4th November, 1872.—All very tired. We tried to get food, but it is very dear, and difficult to bargain for. Goods are probably brought from Fipa. A rest will be beneficial to us.
5th November, 1872.—We went up a high mountain, but found that one of the cows could not climb up, so I sent back and ordered it to be slaughtered, waiting on the top of the mountain whilst the people went down for water.
6th November, 1872.—Pass a deep narrow bay and climb a steep mountain. Too much for the best donkey. After a few hours’ climb we look down on the Lake, with its many bays. A sleepy glare floats over it. Further on we came on a ledge of rocks, and looked sheer down 500 feet or 600 feet into its dark green waters. We saw three zebras and a young python here, and fine flowers.
7th November, 1872, Sunday.—Remained, but the headman forbade his people to sell us food. We keep quiet except to invite him to a parley, which he refuses, and makes loud lullilooing in defiance, as if he were inclined to fighting. At last, seeing that we took no notice of him, he sent us a present; I returned three times its value.
8th November, 1872.—The large donkey is very ill, and unable to climb the high mountain in our front. I left men to coax him on, and they did it well. I then sent some to find a path out from the Lake mountains, for they will kill us all; others were despatched to buy food, but the Lake folks are poor except in fish.
Swifts in flocks were found on the Lake when we came to it, and there are small migrations of swallows ever since. Though this is the very hottest time of year, and all the plants are burnt off or quite dried, the flowers persist in bursting out of the hot dry surface, generally without leaves. A purple ginger, with two yellow patches inside, is very lovely to behold, and it is alternated with one of a bright canary yellow; many trees, too, put on their blossoms. The sun makes the soil so hot that the radiation is as if it came from a furnace. It burns the feet of the people, and knocks them up. Subcutaneous inflammation is frequent in the legs, and makes some of my most hardy men useless. We have been compelled to slowness very much against my will. I too was ill, and became better only by marching on foot. Riding exposes one to the bad influence of the sun, while by walking the perspiration modifies beneficially the excessive heat. It is like the difference in effect of cold if one is in activity or sitting, and falling asleep on a stage-coach. I know ten hot fountains north of the Orange River; the further north the more hot and numerous they become.
[Just here we find a note, which does not bear reference to anything that occurred at this time. Men, in the midst of their hard earnest toil, perceive great truths with a sharpness of outline and a depth of conviction which is denied to the mere idle theorist: he says:—]