The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805, by Mungo Park

Chapter III.

Departure from Fankia — Tambaura mountains, and difficulties in ascending the Pass — Toombin — Great embarrassments on the road — Serimanna — Fajemmia — Astronomical observations — Increase of the sick — Nealakalla — Ba Lee River — Boontoonkooran — Dooggikotta — Falifing — Losses on the road — Gimbia; inhospitable treatment — Sullo — Face of the country — Secoba — Kronkromo — Passage of the Ba Fing — Mode of smelting and working gold — Fatal accident in crossing the Ba Fing — Hippopotami — Deaths and losses on the route — Increase of sickness — Reach Viandry — Koeena — Danger from young lions — Koombandi — Great embarrassments on the road — Fonilla — Ba Woolima River; difficulties in crossing it — Isaaco seized by a crocodile — Boolinkoonbo — Distressing situation of the whole of the party — Reach Serrababoo — Saboseera.

June 14th. — I halted at Fankia, in order to give the sick a little rest, knowing there was a steep hill to ascend near this place. Found myself very sick, having been feverish all night.

° ' "
Observed mer. alt. Sun, 159 39 0
-- -- --
79 49 0-1/2
0 16 0
-- -- --
80 5 30
-- -- --
Z.D. 9 55 30
D. 23 17 0
-- -- --
Latitude 13 22 30

Bought corn for the asses, and plenty of fowls for the sick.

June 15th. — Left Fankia: men still very sickly, and some of them slightly delirious. About a mile N.E. of this village is the passage in the Tambaura mountains, called Toombinjeena. The ascent is very steep and rocky: the perpendicular of the steepest place would not much exceed three hundred feet. The asses being heavily loaded, in order to spare as many as possible for the sick, we had much difficulty in getting our loads up this steep. The number of asses exceeding the drivers, presented a dreadful scene of confusion in this rocky staircase; loaded asses tumbling over the rocks, sick soldiers unable to walk, black fellows stealing; in fact it certainly was uphill work with us at this place. Having got up all the loads and asses, set forwards; and about two miles from the steep came to the delightful village of Toombin. On collecting our loads, found that the natives had stolen from us seven pistols, two great coats and one knapsack, besides other small articles. Sent back the horses for two sick soldiers, who were unable to ride on the horses, and were left at the steep. Pitched the tent, and secured the baggage from the rain.

[Footnote: See Park’s Travels, p. 257]

June 16th. — Left Toombin. Just as the people and asses were gone, the good old schoolmaster whom I mentioned in my former travels came up. He had heard the night before that I was with the party, and had travelled all night to come and see me. As the loads were gone on, I told him I wished him to go forward with me to the place where we should halt; that I might reward him in some degree for his former kindness. Recovered three of the pistols which had been stolen, and one great coat. Set forwards. About a mile to the east of the village found Hinton, one of the sick who rode Mr. Anderson’s horse, lying under a tree, and the horse grazing at a little distance. Some of the natives had stolen the pistols from the holsters, and robbed my coat case, which was fastened behind the saddle, of a string of coral, all the amber and beads it contained, and one barraloolo. Luckily they did not fancy my pocket sextant, and artificial horizon, which were in the same place. Put the sick man on the horse and drove it before me; and after holding him on and using every exertion to keep him on the saddle, I found that I was unable to carry him on, and having fatigued myself very much with carrying him forwards about six miles, I was forced to leave him.

About a mile after I left Hinton, I came to two others lying in the shade of a tree. Mounted one on Mr. Anderson’s horse, and the other on my own, and drove them before me. Reached the village of Serimanna about half past twelve o’clock: sent back a horse in the cool of the evening for Hinton, and brought him to the village, being obliged to tie him on the horse.

Gave the schoolmaster five bars of scarlet, one barraloolo, ten bars of beads, fourteen of amber, and two dollars, which made him completely happy. I likewise gave him an Arabic New Testament, which he promised to read with attention.

June 17th. — Finding that Hinton was worse, and Sparks delirious, left them to the care of the Dooty of the village; having given him amber and beads sufficient to purchase victuals for them if they lived, and to bury them if they died. If they recovered, he engaged to join them to the first coffle travelling to Gambia. From Serimanna in two hours we reached Fajemmia: this is only a small village, but fortified with a high wall. The chief, from whom the village has its name, formerly resided at Faramba, to the East of this; but has lately retired here, leaving his people and slaves at Faramba. Fajemmia is the most powerful chief of Konkodoo, and holds under his subjection all the country from Toombin to the Ba Fing.

The customs paid by travellers being always in proportion to the power and mischievous disposition of the chiefs; those paid at Fajemmia are of course very high.

I paid as follows:

Amber 15
Beads 50
Scarlet 20
Amber 35
Amber 14
Barraloolo 15
149 bars;
a soldier’s musket, a pair of handsome pistols, a handsome sword, a great coat, and one hundred gun flints.

Very happy to get so well over the palaver; for he insisted long on having the customs, or four bottles of gunpowder for each ass, which would have distressed us very much; and we could have made but a feeble resistance, being so very sickly. Observed an emersion of Jupiter’s first satellite.

June 17th, time by the watch 13° 6’ 15”.

June 18th, altitudes for the time with artificial horizon.

H. M. S. ° '
6 25 35 19 36
6 27 41 18 43
6 26 13 19 28
6 28 19 18 24
6 26 51 19 5
6 28 50 18 12
6 29 39 17 49
6 30 23 17 30
6 30 48 17 19

Longitude not yet calculated.

° ' "
June 18th.--Obser. mer. alt. Sun, 159 49 0
-- -- --
79 54 0-1/2
0 16 0
-- -- --
80 10 0-1/2
-- -- --
Z.D. 9 50 0
D. 23 25 0
-- -- --
Latitude 13 35 0 N.

Our palaver with Fajemmia was not finished till the morning of the 19th. During the 18th, 19th, and 20th I was very sick; and though in general I was able to sit up part of the day, yet I was very weak, and unable to attend to the marketing of corn, milk, and fowls. Mr. Anderson therefore bought these articles, and attended to the cattle, &c. Lieutenant Martyn, the sergeant, corporal, and half the soldiers sick of the fever. Boiled a camp kettle full of strong decoction of cinchona every day since leaving Dindikoo. Purchased three asses, and hired our guide’s people to drive four of our asses in addition to the two they already drove, making altogether six asses, for one hundred and twenty bars.

On the 18th, Mr. Anderson and one of the soldiers went back to Serimanna to see the two men left there, and ascertain if they could possibly be carried forward. Returned on the 19th, and reported that they were both alive, but not in a state to be moved, and were themselves anxious to remain where they were, as it afforded them the only chance of recovery.

June 20th. — When we had loaded the asses, found one of the soldiers (old Rowe) unable to ride. Paid ten bars of amber, and measured eighteen days rice for him to one of the best men in the village, who, I have no doubt, will take care of him. Shortly after leaving Fajemmia, it began to thunder, and by the time we had travelled four miles we experienced a smart tornado, which wetted many of the loads, and made the road very muddy and slippery. We reached a village nearly deserted, called Nealakalla, about noon. Here we found that the ass which carried the spare clothing was not come up; and as many of the men were very ill situated, particularly with respect to shoes, I thought it best to send back two of the men a few miles to see if they could find it. Felt rather uneasy about the men, as they did not return at sun-set. Fired several muskets, but heard no answer. The village of Nealakalla is close to the Ba Lee or Honey river, which we found discoloured, but not sensibly swelled. Saw two crocodiles, and an incredible number of large fish.

June 21st. — As the two men had not yet arrived, sent forward the coffle to cross the river: desired Mr. Scott to fire a musket when they had all crossed. Mr. Anderson and myself agreed to stop at Nealakalla till noon, in hopes of hearing something concerning the two men. They arrived about eleven o’clock, having found the ass and load so near Fajemmia, that they had gone there and slept in the same hut with old Rowe, who, they told us, was recovering and very well pleased with his situation. Set forwards; and about a mile to the N.E. of the village crossed the river at a place where its course is interrupted by a bed of whinstone rock, which forms the stream into a number of small cataracts. The people had to carry over all the loads on their heads, and we found them cooking on the East bank of the river, and nearly ready to set forwards. Mr. Anderson and I stepped across the river from rock to rock without wetting our feet.

As soon as the men had finished their breakfast we set forwards, and about two miles East came to a narrow and deep creek, in which was a stream of muddy water. Crossed this with so much difficulty, that some were for calling it Vinegar Creek. About four o’clock passed the village of Boontoonkooran, delightfully situated at the bottom of a steep and rocky hill. Two miles East of this we halted for the night at the village of Dooggikotta; where the cultivation is very extensive, and we had much difficulty in keeping our cattle off the corn. A tornado during the night.

June 22d. — Halted till near ten o’clock, as there was great appearance of rain. William Roberts, one of the carpenters who had been sick since leaving Fajemmia, declared that he was unable to proceed, and signed a note that he was left by his own consent. Passed a small village about four miles to the East, and travelled on the ascent near a river course almost the whole day. We had a fine view of Kullallie, a high detached and square rocky hill, which we had seen ever since we left Fajemmia. This hill is quite inaccessible on all sides, and level and green on the top. The natives affirm that there is a lake of water on its summit, and they frequently go round the bottom of the precipices, during the rainy season, and pick up large turtles, which have tumbled over the precipice and killed themselves. Saw many very picturesque and rocky hills during the march, and in the evening halted at the village of Falifing, which is situated on the summit of the ascent which separates the Ba lee from the Ba fing. Lost one ass, and 80lbs. of balls on the march.

June 23d. — Early in the morning resumed our journey; and after travelling two hours on a level plain, bounded with high rocky precipices on our right and left, we descended slowly towards the East, and shortly came to the village of Gimbia, or Kimbia. I chanced to be in the rear, bringing on some asses which had thrown their loads; and when I came up I found all about the village wearing a hostile appearance, the men running from the corn grounds and putting on their quivers, &c. The cause of this tumult was, as usual, the love of money. The villagers had heard that the white men were to pass; that they were very sickly, and unable to make any resistance, or to defend the immense wealth in their possession. Accordingly when part of the coffle had passed the village, the people sallied out; and, under pretence that the coffle should not pass till the Dooty pleased, insisted on turning back the asses. One of them seized the serjeant’s horse by the bridle to lead it into the village; but when the serjeant cocked his pistol and presented it, he dropped the bridle; others drove away the asses with their loads, and every thing seemed going into confusion. The soldiers with great coolness loaded their pieces with ball, and fixed their bayonets: on seeing this the villagers hesitated, and the soldiers drove the asses across the bed of a torrent; and then returned, leaving a sufficient number to guard the asses.

The natives collected themselves under a tree by the gate of the village, where I found the Dooty and Isaaco at very high words. On enquiring the cause of the tumult, Isaaco informed me that the villagers had attempted to take the loads from the asses. I turned to the Dooty, and asked him who were the persons that had dared to make such an attempt. He pointed to about thirty people armed with bows; on which I fell a laughing, and asked him if he really thought that such people could fight; adding, if he had a mind to make the experiment, they need only go up and attempt to take off one of the loads. They seemed by this time to be fully satisfied that they had made a vain attempt; and the Dooty desired me to tell the men to go forward with the asses. As I did not know but perhaps some of the sick might be under the necessity of returning this way, I thought it adviseable to part on friendly terms; and therefore gave the Dooty four bars of amber, and told him that we did not come to make war; but if any person made war on us, we would defend ourselves to the last.

Set forwards, and half a mile to the East descended into a rocky valley: many of the asses fell in going down the steep. About noon reached Sullo, an unwalled village at the bottom of a rocky hill. Shortly after we halted Lieutenant Martyn’s horse died. This was a God send to the people of Sullo, who cut him up as if he had been a bullock, and had almost come to blows about the division of him; so much is horse-flesh esteemed at this place. Numbers of large monkies on the rocks over the town.

June 24th. — Left Sullo, and travelled through a country beautiful beyond imagination, with all the possible diversities of rock, sometimes towering up like ruined castles, spires, pyramids, &c. We passed one place so like a ruined Gothic abbey, that we halted a little, before we could satisfy ourselves that the niches, windows, ruined staircase, &c. were all natural rock. A faithful description of this place would certainly be deemed a fiction.

Passed a hill composed of one homogeneous mass of solid rock (red granite) without a detached stone or blade of grass; never saw such a hill in my life. In the course of the march saw several villages romantically situated in the crescents formed by the rocky precipices; the medium height of these precipices is from one hundred to five or six hundred feet perpendicular. The whole country between the Ba fing and Ba lee is rugged and grand beyond any thing I have seen.

We reached Secoba at noon. The Dooty of this town is Fajemmia’s younger brother. Presented him with goods to the amount of 50 bars; he was so much pleased that he said he would go with us till we had crossed the Ba fing, and see that the canoe people did not impose on us.

Obser. Mer. Alt. of Jupiter ° ' "
115 28 0
-- -- --
57 44 0
0 0 36
-- -- --
57 43 24
-- -- --
32 16 36
18 49 10
-- -- --
Latitude 13 27 26

June 25th. — Halted at Secoba, in order to refresh the sick; bought plenty of fowls and milk for them.

June 26th. — Departed from Secoba, accompanied by the Dooty and several people. Hired three of the Dooty’s friends, as guides to Kandy, in that district of Fooladoo called Gangaran. About seven miles East of Secoba came to the village of Konkromo, where we pitched our tents by the river side. The day was too far spent before we had agreed with the canoe people, and, as we could not possibly carry all the loads over, thought it best to wait till next morning. As I thought it probable that we should have an opportunity of observing an eclipse of Jupiter’s first satellite, I took the following altitudes for the time.

H. M. S. ° '
5 25 55 45 36
5 30 2 43 47
5 36 22 40 55
0 26 53 45 13
0 30 42 43 28
0 37 3 40 35
0 27 37 44 55
0 31 25 43 10
0 37 44 40 17

Observed the emersion of the first satellite of Jupiter.

H. M. S.
By watch 9 26 20
Time by Nautical Almanack 9 24 53
Equation 0 2 15
-- -- --
Mean time at Greenwich 9 27 8
9 27 8
-- -- --
Watch too slow 0 0 48

Longitude 32 m. 24 sec. or 8° 6’ W.

June 27th. — Early in the morning paid the canoe people 50 bars to carry over all our baggage and cattle, and likewise presented the Dooty of Secoba with some beads.

Four canoes sufficient to carry only an ass load and an half at a time, were provided for this purpose. Sent over Mr. Anderson and six men with their arms to receive the loads from the canoes and carry them into the tents. The asses were made to swim over, one on each side of the canoe, two boys sitting in the canoe and holding them by the ears.

At this place I had an opportunity of seeing their mode of smelting gold. Isaaco had purchased some gold in coming through Konkodoo, and here he had it made into a large ring. The smith made a crucible of common red clay and dried it in the sun: into this he put the gold, without any flux or mixture whatever; he then put charcoal under and over it, and blowing the fire with the common double bellows of the country, soon produced such a heat as to bring the gold into a state of fusion. He then made a small furrow in the ground, into which he poured the melted gold; when it was cold he took it up, and heating it again, soon hammered it into a square bar. Then heating it again, he twisted it by means of two pairs of pincers into a sort of screw; and lengthening out the ends, turned them up so as to form a massy and precious ring.

When the baggage and cattle were all transported over, I sent over the men, and embarked myself in the last canoe; but as one of the soldiers in the other canoe had gone out to purchase something, I made the canoe in which I was shove off, telling the men to come off the moment the man returned. I found it difficult to sit in the canoe so as to balance it, though it contained only three people besides the rower. We had just landed on the East bank, when we observed the canoe, in which were the three soldiers, pushing off from the opposite bank. It shortly after overset, and though the natives from the shore swam in to their assistance, yet J. Cartwright was unfortunately drowned. The natives dived and recovered two of the muskets, and Cartwright’s body; they put the body in the canoe and brought it over. I used the means recommended by the Humane Society, but in vain. We buried him in the evening on the bank of the river.

The Ba fing is here a large river quite navigable; it is swelled at this time about two feet, and flows at the rate of three knots per hour. The people here are all thieves: they attempted to steal several of our loads, and we detected one carrying away the bundle in which was all our medicines. We could not sleep with the noise of the hippopotami, which came close to the bank and kept snorting and blowing all night. The night being clear, observed the emersion of Jupiter’s second satellite; it emerged

H. M. S.
By watch 11 25 55
Time by Nautical Almanack 11 24 40
Equation 0 1 53
-- -- --
Mean time at Greenwich 11 26 33
11 26 33
-- -- --
Watch too slow 0 0 38

June 28th. — Purchased an ass for four minkallis of gold, and a horse for 45 bars. Set forwards about seven o’clock. After travelling four miles, the ass I had purchased lay down, and I found it impossible to raise him. Took off the load and left him. At ten o’clock came close to the bottom of a high rocky hill, which rises like an immense castle from the level plain: it is called Sankaree: and on enquiring about a large heap of stones near the foot of the precipice, I was told that the town of Madina, which was in the vicinity, was some years ago stormed by the Kaartans, and that the greater part of the inhabitants fled towards this hill. Some however were killed on the road, and these stones were collected over the grave of one of them. He said there were five more such near the hill, and that every person in passing, if he belongs to the same family or contong, thinks himself bound to throw a stone on the heap to perpetuate the memory of their friend. These heaps are precisely what in Scotland are called Cairns. This hill is accessible only by one very narrow and difficult path. They assured me that there was abundance of water on the summit at all seasons, and that the huts built by the Madina people were still standing on the summit, though out of repair.

At eleven o’clock crossed a stream, like a mill stream, running North. We halted on the East side of it; found that one of the asses with a load of beads had not come up. The soldier who drove it (Bloore), without acquainting any person, returned to look for it. Shortly after the ass and load were found in the woods. Sent the serjeant after Bloore on one of the horses; he rode back as far as Sankaree without seeing him, and concluded he had lost the path. He found one of the sick (Walter) who had wandered from the track (for there was no road); and had laid himself down among the bushes till some of the natives discovered him. Paid the natives ten bars of amber, and desired them to look for Bloore.

In the afternoon collected the asses for marching. Had great difficulty in finding the horses, one of which (the serjeant’s), after all our search could not be found. As it was in vain to wait for Bloore, put on the loads and departed. It is to be observed that there is no path-way in these woods, and we found much difficulty in keeping together: fired muskets frequently to give intimation of our line of march. After travelling about four miles, Shaddy Walter, the sick man before mentioned, became so exhausted that he could not sit on the ass. He was fastened on it, and held upright; he became more and more faint, and shortly after died. He was brought forwards to a place where the front of the coffle had halted, to allow the rear to come up. Here when the coffle had set forwards, two of the soldiers with their bayonets, and myself with my sword, dug his grave in the wild desert; and a few branches were the only laurels which covered the tomb of the brave.

We did not come up to the coffle till they had halted for the night near a pool of water shaded with ground palm-trees. Here I was informed that two of the soldiers were not come up; one (Baron) was seen about a mile from the halting place; the other (Hill) was supposed to be three or four miles behind. Fired two muskets every quarter of an hour; one to call their attention, and the other about half a minute after to give the direction. At half past seven Hill came up, being directed entirely by the sound of the muskets. At eleven o’clock saw some lights in the woods, and heard people holla: in a little time five people came, bringing with them Bloore, the man who had gone in quest of the ass. He had gone back as far as the Black River, crossed it and made signs to the people about the ass and the load. As they did not rightly understand him, they thought that some party had fallen on the coffle, and that this soldier had run away. They therefore came with him to see if they could come in for their share, or at least receive some reward for coming along with the man. Paid them ten bars of amber, and desired them to look for Baron, and I would give them ten bars more if they found him.

June 29th. — At day-break fired muskets for Baron; and as it was evident he must have wandered from the track made by the asses, and it was in vain to look for him in so extensive a wilderness, at half past six o’clock loaded the asses and set out. Two more of the soldiers affected with the fever. Route in the morning rocky. Traveled twelve miles without halting, in order to reach a watering place. About two miles before we came to the watering place, Bloore, the soldier who had come up during the night, sat down under the shade of a tree; and when I desired him to proceed, he said he was rather fatigued, and when he had cooled himself, he would follow. I assured him that the halting place was only a very little way off, and advised him by all means not to fall asleep. We halted on an elevated table land: the water was only rain collected in the hollow places of the rock. At half past four o’clock, as Bloore had not come up, I sent the Sergeant on one of the horses to bring him forward; he returned at sun-set, having seen nothing of him, and having rode several miles past the place. I suspected that the serjeant might have rode past him asleep under the tree; I therefore got three volunteers to go with me, and look for him. It was now quite dark. We collected a large bundle of dry grassland taking out a handful at a time, kept up a constant light, in order to frighten the lions which are very numerous in these woods. When we reached the tree under which he lay down, we made a fire. Saw the place where he had pressed down the grass, and the marks of his feet: went to the west along the pathway, and examined for the marks of his feet, thinking he might possibly have mistaken the direction. Found none: fired several muskets. Hollowed, and set fire to the grass. Returned to the tree and examined all round; saw no blood nor the foot marks of any wild beasts. Fired six muskets more. As any further search was likely to be fruitless, (for we did not dare to walk far from the track for fear of losing ourselves) we returned to the tents. One of Isaaco’s people shot an antelope in the evening, which more than supplied us all with meat. Much troubled in the night with wolves.

June 30th. — Early in the morning set forwards, and descended from the table land into a more fertile plain. Vast numbers of monkies on the rocks. Reached Kandy after a march of ten miles, all very much fatigued. This is but a small town; the large town having been taken and burnt by Daisy’s son about two years ago, and all the people carried away. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott sick of the lever.

July 1st. — Covered a load of beads with the skin of the antelope. One of the bundles containing all our small seed beads stolen during the night; made all the search I could, but in vain: I could not recover it. As we were short of rice, and none could be purchased here, determined to push on as quick as possible; but the men were so very sickly, that I judged it imprudent to trust the baggage and asses without proper drivers. Employed in dividing the asses amongst the healthy men.

July 2d. — Set forwards. Two more of the soldiers sick of the fever. When we had travelled about three miles, one of the soldiers (Roger M’Millan) became so delirious, that it was found impossible to carry him forwards. Left him at a village called Sanjeekotta. I regretted much being under the necessity of leaving in the hour of sickness and distress, a man who had grown old in the service of his country. He had been thirty-one years a soldier, twelve times a corporal, nine times a serjeant; but an unfortunate attachment to the bottle always returned him into the ranks.

We reached Koeena about three o’clock, all very much fatigued. I felt myself very sickly, having lifted up and reloaded a great many asses on the road. The village of Koeena is walled round, and it is surrounded on three sides with rocky precipices. Had a severe tornado at seven o’clock, which put out the watch-fire and made us all crowd into the tents. When the violence of the squall was over, we heard a particular sort of roaring or growling, not unlike the noise of a wild boar; there seemed to be more than one of them, and they went all round our cattle. Fired two muskets to make them keep at a distance; but as they still kept prowling round us, we collected a bunch of withered grass, and went with Lieutenant Martyn in search of the animals, suspecting them to be wild boars. We got near one of them, and fired several shots into the bush, and one at him as he went off among the long grass. When we returned to the tents, I learned by enquiring of the natives that the animals we had been in search of were not boars, but young lions; and they assured me that unless we kept a very good look out they would probably kill some of our cattle during the night. About midnight these young lions attempted to seize one of the asses, which so much alarmed the rest that they broke their ropes, and came at full gallop in amongst the tent ropes. Two of the lions followed them, and came so close to us that the sentry cut at one of them with his sword, but did not dare to fire for fear of killing the asses. Neglected to wind up the watch.

July 3d. — Departed from Koeena, and halted during the heat of the day at Koombandi, distant six miles. Here the guides that I had hired from Kandy, were to return; and I had agreed with them to carry back M’Millan’s knapsack, and some amber and beads to purchase provisions for him; but three people came up to us with two asses for sale, and they informed me that they left Sanjeekotta early in the morning; that the soldier who was left there, had died during the night, and the natives had buried him in a corn field near the town. Purchased the asses in order to carry forwards the sick.

About three o’clock left Koombandi. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott were so sick, that they wished to remain here for the night; with much entreating, persuaded them to mount their horses and go on. Three miles east of the village, William Alston, one of the seamen whom I received from His Majesty’s ship Squirrel, became so faint that he fell from his ass, and allowed the ass to run away. Set him on my horse, but found he could not sit without holding him. Replaced him on the ass, but he still tumbled off: put him again on the horse, and made one man keep him upright, while I led the horse. But as he made no exertion to keep himself erect, it was impossible to hold him on the horse, and after repeated tumbles he begged to be left in the woods till morning. I left a loaded pistol with him, and put some cartridges into the crown of his hat. At sun-set reached Fonilla, a small walled village on the banks of the Wonda, which is here called Ba Woolima (Red river), and towards its source it has the name of Ba qui (White river), the middle part of its course being called Wonda. It had swelled two feet perpendicular by the rains which had fallen to the southward, and was very muddy; but cannot even in its present state be reckoned a large river.

July 4th — Agreed with the canoe people to carry over our baggage and cattle for sixty bars. There being but one canoe, it was near noon before all the bundles were carried over. The transporting of the asses was very difficult. The river being shallow and rocky; whenever their feet touched the bottom they generally stood still. Our guide, Isaaco, was very active in pushing the asses into the water, and shoving along the canoe; but as he was afraid that we could not have them all carried over in the course of the day he attempted to drive six of the asses across the river farther down where the water was shallower. When he had reached the middle of the river a crocodile rose close to him, and instantly seizing him by the left thigh, pulled him under water. With wonderful presence of mind he felt the head of the animal, and thrust his finger into its eye; on which it quitted its hold, and Isaaco attempted to reach the further shore, calling out for a knife. But the crocodile returned and seized him by the other thigh, and again pulled him under water; he had recourse to the same expedient, and thrust his fingers into its eyes with such violence that it again quitted him; and when it rose, flounced about on the surface of the water as if stupid, and then swam down the middle of the river. Isaaco proceeded to the other side, bleeding very much. As soon as the canoe returned I went over, and found him very much lacerated. The wound on the left thigh was four inches in length: that on the right not quite so large, but very deep; besides several single teeth wounds on his back. Drew the lips of the wounds together with slips of adhesive plaister secured with a roller; and as we were not far from a village, he thought it best for him to go forwards before his wounds had become very painful. He accordingly rode forwards to the village of Boolinkoomboo on one of our horses. Found myself very sick, and unable to stand erect without feeling a tendency to faint; the people so sickly that it was with some difficulty we got the loads put into the tents, though it threatened rain. To my great astonishment, Ashton, the sailor whom I had left in the woods the evening before, came up quite naked, having been stripped of his clothes by three of the natives during the night. Found his fever much abated.

[Footnote: The name is thus written in Mr. Park’s MS.; but it seems to be a mistake for Alston, v. ante p. 87.]

July 5th. — With great difficulty got the asses loaded, but had not a sufficient number of spare asses for the sick. Set one of them on my horse, and walked, feeling a remission of the fever, though still very giddy and unwell. We soon reached Boolinkoomboo, it being only two miles from the landing place. This village is sometimes called Moiaharra: it does not contain above one hundred people. On collecting the asses, found that three were missing, besides a sickly one, which was too weak to cross the river, and was eaten by the people of Fonilla. All this diminished our means of carrying forward the sick.

I now found my situation very perplexing. To go forward without Isaaco to Keminoom, I knew would involve us in difficulties; as Keminoom’s sons are reckoned the greatest thieves and blackguards on the whole route. To stop till Isaaco recovered (an event which seemed very doubtful), would throw us into the violence of the rains. There was no other person that I could trust; and, what was worst of all, we had only two days rice, and a great scarcity prevailed in the country. I determined to wait three days, to see how Isaaco’s wounds looked, and in the mean time sent two of his people away to Serracorra with an ass and three strings of No. 5. amber to purchase rice.

July 6th. — All the people either sick, or in a state of great debility, except one. Bought all the milk I could find, and boiled a camp kettle full of strong decoction of barks every day.

July 7th. — Dressed Isaaco’s wounds: they looked remarkably well.

July 8th. — Waiting very anxiously for the return of Isaaco’s people with the rice, being now on very short allowance.

July 9th. — In the afternoon Isaaco’s people returned, bringing with them l23 lbs. of clean rice; Isaaco’s wounds looking well, and beginning to discharge good pus. Latitude by uncertain obs. mer. alt. of the sun 13 11’.

July 10th. — Departed from Boolinkoomboo, and eight miles N.E. passed the village of Serrababoo; close to which is a stream called Kinyaco, about knee deep, running to the N.W. It was very difficult to cross, on account of the fissures in the rocks which form its bed. Several of the asses fell, and their loads were of course wet. From this we travelled due North, over a ridge of rocks, which formed the only passage across a chain of hills. When we had crossed this, we travelled six miles on a rocky and almost impassable road, and a little before sun-set, to our great joy, reached Sabooseera (Dooty Matta). This is a scattered unwalled village. Latitude by mer. alt. of moon 13° 50’.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59