Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

126 
MEMORIES OF MY LIFE 
time then at my disposal. The excellent facilities 
now afforded by the Royal Geographical Society for 
the instruction of intending travellers did not then 
exist ; indeed, I had a large part in their introduction 
many years later. I was, however, familiar with the 
requisite book-work, and relied on what I could pick up 
on board ship and elsewhere to supplement it. Let 
me anticipate that I took very kindly indeed to instru¬ 
mental work, and learnt in time to get more out of 
my sextants, etc., than most persons. Land work 
admits of far greater exactitude with that instrument 
than sea work, where the true position of the horizon 
is never known, owing to uncertainties of refraction, 
and is not seen at all at night. The sun, which is 
the principal object of observation at sea, is little used 
on land, where the altitudes of stars are obtainable with 
great accuracy from their reflections in a small trough 
of mercury. Also the hand can be so rested that 
the images of the star and of its reflection shall be 
quite steady when seen through the telescope. 
Moreover, the two images, whether of the star and 
its reflection, or of the star and the moon, can be toned 
to an exactly equal degree of brightness. The sextant 
is a very powerful instrument for its size, in the hands 
of those who have patience and skill to get the most 
out of it. 
I was received very kindly at the Cape by the 
Governor, Sir Harry Smith, and by his lady, whose 
name is perpetuated in that of the well-known town 
“ Ladysmith,” called after her. But the news from 
the frontier recently received at Cape Town scattered 
my plans like a bombshell. The Boers, who had 
been very unruly, had affirmed their intention of
        

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