The Country and People of U-n-ya-muezi — Kaze, the Capital — Old Musa — The Naked Wakidi — The N’yanza, and the Question of the River Running in or out — The Contest between Mohinna and “Short-legs”— Famine — The Arabs and Local Wars — The Sultana of Unyambewa — Ungurue “The Pig”— Pillage.
U-n-ya-muezi — Country of Moon — must have been one of the largest kingdoms in Africa. It is little inferior in size to England, and of much the same shape, though now, instead of being united, it is cut up into petty states. In its northern extremities it is known by the appellation U-sukuma — country north; and in the southern, U-takama — country south. There are no historical traditions known to the people; neither was anything ever written concerning their country, as far as we know, until the Hindus, who traded with the east coast of Africa, opened commercial dealings with its people in salves and ivory, possibly some time prior to the birth of our Saviour, when, associated with their name, Men of the Moon, sprang into existence the Mountains of the Moon. These Men of the Moon are hereditarily the greatest traders in Africa, and are the only people who, for love of barter and change, will leave their own country as porters and go to the coast, and they do so with as much zest as our country-folk go to a fair. As far back as we can trace they have done this, and they still do it as heretofore. The whole of their country ranges from 3000 to 4000 feet above the sea-level — a high plateau, studded with little outcropping hills of granite, between which, in the valleys, there are numerous fertilising springs of fresh water, and rich iron ore is found in sandstone. Generally industrious — much more so than most other negroes — they cultivate extensively, make cloths of cotton in their own looms, smelt iron and work it up very expertly, build tembes to live in over a large portion of their country, but otherwise live in grass huts, and keep flocks and herds of considerable extent.
The Wanyamuezi, however, are not a very well-favoured people in physical appearance, and are much darker than either the Wazaramo or the Wagogo, though many of their men are handsome and their women pretty; neither are they well dressed or well armed, being wanting in pluck and gallantry. Their women, generally, are better dressed than the men. Cloths fastened round under the arms are their national costume, along with a necklace of beads, large brass or copper wire armlets, and a profusion of thin circles, called sambo, made of the giraffe’s tail-hairs bound round by the thinnest iron or copper wire; whilst the men at home wear loin-cloths, but in the field, or whilst travelling, simply hang a goat-skin over their shoulders, exposing at least three-fourths of their body in a rather indecorous manner. In all other respects they ornament themselves like the women, only, instead of a long coil of wire wound up the arm, they content themselves with having massive rings of copper or brass on the wrist; and they carry for arms a spear and bow and arrows. All extract more or less their lower incisors, and cut a [upside-down V shape] between their two upper incisors. The whole tribe are desperate smokers, and greatly given to drink.
On the 24th, we all, as many as were left of us, marched into the merchant’s depot, S. lat. 5° 0’ 52”, and E. long. 33° 1’ 34”, 7 escorted by Musa, who advanced to meet us, and guided us into his tembe, where he begged we would reside with him until we could find men to carry our property on to Karague. He added that he would accompany us; for he was on the point of going there when my first instalment of property arrived, but deferred his intention out of respect to myself. He had been detained at Kaze ever since I last left it in consequence of the Arabs having provoked a war with Manua Sera, to which he was adverse. For a long time also he had been a chained prisoner; as the Arabs, jealous of the favour Manua Sera had shown to him in preference to themselves, basely accused him of supplying Manua Sera with gunpowder, and bound him hand and foot “like a slave.” It was delightful to see old Musa’s face again, and the supremely hospitable, kind, and courteous manner in which he looked after us, constantly bringing in all kind of small delicacies, and seeing that nothing was wanting to make us happy. All the property I had sent on in advance he had stored away; or rather, I should say, as much as had reached him, for the road expenses had eaten a great hole in it.
7 It may be as well to remark here, that the figures both in latitude and longitude, representing the position of Kaze, computed by Mr Dunkin, accord with what appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine, computed by myself, and in the R. G. S. Journal Map, computed by Captain George. This applies also to the position of Ujiji; at any rate, the practical differences are so trifling that it would require a microscope to detect them on the map.
Once settled down into position, Sheikh Snay and the whole conclave of Arab merchants came to call on me. They said they had an army of four hundred slaves armed with muskets ready to take the field at once to hunt down Manua Sera, who was cutting their caravan road to pieces, and had just seized, by their latest reports, a whole convoy of their ammunition. I begged them strongly to listen to reason, and accept my advice as an old soldier, not to carry on their guerilla warfare in such a headlong hurry, else they would be led a dance by Manua Sera, as we had been by Tantia Topee in India. I advised them to allow me to mediate between them, after telling them what a favourable interview I had had with Manua Sera and Maula, whose son was at that moment concealed in Musa’s tembe. My advice, however, was not wanted. Snay knew better than any one how to deal with savages, and determined on setting out as soon as his army had “eaten their beef-feast of war.”
On my questioning him about the Nile, Snay still thought the N’yanza was the source of the Jub river 8 as he did in our former journey, but gave way when I told him that vessels frequented the Nile, as this also coincided with his knowledge of navigators in vessels appearing on some waters to the northward of Unyoro. In a great hurry he then bade me good-bye; when, as he thought it would be final, I gave him, in consideration of his former good services to the last expedition, one of the gold watches given me by the Indian Government. I saw him no more, though he and all the other Arabs sent me presents of cows, goats, and rice, with a notice that they should have gone on their war-oath before, only, hearing of my arrival, out of due respect to my greatness they waited to welcome me in. Further, after doing for Manua Sera, they were determined to go on to Ugogo to assist Salem bin Saif and the other merchants on, during which, at the same time, they would fight all the Wagogo who persisted in taking taxes and in harassing caravans. At the advice of Musa, I sent Maula’s son off at night to tell the old chief how sorry I was to find the Arabs so hot-headed I could not even effect an arrangement with them. It was a great pity; for Manua Sera was so much liked by the Wanyamuezi, they would, had they been able, have done anything to restore him.
8 The Jub is the largest river known to the Zanzibar Arabs. It debouches on the east coast north of Zanzibar, close under the equator.
Next day the non-belligerent Arabs left in charge of the station, headed by my old friends Abdulla and Mohinna, came to pay their respects again, recognising in me, as they said, a “personification of their sultan,” and therefore considering what they were doing only due to my rank. They regretted with myself that Snay was so hot-headed; for they themselves thought a treaty of peace would have been the best thing for them, for they were more than half-ruined already, and saw no hope for the future. Then, turning to geography, I told Abdulla all I had written and lectured in England concerning his stories about navigators on the N’yanza, which I explained must be the Nile, and wished to know if I should alter it in any way: but he said, “Do not; you may depend it will all turn out right;” to which Musa added, all the people in the north told him that when the N’yanza rose, the stream rushed with such violence it tore up islands and floated them away.
I was puzzled at this announcement, not then knowing that both the lake and the Nile, as well as all ponds, were called N’yanza: but we shall see afterwards that he was right; and it was in consequence of this confusion in the treatment of distinctly different geographical features under one common name by these people, that in my former journey I could not determine where the lake had ended and the Nile began. Abdulla again — he had done so on the former journey — spoke to me of a wonderful mountain to the northward of Karague, so high and steep no one could ascend it. It was, he said, seldom visible, being up in the clouds, where white matter, snow or hail, often fell. Musa said this hill was in Ruanda, a much larger country than Urundi; and further, both men said, as they had said before, that the lands of Usoga and Unyoro were islands, being surrounded by water; and a salt lake, which was called N’yanza, though not the great Victoria N’yanza lay on the other said of the Unyoro, from which direction Rumanika, king of Karague, sometimes got beads forwarded to him by Kamrasi, king of Unyoro, of a different sort from any brought from Zanzibar. Moreover, these beads were said to have been plundered from white men by the Wakidi — a stark-naked people who live up in trees — have small stools fixed on behind, always ready for sitting — wear their hair hanging down as far as the rump, all covered with cowrie-shells — suspend beads from wire attached to their ears and their lower lips — and wear strong iron collars and bracelets.
This people, I was told, are so fierce in war that no other tribe can stand against them, though they only fight with short spears. When this discourse was ended, ever perplexed about the Tanganyika being a still lake, I enquired of Mohinna and other old friends what they thought about the Marungu river: did it run into or out of the lake? and they all still adhered to its running into the lake — which, after all, in my mind, is the most conclusive argument that it does run out of the lake, making it one of a chain of lakes leading to the N’yanza, and through it by the Zambezi into the sea; for all the Arabs on the former journey said the Rusizi river ran out of the Tanganyika, as also the Kitangule ran out of the N’yanza, and the Nile ran into it, even though Snay said he thought the Jub river drained the N’yanza. All these statements were, when literally translated into English, the reverse of what the speakers, using a peculiar Arab idiom, meant to say; for all the statements made as to the flow of rivers by the negroes — who apparently give the same meaning to “out” and “in” as we do — contradicted the Arabs in their descriptions of the direction of the flow of these rivers.
Mohinna now gave us a very graphic description of his fight with Short-legs, the late chief of Khoko. About a year ago, as he was making his way down to the coast with his ivory merchandise, on arrival at Khoko, and before his camp was fortified with a ring-fence of thorns, some of his men went to drink at a well, where they no sooner arrived than the natives began to bean them with sticks, claiming the well as their property. This commenced a row, which brought out a large body of men, who demanded a bullock at the point of their spears. Mohinna hearing this, also came to the well, and said he would not listen to their demand, but would drink as he wished, for the water was the gift of God. Words then changed to blows. All Mohinna’s pagazis bolted, and his merchandise fell into the hands of the Wagogo. Had his camp been fortified, he think he would have been too much for his enemies; but, as it was, he retaliated by shooting Short-legs in the head, and at once bolted back to Kaze with a few slaves as followers, and his three wives.
The change that had taken place in Unyanyembe since I last left it was quite surprising. Instead of the Arabs appearing merchants, as they did formerly, they looked more like great farmers, with huge stalls of cattle attached to their houses; whilst the native villages were all in ruins — so much so that, to obtain corn for my men, I had to send out into the district several days’ journey off, and even then had to pay the most severe famine prices for what I got. The Wanyamuezi, I was assured, were dying of starvation in all directions; for, in addition to the war, the last rainy season had been so light, all their crops had failed.
27th and 28th. — I now gave all my men presents for the severe trials they had experienced in the wilderness, forgetting, as I told them, the merciless manner in which they had plundered me; but as I have a trifle more in proportion, to the three sole remaining pagazis, because they had not finished their work, my men were all discontented, and wished to throw back their presents, saying I did not love them, although they were “perminents,” as much as the “temperaries.” They, however, gave in, after some hours of futile arguments, on my making them understand, through Baraka, that what they saw me give to the pagazis would, if they reflected, only tend to prove to them that I was not a bad master who forgot his obligations when he could get no more out of his servants.
I then went into a long inquiry with Musa about our journey northward to Karague; and as he said there were no men to be found in or near Unyanyembe, for they were either all killed or engaged in the war, it was settled he should send some of his head men on to Rungua, where he had formerly resided, trading for some years, and was a great favourite with the chief of the place, by name Kiringuana. He also settled that I might take out of his establishment of slaves as many men as I could induce to go with me, for he thought them more trouble than profit, hired porters being more safe; moreover, he said the plan would be of great advantage to him, as I offered to pay, both man and master, each the same monthly stipend as I gave my present men. This was paying double, and all the heavier a burden, as the number I should require to complete my establishment to one hundred armed men would be sixty. He, however, very generously advised me not to take them, as they would give so much trouble; but finally gave way when I told him I felt I could not advance beyond Karague unless I was quite independent of the natives there — a view in which he concurred.
29th and 30th. — Jafu, another Indian merchant here, and co-partner of Musa, came in from a ten days’ search after grain, and described the whole country to be in the most dreadful state of famine. Wanyamuezi were lying about dead from starvation in all directions, and he did not think we should ever get through Usui, as Suwarora, the chief, was so extortionate he would “tear us to pieces”; but advised our waiting until the war was settled, when all the Arabs would combine and go with us. Musa even showed fear, but arranged, at my suggestion, that he should send some men to Rumanika, informing him of our intention to visit him, and begging, at the same time, he would use his influence in preventing our being detained in Usui.
I may here explain that the country Uzinza was once a large kingdom, governed by a king named Ruma, of Wahuma blood. At his death, which took place in Dagara’s time (the present Rumanika’s father), the kingdom was contested by his two sons, Rohinda and Suwarora, but, at the intercession of Dagara, was divided — Rohinda taking the eastern, called Ukhanga, and Suwarora the western half of the country, called Usui. This measure made Usui feudatory to Karague, so that much of the produce of the extortions committed in Usui went to Karague, and therefore they were recognised, though the odium always rested on Suwarora, “the savage extortioner,” rather than on the mild-disposed king of Karague, who kept up the most amicable relations with every one who visited him.
Musa, I must say, was most loud in his praises of Rumanika; and on the other hand, as Musa, eight years ago, had saved Rumanika’s throne for him against an insurrection got up by his younger brother Rogero, Rumanika, always regarding Musa as his saviour, never lost an opportunity to show his gratitude, and would have done anything that Musa might have asked him. Of this matter, however, more in Karague.
31st. — To-day, Jafu, who had lost many ivories at Khoko when Mohinna was attacked there, prepared 100 slaves, with Said bin Osman, Mohinna’s brother, with a view to follow down Snay, and, combining forces, attack Hori Hori, hoping to recover their losses; for it appeared to them the time had now come when their only hope left in carrying their trade to a successful issue, lay in force of arms. They would therefore not rest satisfied until they had reduced Khoko and Usekhe both, by actual force, to acknowledge their superiority, “feeding on them” until the Ramazan, when they would return with all the merchants detained in Ugogo, and, again combining their forces, they would fall on Usui, to reduce that country also.
When these men had gone, a lunatic set the whole place in commotion. He was a slave of Musa’s, who had wounded some men previously in his wild excesses, and had been tied up; but now, breaking loose again, he swore he would not be satisfied until he killed some “big man.” His strength was so great no one could confine him, though they hunted him into a hut, where, having seized a gun and some arrows, he defied any one to put hands on him. Here, however, he was at last reduced to submission and a better state of his senses by starvation: for I must add, the African is much give to such mental fits of aberration at certain periods: these are generally harmless, but sometimes not; but they come and they go again without any visible cause.
1st. — Musa’s men now started for Rungua, and promised to bring all the porters we wanted by the first day of the next moon. We found that this would be early enough, for all the members of the expedition, excepting myself, were suffering from the effects of the wilderness life — some with fever, some with scurvy, and some with ophthalmia — which made it desirable they should all have rest. Little now was done besides counting out my property, and making Sheikh Said, who became worse and worse, deliver his charge of Cafila Bashi over to Bombay for good. When it was found so much had been stolen, especially of the best articles, I was obliged to purchase many things from Musa, paying 400 per cent, which he said was their value here, over the market price of Zanzibar. I also got him to have all my coils of brass and copper wire made into bracelet, as is customary, to please the northern people.
7th. — To-day information was brought here that whilst Manua Sera was on his way from Ugogo to keep his appointment with me, Sheikh Snay’s army came on him at Tura, where he was ensconced in a tembe. Hearing this, Snay, instead of attacking the village at once, commenced negotiations with the chief of the place by demanding him to set free his guest, otherwise they, the Arabs, would storm the tembe. The chief, unfortunately, did not comply at once, but begged grace for one night, saying that if Manua Sera was found there in the morning they might do as they liked. Of course Manua bolted; and the Arabs, seeing the Tura people all under arms ready to defend themselves the next morning, set at them in earnest, and shot, murdered, or plundered the whole of the district. Then, whilst Arabs were sending in their captures of women, children, and cattle, Manua Sera made off to a district called Dara, where he formed an alliance with its chief, Kifunja, and boasted he would attack Kaze as soon as the travelling season commenced, when the place would be weakened by the dispersion of the Arabs on their ivory excursions.
The startling news set the place in a blaze, and brought all the Arabs again to seek my advice for they condemned what Snay had done in not listening to me before, and wished to know if I could not now treat for them with Manua Sera, which they thought could be easily managed, as Manua Sera himself was not only the first to propose mediation, but was actually on his way here for the purpose when Snay opposed him. I said nothing could give me greater pleasure than mediating for them, to put a stop to these horrors, but it struck me the case had now gone too far. Snay, in opposition to my advice, was bent on fighting; he could not be recalled and unless all the Arabs were of one mind, I ran the risk of committing myself to a position I could not maintain. To this they replied that the majority were still at Kaze, all wishing for peace at any price, and that whatever terms I might wish to dictate they would agree to. Then I said, “What would you do with Mkisiwa? you have made him chief, and cannot throw him over.” “Oh, that,” they said, “can be easily managed; for formerly, when we confronted Manua Sera at Nguru, we offered to give him as much territory as his father governed, though not exactly in the same place; but he treated our message with disdain, not knowing then what a fix he was in. Now, however, as he has seen more, and wishes for peace himself, there can be no difficulty.” I then ordered two of my men to go with two of Musa’s to acquaint Manua Sera with what we were about, and to know his views on the subject; but these men returned to say Manua Sera could not be found, for he was driven from “pillar to post” by the different native chiefs, as, wherever he went, his army ate up their stores, and brought nothing but calamities with them. Thus died this second attempted treaty. Musa then told me it was well it turned out so; for Manua Sera would never believe the Arabs, as they had broken faith so often before, even after exchanging blood by cutting incision in one another’s legs — the most sacred bond or oath the natives know of.
As nothing more of importance was done, I set out with Grant to have a week’s shooting in the district, under the guidance of an old friend, Fundi Sangoro, Musa’s “head gamekeeper,” who assured me that the sable antelope and blanc boc, specimens of which I had not yet seen, inhabited some low swampy place called N’yama, or “Meat,” not far distant, on the left bank of the Wale nullah. My companion unfortunately got fever here, and was prevented from going out, and I did little better; for although I waded up to my middle every day, and wounded several blanc boc, I only bagged one, and should not have got even him, had it not happened that some lions in the night pulled him down close to our camp, and roared so violently that they told us the story. The first thing in the morning I wished to have at them; but they took the hint of daybreak to make off, and left me only the half of the animal. I saw only one sable antelope. We all went back to Kaze, arriving there on the 24th.
25th to 13th. — Days rolled on, and nothing was done in particular — beyond increasing my stock of knowledge of distant places and people, enlarging my zoological collection, and taking long series of astronomical observations — until the 13th, when the whole of Kaze was depressed by a sad scene of mourning and tears. Some slaves came in that night — having made their way through the woods from Ugogo, avoiding the track to save themselves from detection — and gave information that Snay, Jafu, and five other Arabs, had been killed, as well as a great number of slaves. The expedition, they said, had been defeated, and the positions were so complicated nobody knew what to do. At first the Arabs achieved two brilliant successes, having succeeded in killing Hori Hori of Khoko, when they recovered their ivory, made slaves of all they could find, and took a vast number of cattle; then attacking Usekhe they reduced that place to submission by forcing a ransom out of its people. At this period, however, they heard that a whole caravan, carrying 5000 dollars’ worth of property, had been cut up by the people of Mzanza, a small district ten miles north of Usekhe; so, instead of going on to Kanyenye to relieve the caravans which were waiting there for them, they foolishly divided their forces into three parts. Of these they sent one to take their loot back to Kaze, another to form a reserve force at Mdaburu, on the east flank of the wilderness, and a third, headed by Snay and Jafu, to attack Mzanza. At the first onset Snay and Jafu carried everything before them, and became so excited over the amount of their loot that they lost all feelings of care or precaution.
In this high exuberance of spirits, a sudden surprise turned their momentary triumph into a total defeat; for some Wahumba, having heard the cries of the Wagogo, joined in their cause, and both together fell on the Arab force with such impetuosity that the former victors were now scattered in all directions. Those who could run fast enough were saved — the rest were speared to death by the natives. Nobody knew how Jafu fell; but Snay, after running a short distance, called one of his slaves, and begged him to take his gun, saying, “I am too old to keep up with you; keep this gun for my sake, for I will lie down here and take my chance.” He never was seen again. But this was not all their misfortunes; for the slaves who brought in this information had met the first detachment, sent with the Khoko loot, at Kigua, where, they said, the detachment had been surprised by Manua Sera, who, having fortified a village with four hundred men, expecting this sort of thing, rushed out upon them, and cut them all up.
The Arabs, after the first burst of their grief was over, came to me again in a body, and begged me to assist them, for they were utterly undone. Manua Sera prevented their direct communication with their detachment at Mdaburu, and that again was cut off from their caravans at Kanyenye by the Mzanza people, and in fact all the Wagogo; so they hoped at least I would not forsake them, which they heard I was going to do, as Manua Sera had also threatened to attack Kaze. I then told them, finally that their proposals were now beyond my power, for I had a duty to perform as well as themselves, and in a day or two I should be off.
14th to 17th. — On the 14th thirty-nine porters were brought in from Rungua by Musa’s men, who said they had collected one hundred and twenty, and brought them to within ten miles of this, when some travellers frightened all but thirty-nine away, by telling them, “Are you such fools as to venture into Kaze now? all the Arabs have been killed, or were being cut up and pursued by Manua Sera.” This sad disappointment threw me on my “beam-ends.” For some reason or other none of Musa’s slaves would take service, and the Arabs prevented theirs from leaving the place, as it was already too short of hands. To do the best under these circumstances, I determined on going to Rungua with what kit could be carried, leaving Bombay behind with Musa until such time as I should arrive there, and, finding more men, could send them back for the rest. I then gave Musa the last of the gold watches the Indian Government had given me; 9 and, bidding Sheikh Said take all our letters and specimens back to the coast as soon as the road was found practicable, set out on the march northwards with Grant and Baraka, and all the rest of my men who were well enough to carry loads, as well as some of Musa’s head men, who knew where to get porters.
9 The two first gold watches were given away at Zanzibar.
After passing Masange and Zimbili, we put up a night in the village of Iviri, on the northern border of Unyanyembe, and found several officers there, sent by Mkisiwa, to enforce a levy of soldiers to take the field with the Arabs at Kaze against Manua Sera; to effect which, they walked about ringing bells, and bawling out that if a certain percentage of all the inhabitants did not muster, the village chief would be seized, and their plantations confiscated. My men all mutinied here for increase of ration allowances. To find themselves food with, I had given them all one necklace of beads each per diem since leaving Kaze, in lieu of cloth, which hitherto had been served out for that purpose. It was a very liberal allowance, because the Arabs never gave more than one necklace to every three men, and that, too, of inferior quality to what I served. I brought them to at last by starvation, and then we went on. Dipping down into a valley between two clusters of granitic hills, beautifully clothed with trees and grass, studded here and there with rich plantations, we entered the district of Usagari, and on the second day forded the Gombe nullah again — in its upper course, called Kuale.
Rising again up to the main level of the plantation, we walked into the boma of the chief of Unyambewa, Singinya, whose wife was my old friend the late sultana Ungugu’s lady’s-maid. Immediately on our entering her palace, she came forward to meet me with the most affable air of a princess, begged I would always come to her as I did then, and sought to make every one happy and comfortable. Her old mistress, she said, died well stricken in years; and, as she had succeeded her, the people of her country invited Singinya to marry her, because feuds had arisen about the rights of succession; and it was better a prince, whom they thought best suited by birth and good qualities, should head their warriors, and keep all in order. At that moment Singinya was out in the field fighting his enemies; and she was sure, when he heard I was here, that he would be very sorry he had missed seeing me.
We next went on to the district of Ukumbi, and put up in a village there, on approaching which all the villagers turned out to resist us, supposing we were an old enemy of theirs. They flew about brandishing their spears, and pulling their bows in the most grotesque attitudes, alarming some of my porters so much that they threw down their loads and bolted. All the country is richly cultivated, though Indian corn at that time was the only grain ripe. The square, flat-topped tembes had now been left behind, and instead the villagers lived in small collections of grass huts, surrounded by palisades of tall poles.
Proceeding on we put up at the small settlement of Usenda, the proprietor of which was a semi-negro Arab merchant called Sangoro. He had a large collection of women here, but had himself gone north with a view to trade in Karague. Report, however, assured us that he was then detained in Usui by Suwarora, its chief, on the plea of requiring his force of musketeers to prevent the Watuta from pillaging his country, for these Watuta lived entirely on plunder of other people’s cattle.
With one move, by alternately crossing strips of forest and cultivation, studded here and there with small hills of granite, we forded the Qaunde nullah — a tributary to the Gombe — and entered the rich flat district of Mininga, where the gingerbread-palm grows abundantly. The greatest man we found here was a broken-down ivory merchant called Sirboko, who gave us a good hut to live in. Next morning, I believe at the suggestion of my Wanguana, with Baraka at their head, he induced me to stop there; for he said Rungua had been very recently destroyed by the Watuta, and this place could afford porters better than it. To all appearance this was the case, for this district was better cultivated than any place I had seen. I also felt a certain inclination to stop, as I was dragging on sick men, sorely against my feelings; and I also thought I had better not go farther away from my rear property; but, afraid of doing wrong in not acting up to Musa’s directions, I called up his head men who were with me, and asked them what they thought of the matter, as they had lately come from Rungua. On their confirming Sirboki’s story, and advising my stopping, I acceded to their recommendation, and immediately gave Musa’s men orders to look out for porters.
Hearing this, all my Wanguana danced with delight; and I, fearing there was some treachery, called Musa’s men again, saying I had changed my mind, and wished to go on in the afternoon; but when the time came, not one of our porters could be seen. There was now no help for it; so, taking it coolly, I gave Musa’s men presents, begged them to look sharp in getting the men up, and trusted all would end well in the long-run. Sirboko’s attentions were most warm and affecting. He gave us cows, rice, and milk, with the best place he had to live in, and looked after us as constantly and tenderly as if he had been our father. It seemed quite unjust to harbour any suspicion against him.
He gave the following account of himself:— He used to trade in ivory, on account of some Arabs at Zanzibar. On crossing Usui, he once had a fight with one of the chiefs of the country and killed him; but he got through all right, because the natives, after two or three of their number had been killed, dispersed, and feared to come near his musket again. He visited Uganda when the late king Sunna was living, and even traded Usoga; but as he was coming down from these northern countries he lost all his property by a fire breaking out in a village he stopped in, which drove him down here a ruined man. As it happened, however, he put up with the chief of this district, Ugali — Mr Paste — at a time when the Watuta attacked the place and drove all the inhabitants away. The chief, too, was on the point of bolting, when Sirboko prevented him by saying, “If you will only have courage to stand by me, the Watuta shall not come near — at any rate, if they do, let us both die together.” The Watuta at that time surrounded the district, crowning all the little hills overlooking it; but fearing the Arabs’ guns might be many, they soon walked away, and left them in peace. In return for this magnanimity, and feeling a great security in firearms, Ugali then built the large enclosure, with huts for Sirboko, we were now living in. Sirboko, afraid to return to the coast lest he should be apprehended for debt, has resided here ever since, doing odd jobs for other traders, increasing his family, and planting extensively. His agricultural operations are confined chiefly to rice, because the natives do not like it enough to be tempted to steal it.
25th to 2d. — I now set to work, collecting, stuffing, and drawing, until the 2d, when Musa’s men came in with three hundred men, whom I sent on to Kaze at once with my specimens and letters, directing Musa and Bombay to come on and join us immediately. Whilst waiting for these men’s return, one of Sirboko’s slaves, chained up by him, in the most piteous manner cried out to me: “Hai Bana wangi, Bana wangi (Oh, my lord, my lord), take pity on me! When I was a free man I saw you at Uvira, on the Tanganyika lake, when you were there; but since then the Watuta, in a fight at Ujiji, speared me all over and left me for dead, when I was seized by the people, sold to the Arabs, and have been in chains ever since. Oh, I saw, Bana wangi, if you would only liberate me I would never run away, but would serve you faithfully all my life.” This touching appeal was too strong for my heart to withstand, so I called up Sirboko, and told him, if he would liberate this one man to please me he should be no loser; and the release was effected. He was then christened Farham (Joy), and was enrolled in my service with the rest of my freed men. I then inquired if it was true the Wabembe were cannibals, and also circumcised. In one of their slaves the latter statement was easily confirmed. I was assure that he was not a cannibal; for the whole tribe of Wabembe, when they cannot get human flesh otherwise, give a goat to their neighbours for a sick or dying child, regarding such flesh as the best of all. No other cannibals, however, were known of; but the Masai, and their cognates, the Wahumba, Wataturu, Wakasange, Wanyaramba, and even the Wagogo and Wakimbu, circumcise.
On the 15th I was surprised to find Bombay come in with all my rear property and a great quantity of Musa’s, but with out the old man. By a letter from Sheikh Said I then found that, since my leaving Kaze, the Arabs had, along with Mkisiwa, invested the position of Manua Sera at Kigue, and forced him to take flight again. Afterwards the Arabs, returning to Kaze, found Musa preparing to leave. Angry at this attempt to desert them, they persuaded him to give up his journey north for the present; so that at the time Bombay left, Musa was engaged as public auctioneer in selling the effects of Snay, Jafu, and others, but privately said he would follow me on to Karague as soon as his rice was cut. Adding a little advice of his own, Sheikh Said pressed me to go on with the journey as fast as possible, because all the Arabs had accused me of conspiring with Manua Sera, and would turn against me unless I soon got away.
2d to 30th. — Disgusted with Musa’s vacillatory conduct, on the 22d I sent him a letter containing a bit of my mind. I had given him, as a present, sufficient cloth to pay for his porters, as well as a watch and a good sum of money, and advised his coming on at once, for the porters who had just brought in my rear property would not take pay to go on to Karague; and so I was detained again, waiting whilst his head man went to Rungua to look for more. Five days after this, a party of Sangoro’s arrived from Karague, saying they had been detained three months in Usui by Suwarora, who had robbed them of an enormous quantity of property, and oppressed them so that all their porters ran away. Now, slight as this little affair might appear, it was of vital importance to me, as I found all my men shaking their heads and predicting what might happen to us when we got there; so, as a forlorn hope, I sent Baraka with another letter to Musa, offering to pay as much money for fifty men carrying muskets as would buy fifty slaves, and, in addition to that, I offered to pay them what my men were receiving as servants. Next day (23d) the chief Ugali came to pay his respects to us. He was a fine-looking young man, about thirty years old, the husband of thirty wives, but he had only three children. Much surprised at the various articles composing our kit, he remarked that our “sleeping-clothes”— blankets — were much better than his royal robes; but of all things that amused him most were our picture-books, especially some birds drawn by Wolf.
Everything still seemed going against me; for on the following day (24th) Musa’s men came in from Rungua to say the Watuta were “out.” They had just seized fifty head of cattle from Rungua, and the people were in such a state of alarm they dared not leave their homes and families. I knew not what to do, for there was no hope left but in what Baraka might bring; and as that even would be insufficient, I sent Musa’s men into Kaze, to increase the original number by thirty men more.
Patience, thank God, I had a good stock of, so I waited quietly until the 30th, when I was fairly upset by the arrival of a letter from Kaze, stating that Baraka had arrived, and had been very insolent both to Musa and to Sheikh Said. The bearer of the letter was at once to go and search for porters at Rungua, but not a word was said about the armed men I had ordered. At the same time reports from the other side came in, to the effect that the Arabs at Kaze and Msene had bribed the Watuta to join them, and overrun the whole country from Ugogo to Usui; and, in consequence of this, all the natives on the line I should have to take were in such dread of that terrible wandering race of savages, who had laid waste in turn all the lands from N’yassa to Usui on their west flank, that not a soul dared leave his home. I could now only suppose that this foolish and hasty determination of the Arabs, who, quite unprepared to carry out their wicked alliance to fight, still had set every one against their own interests as well as mine, had not reached Musa, so I made up my mind at once to return to Kaze, and settle all matters I had in my heart with himself and the Arabs in person.
This settled, I next, in this terrible embarrassment, determined on sending back the last of the Hottentots, as all four of them, though still wishing to go on with me, distinctly said they had not the power to continue the march, for they had never ceased suffering from fever and jaundice, which had made them all yellow as guineas, save one, who was too black to change colour. It felt to me as if I were selling my children, having once undertaken to lead them through the journey; but if I did not send them back then, I never could afterwards, and therefore I allowed the more substantial feelings of humanity to overcome these compunctions.
Next morning, then, after giving the Tots over in charge of some men to escort them on to Kaze quietly, I set our myself with a dozen men, and the following evening I put up with Musa, who told me Baraka had just left without one man — all his slaves having become afraid to go, since the news of the Arab alliance had reached Kaze. Suwarora had ordered his subjects to run up a line of bomas to protect his frontier, and had proclaimed his intention to kill every coast-man who dared attempt to enter Usui. My heart was ready to sink as I turned into bed, and I was driven to think of abandoning everybody who was not strong enough to go on with me carrying a load.
3d to 13th. — Baraka, hearing I had arrived, then came back to me, and confirmed Musa’s words. The Arabs, too, came flocking in to beg, nay implore, me to help them out of their difficulties. Many of them were absolutely ruined, they said; others had their houses full of stores unemployed. At Ugogo those who wished to join them were unable to do so, for their porters, what few were left, were all dying of starvation; and at that moment Manua Sera was hovering about, shooting, both night and day, all the poor villagers in the district, or driving them away. Would to God, they said, I would mediate for them with Manua Sera — they were sure I would be successful — and then they would give me as many armed men as I liked. Their folly in all their actions, I said, proved to me that anything I might attempt to do would be futile, for their alliance with the Watuta, when they were not prepared to act, at once damned them in my eyes as fools. This they in their terror acknowledged, but said it was not past remedy, if I would join them, to counteract what had been done in that matter. Suffice it now to say, after a long conversation, arguing all the pros and cons over, I settled I would write out all the articles of a treaty of peace, by which they should be liable to have all their property forfeited on the coast if they afterwards broke faith; and I begged them to call the next day and sign it.
They were no sooner gone, however, than Musa assured me they had killed old Maula of Rubuga in the most treacherous manner, as follows:— Khamis, who is an Arab of most gentlemanly aspect, on returning from Ugogo attended by slaves, having heard that Maula was desirous of adjusting a peace, invited him with his son to do so. When old Maula came as desired, bringing his son with him, and a suitable offering of ivory and cattle, the Arab induced them both to kneel down and exchange blood with him, when, by a previously concerted arrangement, Khamis had them shot down by his slaves. This disgusting story made me quite sorry, when next day the Arabs arrived, expecting that I should attempt to help them; but as the matter had gone so far, I asked them, in the first place, how they could hope Manua Sera would have any faith in them when they were so treacherous, or trust to my help, since they had killed Maula, who was my protege? They all replied in a breath, “Oh, let the past be forgotten, and assist us now! for in you alone we can look for a preserver.”
At length an armistice was agreed to; but as no one dared go to negotiated it but my men, I allowed them to take pay from the Arabs, which was settled on the 4th by ten men taking four yards of cloth each, with a promise of a feast on sweetmeats when they returned. Ex Mrs Musa, who had been put aside by her husband because she was too fat for her lord’s taste, then gave me three men of her private establishment, and abused Musa for being wanting in “brains.” She had repeatedly advised him to leave this place and go with me, lest the Arabs, who were all in debt to him, should put him to death; but he still hung on to recover his remaining debts, a portion having been realised by the sale of Snay’s and Jafu’s effects; for everything in the shape of commodities had been sold at the enormous price of 500 per cent — the male slaves even fetching 100 dollars per head, though the females went for less. The Hottentots now arrived, with many more of my men, who, seeing their old “flames,” Snay’s women, sold off by auction, begged me to advance them money to purchase them with, for they could not bear to see these women, who were their own when they formerly stayed here, go off like cattle no one knew where. Compliance, of course, was impossible, as it would have crowded the caravan with women. Indeed, to prevent my men every thinking of matrimony on the march, as well as to incite them on through the journey, I promised, as soon as we reached Egypt, to give them all wives and gardens at Zanzibar, provided they did not contract marriages on the road.
On the 6th, the deputation, headed by Baraka, returned triumphantly into Kaze, leading in two of Manua Sera’s ministers — one of them a man with one eye, whom I called Cyclops — and tow others, ministers of a chief called Kitambi, or Little Blue Cloth. After going a day’s journey, they said they came to where Manua Sera was residing with Kitambi, and met with a most cheerful and kind reception from both potentates, who, on hearing of my proposition, warmly acceded to it, issued orders at once that hostilities should cease, and, with one voice, said they were convinced that, unless through my instrumentality, Manua Sera would never regain his possessions. Kitambi was quite beside himself, and wished my men to stop one night to enjoy his hospitality. Manua Sera, after reflecting seriously about the treacherous murder of old Maula, hesitated, but gave way when it had been explained away by my men, and said, “No; they shall go at once, for my kingdom depends on the issue, and Bana Mzungu (the White Lord) may get anxious if they do not return promptly.” One thing, however, he insisted on, and that was, the only place he would meet the Arabs in was Unyanyembe, as it would be beneath his dignity to settle matters anywhere else. And further, he specified that he wished all the transactions to take place in Musa’s house.
Next day, 7th, I assembled all the Arabs at Musa’s “court,” with all my men and the two chiefs, four men attending, when Baraka, “on his legs,” told them all I proposed for the treaty of peace. The Arabs gave their assent to it; and Cyclops, for Manua Sera, after giving a full narrative of the whole history of the war, in such a rapid and eloquent manner as would have done justice to our Prime Minister, said his chief was only embittered against Snay, and now Snay was killed, he wished to make friends with them. To which the Arabs made a suitable answer, adding, that all they found fault with was an insolent remark which, in his wrath, Manua Sera had given utterance to, that their quarrel with him was owing chiefly to a scurvy jest which he had passed on them, and on the characteristic personal ceremony of initiation to their Mussulman faith. Now, however, as Manua Sera wished to make friends, they would abide by anything that I might propose. Here the knotty question arose again, what territory they, the Arabs, would give to Manua Sera? I thought he would not be content unless he got the old place again; but as Cyclops said no, that was not in his opinion absolutely necessary, as the lands of Unyanyembe had once before been divided, the matter was settled on the condition that another conference should be held with Manua Sera himself on the subject.
I now (8th and 9th) sent these men all off again, inviting Manua Sera to come over and settle matters at once, if he would, otherwise I should go on with my journey, for I could not afford to wait longer here. Then, as soon as they left, I made Musa order some of his men off to Rungua, requesting the chief of the place to send porters to Mininga to remove all our baggage over to his palace; at the same time I begged him not to fear the Watuta’s threat to attack him, as Musa would come as soon as the treaty was concluded, in company with me, to build a boma alongside his palace, as he did in former years, to be nearer his trade with Karague. I should have mentioned, by the way, that Musa had now made up his mind not to go further than the borders of Usui with me, lest I should be “torn to pieces,” and he would be “held responsible on the coast.” Musa’s men, however, whom he selected for this business, were then engaged making Mussulmans of all the Arab slave boys, and said they would not go until they had finished, although I offered to pay the “doctor’s bill,” or allowance they expected to get. The ceremony, at the same time that it helps to extend their religion, as christening does ours, also stamps the converts with a mark effective enough to prevent desertion; because, after it has been performed, their own tribe would not receive them again. At last, when they did go, Musa, who was suffering from a sharp illness, to prove to me that he was bent on leaving Kaze the same time as myself, began eating what he called his training pills — small dried buds of roses with alternate bits of sugar-candy. Ten of these buds, he said, eaten dry, were sufficient for ordinary cases, and he gave a very formidable description of the effect likely to follow the use of the same number boiled in rice-water or milk.
Fearful stories of losses and distress came constantly in from Ugogo by small bodies of men, who stole their way through the jungles. To-day a tremendous commotion took place in Musa’s tembe amongst all the women, as one had been delivered of still-born twins. They went about in procession, painted and adorned in the most grotesque fashion, bewailing and screeching, singing and dancing, throwing their arms and legs about as if they were drunk, until the evening set in, when they gathered a huge bundle of bulrushes, and, covering it with a cloth, carried it up to the door of the bereaved on their shoulders, as though it had been a coffin. Then setting it down on the ground, they planted some of the rushes on either side of the entrance, and all kneeling together, set to bewailing, shrieking, and howling incessantly for hours together.
After this (10th to 12th), to my great relief, quite unexpectedly, a man arrived from Usui conveying a present of some ivories from a great mganga or magician, named Dr K’yengo, who had sent them to Musa as a recollection from an old friend, begging at the same time for some pretty cloths, as he said he was then engaged as mtongi or caravan director, collecting together all the native caravans desirous of making a grand march to Uganda. This seemed to me a heaven-born opportunity of making friends with one who could help me so materially, and I begged Musa to seal it by sending him something on my account, as I had nothing by me; but Musa objected, thinking it better simply to say I was coming, and if he, K’yengo, would assist me in Usui, I would then give him some cloths as he wanted; otherwise, Musa said, the man who had to convey it would in all probability make away with it, and then do his best to prevent my seeing K’yengo. As soon as this was settled, against my wish and opinion, a special messenger arrived from Suwarora, to inquire of Musa what truth there was in the story of the Arabs having allied themselves to the Watuta. He had full faith in Musa, and hoped, if the Arabs had no hostile intentions towards him, he, Musa, would send him two of theirs; further, Suwarora wished Musa would send him a cat. A black cat was then given to the messenger for Suwarora, and Musa sent an account of all that I had done towards effecting a peace, saying that the Arabs had accepted my views, and if he would have patience until I arrived in Usui, the four men required would be sent with me.
In the evening my men returned again with Cyclops, who said, for his master, that Manua Sera desired nothing more than peace, and to make friends with the Arabs; but as nothing was settled about deposing Mkisiwa, he could not come over here. Could the Arabs, was Manua Sera’s rejoinder, suppose for a moment that he would voluntarily divide his dominion with one whom he regarded as his slave! Death would be preferable; and although he would trust his life in the Mzungu’s hands if he called him again, he must know it was his intention to hunt Mkisiwa down like a wild animal, and would never rest satisfied until he was dead. The treaty thus broke down; for the same night Cyclops decamped like a thief, after brandishing an arrow which Manua Sera had given him to throw down as a gauntlet of defiance to fight Mkisiwa to death. After this the Arabs were too much ashamed of themselves to come near me, though invited by letter, and Musa became so ill he would not take my advice and ride in a hammock, the best possible cure for his complaint; so, after being humbugged so many times by his procrastinations, I gave Sheikh Said more letters and specimens, with orders to take the Tots down to the coast as soon as practicable, and started once more for the north, expecting very shortly to hear of Musa’s death, though he promised to follow me the very next day or die in the attempt, and he also said he would bring on the four men required by Suwarora; for I was fully satisfied in my mind that he would have marched with me then had he had the resolution to do so at all.
Before I had left the district I heard that Manua Sera had collected a mixed force of Warori, Wagogo, and Wasakuma, and had gone off to Kigue again, whilst the Arabs and Mkisiwa were feeding their men on beef before setting out to fight him. Manua Sera, it was said, had vast resources. His father, Fundi Kira, was a very rich man, and had buried vast stores of property, which no one knew of but Manua Sera, his heir. The Wanyamuezi all inwardly loved him for his great generosity, and all alike thought him protected by a halo of charm-power so effective against the arms of the Arabs that he could play with them just as he liked.
On crossing Unyambewa (14th), when I a third time put up with my old friend the sultana, her chief sent word to say he hoped I would visit him at his fighting boma to eat a cow which he had in store for me, as he could not go home and enjoy the society of his wife whilst the war was going on; since, by so doing, it was considered he “would lose strength.”
On arriving at Mininga, I was rejoiced to see Grant greatly recovered. Three villagers had been attacked by two lions during my absence. Two of the people escaped, but the third was seized as he was plunging into his hut, and was dragged off and devoured by the animals. A theft also had taken place, by which both Grant and Sirboko lost property; and the thieves had been traced over the borders of the next district. No fear, however, was entertained about the things being recovered, for Sirboko had warned Ugali the chief, and he had promised to send his Waganga, or magicians, out to track them down, unless the neighbouring chief chose to give them up. After waiting two days, as no men came from Rungua, I begged Grant to push ahead on to Ukani, just opposite Rungua, with all my coast-men, whilst I remained behind for the arrival of Musa’s men and porters to carry on the rest of the kit — for I had now twenty-two in addition to men permanently enlisted, who took service on the same rate of pay as my original coast-men; though, as usual, when the order for marching was issued, a great number were found to be either sick or malingering.
Two days afterwards, Musa’s men came in with porters, who would not hire themselves for more than two marches, having been forbidden to do so by their chief on account of the supposed Watuta invasion; and for these two marches they required a quarter of the whole customary hire to Karague. Musa’s traps, too, I found, were not to be moved, so I saw at once Musa had not kept faith with me, and there would be a fresh set of difficulties; but as every step onwards was of the greatest importance — for my men were consuming my stores at a fearful pace — I paid down the beads they demanded, and next day joined Grant at Mbisu, a village of Ukuni held by a small chief called Mchimeka, who had just concluded a war of two years’ standing with the great chief Ukulima (the Digger), of Nunda (the Hump). During the whole of the two years’ warfare the loss was only three men on each side. Meanwhile Musa’s men bolted like thieves one night, on a report coming that the chief of Unyambewa, after concluding the war, whilst amusing himself with his wife, had been wounded on the foot by an arrow that fell from her hand. The injury had at once taken a mortal turn, and the chief sent for his magicians, who said it was not the fault of the wife — somebody else must have charmed the arrow to cause such a deadly result. They then seized hold of the magic horn, primed for the purpose, and allowed it to drag them to where the culprits dwelt. Four poor men, who were convicted in this way, were at once put to death, and the chief from that moment began to recover.
After a great many perplexities, I succeeded in getting a kirangozi, or leader, by name Ungurue (the Pig). He had several times taken caravans to Karague, and knew all the languages well, but unfortunately he afterwards proved to be what his name implied. That, however, I could not foresee, so, trusting to him and good-luck, I commenced making fresh enlistments of porters; but they came and went in the most tantalising manner, notwithstanding I offered three times the hire that any merchant could afford to give. Every day seemed to be worse and worse. Some of Musa’s men came to get palm-toddy for him, as he was too weak to stand, and was so cold nothing would warm him. There was, however, no message brought for myself; and as the deputation did not come to me, I could only infer that I was quite forgotten, of that Musa, after all, had only been humbugging me. I scarcely knew what to do. Everybody advised me to stop where I was until the harvest was over, as no porters could be found on ahead, for Ukuni was the last of the fertile lands on this side of Usui.
Stopping, however, seemed endless; not so my supplies, I therefore tried advancing in detachments again, sending the free men off under Grant to Ukulima’s, whilst I waited behind keeping ourselves divided in the hopes of inducing all hands to see the advisability of exerting themselves for the general good — as my men, whilst we were all together, showed they did not care how long they were kept doing no more fatiguing work than chaffing each other, and feeding at my expense.
In the meanwhile the villagers were very merry, brewing and drinking their pombe (beer) by turns, one house after the other providing the treat. On these occasions the chief — who always drank freely, and more than any other — heading the public gatherings of men and women, saw the large earthen pots placed all in a row, and the company taking long draughts from bowls made of plaited straw, laughing as they drank, until, half-screwed, they would begin bawling and shouting. To increase the merriment, one or two jackanapes, with zebras’ manes tied over their heads, would advance with long tubes like monster bassoons, blowing with all their might, contorting their faces and bodies, and going through the most obscene and ridiculous motions to captivate their simple admirers. This, however, was only the feast; the ball then began, for the pots were no sooner emptied than five drums at once, of different sizes and tones, suspended in a line from a long horizontal bar, were beaten with fury, and all the men, women, and children, singing and clapping their hands in time, danced for hours together.
A report reached me, by some of Sirboko’s men, whom he had sent to convey to us a small present of rice, that an Arab, who was crossing Msalala to our northward, had been treacherously robbed of all his arms and guns by a small district chief, whose only excuse was that the Wanyamuezi had always traded very well by themselves until the Arabs came into the country; but now, as they were robbed of their property, on account of the disturbances caused by these Arabs, they intended for the future to take all they could get, and challenged the Arabs to do the same.
My patience was beginning to suffer again, for I could not help thinking that the chiefs of the place were preventing their village men going with me in order that my presence here might ward of the Watuta; so I called up the kirangozi, who had thirteen “Watoto,” as they are called, or children of his own, wishing to go, and asked him if he knew why no other men could be got. As he could not tell me, saying some excused themselves on the plea they were cutting their corn, and others that they feared the Watuta, I resolved at once to move over to Nunda; and if that place also failed to furnish men, I would go on to Usui or Karague with what men I had, and send back for the rest of my property; for though I could bear the idea of separating from Grant, still the interests of old England were at stake, and demanded it.
This resolve being strengthened by the kirangozi’s assurance that the row in Msalala had shaken the few men who had half dreaded to go with me, I marched over to Hunda, and put up with Grant in Ukulima’s boma, when Grant informed me that the chief had required four yards of cloth from him for having walked round a dead lioness, as he had thus destroyed a charm that protected his people against any more of these animals coming, although, fortunately, the charm could be restored again by paying four yards of cloth. Ukulima, however, was a very kind and good man, though he did stick the hands and heads of his victims on the poles of his boma as a warning to others. He kept five wives, of whom the rest paid such respect to the elder one, it was quite pleasing to see them. A man of considerable age, he did everything the state or his great establishment required himself. All the men of his district clapped their hands together as a courteous salutation to him, and the women curtsied as well as they do at our court — a proof that they respected him as a great potentate — a homage rarely bestowed on the chiefs of other small states. Ukulima was also hospitable; for on one occasion, when another chief came to visit him, he received his guest and retainers with considerable ceremony, making all the men of the village get up a dance; which they did, beating the drums and firing off guns, like a lot of black devils let loose.
We were not the only travellers in misfortune here, for Masudi, with several other Arabs, all formed in one large caravan, had arrived at Mchimeka’s, and could not advance for want of men. They told me it was the first time they had come on this line, and they deeply regretted it, for they had lost 5000 dollar’s worth of beads by their porters running away with their loads, and now they did not know how to proceed. Indeed, they left the coast and arrived at Kaze immediately in rear of us, and had, like ourselves, found it as much as they could do even to reach this, and now they were at a standstill for want of porters.
As all hopes of being able to get any more men were given up, I called on Bombay and Baraka to make arrangements for my going ahead with the best of my property as I had devised. They both shook their heads, and advised me to remain until the times improved, when the Arabs, being freed from the pressure of war, would come along and form with us a “sufari ku” or grand march, as Ukulima and every one else had said we should be torn to pieces in Usui if we tried to cross that district with so few men. I then told them again and again of the messages I had sent on to Rumanika in Karague, and to Suwarora in Usui, and begged them to listen to me, instancing as an example of what could be done by perseverance the success of Columbus, who, opposed by his sailors’ misgivings, still when on and triumphed, creating for himself immortal renown.
They gave way at last; so, after selecting all the best of my property, I formed camp at Phunze, left Bombay with Grant behind, as I thought Bombay the best and most honest man I had got, from his having had so much experience, and then went ahead by myself, with the Pig as my guide and interpreter, and Baraka as my factotum. The Waguana then all mutinied for a cloth apiece, saying they would not lift a load unless I gave it. Of course a severe contest followed; I said, as I had given them so much before, they could not want it, and ought to be ashamed of themselves. They urged, however, they were doing double work, and would not consent to carry loads as they had done at Mgunda Mkhali again.
Arguments were useless, for, simply because they were tired of going on, they WOULD not see that as they were receiving pay every day, they therefore ought to work every day. However, as they yielded at last, by some few leaning to my side, I gave what they asked for, and went to the next village, still inefficient in men, as all the Pig’s Watoto could not be collected together. This second move brought us into a small village, of which Ghiya, a young man, was chief.
He was very civil to me, and offered to sell me a most charming young woman, quite the belle of the country; but as he could not bring me to terms, he looked over my picture-books with the greatest delight, and afterwards went into a discourse on geography with considerable perspicacity; seeming fully to comprehend that if I got down the Nile it would afterwards result in making the shores of the N’yanza like that of the coast at Zanzibar, where the products of his country could be exchanged, without much difficulty, for cloths, beads, and brass wire. I gave him a present; then a letter was brought to me from Sheikh Said, announcing Musa’s death, and the fact that Manua Sera was still holding out at Kigue; in answer to which I desired the sheikh to send me as many of Musa’s slaves as would take service with me, for they ought now, by the laws of the Koran, to be all free.
On packing up to leave Ghiya’s, all the men of the village shut the bars of the entrance, wishing to extract some cloths from me, as I had not given enough, they said, to their chief. They soon, however, saw that we, being inside their own fort, had the best of it, and they gave way. We then pushed on to Ungurue’s, another chief of the same district. Here the men and women of the place came crowding to see me, the fair sex all playfully offering themselves for wives, and wishing to know which I admired most. They were so importunate, after a time, that I was not sorry to hear an attack was made on their cattle because a man of the village would not pay his dowry-money to his father-in-law, and this set everybody flying out to the scene of action.
After this, as Bombay brought up the last of my skulking men, I bade him good-bye again, and made an afternoon-march on to Takina, in the district of Msalala, which we no sooner approached than all the inhabitants turned out and fired their arrows at us. They did no harm, however, excepting to create a slight alarm, which some neighbouring villagers took advantage of to run of with two of my cows. To be returned to them, but called in vain, as the scoundrels said, “Findings are keepings, by the laws of our country; and as we found your cows, so we will keep them.” For my part I was glad they were gone, as the Wanguana never yet kept anything I put under their charge; so, instead of allowing them to make a fuss the next morning, I marched straight on for M’ynoga’s, the chief of the district, who was famed for his infamy and great extortions, having pushed his exactions so far as to close the road.
On nearing his palace, we heard war-drums beat in every surrounding village, and the kirangozi would go no farther until permission was obtained from M’yonga. This did not take long, as the chief said he was most desirous to see a white man, never having been to the coast, though his father-in-law had, and had told him that the Wazungu were even greater people than the sultan reigning there. On our drawing near the palace, a small, newly-constructed boma was shown for my residence; but as I did not wish to stop there, knowing how anxious Grant would be to have his relief, I would not enter it, but instead sent Baraka to pay the hongo as quickly as possible, that we might move on again; at the same time ordering him to describe the position both Grant and myself were in, and explain that what I paid now was to frank both of us, as the whole of the property was my own. Should he make any remarks about the two cows that were stolen, I said he must know that I could not wait for them, as my brother would die of suspense if we did not finish the journey and send back for him quickly. Off went Baraka with a party of men, stopping hours, of course, and firing volleys of ammunition away. He did not return again until the evening, when the palace-drums announced that the hongo had been settled for one barsati, one lugoi, and six yards merikani. Baraka approached me triumphantly, saying how well he had managed the business. M’yonga did not wish to see me, because he did not know the coast language. He was immensely pleased with the present I had given him, and said he was much and very unjustly abused by the Arabs, who never came this way, saying he was a bad man. He should be very glad to see Grant, and would take nothing from him; and, though he did not see me in person, he would feel much affronted if I did not stop the night there. In the meanwhile he would have the cows brought in, for he could not allow any one to leave his country abused in any way.
My men had greatly amused him by firing their guns off and showing him the use of their sword-bayonets. I knew, as a matter of course, that if I stopped any longer I should be teased for more cloths, and gave orders to my men to march the same instant, saying, if they did not — for I saw them hesitate — I would give the cows to the villagers, since I knew that was the thing that weighed on their minds. This raised a mutiny. No one would go forward with the two cows behind; besides which, the day was far spent, and there was nothing but jungle, they said, beyond. The kirangozi would not show the way, nor would any man lift a load. A great confusion ensued. I knew they were telling lies, and would not enter the village, but shot the cows when they arrived, for the villagers to eat, to show them I cared for nothing but making headway, and remained out in the open all night. Next morning, sure enough, before we could get under way, M’yonga sent his prime minister to say that the king’s sisters and other members of his family had been crying and tormenting him all night for having let me off so cheaply — they had got nothing to cover their nakedness, and I must pay something more. This provoked fresh squabbles. The drums had beaten and the tax was settled; I could not pay more. The kirangozi, however, said he would not move a peg unless I gave something more, else he would be seized on his way back. His “children’ all said the same; and as I thought Grant would only be worsted if I did not keep friends with the scoundrel, I gave four yards more merikani, and then went on my way.
For the first few miles there were villagers, but after that a long tract of jungle, inhabited chiefly by antelopes and rhinoceros. It was wilder in appearance than most parts of Unyamuezi. In this jungle a tributary nullah to the Gombe, called Nurhungure, is the boundary-line between the great Country of the Moon and the kingdom of Uzinza.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:55