Happy auspices, — Ant-hills. — The water-shed of the Tanganika Lion. — The king of Kasera. — The home of the lion and the leopard. — A donkey frightens a leopard — Sublime scenes in Kawendi, — Starvation imminent. — Amenities of travel in Africa. — Black-mailers. — The stormy children of Uhha. — News of a white man. — Energetic marches — Mionvu, chief of tribute-takers. — An escape at midnight. — Toiling through the jungles. — The Lake Mountains. — First view of the Tanganika. — Arrival at Ujiji, — The happy meeting with Livingstone.
We bade farewell to Mrera on the 17th of October, to continue our route north-westward. All the men and I were firm friends now; all squabbling had long ceased. Bombay and I had forgotten our quarrel; the kirangozi and myself were ready to embrace, so loving and affectionate were the terms upon which we stood towards one another. Confidence returned to all hearts — for now, as Mabruk Unyanyembe said, “we could smell the fish of the Tanganika.” Unyanyembe, with all its disquietude, was far behind. We could snap our fingers at that terrible Mirambo and his unscrupulous followers, and by-and-by, perhaps, we may be able to laugh at the timid seer who always prophesied portentous events — Sheikh, the son of Nasib. We laughed joyously, as we glided in Indian file through the young forest jungle beyond the clearing of Mrera, and boasted of our prowess. Oh! we were truly brave that morning!
Emerging from the jungle, we entered a thin forest, where numerous ant-hills were seen like so many sand-dunes. I imagine that these ant-hills were formed during a remarkably wet season, when, possibly, the forest-clad plain was inundated. I have seen the ants at work by thousands, engaged in the work of erecting their hills in other districts suffering from inundation. What a wonderful system of cells these tiny insects construct! A perfect labyrinth — cell within cell, room within room, hall within hall — an exhibition of engineering talents and high architectural capacity — a model city, cunningly contrived for safety and comfort!
Emerging after a short hour’s march out of the forest, we welcome the sight of a murmuring translucent stream, swiftly flowing towards the north-west, which we regard with the pleasure which only men who have for a long time sickened themselves with that potable liquid of the foulest kind, found in salinas, mbugas, pools, and puddle holes, can realize. Beyond this stream rises a rugged and steep ridge, from the summit of which our eyes are gladdened with scenes that are romantic, animated and picturesque. They form an unusual feast to eyes sated with looking into the depths of forests, at towering stems of trees, and at tufted crowns of foliage. We have now before us scores of cones, dotting the surface of a plain which extends across Southern Ukonongo to the territory of the Wafipa, and which reaches as far as the Rikwa Plain. The immense prospect before which we are suddenly ushered is most varied; exclusive of conical hills and ambitious flat-topped and isolated mountains, we are in view of the watersheds of the Rungwa River, which empties into the Tanganika south of where we stand, and of the Malagarazi River, which the Tanganika receives, a degree or so north of this position. A single but lengthy latitudinal ridge serves as a dividing line to the watershed of the Rungwa and Malagarazi; and a score of miles or so further west of this ridge rises another, which runs north and south.
We camped on this day in the jungle, close to a narrow ravine with a marshy bottom, through the oozy, miry contents of which the waters from the watershed of the Rungwa slowly trickled southward towards the Rikwa Plain. This was only one of many ravines, however, some of which were several hundred yards broad, others were but a few yards in width, the bottoms of which were most dangerous quagmires, overgrown with dense tall reeds and papyrus. Over the surface of these great depths of mud were seen hundreds of thin threads of slimy ochre-coloured water, which swarmed with animalculae. By-and-by, a few miles south of the base of this ridge (which I call Kasera, from the country which it cuts in halves), these several ravines converge and debouch into the broad, [marshy?], oozy, spongy “river” of Usense, which trends in a south-easterly direction; after which, gathering the contents of the watercourses from the north and northeast into its own broader channel, it soon becomes a stream of some breadth and consequence, and meets a river flowing from the east, from the direction of Urori, with which it conflows in the Rikwa Plain, and empties about sixty rectilineal miles further west into the Tanganika Lake. The Rungwa River, I am informed, is considered as a boundary line between the country of Usowa on the north, and Ufipa on the south.
We had barely completed the construction of our camp defences when some of the men were heard challenging a small party of natives which advanced towards our camp, headed by a man who, from his garb and head-dress, we knew was from Zanzibar. After interchanging the customary salutations, I was informed that this party was an embassy from Simba (“Lion”), who ruled over Kasera, in Southern Unyamwezi. Simba, I was told, was the son of Mkasiwa, King of Unyanyembe, and was carrying on war with the Wazavira, of whom I was warned to beware. He had heard such reports of my greatness that he was sorry I did not take his road to Ukawendi, that he might have had the opportunity of seeing me, and making friends with me; but in the absence of a personal visit Simba had sent this embassy to overtake me, in the hope that I would present him with a token of my friendship in the shape of cloth. Though I was rather taken aback by the demand, still it was politic in me to make this powerful chief my friend, lest on my return from the search after Livingstone he and I might fall out. And since it was incumbent on me to make a present, for the sake of peace, it was necessary to exhibit my desire for peace by giving — if I gave at all — a royal present. The ambassador conveyed from me to Simba, or the “Lion” of Kasera, two gorgeous cloths, and two other doti consisting of Merikani and Kaniki; and, if I might believe the ambassador, I had made Simba a friend for ever.
On the 18th of October, breaking camp at the usual hour, we continued our march north-westward by a road which zig-zagged along the base of the Kasera mountains, and which took us into all kinds of difficulties. We traversed at least a dozen marshy ravines, the depth of mire and water in which caused the utmost anxiety. I sunk up to my neck in deep holes in the Stygian ooze caused by elephants, and had to tramp through the oozy beds of the Rungwa sources with any clothes wet and black with mud and slime. Decency forbade that I should strip; and the hot sun would also blister my body. Moreover, these morasses were too frequent to lose time in undressing and dressing, and, as each man was weighted with his own proper load, it would have been cruel to compel the men to bear me across. Nothing remained, therefore, but to march on, all encumbered as I was with my clothing and accoutrements, into these several marshy watercourses, with all the philosophical stoicism that my nature could muster for such emergencies. But it was very uncomfortable, to say the least of it.
We soon entered the territory of the dreaded Wazavira, but no enemy was in sight. Simba, in his wars, had made clean work of the northern part of Uzavira, and we encountered nothing worse than a view of the desolated country, which must have been once — judging from the number of burnt huts and debris of ruined villages — extremely populous. A young jungle was sprouting up vigorously in their fields, and was rapidly becoming the home of wild denizens of the forest. In one of the deserted and ruined villages, I found quarters for the Expedition, which were by no means uncomfortable. I shot three brace of guinea-fowl in the neighbourhood of Misonghi, the deserted village we occupied, and Ulimengo, one of my hunters, bagged an antelope, called the “mbawala,” for whose meat some of the Wanyamwezi have a superstitious aversion. I take this species of antelope, which stands about three and a half feet high, of a reddish hide, head long, horns short, to be the “Nzoe” antelope discovered by Speke in Uganda, and whose Latin designation is, according to Dr. Sclater, Tragelaphus Spekii.” It has a short bushy tail, and long hair along the spine.
A long march in a west-by-north direction, lasting six hours, through a forest where the sable antelope was seen, and which was otherwise prolific with game, brought us to a stream which ran by the base of a lofty conical hill, on whose slopes flourished quite a forest of feathery bamboo.
On the 20th, leaving our camp, which lay between the stream and the conical hill above mentioned, and surmounting a low ridge which sloped from the base of the hill-cone, we were greeted with another picturesque view, of cones and scarped mountains, which heaved upward in all directions. A march of nearly five hours through this picturesque country brought us to the Mpokwa River, one of the tributaries of the Rungwa, and to a village lately deserted by the Wazavira. The huts were almost all intact, precisely as they were left by their former inhabitants. In the gardens were yet found vegetables, which, after living so long on meat, were most grateful to us. On the branches of trees still rested the Lares and Penates of the Wazavira, in the shape of large and exceedingly well-made earthen pots.
In the neighbouring river one of my men succeeded, in few minutes, in catching sixty fish of the silurus species the hand alone. A number of birds hovered about stream, such as the white-headed fish-eagle and the kingfisher, enormous, snowy spoonbills, ibis, martins, &c. This river issued from a mountain clump eight miles or so north of the village of Mpokwa, and comes flowing down a narrow thread of water, sinuously winding amongst tall reeds and dense brakes on either side-the home of hundreds of antelopes and buffaloes. South of Mpokwa, the valley broadens, and the mountains deflect eastward and westward, and beyond this point commences the plain known as the Rikwa, which, during the Masika is inundated, but which, in the dry season, presents the same bleached aspect that plains in Africa generally do when the grass has ripened.
Travelling up along the right bank of the Mpokwa, on the 21st we came to the head of the stream, and the sources of the Mpokwa, issuing out of deep defiles enclosed by lofty ranges. The mbawala and the buffalo were plentiful.
On the 22nd, after a march of four hours and a half, we came to the beautiful stream of Mtambu — the water of which was sweet, and clear as crystal, and flowed northward. We saw for the first time the home of the lion and the leopard. Hear what Freiligrath says of the place:
Where the thorny brake and thicket Densely fill the interspace Of the trees, through whose thick branches Never sunshine lights the place, There the lion dwells, a monarch, Mightiest among the brutes; There his right to reign supremest Never one his claim disputes. There he layeth down to slumber, Having slain and ta’en his fill; There he roameth, there be croucheth, As it suits his lordly will.
We camped but a few yards from just such a place as the poet describes. The herd-keeper who attended the goats and donkeys, soon after our arrival in camp, drove the animals to water, and in order to obtain it they travelled through a tunnel in the brake, caused by elephants and rhinoceros. They had barely entered the dark cavernous passage, when a black-spotted leopard sprang, and fastened its fangs in the neck of one of the donkeys, causing it, from the pain, to bray hideously. Its companions set up such a frightful chorus, and so lashed their heels in the air at the feline marauder, that the leopard bounded away through the brake, as if in sheer dismay at the noisy cries which the attack had provoked. The donkey’s neck exhibited some frightful wounds, but the animal was not dangerously hurt.
Thinking that possibly I might meet with an adventure with a lion or a leopard in that dark belt of tall trees, under whose impenetrable shade grew the dense thicket that formed such admirable coverts for the carnivorous species, I took a stroll along the awesome place with the gunbearer, Kalulu, carrying an extra gun, and a further supply of ammunition. We crept cautiously along, looking keenly into the deep dark dens, the entrances of which were revealed to us, as we journeyed, expectant every moment to behold the reputed monarch of the brake and thicket, bound forward to meet us, and I took a special delight in picturing, in my imagination, the splendor and majesty of the wrathful brute, as he might stand before me. I peered closely into every dark opening, hoping to see the deadly glitter of the great angry eyes, and the glowering menacing front of the lion as he would regard me. But, alas! after an hour’s search for adventure, I had encountered nothing, and I accordingly waxed courageous, and crept into one of these leafy, thorny caverns, and found myself shortly standing under a canopy of foliage that was held above my head fully a hundred feet by the shapely and towering stems of the royal mvule. Who can imagine the position? A smooth lawn-like glade; a dense and awful growth of impenetrable jungle around us; those stately natural pillars — a glorious phalanx of royal trees, bearing at such sublime heights vivid green masses of foliage, through which no single sun-ray penetrated, while at our feet babbled the primeval brook, over smooth pebbles, in soft tones befitting the sacred quiet of the scene! Who could have desecrated this solemn, holy harmony of nature? But just as I was thinking it impossible that any man could be tempted to disturb the serene solitude of the place, I saw a monkey perched high on a branch over my head, contemplating, with something of an awe-struck look, the strange intruders beneath. Well, I could not help it, I laughed — laughed loud and long, until I was hushed by the chaos of cries and strange noises which seemed to respond to my laughing. A troop of monkeys, hidden in the leafy depths above, had been rudely awakened, and, startled by the noise I made, were hurrying away from the scene with a dreadful clamor of cries and shrieks.
Emerging again into the broad sunlight, I strolled further in search of something to shoot. Presently, I saw, feeding quietly in the forest which bounded the valley of the Mtambu on the left, a huge, reddish-coloured wild boar, armed with most horrid tusks. Leaving Kalulu crouched down behind a tree, and my solar helmet behind another close by — that I might more safely stalk the animal — I advanced towards him some forty yards, and after taking a deliberate aim, fired at his fore shoulder. As if nothing had hurt him whatever, the animal made a furious bound, and then stood with his bristles erected, and tufted tail, curved over the back — a most formidable brute in appearance. While he was thus listening, and searching the neighbourhood with his keen, small eyes, I planted another shot in his chest, which ploughed its way through his body. Instead of falling, however, as I expected he would, he charged furiously in the direction the bullet had come, and as he rushed past me, another ball was fired, which went right through him; but still he kept on, until, within six or seven yards from the trees behind which Kalulu was crouching down on one side, and the helmet was resting behind another, he suddenly halted, and then dropped. But as I was about to advance on him with my knife to cut his throat, he suddenly started up; his eyes had caught sight of the little boy Kalulu, and were then, almost immediately afterwards, attracted by the sight of the snowy helmet. These strange objects on either side of him proved too much for the boar, for, with a terrific grunt, he darted on one side into a thick brake, from which it was impossible to oust him, and as it was now getting late, and the camp was about three miles away, I was reluctantly obliged to return without the meat.
On our way to camp we were accompanied by a large animal which persistently followed us on our left. It was too dark to see plainly, but a large form was visible, if not very clearly defined. It must have been a lion, unless it was the ghost of the dead boar.
That night, about 11 P.M., we were startled by the roar of a lion, in close proximity to the camp. Soon it was joined by another, and another still, and the novelty of the thing kept me awake. I peered through the gate of the camp, and endeavoured to sight a rifle — my little Winchester, in the accuracy of which I had perfect confidence; but, alas! for the cartridges, they might have been as well filled with sawdust for all the benefit I derived from them. Disgusted with the miserable ammunition, I left the lions alone, and turned in, with their roaring as a lullaby.
That terrestrial paradise for the hunter, the valley of the pellucid Mtambu, was deserted by us the next morning for the settlement commonly known to the Wakawendi as Imrera’s, with as much unconcern as though it were a howling desert. The village near which we encamped was called Itaga, in the district of Rusawa. As soon as we had crossed the River Mtambu we had entered Ukawendi, commonly called “Kawendi” by the natives of the country.
The district of Rusawa is thickly populated. The people are quiet and well-disposed to strangers, though few ever come to this region from afar. One or two Wasawahili traders visit it every year or so from Pumburu and Usowa; but very little ivory being obtained from the people, the long distance between the settlements serves to deter the regular trader from venturing hither.
If caravans arrive here, the objective point to them is the district of Pumburu, situated south-westerly one day’s good marching, or, say, thirty statute miles from Imrera; or they make for Usowa, on the Tanganika, via Pumburu, Katuma, Uyombeh, and Ugarawah. Usowa is quite an important district on the Tanganika, populous and flourishing. This was the road we had intended to adopt after leaving Imrera, but the reports received at the latter place forbade such a venture. For Mapunda, the Sultan of Usowa, though a great friend to Arab traders, was at war with the colony of the Wazavira, who we must remember were driven from Mpokwa and vicinity in Utanda, and who were said to have settled between Pumburu and Usowa.
It remained for us, like wise, prudent men, having charge of a large and valuable Expedition on our hands, to decide what to do, and what route to adopt, now that we had approached much nearer to Ujiji than we were to Unyanyembe. I suggested that we should make direct for the Tanganika by compass, trusting to no road or guide, but to march direct west until we came to the Tanganika, and then follow the lake shore on foot until we came to Ujiji. For it ever haunted my mind, that, if Dr. Livingstone should hear of my coming, which he might possibly do if I travelled along any known road, he would leave, and that my search for him would consequently be a “stern chase.” But my principal men thought it better that we should now boldly turn our faces north, and march for the Malagarazi, which was said to be a large river flowing from the east to the Tanganika. But none of my men knew the road to the Malagarazi, neither could guides be hired from Sultan Imrera. We were, however, informed that the Malagarazi was but two days’ march from Imrera. I thought it safe, in such a case, to provision my men with three days’ rations. The village of Itaga is situated in a deep mountain hollow, finely overlooking a large extent of cultivation. The people grow sweet potatoes, manioc — out of which tapioca is made — beans, and the holcus. Not one chicken could be purchased for love or money, and, besides grain, only a lean, scraggy specimen of a goat, a long time ago imported form Uvinza, was procurable.
October the 25th will be remembered by me as a day of great troubles; in fact, a series of troubles began from this date. We struck an easterly road in order to obtain a passage to the lofty plateau which bounded the valley of Imrera on the west and on the north. We camped, after a two and a half hours’ march, at its foot. The defile promised a feasible means of ascent to the summit of the plateau, which rose upward in a series of scarps a thousand feet above the valley of Imrera.
While ascending that lofty arc of mountains which bounded westerly and northerly the basin of Imrera, extensive prospects southward and eastward were revealed. The character of the scenery at Ukawendi is always animated and picturesque, but never sublime. The folds of this ridge contained several ruins of bomas, which seemed to have been erected during war time.
The mbemba fruit was plentiful along this march, and every few minutes I could see from the rear one or two men hastening to secure a treasure of it which they discovered on the ground.
A little before reaching the camp I had a shot at a leopard, but failed to bring him down as he bounded away. At night the lions roared as at the Mtambu River.
A lengthy march under the deep twilight shadows of a great forest, which protected us from the hot sunbeams, brought us, on the next day, to a camp newly constructed by a party of Arabs from Ujiji, who had advanced thus far on their road to Unyanyembe, but, alarmed at the reports of the war between Mirambo and the Arabs, had returned. Our route was along the right bank of the Rugufu, a broad sluggish stream, well choked with the matete reeds and the papyrus. The tracks and the bois de vaches of buffaloes were numerous, and there were several indications of rhinoceros being near. In a deep clump of timber near this river we discovered a colony of bearded and leonine-looking monkeys.
As we were about leaving our camp on the morning of the 28th a herd of buffalo walked deliberately into view. Silence was quickly restored, but not before the animals, to their great surprise, had discovered the danger which confronted them. We commenced stalking them, but we soon heard the thundering sound of their gallop, after which it becomes a useless task to follow them, with a long march in a wilderness before one.
The road led on this day over immense sheets of sandstone and iron ore. The water was abominable, and scarce, and famine began to stare us in the face. We travelled for six hours, and had yet seen no sign of cultivation anywhere. According to my map we were yet two long marches from the Malagarazi — if Captain Burton had correctly laid down the position of the river; according to the natives’ account, we should have arrived at the Malagarazi on this day.
On the 29th we left our camp, and after a few minutes, we were in view of the sublimest, but ruggedest, scenes we had yet beheld in Africa. The country was cut up in all directions by deep, wild, and narrow ravines trending in all directions, but generally toward the north-west, while on either side rose enormous square masses of naked rock (sandstone), sometimes towering, and rounded, sometimes pyramidal, sometimes in truncated cones, sometimes in circular ridges, with sharp, rugged, naked backs, with but little vegetation anywhere visible, except it obtained a precarious tenure in the fissured crown of some gigantic hill-top, whither some soil had fallen, or at the base of the reddish ochre scarps which everywhere lifted their fronts to our view.
A long series of descents down rocky gullies, wherein we were environed by threatening masses of disintegrated rock, brought us to a dry, stony ravine, with mountain heights looming above us a thousand feet high. This ravine we followed, winding around in all directions, but which gradually widened, however, into a broad plain, with a western trend. The road, leaving this, struck across a low ridge to the north; and we were in view of deserted settlements where the villages were built on frowning castellated masses of rock. Near an upright mass of rock over seventy feet high, and about fifty yards in diameter, which dwarfed the gigantic sycamore close to it, we made our camp, after five hours and thirty minutes’ continuous and rapid marching.
The people were very hungry; they had eaten every scrap of meat, and every grain they possessed, twenty hours before, and there was no immediate prospect of food. I had but a pound and a half of flour left, and this would not have sufficed to begin to feed a force of over forty-five people; but I had something like thirty pounds of tea, and twenty pounds of sugar left, and I at once, as soon as we arrived at camp, ordered every kettle to be filled and placed on the fire, and then made tea for all; giving each man a quart of a hot, grateful beverage; well sweetened. Parties stole out also into the depths: of the jungle to search for wild fruit, and soon returned laden with baskets of the wood-peach and tamarind fruit, which though it did not satisfy, relieved them. That night, before going to sleep, the Wangwana set up a loud prayer to “Allah” to give them food.
We rose betimes in the morning, determined to travel on until food could be procured, or we dropped down from sheer fatigue and weakness. Rhinoceros’ tracks abounded, and buffalo seemed to be plentiful, but we never beheld a living thing. We crossed scores of short steeps, and descended as often into the depths of dry, stony gullies, and then finally entered a valley, bounded on one side by a triangular mountain with perpendicular sides, and on the other by a bold group, a triplet of hills. While marching down this valley — which soon changed its dry, bleached aspect to a vivid green — we saw a forest in the distance, and shortly found ourselves in corn-fields. Looking keenly around for a village, we descried it on the summit of the lofty triangular hill on our right. A loud exultant shout was raised at the discovery. The men threw down their packs, and began to clamour for food. Volunteers were asked to come forward to take cloth, and scale the heights to obtain it from the village, at any price. While three or four sallied off we rested on the ground, quite worn out. In about an hour the foraging party returned with the glorious tidings that food was plentiful; that the village we saw was called, “Welled Nzogera’s” — the son of Nzogera — by which, of course, we knew that we were in Uvinza, Nzogera being the principal chief in Uvinza. We were further informed that Nzogera, the father, was at war with Lokanda–Mire, about some salt-pans in the valley of the Malagarazi, and that it would be difficult to go to Ujiji by the usual road, owing to this war; but, for a consideration, the son of Nzogera was willing to supply us with guides, who would take us safely, by a northern road, to Ujiji.
Everything auguring well for our prospects, we encamped to enjoy the good cheer, for which our troubles and privations, during the transit of the Ukawendi forests and jungles, had well prepared us.
I am now going to extract from my Diary of the march, as, without its aid, I deem it impossible to relate fully our various experiences, so as to show them properly as they occurred to us; and as these extracts were written and recorded at the close of each day, they possess more interest, in my opinion, than a cold relation of facts, now toned down in memory.
October 31st. Tuesday. — Our road led E.N.E. for a considerable time after leaving the base of the triangular mountain whereon the son of Nzogera has established his stronghold, in order to avoid a deep and impassable portion of marsh, that stood between us and the direct route to the Malagarazi River. The valley sloped rapidly to this marsh, which received in its broad bosom the drainage of three extensive ranges. Soon we turned our faces northwest, and prepared to cross the marsh; and the guides informed us, as we halted on its eastern bank, of a terrible catastrophe which occurred a few yards above where we were preparing to cross. They told of an Arab and his caravan, consisting of thirty-five slaves, who had suddenly sunk out of sight, and who were never more heard of. This marsh, as it appeared to us, presented a breadth of some hundreds of yards, on which grew a close network of grass, with much decayed matter mixed up with it. In the centre of this, and underneath it, ran a broad, deep, and rapid stream. As the guides proceeded across, the men stole after them with cautious footsteps. As they arrived near the centre we began to see this unstable grassy bridge, so curiously provided by nature for us, move up and down in heavy languid undulations, like the swell of the sea after a storm. Where the two asses of the Expedition moved, the grassy waves rose a foot high; but suddenly one unfortunate animal plunged his feet through, and as he was unable to rise, he soon made a deep hollow, which was rapidly filling with water. With the aid of ten men, however, we were enabled to lift him bodily up and land him on a firmer part, and guiding them both across rapidly, the entire caravan crossed without accident.
On arriving at the other side, we struck off to the north, and found ourselves in a delightful country, in every way suitable for agriculturists. Great rocks rose here and there, but in their fissures rose stately trees, under whose umbrage nestled the villages of the people. We found the various village elders greedy for cloth, but the presence of the younger son of Nzogera’s men restrained their propensity for extortion. Goats and sheep were remarkably cheap, and in good condition; and, consequently, to celebrate our arrival near the Malagarazi, a flock of eight goats was slaughtered, and distributed to the men.
November 1st. — Striking north-west, after leaving our camp, and descending the slope of a mountain, we soon beheld the anxiously looked-for Malagarazi, a narrow but deep stream, flowing through a valley pent in by lofty mountains. Fish-eating birds lined the trees on its banks; villages were thickly scattered about. Food was abundant and cheap.
After travelling along the left bank of the river a few miles, we arrived at the settlements recognizing Kiala as their ruler. I had anticipated we should be able at once to cross the river, but difficulties arose. We were told to camp, before any negotiations could be entered into. When we demurred, we were informed we might cross the river if we wished, but we should not be assisted by any Mvinza.
Being compelled to halt for this day, the tent was pitched in the middle of one of the villages, and the bales were stored in one of the huts, with four soldiers to guard them. After despatching an embassy to Kiala, eldest son of the great chief Nzogera, to request permission to cross the river as a peaceable caravan, Kiala sent word that the white man should cross his river after the payment of fifty-six cloths! Fifty-six cloths signified a bale nearly!
Here was another opportunity for diplomacy. Bombay and Asmani were empowered to treat with Kiala about the honga, but it was not to exceed twenty-five doti. At 6 A.M., having spoken for seven hours, the two men returned, with the demand for thirteen doti for Nzogera, and ten doti for Kiala. Poor Bombay was hoarse, but Asmani still smiled; and I relented, congratulating myself that the preposterous demand, which was simply robbery, was no worse.
Three hours later another demand was made. Kiala had been visited by a couple of chiefs from his father; and the chiefs being told that a white man was at the ferry, put in a claim for a couple of guns and a keg of gunpowder. But here my patience was exhausted, and I declared that they should have to take them by force, for I would never consent to be robbed and despoiled after any such fashion.
Until 11 P.M., Bombay and Asmani were negotiating about this extra demand, arguing, quarreling, threatening, until Bombay declared they would talk him mad if it lasted much longer. I told Bombay to take two cloths, one for each chief, and, if they did not consider it enough, then I should fight. The present was taken, and the negotiations were terminated at midnight.
November 2nd. — Ihata Island, one and a half hour west of Kiala’s. We arrived before the Island of Ihata, on the left bank of the Malagarazi, at 5 p.m.; the morning having been wasted in puerile talk with the owner of the canoes at the ferry. The final demand for ferriage across was eight yards of cloth and four fundo9 of sami-sami, or red beads; which was at once paid. Four men, with their loads, were permitted to cross in the small, unshapely, and cranky canoes. When the boatmen had discharged their canoes of their passengers and cargoes, they were ordered to halt on the other side, and, to my astonishment, another demand was made. The ferrymen had found that two fundo of these were of short measure, and two fundo more must be paid, otherwise the contract for ferrying us across would be considered null and void. So two fundo more were added, but not without demur and much “talk,” which in these lands is necessary.
9 4 fundo == 40 necklaces; 1 fundo being 10 necklaces.
Three times the canoes went backwards and forwards, when, lo! another demand was made, with the usual clamour and fierce wordy dispute; this time for five khete10 for the man who guided us to the ferry, a shukka of cloth for a babbler, who had attached himself to the old-womanish Jumah, who did nothing but babble and increase the clamor. These demands were also settled.
About sunset we endeavoured to cross the donkeys. “Simba,” a fine wild Kinyamwezi donkey, went in first, with a rope attached to his neck. He had arrived at the middle of the stream when we saw him begin to struggle — a crocodile had seized him by the throat. The poor animal’s struggles were terrific. Chowpereh was dragging on the rope with all his might, but to no use, for the donkey sank, and we saw no more of him. The depth of the river at this place was about fifteen feet. We had seen the light-brown heads, the glittering eyes, and the ridgy backs, hovering about the vicinity, but we had never thought that the reptiles would advance so near such an exciting scene as the vicinity of the ferry presented during the crossing. Saddened a little by this loss, we resumed our work, and by 7 P.M. we were all across, excepting Bombay and the only donkey now left, which was to be brought across in the morning, when the crocodiles should have deserted the river.
November 3rd. — What contention have we not been a witness to these last three days! What anxiety have we not suffered ever since our arrival in Uvinza! The Wavinza are worse than the Wagogo, and their greed is more insatiable. We got the donkey across with the aid of a mganga, or medicine man, who spat some chewed leaves of a tree which grows close to the stream over him. He informed me he could cross the river at any time, day or night, after rubbing his body with these chewed leaves, which he believed to be a most potent medicine.
About 10 A.M. appeared from the direction of Ujiji a caravan of eighty Waguhha, a tribe which occupies a tract of country on the south-western side of the Lake Tanganika. We asked the news, and were told a white man had just arrived at Ujiji from Manyuema. This news startled us all.
“A white man?” we asked.
“Yes, a white man,” they replied.
“How is he dressed?”
“Like the master,” they answered, referring to me.
“Is he young, or old?”
“He is old. He has white hair on his face, and is sick.”
“Where has he come from?”
“From a very far country away beyond Uguhha, called Manyuema.”
“Indeed! and is he stopping at Ujiji now?”
“Yes, we saw him about eight days ago.”
“Do you think he will stop there until we see him?”
“Sigue” (don’t know).
“Was he ever at Ujiji before?”
“Yes, he went away a long time ago.”
Hurrah! This is Livingstone! He must be Livingstone! He can be no other; but still; — he may be some one else — some one from the West Coast — or perhaps he is Baker! No; Baker has no white hair on his face. But we must now march quick, lest he hears we are coming, and runs away.
I addressed my men, and asked them if they were willing to march to Ujiji without a single halt, and then promised them, if they acceded to my wishes, two doti each man. All answered in the affirmative, almost as much rejoiced as I was myself. But I was madly rejoiced; intensely eager to resolve the burning question, “Is it Dr. David Livingstone?” God grant me patience, but I do wish there was a railroad, or, at least, horses in this country.
We set out at once from the banks of the Malagarazi, accompanied by two guides furnished us by Usenge, the old man of the ferry, who, now that we had crossed, showed himself more amiably disposed to us. We arrived at the village of Isinga, Sultan Katalambula, after a little over an hour’s march across a saline plain, but which as we advanced into the interior became fertile and productive.
November 4th. — Started early with great caution, maintaining deep silence. The guides were sent forward, one two hundred yards ahead of the other, that we might be warned in time. The first part of the march was through a thin jungle of dwarf trees, which got thinner and thinner until finally it vanished altogether, and we had entered Uhha — a plain country. Villages were visible by the score among the tall bleached stalks of dourra and maize. Sometimes three, sometimes five, ten, or twenty beehive-shaped huts formed a village. The Wahha were evidently living in perfect security, for not one village amongst them all was surrounded with the customary defence of an African village. A narrow dry ditch formed the only boundary between Uhha and Uvinza. On entering Uhha, all danger from Makumbi vanished.
We halted at Kawanga, the chief of which lost no time in making us understand that he was the great Mutware of Kimenyi under the king, and that he was the tribute gatherer for his Kiha majesty. He declared that he was the only one in Kimenyi — an eastern division of Uhha — who could demand tribute; and that it would be very satisfactory to him, and a saving of trouble to ourselves, if we settled his claim of twelve doti of good cloths at once. We did not think it the best way of proceeding, knowing as we did the character of the native African; so we at once proceeded to diminish this demand; but, after six hours’ hot argument, the Mutware only reduced it by two. This claim was then settled, upon the understanding that we should be allowed to travel through Uhha as far as the Rusugi River without being further mulcted.
November 5th. — Leaving Kawanga early in the morning and continuing our march over the boundless plains, which were bleached white by the hot equatorial sun, we were marching westward full of pleasant anticipations that we were nearing the end of our troubles, joyfully congratulating ourselves that within five days we should see that which I had come so far from civilisation, and through so many difficulties, to see, and were about passing a cluster of villages, with all the confidence which men possess against whom no one had further claim or a word to say, when I noticed two men darting from a group of natives who were watching us, and running towards the head of the Expedition, with the object, evidently, of preventing further progress.
The caravan stopped, and I walked forward to ascertain the cause from the two natives. I was greeted politely by the two Wahha with the usual “Yambos,” and was then asked, “Why does the white man pass by the village of the King of Uhha without salutation and a gift? Does not the white man know there lives a king in Uhha, to whom the Wangwana and Arabs pay something for right of passage?”
“Why, we paid last night to the chief of Kawanga, who informed us that he was the man deputed by the King of Uhha to collect the toll.”
“How much did you pay?”
“Ten doti of good cloth.”
“Are you sure?”
“Quite sure. If you ask him, he will tell you so.”
“Well,” said one of the Wahha, a fine, handsome, intelligent-looking youth, “it is our duty to the king to halt you here until we find out the truth of this. Will you walk to our village, and rest yourselves under the shade of our trees until we can send messengers to Kawanga?”
“No; the sun is but an hour high, and we have far to travel; but, in order to show you we do not seek to pass through your country without doing that which is right, we will rest where we now stand, and we will send with your messengers two of our soldiers, who will show you the man to whom we paid the cloth.”
The messengers departed; but, in the meantime, the handsome youth, who turned out to be the nephew of the King, whispered some order to a lad, who immediately hastened away, with the speed of an antelope, to the cluster of villages which we had just passed. The result of this errand, as we saw in a short time, was the approach of a body of warriors, about fifty in number, headed by a tall, fine-looking man, who was dressed in a crimson robe called Joho, two ends of which were tied in a knot over the left shoulder; a new piece of American sheeting was folded like a turban around his head, and a large curved piece of polished ivory was suspended to his neck. He and his people were all armed with spears, and bows and arrows, and their advance was marked with a deliberation that showed they felt confidence in any issue that might transpire.
We were halted on the eastern side of the Pombwe stream, near the village of Lukomo, in Kimenyi, Uhha. The gorgeously-dressed chief was a remarkable man in appearance. His face was oval in form, high cheek-bones, eyes deeply sunk, a prominent and bold forehead, a fine nose, and a well-cut mouth; he was tall in figure, and perfectly symmetrical.
When near to us, he hailed me with the words,
“Yambo, bana? — How do you do, master?” in quite a cordial tone.
I replied cordially also, “Yambo, mutware? — How do you do, chief?”
We, myself and men, interchanged “Yambos” with his warriors; and there was nothing in our first introduction to indicate that the meeting was of a hostile character.
The chief seated himself, his haunches resting on his heels, laying down his bow and arrows by his side; his men did likewise.
I seated myself on a bale, and each of my men sat down on their loads, forming quite a semicircle. The Wahha slightly outnumbered my party; but, while they were only armed with bows and arrows, spears, and knob-sticks, we were armed with rifles, muskets, revolvers, pistols, and hatchets.
All were seated, and deep silence was maintained by the assembly. The great plains around us were as still in this bright noon as if they were deserted of all living creatures. Then the chief spoke:
“I am Mionvu, the great Mutware of Kimenyi, and am next to the King, who lives yonder,” pointing to a large village near some naked hills about ten miles to the north. “I have come to talk with the white man. It has always been the custom of the Arabs and the Wangwana to make a present to the King when they pass through his country. Does not the white man mean to pay the King’s dues? Why does the white man halt in the road? Why will he not enter the village of Lukomo, where there is food and shade — where we can discuss this thing quietly? Does the white man mean to fight? I know well he is stronger than we are. His men have guns, and the Wahha have but bows and arrows, and spears; but Uhha is large, and our villages are many. Let him look about him everywhere — all is Uhha, and our country extends much further than he can see or walk in a day. The King of Uhha is strong; yet he wishes friendship only with the white man. Will the white man have war or peace?”
A deep murmur of assent followed this speech of Mionvu from his people, and disapprobation, blended with a certain uneasiness; from my men. When about replying, the words of General Sherman, which I heard him utter to the chiefs of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes at North Platte, in 1867, came to my mind; and something of their spirit I embodied in my reply to Mionvu, Mutware of Kimenyi.
“Mionvu, the great Mutware, asks me if I have come for war. When did Mionvu ever hear of white men warring against black men? Mionvu must understand that the white men are different from the black. White men do not leave their country to fight the black people, neither do they come here to buy ivory or slaves. They come to make friends with black people; they come to search for rivers; and lakes, and mountains; they come to discover what countries, what peoples, what rivers, what lakes, what forests, what plains, what mountains and hills are in your country; to know the different animals that are in the land of the black people, that, when they go back, they may tell the white kings, and men, and children, what they have seen and heard in the land so far from them. The white people are different from the Arabs and Wangwana; the white people know everything, and are very strong. When they fight, the Arabs and the Wangwana run away. We have great guns which thunder,, and when they shoot the earth trembles; we have guns which carry bullets further than you can see: even with these little things” (pointing to my revolvers) “I could kill ten men quicker than you could count. We are stronger than the Wahha. Mionvu has spoken the truth, yet we do not wish to fight. I could kill Mionvu now, yet I talk to him as to a friend. I wish to be a friend to Mionvu, and to all black people. Will Mionvu say what I can do for him?”
As these words were translated to him — imperfectly, I suppose, but still, intelligibly — the face of the Wahha showed how well they appreciated them. Once or twice I thought I detected something like fear, but my assertions that I desired peace and friendship with them soon obliterated all such feelings.
“The white man tells me he is friendly. Why does he not come to our village? Why does he stop on the road? The sun is hot. Mionvu will not speak here any more. If the white man is a friend he will come to the village.”
“We must stop now. It is noon. You have broken our march. We will go and camp in your village,” I said, at the same time rising and pointing to the men to take up their loads.
We were compelled to camp; there was no help for it; the messengers had not returned from Kawanga. Having arrived in his village, Mionvu had cast himself at full length under the scanty shade afforded by a few trees within the boma. About 2 P.M. the messengers returned, saying it was true the chief of Kawanga had taken ten cloths; not, however for the King of Uhha, but for himself!
Mionvu, who evidently was keen-witted, and knew perfectly what he was about, now roused himself, and began to make miniature faggots of thin canes, ten in each faggot, and shortly he presented ten of these small bundles, which together contained one hundred, to me, saying each stick represented a cloth, and the amount of the “honga” required by the King of Uhha was one hundred cloths! — nearly two bales!
Recovering from our astonishment, which was almost indescribable, we offered ten.
“Ten! to the King of Uhha! Impossible. You do not stir from Lukomo until you pay us one hundred!” exclaimed Mionvu, in a significant manner.
I returned no answer, but went to my hut, which Mionvu had cleared for my use, and Bombay, Asmani, Mabruki, and Chowpereh were invited — to come to me for consultation. Upon my asking them if we could not fight our way through Uhha, they became terror-stricken, and Bombay, in imploring accents, asked me to think well what I was about to do, because it was useless to enter on a war with the Wahha. “Uhha is all a plain country; we cannot hide anywhere. Every village will rise all about us, and how can forty-five men fight thousands of people? They would kill us all in a few minutes, and how would you ever reach Ujiji if you died? Think of it, my dear master, and do not throw your life away for a few rags of cloth.”
“Well, but, Bombay, this is robbery. Shall we submit to be robbed? Shall we give this fellow everything he asks? He might as well ask me for all the cloth, and all my guns, without letting him see that we can fight. I can kill Mionvu and his principal men myself, and you can slay all those howlers out there without much trouble. If Mionvu and his principal were dead we should not be troubled much, and we could strike south to the Mala-garazi, and go west to Ujiji.”
“No, no, dear master, don’t think of it for a moment. If we went neat the Malagarazi we should come across Lokanda–Mira.”
“Well, then, we will go north.”
“Up that way Uhha extends far; and beyond Uhha are the Watuta.”
“Well, then, say what we shall do. We must do something; but we must not be robbed.”
“Pay Mionvu what he asks, and let us go away from here. This is the last place we shall have to pay. And in four days we shall be in Ujiji.”
“Did Mionvu tell you that this is the last time we would have to pay?”
“He did, indeed.”
“What do you say, Asmani? Shall we fight or pay?” Asmani’s face wore the usual smile, but he replied,
“I am afraid we must pay. This is positively the last time.”
“And you, Chowpereh?”
“Pay, bana; it is better to get along quietly in this country. If we were strong enough they would pay us. Ah, if we had only two hundred guns, how these Wahha would run!”
“What do you say, Mabruki?”
“Ah, master, dear master; it is very hard, and these people are great robbers. I would like to chop their heads off, all; so I would. But you had better pay. This is the last time; and what are one hundred cloths to you?”
“Well, then, Bombay and Asmani, go to Mionvu, and offer him twenty. If he will not take twenty, give him thirty. If he refuses thirty, give him forty; then go up to eighty, slowly. Make plenty of talk; not one doti more. I swear to you I will shoot Mionvu if he demands more than eighty. Go, and remember to be wise.”
I will cut the matter short. At 9 P.M. sixty-four doti were handed over to Mionvu, for the King of Uhha; six doti for himself, and five doti for his sub; altogether seventy-five doti — a bale and a quarter! No sooner had we paid than they began to fight amongst themselves over the booty, and I was in hopes that the factions would proceed to battle, that I might have good excuse for leaving them, and plunging south to the jungle that I believed existed there, by which means, under its friendly cover, we might strike west. But no, it was only a verbose war, which portended nothing more than a noisy clamor.
November 6th. — At dawn we were on the road, very silent and sad. Our stock of cloth was much diminished; we had nine bales left, sufficient to have taken us to the Atlantic Ocean — aided by the beads, which were yet untouched — if we practised economy. If I met many more like Mionvu I had not enough to take me to Ujiji, and, though we were said to be so near, Livingstone seemed to me to be just as far as ever.
We crossed the Pombwe, and then struck across a slowly-undulating plain rising gradually to mountains on our right, and on our left sinking towards the valley of the Malagarazi, which river was about twenty miles away. Villages rose to our view everywhere. Food was cheap, milk was plentiful, and the butter good.
After a four hours’ march, we crossed the Kanengi River, and entered the boma of Kahirigi, inhabited by several Watusi and Wahha. Here, we were told, lived the King of Uhha’s brother. This announcement was anything but welcome, and I began to suspect I had fallen into another hornets’ nest. We had not rested two hours before two Wangwana entered my tent, who were slaves of Thani bin Abdullah, our dandified friend of Unyanyembe. These men came, on the part of the king’s brother, to claim the Honga! The king’s brother, demanded thirty doti! Half a bale! Merciful Providence! What shall I do?
We had been told by Mionvu that the honga of Uhha was settled — and now here is another demand from the King’s brother! It is the second time the lie has been told, and we have twice been deceived. We shall be deceived no more.
These two men informed us there were five more chiefs, living but two hours from each other, who would exact tribute, or black-mail, like those we had seen. Knowing this much, I felt a certain calm. It was far better to know the worst at once. Five more chiefs with their demands would assuredly ruin us. In view of which, what is to be done? How am I to reach Livingstone, without being beggared?
Dismissing the men, I called Bombay, and told him to assist Asmani in settling the honga — ” as cheaply as possible.” I then lit my pipe, put on the cap of consideration, and began to think. Within half an hour, I had made a plan, which was to be attempted to be put in execution that very night.
I summoned the two slaves of Thani bin Abdullah, after the honga had been settled to everybody’s satisfaction — though the profoundest casuistries and diplomatic arguments failed to reduce it lower than twenty-six doti — and began asking them about the possibility of evading the tribute-taking Wahha ahead.
This rather astonished them at first, and they declared it to be impossible; but, finally, after being pressed, they replied, that one of their number should guide us at midnight, or a little after, into the jungle which grew on the frontiers of Uhha and Uvinza. By keeping a direct west course through this jungle until we came to Ukaranga we might be enabled — we were told — to travel through Uhha without further trouble. If I were willing to pay the guide twelve doti, and if I were able to impose silence on my people while passing through the sleeping village, the guide was positive I could reach Ujiji without paying another doti. It is needless to add, that I accepted the proffered assistance at such a price with joy.
But there was much to be done. Provisions were to be purchased, sufficient to last four days, for the tramp through the jungle, and men were at once sent with cloth to purchase grain at any price. Fortune favoured us, for before 8 P.M. we had enough for six days.
November 7th. — I did not go to sleep at all last night, but a little after midnight, as the moon was beginning to show itself, by gangs of four, the men stole quietly out of the village; and by 3 A.M. the entire Expedition was outside the boma, and not the slightest alarm had been made. After a signal to the new guide, the Expedition began to move in a southern direction along the right bank of the Kanengi River. After an hour’s march in this direction, we struck west, across the grassy plain, and maintained it, despite the obstacles we encountered, which were sore enough to naked men. The bright moon lighted our path: dark clouds now and then cast immense long shadows over the deserted and silent plains, and the moonbeans were almost obscured, and at such times our position seemed awful —
Till the moon. Rising in clouded majesty, at length, Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light, And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw.
Bravely toiled the men, without murmur, though their legs were bleeding from the cruel grass. “Ambrosial morn” at last appeared, with all its beautiful and lovely features. Heaven was born anew to us, with comforting omens and cheery promise. The men, though fatigued at the unusual travel, sped forward with quicker, pace as daylight broke, until, at 8 A.M., we sighted the swift Rusugi River, when a halt was ordered in a clump of jungle near it, for breakfast and rest. Both banks of the river were alive with buffalo, eland, and antelope, but, though the sight was very tempting, we did not fire, because we dared not. The report of a gun would have alarmed the whole country. I preferred my coffee, and the contentment which my mind experienced at our success.
An hour after we had rested, some natives, carrying salt from the Malagarazi, were seen coming up the right bank of the river. When abreast of our hiding-place, they detected us, and dropping their salt-bags, they took to their heels at once, shouting out as they ran, to alarm some villages that appeared about four miles north of us. The men were immediately ordered to take up their loads, and in a few minutes we had crossed the Rusugi, and were making direct for a bamboo jungle that appeared in our front. On, on, we kept steadily until, at 1 P.M., we sighted the little lake of Musunya, as wearied as possible with our nine hours march.
Lake Musunya is one of the many circular basins found in this part of Uhha. There was quite a group of them. The more correct term of these lakes would be immense pools. In the Masika season, Lake Musunya must extend to three or four miles in length by two in breadth. It swarms with hippopotami, and its shores abound with noble game.
We were very quiet, as may be imagined, in our bivouac; neither tent nor hut was raised, nor was fire kindled, so that, in case of pursuit, we could move off without delay. I kept my Winchester rifle (the gift of my friend Mr. Morris, and a rare gift it was for such a crisis) with its magazine full, and two hundred cartridges in a bag slung over my shoulders. Each soldier’s gun was also ready and loaded, and we retired to sleep our fatigues off with a feeling of perfect security.
November 8th. — Long before dawn appeared, we were on the march, and, as daylight broke, we emerged from the bamboo jungle, and struck across the naked plain of Uhha, once more passing several large pools by the way — far-embracing prospects of undulating country, with here and there a characteristic clump of trees relieving the general nudity of the whole. Hour after hour we toiled on, across the rolling land waves, the sun shining with all its wonted African fervor, but with its heat slightly tempered by the welcome breezes, which came laden with the fragrance of young grass, and perfume of strange flowers of various hues, that flecked the otherwise pale-green sheet which extended so far around us.
We arrived at the Rugufu River — not the Ukawendi Rugufu, but the northern stream of that name, a tributary of the Malagarazi. It was a broad shallow stream, and sluggish, with an almost imperceptible flow south-west. While we halted in the deep shade afforded by a dense clump of jungle, close to the right bank, resting awhile before continuing our journey. I distinctly heard a sound as of distant thunder in the west. Upon asking if it were thunder, I was told it was Kabogo.
“Kabogo? what is that?”
“It is a great mountain on the other side of the Tanganika, full of deep holes, into which the water rolls; and when there is wind on the Tanganika, there is a sound like mvuha (thunder). Many boats have been lost there, and it is a custom with Arabs and natives to throw cloth — Merikani and Kaniki — and especially white (Merikani) beads, to appease the mulungu (god) of the lake. Those who throw beads generally get past without trouble, but those who do not throw beads into the lake get lost, and are drowned. Oh, it is a dreadful place!” This story was told me by the ever-smiling guide Asmani, and was corroborated by other former mariners of the lake whom I had with me.
At the least, this place where we halted for dinner, on the banks of the Rugufu River, is eighteen and a half hours, or forty-six miles, from Ujiji; and, as Kabogo is said to be near Uguhha, it must be over sixty miles from Ujiji; therefore the sound of the thundering surf, which is said to roll into the caves of Kabogo, was heard by us at a distance of over one hundred miles away from them.
Continuing our journey for three hours longer, through thin forests, over extensive beds of primitive rock, among fields of large boulders thickly strewn about, passing by numerous herds of buffalo, giraffe, and zebra, over a quaking quagmire which resembled peat, we arrived at the small stream of Sunuzzi, to a camping place only a mile removed from a large settlement of Wahha. But we were buried in the depths of a great forest — no road was in the vicinity, no noise was made, deep silence was preserved; nor were fires lit. We might therefore rest tranquilly secure, certain that we should not be disturbed. To-morrow morning the kirangozi has promised we shall be out of Uhha, and if we travel on to Niamtaga, in Ukaranga, the same day, the next day would see us in Ujiji.
Patience, my soul! A few hours more, then the end of all this will be known! I shall be face to face with that “white man with the white hairs on his face, whoever he is!”
November 9th. — Two hours before dawn we left our camp on the Sunuzzi River, and struck through the forest in a north-by-west direction, having muzzled our goats previously, lest, by their bleating, they might betray us. This was a mistake which might have ended tragically, for just as the eastern sky began to assume a pale greyish tint, we emerged from the jungle on the high road. The guide thought we had passed Uhha, and set up a shout which was echoed by every member of the caravan, and marched onward with new vigor and increased energy, when plump we came to the outskirts of a village, the inhabitants of which were beginning to stir. Silence was called for at once, and the Expedition halted immediately. I walked forward to the front to advise with the guide. He did not know what to do. There was no time to consider, so I ordered the goats to be slaughtered and left on the road, and the guide to push on boldly through the village. The chickens also had their throats cut; after which the Expedition resumed the march quickly and silently, led by the guide, who had orders to plunge into the jungle south of the road. I stayed until the last man had disappeared; then, after preparing my Winchester, brought up the rear, followed by my gunbearers with their stock of ammunition. As we were about disappearing beyond the last hut, a man darted out of his hut, and uttered an exclamation of alarm, and loud voices were heard as if in dispute. But in a short time we were in the depths of the jungle, hurrying away from the road in a southern direction, and edging slightly westward. Once I thought we were pursued, and I halted behind a tree to check our foes if they persisted in following us; but a few minutes proved to me that we were not pursued, After half-an-hour’s march we again turned our faces westward. It was broad daylight now, and our eyes were delighted with most picturesque and sequestered little valleys, where wild fruit-trees grew, and rare flowers blossomed, and tiny brooks tumbled over polished pebbles — where all was bright and beautiful — until, finally, wading through one pretty pure streamlet, whose soft murmurs we took for a gentle welcome, we passed the boundary of wicked Uhha, and had entered Ukaranga! — an event that was hailed with extravagant shouts of joy.
Presently we found the smooth road, and we trod gaily with elastic steps, with limbs quickened for the march which we all knew to be drawing near its end. What cared we now for the difficulties we had encountered — for the rough and cruel forests, for the thorny thickets and hurtful grass, for the jangle of all savagedom, of which we had been the joyless audience! To-morrow! Ay, the great day draws nigh, and we may well laugh and sing while in this triumphant mood. We have been sorely tried; we have been angry with each other when vexed by troubles, but we forget all these now, and there is no face but is radiant with the happiness we have all deserved.
We made a short halt at noon, for rest and refreshment. I was shown the hills from which the Tanganika could be seen, which bounded the valley of the Liuche on the east. I could not contain myself at the sight of them. Even with this short halt I was restless and unsatisfied. We resumed the march again. I spurred my men forward with the promise that tomorrow should see their reward.
We were in sight of the villages of the Wakaranga; the people caught sight of us, and manifested considerable excitement. I sent men ahead to reassure them, and they came forward to greet us. This was so new and welcome to us, so different from the turbulent Wavinza and the black-mailers of Uhha, that we were melted. But we had no time to loiter by the way to indulge our joy. I was impelled onward by my almost uncontrollable feelings. I wished to resolve my doubts and fears. Was he still there? Had he heard of my coming? Would he fly?
How beautiful Ukaranga appears! The green hills are crowned by clusters of straw-thatched cones. The hills rise and fall; here denuded and cultivated, there in pasturage, here timbered, yonder swarming with huts. The country has somewhat the aspect of Maryland.
We cross the Mkuti, a glorious little river! We ascend the opposite bank, and stride through the forest like men who have done a deed of which they may be proud. We have already travelled nine hours, and the sun is sinking rapidly towards the west; yet, apparently, we are not fatigued.
We reach the outskirts of Niamtaga, and we hear drums beat. The people are flying into the woods; they desert their villages, for they take us to be Ruga–Ruga — the forest thieves of Mirambo, who, after conquering the Arabs of Unyanyembe, are coming to fight the Arabs of Ujiji. Even the King flies from his village, and every man, woman, and child, terror-stricken, follows him. We enter into it and quietly take possession. Finally, the word is bruited about that we are Wangwana, from Unyanyembe.
“Well, then, is Mirambo dead?” they ask.
“No,” we answer.
“Well, how did you come to Ukaranga?”
“By way of Ukonongo, Ukawendi, and Uhha.”
“ Oh — hi-le!” Then they laugh heartily at their fright, and begin to make excuses. The King is introduced to me, and he says he had only gone to the woods in order to attack us again — he meant to have come back and killed us all, if we had been Ruga–Ruga. But then we know the poor King was terribly frightened, and would never have dared to return, had we been RugaRuga — not he. We are not, however, in a mood to quarrel with him about an idiomatic phrase peculiar to him, but rather take him by the hand and shake it well, and say we are so very glad to see him. And he shares in our pleasure, and immediately three of the fattest sheep, pots of beer, flour, and honey are brought to us as a gift, and I make him happier still with two of the finest cloths I have in my bales; and thus a friendly pact is entered into between us.
While I write my Diary of this day’s proceedings, I tell my servant to lay out my new flannel suit, to oil my boots, to chalk my helmet, and fold a new puggaree around it, that I may make as presentable an appearance as possible before the white man with the grey beard, and before the Arabs of Ujiji; for the clothes I have worn through jungle and forest are in tatters. Good-night; only let one day come again, and we shall see what we shall see.
November 10th. Friday. — The 236th day from Bagamoyo on the Sea, and the 51st day from Unyanyembe. General direction to Ujiji, west-by-south. Time of march, six hours.
It is a happy, glorious morning. The air is fresh and cool. The sky lovingly smiles on the earth and her children. The deep woods are crowned in bright vernal leafage; the water of the Mkuti, rushing under the emerald shade afforded by the bearded banks, seems to challenge us for the race to Ujiji, with its continuous brawl.
We are all outside the village cane fence, every man of us looking as spruce, as neat, and happy as when we embarked on the dhows at Zanzibar, which seems to us to have been ages ago — we have witnessed and experienced so much.
“Ay Wallah, ay Wallah, bana yango!” and the lighthearted braves stride away at a rate which must soon bring us within view of Ujiji. We ascend a hill overgrown with bamboo, descend into a ravine through which dashes an impetuous little torrent, ascend another short hill, then, along a smooth footpath running across the slope of a long ridge, we push on as only eager, lighthearted men can do.
In two hours I am warned to prepare for a view of the Tanganika, for, from the top of a steep mountain the kirangozi says I can see it. I almost vent the feeling of my heart in cries. But wait, we must behold it first. And we press forward and up the hill breathlessly, lest the grand scene hasten away. We are at last on the summit. Ah! not yet can it be seen. A little further on — just yonder, oh! there it is — a silvery gleam. I merely catch sight of it between the trees, and — but here it is at last! True — The Tanganika! and there are the blue-black mountains of Ugoma and Ukaramba. An immense broad sheet, a burnished bed of silver — lucid canopy of blue above — lofty mountains are its valances, palm forests form its fringes! The Tanganika! — Hurrah! and the men respond to the exultant cry of the Anglo–Saxon with the lungs of Stentors, and the great forests and the hills seem to share in our triumph.
“Was this the place where Burton and Speke stood, Bombay, when they saw the lake first?”
“I don’t remember, master; it was somewhere about here, I think.”
“Poor fellows! The one was half-paralyzed, the other half-blind,” said Sir Roderick Murchison, when he described Burton and Spoke’s arrival in view of the Tanganika.
And I? Well, I am so happy that, were I quite paralyzed and blinded, I think that at this supreme moment I could take up my bed and walk, and all blindness would cease at once. Fortunately, however, I am quite well; I have not suffered a day’s sickness since the day I left Unyanyembe. How much would Shaw be willing to give to be in my place now? Who is happiest — he revelling in the luxuries of Unyanyembe, or I, standing on the summit of this mountain, looking down with glad eyes and proud heart on the Tanganika?
We are descending the western slope of the mountain, with the valley of the Liuche before us. Something like an hour before noon we have gained the thick matete brake, which grows on both banks of the river; we wade through the clear stream, arrive on the other side, emerge out of the brake, and the gardens of the Wajiji are around us — a perfect marvel of vegetable wealth. Details escape my hasty and partial observation. I am almost overpowered with my own emotions. I notice the graceful palms, neat plots, green with vegetable plants, and small villages surrounded with frail fences of the matete-cane.
We push on rapidly, lest the news of our coming might reach the people of Ujiji before we come in sight, and are ready for them. We halt at a little brook, then ascend the long slope of a naked ridge, the very last of the myriads we have crossed. This alone prevents us from seeing the lake in all its vastness. We arrive at the summit, travel across and arrive at its western rim, and — pause, reader — the port of Ujiji is below us, embowered in the palms, only five hundred yards from us!
At this grand moment we do not think of the hundreds of miles we have marched, or of the hundreds of hills that we have ascended and descended, or of the many forests we have traversed, or of the jungles and thickets that annoyed us, or of the fervid salt plains that blistered our feet, or of the hot suns that scorched us, nor of the dangers and difficulties, now happily surmounted!
At last the sublime hour has arrived; — our dreams, our hopes, and anticipations are now about to be realised! Our hearts and our feelings are with our eyes, as we peer into the palms and try to make out in which hut or house lives the “white man with the grey beard” we heard about when we were at the Malagarazi.
“Unfurl the flags, and load your guns!”
“We will, master, we will, master!” respond the men eagerly.
“One, two, three, — fire!”
A volley from nearly fifty guns roars like a salute from a battery of artillery: we shall note its effect presently on the peaceful-looking village below.
“Now, kirangozi, hold the white man’s flag up high, and let the Zanzibar flag bring up the rear. And you men keep close together, and keep firing until we halt in the market-place, or before the white man’s house. You have said to me often that you could smell the fish of the Tanganika — I can smell the fish of the Tanganika now. There are fish, and beer, and a long rest waiting for you. March!”
Before we had gone a hundred yards our repeated volleys had the effect desired. We had awakened Ujiji to the knowledge that a caravan was coming, and the people were witnessed rushing up in hundreds to meet us. The mere sight of the flags informed every one immediately that we were a caravan, but the American flag borne aloft by gigantic Asmani, whose face was one vast smile on this day, rather staggered them at first. However, many of the people who now approached us, remembered the flag. They had seen it float above the American Consulate, and from the mast-head of many a ship in the harbor of Zanzibar, and they were soon heard welcoming the beautiful flag with cries of “Bindera Kisungu!” — a white man’s flag! “Bindera Merikani!” — the American flag!
Then we were surrounded by them: by Wajiji, Wanyamwezi, Wangwana, Warundi, Waguhha, Wamanyuema, and Arabs, and were almost deafened with the shouts of “Yambo, yambo, bana! Yambo, bana! Yambo, bana!” To all and each of my men the welcome was given.
We were now about three hundred yards from the village of Ujiji, and the crowds are dense about me. Suddenly I hear a voice on my right say,
“Good morning, sir!”
Startled at hearing this greeting in the midst of such a crowd of black people, I turn sharply around in search of the man, and see him at my side, with the blackest of faces, but animated and joyous — a man dressed in a long white shirt, with a turban of American sheeting around his woolly head, and I ask:
“Who the mischief are you?”
“I am Susi, the servant of Dr. Livingstone,” said be, smiling, and showing a gleaming row of teeth.
“What! Is Dr. Livingstone here?”
“In this village?”
“Are you sure?”
“Sure, sure, sir. Why, I leave him just now.””
“Good morning, sir,” said another voice.
“Hallo,” said I, “is this another one?”
“Well, what is your name?”
“My name is Chumah, sir.”
“What! are you Chumah, the friend of Wekotani?”
“And is the-Doctor well?”
“ Not very well, sir.”
“Where has he been so long?”
“Now, you Susi, run, and tell the Doctor I am coming.”
“Yes, sir,” and off he darted like a madman.
But by this time we were within two hundred yards of the village, and the multitude was getting denser, and almost preventing our march. Flags and streamers were out; Arabs and Wangwana were pushing their way through the natives in order to greet us, for according to their account, we belonged to them. But the great wonder of all was, “How did you come from Unyanyembe?”
Soon Susi came running back, and asked me my name; he had told the Doctor I was coming, but the Doctor was too surprised to believe him, and when the Doctor asked him my name, Susi was rather staggered.
But, during Susi’s absence, the news had been conveyed to the Doctor that it was surely a white man that was coming, whose guns were firing, and whose flag could be seen; and the great Arab magnates of Ujiji — Mohammed bin Sali, Sayd bin Majid, Abid bin Suliman, Mohammed bin Gharib, and others — had gathered together before the Doctor’s house, and the Doctor had come out from his veranda to discuss the matter and await my arrival.
In the meantime, the head of the Expedition had halted, and the kirangozi was out of the ranks, holding his flag aloft, and Selim said to me, “I see the Doctor, sir. Oh, what an old man! He has got a white beard.” And I— what would I not have given for a bit of friendly wilderness, where, unseen, I might vent my joy in some mad freak, such as idiotically biting my hand; turning a somersault, or slashing at trees, in order to allay those exciting feelings that were well-nigh uncontrollable. My heart beats fast, but I must not let my face betray my emotions, lest it shall detract from the dignity of a white man appearing under such extraordinary circumstances.
So I did that which I thought was most dignified. I pushed back the crowds, and, passing from the rear, walked down a living avenue of people, until I came in front of the semicircle of Arabs, before which stood the “white man with the grey beard.”
As I advanced slowly towards him I noticed he was pale, that he looked wearied and wan, that he had grey whiskers and moustache, that he wore a bluish cloth cap with a faded gold band on a red ground round it, and that he had on a red-sleeved waistcoat, and a pair of grey tweed trousers.
I would have run to him, only I was a coward in the presence of such a mob — would have embraced him, but that I did not know how he would receive me; so I did what moral cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing — walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said:
“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
“Yes,” said he, with a kind, cordial smile, lifting his cap slightly.
I replaced my hat on my head, and he replaced his cap, and we both grasped hands. I then said aloud:
“I thank God, Doctor, I have been permitted to see you.”
He answered, “I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.”
I turned to the Arabs, took off my hat to them in response to the saluting chorus of “Yambos” I received, and the Doctor introduced them to me by name. Then, oblivious of the crowds, oblivious of the men who shared with me my dangers, we — Livingstone and I— turned our faces towards his house. He pointed to the veranda, or rather, mud platform, under the broad overhanging eaves; he pointed to his own particular seat, which I saw his age and experience in Africa had suggested, namely, a straw mat, with a goatskin over it, and another skin nailed against the wall to protect his back from contact with the cold mud. I protested against taking this seat, which so much more befitted him than I, but the Doctor would not yield: I must take it.
We were seated — the Doctor and I— with our backs to the wall. The Arabs took seats on our left. More than a thousand natives were in our front, filling the whole square densely, indulging their curiosity, and discussing the fact of two white men meeting at Ujiji — one just come from Manyuema, in the west, the other from Unyanyembe, in the east.
Conversation began. What about? I declare I have forgotten. Oh! we mutually asked questions of one another, such as “How did you come here?” and “Where have you been all this long time? — the world has believed you to be dead. “Yes, that was the way it began: but whatever the Doctor informed me, and that which I communicated to him, I cannot correctly report, for I found myself gazing at him, conning the wonderful figure and face of the man at whose side I now sat in Central Africa. Every hair of his head and beard, every wrinkle of his face, the wanness of his features, and the slightly wearied look he wore, were all imparting intelligence to me — the knowledge I craved for so much ever since I heard the words, “Take what you want, but find Livingstone.” What I saw was deeply interesting intelligence to me, and unvarnished truth. I was listening and reading at the same time. What did these dumb witnesses relate to me?
Oh, reader, had you been at my side on this day in Ujiji, how eloquently could be told the nature of this man’s work! Had you been there but to see and hear! His lips gave me the details; lips that never lie. I cannot repeat what he said; I was too much engrossed to take my note-book out, and begin to stenograph his story. He had so much to say that he began at the end, seemingly oblivious of the fact that five or six years had to be accounted for. But his account was oozing out; it was growing fast into grand proportions — into a most marvellous history of deeds.
The Arabs rose up, with a delicacy I approved, as if they intuitively knew that we ought to be left to ourselves. I sent Bombay with them to give them the news they also wanted so much to know about the affairs at Unyanyembe. Sayd bin Majid was the father of the gallant young man whom I saw at Masangi, and who fought with me at Zimbizo, and who soon afterwards was killed by Mirambo’s Ruga–Ruga in the forest of Wilyankuru; and, knowing that I had been there, he earnestly desired to hear the tale of the fight; but they had all friends at Unyanyembe, and it was but natural that they should be anxious to hear of what concerned them.
After giving orders to Bombay and Asmani for the provisioning of the men of the Expedition, I called “Kaif–Halek,” or “How-do-ye-do,” and introduced him to Dr. Livingstone as one of the soldiers in charge of certain goods left at Unyanyembe, whom I had compelled to accompany me to Ujiji, that he might deliver in person to his master the letter-bag with which he had been entrusted. This was that famous letter-bag marked “Nov. 1st, 1870,” which was now delivered into the Doctor’s hands 365 days after it left Zanzibar! How long, I wonder, had it remained at Unyanyembe had I not been despatched into Central Africa in search of the great traveller?
The Doctor kept the letter-bag on his knee, then, presently, opened it, looked at the letters contained there, and read one or two of his children’s letters, his face in the meanwhile lighting up.
He asked me to tell him the news. “No, Doctor,” said I, “read your letters first, which I am sure you must be impatient to read.”
“Ah,” said he, “I have waited years for letters, and I have been taught patience. I can surely afford to wait a few hours longer. No, tell me the general news: how is the world getting along?
“You probably know much already. Do you know that the Suez Canal is a fact — is opened, and a regular trade carried on between Europe and India through it?”
“I did not hear about the opening of it. Well, that is grand news! What else?”
Shortly I found myself enacting the part of an annual periodical to him. There was no need of exaggeration of any penny-a-line news, or of any sensationalism. The world had witnessed and experienced much the last few years. The Pacific Railroad had been completed <1869>; Grant had been elected President of the United States; Egypt had been flooded with savans: the Cretan rebellion had terminated <1866–1868>; a Spanish revolution had driven Isabella from the throne of Spain, and a Regent had been appointed: General Prim was assassinated; a Castelar had electrified Europe with his advanced ideas upon the liberty of worship; Prussia had humbled Denmark, and annexed Schleswig–Holstein <1864>, and her armies were now around Paris; the “Man of Destiny” was a prisoner at Wilhelmshohe; the Queen of Fashion and the Empress of the French was a fugitive; and the child born in the purple had lost for ever the Imperial crown intended for his head; the Napoleon dynasty was extinguished by the Prussians, Bismarck and Von Moltke; and France, the proud empire, was humbled to the dust.
What could a man have exaggerated of these facts? What a budget of news it was to one who had emerged from the depths of the primeval forests of Manyuema! The reflection of the dazzling light of civilisation was cast on him while Livingstone was thus listening in wonder to one of the most exciting pages of history ever repeated. How the puny deeds of barbarism paled before these! Who could tell under what new phases of uneasy life Europe was labouring even then, while we, two of her lonely children, rehearsed the tale of her late woes and glories? More worthily, perhaps, had the tongue of a lyric Demodocus recounted them; but, in the absence of the poet, the newspaper correspondent performed his part as well and truthfully as he could.
Not long after the Arabs had departed, a dishful of hot hashed-meat cakes was sent to us by Sayd bin Majid, and a curried chicken was received from Mohammed bin Sali, and Moeni Kheri sent a dishful of stewed goat-meat and rice; and thus presents of food came in succession, and as fast as they were brought we set to. I had a healthy, stubborn digestion — the exercise I had taken had put it in prime order; but Livingstone — he had been complaining that he had no appetite, that his stomach refused everything but a cup of tea now and then — he ate also — ate like a vigorous, hungry man; and, as he vied with me in demolishing the pancakes, he kept repeating, “You have brought me new life. You have brought me new life.”
“Oh, by George!” I said, “I have forgotten something. Hasten, Selim, and bring that bottle; you know which and bring me the silver goblets. I brought this bottle on purpose for this event, which I hoped would come to pass, though often it seemed useless to expect it.”
Selim knew where the bottle was, and he soon returned with it — a bottle of Sillery champagne; and, handing the Doctor a silver goblet brimful of the exhilarating wine, and pouring a small quantity into my own, I said,
“Dr. Livingstone, to your very good health, sir.”
“And to yours!” he responded, smilingly.
And the champagne I had treasured for this happy meeting was drunk with hearty good wishes to each other.
But we kept on talking and talking, and prepared food was being brought to us all that afternoon; and we kept on eating each time it was brought, until I had eaten even to repletion, and the Doctor was obliged to confess that he had eaten enough. Still, Halimah, the female cook of the Doctor’s establishment, was in a state of the greatest excitement. She had been protruding her head out of the cookhouse to make sure that there were really two white men sitting down in the veranda, when there used to be only one, who would not, because he could not, eat anything; and she had been considerably exercised in her mind about this fact. She was afraid the Doctor did not properly appreciate her culinary abilities; but now she was amazed at the extraordinary quantity of food eaten, and she was in a state of delightful excitement. We could hear her tongue rolling off a tremendous volume of clatter to the wondering crowds who halted before the kitchen to hear the current of news with which she edified them. Poor, faithful soul! While we listened to the noise of her furious gossip, the Doctor related her faithful services, and the terrible anxiety she evinced when the guns first announced the arrival of another white man in Ujiji; how she had been flying about in a state cf the utmost excitement, from the kitchen into his presence, and out again into the square, asking all sorts of questions; how she was in despair at the scantiness of the general larder and treasury of the strange household; how she was anxious to make up for their poverty by a grand appearance — to make up a sort of Barmecide feast to welcome the white man. “Why,” said she, “is he not one of us? Does he not bring plenty of cloth and beads? Talk about the Arabs! Who are they that they should be compared to white men? Arabs, indeed!”
The Doctor and I conversed upon many things, especially upon his own immediate troubles, and his disappointments, upon his arrival in Ujiji, when told that all his goods had been sold, and he was reduced to poverty. He had but twenty cloths or so left of the stock he had deposited with the man called Sherif, the half-caste drunken tailor, who was sent by the Consul in charge of the goods. Besides which he had been suffering from an attack of dysentery, and his condition was most deplorable. He was but little improved on this day, though he had eaten well, and already began to feel stronger and better.
This day, like all others, though big with happiness to me, at last was fading away. While sitting with our faces looking to the east, as Livingstone had been sitting for days preceding my arrival, we noted the dark shadows which crept up above the grove of palms beyond the village, and above the rampart of mountains which we had crossed that day, now looming through the fast approaching darkness; and we listened, with our hearts full of gratitude to the Great Giver of Good and Dispenser of all Happiness, to the sonorous thunder of the surf of the Tanganika, and to the chorus which the night insects sang. Hours passed, and we were still sitting there with our minds busy upon the day’s remarkable events, when I remembered that the traveller had not yet read his letters.
“Doctor,” I said, “you had better read your letters. I will not keep you up any longer.”
“Yes,” he answered, “it is getting late; and I will go and read my friends’ letters. Good-night, and God bless you.”
“Good-night, my dear Doctor; and let me hope that your news will be such as you desire.”
I have now related, by means of my Diary, “How I found Livingstone,” as recorded on the evening of that great day. I have been averse to reduce it by process of excision and suppression, into a mere cold narrative, because, by so doing, I would be unable to record what feelings swayed each member of the Expedition as well as myself during the days preceding the discovery of the lost traveller, and more especially the day it was the good fortune of both Livingstone and myself to clasp each other’s hands in the strong friendship which was born in that hour we thus strangely met. The aged traveller, though cruelly belied, contrary to all previous expectation, received me as a friend; and the cordial warmth with which he accepted my greeting; the courtesy with which he tendered to me a shelter in his own house; the simple candour of his conversation; graced by unusual modesty of manner, and meekness of spirit, wrought in me such a violent reaction in his favor, that when the parting “good-night” was uttered, I felt a momentary vague fear lest the fulness of joy which I experienced that evening would be diminished by some envious fate, before the morrow’s sun should rise above Ujiji.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:13