My Bay Horse Was Found To Be Invaluable For The
Service Of A Quarter-Master Of A Transport-Train; For To Such Was
I Compelled To Compare Myself.
I could stay behind until the last
donkey had quitted the camp, and, by a few minutes' gallop, I could
put myself at the head, leaving Shaw to bring up the rear.
The road was a mere footpath, and led over a soil which, though
sandy, was of surprising fertility, producing grain and vegetables
a hundredfold, the sowing and planting of which was done in the
most unskilful manner. In their fields, at heedless labor, were
men and women in the scantiest costumes, compared to which Adam
and Eve, in their fig-tree apparel, must have been _en grande
tenue_. We passed them with serious faces, while they laughed and
giggled, and pointed their index fingers at this and that, which to
them seemed so strange and bizarre.
In about half an hour we had left the tall matama and fields of
water-melons, cucumbers, and manioc; and, crossing a reedy
slough, were in an open forest of ebony and calabash. In its
depths are deer in plentiful numbers, and at night it is visited by
the hippopotami of the Kingani for the sake of its grass. In
another hour we had emerged from the woods, and were looking down
upon the broad valley of the Kingani, and a scene presented itself
so utterly different from what my foolish imagination had drawn,
that I felt quite relieved by the pleasing disappointment.
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