These grand hunting-parties are conducted with great regularity; and sometimes not less than five hundred men are engaged in them. Their mode of proceeding consists in making a wide circuit, so as to enclose a portion of the country, many miles in extent. This circle of hunters gradually contracts itself, while the wild animals of every sort, are driven towards its centre, and the ring closes and at last becomes a thick and continued line of men. The animals, finding themselves thus surrounded, make a push to escape, and at the moment of their passing through this line, the hunters throw their hassagays, and sometimes kill a considerable number.

The countenance of one of these men in particular, of him who was so ready to give me the above information, was exceedingly animated, and very expressive of a keenness of understanding. It was, it must be owned, a complete contrast to the general expression of a Hottentot countenance; and, after their wearisome apathy, the liveliness of these visitors recommended them strongly to my good opinion, and began to prepossess me in favor of their nation. This mode of judging, though a very common one, was not, indeed, very philosophical, or altogether just, since it often happens that under a dull or reserved exterior, much goodness of heart may lie concealed, and even some talents; but the comparison often made their coldness seem tedious, and I rejoiced at the prospect of finding the Bachapins to be a race of men possessed of more animation.

These men addressed me by the title of Hárra (father), which is their usual and most respectful mode in speaking to a superior. They seemed much pleased at having fallen in with us, and exhibited no surprise at the sight of a white-man, which, probably, was not altogether new to them. They appeared to be of a higher class than the two poor half-starved herdsmen who came to us at the Kruman; and their spirits would not have been so good, had they, like them, been living in want of the necessary food: but their bodies exhibited the best

[page] 321

proof of their having enjoyed abundance. They begged for lishuéna (snuff); and to each I gave enough to have lasted two days, at a moderate rate of using it.

Their mode of taking snuff was certainly no imitation of Europeans, whose finger and thumb are generally found sufficient for this purpose; but the Bachapins think otherwise: they lay a large quantity in the palm of their hand, and draw the whole of it up their nostrils at once. It was in this manner that I saw it now taken, and with an eagerness which proved how great was the enjoyment it afforded them; although, from seeing their eyes streaming with tears, it would rather have been concluded that it must have been painful.

But, I will not dare to dispute that there is pleasure in a custom which, by having been followed by so many, and such various, nations, must, I imagine, really possess something agreeable, to have thus gained adoption so generally. The same remark may be made on that of smoking tobacco, or similar drugs, a practice still more general, and even more at variance with the simple course of nature; if such an opinion may be pronounced of any artificial habits, to which common consent among the generations of several centuries, seems to have lent a character which gives them a place among legitimate, and even reasonable, indulgences.

From the New Continent, the native soil of the tobacco, the practice of inhaling the smoke of its leaves, and along with it, the plant itself, have spread over almost every country of the Old World, and have been received as a valuable addition to the comforts of life. In no nation can it be estimated at a higher rate, than among those of Southern Africa; an assertion which has been well proved in the preceding parts of this journal; and, in those which follow the same testimony will be found.

It may be convenient to bring together in this place, the substance of the information obtained on the subject of Bichuána tobacco. Although the tobacco-plant has not yet reached the Bachapins, and although they do not, more than the Bushmen, cultivate it; yet it has long been travelling southward over the con-


[page] 322

tinent, probably from the Portuguese settlements, and is, at this time, growing among their northern neighbours, from whom they had obtained it by barter, long before it came to them from the side of the Cape of Good Hope. The leaves are prepared, they say, by boiling, or rather, perhaps, by steeping in hot water. This process renders the smoke less acrid, though less powerful: yet, by my own men who obtained some at Litakun, it was pronounced pleasant; but, in their judgment, its mildness was considered to be a defect, and they, as well as the Bachapins themselves, always gave the preference to that which had been prepared in the Colony. From some inquiries, made of natives who had seen the plant growing in those countries, there seems reason for supposing that it is the round-leaved species* which is there cultivated; that which is grown in the Colony, being the long-leaved Virginian sort.†

Our present visitors, as soon as they had enjoyed their handful, for it could not be called a pinch, of snuff, began to beg for tobacco, with much good-humoured importunity; and held up their finger as the length of the piece they wished for. But, on showing by the half finger, how much was intended to be given them, they smiled, and said Niá Hárra (No, Sir,); yet, when I remarked to them that as we travelled on, many more of their countrymen would make the same request, and that it would be out of my power to distribute to all, if I were to give away pieces so large as were asked for, they replied, 'Yes; that is true;' and then went away very well satisfied with the little which I gave them. Besides this, they received some meat; and, as soon as they had broiled it, ran off with great speed to overtake their companions.

It was now perceived that Gert felt strongly disposed to encroach on indulgence, and that, unfortunately, kindness only encouraged disrespect. Although I had long followed a rule of giving my people their rations of tobacco and brandy on Mondays, he now demanded them before the time, and told me that the quantity which was allowed to the people, was not half enough, and that the boors always

* Nicotiana rustica.

Nicotiana Tabacum.

[page] 323

gave their Hottentots brandy whenever they asked for it. This language was not to be endured with forbearance, as authority here, could be supported by nothing but resolution and prudence. I was therefore compelled to order him instantly, and in a peremptory manner, away from my waggon: hoping thus to check a spirit which otherwise might soon spread among my whole party.

It was about this time that I began to discover that in Juli I possessed a valuable servant, and to perceive symptoms of fidelity which gradually gained my confidence, notwithstanding the disappointment which, in this respect, the conduct of some of the others had caused to me. I had not yet reposed in him greater trust than in any of the rest; but he often deserved it by a conscientious desire which he manifested for doing his duty. His manners Were steady, without being over sedate: he often could be lively and cheerful; but never allowed his temper to approach either extreme. He had not, it is true, that degree of animation which had pleased me in Speelman; but he was less irregular in his movements and opinions. In short, he was more honest, and less inclined to deceive me or conceal the truth, than any other of my Hottentots.

6th. A nightly watch had first been established at Kosi Fountain, and from that time, it had been regularly continued. I had myself kept the sentries to their duty during the first half of the night, as my occupations in the waggon in writing and arranging the notes and collections of the day, had always engaged me till after that hour. But sometimes, in order to keep them on the alert during the latter half, I took my sleep earlier, and rose between midnight and daybreak.

This gave me an opportunity of making a comparison between the dawn of an African day, and the superior beauty of that hour in Europe. This inferiority of the African Aurora, is occasioned, perhaps, by the aridity of the climate and clearness of the atmosphere. It is to the want of clouds and vapor to receive and refract the first rays of the sun while still beneath the horizon, that we must attribute the deficiency of those rosy and golden tints, and those beams of light, which decorate the morning sky of European

T T 2

[page] 324

countries. Yet the approach of daylight in the interior regions of this continent, is not totally devoid of pleasing effects; and, though less glowing and less enlivened by variety of hues and forms, it offers to an admiring eye a beauty of a more quiet and modest kind. While watching the cold darkness of night, the eastern sky becomes less obscure, a faint light gradually increases; the stars seem to fade away, though the earth still continues in night; a warm glow is perceptible, and soon spreads itself over the vault of heaven; the trees along the horizon become visible, and, backed by the sky, the upper branches of those which are nearer, are seen more distinctly; the landscape begins to show its outline; the light has reached the west; the forms of objects are visible, but as yet, present a painting in one color only, a sombre brown, equally strong in the distance and in the foreground; the whole atmosphere is illumined, and reflects its light upon the earth; the farthest verge of the plain becomes fainter and recedes, while the various clumps of trees follow to their place in the picture, and, assuming a just keeping, change their brown, for the less dubious colors of day; the azure of the sky is every where suffused with a warmer light; Nature is awake; and, unattended by cloud or vapor, the sun himself is seen rising above the horizon in noontide brilliancy.

Whatever wind may blow during the day, in the countries of the Interior, it most frequently subsides at sunset. This circumstance, so fortunate for those who sleep in the open air, was more especially favorable to my astronomical observations, as it admitted of using the artificial horizon without any kind of covering to protect the surface of the mercury from agitation by currents of air, of which it is exceedingly susceptible.

At this season of the year, the sky, either by night or by day, is seldom veiled by a cloud; nor is the slightest dew ever felt but in the time of the rains, when, however, it falls very copiously. Though in the Transgariepine the days in the winter months, of which we were now in the coldest, are very pleasant, and sometimes even hot; the nights are cold; and our feelings, as well as the thermometer, indicate that the temperature of the air is near the freezing point. On most

[page] 325

mornings, just before sunrise, the grass is observed to be covered with hoar-frost: but as there is rarely either vapor, or cloud, to diminish the heat of the sun, this appearance quickly vanishes.

By taking equal altitudes of the sun before, and after, noon, with its correspondent bearings by the needle, I found the magnetic variation to be 27° ⅛ W. My instrument for ascertaining these bearings, was not, indeed, constructed for the smaller subdivisions; but this defect was remedied by adopting a more careful process, and therefore the result may perhaps be depended on, to within an eighth of a degree, which may be considered accurate enough for a traveller's purpose.

One of the dogs which had unfortunately been run over by the waggon, a few days before, was so much injured that it died at this place. The body was taken to a short distance from our station, but the crows and vultures soon discovered it, and, assembling around, immediately began to tear it to pieces. These birds, so little disturbed by the presence of man, seem to consider all dead bodies as their perquisites; and the natives view them without feeling the least desire to molest them.

And here we cannot but again see and admire that wisdom, and perfection of plan, which exist in every part of the creation. Vultures have been ordained evidently to perform very necessary and useful duties on the globe; as, indeed, has every other animated being, however purblind we may be in our views of their utility; and we might almost venture to declare that these duties are the final cause of their existence. To those who have had an opportunity of examining these birds, it need not be remarked how perfectly the formation of a vulture is adapted to that share in the daily business of the globe, which has evidently been allotted to it; that of clearing away putrid or putrescent animal matter, which might otherwise taint the air and produce infectious diseases. Many of the vultures are among the largest of the feathered tribe, and all, even the smaller species, have great bodily strength in proportion to their size. Their legs are strong, but as they are not, like the eagles and owls, intended for seizing and preying on live animals, they have not been furnished with

[page] 326

claws so sharp, or with nails so much curved as theirs; though here it may perhaps be said that their mode of life, in standing on the ground while feeding, wears off the points of these. Yet this is not less the result of Divine decree; for the different species of the feline genus* have excessively sharp nails, notwithstanding their walking on the ground; and for the preservation of their points, so essential to their mode of seizing their prey, Nature has given them an admirable and peculiar power of drawing them back. The head and neck of vultures could not have been, like other birds, covered with feathers, because these, not being in the reach of their beak, could not have been easily kept clean, and would soon have become clotted together by the blood or dirt of the carcasses on which they fed. These parts are, therefore, either quite bare, or clothed only with a short woolly or downy covering. Their wings are long and large; and their bones, though thick, are remarkably light, a conformation which enables them to sustain their bodies for so great a length of time, in the highest regions of the atmosphere. Their beak is strong and hooked; and remarkably well formed for tearing out entrails, or dividing putrid flesh. Their own flesh smells strongly like carrion, and no other animal, however pressed by hunger, will eat it; a quality of importance to their preservation: for, were it eatable, they would be exposed to destruction while in the exercise of their duty, which often obliges them to feed in company with hyenas, and other beasts of prey which occasionally satisfy their hunger by a dead carcass. But so nicely is the mutual relation of all things balanced, that none of these animals, nor the domestic dog, show the least inclination to take away the life of these birds. For this reason they are, in every country, it would seem, tolerated by man, and sometimes treated even with respect. They have an extent of privilege, which their associates the hyenas have not; because they never harm the living.

* I may be allowed here to make the remark, although it belong properly to a part of the journal not comprised in the present volume, that the South-African animal Luipard (Leopard) by the Dutch colonists, and 'Nkwi and Nkwáni (Inkwani) by the Bachapins, and supposed to be the Felis jubata, has not the sharp retractile claws which distinguish the feline genus.

[page] 327

On taking a view of the surface of the globe, we discover life under so great a multitude of shapes, that it may reasonably be doubted whether the researches of man, have as yet made him acquainted with the half of them. Every part of it teems with animated forms; air, water, and even earth to a certain depth, contain a countless variety of objects endowed with that mysterious principle, Life. This principle, modified, supports the existence of every organised object in the creation, and must not be confounded with animation: for this is to be distinguished as the visible operation of the anima; or, if we may be allowed so to call it, the breath of Divinity. Organized bodies have always, and by universal consent, been divided into the two classes of Animal and Vegetable: both these possess the principle of life, but only the former, that of animation. Abstract these principles, and there remains Matter; this still continuing for a longer or shorter period afterwards, to retain its organization.

Now, the conclusion which may be drawn from this view of terrestrial objects, is; that organized matter, whether, independently of modification, it really be, or be not, essentially different from mineral or inert matter, has been destined to be common property, and to circulate through the whole system of living objects. By this circulation, it passes from one to the other, in unceasing support of vitality; proceeding and returning, sometimes in a wider and sometimes in a smaller circle, through an endless succession of periods. It may be asserted that no new particle of matter ever comes into the world; for this would imply a new creation: that none can be lost, for this would imply the annihilation of what the wisdom of the Deity has created; a supposition to which man's reason can not assent. Vegetables, most of which are observed to grow more luxuriantly in earth impregnated with animal juices or with disorganized animal particles, are the first producers of organization; animals, the destroyers of it. It is evidently the law of Nature, that matter once made capable of life, shall never cease from the same duty; and it is equally so, that animal bodies shall receive no nutriment but from organized substances. From this it follows, that in one body life must cease or be destroyed, before another can obtain that species of food which its conformation renders necessary. The eagle therefore de-

[page] 328

stroys this, himself; the vulture waits till it has been destroyed by others, or till vitality has departed through other causes. If we look around at the animal creation, from the huge whale to the most minute object that moves, we everywhere behold examples of one species maintaining its existence by the destruction of others upon which it feeds; and of those which have been formed to require vegetable aliment, becoming themselves the food of others which have been created carnivorous; these latter, perhaps, never preying naturally on species of their own class. The beasts and birds of prey, together with vultures, are, in their turn, the food of innumerable maggots the larvæ of beetles* of various species, which, like the vultures, have the faculty of discovering a carcass as soon as putrefaction commences; and are then seen in the air, approaching from the leeward in swarms, guided only by their sense of smell.

This picture of a succession of destruction among the animal creation, though natural and immutable, is not an agreeable one; and the Power which made things so, has implanted in the human mind a sentiment which, if not stifled, causes this prospect, however interesting and instructive, to appear unpleasing; and, from the view of rapacity and death, warfare and bloodshed, even though the result of natural laws, we gladly turn towards that part of animated nature where more peaceful scenes present themselves: from the tiger to the lamb, from the hawk to the dove, we turn with pleasure. Or, if more tranquil thoughts delight us, we change to the contemplation of the beauties and perfection of inanimate objects; to the verdant foliage of the spreading trees which clothe the mountain-foot, or to the lively hues of the fragrant flowers which adorn the valleys.

Thus we see, throughout the whole system of nature, all things connected together, and necessary to each other's existence; useful in life, and useful in death: each animated object submitting to its

* These beetles were of the genera, Necrobia, Thanatophilus, Silpha, and Dermestes. But on other occasions, when they were also attracted by smell, they consisted of various species of Copris, Onthophagus, Ateuckus, Sisyphus, Gymnopleurs and Onitis: and it was amusing to see them in great numbers, one after another thus coming up from leeward.

[page] 329

superior; and all, to man. In him terminates this scale of rapine and destruction; in him, this graduated tyranny reaches its height.

To return to the subject; we shot one of these vultures: it was a female, and measured seven feet from the point of one wing to that of the other, when extended. The top of the head was covered with a white feathery wool, which at the back part was longer, and stood in a reversed position. This bird was of a blackish brown color above; but the thighs and under parts of the body and neck were white. The quill feathers, and those of the tail, were black. That part of the neck, which was bare, together with the base of the beak, were white; the beak and feet were of flesh-color; the bare part round the eyes, white; and the irides, of the color of burnt-umber. Before the skin was taken off, I made a drawing of the head: this is given in the vignette at page 310, in the proportion of one third of the natural size. By the Bichuanas, it is called Linō;ng.

The operation of preparing this bird for my collection was exceedingly disgusting, and the Hottentot whom I employed to assist me, suffered as much as myself from its naturally putrid smell. We were unable to continue long at the work, as it soon began to excite a nausea; and it was not till the second day that it was completed.

The tire, or iron band, round the wheels of all Cape-made waggons, being of one entire piece, possesses, indeed, the advantages of strength and security, but it is at the same time liable to the disadvantage of expansion in hot weather; while the fellies, if not made of wood perfectly seasoned, are contracted by the same cause. The consequence of which is, that the joints open, and the tire becomes loose in every part; a serious imperfection in vehicles for travelling over a wild and pathless country, where the assistance of a waggon-maker, or a blacksmith, is not to be obtained. In the midst, there-

* Vultur occipitalis, B. (Mas.) Corpus, supra fusco-nigrura, subtus album. Caput lanugine albâ tectum, occipitali reversâ. Colli pars superior nuda, posterior plumis patentibus nigris, et anterior depress is brevissimis albis, tectæ. Remiges rectricesque nigræ, rachidibus supra nigris subtus albis. Tibiæ (femora) plumis albis densé vestitæ. Rostrum et pedes, incarnata. Orbita denudata, colli pars, et cera, alba. Ungues nigri. Lingua brevis integra, apice rotundata, basi sagittata laciniata.


[page] 330

fore, of other, and very different, occupations, the task fell upon me to direct and superintend the business of caulking the joints with, either pieces of canvas dipped in hot pitch, or with small wedges of wood. I employed others of my people in casting musket-balls, and some in making cartridges.

In the meantime Andries, whose turn it was to attend our few remaining sheep while at pasture, seemed desirous of giving me proofs of his worthlessness, and so totally neglected his duty, that, at an early hour, it was discovered that they had strayed away. Two Hottentots were sent in search, and after a few hours, brought them home. But, determined on putting my patience to another trial, he suffered them, in the course of the afternoon, again to stray so far that they could not be found that night. On the next morning, men were sent out to follow their track; and it was very unexpected good fortune, that they were all met with and brought back by noon. It was seldom that my Hottentots would condemn, or give evidence against each other; but this time they all exclaimed loudly against Andries, as he had given them so much trouble in repairing his neglect, and recommended that his rations of tobacco should be withheld: a recommendation to which I readily attended; as we had on several occasions ascertained that it was a mode of correction in which there was considerable efficacy.

Desiring my men to wake me at a little after midnight, I pointed out to one of them, who was at that hour to be on guard, the star Arcturus, and ordered him to call me when he saw it setting. I thought it useful to show by my occasional presence at such times, that I did not impose on them any hardship, in which I was not willing to bear a share, as I conceived that it might lead them to think lighter of the task.

The night was exceedingly chilly; and, being now in a part of the country where Bushmen seldom came, we were not, as hitherto, prevented, by the fear of betraying our position, from keeping up a large fire: and those whose watch was ended, not being inclined to sleep, the number of the party round the fire continued increasing till the morning. They amused both themselves and me, by relating to

[page] 331

each other their various adventures, and accounts of Bushmen; and among their descriptions, one given by Keyser, of a Hottentot of Sneeuwberg being pierced by so many arrows that when they found his body he looked more like a porcupine than a man, was in the genuine style of African anecdote.

Few Hottentots knew more histories of this kind, than Keyser; and being of short stature, in features not unlike a Bushman, and speaking that language fluently, his companions would sometimes teaze him, by pretending to believe that he was really a wild Bushman who had been caught when young, and brought up in a boor's family. He was, however, a Colonial Hottentot; and from much experience in such affairs, his anecdotes relative to the colonists proved that these had frequently suffered great losses in cattle, from the incursions of the Bushmen; but that they had sometimes taken unsparing vengeance on the offenders. He asserted from his own knowledge, that a Hottentot, who had gradually and by small doses habituated himself to the practice of swallowing the poison of snakes, for the purpose of rendering his blood unsusceptible of its effects, was once severely wounded by a Bushman's arrow; yet though the wound would otherwise have been certainly mortal, he did not die. That the blood may be thus fortified against the consequences of a poisoned wound, is a very common belief among Hottentots; but it did not appear that they often tried this mode, as those few who ventured, were particularly distinguished among them as gifi-drinkers (poison-drinkers).

The Hottentots of that part of the Colony northward of Graaffreynet, call the bordering tribes of Bushmen, Sāqua or Saakwa; but the Klaarwater Hottentots, and the Koras, as Muchunka told me, designate the Bushmen living southward of the Gariep by the names of 'Ksa'kýkwa or Ksa'kwa (Kowsaqua), which imply 'men beyond the river.' Those who inhabit the northern side of that river, are called Núsakwa (Nóosaqua), a name of correspondent import.

7th. I was visited by a Bachapin, apparently of a poorer class than those whom we had last seen. I offered him some snuff, and learnt by his refusal, that, however general the custom of taking snuff may be among his countrymen, it is not universal. Tobacco, for

U U 2

[page] 332

smoking, was accepted with warm expressions of thankfulness; but he was much less importunate in begging, and less talkative, than his nation usually are. He was even timid: this might be occasioned by his being alone as a Bachapin, among so many strangers; for numbers always give to savages a degree of boldness, and sometimes insolence, of which, under other circumstances, they exhibit no signs. On coming to me as I sat in the waggon, he exclaimed, Kō;osi, Kō;osi! (rich chieftain); and when I endeavoured to assure him that I was not such, that I had but little property in the waggon, and but few oxen, he significantly shook his head, as if to express that he could not believe me.

A young Kokūng (Kokoon or Kokoong) was shot in the plain by Speelman. This Hottentot took so much delight in hunting, that he was generally the foremost in parties of this kind, and was perhaps one of the most successful. It was the duty which had been allotted to him; yet, when circumstances demanded it, he was employed in a variety of others, and was found to be, as a Hottentot, active, intelligent, and useful; though requiring always the superintendance and guidance of a master. Having been longer in my service than most of the others, he seemed to consider himself entitled to the privileges of an old servant, and to have acquired some degree of attachment to me, which, though often dormant, was, to do him justice, oftener awake.

8th. Taking a walk this morning round our station, I observed growing in rocky places, a handsome species of Aloë*, which the Bachapins call tō;kwi, and which apparently was of the same kind as one seen near the Kygariep. I here met with, for the first time, a remarkable kind of Mesembryanthemum†, which may be reckoned in

* Resembling Aloë saponaria; but it was probably a new species.

Mesembryanthemum aloïdes, B. Catal. Geogr. 2197. Planta acaulis, radice fusiforme. Folia spathulata, basi connata, acuta, margine Integrâ, supra plana, subtus convexa, duplò latiora quàm crassa, obscurè viridia punctis albidis conspersa. Flos sessilis flavus.
This plant, together with ten other new species raised in England from seed collected on the journey, have been already made known to botanists by an author whose extensive knowledge of this numerous genus, and whose experience in the cultivation of vegetables of this tribe, have enabled him to present to the public the most correct arrangement of it, which has hitherto appeared. See "Supplementum Plantarum Succulentarum; Autore A. H. Haworth."

[page] 333

the number of those wild plants, the roots of which are eaten by the natives, as a substitute for better food. There were not many things to be found at this season; but I discovered, almost accidentally, happening to sit down on the ground close by them, two small plants, the singularity of which consisted in their being so exactly of the color of the white limestone on which they grew, that scarcely any eye could have noticed them in walking by.*

Experience teaches, that many curious and minute plants will escape detection, unless sought with more than ordinary attention; and that; by sitting or standing still and carefully looking around, many interesting objects of natural history may be discovered, which otherwise would have been passed unheeded and unknown. In those parts of my journey where the riches of botany or entomology were more profusely scattered, I seldom sat down to rest myself during my rambles, without perceiving some object which would not have caught my eye under any other circumstances.

9th. I now got out from one of the store-chests the beads and other things which were intended as presents to the Bachapin chief; as it was not likely that there would be, before we arrived at the town, so favorable an opportunity for assorting and arranging them without interruption.

In addition to which reason for opening the store-chests at this place, was that of preventing the natives from knowing how large a stock I had of these things. To have allowed them to see the contents of the chests, would have been, to tempt them to rob me; or, should their sense of honesty restrain them from such an attempt; still the sight of so much riches might render them covetous, and induce them to practise every extortionate and unfair stratagem to

* These were a species of Crassula ? with scale-like imbricated leaves; and
Anacampseros lanigera, B. Catal. Geogr. 2196. Planta uncialis, tota lanâ densâ albâ involuta, inter quam ramenta rigida tortuosa.

[page] 334

get possession of them. Muchunka had assured me that the Briquas (Bachapins) would not ill-treat me; and though this account of his countrymen should be correct, I conceived, on mature reflection, that they ought not to be trusted with any knowledge of my affairs or plans, which it was possible to conceal from them, lest that information should precede me in the countries beyond them, and prepare those nations for impeding my progress, or suggest the idea that my waggons would be a valuable booty.

Five of my people were out hunting all day, but no game of any kind was seen, excepting an antelope which good-fortune threw in Juli's way, and which luckily he shot. It was an entirely new species, and the sequel proved it to be extremely scarce, as I never met with it again during the whole of my travels. Juli returned immediately for help to bring it home, and two of the Bachapins voluntarily accompanied him, and lent their assistance. The meat proved to be tender, and of a delicate taste. The name which they gave it, was, Khaama; but as this is the name which the Bichuanas, in common with the Hottentots, apply to that animal which the Dutch colonists term Hartebeest*, it would rather seem that the new species is not sufficiently frequent in their country to have obtained, generally, a distinct name. But this is mere surmise; for the true Kaama differs from it so much in the form of its horns, that the two sorts never could be really confounded together, even by the most unobservant savage. The species to which it has the nearest affinity, is that which, in the Cape Colony, is more properly called Blesbok; but it is a larger animal than either that or the hartebeest. Its horns, of which a representation, both in front and in profile, is here given, have suggested the name of Antilope lunata†, by presenting, when viewed in front, the form of a crescent. They were ten inches long,

* The Antilope Bubalis, of Linnæus.
Antilope lunata, B. Nigrescente-fusca. Femora et tibiæ fulva, illa anticè nigrescentia. Facies et frons, nigrescentes, lateribus purpureo-fuscis. Cornua subreclinata, extrorsùm arcuata, apicibus introrsum versùs, teretia, dimidio inferiore et ultrà annulato. Cauda brevis, pilis longis nigris jubata.

[page] 335

when measured in a straight line from the base to the tip; and their points were nearly that distance apart Their position on the skull was about two inches and a half asunder, and reclining a little behind the facial line. The general color of this antelope was, when living, a dark iron-grey, or what a painter would call a light blue-black; but which changed to a lighter and browner hue after the skin had become dry. The whole of the face, as far even as the ears, was almost black; and this mark, with the form of the horns and greater size, constitute the only obvious difference between this animal and the Blesbok. * The nose, and sides of the face, were of a purplish brown; and the ears were of the same color as the rest of the body, excepting some white hairs which fringed their inner margin. The legs were of a tawny or reddish brown, but of a darker, or blackish, color in front down to the knees. The feet, below the two spurious hoofs were blackish; and these hoofs, of a roundish form, and placed at equal heights. The real hoofs were black; and those of the fore-feet rather more than four inches long. Their pointed

* The Blesbok is called, from having a white mark on its forehead, similar to that which, in horses, is termed, in Dutch, a bles, and by English horsemen a star, or blaze. Late systematic writers have applied to the Blesbok the name of Pygarga (White-rump), which, by earlier authors, was intended for the Springbok: and as this name becomes absurd and contradictory when thus used, I have taken the liberty of substituting in its place, that of albifrons.

[page] 336

form and smoothness prove that this animal is not an inhabitant of mountains or rocky places. Their figure, and that of the tail, drawn in proportion to the horns, may be seen at the end of this chapter. The tail, which was about nine inches long and was like that of the blesbok, was furnished on the upper side with long black hair; that, towards the tip, being the longest, and measuring five inches. The fresh skin, when spread out upon the ground, measured, from the end of the nose to the tip of the tail, seven feet and seven inches; across the middle of the body, four feet; in extent between the ends of the two fore legs, eight feet and five inches; and the same of the hind legs, eight feet. The length of the ears was eight inches. From these dimensions it would appear that, at the withers, the height of the Crescent-horned Antelope is nearly four feet, and the diameter of its body a little more than fifteen inches.*

* Of this antelope, the first and only skin ever brought to Europe was, along with a number of others, as I have stated in the note at page 383. of the preceding volume, presented to The British Museum. At the time of writing that note, and previously to it, I confined my complaints against that establishment, to its long protracted delay in placing them before the Public, and to its neglect of a donation which was made under the implied condition of being immediately disposed of in the proper manner. Finding the Museum so dilatory in this case, I repeatedly complained, and urged in support of my complaint, the injustice which was done to the Public, as well as to a collection which had been pronounced valuable to zoological science. At first, orders were given for these skins to be put into proper form with as little delay as possible; and a few (7) were in consequence then stuffed; after which the work proceeded no farther. To my remonstrance, it was replied, at one time, that these quadrupeds would require more room than that building would allow. At another time I learnt that the expense * was greater than the funds of the establishment would authorise. Be all this as it may, I know that several quadrupeds received long since mine, have been stuffed, and some preserved in a much more expensive manner; and that hundreds, and I believe thousands, of pounds have, since that time, been expended by the Museum in the purchase of objects of natural-history.
To these subjects my complaints were at that time confined; because I relied on an official communication which stated that all requisite care was taken of my animals, and that no fear need be entertained respecting their security and preservation from damage by insects. How unexpected, therefore, was the additional mortification which I felt, when I had occasion, in July last, (1822) to visit the Museum for the purpose of making a drawing of the horns of the above described antelope. I was shown a large chest which was intended to contain my collection; but on examination, the antelope I sought, was not there, neither were some others which were equally rare and valuable. At length an old packing-case was found, which had been nailed up in a manner which evinced that the preservation of its contents had not been the purpose for which it was intended; and on its being opened I discovered, the skin of my Antilope lunata, together with another undescribed species, of which that also was the only individual ever shot or seen, and six others, all swarming with live moths and maggots, and their hair dropping off. That this irreparable destruction was attributable to a want of due care cannot be denied; since those duplicates which I had retained in my own collection, remained still in as good condition as when they were first brought home. The motives which induced me to give these quadrupeds to our national museum, induced me also, to give the best of all which I possessed; and I therefore permitted the person who was engaged by the museum for stuffing them, to come previously to my house and select those which he thought the finest and the most perfect.
I have now only to regret the time and labor which have been lost during my travels, in preserving and bringing away those skins; as it would have been less vexatious to have left them to be eaten by maggots in the deserts of Africa, than in the British Museum: and I do hope, for the credit of that establishment and for the character of my country, as it relates to the pursuit and encouragement of science, that every future gift will meet with less neglect, and with a better fate, than mine has unfortunately experienced.

* It was estimated that the expense of stuffing them would not amount to 300l.: one third of which had already been paid; and the most expensive part of the work, occasioned by setting up the two Camelopards, was then completed.

[page] 337

We had not, in our daily hunting excursions, which extended to the distance of several miles from our station, discovered any village or residences of the natives. Those who had visited us, had always come a long way from their home; and this was the reason of our having hitherto seen so few inhabitants; but in the afternoon, three Bichuanas joined our party, and remained with us till the next day. They told me they were herdsmen to Mattīvi, and were lying at a cattle-place lower down the Makkwarin.

They had lately been at Litākun; and now reported to me that the elder brother of Mattivi, as soon as he heard of the approach of a white-person from the Colony, and supposing that he would return immediately after visiting that place, had conceived the desire, and actually formed the resolution, of making a journey to Cape Town, of which he had heard many accounts at Klaarwater. His plan was to return thither with me, and he had therefore long been expecting my arrival with impatience; but having heard that I had finally left the Transgariepine, and had gone back to the Colony, (this report related to my journey to Graaffreynet) he had now, under great disappointment, relinquished his intention.

This story raised my curiosity and, at the same time, a wish to


[page] 338

ascertain the truth of it. Revolving it often in my mind, I endeavoured to imagine, what might be his motive for such a journey. When I attributed it to that desire, so rare in a savage, of visiting other countries for the purpose of enlightening his mind and of acquiring a knowledge of civilized arts, I glowed with so pleasing an idea, and almost regretted that I should not have the gratification of conducting him thither, of showing to him the practical advantages of those arts, and of inspiring him with sentiments which, at his return to his own country, might stimulate him to the imitation of what he had seen, and to the civilizing of his countrymen.

But his own countrymen, as far as I could yet see, had no dreams of this nature: their thoughts embraced little beyond eating and smoking. Our visitors begged for snuff and tobacco as soon as they accosted me; and when they had obtained this and some meat, they seemed to enjoy as much happiness as man in a state of mere animal existence, probably ever attains.

I was here much amused, and perhaps gained a new idea, by observing in them the workings of an untaught mind. I had my interpreter by my side, but wishing to put to the test, what I had hitherto learnt, or rather, written down, of the Sichuana language, I read to these men various words and sentences out of my book. These were readily understood by them, who at first, supposing me to have a tolerable knowledge of that tongue, talked a great deal, to which I could give no answer; but when they at length discovered that I could speak only when I looked in the book, they stood with eyes and mouth wide open; wondering both at the book and at myself, and unable to conceive how it could be, that 'the white thing in my hand,' told me what to say; or how, by only looking at it, I could know more than when I did not. But the most singular part of this little comedy, was performed by Muchunka, whose simple brain seemed not yet to contain a true idea of the nature of writing or of the real purport and utility of our evening exercises at the dictionary and vocabulary. As it would have been only a proof of my own folly to have asked him to explain the operations and conceptions of his mind on this subject, I am left to suppose that he

[page] 339

believed I always committed to memory his answers to my questions, and that my making 'black scratches' upon the paper with my pen, was only what he had at Klaarwater seen and heard called schryvende (writing). He was, he said, exceedingly surprised at my remembering so well every thing he had taught me, and even those words which he had never told me but once. When I explained, that it was the marks which I had made in the book while he was in the waggon, which now showed me what I was to say, he laughed most heartily, and desired to see the very words which I was pronouncing. On pointing them out, he laughed again; and his three countrymen, whose mouth and eyes had by this time recovered from their expression of surprise, joined in the laughter; while I myself, as I shut the book, was unable to resist the impression which their ludicrous appearance and distorted countenances made upon me.

X X 2

[page] 340



JULY 10th. We departed from the Makkwárin at noon, bending our course to the south-east. We still continued travelling over the Great Plains of Litakun, where nothing but the distant horizon bounded our prospect, excepting behind us, where the blue summits of the Kamhanni mountains near the Kruman, rose to break the evenness of the line. The soil, as hitherto, was in most parts sandy and of a very red color, abounding in tall grass and, in the latter half of the day's-joumey, ornamented with many beautiful thick clumps of mŏhaaka trees (tarchonanthus) of ten or twelve feet in height, which from their more diffuse ramification, appeared to be a new species.* In the course of the afternoon, we passed through many extensive areas of those kinds of grass which have been mentioned as giving to the plains the appearance of fields of wheat. †

* Catalogus Geographicus, n. 2202.
† The above vignette will give an idea of the scenery here described. It will, together with the others of this and the former volume, present at the same time a specimen of the perfection to which the art of engraving on wood may be carried; and will not lessen the reputation which Mr. Branston's talents in this art had already gained.

[page] 341

Among these grasses, was a very remarkable sort with long curved awns growing from one side of a thin spike.* Here I first met with a very ornamental shrub†, three feet high, covered with small silky leaves, and decorated with a profusion of yellow flowers: it abounds in several parts of the plains south-westward of Litakun.

When we were about half way on the day's journey, a spot was pointed out, at a considerable distance on the right, where, as a remarkable circumstance, a kraal of Bushmen were then residing. It was from their being known as less addicted to robbing, that they were permitted by the Bachapins, to take a temporary residence so near to their chief town. This spot was called Kláatălăkúmŏ or, Klaatalakomo; and was surrounded by a thick grove of large acacias. Some of its inhabitants were seen, but they did not approach us. They left the place a few weeks afterwards, and removed their kraal more within the boundaries of their own country; if so nice a distinction of territory can be made between these nations. The Bachapins and Bushmen are, in general, not on very good terms; but they are tolerated in each other's country, if they excite no suspicion of their being come there with the design of stealing cattle; for robbery of this kind is, between the various South-African nations, the only cause of warfare, whether as avowed plundering, or as pretended retaliation.

Notwithstanding the whole days-journey being over sandy ground, the oxen stepped on for the greater part of the time at the rate of eighty-six revolutions of the wheel in five minutes, which, according to the table already mentioned as having been calculated for this purpose, indicated three miles and a hundred-and-thirty-eight yards in the hour: in the heaviest parts of the road, our rate was only eighty-one revolutions. From these data, combined with the time we were travelling, which was five hours and fifteen minutes, the length of this day's-journey may be stated with tolerable exactness, at fifteen miles and a quarter.

* Catal. Geogr. n. 2220.

† Passerina? Catal. Geogr. 2203.

[page] 342

A traveller, therefore, who would adopt this method of ascertaining distances, would be careful to note down in his memorandum book, not only the number of revolutions at different times; but the times by his watch, when the waggon first moves on, and when it arrives at the station; besides keeping an account of the time lost by occasionally halting on the road.

An apparatus of clock-work on the principle of the perambulator, may, on smooth roads, as it does in Europe, answer this purpose, and be attended with much less trouble; but a similar contrivance would very soon be put out of order, by the violent jolts which a waggon receives in travelling over a wild and rugged country: and if the strong iron-work of the vehicle itself, is not always able to resist these shocks, it is to be feared that slighter mechanism would fail also. The experiment, however, is worth trying.

The sun had already sunk below the horizon, before we reached our next station. This spot, called by the natives Sikklŏniānĭ, was a collection of small grassy ponds of clear and excellent water, supplied by constant springs which rose at the bottom of them. They were surrounded by a grove or wood of acacias, which rendered the situation exceedingly pleasant, as well as convenient. Hither, and to many other similar fountains which are found in these plains, the inhabitants of Litakun bring their cattle during the dry season, and having erected temporary huts, take up their abode till the country nearer the town has regained its verdure. At this time, however, we found no one residing here: and as I had noticed that the ponds were frequented by numerous flocks of water-fowl, I determined to halt a day, in hope of being able to add some new birds to my collection.

The latitude of this spot, was found to be 27°. 9′. 21″.* While watching till the star, from which this observation was taken, should come to the meridian, I discovered that we had a day too much in our reckoning; and that instead of this, as we supposed, being

* At Sikkloniani, on the 10th of July, 1812, the observed altitude of a Centauri, was 57°. 5′. 57″.

[page] 343

Saturday, it could not be more than Friday. For, as I now observed that the moon was still to the east of the planet Venus, which could not have been the case, had this been, as we reckoned, the eleventh of the month, those two bodies would not, according to the 'Astronomical Ephemeris,' be in conjunction till the morning of the eleventh. This error of my journal, lay within a small compass; as I knew from my astronomical memoranda, that my reckoning was right on the preceding Monday.

From this circumstance it may be remarked, that a traveller acquainted with but a few of the stars, may always check a false date in his journal, by recording in it from time to time, the situation of the moon as compared with a known star to which it is approaching, or from which it is receding. And though he should then have no astronomical almanack, to compare his observations with, these will be equally useful for the purpose; as the comparison can be made, either by himself or by others, at any future time. Indeed, so admirably applicable are the motions of the heavenly bodies to the exact measurement of the course of time, whether for periods of years or centuries, or for days or minutes, that, if we could suppose an astronomer, at any moment of time, to know neither the century, the year, the month, nor the day, he might read all this in the face of the starry heavens, in the legible characters of endless multitudes of glorious luminaries which revolve and shine, the great unerring dial of eternity.

That a person whose attention was constantly occupied by a great variety of affairs, should mistake a day, cannot appear surprising; but that the whole party of eleven persons, should fall into the same error, is more extraordinary. There were several of my people who, by means of notched tallies which they always carried about them, kept a careful account of each day, by the cutting of an additional notch. When this tally was thus filled, the amount was transferred to another, on which certain notches represented weeks, or months. In this manner they were generally able to mark accurately the lapse of time for short periods, and sometimes even for several years. But I do not think that any of the aborigines of

[page] 344

Southern Africa, excepting the Hottentots of the Colony, who perhaps have borrowed the idea from others, ever keep a similar account.

Among my men, Speelman was regarded by his companions as the grand almanack-maker, and was often referred to, for the day of the week: and I have sometimes, on putting to him questions relating to the past occurrences of the journey, been surprised at the accuracy with which he was by these means enabled to recollect when they happened. If he was in doubt, he would pull out his 'almanack,' which was always secured to some part of his dress by a small thong of leather, and after examining his notches, tell me Correctly, or very nearly, the length of time which had passed. It is not meant to be asserted that these tallies were infallible; or that they were in any light extraordinary, unless when viewed as the effort of an untutored Hottentot.

11th. During the whole of the preceding evening and this morning, I remarked an unusual and melancholy silence prevailing among my people: the sound of the fiddle was never once heard; and conversation and laughter no longer enlivened the fireside. As I sat alone in my waggon, I might have fancied that all my men had deserted me: when I came to the fire, it seemed from this strange stillness, as if a funeral were about to take place, and that we were now going to commit to the earth, the bodies of some of our companions who had just been murdered. I looked around to discover the cause, but saw nothing which could inform me; no one appeared unwell, or to have met with any accident; all the party were together; all my cattle were safe; all the wheels were entire. Still, it was certain that this gloominess and dejection could not exist unless there had happened some serious misfortune to occasion so sudden a change from mirth to melancholy. But none of my people seemed willing to disclose to me the distressing secret; and, expecting some intelligence fatal to my expedition, I was almost afraid to ask for information.

At length, by waiting some time at their fire, I discovered by a few short remarks which they occasionally made to each other, that —

[page] 345

all their rations of tobacco were exhausted, and that not a pipe had been smoked since yesterday morning! From the ill-foreboding state of mind which appearances had occasioned me, it may easily be imagined that this was an agreeable discovery; and although their rations would not be due till the Monday following, I gladly infringed the regulations, and gave each an extra piece enough to last till that day: and finding by their representations, that a larger weekly supply, would add greatly to their comfort, I promised for the future, to increase their rations by two inches more. Such are highly important affairs, when we have to deal with Hottentots.

Immediately, their voices were heard again; and loud talking, laughing, joking, whistling, and fiddling, enlivened our home once more.

Various sorts of birds were found to inhabit these groves, and frequent the fountains; but all excepting two, were already in my collection. A species of Lanius*, or Butcher-bird, was now shot for the first time, though probably to be found within the Colony. Several kinds of Lanius, especially those having a plumage in which black and white are the predominant colors, are called Fiscaal vogels (Fiscal-bird) by the colonists. Their notes are very loud and powerful, and their sound has the nature of a whistle rather than of a bird's singing. The Bachapins call them by the name of Lekókko.

I here also added to my collection, a small and very pretty species of grouse, and, I believe, hitherto undescribed. † It appeared to have a great affinity to the little 'Namaqua grouse;' but its feet were furnished with only three toes, and it had not the two long acute tail-feathers which distinguish that sort. The upper parts of its body were variegated with white, brown, yellow, and black;

* Very much resembling Lanius collaris, from which it appeared to vary only by a white mark over each eye.

Tetrao (Pterocles) variegatus, B. Suprà albo, fusco, flavo, nigroque, varius: subtus ferrugineus. Remiges nigræ, rachidibus albis. Cauda brevis æqualis, cum dorso con-color. Pedes lanuginosi ochracei, tridactyli, digitis longitudinaliter auctis. Unques nigri. Irides angustæ ochraceæ. Lingua brevis acuminata. Sexus vestitu non dignoscendi.


[page] 346

beneath it was of a ferrugineous, or rust-color. The wing-feathers were black, with a white midrib. The tail was short and of the same color as the back; the feet, covered with an ochre-colored wool; the toes, edged with a narrow membrane; the nails, black; and the irides, narrow and yellow, or of the color of 'Roman ochre.' The colors of both sexes were alike. This bird, which was seen no where but in the Bichuana countries, frequents the fountains, only to drink; but at other times it is an inhabitant of the open plains.

The purple hoopoe * was also procured here, and afterwards at Litakun; which gave me an opportunity of learning its singular name, Nuenjánni Chúkuru (Rhinoceros-bird); though I could get no clear explanation of the reason why it was so called. The Egyptian goose †?was also shot at Sikkloniáni; together with the crimson-billed duck ‡, here called Sihúrri;' the large coot§ and the armed plover. ║ This last is a very noisy bird; by night, as well as by day, uttering a sharp cry which was fancied to articulate the words Brŏthĕr Kēēvĭt! Brŏthĕr Kēēvĭt! Its name in the Sichuana language, is, Lĕtájan (Letáryan). The groves around this spring abound also in pintadoes.

In the neighbourhood of this water, there resided an old Bachapin, who, as soon as he heard of our arrival, paid us, or rather our pot, a visit, which lasted as long as we stopped at the place. His miserable, dirty, and meagre appearance bespoke the same degree of poverty which was exhibited by the two Bachapins whom we met on first entering their land. Like them, he too was herdsman; not to the late, but to the present, chief of Litakun.

I could not but be struck by this coincidence.; and as similar observations were afterwards made, it formed the subject of further inquiry, in order to gain some satisfactory explanation. Such explanations are not easily obtained among this people; and this difficulty is occasioned, partly by the questions being unusual and

* Upupa purpurea, B.

Anas Ægyptiaca.

Anas crythrorhyncha.

§ Vol. I. p. 263.

Charadrius armatus, B.

[page] 347

above their comprehension, and partly by their little regard, for truth, and a very general inclination for misleading others; and simple as the case may appear, it was not to be understood till I had gained clearer notions of the state of society in this country.

I had hitherto been accustomed among the Bushmen, to see all men on an equality; that is, that of the individuals of a kraal, no one possessed more property than another, or, at least, there was not so much difference as to occasion them to make a distinction between rich and poor. But those tribes are, as I think the preceding parts of this journal prove, in the lowest degree of human polity and social existence; and in such only, can all men be on a level with respect to property: or in other words, a nation, to be equal, must, even in the aggregate, possess no property at all; which is precisely the case with the Bushman nation.

But the state of society, or, I might almost begin to use the word civilization, among the Bichuana tribes, has reached a much higher point; and, from the possession of property, the distinction of men into richer or poorer classes has followed as the natural consequence. Those who have riches, have also, it seems, power; and the word kō;si, as I have before noticed, has a double acceptation, denoting either a chief or a rich man. The various means by which this ascendancy is gained, is a point well understood by more polished nations; and I saw no reason for doubting that the Bichuanas pursue, in their humble and petty way, exactly the same; and add to them, that of plundering the adjoining countries. According to this scheme of society, the chief will always be the richest man; for once arrived at supreme authority, he holds within his own hands the power of obtaining property. With this view it is, that corporal punishment, excepting in cases of atrocious crime, is commuted for fine; and that confiscation is often superadded to corporal punishment; and that, in some instances, life and property are both forfeited together: I am however led to believe, that the Bachapins do not often punish with death.

But, to return from this digression: Mattīvi possesses numerous

Y Y 2

[page] 348

herds of cattle; these are pastured in various parts of the country, and furnish employment for a considerable number of the poorer class of his people. They receive for their service, nothing more than mere sustenance, and, as it would appear, barely that; being allowed only a certain portion of the milk, and left to supply themselves with meat by occasional hunting. The produce of this, precarious as it is, is lessened by a law or custom, by which they are obliged to send the breast of every piece of game to the chief; and it was said, though there may be some doubt of the information, that the infraction of this law is a capital offence.

This class of the inhabitants is greatly oppressed, not only by a despotic, but by an aristocratic power also: for, that authority which the chief exercises over the kō;sies or richer order, these exercise over their servants and immediate dependants, to so unjust a degree that they will not suffer them to acquire any property whatever; and should any of this illfated class become, by means however honest, possessed of a cow or a few goats, he would be a rare instance of good fortune or favor, if his master did not take them from him. This tyrannical conduct the kō;si would justify by telling him that a muchùnka or a mollála (a poor-man, or servant) had no need of cattle, as he had only to mind his duty in attending those of his superior, and he might always be certain of receiving as much milk and food, as would be necessary for his support

This poor herdsman, being old, and probably less able to undergo the fatigues of hunting, or rather, of approaching the game by creeping unseen towards it, had seldom been so fortunate as to kill any; and his principal dependance was on searching for wild roots. Our halting at this place gave him several plentiful meals; and though we must have appeared much more strange to him, than he to us, yet he sat by our fire and mixed with the party, with as much ease as if he had been at his own home.

He informed me that Mattīvi had long been expecting me at Litakun, and had therefore postponed the intended grand hunt, that he might not be absent at the time of my arrival; but that his

[page] 349

people were exceedingly unwilling to make any further delay, as they, and even Mattīvi, believed the report, that I had finally returned to the Colony. But Serrăkútu the present chief's uncle and brother to Mulihában, was the principal adviser that they should still continue to wait for me. For, having been to Klaarwater in the interval of my journey to Graafreynet, he had seen my waggons there, and was then assured by Muchùnka that it was my fixed intention to visit Mattīvi. He left with him injunctions to use every argument to persuade me to come as soon as possible; as he had many things to say to me. Our visitor further added that Mollémmi*, (for that was the name of Mattīvi's elder brother,) was very impatient to accompany me back to Cape Town.

By such information I was enabled to prepare myself for the first interview with the chief, and to consider my answers, and the most judicious mode of proceeding, so as to undeceive him without exposing the plan of my future movements; for I had the satisfaction to perceive that he knew nothing of my intention to travel farther northward.

Not long after the herdsman, came a woman with her two children, and also took up her abode with us during our stay at Sikkloniáni. Her eldest child was a girl about six years old; the other was much younger. She appeared to be about thirty, and told us that she had long been deserted by her husband, who left her that he might take another wife. Since that time she had wandered about with her two children from place to place, making any hut her quarters as long as its owners were willing, or able, to share their food with her. To subsist on charity among the Bichuanas, is a melancholy dependance; but this instance serves, at least, to prove the existence of this virtue, though hospitality, which Hottentots extend to a fault among themselves, and often exercise towards other tribes, forms, it would seem, no part of the moral duty of men of this nation.

* This name was sometimes, though less frequently, pronounced Móllemo or Móllema, with the accent on the first syllable.

[page] 350

Although this woman's appearance did not indicate want of necessary food; yet it certainly did not prove that she had been living in plenty. She was talkative, though sedate; and the freedom and mature confidence with which the daughter often held a conversation with the mother, were remarkable: yet there was, in the child's manner, nothing disrespectful. She seemed to treat them with all maternal affection; and at night, as she lay down on the bare ground to sleep, she wrapped them up with her under her own kobo.

I may here remark that kaross and kobo are but two words for the same thing; the former belonging to the Hottentot, and the latter to the Sichuana, language. They signify the skin-cloak, already described; and may be used indifferently; although the latter is more proper to express the Bichuana cloak, which differs in fashion a little from the other, as it does also in materials; the kaross being generally made of sheep skin with the wool on, and the kobo, either of the fur of various small animals, or of some larger skin made into leather. The latter sort, called kóbo-kaama, because most commonly made of the skin of the kaama antelope, is therefore more properly intended for summer; but the fur-cloaks, called kō;si-kobo, being very expensive to purchase, or very difficult to procure, on account of the number of animals required in making it, poverty obliges the greater part of the nation to wear their leathern cloaks at all seasons, though they are considerably colder than those of fur.*

This poor creature possessed, she said, nothing on earth, but the clothes she wore: and, from the kindness which she testified towards her children, she certainly would not have allowed them to remain almost naked, if she could have obtained another cloak. She was however, besides her cloak, the owner of a pītsa (péetsar) or earthen pot; and which she had brought with her as a very significant emblem of

* Of the kinds of kobo here mentioned, that made of fur is represented in plates 7 and 8; that of leather, in plate 10, and in the 21st, 31st, and 36th vignettes. The sheep-skin kaross may be seen in the vignette at page 1.

[page] 351

her wants, and of the object of her visit. I ordered the men to supply her with meat, although we had little to spare; and it was not long before her pot was on the fire, doing its duty. The children were lively and in good spirits; and it was most probably to the sight of this, that the talkativeness of the girl and her mother, was to be attributed.

12th. This morning an ostrich having been observed feeding among the trees, one of the Hottentots crept under the bushes unperceived towards it, sufficiently near to shoot it. My men now obtained a supply of their favorite ornament, and each one decked himself with a white plume in his hat.

These birds are in general found to be more difficult of approach than the antelopes; which may be occasioned by the greater height of their eye above the ground, enabling them to see over all the shrubs of the plain. This was an old male, and, on account of its feathers being dirty and much damaged, was said to be a 'nest-bird' or one which had been sitting on the eggs. The small feathers which cover the wings were undamaged and of a fine black; but these were not prized by the Hottentots.

In weight and size, the leg of this ostrich, including the flesh of the thigh, was really surprising when viewed as the leg of a bird: it was as much as one man could carry. The flesh was dark-colored, and resembled beef; and was exceedingly coarse and tough, though tolerably well-tasted. It is sometimes, as the Hottentots affirm, of a disagreeable oily flavor; but I could not here distinguish any taste of that nature. The stomach is considered to be the best part of the whole bird, being both tender and delicate; but my men, who were acquainted with this circumstance, took care to eat up the whole of it before they gave me this piece of information.

Our provisions being nearly consumed, this bird came very opportunely in our way, and besides, enabled me, by giving the poor Bachapin woman one of the legs, to keep her pot employed for several days after our departure.

We were now within a very moderate day's-journey of Litakun;

[page] 352

but as I conceived it would be more convenient to arrive there as early in the day as possible, so that there might be sufficient time to have an interview with the Chief, and make some arrangements before the night came on, I determined to advance this day no nearer than the last water on this side of the town.

When we had travelled two miles, we halted for a few minutes to fill the water-casks at a shallow pond of clear water surrounded by acacias, a fountain similar to Sikkloniáni; having been told that the spring at which we were to unyoke was slightly brackish, yet not unwholesome. At the distance of a mile beyond this, we came to another similar pond; and, as I depended upon Muchunka, who was well acquainted with the country, and assured me that this was the only water until we reached Litakun, I halted here for the night, though we had not proceeded more than three miles. But on the following day I discovered that we might have advanced six miles farther, as this would have brought us to a plentiful rivulet of excellent water, within four miles of the town.

What this man's reason might be for wishing me to halt at this place instead of going forward, as I should have done, to the rivulet, I never could learn; nor why, after leaving Little Klibbolikhonni, he led me in a northerly direction down the Kruman river, when he knew that the direct and usual course would have taken us to the source of it, at the Klibbolikhonni Spring, in the bearing of northeast. Yet, that it was some selfish motive, I have no doubt; although my suspicions as to his want of fidelity were not awakened at this time. It is to be feared that every traveller who shall spend among these African tribes time enough to learn their true character, will find, to his trouble and vexation, that the only principle by which they are guided is selfishness; or rather, that they have not the fixed inflexible principle of honor to restrain them from swerving from the path of rectitude.

The place at which we had halted was called Lobŭtsānĭ, if my interpreter's word can be relied on. The air was now, as it had been during the whole day, extremely cold; its chilling effect being increased

[page] 353

by a strong easterly wind; the thermometer not having risen during the day higher than 58½°, (11·7 R.), and remaining all night at 43°, (4·8 R.).

13th. It was my intention to fix my residence at Litakun for some time, as the most favourable situation for studying the character of the people and observing their customs. An abode there of several weeks, would, I conceived, be highly advantageous in preparing me for the journey onwards, and would enable me to gain much more experience, and in much less time, than could be expected while travelling hastily through the other parts of the country, where we should, only occasionally, see a few straggling individuals; if a judgement could be formed from the number which we had hitherto met. We should, by continuing to travel every day, soon reach, indeed, the farthest extremity of their country; but it would be long before I had made myself acquainted with their manners and customs, or had acquired that practical knowledge and experience, which I deemed essential to my safety and success. It appeared, therefore, to be accordant to reason, that I should make myself tolerably well acquainted with one tribe or nation, before I proceeded to the next.

At an earlier hour than usual, we began to yoke the oxen to the waggons; and it seemed as if some new sensation was felt at our near approach to a large and populous town. I could evidently perceive that the thought of terminating this days-journey in a scene so different from all which we had hitherto beheld, roused in my people some strong feelings; and though they were not apparently those of fear, yet I have little doubt from subsequent experience, that, had not Muchunka been with us to inspire the party with confidence in the peaceable disposition of his countrymen, I should have found great difficulty in persuading the whole of my men to advance another step beyond Lobutsáni.

This being the day for receiving their rations of brandy and tobacco, they requested to have them before we set out, as it was not likely that I should have leisure for giving them at the usual hour in the evening. With this wish I most readily complied; not


[page] 354

only because I had resolved to conceal from the Bichuanas all knowledge of my having any intoxicating drink in the waggon, but because I had lately witnessed how necessary tobacco was to amuse, if I may so express it, the minds of my men, and imagined that the exhilarating power of the brandy would be on this day especially useful.

There was among all my party, a certain degree of curiosity to see this long-talked-of town, in praise of which they had heard so much; and this enlivened them, and perhaps, during its continuance, counteracted their timidity. I need not describe my own sensations at so interesting a point of my journey; they may easily be conceived by those who have ever felt a desire to visit a foreign land that they may view and contemplate the human character in some new light; and that, by tracing the gradations and shades of notions and ideas, through the various customs of different nations, and even to their first feeble source in uncivilized life, they may better understand themselves, and learn by the comparison, to form a juster estimate of that society which more immediately surrounds them, and to which they more properly belong. Those will feel as I felt; and will find in their own heart, a ready apology for all those stratagems by which I endeavoured to draw my men into a consent to accompany me to nations still more remote, and still less known.

Our course this day, was over the same level country which I have called the Great Plains of Litákun, a denomination which does not express too much, as our journey through that part only which lay on this side of the town, was, according to my estimation, not less than forty-seven miles, extending in one unbroken expanse. They still preserved their sandy and grassy character, though occasionally varied with bushes; and were not without the pleasing relief of frequent clumps of acacias. The lime-stone rock, which, in some places, of a white and in others of a blackish color, had been here and there observable during nearly the whole distance, now began to disappear beneath the surface, and sandstone and granite rocks, a kind not before noticed in the Transgariepine, introduced a change in the

[page] 355

geological appearance of that part of the plain in which the town was situated.

Agreeably to the hypothesis which I have ventured to assume, and which has already been explained *, these rocks must rest upon the great limestone floor; unless we adopt another, which, though it would suppose the limestone to be the superincumbent stratum, does not contradict the assertion that the whole country is geologically a primitive region; and although no favorable opportunities for ascertaining the fact, presented themselves, yet it is not impossible that the granite may protrude itself through this limestone. In either case, it still remains a fact, as far at least as my observation extends, that the limestone never rises above the surface, and that wherever hills or mountains occur, they are found to be either of clay-slate, or of sand-stone: none which I examined were of granite, this substance having been met with only in a comparatively small proportion.

As we advanced, the surface of the plain, which had hitherto been sandy, became more rocky. At first the rocks were of limestone, though of a blackish color; as we proceeded, they changed to a red sandstone; and farther, they were composed of a coarse granite.

In this part of our days-journey, the pretty flowering shrub already noticed †?grew in greater abundance, and tempted me to halt a few minutes to lay some luxuriant specimens into the press; an operation which at other times had always been deferred till the waggons arrived at the night's station; but in the present case there could be no expectation of having sufficient leisure at the usual hour.

At the distance of six miles from Lobutsáni, we crossed to the right bank of a rivulet which was running in a plentiful stream; and which was said to join itself to the following. At two miles and a quarter beyond this, we came to a larger stream, which our guide called the Litákun river, though distant from that town a mile and a

* At page 311. of this volume.

† The Passerina? mentioned at page 341.

Z Z 2

[page] 356

half; but which I afterwards found to be the highest and principal branch of the Moshwa (Mŏshówa), and the river which flows by the original town of Litákun now deserted and in ruins. Its banks were steep; and it was not till after some delay in searching for a practicable road for the waggons, that they could be dragged safely to the opposite bank. The bed of this river, or more properly, rivulet, was but a few yards wide, and of this the water occupied but a small part; yet, as it flows constantly during the whole year, it is regarded by the natives as a considerable stream, though much inferior to the Kruman.

As we approached the hills which partly enclose the valley in which Litákun stands, the ground became more uneven and rocky. A number of oxen, attended by several herdsmen, and a few straggling inhabitants showed us that we were not far from the town; while some large mokaala trees, and every bush around, indicated, by the unsparing manner in which they had been lopped and cut for fuel, that we were in the immediate neighbourhood of a populous place. Many narrow foot-paths leading forward in one general direction, pointed out our way, and began to awaken my attention to the unexpected magnitude of the town; for as yet I had not been able to gain any distinct notion of its size: every person of whom I had asked questions on this head, denominating it a very large kraal, but being unable to give me any other more defined idea: so that my expectations as to its extent were very much below what I actually found it to be.

At length, the most gratifying sight which my journey had yet afforded, presented itself; and part of the Town of Litákun now appeared before me. As we advanced nearer, and gained higher ground, the multitude of houses which continued rising into view as far as I could see, excited astonishment; while their novel form and character seized my whole attention, as my eager eyes surveyed and examined their outline though yet at a distance. They occupied, in detached groups, a portion of the plain, not less than a mile and a half in diameter. The situation of the town appeared open,

[page] 357

though surrounded by hills. The spaces which intervened between the houses, were sparingly covered with low bushes and a halftrampled herbage. A few mokaalas were here and there to be seen standing amidst the dwellings; but excepting these, no other tree was visible in any quarter. The usual appearance of Bachapin houses is exhibited in the annexed engraving.

[page] 358



WHEN the waggons had nearly reached some of the first houses, which lay irregularly scattered on the skirts of the town, and our approach was discovered, many of the inhabitants flocked round us, and the crowd increased at every step. All seemed highly pleased at our arrival, and moved forward by the side of the waggons, with a briskness and alacrity which seemed to show that they regarded my coming as a public holiday, or as a great event which rejoiced them the more as their expectations of seeing me had so long been disappointed.

As for myself, I scarcely once thought of the rest of my party, and seemed to have entirely forgotten that I had either waggons or attendants belonging to me; so completely was my attention absorbed by the interesting scene before me, and by the novelty of all which I beheld. The good humour which beamed in the countenances of the

[page] 359

crowd, reflected a sunshine upon every object, and from the first instant, banished every uneasy sensation which the uncertainty of our reception might have created. With the recollection of the vexations and disappointments which had so long attended my progress into the Interior, I felt as though I had, by advancing thus far, gained a triumph over the numerous difficulties which must always beset and oppose every traveller who shall attempt to explore these regions, alone and unsupported, cheered by no friend, upheld by no aid. While surveying with rapidity the new character of this bustling crowd of Africans, and admiring the social appearance and magnitude of a town, so different in every respect from those of Europe, I caught a spirit of enthusiasm which seemed like some fascinating power emanating from the strange objects which every where surrounded me, and excited feelings which rendered my first view of the town of Litakun, a moment, which, in its peculiar gratification and delight, was never surpassed by any other event of the journey. Accustomed, as I had been, for so many months, to the sight of only the frail moveable huts of Hottentots and Bushmen, I rejoiced at finding myself at length arrived among a nation whose dwellings claimed the name of buildings. Although the weather was cold, yet the sun shone bright and shed animation upon the scene and enlivened the appearance of these dwellings, as much as the arrival of the white stranger, seemed to lend a pleasing active curiosity to their gazing inhabitants.

Muchunka, who was in high spirits, led the way as our guide through the labyrinth of houses. He had equipped himself with a gun and cartridge-box on this occasion, that he might display before his countrymen some marks of superiority; and of which he was not a little proud. My own men, of whom three were mounted on horses and the rest on foot, kept closely together; while I myself sat in front of the great waggon, by the side of Philip, and whom I was glad to see managing his long whip without the least symptom of being confused by the presence of so large a throng. My attention was too much occupied another way, to allow me to observe whether all of my party were equally at their ease; but I suspected that they

[page] 360

were not. He, indeed, had, some years before, made a journey to the Kruman at the time when the Bachapins were residing in a town on that river; but to all the others, this country and its inhabitants, were not less new, than they were to myself.

The buildings were nowhere ranged in the form of streets, nor placed according to any regular plan; but were scattered about, in some places far apart, and in others standing so closely together, as not to admit a passage for my waggons between them.*

I had desired Muchunka to conduct us at once to the dwelling of the Chief. As we proceeded towards the middle of the town and the waggons drove past their dwellings, the families ran out to get a sight of us; the women half-astonished, the children half-afraid: but the men immediately quitted their employment and added themselves to the countless crowd by which we were already surrounded, and almost impeded. Yet, they conducted themselves without the least disorderly behaviour or boisterous noise: nor did they, though naturally most importunate beggars of tobacco, attempt at this time to interrupt our progress by any solicitations of the kind. One man who was walking by the side of the waggon, once, as he looked up in my face, pronounced the word mŭchúko (tobacco); but no others followed his example as I took no notice of it, being fearful, from the experience I had already gained, that had I complied with his request, the whole crowd would soon have been in an uproar; and the only word to have been distinguished, would have been, muchuko.

At length we arrived before Mattivi's house: it differed in no respect from other houses, nor did its appearance exhibit the least superiority, or indicate it to be the dwelling of the Chief of so large a town, and the ruler of a whole tribe.

I waited a minute, expecting that the Chief himself, or some

* The fifth plate will give some idea of the appearance of the town of Litákun, on entering it from the west, and looking northward. The various objects seen in this view, will be found fully explained in the two last chapters of this volume. On the left, is represented a man carrying a parasol made of ostrich-feathers; and in the middle of the picture, are the figures of two women and a child. The large trees are mokaalas, or camelthorns.

[page break]

[page break]

[page] 361

person in authority who might have been in readiness, would have come forward to meet me; but as I could distinguish in the multitude no person of this description, all being dressed alike, I ordered my men to loose the oxen from the yoke, and drive them and the other cattle back to the open space on the outside of the town.

The crowd which had collected round us, was now so much increased by the people who flocked from all parts of the town to view us, that I was soon enclosed in so great a multitude, that every object beyond them was excluded from my sight. Muchunka, as my interpreter, remained close by my side; but my Hottentots were so intermingled with the natives, that I saw little of them after the oxen had been unyoked.

In this situation I found that I was surrounded by most of the principal men of Litakun. Among the foremost and most loquacious was the Chief's uncle Serrakútu(Serrakóotoo) the brother of Mulihában, and the first who was introduced to me: for here, the peculiarity of the case required that the practice of civilized countries should be reversed; and instead of introducing the stranger to the chief personage, it was necessary to point out this one to the stranger, who, otherwise, could not have distinguished him from the rest of the crowd; though, on the other hand, there was little necessity for indicating to him who was the stranger.

After waiting about five minutes, a man who stood close by my side, was without much ceremony brought to my notice as Mattīvi, the Chief of the Bachapins. Whether he had stood there the whole time, or had but just forced his way through the crowd, I was too much engaged to have noticed; but in his peculiar silence and reserved manners he formed a striking contrast to his uncle Serrakútu, who now openly exulted in the superiority of his judgment in having, contrary to the opinion of the Chief himself and of every one else, persisted in assuring them that, notwithstanding the report of my having returned to the colony, I should certainly visit their town. This person, therefore more especially, seemed pleased at my coming, and placed himself so far forward in the conversation, that had I

VOL. II. 3 A

[page] 362

been left to my own decision, I should not have hesitated in addressing him as the Chief.

Mattīvi in outward appearance differed in no respect from those of the crowd by whom he was surrounded. Compared with the rest of his nation, he was in stature of an intermediate proportion, and of a good figure; neither tali nor short, neither thin nor corpulent. In his countenance there was little expression of openness, or of that good-natured easy disposition which might be seen in the features of several who stood near him. He wore an ordinary leathern kobo or cloak, and was ornamented round the neck with a thick necklace of twisted sinews, one string of large beads alternately white and purple, and several small cords from which, conformably to general custom, a common knife of Bichuāna manufacture* was suspended. He was barefooted, and wore nothing on the head; but his hair was plastered with a thick covering of grease mixed with sibīlo which caused it to shine with perfect metallic lustre. On bis left arm, above the elbow, were five broad rings of ivory. †?His age appeared to be above forty; but it is possible that it might not have been quite so much; as his grave and sedate deportment on the one hand, and his uncle's talkativeness on the other, seemed to bring their ages nearer together than, it may be supposed, they really were. A thicker beard than commonly seen among his countrymen, who often have none at all, assisted much in producing these impressions.

He stood perfectly still, with his hands before him folded in each other, and with his eyes directed rather downwards, but now and then looking up and showing that he was attending to all that was said. He spoke very little or almost nothing; and left the conversation to Serrakútu and his brothers. These were pointed out to me; for to say, introduced, would create an idea of some form or ceremony, and give a very erroneous impression of the whole affair. The brothers who were present on this occasion, were Mollémmĭ Molaalĭ, and Măhúra. Mollémmĭ, whose name has already been

* Such as may be seen represented by the upper figure of the 39th vignette.

† See the 38th vignette.

[page] 363

mentioned, was a tall thin man, of a countenance most remarkable for its long and disproportioned features. The mother of him and of his elder brother Mattīvi, was a Kora; but the others were the sons of a Bichuāna woman. Molálĭ (or Molaală) was a fine well-proportioned young man of a genuine Bichuana countenance and complexion, approaching somewhat to the negro. The younger brother, Mahúra, was remarkably handsome as a black, and seemed to be about twenty years of age. He was of fine proportions, and in limbs and figure, not unlike the well known statue of Antinoüs, though somewhat fatter. On his feet he wore sandals*, and his head was bound round, not inelegantly, with a leathern handkerchief, nearly in the manner which has been shown in a former plate.†

The conversation which took place between us, amounted to but little; being much interrupted by passing through the mouth of an interpreter. This man seemed quite at home among these people; and, being personally known to most of them, who called him familiarly by his name, he often continued the conversation for his own pleasure, quite forgetting his official duties, and leaving me to guess, by their looks and gestures, or by a single word which now and then, though rarely, caught my ear, the purport of what was said between them.

It must not be supposed, because I have called him my interpreter, that he performed his duty with much regularity; or that he had any very strict notions of the nature of his situation. His ideas on this subject were the most vague; and he seemed to think, that by giving me occasionally a little of the information, he acquitted himself of his obligation. Neither must it be imagined, that at this introductory meeting either the Chief or myself, made many complimentary speeches to each other, or conducted ourselves with much courtly formality: to relate such incidents in this manner, might perhaps, set off a traveller's story to much advantage, and excite a pleasing wonderment in his readers; but the inflexible rule of truth

* Figures of the Bachapin sandal are given at the end of this chapter.

† That of the 'portrait of a Kora.' Plate 10. of the first volume.

3 A 2

[page] 364

will not allow him thus to decorate his narrative, while conscience whispers that he ought to tell a plainer tale.

At this time the principal remarks which were made by the assembly, were merely to inform me that they had for a length of time been expecting me at Litakun: to which I replied, that as I had long felt a strong desire to become acquainted with them, it was never my intention to return home till I had visited their town. Serrakútu rejoined, that I spoke very rightly, and he was glad to hear me say so. As Mattīvi seemed so little inclined to speak, I put myself on a level with him, by merely saying to him that I was come to see him: to which he replied by one or two words expressive of approbation and assent. Muchùnkă was much pleased in pointing out to me the different relations of Mattīvi, who were standing by us: he spoke to every one in his usual and animated manner, and might have been taken for one of the most important personages, if men's importance were to be measured by their confidence. Yet it was not the confidence of presumption: it was not in the smallest degree wanting in due respect towards them.

Our interview had thus lasted about ten minutes, when the Chief, addressing himself to me, said he wished that we should sit down. We were then standing near my waggons, in an open space between the houses. I expressed my desire to do as he wished; but remained on my feet till he should first be seated. Seeing however that he waited for me, I sat myself down upon the ground, in the African manner; and immediately he did the same, placing himself opposite to me; while the different members of his family, and the kō;sies or subordinate chieftains*, formed round us a circle two or three deep; the rest of the people still continuing standing, as close as it was possible for them to crowd together. The engraving at the head of the chapter (page 358.) will give some idea of this scene.

The Chief still preserving his taciturnity, Serrakùtu assumed

* I here use the word chieftain, as the nearest to my meaning; although to some persons, it may possibly seem to express too much: but the sense in which it is to be understood may easily be discovered from my explanation of the word kosi, at pages 272. 347. and 348.

[page] 365

the prominent station, and made himself the principal speaker; although Mollémmi also, took a share in the debate. The younger brothers and sons, though attentive to all which was passing, remained respectfully silent. The surrounding spectators seldom attempted to speak; but the kosies who formed the sitting circle, occasionally addressed themselves to my interpreter. He, whether to save himself trouble, or because what they said was not spoken directly to me, left the greatest part of their remarks uninterpreted. It appeared that they were questioning him on various subjects relating to my journey; such as the length of time since my departure from Cape Town, which place they called Mŏkaapa; the reason of my subsequent return into the colony; the quantity of tobacco and beads which I had brought with me; the object of my visit to Litakun; and others of the same nature. What answers were made to all these I know not; but he afterwards gave me to understand that his replies were conformable to that which he had always heard stated by my Hottentots.

Addressing myself to the Chief, I told him, that my object in coming into his country, was to form an acquaintance with him and his people, whom I had heard so favorably spoken of at Kárrĭkammă (Klaarwater): that so much had been said in praise of Litakun, that I had been very desirous of seeing his town: that I wished at the same time to hunt the wild animals, that I might be enabled to take home the skins of them to my own country: that I intended to stop with the Bachăpīns long enough to learn their language, so that I might be able to tell them myself many things which I wished them to know, and that we might by these means understand each other's sentiments more clearly than they could be explained through an interpreter: and that I hoped we should thus become true friends, that I might at my return home, report of the Bachapins that they were a good people, and that on hearing this, other white-men would visit him and bring abundance of beads and tobacco. I therefore wished now to know from himself, whether he thought that what I had said, was good; and whether he approved of my remaining a long time at Litakun.

[page] 366

To this, his answer, or rather that of the interpreter, was simply, "That is the same.' By which he meant to say, that I was at liberty to stay as long as it pleased me, or to depart whenever I chose. He thus, by confining his reply to my last words, cunningly avoided giving at our first meeting, any opinion on the other parts of my speech.

The surrounding multitude were in the highest degree attentive to all we said; the eyes of every individual were fixed upon me, and examined me with the utmost curiosity. As I thought I could perceive satisfaction in their countenances, I felt perfectly at ease; but could not, on viewing the assembly and snatching in the midst of these transactions a moment to reflect on my situation, a solitary Englishman wandering among lawless nations in the heart of Africa, to gratify a desire of beholding human nature in its uncivilized state, I could not but feel sensible of the risk I incurred.

After sitting thus for about ten minutes, the Chief rose and left the circle, Serrakútu ordering the crowd to make way for him; which they instantly did, without confusion or noise. All the rest remained in their places, and a conversation of the same nature as before, was renewed between the kosies. A few trifling questions were put to me, who in my turn put others of as little importance; asking if they had many elephants and camelopards in their country, and if there was much game to be found in the vicinity of the town. At some intervals little was spoken by any one; the attention of all being engaged in watching every motion I made, and in observing my features.

In five minutes the Chief returned. The crowd opened a passage for him, as before; but no one rose or quitted his seat: he stepped between the chieftains, and took his place within the circle. He had risen and gone into the house, for the purpose of fetching a small calabash, of milk; which, as soon as he was seated, he offered to me. He said nothing, but intimated by his motions and looks that it was presented as a testimony of friendly feeling towards me. Accordingly, I took a part of it; during which ceremony, Serrakútu, Mollé;mmi, and Muchunka, continued talking, while the

[page] 367

rest of the assembly and the crowd, in silence rivetted their eyes upon me, with looks of uncommon interest and surprise; as a great number of them, there is no doubt, had never before beheld a white man.

As I conceived it would not have been decorous to have returned any part of this present, I gave the remainder to Juli that he might set it in the waggon; for on looking round at the crowd I at that moment discovered him close to me. My own men had been completely excluded from me, but he, not yet knowing whether my reception was friendly or not and becoming anxious for the result, had thus forced his way to his master's side.

After this we continued sitting; but no further conversation took place between us. At length Serrakútu asked me to give him some tobacco; but, though I had put some in my pocket for occasional distribution, I declined giving him any at this time, as I feared that some confusion might arise, should all the others make the same request, and as I knew that the quantity I had about me would not suffice for the whole assembly if I began to give a piece to each. I answered him, that until the Chief had received that which was intended for him, it would not be correct to make a present to any one else; and he expressed himself satisfied with my excuse.

That we might not sit silent and unemployed, I opened my snuff-box, and held it towards Mattīvi, who took two thirds of its contents, and returned it to me: but, as I was sure that he would be better pleased with three thirds, I put the box again into his hand, and found that I had not mistaken his feelings. He emptied the whole into the hollow of his hand and drawing from its sheath, the knife which hung from his neck, he, with the point of it, distributed a small quantity to each of his family and to all the chieftains who sat in the inner circle, reserving for himself no larger share than he had given to any of the rest; a display of generosity to which he was induced by the presence of the assembly. On this, a general snuff-taking ensued, in the manner already described; but the quantity which each received, was not sufficient to produce that strong effect, nor even an inclination to sneeze.

On asking Muchùnka privately if this would not be a proper

[page] 368

moment for bringing forward the presents which I intended making to the Chief, he advised that I should wait till another opportunity, as he knew, he said, that Mattīvi would be better pleased if they were given to him when quite alone.

At length Mattīvi rose, and without ceremony, or speaking to any one, left the assembly. I remained a few minutes after; but on ascertaining that he would not return, I quitted the circle also, and retired to my waggon; on which, the chieftains rose, and the crowd dispersed.

During this interview, which lasted little more than three quarters of an hour, the principal object of my attention had been to discover, if possible, the character of the man to whom I was about to commit myself, and on whose dealings so much depended. But his silence baffled all power of guessing; yet I thought I could discern through all this affectation of dignity, indications of a want of mind and of that which constitutes real dignity. To have expected to find this last quality in him, was not expecting more than was possible, since it is as much the gift of nature as of refined education; and an uncultivated savage may often possess it in a higher degree than those whom art would elevate, but to whom nature has refused her support. Although I observed nothing which could be considered as prepossessing in his favor; yet the impressions of a first interview had not disappointed the expectations which I had allowed myself to entertain of his character.

To make use of the word king when speaking of such a man; or of queens, princes, or princesses, to designate his wives, sons, or daughters, would betray a childish vanity which, instead of adding importance to my journal, would only serve to give extremely false notions of the persons whom it means to describe. I am content with humble terms for expressing humble things. It is, I may be excused for saying, very far from being the object of this narrative, to create an interest in it by any of the arts of exaggeration; among which, that of elevating the character of ideas by false names, or of depressing it by similar means, is not the least dishonest.

Scarcely had I seated myself in the waggon, when another crowd formed itself. From the first, all women, girls, and boys had been

[page] 369

excluded; but now the throng consisted entirely of these. In order to get sight of me, they had arranged themselves in a long line, extending from the back of the waggon, the end usually open; so that they might look into it, and have a full view. This was a scene as amusing and interesting to me as to them; and therefore to gratify both parties, I seated myself forward; by which a greater multitude were enabled to see at once. They talked a great deal, and in a very familiar and lively manner; but unfortunately their volubility of utterance prevented my distinguishing a single word; and my interpreter had at this time left me to myself. At last, that important word mŭchūko was often repeated by those who stood nearest: on which I endeavoured to tell them, by a combination of words and signs, that I could not give them any tobacco till Mattīvi had received some. This mode of conversing, being, I supposed, quite unintelligible to them, appeared to afford these Bachapin ladies much amusement. At this moment Muchunka, seeing me so completely beset by this curious good-humoured crowd, came to my assistance; and explained to them what I had been endeavouring to say. One of those who had been importuning for tobacco, was the wife of the Chief; but notwithstanding her rank, she was as little successful as the rest. This crowd was composed only of the wives, younger daughters and sons, of the richer inhabitants; those of a lower class were not permitted to approach me till a day or two afterwards. They continued standing in this manner for some time, till they had satisfied their curiosity; on which they returned to their homes.

Soon after this, Mattūvi, Serrakútu, and Mollémmi, came and took their seats in the waggon. As they appeared to have no other object than that of mere curiosity, I took out my vocabulary and read various sentences to them in their own language. These, as my pronunciation was not unintelligible, seemed to afford them considerable amusement; and Muchunka did not fail to let them know that I had learnt them from him. But though they appeared pleased, they exhibited none of that surprise which I have described as having been witnessed on a former occasion; and even Muchunka's astonish-

VOL. II. 3 B

[page] 370

ment was now much moderated. They could scarcely be quite ignorant of the nature and use of books and writing, as several white-persons, had at different times, visited their country. It seemed to afford them much pleasure, when I repeated that it was my intention to learn their language, that I might talk to them without an interpreter. Mattīvi's manners, though still sedate and reserved, were now somewhat more familiar, and he had evidently laid aside that assumed apathy and silence, which he may have thought more becoming him in a public assembly composed of the principal men of property and influence, belonging to the town; and even among the larger crowd, there were, perhaps, but few of the poorer class then present.

He pointed to a large circular enclosure close by, surrounded by a fence or hedge of dry branches, where he wished my waggon to be stationed, as he remarked that I should find the open place where it now stood, to be very inconvenient on account of my being there too much exposed to the general crowd of the inhabitants. I therefore ordered my men to move it thither: which they easily effected without the oxen, as the ground was level and even. We still remained sitting within, while they drew it along; and it was exceedingly amusing to behold this Chief of the Bachapins, who, a few minutes before, sat in the midst of a great assembly of his nation, with a gravity of deportment which would hardly permit him even to return an answer to my address, now, as pleased with the ride, as a child when drawn about by its nurse. All his dignity in my eyes, was at an end: he seemed now to be only a Bachapin named Mattīvi. He regretted that the distance was so short; and his uncle and his brother, not less than himself, were delighted with the motion of the vehicle, and betrayed their satisfaction by countenances exhibiting an intermediate expression between smiling and laughing.

They descended from the waggon as soon as it was brought within the enclosure; and Mattīvi showed me a hut on one side of the area, which he gave for the use of my men. The plan of it was circular; the sides, which extended round two thirds only of the circumference, were made with roughly-interwoven branches

[page] 371

and twigs; and the roof was covered with dry grass. It was of very rude construction, and in no respect resembled the neat dwelling-houses of the town: it differed from a Hottentot hut only in materials and greater size, and was intended merely as a place of shade. My people, however, were very well pleased with it, as we had seldom found so good a shelter on the journey; and they easily rendered it more comfortable, by closing the front with the mats which we had brought with us for similar purposes.

The Bachapin kosies, or chieftains, do not receive visitors or transact business in their houses or within the fence by which they are incircled; but appropriate to this use a large open area, from five-and-twenty to thirty yards across, surrounded by either a hedge of branches, or a rough irregular palisade. ln this area, which they call a móotsi (móatsy), or mútsu (móotsew), all public business is transacted; and it is here, where they and their attendants and friends, usually sit during the day and in fine weather. It is the place of public resort for the men, but not for the women; whose laborious employments call them another way. Sometimes a large tree is left standing in it, for the sake of shade, but more frequently they are quite unsheltered: that belonging to Mattīvi was of this kind, without a bush or green twig within the fence; the hut being intended to supply this deficiency.

It was in an enclosure of this kind, where my waggons were stationed; than which, no situation could afford a more favorable opportunity for observing the manners of the principal inhabitants, and the mode of conducting public affairs; as it was that particular móotsi which belonged to the Chief.*

Soon after we had made these arrangements, a Bachapin presented himself to me as an old acquaintance, and spoke Dutch with great fluency. I had however no recollection of him, until he reminded me of his having joined our caravan at the Karree river, on our journey through the Roggeveld. At that time he attracted no particular atten-

* The outside of one of these public enclosures, is shown in the 6th plate, under the large trees, and in the same engraving, the situation of the waggone may be seen.

3 B 2

[page] 372

tion, as he did not then make himself known to me as a native of Litakun; and from his speaking the language of the Colony so readily, and wearing the same dress as the other people, I supposed him to be a Hottentot of the mixed race. He now told me that he had been living in the service of the boors in the Bokkeveld and Roggeveld, from the time of his childhood; but knew not, as he said, by what means he was brought away from his native country. On the arrival of our caravan in that part of the colony, he conceived a desire to visit the land which gave him birth; although he was utterly ignorant of the name of his parents, and even of the name they had given him, by which he might be enabled to make himself known to them: and besides this, he was totally unacquainted with the Sichuana language. He had received from the Boors, the name of Adam; and by this he was now generally called. Having been told that I was coming to this place, he had intended to accompany my waggons thus far; but the various delays which had impeded my progress, and the reported uncertainty of my ever returning alive to Klaarwater, had at last induced him to make the journey in company with some Hottentots; with whom he arrived here about a month before me. To his great pleasure, he had at length discovered his father; and who, to his further satisfaction, proved to be one of the richest chieftains in the town, and consequently, a man of some importance; to which advantages he thus found himself suddenly, and most unexpectedly, entitled. His father's superior affluence might be estimated from the circumstance of his having four different dwelling-houses, and as many wives. Adam was endeavouring to learn the language; but as yet bad experienced great difficulty in making himself to be understood by his countrymen. It was not, he said, his intention to fix his residence permanently at this place, as he preferred living on the Gariep, with the Hottentots, under captain Berends; to whose manners, language, and mode of life, he was more accustomed; as he knew little of any others. He had partly laid aside his colonial dress, and had adopted that of the Bichuanas, excepting only the pukóli: instead of this he retained his leathern trowsers, to which he had been accustomed all his

[page] 373

life; and at this time expressed himself as averse from adopting that part of their dress, after having been so long clothed in a very different manner.

With respect to the covering of the human body, we may remark that among the various nations of the globe, whatever advancement they may have made, they rarely if ever make a retrograde change. And, could this opinion be established as a rule, it would lead us to conclude that the aborigines of Southern Africa could never have descended from a nation once accustomed to wear complete clothing.

The place allotted for my cattle, was in the same pound with those of the Chief. A little before sunset, a Bachapin, who said he was Mattīvi's son-in-law, entered the enclosure, driving in my oxen before him. They were found in the town, without any one attending them; and, being used to come home at that hour, had of their own accord gone into one of the mootsies, which happening to be his, they were immediately recognised as belonging to me, and every one selected, without mistake, from among his own with which they had mingled; a further proof of the faculty which all these South-Africans have, of distinguishing and recognising oxen in the midst of numerous herds. He claimed a piece of tobacco for his trouble, and, on receiving three inches, departed as much pleased at my cattle having strayed into his kraal, as I was vexed at finding that they had been so much neglected by my own herdsman. But I consoled myself with having by these means discovered that there existed so much good faith and honesty in the inhabitants, that on such occasions they were ready to restore the lost oxen to their owner, instead of concealing them, in order to profit by my loss.

Adjoining the public enclosures, are others of the same kind, called likháaï, and also móotsi, in which the cattle are confined at night, and to which there is usually no entrance but through the first: so that by placing a guard here and around the hedge, their cows and oxen are well secured, both from breaking out, and from any attempts of their enemies.

A wooden jug, containing about a gallon of sour or thick milk,

[page] 374

was brought to me by a chieftain's servant; and soon afterwards Serrakútu came to inform me that it was he who had sent it; and at the same time begged me to give him some tobacco. Not wishing to be troubled by similar importunities from others, I put a piece secretly into his hand, requesting that he would not let any one know that he had received it from me. This caution was quite unnecessary, as he valued it himself too much to give any away to others; which he could not have avoided doing, had it been known; as his friends Would, in that case, have beset him on all sides. He instantly concealed it under his cloak and hasted away home to deposit it in a place of safety.

When Mattīvi left the waggon, he took his seat on the ground at the distance of a few yards, where his attendants and brothers sat in a small party, engaged either in desultory conversation with each other, or in observing our movements. At some times they appeared not to heed our presence; at others, to watch every thing with apparent curiosity and interest. The spot where he had seated himself, and which he used as long as I remained at Litakun, was directly facing the open end, or back, of my own waggon; so that he had a constant and full view of me, whenever the canvas flap was tied open; which it usually was, during the first fortnight of my residence at this town.

Numbers of the inhabitants were standing about unemployed, except in looking at the waggons and observing all which we did; but, awed or restrained by their Chief, they did not interrupt me, or venture to importune for any thing; a sufficient proof that he had issued strict orders to forbid begging at that time. These, and my own declaration that nothing would be given away till Mattīvi had received what was intended for him, were the only cause of my remaining all day unmolested in this respect.

Among my stores, I had coffee still remaining; and as soon as some was prepared, I sent a large cupful to the Chief, who drank it immediately it was presented to him, and expressed his approbation by the words, It is good. He admired the vessel which held it, and inquired if it was made of ivory. This remark was not injudicious,

[page] 375

as a small jar of white glazed earthenware, was not altogether unlike ivory: it was the last remaining European article of that nature, which I had then left to supply the place of a coffee-cup; every thing else having long been broken to pieces by the unavoidable accidents of travelling.

In the evening, as soon as my Waggon was closed and the candle lighted, Mattīvi climbed in and took his seat, accompanied by his brothers Mollémmi and Moláali, and attended by Adam the Bachapin, whom they brought with them as interpreter: but, as he was too little acquainted with the Sichuana language, I Was obliged to call in the assistance of Muchunka. We were therefore all closely crowded together, as my sitting-room, if I may call it so, had been made only large enough conveniently for one person.

The coffee-kettle was still standing more than half full; and on seeing this Mattīvi asked for another cup, which was accordingly poured out for him, and the same quantity also presented to his brothers. This beverage appeared to be highly agreeable to their palate, and so much were they pleased with it, that as soon as one cup was drunk, they asked for another, and repeated their request till the kettle was emptied.

Among other remarks it was explained to me that the name Mollémmi signified 'left-handed;' a circumstance which first led me to conclude that these people do not receive their names while infants; but that, in all probability, these are given, only when they have attained an age at which they begin to exhibit some character of their own. This may not be the case on every occasion, since I had no opportunity of ascertaining this point clearly; but it certainly is so on many, of which this is an instance; as Mollémmi was really left-handed. He used the knife with that hand, and did with it what others usually do only with their right; being in several things, ambidextrous.

The Word moláala signifies, a person who is possessed of little, and is used as a common appellative for a servant or inferior attendant. The name Muchùnka has nearly the same signification, but implies a lower rank. The name of the Chief's youngest brother

[page] 376

Mahúra, may be expressed in English by 'fat;' a word which most correctly accorded with his figure.

When they had drunk all the coffee, they seemed inclined to enter into conversation. Mattīvi commenced by saying, that Muli- hában his father, a short time before he died, had desired him to be kind to all his brothers, and to take every care of them; that they were numerous, and all depended on him for protection. He then remarked that Mulihában was always a great friend to white-men. To which I replied; Yes, I had already heard that he was, and that the white-men would therefore lament, on receiving the news of his death; but that when I should inform them that Mattīvi was equally their friend, they would rejoice again, and white-men would again come to see him.

These remarks, and a few others of the same kind, were made in a desultory manner, and appeared to have no mutual connection, nor any particular object: they were merely meant as an introduction to another more important subject which it seems, had occupied their thoughts long before my arrival, and had been a matter of national consultation. It had previously pressed so much on their minds, that it had evidently been resolved to make it the very first point of discussion, as soon as I had reached their town. The Chief, therefore, informed me that since Afrikaander * had now supplied the Bamuchárs with guns, he could no longer consider himself safe in this part of the country, unless he could procure similar arms; and that as soon as this most desirable object was obtained, he intended to remove his town and all his people nearer towards the Gariep, to the spot where it stood at the time of his birth. He expressed himself highly displeased with the Klaarwater people, because they had hitherto refused to sell him any of their muskets; but that now I was come among them, they expected I should be their friend and should let them have one of mine, as they saw I had many, and could therefore easily spare one out of so great a number.

* I here write this name as it is commonly pronounced, and as it was spoken by his own family, although it would be more correctly written, Afrikaaner

[page] 377

So unexpected a demand, and of such a nature, for it had more the character of a demand than of a request, and made on the very moment of my arrival, was a circumstance exceedingly unpleasant, as the earnestness with which it was made, convinced me at once of the difficulty of the situation in which it placed me. I had no more than just muskets enough to arm all my men, and three even of these belonged to the Hottentots themselves, who had preferred bringing their own guns as being more accustomed to them. It was putting into the hands of this people a weapon which in the event of any future misunderstanding would be used against outselves; so that we might lose our lives by the very instrument which we had brought for the purpose of defending them: besides which, ammunition would also be required. If I refused giving it, I must run the risk of its being taken either by force or by stealth. I had but an instant for reflection; my answer must follow the question. I resolved not to grant his request; although I foresaw that my refusal would produce some unpleasant consequences.

I therefore replied, that I had no more than one for each of my men, and that if I were to give up any, some of my own people must go unarmed, which, as he well knew, was a thing not to be ventured in travelling through a country inhabited by Baróba (Bushmen); that as we were but very few in number, we had the greater necessity for retaining our arms for our own defence; that they were not all my own, and must be taken back to the colony again; that besides this, he saw that we had no food but what was procured by hunting, and must be well aware that we had in these countries, no other means of support, consequently that our lives depended on our guns, which was not the case with them, as they had abundance of corn, milk, and cattle. And I concluded by assuring him, that I felt the most friendly sentiments towards him and all his people, otherwise I should not have come to see him; that if I had more muskets than were wanted, I would willingly let him have one, but that it was impossible to think of disarming my own men.

All these arguments, which they must have had discernment enough to think perfectly reasonable, appeared to have no effect in

VOL. II. 3 C

[page] 378

inducing them to relinquish their demand. They continued to talk on the subject, with the same confidence as though they had not heard what I had said; and both Mattivi and Mollemmi were most importunate in urging their request. They declared that they intended to give me the value of it, and would to-morrow send to their cattle-stations for some fine oxen which they proposed offering to me, and were sure that I should not then, refuse to grant what they so much wished. I repeated over again all I had said, and ventured to assume a more positive tone. They continued, however, as much determined as before, not to desist from importuning; if so mild a term can express their manner of asking. Mattivi said; where was he to get a gun if I did not give them one ? To this I replied, that a gun would be of little use to people who could not themselves make gunpowder and ball: but the moment these words had passed my lips I felt that I had used but a weak argument; as he quickly rejoined, that he expected that I should be friendly enough to supply him with those things also.

I found myself now so closely pressed by these two, for Molali said but little, that I thought it not prudent to venture farther in the subject, without taking some time for deliberation. I therefore declared that as I had already said so much, I found myself unable to talk more at present, and begged them to wait till the morning. Still, however, they both urged their argument, with the same perseverance; while I, remained obstinate in making the same replies: nor was it till past nine, and when they felt their legs becoming cold from sitting so long up in the waggon, that they left me and went to the fire in my men's house.

Thither I was also compelled by cold to follow them; for the whole day, and more especially the evening, had been rendered exceedingly chilly by a strong easterly wind. The chief with his two brothers, and Adam and Muchunka, went away together and without ceremony or distinction sat down by the side of my people, where they remained nearly an hour longer, warming themselves and smoking their pipes.

Every hour at Litakun presented some new and interesting fact

[page] 379

to my observation; and, even in the midst of all the confusion of novelty, the care which my situation created and the watchfulness which it demanded could not prevent me from enjoying the contemplation of the strange scene to which this day's journey had brought me. I beheld every where, a harvest of new ideas, and lamented that I was working alone in so extensive a field, and where so many eyes were wanted to observe, and so many hands to record.

The existence of supreme power without the least distinction, of ceremony or superiority of outward appearance in the possessor, was a combination of facts, quite new to me, and of which, the view of Mattivi as he was sitting at our fire, gave me an instructive proof. Every one who saw him, knew that he was the person who held that power; and the consideration of this, seemed to satisfy all his ambition. He affected nothing different from those around him; he squatted on the ground by their side, and sometimes took a whiff from Muchunka's pipe. He frequently on other evenings, took his seat amongst my Hottentots, and talked with them in very familiar terms, often asking them for their pipe which, there is little doubt, he did with a view to saving his own tobacco; as I did not perceive that he was equally ready to return them the same favor.

After Mattivi and his party had retired, and we were left once more by ourselves, excepting two of the chief's servants who remained in the hut all night, I discovered, on inquiring where my men had secured the horses, that neither they, nor the sheep, nor Andries, nor Stuurman, had returned home that night; nor had they been seen or heard of since the teams were loosed from the waggons and they had gone away to drive the cattle out of the town to pasture. These Hottentots, it now appeared, had again neglected their duty; and thus, at a moment when so many other subjects demanded my attention, were my cares encreased by their worthlessness; nor could I, under the pressure of these feelings, scarcely avoid the wish that those who reduced me to the necessity of hiring such people, and those who prevented better from engaging in my service, might some day be placed in a situation to feel all those anxieties and difficulties which their ungenerous dealing caused me for so many months to

3 C 2

[page] 380

suffer. Keyser (Kyser) was also absent; and no one knew whither he was gone, nor for what reason he was thus away from us. The loss of the horses was, in some respects, a more serious misfortune than that of the men; who, by this conduct, proved that they would be of little value in time of danger. I felt the more persuaded that these things had not been occasioned by any treachery on the part of the natives, as they had so honorably brought home my oxen, which, to them, would have been a far more valuable prize than the horses and sheep. As nothing could be done this night, the rest of my Hottentots as well as myself, awaited in much uneasiness of mind, the result of the next morning's search.

I then retired to my waggon, not to sleep, as nature and past fatigues demanded, but to record as concisely as possible the numerous observations and transactions of the day, before an accession of fresh matter for my journal, should confuse my recollection of occurrences so numerous and so various. In this employment I suffered much inconvenience from the coldness of the night; as the mercury of the thermometer, at an hour and a half after midnight, was found to have sunk within three degrees of the freezing point.

[page 381]



JULY 14th. Early this morning, and before I had left my waggon, the Chief sent me, as a present, a fatted cow. This I would willingly have reserved for the sake of its milk during the following part of Our journey, but knowing that it was given in the expectation of our making immediate use of it, and of distributing some of the meat among our Bachapin attendants and visitors, I Was compelled to resign it for slaughter. This mark of hospitality is customary between all the Bichuana chiefs when they pay a visit to each other; and as I was

The above engraving represents the Chief and a small party of his friends, as they usually sit in the public enclosure, when engaged merely in desultory conversation. As he persisted in refusing to allow any drawing to be made of him, this sketch was taken unknown to him, as he sat in view from my waggon: the figure, of which only the back is seen, was drawn from him. The back-ground shows part of the outward fence of the enclosure.

[page] 382

considered in this light, the same custom, consequently, was followed on the present occasion. It seemed to be intended rather as the sign of friendly reception, than as a desire to furnish me with provisions during my residence with him; for it was never repeated but once afterwards. And although I daily obtained a supply of milk, this was always given in expectation of regular payment in tobacco, and required no thanks on either side; for different chieftains sent it by their servants, who took back the money, as the tobacco might very properly be termed, often without my knowing from whom the milk was received. Yet these supplies came more frequently from the chief or his relations, than from other persons; and who endeavoured to confine this trading to themselves. One of my Hottentots obtained this morning half a gallon for four inches of tobacco; and reported to me that Mattivi had scolded his servants for not bringing us the milk earlier.

On looking out of my waggon as soon as I rose, I found the Chief and his party, which consisted of about ten or twelve of his principal attendant chieftains, sitting in a part of the enclosure opposite to me, employed in scraping the hair off from a skin intended for a kobo. The instrument with which this was done, was a small adze of the form already described.* The skin lay extended on the ground, and was occasionally sprinkled with water, to facilitate the removing of the hair. He was the only person at work upon it; the rest were doing nothing, except now and then for a minute or two conversing together.

I was allowed to take my breakfast undisturbed; for although they attentively watched all my motions, no one came to the waggon. I sent the Chief a pot of milk and rice, which he immediately ate, in a manner which showed that he considered it very palatable.

I soon after this, took my seat in the circle, and, informing him of the time when my dinner would be ready, invited him and as many as he thought proper to bring with him, or as my waggon could accommodate, to come and partake of the meal; telling him als

* In the first volume, at page 406.

[page] 383

that, as I had never admitted any one else to eat in my waggon, this invitation was intended as a mode of expressing my respect for him, and, at the same time, my friendly sentiments towards all his family. He listened to this with great gravity of countenance, but made no reply, as he was now sitting in public, and attended by his council; for in this light, it will be seen, these attendants are properly to be regarded.

Just at this moment, I had the pleasure of seeing Philip and the other two Hottentots whom I had sent out on search early in the morning, returning with the horses, and accompanied by Stuurman, one of the three men who had been missing. Philip reported that after he had left the town, and had been a long time seeking in vain, he met some Bachapins who, on his inquiring if they had seen either the horses or the Hottentots, gave him to understand, by signs and pointing to the place, and by a few words which he in part comprehended, that he would find them all in that direction. By following these instructions, he and his companions walked a mile or two farther and happily discovered the three lost Hottentots sitting together under a bush, with the horses near them.

The explanation of this affair as given by themselves, together with the particulars I afterwards learnt from the rest of my men, partly from Keyser's (Kyser) confession, was, that immediately on our arrival at Litakun and as soon as the teams were unyoked and sent to the outskirts of the town under the care of Andries and Stuurman, Keyser seeing me instantly surrounded and enclosed by so great a multitude of people, and not knowing what would be the result, actually lost his senses through fear: his mind became literally deranged and he knew not what he was doing. He flew to the baggage-waggon, into which he climbed with the utmost haste, and crept under the people's bedding to conceal himself and escape the cruel death which he supposed awaited him, and which he believed had already befallen me. Just at that moment, one of the natives happening to look into the waggon, merely from curiosity to know what it contained, this Hottentot scrambled with the greatest precipitation and terror to the other end; at the same time crying out, in the agony of fear, to Speelman who was a short distance off, that

[page] 384

the natives were going to murder us; and with agitated voice, asking why we did not begin to defend ourselves and fire upon them. Speelman, whatever might have been his own fears at that moment, had not, most fortunately for all, so far lost his reason as to listen to Keyser's recommendation; but, disregarding our terrified fellow-traveller, left him in that situation and took his station as near to me as the closeness of the crowd would allow him. In the mean-time, the Hottentot, watching for a moment when the attention of all the natives was directed towards the circle where their Chief was sitting, slipped away unperceived, at least by any of my own people; and, as fast as he could run, fled into the country under an impression that he had just escaped from death. When he came up to Stuurman and Andries, who were tending the cattle and horses, his mind was so utterly confused, that he fired off his musket, threw down his cartridge-box, and, with the vehemence of a madman, tore his hat from his head and dashed it on the ground, crying out to them to beat him, for he could not speak, he could not say what had happened. At length, he told them, that he was the only one remaining alive out of all the party; the rest were all murdered: he had himself seen the natives run me through the body with their hassagays; and to conclude, advised them to fly for their lives and make the best of their way back to Klaarwater. After this declaration, the truth of which, his great terror and agitation seemed to confirm, they all three instantly mounted the horses, and, leaving the oxen and sheep to their fate, rode off at full speed, till they had nearly reached our last station at Lobutsáni. There they passed the night, without fire, for they were afraid of being discovered and murdered; and without food. In the morning, the other two were induced, by some inconsistency which they discovered in Keyser's story, to suspect that affairs had not proceeded to that extremity which his account had at first led them to believe. They had suffered much from cold during the night, and now began to feel the pains of hunger: they perceived, too, on reflection, that by separating themselves from me and the waggons, they were both defenceless and helpless, and were in the greatest danger of being cut off, in their way back, should they persist in retreating from us. So that on a cooler view of their case,

[page] 385

they considered, supposing I was not really murdered as Keyser had reported, that they were running into more certain danger by deserting me, than by returning to Litakun. They therefore refused any longer to follow Keyser's advice; especially as, on beginning to recover from his panic, he consented to go back with them to the town, or as near as they might venture with safety, in order to discover whether I, or any of the Hottentots, were still alive. On this, they came to within two miles of Litakun, when their fears or doubts prevented their advancing farther; and, as they knew nothing of the language, their difficulties were increased by not being able to ask any questions of the natives whom they met. Uncertain what step to take, they seated themselves under a bush, to consider how they were to act, and to watch for an opportunity of gaining some correct intelligence. In this situation they were fortunately seen by the natives, who afterwards met Philip.

In coming home with him, they met Platje, who was attending my oxen at the river; and Keyser's fears returning in proportion as he approached the town, he could by no argument be persuaded to proceed. Therefore he and Andries were left there, as they promised that they would come with the cattle in the dusk of the evening. This they afterwards did; but still continued penetrated with fear.

We had given up the sheep as utterly lost, but here again, contrary to my expectations, they were recovered; for a man, who also called himself a son-in-law of the Chief, having found them straying in the plains this morning, brought them safely home to the waggons, asking merely a piece of tobacco as payment for his trouble.

This affair, in spite of our wish to conceal it, was soon made known to the Chief and the whole town, who, most unfortunately for me, were now convinced that I was accompanied by men who would be ready to desert me on the first appearance of danger. These people were discerning enough to discover every symptom of fear, as soon as it appeared; and the opinion which they now formed, became daily more confirmed by the manners and behaviour of most of my Hottentots, whose unfounded timidity, added to the smallness of our number and the circumstance of my being the

VOL. II. 3 D

[page] 386

only white person of the party, operated very quickly in emboldening the natives, and in encouraging them to take those liberties in their dealings with me, which, under other circumstances, they would not, there is little doubt, have ventured to take. The effect which the sight of our weak number had on their minds, was sufficiently manifest in the unhesitating manner in which they made so unreasonable a request as that of asking me to give up any of my arms.

The mootsi was, from the morning till night, crowded with people; most of whom appeared to belong to the richer, or upper, class of inhabitants. They came there evidently on my account; as so large an assemblage of visitors to their chief, is not usual, excepting on occasions of important debate. They were lounging about with no other view than to gratify their curiosity, and, more especially, to be ready to receive whatever might be given away from the waggons. In order to secure these gifts to themselves, they over-awed the lower class, and kept them without the hedge; where different parties were standing at a respectful distance, watching eagerly to get a sight of what was passing within. All their movements were conducted with perfect decorum, and though every one, even the lowest among them, enjoyed the most unrestrained liberty with the Chief, without manifesting the slightest symptoms of servility or restraint, there was a mutual respect, and a propriety of behaviour toward each other, which would not allow me, when viewing them in this light only, to consider them as savages or uncivilized men.

In a retired corner of the enclosure, stood a party of girls and young women, observing with the greatest attention every transaction at the waggon; yet too timid to approach near enough for having a full view. But I found that two words were sufficient to dispel all their timidity, and bring every one of them to me; for on calling out to them, Bassárri mùngklie!* (Pretty girls!) they imme-

* Bassárri is the plural of Mossárri, which signifies a woman of any age, or a girl who has attained her full growth. Mùngklie or Mùnklje is a word, never, I believe, used but with reference to personal beauty. The Sichuana language possesses but one word for expressing both woman and wife; a remarkable defect, which, however, it has in common with several European languages.

[page] 387

diately advanced without waiting for a second invitation; and with a very lively and amusing manner, began to importune for snuff or tobacco. Notwithstanding my determination, not to make any public distribution before the Chief had received his presents, I could not remain so ungallant as to give them a refusal, when their request was urged with so much good-natured earnestness. They each in their turn, held out their hand; into which I put a small quantity of snuff. This trifling gift seemed to render them so happy, that no one could have witnessed it without partaking in their pleasure, nor without feeling convinced that to those who know no wants but of the simplest nature, the attainment of a trifle brings as much enjoyment, as others of more refined and multiplied desires, derive from the acquirement of more valuable objects. Even at so sparing a rate of distribution, the snuff-box which I now was obliged to carry always in my pocket for the use of my visitors, was not large enough to supply every hand which was held up; and, as I had also some loose tobacco in my pocket, I gave to some a share of this, with which they were equally pleased, since it was to them no difficulty, to manufacture it into snuff. The spirit of begging seemed in this people to be innate; for children of every age above that of four years, came to ask for tobacco or snuff. The number of this party had greatly increased since I began the distribution, and as soon as it was perceived that although I had persisted in withstanding the solicitations of the men, I did not refuse to give snuff to the girls, many of the chieftains sent their daughters and children to join the crowd.

Even the dignified Chief himself followed their example, and was so far overcome by a greedy desire for tobacco, that he brought his daughter to me, that he might use his influence in obtaining for her, or rather for himself, a larger share than the others. When she came up, I had in my hand as much tobacco as I intended for five, and was giving her rather a larger portion; but, as he stood by my side, he slyly took hold of my hand and turned all its contents into his daughter's. He then walked away with the very undignified satisfaction of having by these means gained a pipe more tobacco than would have fallen to her lot had he not practised this little trick.

3 D 2

[page] 388

In about half an hour after this, he came to ask me for snuff for himself; although he knew that he was to receive his presents at the first opportunity when it could be done privately. I gave him my box, which had been previously filled, and he took the half of it; being perhaps ashamed to betray so much covetousness as to take the whole, after having emptied my hand but a few minutes before.

During the whole of the day, the natives continued asking for tobacco, and I found myself at last obliged now and then to give a little. When I assured them I had no more left, they were so incredulous that they felt the outside of my coat-pocket to ascertain the truth; nor would they believe that its contents could be aught else, till I had taken every thing out to show them. All this was done with good humour; and I was sometimes able to stop their importunities by some joking remark.

Mattivi and Mollemmi now renewed their request for one of the guns; and as I was at this time prepared with a plan on my part, which should ultimately frustrate theirs, I had no objection to the debate; although I still wished to induce them to relinquish their object. I repeated the arguments I had before used, respecting the impossibility of disarming my own men, and of giving up my only means of procuring food or of obtaining those skins of animals, the hunting of which, I said, was one of the principal purposes of my journey into the Interior. I represented to them, that as my party was so small in number, I ought not to weaken it by giving up any part of our arms; while, on the other hand, they were so numerous and powerful a nation, that nothing could harm them; and that a musket in addition to their present means of defence, would add very little to their strength. But they immediately convinced me that 'e'en tho' vanquished, they could argue still,' and obstinately persisted in their demand. I asked Mattivi why his father had not, if a gun was so necessary to them, obtained one from other white men who had formerly visited him; to which he replied, that as he was at that time, only a young man, and under Mulihaban, he had no authority to act in such an affair, and could not presume to interfere in matters of business; otherwise the Bachapins would have been long before now

[page] 389

in possession of fire-arms: and that one of them had, indeed, made a promise of letting his father have a musket; although he had not performed it. I then explained to him that such instruments were very unsafe for every person excepting those who well understood how to use them: and, to impress this the more forcibly on his mind, I sent for Gert, and exhibited his mutilated hand as one of the distressing consequences to which he would be liable, if I were to consent to let him have one. But nothing which could be said, had the least effect in turning him from his determination: he replied, that weapons of every kind caused accidents to those who used them; that the Bachapins were sometimes, while running hastily, thrown down and pierced by their own hassagay, or even lost their lives by falling on their own knife.

When I reflected on my defenceless situation in the midst of a populous town, with a few Hottentots, on several of whom, I already knew, no dependence could be placed; and when I considered that it was in Mattivi's power, should he be so inclined, to take without my permission, not one gun only, but all, I judged it imprudent any longer to resist his wishes; more especially as I believed his only object to be that of gaining by such a weapon a superiority over the neighbouring tribes, whom he represented as incessantly harassing his people by irruptions into his country, and by robbing them frequently of large herds of cattle. Besides which, I judged that his having fire-arms in his possession, could not render him very formidable, or even obnoxious, to any one, as the extent of their power would be limited by the quantity of gunpowder which he might hereafter procure, and of which there was no prospect of his being able to obtain any, unless it should be given, or sold to him, from Klaarwater. I also foresaw that if I persisted in my refusal, even should he preserve the good faith not to offer me open molestation, my stay at Litakun would be rendered unpleasant to myself and perhaps unwelcome to him; in which case I must have departed before I had completed my observations on its inhabitants and had acquired sufficient experience and knowledge of their manners and

[page] 390

customs to have been enabled with advantage to enter the next nation beyond. And besides this, I feared that he might give vent to his displeasure, by sending forward into those countries, some reports which might occasion to me an unfriendly reception.

I therefore told him that on one condition only, would I consent to let him have a musket; which was, that I should retain it till my return to Karrikamma, and that he might then send some trusty person thither to receive it; but that I would on no consideration give up any of my arms until I had arrived at that place.

I conceived that by this agreement I was dealing with him in his own way, by outwitting him; as it was of course not my intention to return to that village, but to proceed onwards farther into the Interior.

He appeared very satisfied with my answer and pleased at the success of his negotiation; and replied that he would send his brothers Mollemmi and Molaali to receive the gun. I then remarked that as I had done more for him than any other white-man who had visited his country, he ought to regard me as having proved my friendship for him by the strongest possible testimony.

Here the debate terminated, and thus was the affair concluded to the satisfaction of both parties. On this, they left the waggon and took their place in the circle of attendant chieftains, to communicate to them the result of our conversation.

When they left the waggon, others came and took their place, seating themselves by me in the manner in which they were accustomed to do, by their chief, and indulging their inquisitiveness in examining with their eyes every thing within my sitting-place. Every person in the enclosure seemed to have little or nothing to do; all sat or walked about as if their time was useless: but, for this apparent want of occupation, the presence of a white-man with his two waggons loaded with goods of the most extraordinary kind, was a full excuse; and it might be admitted, that in observing my person and in satisfying their curiosity on so great a variety of novel objects, their minds, at least, were actively employed. With this view

[page] 391

Mollemmi soon returned, with Molaali and several others; and as I considered that whatever I did would amuse them, I took out my journal to record a few facts and occurrences as they passed. Whenever I wrote, the spectators watched the motion of my hand with great attentiveness, and several of them evidently comprehended the nature and intention of what I was doing.

When they had seen enough of writing to give them as clear a notion of it as they were capable of, several, and more particularly Mollemmi, became very desirous of knowing what was concealed behind the canvas partition which parted off the sleeping-place from that end of the waggon at which we were sitting; and although it was explained to them that it was the place where I slept, and that there was nothing in it but my bedding, they would hardly believe me till some of them had taken a peep behind the curtain.

I had been previously aware that this place would be examined, and had taken care at night to put into the chests upon which my bedding lay, every thing which they were likely to covet, or which might excite particular attention. Little therefore was visible but such objects as were familiar, or well-known, to them; unless it was some few articles of which I could not avoid making open use. Similar precautions are of the highest importance to a European traveller in these countries; but they require at the same time, to be so managed as not to excite any suspicion of concealment; as such suspicion might in some cases be more dangerous than an open exposure of every thing; because, when once raised, it generally leads the natives to imagine more riches to be concealed, than there are in reality.

To pass away the time and give me opportunities of seeing more of their character, I exhibited some drawings of animals, which I had made on the journey. I found them quick of apprehension and far superior in this respect to the Bushmen: they instantly knew what objects my sketches were intended to resemble. One of these drawings represented a Kanna (Eland) and a Hottentot in the attitude of shooting it. With this subject they were excessively delighted; and expressed their satisfaction by such loud laughter, that Mattivi

[page] 392

and his attendants came also to have a sight. He climbed up into the waggon, and my sitting-place was soon filled with men huddled and crowded together, so that neither he nor I could without difficulty find room for our feet. Every part of the waggon which they leaned against, was reddened with the ochre and sibilo from their kóboes and bodies; and my own clothes began to assume the color of theirs.

After having thus unexpectedly afforded by this exhibition, the highest gratification to the whole party, and to all who were in the enclosure, the crowd by degrees retired to their places, and the Chief and his brothers were glad to get their legs released from the cramped posture in which the contracted space in the waggon and the unceremonious crowding of his people, had confined them. However inconvenient this want of accommodation might be to my visitors, it exactly suited my own wishes, as it prevented my having more at one time than I could watch and attend to.

An old chieftain named Bŏklóokwĕ was one of those who frequently paid me visits. His manners were always friendly, and he appeared to take pleasure in my society; though I did not flatter myself that his friendship or attentions were purely disinterested or merely personal, or that they were altogether unconnected with muchuko (tobacco). As the portrait of him, drawn several weeks after this date, presents a just specimen of an old Bachapin kosi, I have added it at the end of the chapter.*

When my dinner was prepared, which was not till four in the afternoon, I sent Gert, whom I at this period generally employed as my personal servant, to inform Mattivi that the meal waited for him. He brought with him only his uncle Serrakútu, who appeared to share much of the supreme authority. I explained to him, that as I was at

* This engraving, though executed on wood and much reduced from the original drawing, preserves very correctly the character of countenance peculiar to the individual for whose portrait it is given. His hair was clotted by an accumulation of sibiilo and grease: and, affixed to the top of his head, he wore as an ornament, some hair from a kaama's tail. From his ear was suspended a large plate of copper, called a lekaaka; more particularly described in the eighteenth chapter. His beard grew only on the upper lip, and but scantily on the point of the chin. His dress is the ordinary leathern kobo already described.

[page] 393

present unacquainted with the customs of the Bachapins, I had followed those of my own country, and hoped that he would be pleased with the manner in which I received him. There was little need for apology, as he appeared indifferent to ceremony of this kind, and regarded all my arrangements as perfectly correct and duly respectful.

The dinner consisted of all which it was in my power to set before him, a piece of boiled beef, part of the cow which he had given me in the morning, some boiled rice, some melted sheep-tail fat, and some salt. I gave to each a knife and fork; and they made use of them with tolerable facility, but more frequently put the meat into their mouth with their fingers. Mattivi ate heartily of every thing excepting the beef, and when he was invited to take more, he replied that his digestion was bad, and that beef always gave him a pain at his chest. This was however only a polite excuse; for the truth was, that the meat, being fresh-killed and perhaps old, was exceedingly hard; and I found some difficulty in practising myself what I was pressing him to do. But Serrakútu was not so fastidious: he feasted plentifully and made no complaint. Towards the end of this dinner, Mollémmi, Molaali, and Mahūra, joined us, and partook of the beef. My rice met the complete approbation of my guests; who did not desist from praising it, till the whole of it was eaten.

I thought it prudent not to produce any brandy: this I on all occasions carefully concealed from the natives, as I feared the consequences of allowing them to know that, excepting beads and tobacco, my waggon contained any thing which could be desirable for them. And I confess that it was principally a selfish feeling which prevented my offering them any wine:—there was but little remaining, and I had often experienced the beneficial effects of half a glass of this, the artificial stimulus of which lent considerable assistance in renovating bodily strength which had been too much exhausted by over-fatigue. Those who have never been deprived of the use of it, will not easily, without similar experience, form a just idea of the value it possesses on such occasions.

Instead of wine or brandy, I presented my guests with tea;

VOL. II. 3 E

[page] 394

which they called mētsi-morrúka, and with which they were as much pleased, as with the rice. We had no sugar, but as they had not seen me use any, they thought the tea equally pleasant without it; but without waiting to be guided by my example, they added to it a small quantity of milk as readily as if they had been accustomed to this beverage every day; and had probably seen it thus used at Klaarwater, or had been informed that such was the practice of white-people.

I considered that there were now sitting in my waggon, the highest personages at Litákun, and that I might view them as the most accomplished of their tribe. I watched their manners, and the workings of their mind, as far as they could be seen in the remarks they made; and though I felt much interested in tracing what I viewed as the first steps of civilization as compared with the tribes I had hitherto examined, yet the contemplation of these specimens served only to convince me how many degrees the untutored Bachapin stands below the cultivated European. This is, however, an assertion not to be made without some modification, nor without a fair exposition of the sense in which it ought to be taken, nor without some limitation to its extent: but these will be best explained, and exemplified, by the following pages. Conduct apparently contradictory in itself, and sentiments seemingly inconsistent with each other, will only be rendered intelligible by an unprejudiced, and abstract, consideration of the nature of man. It is the combination of a two-fold nature and of contending principles, which produces that diversity of feature and inconsistency of character, by which an observer may, unless with the utmost caution and attention, be confused in his judgment and misled in his conclusions. If then, there be some difficulty in obtaining at first, a clear view of this subject, there may be still more, in communicating it to others; and the safer mode of exhibiting general character, will perhaps be that of allowing it to declare itself through the means of numerous particular facts.

Serrakútu, who was extremely eager to have a sight of the various goods which I had brought with me, whispered, just loud

[page] 395

enough for the interpreter to understand, that, as soon as all these things could be laid out ready for inspection, I should close up the waggon, and privately give him and Mattīvi notice, that they might come and see them before any one else should be admitted. It should here be remarked that this nation had never hitherto, excepting one or two instances, been visited by a white-person, or by the Hottentots, but for the purpose of bartering for cattle or ivory: and this they supposed to be one of the objects of my visit to Litákun.

Mattívi, who always assumed a more friendly and familiar tone when seated in my waggon, than when surrounded by his people, said that we, meaning himself and me, must not, while sitting in public, talk on business of this kind, but must keep it all to ourselves; and at the same time he gave me to understand, that it was the custom in these countries to let the Chief have the first sight of all beads which were brought for barter, that he might have the option of being the purchaser of them.

It is evident that their whole conduct and conversation were directed by the most selfish motives and gave the strongest proof of a total absence of the nobler sentiments of the mind; while they presented a picture of the most debasing covetousness and meanness, the contemplation of which distressed me the more, as it disappointed my expectations, or at least, my hopes. The feelings which had induced the Chief to desire that the presents should not be made to him in public, were of a nature so petty and unworthy, that one is inclined to think that even a savage would be ashamed to own them: he told me, that if his friends and attendants were to see how much he received, they would not cease begging from him, as long as they knew that he had any thing left. This confession and explanation portray one characteristic feature of this tribe:—they are all beggars of the meanest kind. Though, I am willing to admit in their favor, that I am judging rather severely, because I allow my judgement to be guided by the feelings of a European; while those of an African, would acquit them, perhaps entirely, and plead in extenuation, that the extraordinary rarity and value of the objects in question were a temptation which might naturally excite in the mind of a poor

3 E 2

[page] 396

Bachapin so strong a desire to possess them, that for such men to yield to it, would be at worst but a veniable fault.

When our meal was quite finished, Serrakútu expressed a wish that I would leave the waggon and sit on the ground, that Mattivi might have some further conversation. I therefore seated myself in the open area: when immediately the chieftains and all who were admitted within the mootsi, gathered round us. The Chief might now be considered as sitting in council: the favorite subject of the gun was then renewed, as being an affair of public importance, and one in which all the assembly were interested. He said that he had sent for the oxen, which he intended to give me; and wished me then to let him have possession of it, instead of obliging him to wait till the time agreed on. But to this I replied, in a more positive tone than I had hitherto used, that most certainly it should not go from my hands till I should be on my return; and that they ought to content themselves on the subject, with what I had already consented to do. The topic was then changed; and soon afterwards the party broke up, apparently well satisfied with having obtained on any terms the long-desired object.

By this time the evening had commenced: I retired to my waggon to relieve, by a few quiet moments, some symptoms of headache created by the wearying noise and debatings of the day; while many of the Bachapins, among whom were Mollémmi and Molaali, took their place in the hut, where my Hottentots were dancing, to the sound of Gert's fiddle.

Gert had now sufficiently regained the use of his hand; and could play with ease a variety of European country dances which he had learnt in the Colony. Of the same class, was the music of my other men; and I am inclined to believe that among the Colonial Hottentots, their aboriginal airs have given way to those of the Dutch and English. The music most congenial to a Hottentot ear, would seem to be, those lively tunes which are best adapted to dancing; at least, among all the musicians of this description who were at different times in my service, none ever played any other kind: nor did I ever hear a Hottentot performing a slow air,

[page] 397

or singing to his own performance. In the same manner the ancient Hottentot dance, which differed little from that of the Bushmen, has given way to others which have been adopted from the colonists. That which my own people at this time usually danced, resembled the reel, in every thing but the steps.

That they who, I knew, were not altogether at their ease, should now be engaged in this apparently happy manner, was a circumstance quite unexpected; but by a little observation, I learnt to consider it, during my residence among the Bachapins, as in reality nothing more than an outward manifestation of certain inward uneasy feelings which were closely connected with fear. This was almost always, I believe, the true interpretation of their dancing, whenever we were surrounded by the natives; although at all other times, this occupation was, as it ought to be, the genuine expression of a state of mind free from care.

I had scarcely been ten minutes in my waggon, before Mollémmi came and took his seat on the after-chest, with no other view than that of passing away time. Muchùnka, who of course came with him, happened to have a lighted pipe in his hand, which the other took from him and began to smoke. This gave me the greatest uneasiness, as there was, unknown to him, a large quantity of gunpowder close to the place where he was sitting; a circumstance which I feared to mention, lest it should lead to a request for some. I hinted that as I did not smoke myself, the fumes of tobacco gave me a head-ache; but he paid no attention to me, and continued to please himself. At length the pipe being out, he began to talk, and I gave him a piece of tobacco, saying at the same time that it was for him to smoke when at home. Notwithstanding that this present was totally unexpected, he begged for a little more; and on complying with this, he seemed perfectly satisfied with the gift. His satisfaction arose principally from having gained by his begging, something over and above what had been intended for him. Among this people, covetousness is, as I have just explained, a vice of which even the highest personages are not ashamed; and, like the other Caffres, they seem never to think that they have received enough.

[page] 398

After the dancing in the hut was ended, Gert came to my waggon, where I desired him to remain, as I found him sometimes useful in explaining in the Kora language, some expressions which Muchùnka could not comprehend. Mattīvi and Mollémmi being, as already stated, brothers by the same mother who was a Kora, were, from this circumstance, both well acquainted with that tongue: Molaali and Mahúra, in features and figure more resembled the true Bichuana or Caffre, and being the sons of another woman, were therefore but half-brothers to the other two. Now it happened, in this respect fortunately, that Gert by his long residence at Klaarwater, had acquired some proficiency in the Kora dialect, which was facilitated by his own knowledge of the Hottentot language; for he was thus enabled to rectify several of Muchùnka's interpretations, when the latter made use of that dialect in explaining what I had said. These mistakes of my interpreter arose, at this time, both from heedlessness and from an insufficient acquaintance with the Dutch. Mollémmi, who professed friendship towards me, declared on this occasion that he was truly glad that Gert had been able to explain my real meaning, as it caused him to feel still more my friend than before. He repeated the request, that I would allow him and his brothers to have the first choice of all the beads which I had brought for barter.

When I was again alone, Mattívi came with one of his wives, to bring me a pot of thick milk, and for which I paid her in tobacco. I then desired him to come into the waggon, and having sent for Gert and Muchùnka, I showed him the things which I had brought as a present for himself, independently of the rest of his family for whom I intended some other articles of less value.

The present which he received at this time, consisted of, a quantity of beads of the favorite colors, white, black, and light blue, and weighing all together nearly five pounds; a small roll of tobacco, of three pounds; a brass pocket-tinderbox and steel, made expressly for lighting a pipe; a sheath-knife; a cotton handkerchief; a snuffbox; and a gilt chain.

Both in the selection, and in the quantity, of these articles, I was guided by the advice of the Klaarwater people, who considered them

[page] 399

as forming a very handsome present. I should, otherwise, not have thought so, and without such advice, should certainly have given much more; which would have been not only useless generosity, but would have established a precedent which in time might become a heavy tax upon every individual who in future might make a journey into these countries; and those who, because the value is trifling, make in similar cases larger presents than would be looked for, are guilty of imprudence in themselves, and of injustice towards all of their own countrymen who may come after them, and from whom a tribute, gradually increasing in amount, will be expected, till at length in the course of years, it may form not so inconsiderable a part of the expence of a visit to the nations of the Interior, as it does at present.

With these things, Mattīvi was much pleased, as they were all such, the use and value of which he understood: and it is this consideration which should guide those who wish their presents to be acceptable. It is certain that he would have preferred the brass tinderbox to a gold watch; and the sheath-knife, to a case of mathematical instruments. As the best mode of expressing his satisfaction and gratitude, if this latter word does not imply too much, he assured me that all the elephants' teeth which he could procure, should be reserved for me when I came again; that he should let nobody else have them, and that I might therefore depend on having an opportunity of purchasing as much ivory as my waggons could carry away.

His ideas respecting my object in coming to Litakun, were formed upon the visits of missionaries who had made journeys to this country, two of whom in particular, as I was informed at Klaarwater, had carried on this species of traffic for ivory with so much success that one was enabled to purchase a farm in the Colony; though the other, who had also made considerable profits, was unfortunately murdered near the source of the Kruman river.

It is remarkable that in the Sichuana language there is no word to express thanks; and whenever I desired my interpreter to say to any of the natives that I thanked them, I often heard him make use

[page] 400

of the Dutch word, just as I had spoken it, and then explain what I meant to declare by it. It would not be an unreasonable supposition, were it to be concluded from this circumstance that gratitude is not of frequent occurrence among these nations; they have, however, a mode of making known the satisfaction they feel at receiving a gift, by telling the giver that he is monáati (good) or that pélu ĭ monáatĭ (the heart is good). But it is doubtful whether the latter expression mean the heart of the giver or of the receiver; as either may be supposed with equal propriety.

Mattívi said much more to me, expressive of his satisfaction and of his good-will towards me, but Muchùnka was too lazy, or too bungling, an interpreter to explain it. He mentioned, that if Gert, whom he looked upon as my upper-servant, should wish during my absence, to come back to Litákun to barter, he would always protect him, and let him have fine oxen, if he would bring his beads to nobody but himself or Serrakútu, whom the chief called his great friend.

This unexpected favor, though a mere promise, pleased the Hottentot so much, that he felt now warmed with gratitude, and thanked me for having brought him to a place where he met with so friendly a welcome; for, as he had intended ultimately to make Klaarwater his place of residence and take a new wife from there, and had heard the Hottentots of that village talk of the profits they made by trading at Litákun, he now began to think of doing the same; and his timidity actually left him for at least four-and-twenty hours.

I was given to understand, that it was expected I should barter my beads at this place, and that if I did not, the Chief would think that I intended taking them to some other town; an act which would be highly displeasing to him. I therefore desired the interpreter, and my own people, to impress the natives with the idea that I had but a small quantity of beads or tobacco in my waggon.

I therefore determined on satisfying them to a certain degree, as far as this bartering could be rendered useful to me on the journey. In my original plan it was thought necessary, in such an expedition, to have a double team; but by the purchase of a second waggon there

[page] 401

was now but a single team left for each, and this number was still further reduced by the loss of two oxen supposed to have been destroyed by the lions: so that we were obliged to put the same cattle into the yoke every day; and, should the country prove mountainous or very sandy, we should be reduced, by want of strength, to the alternative of proceeding at so slow a rate of travelling, that, in a region deficient in springs or rivers, we might perish before we could reach water: and, in addition to these unfavorable chances, we might occasionally lose an ox by accident or sickness. Another point was not to be overlooked in calculating the probability of events;—after the sheep, of which there were only three remaining, should be consumed, it might happen that we met with no game, or that our huntings were unsuccessful; in which case we should be driven to the necessity of occasionally killing one of our draught-oxen. In this view of our circumstances, I saw that prudence called upon me to provide against these chances and to secure the means of prosecuting the long and unknown journey before us.

Under these considerations I saw no objection to bartering away as much of my stock of beads, as would procure the number of oxen thus required; and I sat up till a late hour of the night, taking advantage of the time when all the natives were asleep, to arrange my beads and merchandise ready for commencing trade, after having first submitted them to the inspection of the Chief and his family.

15th. It was only by a stratagem that time could be found for writing my journal;— I ordered my people to keep all strangers away from my waggon, by telling them that I had been much fatigued, and that, until I made my appearance in public and the waggon was thrown open, they were always to suppose that I was then asleep and must not be disturbed. In the mean time, I was busily employed in writing in my sleeping-place, the only part where I could keep myself undiscovered. For, as I remained thus occupied till noon, Mattivi and several of the chieftains were cunning enough to suspect that it might be only a trick to keep myself alone; and they therefore, as they walked by the end of the waggon, peeped in to ascertain the truth: but when they saw that I was not in my

VOL. II. 3 F

[page] 402

sitting-room, they concluded that I was still really asleep, especially as I took the utmost care not to make the least noise, nor by any movement, to cause the waggon to shake.

Having taken out as much of my beads and other goods, as I judged sufficient for the purpose, I sent for Mattīvi and his brother. They admired every thing, but the beads pleased them most. After they had satisfied their curiosity, they sent many others to look at them.

Among these was Adam, the Bachapin, whose singular history has been mentioned, who as soon as we were alone, made me the offer of eight oxen for the purchase of a gun. This of course, I rejected at once; though I have little doubt that he would readily have given more. This price may, to a European, sound much above the value of the article for which it was proposed; but in reality it was otherwise in this town: because, with only moderate success in hunting, the owner would soon have repaid himself the quantity of meat which he had given for it; after which, supposing he could obtain a supply of ammunition, it would always provide more ready means of support than the rearing of cattle, as long as the country abounded in game. The money which a gun at that time cost in Cape Town, if employed there in the purchase of beads, would at the usual rate of barter in these countries, have obtained that number of oxen. These statements will serve to illustrate Mattīvi's character as displayed in the following affair.

In the evening, at the time when all the numerous herds of the town return home from pasture, the Chief sent for me to come and sit with him in the circle of his brothers and attendant chieftains. Unsuspicious of his motive for desiring my presence, I immediately complied with his request; but when I had taken my seat, I found that it was for the purpose of seeing the oxen which he intended to give me for the gun. This step appeared to be very premature, as it had been agreed that they were to receive the piece, only after my arrival at Klaarwater, and I had no expectation that any further transaction was to take place till then. But I now concluded that their object was to bind me more surely to the performance of my promise, by

[page] 403

compelling me to accept in consideration, something beforehand. I began to feel that it was likely they would outwit me, by thus forcing me, either to confess that I did not mean to return again to that village, or to complete my agreement by giving them the gun before I left the town.

Soon afterwards, several Bachapins entered the mootsi driving before them two Oxen, and followed by four men bearing two very large tusks of ivory. These tusks might probably have weighed about ninety pounds each, as they were too heavy to be carried by one man. Mattīvi then asked me if I thought the two oxen and the teeth a satisfactory payment for the gun. I replied, that the ivory was of no use to me; and besides, that, if he set so little value on the gun, it would be better that he gave up the idea of having it, as at all events it would be a long time before I should reach Klaarwater. This reply caused much earnest consultation among the members of the council, the purport of which I could not learn. They broke up soon after this, and nothing further was said on the subject that evening.

16th. Early in the morning four oxen were produced for my acceptance. By their following up the affair so closely, and by their pertinaciously endeavouring to make me receive a payment beforehand, I perceived that their intention was to establish a claim to have immediate possession of their purchase. I had now put it out of my power to break off the negotiation by a peremptory refusal to part with any of my arms; because I had consented, though under a remote condition, to let them have a musket. There was no plea left, by which I could save my gun, but that of objecting to the price; and though it was barely probable that they would relinquish it on that account, I should at least gain, as some compensation, a greater strength in oxen, a point on which no small share of our future safety and success depended: for, to have hinted that it was intended as a present, would leave me no excuse for withholding it when it should be discovered that I was not returning to the place appointed for receiving it. This plea, they must have been well aware, might now be urged on reasonable grounds.

3 F 2

[page] 404

On my objecting therefore to the four oxen, as being but half its value, they replied that they had learnt from the people of Klaarwater that a musket might be purchased in the Colony for that price. They appeared however resolved to have it on their own terms; and there is little doubt that they were emboldened to act in this manner, by observing the symptoms of fear which the looks and behaviour of my own men, had, from the first hour of our arrival, but more especially during these transactions, too visibly betrayed.

Mattīvi and his chieftains now appeared in serious debate; while I sat in the midst of them, totally ignorant of what resolutions they were forming. At this moment Speelman, Philip, and Gert, came, and in great trepidation, begged me to leave the circle. I saw so much alarm in their countenances, that I was led to suppose that they had overheard the council proposing violent measures; and I therefore rose and walked with them to the waggon. They entreated me to give up the point in dispute, as they saw clearly, they said, that it was bringing us into danger. Muchunka and Adam strongly advised that I should not reject what was offered, but rather let them have the gun at any price, as it was to be feared that otherwise bad consequences might ensue.

Whether this advice was well-founded or not, I had no time for examining; but as I perceived at this instant, reason for believing that my men would desert me if I increased their alarm by pushing the affair farther, I desired the interpreter to tell the assembly that although I considered the gun as worth much more than the price at which they had rated it, yet, as I desired nothing so much as their friendship, I should dispute with them no longer on the subject. To this, moved, as I supposed, by the conciliatory manner in which I spoke, they replied that six oxen should be given.

Immediately they all rose; and Mattīvi then said, he should wish to see the gun fired off. This was a request which I could find no pretext for refusing, although I saw too clearly that all these transactions were tending towards a point which I was endeavouring to avoid; that of getting it into their possession before the time which had been agreed on.

[page] 405

We therefore proceeded to an open place on the outside of the town, attended by a numerous crowd of spectators. A part of my men being left to guard the waggons, I ordered the rest to follow me with their muskets loaded. When the gun in question was discharged, the Chief desired that the others might also be fired.

In complying with this request, the one which had been loaded by Stuurman, could not by any means be made to explode; and on examination it was found that he had rammed in the cartridge with the ball downwards. A failure of this kind, while exhibiting to the natives the power of our arms, was the more unlucky, as it led them to believe that my party was not entirely composed of men who were properly skilled in the use of them; for they watched all our motions with the most prying attention.

Mattivi then requested that Molaala might be allowed to fire off one of the guns. Neither could this be refused; but as soon as he had discharged it, instead of returning it to the Hottentot, as it was not the musket which had been intended for him, he was ordered by the Chief to take it home to his house. At so flagrant an act of bad faith, I loudly expressed my dissatisfaction, as it was an open breach of our agreement; but he, in his turn, pretended to be equally dissatisfied with me for wishing to detain what he had now bought and made his own; the whole party at the same time crying out, that they ought not to give it out of their possession. At this moment I felt exceedingly irritated at their conduct, so deficient in honor and every just principle; but I suppressed my feelings as well as I was able, since a glance at the crowd and at my own men, showed me too truly that I was completely in their power, and that my gun was irrecoverably gone. They must have read in my countenance, what I thought of their dealings; but they walked away, exulting in the success of their cunning, and even, perhaps, inwardly proud of their superiority over a white-man in this essential qualification, the possession of which seems in their eyes, and, I am ashamed to confess, in the eyes of many Europeans, to constitute a man of talents.

Although the state of my feelings at this time rendered me but little disposed to have further dealings with them; yet as the state

[page] 406

of theirs was of the opposite kind, and all were delighted at having at last obtained a gun, there was on their side no dissatisfaction or irritation against me. As it would have been useless, and, perhaps, not good policy, to have explained the true object of my visit to their country, they conceived that all business which now remained for me to do, was to proceed with the bartering; and as it was known that the beads had been exhibited with this view, they now called upon me to bring them forward.

In the mode of managing such business, I submitted to the instructions of Muchunka, who was acquainted with the practice usually adopted by the Klaarwater Hottentots, and who directed that the canvass covering of one of the waggons should be extended on the ground in the middle of the public enclosure, and the beads laid out upon it in parcels. I had, during my residence in the Transgariepine, learnt the usual relative value of beads at Litakun, and had taken care to expose no more than would be sufficient for the purchase of oxen enough for one team, which I judged would be as many as my present exigences required.

Neither the chief nor any of his brothers were inclined to barter, notwithstanding their eagerness to have the first sight of the beads. Serrakutu brought a large elephant's tusk for exchange, although I had expressly declared that it was oxen, and not ivory, which I wanted. He therefore took this home again; but brought nothing further to market. Adam, who knew the value of all my goods, took a quantity, for which he agreed to bring me six oxen on the following day; but when he showed the purchase to his father who had promised to give him the required oxen, he was ordered by him to demand more beads in addition to the quantity which had been bargained for. As such a mode of trading would, I foresaw, produce endless disputes, should this be taken as a precedent by the other inhabitants, I refused to make any alteration after an agreement had been made, and therefore took back the beads. The Chief and all his party, together with a crowd of lookers-on, were present the whole time. Mattīvi begged for a knife, and Serrakutu did the same; but this was done privately. I afterwards complied with their wishes, but enjoined them

[page] 407

not to mention that it had been given to them. The former, seeing some loose beads lying on the canvass, greedily scraped them up and gave them to one of his sons.

This market lasted about an hour and a half, and though I offered at least twice as much beads for an ox, as were usually obtained from the Hottentots, yet not more than two oxen were actually purchased. This apparent disinclination to barter, did not arise from any deficiency of oxen among them, or from any want of desire to possess my beads; but, as I afterwards had reason for suspecting, from a hope of thus compelling me to part with fire-arms and ammunition, in return for oxen which they knew to be essentially necessary to my progress.

The remaining goods were then put again into the chest, and I retired to my waggon, where I was soon afterwards visited by the Chief. He brought with him a calabash of milk, intended, as I supposed, for a peace-offering, as he gave it me without demanding any thing in payment. I offered him, however, the usual piece of tobacco; which he very readily accepted. He, on his part, had no cause for being out of temper; but as he knew that I had, he seemed desirous of testifying his good-will towards me; and sat in the waggon above an hour, which he spent chiefly in teaching me Sichuana.

We were joined by other chieftains, who also took amusement in giving me lessons in their language. These people were always found to be very ready to render me service of this kind, and much pleased when they had taught me any new word or expression; but they never forgot at the end of it, to request a piece of tobacco. In begging for any trifling gift or remuneration, they never asked for sikháka (beads); these being considered more especially as money, to be employed only as the medium of trade with distant tribes, and for the purchase of the more expensive articles; while muchúko and lishuéna (tobacco and snuff) being consumable merchandise, are, though highly valued, regarded as a less important species of property.

I had sufficient reason for admiring one of the customs of the Bachapins; that, notwithstanding they never at any other time left

[page] 408

me alone, they always retired the moment my dinner or breakfast was brought to me. This gave me a few moments' relief from the fatigue of incessant conversation; for, when one person was satisfied with seeing and hearing me, another came and took his place: and this routine, with scarcely any intervals, continued from the time I rose in the morning, till the hour at night when they retired to sleep.

In the evening Mollémmi wished me to see some oxen which he had brought for the purchase of another gun. I was now forced to declare most positively, that I would not give up any more arms; and refused even to look at the oxen, though he entreated me in a submissive and friendly tone, to see what fine cattle he had selected for me. As I had experienced the unpleasant consequences of entering into any conversation on the subject, I resolved to make a trial of the efficacy of silence. After having once pronounced the refusal, I gave no further opinion; I made not the least reply to his remarks. In this mode of treating the business, I persisted, with an unshaken obstinacy, in spite of the most teasing solicitation; and was extremely happy to perceive that it produced the desired effect.

The chieftains who were now assembled as before, said nothing on this occasion; and both Mattīvi and Mollémmi at length appeared to relinquish the demand. They even confessed that they were so much pleased at having obtained one, that they would not again make mention of another, as they saw that more could not be spared. Mattīvi now repeated, that other white-men had promised his father a gun, but that, as I was the only person who had let them have one, he by this could perceive that I was a very great chief; and therefore, that he would in future trade with no one but me and my people; that he would sell the ivory to nobody else; but would save it all for me, when I came again. There then followed much more nonsense of this kind; and after I had heard enough to convince me that it had no meaning, I rose and left the circle.

But the piicho or assembly remained sitting in easy conversation for nearly an hour longer. At these assemblies or councils, Mattīvi, Serrakútu, and Mollémmi, took their turns in presiding; or rather in conducting, and more especially attending to, the debate: for the

[page] 409

chief himself must at all times have been the real president, though I am not able to state the rules by which the members of the piicho, and the officiating president, are guided in giving their opinions and in managing the business of the meeting.

Besides a nightly watch of six or seven Bachapins stationed round the outside of Mattivi's cattle-enclosure, four of his servants came every night to sleep in the Hottentots' hut; so that these poor fellows were as much tormented by company, as their master. No sooner had they filled a pipe and put it to their mouth, than one or other of the natives cried out, Lee kĭ rō;ki!* (Give me smoke!) to which I advised them to answer, Bā-pélu (Wait a little); an expression, of which I was myself obliged to make frequent use.

But they found it impossible, by any artifice, to save their tobacco; and at last, to conceal it, they resolved to leave off all smoking in their presence. This they mentioned to me as a most distressing grievance; and though I could not sympathize in these feelings, I pitied them for their sufferings under this privation, which, to a Hottentot, I knew could not be a trifling restraint.

In addition to this, I saw the necessity of imposing on them another restriction, by desiring them to be circumspect in what they said to each other; as it appeared to me that the four men, who slept in their hut, were placed there as spies upon us. One of them, named Champáni, had paid frequent visits to Klaarwater, and had lived among those Hottentots till he had acquired a knowledge of Dutch, sufficient to enable him to understand the general tenor of our conversation, and to express himself intelligibly.

But this restraint on their smoking was not their greatest inconvenience: their fear had been so strongly excited by the violent debates respecting the gun, that they all confessed themselves to feel very uneasy at this place and ardently to desire to return home. Some even ventured to hint, in an indirect manner, that they did not intend to go farther northwards. This confession, or the last part of

* The word roki is probably a corruption of the Dutch word rooken, 'to smoke,' which they may have learnt from the Hottentots.

VOL. II. 3 G

[page] 410

it, I could not but consider as a circumstance of serious importance; and although it made on me a deep impression, I affected not to heed or understand it. I took no other notice, than merely replying that we had much farther to go before we should turn our faces towards the Cape.

Among the most timid of my men, was Platje: he was exceedingly anxious to quit this place. It was not, he said, fear, which made him so anxious, though his looks plainly proved the contrary; but he felt his heart beat to see his wife and his dear children again, whom he had left in the Sneeuwbergen; that after having been so long in a wild country, he thought it time to return home; and that if we did not make haste to re-cross the Great-River, the drooge-tyd (dry season) would be gone by, and we should find that stream impassable for many months.

17th. The Chief, now considering that the important affair of the gun was brought to a conclusion, dedicated the whole of this day, from seven in the morning till five in the afternoon, to dancing. As no intimation had been given me, that such an amusement was about to take place, I was surprised when awakened by the sound of music; and on looking out of my waggon I saw the Chief and a number of his party, standing together tuning their pipes ready for a concert.

These pipes, which they call lĭchákă, are simply reeds* of various sizes and lengths, tuned to concord generally by means of a small moveable plug in the lower end, and having their upper end, or mouth, cut transversely. This mouth is placed against the under lip, and the sound is produced by blowing into them, in the manner of a Pan's-reed. In order to keep the pipe steady, the forefinger rested above the upper lip, and the thumb against the cheek, while the other three fingers held the reed to its place. Each performer had but one pipe, and consequently was master of only one note of the scale; although at the same time, there were among them, several pipes in unison; and it seemed, that those notes of the gamut which

* From the common reed (Arundo barbata) which grows in their rivers.

[page] 411

were most likely to. have produced discords, were rejected from this band. Between the highest and lowest pipe, there might, I imagined, be comprised an interval of twelve notes.

I saw no other instrument but the licháka; nor were these used by any but the dancers themselves, each of whom was furnished with one; and which he sounded frequently though irregularly. In this music I could discover no particular air; neither was it possible for me to write it down; as many notes were heard at the same time, joining in, perhaps merely accidentally, or without any preconcerted order. It must not, from these remarks, be concluded that this people are insensible to harmony and melody: a sufficient proof to the contrary will be found in another place. By the dancers keeping time in their movements, a certain cadence was now and then perceptible in their music; but, excepting this, no regularity could be distinguished in their performance; although I doubt not that their ear guided them in some manner, as the general effect of this music was pleasing and harmonious. It was not of a sprightly cast, nor noisy, neither was it sluggish or heavy; but possessed something agreeably soothing, which prevented it, though continued with little intermission for ten hours, from wearying the ear. As there was in it no particular tune to be listened to, it seldom obtruded itself with a force which could distract the attention from other subjects. The effect of this concert, considered abstractly as musical sound, was very similar to that which in England may be felt on hearing, while at a little distance, the country-waggons passing along the road with a full team of well-tuned 'latten bells;' than which, few mixtures of sounds not constituting regular music, can, I think, be more pleasing.

When the dancers, who were all men, had tuned their reeds, they formed themselves into a ring, which sometimes consisted of about thirty persons, and at others, of not more than ten or twelve, according to the inclination of those who joined or left the party; but without attention to any observable order, or to any pre-arranged figure. The ring was drawn as closely together as their number would conveniently allow; but each person danced separate without

3 G 2

[page] 412

any attempt at a particular step or acquired movement of the feet; nor at any time did they join hands. In this form they moved round in a body, keeping time together, by the assistance of a small party of women and girls, who, without joining in the dance, followed them round, and regulated their steps by clapping hands in exact measure; but without singing or any other noise.

The number of women engaged in this, was not more than six or seven. Neither these nor the dancers were ornamented or dressed in any manner different from that in which they usually appeared.

The most of the men wore their kobo, placed so as to cover only one shoulder, a style of wearing, usual in warm weather, and which their present exercise required. The grease and sibilo with which their heads were decorated, melted with the warmth, and frequently ran down their face in drops. Some of them carried in their hand a very long Kavăklúsĭ, which they occasionally used to wipe off the moisture from their face or neck.

This Kavăklúsĭ* is formed of two or three jackals' tails joined together in length, by a stick of about four feet long thrust through them in the place of the bone. This stick, which must cost much labor to form, is generally taken from the heart of the Mokaala-tree or camel-thorn, as that part of the wood is extremely hard and of a fine black color.

Although the dancers moved briskly, the ring itself turned but slowly; so that it made not more than one round in a minute. Sometimes after a round or two, it moved back again with a contrary motion; keeping, however, always on the same spot. A number of people, above a hundred besides women and children, were in the mootsi during this performance: some stood looking on; but the greater part sat at a distance, or walked about.

* Sometimes pronounced Kába-klúsi: it is also called Kaava-pukō;li (jackal's tail). The Bushmen, as already described (at page 57.), apply the tail of this animal to the same use. The pŭkō;li or pŭkō;ji is the Canis mesomelas; the klúsi is another species which has a yellower or redder fur, and may probably be the Canis aureus; but this I do not affirm, as the klusi was never shot by any of our party, during our travels in the Transgariepine.

[page] 413

Mattivi and Mollemmi were among the most constant dancers; but the whole party rested themselves at frequent intervals of two or three minutes. In this manner, and without any variation, they continued the amusement during the whole day. The pleasure which they derived from it, seemed to have more the nature of soothing enjoyment, than of mirth. Laughter was rarely to be observed, and talking was as seldom heard among those who were engaged in the dance. The women and children seemed to take equal delight in the scene, though merely spectators.

Dancing appears to have been in all ages of the world, and perhaps in all nations, a custom so natural, so pleasing, and even useful, that we may readily conclude that it will continue to exist as long as mankind shall continue to people the earth. We see it practised as much by the savage as by the civilized; as much by the lowest as by the highest classes of society: and as it is a recreation purely corporeal, and perfectly independent of mental qualification or refinement, all are equally fitted for enjoying it: it is this, probably, which has occasioned it to become universal. All attempts therefore at rendering any exertion of the mind necessary to its performance, are an unnatural distortion of its proper and original features. Grace and ease of motion are the extent of its perfection; because these are the natural perfections of the human body. Every circumstance and object by which man is surrounded may be viewed in a philosophic light; and thus viewed, dancing appears to be a recreative mode of exercising the body and keeping it in health, the means of shaking off spleen, and of expanding one of the best characters of the heart, — the social feeling. Where it does not effect this, the fault is not in the dance, but in the dancer: a perverse mind makes all things like itself. Dancing and music, which appear to be of equal antiquity and equally general among mankind, are connected together only by a community of purpose: what one is for the body, the other is for the mind.

While affairs were thus going on smoothly, I took the opportunity of sending some of my men out to hunt, as our provisions were nearly exhausted; and no food of any kind was to be purchased

[page] 414

at Litákun. Having barely enough for their own necessities, the inhabitants were very unwilling to part with any; and the fact is remarkable that, during the whole of my residence at this town, and of my travels in the country of the Bichuanas, I never once could purchase of the natives, corn enough for my party, for a single meal. We could procure nothing but milk; and this not in so large a quantity as we required. The cow which was presented to me by Mattivi for slaughter, was totally eaten up in three days; the greater portion having been consumed by his own servants and other inhabitants, who, by incessant begging, compelled my men to give them meat, both for themselves while they sat with us, and for their families when they went home.

The hunters returned with a paala and a springbuck; a part of which was given to some natives who accompanied them. Juli had shot one paala and was pursuing another; but during the short time he was absent on this pursuit, and while employed in skinning and cutting up the second into loads for each of the Bachapins who attended them, the vultures, which were found to be excessively numerous about Litákun, had discovered the first, and had devoured all the best part of the meat and so much lacerated the rest, that nothing remained worth the trouble of bringing home.

Their attendants, when the animal was shot, were exceedingly delighted at seeing it fall: they admired the power of the musket, that it could bring down the game at so great a distance, when compared with their own hassagay; and expressed their pleasure in the most animated manner. On such occasions, these people were always most ready to lend their assistance; but it is to be regretted that their conduct would not suffer us to believe that they did so from the pure motive of obliging us; their willingness was far from being disinterested; for they often laid claim to a larger share of the game than we thought proper to allow them. They were, however, always so well paid for their trouble, that we were never in want of attendants.

At sunset when all the cattle of the town came home, the Chief called me to look at two oxen which he offered for the purchase of

[page] 415

ammunition. In his eagerness to get possession of the gun, he had quite forgotten the requisite accompaniments of powder and ball; and now, on reflection, found that he had been in too great a haste. On my part, I considered the result of my attempt to obtain oxen by barter with beads, to be a serious disappointment; as the prospect of my journey, showed me the necessity of recruiting my teams, before I advanced into countries where the means of obtaining any addition to them, might perhaps not be found. I had not been able to purchase more than two oxen; and under these circumstances I gave up all idea of making Mattivi a present of the gun, and which, indeed, he had, by his fraudulent conduct, so little deserved.

I therefore determined to accept his offer of oxen in payment; and, as I began to suspect, by his bringing these two oxen as a temptation to give him ammunition before he had produced the promised equivalent for the gun, that he meant to leave that subject at rest altogether, I now asked him where were those oxen. To this he replied, that they should be brought on the morrow: but, instead of the six which he had promised before he had the musket in his possession, it was now discovered that he intended me to have only four.

I saw that he was evidently taking advantage of the weakness of my party, and that he supposed I should on that account submit to any terms which he might propose. I foresaw, that if he succeeded in a first step, he would take a second, and thus advance till affairs became serious; and that, if a character of non-resistance preceded us in the journey, every petty chieftain we should meet would know that he might plunder us with safety. I considered, too, that as the Bachapins derived from direct and indirect communication with the Colony, great mercantile advantages over their more northern neighbours, they would not readily be induced to forfeit these, by proceeding to extremities with me and my party. These reasons convinced me that a resolute opposition to encroachment, and a determination not to be intimidated, were the safest and most prudent measures that could now be adopted.

I therefore gave the Chief and his council to understand what were my sentiments respecting their present mode of dealing with a

[page] 416

stranger who came in friendship to visit them; and, without waiting till the interpreter had finished his duty, I rose from the circle and retired to my waggon, declaring, that as they had taken the gun from me against my consent, they might now keep it as their own; but that, for myself, I should instantly quit their country. These words, which were understood by Champáni, and perhaps by several others who were present, were immediately communicated to them, and to all who were then in the enclosure, the number of which was about a hundred.

The whole mootsi was now a scene of debate; and every countenance became serious. The assembly broke up; and Mattivi seated himself with a small party in one corner of the enclosure. My own men, fearing the worst consequences, came round me, and earnestly entreated me rather to allow the affair to take any course which the natives might desire, than to irritate a people, who had it in their power to put us all to death before the morning. My interpreter anxiously begged me to desist from further contention, as he knew not what might be the result. Speelman, in the greatest trepidation, declared, that could he have foreseen that I should ever have brought my people into so dangerous a situation, he would never have engaged himself for the journey.

Mattivi's brothers and sons, with several others, continued passing to and fro before the waggon, anxiously looking in as they walked by, to discover what were my movements or what steps I appeared about to take; as, it seems, they were apprehensive that I should give orders for leaving the town immediately. Had I done this, they would have been in a state of great hesitation, respecting the measures they were to adopt; whether to detain me, which act they feared would put an end to all future confidence between them and the Colony; or whether to allow me to depart, by which they would have lost all further advantages from my visit. As they passed, I could read disappointment and uncertainty in their countenances: but this, my men construed in a very different manner.

Gert, Speelman, and Muchunka were, in the greatest agitation, giving me their advice, when Mollemmi, having Champani with him,

[page] 417

came and seated himself oh the after-chest of the waggon. He seemed dejected, and said nothing. I repeated, that he must be aware that taking advantage of a stranger who visited them as a friend, was not the way in which I ought to be received; and that they had not rested from their endeavours, till they had taken from me that which they knew I did not wish to give up. At last he replied, that Mattīvi and all the people were much distressed at hearing that I thought they meant to take the gun from me in any unfriendly manner. They were yesterday rejoiced at finding that they had at length gotten into their possession, that which they had so much wished for; but now they were sad, because they saw me displeased. He had long meditated on accompanying me back to Cape Town; but now he felt great disappointment, as he feared that I should give our Chief an unfavorable opinion of his nation; which would prevent his intended journey.

So submissive and unexpected a confession, I looked upon as the termination of our dispute, since my only object in acting as I had done, was, not to recover my gun, nor to obtain a greater number of oxen, but to give a check to a growing spirit of intimidation and imposition, which I feared would, if not timely prevented, occasion us serious difficulties.

I replied; unless men acted according to their promise and agreement, it would be impossible for me ever to rely on their word; that as I came to Litákun as a friend, I wished, and hoped, to leave it as one; that I desired nothing more earnestly than to be on good terms with every body, and that I should be sorry if Mattivi did not feel equally friendly towards me: and to convince him that I still was desirous of his friendship, and ready to gratify his wishes as far as it was in my power, I would make him a present of as much powder and ball as I could safely spare; and that, with respect to the subject in dispute, I should leave him to his own conscience to do whatever he thought just and right, and should urge that affair no farther; for, if the Bachapins really cared for the good opinion of the white-people, I was certain that they would in every respect act fairly in their dealings with me.

VOL. II. 3 H

[page] 418

Immediately Mollemmi went to the Chief, and communicated this to him. They both returned together, and took their seat in the waggon. Mattivi commenced the conversation by saying, that I had made him and his people exceedingly happy by letting them have a gun; that I had done more for him than any one had ever done before. He here repeated all the remarks which he had already made on this subject. He now said that he would give me the six oxen he had first promised; but, as if to excuse the unfairness of his conduct, he assured me that he was just at this time very poor in cattle, having given away a great number to Măssáo's son, who, having been lately robbed of all his own, had come to him in much distress to beg relief. I could not ascertain whether this act of generosity which he pleaded, were really a fact; but the matter is so improbable, that I always doubted the truth of this assertion; especially as the plea of poverty must have been totally unfounded, if one might rely on common report for the number of large herds which he possessed. He expressed thanks for the ammunition which I intended to give him; and wished to have it on the next morning, as his people, he said, had put off the grand hunt until they should have obtained the gun and powder. I again told him how desirous I was of being always on good terms with him and the Bachapins, whom I had come so far to see. He answered; that he should have felt very sorry if I had suddenly left his country, as he had hoped that I should remain a long time with them, that it gave him great pleasure to observe the friendly treatment which many of his people received from my men, in being allowed to sit at their fire and partake of their meat; that he would not have suffered them to importune us and trouble us as they did, but it was not in his power to keep them away. This last remark only served to convince me that the men who had fastened themselves upon us, and continued almost constantly day and night in the but, were there not only by his permission, but by his orders. The white-men, he said, were great people, but he was only a Bachapin; and it would exceedingly distress him to have their displeasure. As he had a great number of servants, he would order some to remain in the mootsi to assist us in fetching water and to go out with my hunters

[page] 419

to carry home the game for 'them:' if he had here added 'selves' his meaning would have been better expressed; but he explained it sufficiently when he confessed that he was glad to see how kind we were to his people in giving them part of what we shot. He concluded by saying, that he would let his brothers accompany my Hottentots in their hunts, that they might learn rightly the use of the gun.

This conversation elucidates a prominent part of Mattivi's character: as far as it expressed promises beneficial to his visitors, it meant nothing; but where it implied any thing for his own benefit, it was sincere. He appeared to me to be selfish in a high degree, and cunning without sufficient depth of policy to conceal it: it required but little discernment to see the real meaning of all he said and did. Had he been a man of talent or reflection, he either, would not have given me palpable cause for complaint and remonstrance, or he would not have employed such weak arguments in defence of his conduct, or used so thin a veil to conceal his true motives.

This favorable turn of, what my men considered to be, the crisis of our fate, rendered them so happy, that they gave themselves up this evening to a greater share of cheerfulness, and even of mirth, than I had witnessed in them since we came among this nation. Till now, all of them had appeared full of thought and anxiety, talking no longer in their usual tone of voice, but speaking only in a low timid manner which betrayed how much they desired to be away from this people. In the hut, they passed the evening in friendly familiarity with those who came to sit by their fire. The sound of the fiddle was heard, but instead of dancing, laughter indicated more truly that their minds were at ease.

The natives, after having just beheld a storm gathering over themselves and us, were, I believe, not sorry at finding it disperse without harm. They seemed to associate with us in a more cordial manner; and even took one or two of the Hottentots, with whom they had formed a more particular acquaintance, to their houses, where they remained a great part of the evening. These, at their return, reported that they had been kindly treated, and had experienced, what must be considered as, great and unusual hospitality

3 H 2

[page] 420

among Bachapins, having been entertained with milk and corn. It could not, however, be said that more than the half of my party had thus banished their fears: the others, though less uneasy than before, were evidently not in a state of tranquillity.

18th. Early in the morning, before I had risen, the promised oxen were delivered over to my men; and had been driven out to pasture along with my own cattle. Mattivi had, I found, now given me two more than I had expected; one as a present, with the same intention with which he had at first given me the cow; for slaughter: the other as a return for the gunpowder. I gave him to understand that the last was not due to me, as the powder was meant as a free gift; but he replied, that what he had once given, he could never receive back again; and that to return it to him, would be an affront.

The Chief had issued orders for about five hundred of his people to commence the great hunt early in the morning. These spread themselves over the plains to the distance of several miles, and by preconcerted arrangement according to their custom, encircled an extensive tract of country, driving all the wild animals which happened to be thus enclosed, towards the town.

These were but few, and consisted only of paalas, springbucks called tsépi in the Sichuana language, zebras, and buffaloes; all which were thus made so exceedingly wild, that the Hottentots had no opportunity of shooting more than four springbucks; and probably the natives did not kill so many.

My own men, of whom I allowed no more than Speelman, Philip, Juli, Gert, and Cornelis, to go, were looked up to as the principal hunters on this occasion, and were each attended by a separate party, one of whom was generally employed to carry their gun in order to save them that fatigue. From this, we may see the inconsistency and imprudence of these Hottentots: they, who at other times believed there was reason for dreading that these natives would murder them, were now so thoughtless as to put into their hands the power of accomplishing such a purpose, and voluntarily to give up the only means by which they might defend their lives.

Speelman was attended by Mollemmi with Mattivi's gun. The

[page] 421

former having with the same ball, as he said, killed one springbuck and wounded another, which also fell, Mollemmi immediately fired at it, and declared that it was he who had brought it down; although the other natives, who were of that party, honestly owned that the animal belonged to the Hottentot. But Speelman was wise enough to give up both the honor and his claim, when he found the other inclined so obstinately to persist in asserting that they were due to him.

The Bachapins proved on this occasion, that in any emergency they can run with great swiftness, or, as my men expressed it, like horses; but that they are unable to continue long at that pace, and are, in this qualification, perhaps, much inferior to the Bushmen, who have greatly the advantage by being lighter and smaller in person.

The field of their hunting was at a considerable distance eastward from the town, where the country was found to be a boundless grassy plain, which my men, who were separated from each other, traversed in different directions, and every where met with strong springs of water, one of which they reported to be nearly as copious as the Klibbolikhonni. This tract is still a continuation of the Great Plains before described, and extends, as I afterwards learnt, above a day's journey in this direction. The Hottentots saw grazing in different parts, innumerable herds of oxen, which were much larger and finer than any we had seen in the Chief's cattle-pound in the town; and they were inclined to believe that those which had been given to me in the morning, were some of the worst which he possessed.

Mattivi and his attendants, who had also been on the hunt, came home again at noon: he employed himself during the rest of the day, in making handles for hatchets, such as have been already represented. The main body of the hunters, many of whom were exceedingly fatigued, and my own men, did not return till the evening.

I was myself compelled to remain at home by the waggons; as it would have been highly imprudent to have laid temptation in the

[page] 422

way of the inhabitants, who finding them unguarded might not have been able to resist so favorable an opportunity for purloining something: for, of the four men whom I kept in town, three were utterly incapable, through fear, of taking any charge; and so just were my suspicions, that it was discovered the next morning, that every button had been cut from off all the Hottentots' great-coats which were left in the hut under the care of Van Roye, Platje, Keyser, and Stuurman. This we supposed to have been done by women and children, as many of them had frequented the enclosure in the course of the day: but whether by women or by men, it was evident that they were tempted by the absence or carelessness of those who ought to have watched over them.

Did a Hottentot possess the notions of a European, I should not have been sorry at this robbery, because it would have made him more careful in future; and the inconvenience of a buttonless coat would have daily reminded him of his neglect, and have taught him a useful lesson. But his apathy gives him quite another character, and renders him insensible to any stimulus of this kind: what he has lost, he never thinks of afterwards; and rather than burden his mind with any new or additional care, he is content to take the chance of another loss, considering himself to be greatly the gainer if he escape robbery the next time.

Platje, Andries, and Keyser were so completely subdued by their fears, that they never spoke, not only to the natives, but even not to their companions. While at the town, they concealed themselves in the hut all day, and manifested so distressing a state of timidity that they attracted the notice of the inhabitants. Mollemmi asked us why they were so much afraid: They have not, said he, any occasion to be so; we shall do them no harm.

As soon as the hunters had set out this morning, the rest of my men whom I had ordered to remain with me at the waggons, deserted me; or at least, I found myself left the whole day in the town with no one near me but Stuurman and Andries, mere boys. On inquiring for the others, they informed me that Platje was so much in dread that the inhabitants, for the sake of plundering the

[page] 423

waggons, would come and murder the few who remained with them, that he had taken his musket and gone away, intending to pass the day out of the town, with Keyser, who was tending our cattle at pasture. Van Roye was not less penetrated with fear; as his looks too clearly betrayed: he had in the same manner absconded till the evening.

Such was the state of the Hottentots, at this time. In Juli, no undue, or unreasonable, fears had hitherto been observed; and I viewed his steadiness and general conduct, with a satisfaction which was increased by contrasting him with the others. In talking with him on this subject, he confessed that, on the first appearance of bad intentions towards us, on the part of the natives, it was much to be feared that every man of my party, excepting Speelman and Philip, would run away and leave us to defend ourselves. This was precisely my own opinion; and I derived, therefore, some pleasure from this proof of his discernment; and some consolation from the assurance that I had at least three men who would stand by the waggons in time of danger; for, although Speelman had once or twice shown some symptoms of timidity, I had sufficient confidence in his attachment, to believe that he would not desert me at such a time. Neither Philip nor Juli had betrayed any want of real courage.

I observed the skin of a very extraordinary animal lying on the hedge of Mattivi's cattle-enclosure, placed there, as I was told, to preserve the cattle from the evil effects of sorcery. The name of it was khāakă: it was of the genus Manis, but whether the pentadactyla, or a new species, I could not at that time determine; because the feet, head, and tail had been cut off, and the descriptions contained in the books of my travelling library, were too imperfect to assist in the decision. I neglected describing it from the mutilated skin, having no doubt of procuring afterwards the complete animal; but in this expectation I was disappointed, as it is not only a scarce creature, but one which it is very difficult to secure. This skin was two feet long, and covered with scales an inch and a half broad, of an obtuse or roundish form, the outward edge of which was very sharp.

The sum of all the information which I could obtain from the

[page] 424

natives respecting khāakă, is, —that by day it lives generally in holes in the ground, in the same manner as the Takkarú*, but does not burrow so deep, and is more easily unearthed. It has a long tail, and which it uses in digging its hole; (a fact so extraordinary, that it may, I think, be doubted: one person informed me that it does not dig its own burrow, but lives in that of another animal). It has a long snout, and a tongue which it can extend far out of its mouth. It lives upon ants; and on being alarmed or disturbed climbs up the nearest tree for refuge. When it comes out by day to feed, it is exceedingly cautious; and standing up on its hind legs, stretches out its neck to look around, and immediately on perceiving any person approaching, draws its head quickly back to its body. It walks on its heels to preserve its claws, and therefore, as it is said, imprints on the ground a foot-mark exactly like that of a rhinoceros in miniature. Whenever a recent track is met with, the animal is traced to its hole and dug out if possible, as the flesh, which is extremely fat, is esteemed so great a delicacy that the law requires that every khaaka which is killed shall be brought to the Chief.

When I requested Mattivi to order his people to procure for me a complete skin, he would not promise to do so, although I offered a great price in tobacco; and as Serrakutu was equally reluctant to comply with this request, it appeared not improbable that they were withheld by some superstitious belief relative to it: yet I was not more successful in my offer to purchase any other animals which the inhabitants would bring me.

In the evening the Chief came, and sat with me in the waggon for half an hour. Neither he, nor any of his brothers, ever approached me without asking for tobacco, notwithstanding the handsome present which I had made him. As he was so careful to conceal from his friends what he had received, he could not have much diminished this quantity; and his begging must therefore have proceeded from pure covetousness.

* The Aard-vark of the Dutch colonists; and Myrmecophaga capensis, Lin.—See Vol. I. p. 342.

[page] 425

As an experiment, I adopted his own style of solicitation, and complained that his servants had brought me no milk that day; but he was not to be taken unawares, for his excuse lay ready-fabricated upon his tongue: he said, that this was the season when milk was scarce, and that he had really but few cows. My answer was not very ceremonious, but it was not against the rules of Bachapin politeness; I replied, I could not believe that, while I knew him to be so rich that his cattle were grazing in every part of the country; and therefore begged he would every day send me a large quantity. I was induced to make this demand, by having discovered that the art of begging follows one of the rules of an algebraïc equation; that, like-quantities on both sides, annul each other, and may be expunged, as not affecting the result. Whenever I began to beg of the Bachapins, their begging ceased immediately, and thus, neither party gained nor lost.

Mollémmi also came, to inform me of his feats in hunting, and to tell me of his having shot a tsepi with the new gun. He said he felt very tired; and on my giving him some tobacco, seemed glad to leave me and go home. Muchunka was teaching him a few Dutch words, to prepare him for his intended visit to Cape Town, the real object of which, it was at last discovered, was to procure guns from the governor; having been told at Klaarwater, that he was the only person from whom they could be obtained.

19th. This being Sunday, my flag was hoisted upon a tall bamboo-cane and fixed at the hinder part of my waggon, conformably to a regulation which we followed while beyond the boundary of the Cape colony. This practice was of considerable utility, in dividing our time, and in assisting the Hottentots in keeping an account of the days of the week. By having this object before their eyes for twelve hours, a connection of ideas was established between the flag and every occurrence which took place on that day, as well as between that and the station at which it was hoisted. We were thus enabled more easily to recollect the place at which, or the day when, it was Sunday, and consequently to keep a check upon mistakes in our reckoning.

VOL. II. 3 I

[page] 426

That predilection for one's own country, which has been implanted by Nature in the human heart, and which, for a European in these wild regions, seemed to have acquired a more warm and powerful character, raised in me some agreeable feelings, on beholding the English flag waving above my head; in the middle of an African town. But it may be doubted whether such feelings, while coupled with a want of respect, or of philanthropic kindness, towards the other nations of the globe, can ever be pure as Nature intended them. This predilection, it must be confessed, is a virtue which some nations carry so far, or so much pervert, that it becomes almost their characteristic vice.

I wished, during my residence at Litákun more especially, to make this literally a day of rest as far as it regarded my intercourse with the natives; whose incessant conversation and wearying importunities, left me scarcely one moment to myself, from the time of my rising, till they retired to their homes at night. I therefore closed up my waggon, and desired Muchunka to let all the natives know that it was Sondak (Zondag, or Sunday); taking advantage of a word, the meaning of which they had learnt from those who had visited Klaarwater.

Thus relieved from the intrusion of strangers, I was left to my own occupations for the whole day, excepting a visit from Mollémmi with which I was more pleased than interrupted. He brought Muchunka, Champáni, and another Bachapīn, with him; and when he first intruded himself under the canvass, and took his seat in the waggon, I felt somewhat vexed, and told him that I had given notice that it was Sunday, and wished to be left alone. Muchunka further explained to him that he knew it was the custom at Klaarwater to do nothing on that day, excepting to say prayers. He wished to know what prayers were; and I explained this to him in a manner suited to his intellect and adapted to make some useful impression on his mind. He replied very modestly, that he had come because he liked much to be with me and to talk to me; but, that it was good that I had now told him the custom of my country, and that in future he would not interrupt me.

In forming my opinion of Mollémmi's character, I was for

[page] 427

some time in uncertainty; as he appeared a different person under different circumstances. On some occasions he was obstinate and most vexatiously troublesome; on others, submissive and good-tempered: but, notwithstanding that I suffered much from the unpleasant part of his character during my stay at this town, I must do him the justice to believe that he was not without some share of goodness of heart, nor without a desire to oblige others, where his own interest was not in the way to prevent it. Although he plagued me even more than his brother Mattivi did, I must acknowledge that of the two, he was the better character; as he had much less of that mean insatiable covetousness, and was often more easily persuaded by reasonable argument.

He listened to the explanation which I gave him respecting prayers, with so much more attention than I should have supposed the subject could have awakened in him, that I pursued it farther, not only with a view to gratifying my own curiosity as to his knowledge and conceptions of the Divinity, but with a wish also of giving him some new and better ideas. I found no difficulty in making him sensible of a future state of existence, as the Bachapins seemed to possess some confused notions of this kind; but of their belief in retributive justice after death, I never could gain any clear account. Neither did it appear to me that they had any very sublime idea of the soul or of immortality. Of the worldly superintendence of a Supreme Power, they are not ignorant; but their knowledge is so mingled with superstition, that this can be of little practical benefit to their moral conduct or religious feelings. These superstitious notions could only have been the offsprings of the weakest mind; and the respect which continues to be paid to them, proves, better than any argument, how low is the state of intellect and reason among these people.

Yet, with an education so unfavorable to mental improvement, Mollemmi listened to me with an apparent desire of learning, and with a facility of assent, which I should not have expected. All which I told him, of our notions respecting the Deity; of the absolute necessity of a virtuous life; and of the preservation of good-

3 I 2

[page] 428

faith between man and man, and between nation and nation; all, was received with an interest, and even eagerness, which increased the longer I continued the conversation. This enticed me to proceed in my exposition, to a considerable length; and I felt a peculiar satisfaction in pouring into a mind apparently so open to receive it, some instruction which I hoped might contribute a ray of light towards showing him a better path to present and future happiness.

Champáni and the other native, listened to this discourse, with no less attention than Mollemmi. The former, by his knowledge of Dutch, comprehended more quickly and forcibly, than the others who heard only through an interpreter, the purport of what was told them; and, as if convinced of the truth of my representations, spoke occasionally to the others to enforce or explain my meaning: while Muchunka, with the same view, frequently added much of his own over and above the proper interpretation.

After having endeavoured to give them some notions of the goodness of that Being by whose will, the existence of every thing around them was continued, Who beheld all they did, and to whom every word of untruth, and every act of injustice, was in the highest degree displeasing, I proceeded to show them the practical good which would surely result, not from merely believing in this, but from regulating their conduct conformably to such notions, and from restraining their evil propensities by those precepts which would naturally flow from such knowledge. I assured them that, if the Bachapins, the Nuákketsies, the Batámmakas, the Māibues, and all the tribes of this land, did but know these things, and act in conformity with the will of the Deity, there would be no more fighting one against the other, or stealing cattle; but that all would be at peace and would visit each other as friends and brethren.

As long as I continued speaking, there was the greatest attentiveness, and an evident wish to comprehend clearly all which was said: from their manner, it seemed that this mode of argument and explanation, was entirely new to them, and even to Muchunka though he had lived at Klaarwater. It appeared strongly to excite their curiosity; and, had the object of my visit to Litákun been

[page] 429

such as it may be supposed that of a missionary would be, I think I should have found it not impossible to have gained over their minds an ascendancy, which, with a little management, might have been rendered useful in disposing them for the reception and adoption of the purer principles of religion. It is by making the untutored savage see and feel the advantage of a virtuous life, that he can be taught to submit to its rules. Where this is not done, the missionary will labour all his life, to no purpose but to cheat himself.

Having communicated to my visitors as much as they could be supposed able to remember, or capable of understanding without confusing one idea with another, I concluded by an assurance that they might rely on the truth of the facts which had been stated. Mollemmi replied, that it was very good that I had informed him of these things; that he was glad to hear them; and that, as he much wished to know more, he would often come to me when I was alone and had time to talk to him. It was no inconsiderable proof of the effect which my conversation had on him, that he never once begged for any thing. It would give me always, I said, great pleasure to tell him or any one else, all which I might know on this subject; and whenever he felt disposed to listen again, he would find me ready at any time to instruct him; as I felt sincerely desirous of doing him and his countrymen as much good as might lay in my power. He replied, that he would always listen with the greatest attention; that he would never forget what I had already told him, but would tell it also to the people, that they might know these things as well as himself.

The conversation having gradually changed to other subjects, it fell at last upon my flag; and his remark proved that he was not altogether wanting in the faculty of observation; he noticed that it was of the same kind as that which he had seen with the party who visited them in 1801, but different from that of 1805. In this he was quite correct; for the former was sent by the English government, and the latter, by the Dutch. This naturally led to an explanation that these were two different nations, and that they came to the Cape from different countries and spoke different languages: facts

[page] 430

of which he was totally ignorant; although Champani, who was regarded as a man of information, was aware that some white-men were distinguished as Dutch, and others, as English; which he might probably have learnt from the circumstance of there being missionaries of both nations at Klaarwater.

I mentioned to them, in as comprehensible a manner as possible, some particulars relative to my own country and Europe; all of which they seemed to think very wonderful and interesting. If any of the Bachapins, I said, would come to England, they should with their own eyes see the truth of all which I had told them, and that when they came back again, they would be able to instruct their countrymen respecting all the fine things which they had seen, and to tell them all the wonders of the other land. Mollémmi replied, that he was certain I was one of the greatest chiefs in that land; and when I endeavoured to assure him of the contrary, he said he never would believe that, because he could himself see how rich I was.

When they left me, their thoughts were so involved in the novelty of the information which they had received, that they never once mentioned the word muchúko.

Towards the evening, Mattīvi came and sat with me a short time; I gave him a large piece of tobacco, thanking him for having prevented his people from disturbing me. He and his attendants had been passing their time as usual; nor could I discover during the whole of my residence at Litakun, or in any part of my travels among the Bichuanas, the least appearance of any regular day of rest, or worship. He and his friends, he told me, had been admiring my flag, which they thought exceedingly beautiful as it waved in the wind.

On my mentioning that I intended to send three of my men out to hunt on the morrow, he said he should let his brother Molaali go with them, to practise shooting and hunting according to our method. He did not intend going himself, because he must remain at home to take care of me and restrain his people from troubling me so much as they had lately done. His presence certainly had some effect in checking their importunities. Observing me writing

[page] 431

down some Sichuana words, he asked if I did it that I might learn them when I returned to my own country: and on being told that it was done that others might learn them also and come to Litákun to see him, he was much pleased. I could perceive that a week's acquaintance had worn off much of his reserve: he appeared sometimes in a more friendly light, and sufficiently familiar; but he had not yet won my confidence and esteem. On taking leave of me at night, his usual word was, Rumēela; a polite and friendly term of greeting, often used also at meeting, in answer to the word Eēs.

Mollémmi paid me a short visit in the evening, when I gave him some tobacco for Molaali whom I had not seen since the morning before. On asking why he had not been to visit me, he said that it was because he had had much business to attend to.

At this time, Molaali's duty in the Bachapin government, was to convey the Chief's orders wherever the case demanded, and to see them put in execution: he also was employed on those commissions for which the presence of a person of authority, was required in any distant part of the country within Mattīvi's jurisdiction. It was he who was generally sent to inquire into crimes and misdemeanors, and bring the offender, if not too powerful, to town. A short time before my arrival he had been thus employed, in taking into custody a man who had stolen and killed one of the Chief's oxen, and who was afterwards punished with death. Such an offence may be commuted for a fine of three or four times the value, if the means of paying it can be found; or it is visited by seizure, when the offender is of the higher class. During my stay at Litákun all business with the different cattle-stations appeared to be transacted by Molaali; who was considered as the official messenger on all occasions of importance.

Molaali, as soon as he was told by his brother that I had been making inquiries after him, paid me a visit; and seemed much pleased at my having noticed his absence. He sat with me about a quarter of an hour, and was entertained with a cup of tea. His behaviour was at all times modest and unpretending; he was far less troublesome to me, than his elder brothers were; but assumed somewhat more liberty than his brother Mahúra, whom I saw less fre-

[page] 432

quently, and who, I believe, was employed generally in the same manner, though in business of less consequence.

Neither the Chief, nor any of his family, considered it beneath their rank to pass their evenings at my Hottentots' fire, and smoke and talk with them as if they themselves had been Hottentots, or these had been chiefs. But their Colonial dress was in the eyes of the Bachapins a badge of the highest rank; and which caused them to be every where regarded as inferior to no one but myself.

When all besides were asleep, I went into the hut to warm myself by the embers, and found two of the natives, who usually slept there and whom I have suspected of being spies upon us, instructing Stuurman in their language. This Hottentot knew nothing of it; nor was it likely that he ever could learn much, by such a mode of instruction as that which his two tutors had adopted. They were pronouncing various words or sentences, without giving any kind of explanation, and which they made him carefully repeat word for word after them. This, I found him doing very patiently, but without understanding a single word: and when he had with great pains and gravity pronounced what they told him, they burst into laughter at the end of every expression. This merriment I discovered to be occasioned, not, as he thought, by his ridiculous pronunciation, but by the improper meaning of that which they made him so innocently repeat.

This species of wit is much admired by most tribes of savages; and an inquisitive traveller is always liable to be thus imposed on. If his knowledge of the language should not be sufficient for affording him a clue by which he may trace and detect the imposition, he may attentively watch the countenance of his instructor, and should he observe the slightest symptoms of mirth, he may know that their instruction is not worth listening to. Jokes of this kind are more easily discovered in the presence of several natives, than when there is not a second to enjoy the imposition, and betray it by his laughing.

Most of my men had, however, picked up a few words, which they used upon almost every occasion, and managed by the help of these, and of signs, to make themselves in general to be understood. But

[page] 433

frequently for mere amusement, as I supposed, and to pass away the evening, they used to hold long conversations, if they can be called such, with the natives, each party using his own language and comprehending very little of what was said by the other; and talking probably on subjects widely different. One of these men made Stuurman repeat after him, an account of a warlike expedition which was sent against a neighbouring tribe: such being a favorite subject of conversation among these people, and one of the most important which the events of a Bachapin life can supply.

VOL. II. 3 K

[page 434]



July 20th. While I was employed this morning in making a drawing of the mootsi, or public enclosure, in which my waggons were stationed, the Chief and his party remained sitting in their usual place near the hut, passing their time in desultory conversation, and occasionally in shaping handles for their corn-hoes, a kind of mattock, used by the women in digging or breaking up the land preparatively to sowing, as that season was now advancing. These handles were nearly in the form of the kirri, and about three feet long. The work now bestowed upon them, and which was performed with a common knife, was that of making them smooth and straight; but it proceeded at an extremely slow rate, which plainly showed how little they valued time, or how little work they had to do.

To make my sketch, I seated myself at the farthest part of the enclosure; and during this time no one molested me with begging;

[page] 435

nor did any person come near me, excepting two or three children. These were at first rather timid and shy; but I soon found means of gaining their confidence. Their playmates, who were at a little distance, observing that I had no dislike to their company, added themselves to the party one by one, till at last I found myself surrounded by a crowd of little urchins, all desirous that I should take notice of them. The occasional society of such companions may often afford the greatest relaxation, and the attractive innocence and simplicity of youth contrasted with the repulsive duplicity of a more advanced age, possess a charm which may agreeably beguile an hour, and recreate a mind fatigued by graver cares. I left off my drawing, that I might thus amuse myself; and it was not long before their shyness was converted into playful familiarity. They appeared delighted and happy that I thought them of so much importance as to spend my time in talking with them and in answering all their questions. One asked the name of my book, and on being told it, others came eagerly forward to know what I called the pencil, my boots, and the different parts of my dress. They repeated the name, several times over, at first very seriously; and on communicating it to the rest, laughed as if highly pleased at having learnt something new, or, perhaps, at the strange sound of the word itself.

I enjoyed this amusement alone, as none of the men had curiosity enough, or thought it worth while, to take their seat by my side, to see what I was doing; or probably Mattīvi had ordered that I should not be interrupted while at work. But no sooner had I finished it, and returned to my waggon, than the men began as usual to torment me with begging for tobacco, or snuff. I found it impossible to get rid of them without giving some; and I now saw the necessity of reducing the quantity as low as possible; as my bestowing too liberally to so great a multitude, would before long have put it out of my power to give to any one. When one party, or as many as could stand on the step of the waggon, had gained the object of their visit, another immediately took their place. I hoped to avoid their importunities, by leaving the waggon; as they supposed that I

3 K 2

[page] 436

was there seated in the midst of tobacoo; but I no where found relief; I was assailed on all sides by, Lee muchúko: — 'Mpá muchúko, Monárri:Muchúko okái? 'Give me tobacco:' — 'Give me some tobacco, Sir:' — 'Where's the tobacco?' To whatever spot I went, thither I was followed: and their incessant begging was all which I had to attend to during the rest of the forenoon.

By this time, I had acquired among the natives, the name of Monár or Monárri, which I suppose to be a corruption of the Dutch word Mynheer (Sir) used by the Hottentots; but my interpreter explained it as being a title which they frequently give when addressing their own chieftains. I was sometimes styled Kaptèen (Captain), a word well known to all the native tribes who have any connection with the Cape Colony, and understood by them in the sense of 'a chief,' or 'a chieftain;' this being the rank in which they thought proper to place me. My own men had little occasion to make use of my real name, as there was no other European in the party, to render such a distinction necessary: in speaking of me, they used the Dutch words de Heer, and in the distant parts of the Colony that of de Engelsche Heer was the more common designation, although my name was affixed to both the waggons.

In the afternoon, I walked to a little distance, to make a sketch of part of the town. I would not take any interpreter with me, that, by pretending not to understand what they said, I might escape the annoyance of beggars. Some of the inhabitants followed me, and others came and took their seat by my side while I was drawing. When they asked a question which I understood, I endeavoured, in the best manner in my power, to give them an answer; but when I heard the word muchúko or lishuéena, I affected not to comprehend their meaning; and, seeming to listen with great attention as if desirous of making out what they said, I tired them out by repeatedly saying. Búä káapi (Say it again); and at last declared, Na ka si boa ūkbwa (I don't understand you). Some of them, however, were shrewd enough to see through the trick; and on its detection, we laughed at each other:—but I gave no muchúko. This little ruse was so much in their own style, that they were far from being displeased at it: it rather,

[page] 437

I believe, gave them a higher opinion of the qualifications of white-men.

Mattīvi's principal herdsman, who generally brought a small calabash of milk, said that he had received orders to supply me with some every day; adding, that he would always bring it himself, that he might be assured of its being regularly delivered to me. But the real cause of his punctuality, was the present or payment of a piece of tobacco, which he never failed to demand. And besides this, the Chief himself always expected a daily present of the same kind, in consideration of his 'royal bounty;' so that I generally paid twice over for what he often alluded to as a proof of his generous and friendly disposition towards me: and as a further proof of his friendship, he frequently, when thirsty, did me the favor to come to my waggon and, signifying his wishes with, 'Mpá maashe (Give me some milk), drink up generally half of what he had sent me only an hour or two before. I soon discovered the truth of what the Hottentots had said at Klaarwater; when they told me in their Dutch, In de Briqualand zal Mynheer nicks kryg voor nicks; 'In Briqualand you will get nothing for nothing.'

While I was thus engaged in the town, some of my men were employed in hunting in the neighbouring plains; and in the evening two paalas and a stonebuck were brought home: others went to the river, and passed the day in that very unromantic occupation of washing our linen.

In the evening, when we were all reassembled round the fire, the sound of our music enlivened the mootsi, and attracted to our hut the great milk-giving Chief and his brothers. Several boys, when they had ended their daily business of attending the cattle, came and spent the remainder of their time with the Hottentots: they listened so attentively to the tunes which were played on our violin, that they soon learnt them perfectly, and often gave me the pleasure of hearing them sung with a readiness and correctness which surprised me; while I felt some gratification from the idea of our being most probably the first visitors who had actually introduced among them a European air.

[page] 438

One evening a party of about ten or twelve of these boys amused themselves in dancing. They formed themselves in a circle, in imitation of the dance used by the men, and appeared to follow the same rules; but, instead of the reed pipes, they substituted their voices. Sometimes one of them led the band, and the rest afterwards joined in at different intervals; and, guided only by the ear, attuned their notes in correct harmony. The elder boys, whose voices were of a lower pitch, sang the bass; while the younger, produced, in their turn, the higher tones of the treble. The sound of the various voices, was altogether extremely pleasing; and the natural manner in which the dancing and singing were performed, would, simply from the engaging manners of youth, have gratified even those who have enjoyed these arts in their more refined state. The words Kána Kána, which convey no meaning, were pronounced by each one in every bar, merely to assist in articulating the air. This dance was continued, with little intermission, for nearly an hour. The same tune was repeated during the whole time without variation; and occupied, in singing it once over, just twenty-two seconds: but it has not been thought necessary to write the different parts in score, separately as they were sung by each dancer; since they may be readily distinguished by mere inspection. The following notes will give some idea of them, and will also serve as a specimen of Bachapin music.

[page] 439

21st. During part of the forenoon, I was employed in my waggon in finishing my drawings; but at no hour of the day was I allowed to be there alone. Several natives were always sitting on the chest before me, and watching every motion; but I was mistaken in my first supposition that their curiosity might be the effect of a desire to learn the arts of white-men, and to improve their knowledge by conversing with strangers. It did not appear to have so useful an object: although I cannot but believe that the occasional visits of Europeans, must, at least insensibly and almost involuntarily, enlarge their notions and give them many new ideas which may ultimately raise the nation somewhat higher in the scale of intellect and civilization. The effects of such visits, have hitherto perhaps been fleeting; as no strangers of this description had passed a sufficient length of time among them, to communicate much information, or to make any permanent impression on the minds of the people in general.

A few days before we reached Litákun, a party of Nuákketsies had arrived there, with a present of oxen from their chief Mókkaba, as a testimony of his desire of being on peaceable terms with Mattīvi. They had also brought a large quantity of iron-ware of their own manufacture, consisting of knives, hassagays, and hatchets; together with tobacco, copper and iron beads, copper bracelets, and ornaments for the ears; which were exchanged here for porcelain beads, and sibīlo. They still remained at this town, not having yet disposed of all their merchandise. Two of them came this morning into the public enclosure: they appeared of a blacker color than the Bachapins; which might possibly be merely the consequence of their not being painted with red ochre or sibīlo. They had thicker lips and more flattened noses; but I will not, from these few individuals, venture to assert that such are the national features: yet subsequent observation seemed to authorise the supposition that, by travelling farther northward, the tribes would be found gradually to approach in features and color, nearer to the negroes of the equinoctial part of the continent.

Serrakútu, whom I had not seen for the last two days, paid

[page] 440

me a visit, and sat for about half an hour with me. When I inquired why he had remained so long without coming to the waggons, he answered, that he had been very busy making a kóba. On my remarking that I was always glad to see him; he replied that he felt particularly desirous that we should become very intimate friends: and, to conclude these complimentary speeches, I rejoined that there was no doubt that such would be the case, as soon as we were a little more acquainted. In the mean time I would give him, I said, an opportunity of proving his sincerity by ordering some of his people to get me the skin of a khaaka, for which I offered him a foot and a half of tobacco. He made no promise that he would procure me the skin; but wished that the offer should be made in beads instead of tobacco. This was a proposal which could not prudently be complied with, as it was now evident that no purchase could be made in the Interior without beads, and my teams were still incomplete. I invited him to make a journey to Cape Town, where he would, I assured him, not only get beads in abundance, but would behold so many extraordinary and handsome things, that he would never afterwards find time enough for relating to the people of Litakun all the wonders which he had seen. Yet all my representations seemed to have little effect in exciting any desire for such a journey: he replied; 'At home I have two wives, who prepare for me every meal; but if I go to the Cape, who will then cook my food, if I do not take them along with me?' He was, however, a man of as much quickness of understanding as any of his countrymen; but, as he found his present situation and mode of life suit his habits better than those of the makwá-mashú (white-men), he seemed not much inclined to risk any experiment with a view to ameliorate his condition, or merely to acquire knowledge; deeming, perhaps, all which white-men regarded as fine things and strong temptations, to be of little importance to him, excepting the beads. He ended these remarks by reminding me that I had a day or two before, promised him some tobacco. I gave him, therefore, a piece of three inches, but desired that he would let no one know of it. He was equally anxious himself to conceal it, fearing that his friends would

[page] 441

pursue him for a share of it, with as much ardor as they had pursued me; while it was his intention to take the smoking of it wholly into his own hands, disdaining all assistance in an affair, for the management of which he was so well qualified.

A chieftain whose name was Krámŏrĭ, and who resided in a distant quarter of the town, came to offer me an elephant's tusk in exchange for beads; and when told that it was oxen, and not ivory, which I wished to purchase, he replied, that the tooth was so large and heavy, that he had not been able to bring it to the waggons, but that if I would come and see it at his house, he was certain that I should immediately desire to purchase it. Without promising this, I consented to accompany him, in order to examine his house and take a view of a distant quarter of the town, which I had not yet seen.

I was attended by Muchùnka and Champāni, and by a few natives who added themselves to our party. As we walked along, one of them amused himself in throwing his tsámma or walking-stick in the manner of a hassagay, the shaft of which it exactly resembles. He was careful to aim always in the direction in which we were going, that he might have no other trouble than to pick it up as he passed. This was, for a person who walks out merely for exercise, an excellent mode of beguiling the way, as it exerts the upper limbs equally with the lower, and thus gives employment to all the principal muscles of the body: though the object sought in the present case, was probably that of perfection in the art of using the hassagay, their usual warlike instrument.

In our way we passed through many clusters of houses; between which there were most frequently large spaces of unoccupied ground. Each of these clusters might generally be considered as the village of a different kósi or chieftain, and inhabited for the greater part, by his relations and connections; yet not necessarily, nor perhaps always, following this as a rule. The houses were all built in the neatest manner imaginable; but beyond the fence which encircled them, not the least labor had ever been bestowed; nor, in any part of this extensive town, did there exist works which might be considered as

VOL. II. 3 L

[page] 442

being of a public nature: no care extended beyond private interest; and it may be doubted whether the Chiefs of these nations ever exert their authority for the general good of their subjects, by putting in requisition the labor of the community, for the accomplishment of any work of this kind.

The intervening ground remained in a state of nature, scattered over with bushes and here and there with a tuft of smaller plants or a patch of herbage, between which appeared the naked sandy soil of the same red color which had been remarked almost every where in the Plains of Litākun. The site of the town had formerly been occupied by a grove of acacias; mostly of those species which have hitherto been confounded under the name of 'camelthorn.' Among them was a new sort called by the inhabitants, múkwi, or mókwi, or mokála-mókwi, distinguishable by the unusual thickness of its branches and even of its youngest shoots.*

As I passed through the different clusters of dwellings, the inhabitants ran out to view me. The greater number were women and girls; the men being abroad in the plains, either hunting or attending their cattle. A white-man must have been a perfectly novel sight to the younger children; and, judging from the eager looks and surprise of many of the older people, this must have been the first time in their lives that they had beheld so extraordinary a pheno