We felt quite at home when we sat down on our black bear-skin, gay Persian carpet and clean new mats, to rest with our backs to the wall, sipping our tea with the air of comfortable men, and chat over the incidents of the “picnic,” as Livingstone persisted in calling our journey to the Rusizi. It seemed as if old times, which we loved to recall, had come back again, though our house was humble enough in its aspect, and our servants were only naked barbarians; but it was near this house that I had met him — Livingstone — after that eventful march from Unyanyembe; it was on this same veranda that I listened to that wonderful story of his about those far, enchanting regions west of the Lake Tanganika; it was in this same spot that I first became acquainted with him; and ever since my admiration has been growing for him, and I feel elated when he informs me that he must go to Unyanyembe under my escort, and at my expense. The old mud walls and the bare rafters, and the ancient thatched roof, and this queer-looking old veranda, will have an historical interest for me while I live, and so, while I can, I have taken pains and immortalized the humble old building by a sketch.
I have just said that my admiration for Livingstone has been growing. This is true. The man that I was about to interview so calmly and complacently, as I would interview any prominent man with the view of specially delineating his nature, or detailing his opinions, has conquered me. I had intended to interview him, report in detail what he said, picture his life and his figure, then bow him my “au revoir,” and march back. That he was specially disagreeable and brusque in his manner, which would make me quarrel with him immediately, was firmly fixed in my mind.
But Livingstone — true, noble Christian, generous-hearted, frank man — acted like a hero, invited me to his house, said he was glad to see me, and got well on purpose to prove the truth of his statement, “You have brought new life unto me;” and when I fell sick with the remittent fever, hovering between life and death, he attended me like a father, and we have now been together for more than a month.
Can you wonder, then, that I like this man, whose face is the reflex of his nature, whose heart is essentially all goodness, whose aims are so high, that I break out impetuously sometimes: “But your family, Doctor, they would like to see you, oh! so much. Let me tempt you to come home with me. I promise to carry you every foot of the way to the coast. You shall have the finest donkey to ride that is in Unyanyembe. Your wants — you have but to hint them, and they shall be satisfied. Let the sources of the Nile go — do you come home and rest; then, after a year’s rest, and restored health, you can return and finish what you have to do.”
But ever the answer was, “No, I should like to see my family very much indeed. My children’s letters affect me intensely; but I must not go home; I must finish my task. It is only the want of supplies that has detained me. I should have finished the discovery of the Nile by this, by tracing it to its connection with either Baker’s Lake, or Petherick’s branch of the Nile. If I had only gone one month further, I could have said, ‘the work is done.”’
Some of these men who had turned the Doctor back from his interesting discoveries were yet in Ujiji, and had the Government Enfield rifles in their hands, which they intended to retain until their wages had been paid to them; but as they had received $60 advance each at Zanzibar from the English Consul, with the understanding entered into by contract that they should follow their master wherever he required them to go; and as they had not only not gone where they were required to proceed with him, but had baffled and thwarted him, it was preposterous that a few men should triumph over the Doctor, by keeping the arms given to him by the Bombay Government. I had listened to the Arab sheikhs, friends of the Doctor, advising them in mild tones to give them up; I had witnessed the mutineer’s stubbornness; and it was then, on the burzani of Sayd bin Majid’s house, that I took advantage to open my mind on the subject, not only for the benefit of the stubborn slaves, but also for the benefit of the Arabs; and to tell them that it was well that I had found Livingstone alive, for if they had but injured a hair of his head, I should have gone back to the coast, to return with a party which would enable me to avenge him. I had been waiting to see Livingstone’s guns returned to him every day, hoping that I should not have to use force; but when a month or more had elapsed, and still the arms had not been returned, I applied for permission to take them, which was granted. Susi, the gallant servant of Dr. Livingstone, was immediately despatched with about a dozen armed men to recover them, and in a few minutes we had possession of them without further trouble.
The Doctor had resolved to accompany me to Unyanyembe, in order to meet his stores, which had been forwarded from Zanzibar, November 1st, 1870. As I had charge of the escort, it was my duty to study well the several routes to Unyanyembe from Ujiji. I was sufficiently aware of the difficulties and the responsibilities attached to me while escorting such a man. Besides, my own personal feelings were involved in the case. If Livingstone came to any harm through any indiscretion of mine while he was with me, it would immediately be said, “Ah! had he not accompanied Stanley, he would have been alive now.”
I took out my chart — the one I had made myself — in which I had perfect faith, and I sketched out a route which would enable us to reach Unyanyembe without paying a single cloth as tribute, and without encountering any worse thing than a jungle, by which we could avoid all the Wavinza and the plundering Wahha. This peaceable, secure route led by water, south, along the coast of Ukaranga and Ukawendi, to Cape Tongwe. Arriving at Cape Tongwe, I should be opposite the village of Itaga, Sultan Imrera, in the district of Rusawa of Ukawendi; after which we should strike my old road, which I had traversed from Unyanyembe, when bound for Ujiji. I explained it to the Doctor, and he instantly recognised its feasibility and security; and if I struck Imrera, as I proposed to do, it would demonstrate whether my chart was correct or not.
We arrived at Ujiji from our tour of discovery, north of the Tanganika, December 13th; and from this date the Doctor commenced writing his letters to his numerous friends, and to copy into his mammoth Letts’s Diary, from his field books, the valuable information he had acquired during his years of travel south and west of the Tanganika. I sketched him while sitting in his shirt-sleeves in the veranda, with his Letts’s Diary on his knee; and the likeness on the frontispiece is an admirable portrait of him, because the artist who has assisted me, has with an intuitive eye, seen the defects in my own sketch; and by this I am enabled to restore him to the reader’s view exactly as I saw him — as he pondered on what he had witnessed during his long marches.
Soon after my arrival at Ujiji, he had rushed to his paper, and indited a letter to James Gordon Bennett, Esq., wherein he recorded his thanks; and after he had finished it, I asked him to add the word “Junior” to it, as it was young Mr. Bennett to whom he was indebted. I thought the letter admirable, and requested the Doctor not to add another word to it. The feelings of his heart had found expression in the grateful words he had written; and if I judged Mr. Bennett rightly, I knew he would be satisfied with it. For it was not the geographical news he cared so much about, as the grand fact of Livingstone’s being alive or dead.
In this latter part of December he was writing letters to his children, to Sir Roderick Murchison, and to Lord Granville. He had intended to have written to the Earl of Clarendon, but it was my sad task to inform him of the death of that distinguished nobleman.
In the meantime I was preparing the Expedition for its return march to Unyanyembe, apportioning the bales and luggage, the Doctor’s large tin boxes, and my own among my own men; for I had resolved upon permitting the Doctor’s men to march as passengers, because they had so nobly performed their duty to their master.
Sayd bin Majid had left, December 12, for Mirambo’s country, to give the black Bonaparte battle for the murder of his son Soud in the forests of Wilyankuru; and he had taken with him 300 stout fellows, armed with guns, from Ujiji. The stout-hearted old chief was burning with rage and resentment, and a fine warlike figure he made with his 7-foot gun. Before we had departed for the Rusizi, I had wished him bon voyage, and expressed a hope that he would rid the Central African world of the tyrant Mirambo.
On the 20th of December the rainy season was ushered in with heavy rain, thunder, lightning, and hail; the thermometer falling to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The evening of this day I was attacked with urticaria, or “nettle rash,” for the third time since arriving in Africa, and I suffered a woeful sickness; and it was the forerunner of an attack of remittent fever, which lasted four days. This is the malignant type, which has proved fatal to so many African travellers on the Zambezi, the White Nile, the Congo, and the Niger. The head throbs, the pulses bound, the heart struggles painfully, while the sufferer’s thoughts are in a strange world, such only as a sick man’s fancy can create. This was the fourth attack of fever since the day I met Livingstone. The excitement of the march, and the high hope which my mind constantly nourished, had kept my body almost invincible against an attack of fever while advancing towards Ujiji; but two weeks after the great event had transpired my energies were relaxed, my mind was perfectly tranquil, and I became a victim.
Christmas came, and the Doctor and I had resolved upon the blessed and time-honoured day being kept as we keep it in Anglo–Saxon lands, with a feast such as Ujiji could furnish us. The fever had quite gone from me the night before, and on Christmas morning, though exceedingly weak, I was up and dressed, and lecturing Ferajji, the cook, upon the importance of this day to white men, and endeavouring to instil into the mind of the sleek and pampered animal some cunning secrets of the culinary art. Fat broad-tailed sheep, goats, zogga and pombe, eggs, fresh milk, plantains, singwe, fine cornflour, fish, onions, sweet potatoes, &c., &c., were procured in the Ujiji market, and from good old Moeni Kheri. But, alas! for my weakness. Ferajji spoiled the roast, and our custard was burned — the dinner was a failure. That the fat-brained rascal escaped a thrashing was due only to my inability to lift my hands for punishment; but my looks were dreadful and alarming, and capable of annihilating any one except Ferajji. The stupid, hard-headed cook only chuckled, and I believe he had the subsequent gratification of eating the pies, custards, and roast that his carelessness had spoiled for European palates.
Sayd bin Majid, previous to his departure, had left orders that we should be permitted to use his canoe for our homeward trip, and Moeni Kheri kindly lent his huge vessel for the same purpose. The Expedition, now augmented by the Doctor and his five servants, and their luggage, necessitated the employment of another canoe. We had our flocks of milch-goats and provision of fat sheep for the jungle of Ukawendi, the transit of which I was about to attempt. Good Halimah, Livingstone’s cook, had made ready a sackful of fine flour, such as she only could prepare in her fond devotion for her master. Hamoydah, her husband, also had freely given his assistance and attention to this important article of food. I purchased a donkey for the Doctor, the only one available in Ujiji, lest the Doctor might happen to suffer on the long march from his ancient enemy. In short, we were luxuriously furnished with food, sheep, goats, cheese, cloth, donkeys, and canoes, sufficient to convey us a long distance; we needed nothing more.
The 27th of December has arrived; it is the day of our departure from Ujiji. I was probably about to give an eternal farewell to the port whose name will for ever be sacred in my memory. The canoes — great lumbering hollow trees — are laden with good things; the rowers are in their places; the flag of England is hoisted at the stern of the Doctor’s canoe; the flag of America waves and rustles joyously above mine; and I cannot look at them without feeling a certain pride that the two Anglo–Saxon nations are represented this day on this great inland sea, in the face of wild nature and barbarism.
We are escorted to our boats by the great Arab merchants, by the admiring children of Unyamwezi, by the freemen of Zanzibar, by wondering Waguhha and Wajiji, by fierce Warundi, who are on this day quiet, even sorrowful, that the white men are going-“Whither?” they all ask.
At 8 A.M. we start, freely distributing our farewells as the Arabs and quidnuncs wave their hands. On the part of one or two of them there was an attempt to say something sentimental and affecting, especially by the convicted sinner Mohammed bin Sali; but though outwardly I manifested no disapprobation of his words, or of the emphatic way in which he shook my hand, I was not sorry to see the last of him, after his treachery to Livingstone in 1869. I was earnestly requested to convey to Unyanyembe “Mengi salaams” to everybody, but had I done so, as he evidently desired me to do, I would not have been surprised at being regarded by all as hopelessly imbecile.
We pushed off from the clayey bank at the foot of the market-place, while the land party, unencumbered with luggage, under the leadership of gigantic Asmani and Bombay, commenced their journey southward along the shores of the lake. We had arranged to meet them at the mouth of every river to transport them across from bank to bank.
The Doctor being in Sayd bin Majid’s boat, which was a third or so shorter than the one under my command, took the lead, with the British flag, held aloft by a bamboo, streaming behind like a crimson meteor. My boat-manned by Wajiji sailors, whom we had engaged to take the canoes back from Tongwe Cape to Ujiji Bunder — came astern, and had a much taller flagstaff, on which was hoisted the ever-beautiful Stars and Stripes. Its extreme height drew from the Doctor — whose patriotism and loyalty had been excited — the remark that he would cut down the tallest palmyra for his flagstaff, as it was not fitting that the British flag should be so much lower than that of the United States.
Our soldiers were not a whit behind us in lightheartedness at the thought of going to Unyanyembe. They struck up the exhilarating song of the Zanzibar boatmen, with the ecstatic chorus —
Kinan de re re Kitunga,
rowing away like madmen, until they were compelled to rest from sheer exhaustion, while the perspiration exuded from the pores of their bodies in streams. When refreshed, they bent back to their oars, raising the song of the Mrima —
O mama, re de mi Ky,
which soon impelled them to an extravagant effort again, It was by this series of ferocious spurts, racing, shouting, singing, perspiring, laughing, groaning, and puffing, that our people vented their joyous feelings, as the thought filled their minds that we were homeward bound, and that by the route I had adopted between us and Unyanyembe there was not the least danger.
We have given the Waha, the slip! ha, ha!
The Wavinza will trouble us no more! ho! ho!
Mionvu can get no more cloth from us! hy,by!
And Kiala will see us no more — never more! he, he!
they shouted with wild bursts of laughter, seconded by tremendous and rapid strokes with their oars, which caused the stiff old canoes to quiver from stem to stern.
Our party ashore seemed to partake of our excitement, and joined in the wild refrain of the mad African song. We watched them urging their steps forward to keep pace with us, as we rounded the capes and points, and rowed across the bays whose margins were sedge, and rush, and reed; the tiny and agile Kalulu, little Bilali, and Majwara were seen racing the herds of goats, sheep, and donkeys which belonged to the caravan, and the animals even seemed to share the general joy.
Nature, also — proud, wild nature-0-with the lofty azure dome upheaved into infinity — with her breadth and depth of vivid greenness and enormous vastness on our left — with her immense sheet of bright, glancing water — with her awful and intense serenity — she partook of and added to our joy.
About 10 A.M. we arrived at Kirindo’s, an old chief, noted for his singular kindness to Dr. Livingstone, while he bore animosity to the Arabs. To the Arabs this was unaccountable — to the Doctor it was plain: he had but spoken kind and sincere words, while all the Arabs spoke to him as if he were not even a man, least of all a chief.
Kirindo’s place is at the mouth of the Liuche, which is very wide; the river oozes out through a forest of eschinomenae (pith tree). This was a rendezvous agreed upon between shore and lake parties, that the canoes might all cross to the other side, distant a mile and a half. The mouth of the Liuche forms the Bay of Ukaranga, so named because on the other side, whither we were about to cross our party, was situated the village of Ukaranga, a few hundred yards from the lake. All the baggage was taken out of the largest canoe, and stowed snugly in the smaller one, and a few select oarsmen having taken seats, pushed off with the Doctor on board, who was to superintend pitching the encampment at Ukaranga; while I remained behind to bind the fractious and ill-natured donkeys, and stow them away in the bottom of the large canoe, that no danger of upsetting might be incurred, and a consequent gobbling-up by hungry crocodiles, which were all about us waiting their opportunity. The flock of goats were then embarked, and as many of our people as could be got in. About thirty still remained behind with myself, for whom my canoe was to return.
We all arrived safe at Ukaranga, though we got dangerously near a herd of hippopotami. The crossing of the wide mouth (the Liuche being then in flood) was effected in about four hours.
The next day, in the same order as on our departure from Ujiji, we pursued our way south, the lake party keeping as closely as possible to the shore, yet, when feasible, wind and weather permitting, we struck off boldly across the numerous small bays which indent the shores of the Tanganika. The shores were beautifully green, the effect of the late rains; the waters of the lake were a faithful reflex of the blue firmament above. The hippopotami were plentiful. Those noticed on this day were coloured with reddish rings round the base of their ears and on the neck. One monster, coming up rather late, was surprised by the canoe making full for him, and in great fright took a tremendous dive which showed the whole length of his body. Half way between the mouth of the Malagarazi and that of the Liuche we saw a camp on shore — that of Mohammed bin Gharib, a Msawahili, who figured often in Livingstone’s verbal narrative to me of his adventures and travels as one of the kindest and best of the Moslems in Central Africa. He appeared to me a kindly disposed man, with a face seldom seen, having the stamp of an unusual characteristic on it — that of sincerity.
The vegetation of the shores as we proceeded was truly tropical, each curve revealed new beauties. With the soft chalky stone, of which most of the cliffs and bluffs are made, seen as we neared the mouth of the Malagarazi, the surf has played strange freaks.
We arrived at the mouth of the Malagarazi about P.M., having rowed eighteen miles from Ukaranga. The shore party arrived, very much fatigued, about 5 P.M.
The next day was employed in crossing the caravan across the broad mouth of the Malagarazi to our camp, a couple of miles north of the river. This is a river which a civilised community would find of immense advantage for shortening the distance between the Tanganika and the coast. Nearly one hundred miles might be performed by this river, which is deep enough at all seasons to allow navigation as far as Kiala, in Uvinza, whence a straight road might be easily made to Unyanyembe. Missionaries also might reap the same benefit from it for conversion-tours to Uvinza, Uhha, and Ugala. Pursuing our way on the 30th, and rounding the picturesque capes of Kagongo, Mviga and Kivoe, we came, after about three hours’ rowing, in sight of villages at the mouth of the swift and turbid Rugufu. Here we had again to transport the caravan ever the crocodile-infested mouth of the river.
On the morning of the 31st we sent a canoe with men to search for food in the two or three villages that were visible on the other side. Four doti purchased just sufficient for four days for our caravan of forty-eight persons. We then got under weigh, having informed the kirangozi that Urimba was our destination, and bidding him keep as closely as possible to the lake shore, where it was practicable, but if not, to make the best he could of it. From the debouchement of the Rugufu, the headwaters of which we had crossed on our random route to Ujiji, to Urimba, a distance of six days by water, there are no villages, and consequently no food. The shore party, however, before leaving Ujiji, had eight days’ rations, and on this morning four days’, distributed to each person, and therefore was in no danger of starvation should the mountain headlands, now unfolding, abrupt and steep, one after another, prevent them from communicating with us. It must be understood that such a journey as this had never been attempted before by any Arab or Msawahili, and every step taken was in sheer ignorance of where the road would lead the men ashore. Rounding Kivoe’s steep promontory, whose bearded ridge and rugged slope, wooded down to the water’s edge, whose exquisite coves and quiet recesses, might well have evoked a poetical effusion to one so inclined, we dared the chopping waves of Kivoe’s bay, and stood direct for the next cape, Mizohazy, behind which, owing to wind and wave, we were compelled to halt for the night.
After Mizohazy is the bold cape of Kabogo — not the terrible Kabogo around whose name mystery has been woven by the superstitious natives — not the Kabogo whose sullen thunder and awful roar were heard when crossing the Rugufu on our flight from the Wahha — but a point in Ukaranga, on whose hard and uninviting rocks many a canoe has been wrecked. We passed close to its forbidding walls, thankful for the calm of the Tanganika. Near Kabogo are some very fine mvule trees, well adapted for canoe building, and there are no loud-mouthed natives about to haggle for the privilege of cutting them.
Along the water’s edge, and about three feet above it, was observed very clearly on the smooth face of the rocky slopes of Kabogo the high-water mark of the lake. This went to show that the Tanganika, during the rainy season, rises about three feet above its dry season level, and that, during the latter season, evaporation reduces it to its normal level. The number of rivers which we passed on this journey enabled me to observe whether, as I was told, there was any current setting north. It was apparent to me that, while the south-west, south, or south-east winds blew, the brown flood of the rivers swept north; but it happened that, while passing, once or twice, the mouths of rivers, after a puff from the north-west and north, that the muddied waters were seen southward of the mouths; from which I conclude that there is no current in the Tanganika except such as is caused by the fickle wind.
Finding a snug nook of a bay at a place called Sigunga, we put in for lunch. An island at the mouth of the bay suggested to our minds that this was a beautiful spot for a mission station; the grandly sloping hills in the background, with an undulating shelf of land well-wooded between them and the bay, added to the attractions of such a spot. The island, capable of containing quite a large village, and perfectly defensible, might, for prudence’ sake, contain the mission and its congregation; the landlocked bay would protect their fishery and trade vessels; more than sustain a hundred times the number of the population of the island. Wood for building their canoes and houses is close at hand; the neighbouring country would afford game in abundance; and the docile and civil people of Ukaranga but wait religious shepherds.
From beautiful Sigunga, after a brief halt, we set off, and, after three hours, arrived at the mouth of the River Uwelasia. Hippopotami and crocodiles being numerous; we amused ourselves by shooting at them, having also a hope of attracting the attention of our shore party, the sound of whose guns we had not heard since leaving the Rugufu.
On the 3rd of January we left Uwelasia, and, passing by Cape Herembe, were in the bay of Tongwe. This bay is about twenty-five miles broad, and stretches from Cape Herembe to Cape Tongwe. Finding themselves so near their destination, Urimba being but six miles from Herembe Point, the men of both boats bent themselves to their oars, and, with shouts, songs, and laughter, encouraged each other to do their utmost. The flags of the two great Anglo–Saxon nations rippled and played in the soft breeze, sometimes drawing near caressingly together, again bending away, like two lovers coy to unite. The tight little boat of the Doctor would keep ahead, and the crimson and crossed flag of England would wave before me, and it seemed to say to the beautiful laggard astern, “Come on, come on; England leads the way.” But was it not England’s place to be in the front here? She won the right to it by discovering the Tanganika; America came but second.
Urimba, though a large district of Kawendi, has a village of the same name peopled by refugees from Yombeh, who found the delta of the Loajeri, though the unhealthiest of spots — equal to that of the Rusizi — far preferable to the neighbourhood of Sultan Pumburu, of Southern Kawendi. A good chase by the victors seems to have given a shock to their systems, for they are very timid and distrustful of strangers, and would by no means permit us to enter their village, of which, to say the truth, I was very glad, after a glance at the reeking corruption on which they were encamped. In the immediate neighbourhood — nay, for a couple of miles on either side — I should suppose that to a white man it were death to sleep a single night. Leading the way south of the village, I found a fit camping-place at the extreme south-east corner of Tongwe Bay, about a mile and a half due west of the lofty peak of Kivanga, or Kakungu. By an observation taken by the Doctor, we found ourselves to be in latitude 5 degrees 54 minutes south.
None of the natives had heard of our shore party, and, as the delta of the Loajeri and Mogambazi extended for about fifteen miles, and withal was the most impassable of places, being perfectly flat, overgrown with the tallest of matete, eschinomenae, and thorny bush, and flooded with water, it was useless to fatigue our men searching for the shore party in such an inhospitable country. No provisions were procurable, for the villages were in a state of semi-starvation, the inhabitants living from hand to mouth on what reluctant Fortune threw into their nets.
The second day of our arrival at Urimba I struck off into the interior with my gun-bearer, Kalulu, carrying the Doctor’s splendid double-barreled rifle (a Reilly, No. 12), on the search for venison. After walking about a mile I came to a herd of zebras. By creeping on all-fours I managed to come within one hundred yards of them; but I was in a bad spot — low prickly shrubs; and tsetse flies alighting on the rifle-sight, biting my nose, and dashing into my eyes, completely disconcerted me; and, to add to my discontent, my efforts to disengage myself from the thorns, alarmed the zebras, which all stood facing the suspicious object in the bush. I fired at the breast of one, but, as might be expected, missed. The zebras galloped away to about three hundred yards off, and I dashed into the open, and, hastily cocking the left-hand trigger, aimed at a proud fellow trotting royally before his fellows, and by good chance sent a bullet through his heart. A fortunate shot also brought down a huge goose, which had a sharp horny spur on the fore part of each wing. This supply of meat materially contributed towards the provisioning of the party for the transit of the unknown land that lay between us and Mrera, in Rusawa, Kawendi.
It was not until the third day of our arrival at our camp at Urimba that our shore party arrived. They had perceived our immense flag hoisted on a twenty-feet long bamboo above the tallest tree near our camp as they surmounted the sharp lofty ridge behind Nerembe, fifteen miles off, and had at first taken it for a huge bird; but there were sharp eyes in the crowd, and, guided by it, they came to camp, greeted as only lost and found men are greeted.
I suffered from another attack of fever at this camp, brought on by the neighbourhood of the vile delta, the look of which sickened the very heart in me.
On the 7th of January we struck camp, and turned our faces eastward, and for me, home! Yet regretfully! There had been enough happiness and pleasure, and pleasantest of social companionship found on the shores of the lake for me. I had seen enough lovely scenes which, siren-like, invited one to quiet rest; gentle scenes, where there was neither jar nor tumult, neither strife nor defeat, neither hope nor disappointment, but rest-a drowsy, indolent, yet pleasant rest. And only a few drawbacks to these. There was fever; there were no books, no newspapers, no wife of my own race and blood, no theatres, no hotels, no restaurants, no East River oysters, no mince-pies, neither buckwheat cakes, nor anything much that was good for a cultivated palate to love. So, in turning to say farewell to the then placid lake and the great blue mountains, that grew bluer as they receded on either hand, I had the courage to utter that awful word tearlessly, and without one sigh.
Our road led up through the valley of the Loajeri, after leaving its delta, a valley growing ever narrower, until it narrowed into a ravine choked by the now roaring, bellowing river, whose resistless rush seemed to affect the very air we breathed. It was getting oppressive, this narrowing ravine, and opportunely the road breasted a knoll, then a terrace, then a hill, and lastly a mountain, where we halted to encamp. As we prepared to select a camping-place, the Doctor silently pointed forward, and suddenly a dead silence reigned everywhere. The quinine which I had taken in the morning seemed to affect me in every crevice of my brain; but a bitter evil remained, and, though I trembled under the heavy weight of the Reilly rifle, I crept forward to where the Doctor was pointing. I found myself looking down a steep ravine, on the other bank of which a fine buffalo cow was scrambling upward. She had just reached the summit, and was turning round to survey her enemy, when I succeeded in planting a shot just behind the shoulder blade, and close to the spine, evoking from her a deep bellow of pain. “She is shot! she is shot!” exclaimed the Doctor; “that is a sure sign you have hit her.” And the men even raised a shout at the prospect of meat. A second, planted in her spine, brought her to her knees, and a third ended her. We thus had another supply of provisions, which, cut up and dried over a fire, as the Wangwana are accustomed to do, would carry them far over the unpeopled wilderness before us. For the Doctor and myself, we had the tongue, the hump, and a few choice pieces salted down, and in a few days had prime corned beef. It is not inapt to state that the rifle had more commendations bestowed on it than the hunter by the Wangwana.
The next day we continued the march eastward, under the guidance of our kirangozi; but it was evident, by the road he led us, that he knew nothing of the country, though, through his volubility, he had led us to believe that he knew all about Ngondo, Yombeh, and Pumburu’s districts. When recalled from the head of the caravan, we were about to descend into the rapid Loajeri, and beyond it were three ranges of impassable mountains, which we were to cross in a north-easterly direction; quite out of our road. After consulting with the Doctor, I put myself at the head of the caravan, and following the spine of the ridge, struck off due east, regardless of how the road ran. At intervals a travelled road crossed our path, and, after following it a while, we came to the ford of the Loajeri. The Loajeri rises south and south-east of Kakungu Peak. We made the best we could of the road after crossing the river, until we reached the main path that runs from Karah to Ngondo and Pumburu, in Southern Kawendi.
On the 9th, soon after leaving camp, we left the travelled path, and made for a gap in the are of hills before us, as Pumburu was at war with the people of Manya Msenge, a district of northern Kawendi. The country teemed with game, the buffaloes and zebras were plentiful. Among the conspicuous trees were the hyphene and borassus palm trees, and a tree bearing a fruit about the size of a 600-pounder cannon-ball, called by some natives “mabyah,”14 according to the Doctor, the seeds of which are roasted and eaten. They are not to be recommended as food to Europeans.
14 In the Kisawahili tongue, “mabyah,” “mbyah, “byah,” mean bad, unpleasant.
On the 10th, putting myself at the head of my men, with my compass in hand, I led the way east for three hours. A beautiful park-land was revealed to us; but the grass was very tall, and the rainy season, which had commenced in earnest, made my work excessively disagreeable. Through this tall grass, which was as high as my throat, I had to force my way, compass in hand, to lead the Expedition, as there was not the least sign of a road, and we were now in an untravelled country. We made our camp on a beautiful little stream flowing north; one of the feeders of the Rugufu River.
The 11th still saw me plunging through the grass, which showered drops of rain on me every time I made a step forward. In two hours we crossed a small stream, with slippery syenitic rocks in its bed, showing the action of furious torrents. Mushrooms were in abundance, and very large. In crossing, an old pagazi of Unyamwezi, weather-beaten, uttered, in a deplorable tone, “My kibuyu is dead;” by which he meant that he had slipped, and in falling had broken his gourd, which in Kisawahili is “kibuyu.”
On the eastern bank we halted for lunch, and, after an hour and a half’s march, arrived at another stream, which I took to be the Mtambu, at first from the similarity of the land, though my map informed me that it was impossible. The scenery around was very similar, and to the north we had cited a similar tabular hill to the “Magdala” Mount I had discovered north of Imrera, while going to the Malagarazi. Though we had only travelled three and a half hours the Doctor was very tired as the country was exceedingly rough.
The next day, crossing several ranges, with glorious scenes of surpassing beauty everywhere around us, we came in view of a mighty and swift torrent, whose bed was sunk deep between enormous lofty walls of sandstone rock, where it roared and brawled with the noise of a little Niagara.
Having seen our camp prepared on a picturesque knoll, I thought I would endeavour to procure some meat, which this interesting region seemed to promise. I sallied out with my little Winchester along the banks of the river eastward. I travelled for an hour or two, the prospect getting more picturesque and lovely, and then went up a ravine which looked very promising. Unsuccessful, I strode up the bank, and my astonishment may be conceived when I found myself directly in front of an elephant, who had his large broad ears held out like studding sails — the colossal monster, the incarnation of might of the African world. Methought when I saw his trunk stretched forward, like a warning finger, that I heard a voice say, “Siste, Venator!” But whether it did not proceed from my imagination or — No; I believe it proceeded from Kalulu, who must have shouted, “Tembo, tembo! bana yango!” “Lo! an elephant! an elephant, my master!”
For the young rascal had fled as soon as he had witnessed the awful colossus in such close vicinage. Recovering from my astonishment, I thought it prudent to retire also — especially, with a pea-shooter loaded with treacherous sawdust cartridges in my hand. As I looked behind, I saw him waving his trunk, which I understood to mean, “Good-bye, young fellow; it is lucky for you you went in time, for I was going to pound you to a jelly.”
As I was congratulating myself, a wasp darted fiercely at me and planted its sting in my neck, and for that afternoon my anticipated pleasures were dispelled. Arriving at camp I found the men grumbling; their provisions were ended, and there was no prospect for three days, at least, of procuring any. With the improvidence usual with the gluttons, they had eaten their rations of grain, all their store of zebra and dried buffalo meat, and were now crying out that they were famished.
The tracks of animals were numerous, but it being the rainy season the game was scattered everywhere; whereas, had we travelled during the dry season through these forests our larders might have been supplied fresh each day.
Some time about 6 P.M., as the Doctor and I were taking our tea outside the tent, a herd of elephants, twelve in number, passed about 800 yards off. Our fundi, Asmani and Mabruki Kisesa, were immediately despatched in pursuit. I would have gone myself with the heavy Reilly rifle, only I was too much fatigued. We soon heard their guns firing, and hoped they were successful, as a plentiful supply of meat might then have been procured, while we ourselves would have secured one of the elephant’s feet for a nice delicate roast; but within an hour they returned unsuccessful, having only drawn blood, some of which they exhibited to us on a leaf.
It requires a very good rifle to kill an African elephant. A No. 8 bore with a Frazer’s shell, planted in the temple, I believe, would drop an elephant each shot. Faulkner makes some extraordinary statements, about walking up in front of an elephant and planting a bullet in his forehead, killing him instantly. The tale, however, is so incredible that I would prefer not to believe it; especially when he states that the imprint of the muzzle of his rifle was on the elephant’s trunk. African travellers — especially those with a taste for the chase — are too fond of relating that which borders on the incredible for ordinary men to believe them. Such stories must be taken with a large grain of salt, for the sake of the amusement they afford to readers at home. In future, whenever I hear a man state how he broke the back of an antelope at 600 yards, I shall incline to believe a cipher had been added by a slip of the pen, or attribute it to a typographical error, for this is almost an impossible feat in an African forest. It may be done once, but it could never be done twice running. An antelope makes a very small target at 600 yards distance; but, then, all these stories belong by right divine to the chasseur who travels to Africa for the sake only of sport.
On the 13th we continued our march across several ridges; and the series of ascents and descents revealed to us valleys and mountains never before explored streams; rushing northward, swollen by the rains, and grand primeval forests, in whose twilight shade no white man ever walked before.
On the 14th the same scenes were witnessed — an unbroken series of longitudinal ridges, parallel one with another and with Lake Tanganika. Eastward the faces of these ridges present abrupt scarps and terraces, rising from deep valleys, while the western declivities have gradual slopes. These are the peculiar features of Ukawendi, the eastern watershed of the Tanganika.
In one of these valleys on this day we came across a colony of reddish-bearded monkeys, whose howls, or bellowing, rang amongst the cliffs as they discovered the caravan. I was not able to approach them, for they scrambled up trees and barked their defiance at me, then bounded to the ground as I still persisted in advancing; and they would have soon drawn me in pursuit if I had not suddenly remembered that my absence was halting the Expedition.
About noon we sighted our Magdala — the grand towering mount whose upright frowning mass had attracted our eyes, as it lifted itself from above the plain in all its grandeur, when we were hurrying along the great ridge of Rusawa towards the “Crocodile” River. We recognised the old, mystic beauty of the tree-clad plain around it. Then it was bleached, and a filmy haze covered it lovingly; now it was vivid greenness. Every vegetable, plant, herb and tree, had sprung into quick life — the effect of the rains. Rivers that ran not in those hot summer days now fumed and rushed impetuously between thick belts of mighty timber, brawling hoarsely in the glades. We crossed many of these streams, all of which are feeders of the Rugufu.
Beautiful, bewitching Ukawendi! By what shall I gauge the loveliness of the wild, free, luxuriant, spontaneous nature within its boundaries? By anything in Europe? No. By anything in Asia? Where? India, perhaps. Yes; or say Mingrelia and Imeritia. For there we have foaming rivers; we have picturesque hillocks; we have bold hills, ambitious mountains, and broad forests, with lofty solemn rows of trees, with clean straight stems, through which you can see far, lengthy vistas, as you see here. Only in Ukawendi you can almost behold the growth of vegetation; the earth is so generous, nature so kind and loving, that without entertaining any aspiration for a residence, or a wish to breathe the baleful atmosphere longer than is absolutely necessary, one feels insensibly drawn towards it, as the thought creeps into his mind, that though all is foul beneath the captivating, glamorous beauty of the land, the foulness might be removed by civilized people, and the whole region made as healthy as it is productive. Even while staggering under the pressure of the awful sickness, with mind getting more and more embittered, brain sometimes reeling with the shock of the constantly recurring fevers — though I knew how the malaria, rising out of that very fairness, was slowly undermining my constitution, and insidiously sapping the powers of mind and body — I regarded the alluring face of the land with a fatuous love, and felt a certain sadness steal over me as each day I was withdrawing myself from it, and felt disposed to quarrel with the fate that seemed to eject me out of Ukawendi.
On the ninth day of our march from the shores of the Tanganika we again perceived our “Magdala Mount,” rising like a dark cloud to the north-east, by which I knew that we were approaching Imrera, and that our Icarian attempt to cross the uninhabited jungle of Ukawendi would soon be crowned with success. Against the collective counsel of the guides, and hypothetical suggestions of the tired and hungry souls of our Expedition, I persisted in being guided only by the compass and my chart. The guides strenuously strove to induce me to alter my course and strike in a south-west direction, which, had I listened to them, would have undoubtedly taken me to South-western Ukonongo, or North-eastern Ufipa. The veteran and experienced soldiers asked mournfully if I were determined to kill them with famine, as the road I should have taken was north-east; but I preferred putting my trust in the compass. No sun shone upon us as we threaded our way through the primeval forest, by clumps of jungle, across streams, up steep ridges, and down into deep valleys. A thick haze covered the forests; rain often pelted us; the firmament was an unfathomable depth of grey vapour. The Doctor had perfect confidence in me, and I held on my way.
As soon as we arrived at our camp the men scattered themselves through the forest to search for food. A grove of singwe trees was found close by. Mushrooms grew in abundance, and these sufficed to appease the gnawing hunger from which the people suffered. Had it not been such rainy weather I should have been enabled to procure game for the camp; but the fatigue which I suffered, and the fever which enervated me, utterly prevented me from moving out of the camp after we once came to a halt. The fear of lions, which were numerous in our vicinity, whose terrible roaring was heard by day and by night, daunted the hunters so much, that though I offered five doti of cloth for every animal brought to camp, none dared penetrate the gloomy glades, or awesome belts of timber, outside the friendly defence of the camp.
The morning of the tenth day I assured the people that we were close to food; cheered the most amiable of them with promise of abundant provender, and hushed the most truculent knaves with a warning not to tempt my patience too much, lest we came to angry blows; and then struck away east by north through the forest, with the almost exhausted Expedition dragging itself weakly and painfully behind me. It was a most desperate position certainly, and I pitied the poor people far more than they pitied themselves; and though I fumed and stormed in their presence when they were disposed to lie down and give up, never was a man further from doing them injury. I was too proud of them; but under the circumstances it was dangerous — nay, suicidal — to appear doubtful or dubious of the road. The mere fact that I still held on my way according to the Doctor’s little pearly monitor (the compass) had a grand moral effect on them, and though they demurred in plaintive terms and with pinched faces, they followed my footsteps with a trustfulness which quite affected me.
For long miles we trudged over smooth sloping sward, with a vision of forest and park-land beauty on our right and left, and in front of us such as is rarely seen. At a pace that soon left the main body of the Expedition far behind, I strode on with a few gallant fellows, who, despite their heavy loads, kept pace with me. After a couple of hours we were ascending the easy slope of a ridge, which promised to decide in a few minutes the truth or the inaccuracy of my chart. Presently we arrived at the eastern edge of the ridge, and about five miles away, and 1,000 feet below the high plateau on which we stood, we distinguished the valley of Imrera!
By noon we were in our old camp. The natives gathered round, bringing supplies of food, and to congratulate us upon having gone to Ujiji and returned. But it was long before the last member of the Expedition arrived. The Doctor’s feet were very sore, bleeding from the weary march. His shoes were in a very worn-out state, and he had so cut and slashed them with a knife to ease his blistered feet, that any man of our force would have refused them as a gift, no matter how ambitious he might be to encase his feet a la Wasungu.
Asmani, the guide, was very much taken aback when he discovered that the tiny compass knew the way better than he did, and he declared it as his solemn opinion that it could not lie. He suffered much in reputation from having contested the palm with the “little thing,” and ever afterwards his boasted knowledge of the country was considerably doubted.
After halting a day to recruit ourselves, we continued our journey on the 18th January, 1872, towards Unyanyembe. A few miles beyond Imrera, Asmani lost the road again, and I was obliged to show it to him, by which I gained additional honour and credit as a leader and guide. My shoes were very bad, and it was difficult to decide whose were the worst in condition, the Doctor’s or mine. A great change had come upon the face of the land since I had passed northward en route to Ujiji. The wild grapes now hung in clusters along the road; the corn ears were advanced enough to pluck and roast for food; the various plants shed their flowers; and the deep woods and grasses of the country were greener than ever.
On the 19th we arrived at Mpokwa’s deserted village. The Doctor’s feet were very much chafed and sore by the marching. He had walked on foot all the way from Urimba, though he owned a donkey; while I, considerably to my shame be it said, had ridden occasionally to husband my strength,: that I might be enabled to hunt after arrival at camp.
Two huts were cleared for our use, but, just as we had made ourselves comfortable, our sharp-eyed fellows had discovered several herds of game in the plain west of Mpokwa. Hastily devouring a morsel of corn-bread with coffee, I hastened away, with Bilali for a gunbearer, taking with me the famous Reilly rifle of the Doctor and a supply of Fraser’s shells. After plunging through a deep stream, and getting wet again, and pushing my way through a dense brake, I arrived at a thin belt of forest, through which I was obliged to crawl, and, in half an hour, I had arrived within one hundred and forty yards of a group of zebras, which were playfully biting each other under the shade of a large tree. Suddenly rising up, I attracted their attention; but the true old rifle was at my shoulder, and “crack — crack” went both barrels, and two fine zebras, a male and female, fell dead under the tree where they had stood. In a few seconds their throats were cut, and after giving the signal of my success, I was soon surrounded by a dozen of my men, who gave utterance to their delight by fulsome compliments to the merits of the rifle, though very few to me. When I returned to camp with the meat I received the congratulations of the Doctor, which I valued far higher, as he knew from long experience what shooting was.
When the eatable portions of the two zebras were hung to the scale, we found, according to the Doctor’s own figures, that we had 719 lbs. of good meat, which, divided among forty-four men, gave a little over 16 lbs. to each person. Bombay, especially, was very happy, as he had dreamed a dream wherein I figured prominently as shooting animals down right and left; and, when he had seen me depart with that wonderful Reilly rifle he had not entertained a doubt of my success, and, accordingly, had commanded the men to be ready to go after me, as soon as they should hear the reports of the gun.
The following is quoted from my Diary:
January 20th, 1872. — To-day was a halt. On going out for a hunt I saw a herd of eleven giraffes. After crossing Mpokwa stream I succeeded in getting within one hundred and fifty yards of one of them, and fired at it; but, though it was wounded, I did not succeed in dropping it, though I desired the skin of one of them very much.
In the afternoon I went out to the east of the village, and came to a herd of six giraffes. I wounded one of them, but it got off, despite my efforts.
What remarkable creatures they are! How beautiful their large limpid eyes! I could have declared on oath that both shots had been a success, but they sheered off with the stately movements of a clipper about to tack. When they ran they had an ungainly, dislocated motion, somewhat like the contortions of an Indian nautch or a Theban danseuse — a dreamy, undulating movement, which even the tail, with its long fringe of black hair, seemed to partake of.
The Doctor, who knew how to console an ardent but disappointed young hunter, attributed my non-success to shooting with leaden balls, which were too soft to penetrate the thick hide of the giraffes, and advised me to melt my zinc canteens with which to harden the lead. It was not the first time that I had cause to think the Doctor an admirable travelling companion; none knew so well how to console one for bad luck none knew so well how to elevate one in his own mind. If I killed a zebra, did not his friend Oswell — the South African hunter — and himself long ago come to the conclusion that zebra meat was the finest in Africa? If I shot a buffalo cow, she was sure to be the best of her kind, and her horns were worth while carrying home as specimens; and was she not fat? If I returned without anything, the game was very wild, or the people had made a noise, and the game had been frightened; and who could stalk animals already alarmed? Indeed, he was a most considerate companion, and, knowing him to be literally truthful, I was proud of his praise when successful, and when I failed I was easily consoled.
Ibrahim, the old pagazi whose feelings had been so lacerated in Ukawendi, when his ancient kibuyu broke, before leaving Ujiji invested his cloth in a slave from Manyuema, who bore the name of “Ulimengo,” which signifies the “World.” As we approached Mpokwa, Ulimengo absconded with all his master’s property, consisting of a few cloths and a bag of salt, which he had thought of taking to Unyanyembe for trade. Ibrahim was inconsolable, and he kept lamenting his loss daily in such lugubrious tones that the people, instead of sympathizing, laughed at him. I asked him why he purchased such a slave, and, while he was with him, why he did not feed him? Replied he, tartly, “Was he not my slave? Was not the cloth with which I bought him mine? If the cloth was my own, could I not purchase what I liked? Why do you talk so?”
Ibrahim’s heart was made glad this evening by the return of Ulimengo with the salt and the cloth, and the one-eyed old man danced with his great joy, and came in all haste to impart to me the glad news. “Lo, the ‘World’ has come back. Sure. My salt and my cloth are with him also. Sure.” To which I replied, that he had better feed him in future, as slaves required food as well as their masters.
From 10 P.M. to midnight the Doctor was employed in taking observations from the star Canopus, the result of which was that he ascertained Mpokwa, district of Utanda, Ukonongo, to be in S. latitude 6 degrees 18 minutes 40 seconds. On comparing it with its position as laid down in my map by dead reckoning, I found we differed by three miles; I having!aid it down at 6 degrees 15 minutes south latitude.
The day following was a halt. The Doctor’s feet were so inflamed and sore that he could not bear his shoes on. My heels were also raw, and I viciously cut large circles out of my shoes to enable me to move about.
Having converted my zinc canteens into bullets, and provided myself with a butcher and gun-bearer, I set out for the lovely park-land and plain west of Mpokwa stream, with the laudable resolution to obtain something; and seeing nothing in the plain, I crossed over a ridge, and came to a broad basin covered with tall grass, with clumps here and there of hyphene palm, with a stray mimosa or so scattered about. Nibbling off the branches of the latter, I saw a group of giraffes, and then began stalking them through the grass, taking advantage of the tall grass-grown ant-hills that I might approach the wary beasts before their great eyes could discover me. I contrived to come within 175 yards, by means of one of these curious hummocks; but beyond it no man could crawl without being observed — the grass was so thin and short. I took a long breath, wiped my perspiring brow, and sat down for a while; my black assistants also, like myself, were almost breathless with the exertion, and the high expectations roused by the near presence of the royal beasts. I toyed lovingly with the heavy Reilly, saw to my cartridges, and then stood up and turned, with my rifle ready; took one good, long, steady aim; then lowered it again to arrange the sights, lifted it up once more — dropped it. A giraffe half turned his body; for the last time I lifted it, took one quick sight at the region of the heart, and fired. He staggered, reeled, then made a short gallop; but the blood was spouting from the wound in a thick stream, and before he had gone 200 yards he came to a dead halt, with his ears drawn back, and allowed me to come within twenty yards of him, when, receiving a zinc bullet through the head, he fell dead.
“Allah ho, akhbar!” cried Khamisi, my butcher, fervently. “This is meat, master!”
I was rather saddened than otherwise at seeing the noble animal stretched before me. If I could have given him his life back I think I should have done so. I thought it a great pity that such splendid animals, so well adapted for the service of man in Africa, could not be converted to some other use than that of food. Horses, mules, and donkeys died in these sickly regions; but what a blessing for Africa would it be if we could tame the giraffes and zebras for the use of explorers and traders! Mounted on a zebra, a man would be enabled to reach Ujiji in one month from Bagamoyo; whereas it took me over seven months to travel that distance!
The dead giraffe measured 16 feet 9 inches from his right fore-hoof to the top of his head, and was one of the largest size, though some have been found to measure over 17 feet. He was spotted all over with large black, nearly round, patches.
I left Khamisi in charge of the dead beast, while I returned to camp to send off men to cut it up, and convey the meat to our village. But Khamisi climbed a tree for fear of the lions, and the vultures settled on it, so that when the men arrived on the spot, the eyes, the tongue, and a great part of the posteriors were eaten up. What remained weighed as follows, when brought in and hung to the scales:
1 hind leg . . . . 134 lbs.
1 “ . . . . 136 ”
1 fore leg . . . . 160 ”
I “ . . . . 160 ”
Ribs . . . . . . 158 ”
Neck . . . . . . 74 ”
Rump . . . . . . 87 ”
Breast . . . . . 46 ”
Liver . . . . . 20 ”
Lungs . . . . . 12 ”
Heart . . . . . 6 ”
Total weight of eatable portions . . 993 lbs.
Skin and head, 181 lbs.
The three days following I suffered from a severe attack of fever, and was unable to stir from bed. I applied my usual remedies for it, which consisted of colocynth and quinine; but experience has shown me that an excessive use of the same cathartic weakens its effect, and that it would be well for travellers to take with them different medicines to cause proper action in the liver, such as colocynth, calomel, resin of jalap, Epsom salts; and that no quinine should be taken until such medicines shall have prepared the system for its reception.
The Doctor’s prescription for fever consists of 3 grains of resin of jalap, and 2 grains of calomel, with tincture of cardamoms put in just enough to prevent irritation of the stomach — made into the form of a pill — which is to be taken as soon as one begins to feel the excessive languor and weariness which is the sure forerunner of the African type of fever. An hour or two later a cup of coffee, unsugared and without milk, ought to be taken, to cause a quicker action. The Doctor also thinks that quinine should be taken with the pill; but my experience — though it weighs nothing against what he has endured — has proved to me that quinine is useless until after the medicine has taken effect. My stomach could never bear quinine unless subsequent to the cathartic. A well-known missionary at Constantinople recommends travellers to take 3 grains of tartar-emetic for the ejection of the bilious matter in the stomach; but the reverend doctor possibly forgets that much more of the system is disorganized than the stomach; and though in one or two cases of a slight attack, this remedy may have proved successful, it is altogether too violent for an enfeebled man in Africa. I have treated myself faithfully after this method three or four times; but I could not conscientiously recommend it. For cases of urticaria, I could recommend taking 3 grains of tartar-emetic; but then a stomach-pump would answer the purpose as well.
On the 27th we set out for Misonghi. About half-way I saw the head of the Expedition on the run, and the motive seemed to be communicated quickly, man after man, to those behind, until my donkey commenced to kick, and lash behind with his heels. In a second, I was made aware of the cause of this excitement, by a cloud of wild bees buzzing about my head, three or four of which settled on my face, and stung me frightfully. We raced madly for about half a mile, behaving in as wild a manner as the poor bestung animals.
As this was an unusually long march, I doubted if the Doctor could march it, because his feet were so sore, so I determined to send four men back with the kitanda; but the stout old hero refused to be carried, and walked all the way to camp after a march of eighteen miles. He had been stung dreadfully in the head and in the face; the bees had settled in handfuls in his hair; but, after partaking of a cup of warm tea and some food, he was as cheerful as if he had never travelled a mile.
At Mrera, Central Ukonongo, we halted a day to grind grain, and to prepare the provision we should need during the transit of the wilderness between Mrera and Manyara.
On the 31st of January, at Mwaru, Sultan Ka-mirambo, we met a caravan under the leadership of a slave of Sayd bin Habib, who came to visit us in our camp, which was hidden in a thick clump of jungle. After he was seated, and had taken his coffee, I asked,
“What is thy news, my friend, that thou bast brought from Unyanyembe?”
“My news is good, master.”
“How goes the war?”
“Ah, Mirambo is where? He eats the hides even. He is famished. Sayd bin Habib, my master, hath possession of Kirira. The Arabs are thundering at the gates of Wilyankuru. Sayd bin Majid, who came from Ujiji to Usagozi in twenty days, hath taken and slain ‘Moto’ (Fire), the King. Simba of Kasera hath taken up arms for the defence of his father, Mkasiwa of Unyanyembe. The chief of Ugunda hath sent five hundred men to the field. Ough — Mirambo is where? In a month he will be dead of hunger.”
“Great and good news truly, my friend.”
“Yes-in the name of God.”
“And whither art thou bound with thy caravan?”
“Sayd, the son of Majid, who came from Ujiji, hath told us of the road that the white man took, that he had arrived at Ujiji safely, and that he was on his way back to Unyanyembe. So we have thought that if the white man could go there, we could also. Lo, the Arabs come by the hundred by the white man’s road, to get the ivory from Ujiji.
“I am that white man.”
“ Why it was reported that you were dead — that you fought with the Wazavira.”
“Ah, my friend, these are the words of Njara, the son of Khamis. See” (pointing to Livingstone), “this is the white man, my father15, whom I saw at Ujiji. He is going with me to Unyanyembe to get his cloth, after which he will return to the great waters.”
15 It is a courteous custom in Africa to address elderly people as “Baba,” (Father.)
“Wonderful! — thou sayest truly.”
“What has thou to tell me of the white man at Unyanyembe?”
“Which white man?”
“The white man I left in the house of Sayd, the son of Salim — my house — at Kwihara.”
“ He is dead.”
“You do not mean to say the white man is dead?”
“True — he is dead.”
“How long ago?”
“Many months now.”
“What did he die of?”
“Any more of my people dead?”
“I know not.”
“ Enough.” I looked sympathetically at the Doctor, and he replied,
“I told you so. When you described him to me as a drunken man, I knew he could not live. Men who have been habitual drunkards cannot live in this country, any more than men who have become slaves to other vices. I attribute the deaths that occurred in my expedition on the Zambezi to much the same cause.”
“Ah, Doctor, there are two of us gone. I shall be the third, if this fever lasts much longer.”
“Oh no, not at all. If you would have died from fever, you would have died at Ujiji when you had that severe attack of remittent. Don’t think of it. Your fever now is only the result of exposure to wet. I never travel during the wet season. This time I have travelled because I was anxious, and I did not wish to detain you at Ujiji.”
“Well, there is nothing like a good friend at one’s back in this country to encourage him, and keep his spirits up. Poor Shaw! I am sorry — very sorry for him. How many times have I not endeavoured to cheer him up! But there was no life in him. And among the last words I said to him, before parting, were, ‘Remember, if you return to Unyanyembe, you die!’”
We also obtained news from the chief of Sayd bin Habib’s caravan that several packets of letters and newspapers, and boxes, had arrived for me from Zanzibar by my messengers and Arabs; that Selim, the son of Sheikh Hashid of Zanzibar, was amongst the latest arrivals in Unyanyembe. The Doctor also reminded me with the utmost good-nature that, according to his accounts, he had a stock of jellies and crackers, soups, fish, and potted ham, besides cheese, awaiting him in Unyanyembe, and that he would be delighted to share his good things; whereupon I was greatly cheered, and, during the repeated attacks of fever I suffered about this time, my imagination loved to dwell upon the luxuries at Unyanyembe. I pictured myself devouring the hams and crackers and jellies like a madman. I lived on my raving fancies. My poor vexed brain rioted on such homely things as wheaten bread and butter, hams, bacon, caviare, and I would have thought no price too high to pay for them. Though so far away and out of the pale of Europe and America, it was a pleasure to me, during the athumia or despondency into which I was plunged by ever recurring fevers, to dwell upon them. I wondered that people who had access to such luxuries should ever get sick, and become tired of life. I thought that if a wheaten loaf with a nice pat of fresh butter were presented to me, I would be able, though dying, to spring up and dance a wild fandango.
Though we lacked the good things of this life above named, we possessed salted giraffe and pickled zebra tongues; we had ugali made by Halimah herself; we had sweet potatoes, tea, coffee, dampers, or slap jacks; but I was tired of them. My enfeebled stomach, harrowed and irritated with medicinal compounds, with ipecac, colocynth, tartar-emetic, quinine, and such things, protested against the coarse food. “Oh, for a wheaten loaf!” my soul cried in agony. “Five hundred dollars for one loaf of bread!”
The Doctor, somehow or another, despite the incessant rain, the dew, fog, and drizzle, the marching, and sore feet, ate like a hero, and I manfully, sternly, resolved to imitate the persevering attention he paid to the welfare of his gastric powers; but I miserably failed.
Dr. Livingstone possesses all the attainments of a traveller. His knowledge is great about everything concerning Africa — the rocks, the trees, the fruits, and their virtues, are known to him. He is also full of philosophic reflections upon ethnological matter. With camp-craft, with its cunning devices, he is au fait. His bed is luxurious as a spring mattress. Each night he has it made under his own supervision. First, he has two straight poles cut, three or four inches in diameter; which are laid parallel one with another, at the distance of two feet; across these poles are laid short sticks, saplings, three feet long, and over them is laid a thick pile of grass; then comes a piece of waterproof canvas and blankets — and thus a bed has been improvised fit for a king.
It was at Livingstone’s instigation I purchased milch goats, by which, since leaving Ujiji, we have had a supply of fresh milk for our tea and coffee three times a day. Apropos of this, we are great drinkers of these welcome stimulants; we seldom halt drinking until we have each had six or seven cups. We have also been able to provide ourselves with music, which, though harsh, is better than none. I mean the musical screech of parrots from Manyuema.
Half-way between Mwaru — Kamirambo’s village — and the deserted Tongoni of Ukamba, I carved the Doctor’s initials and my own on a large tree, with the date February 2nd. I have been twice guilty of this in Africa once when we were famishing in Southern Uvinza I inscribed the date, my initials, and the word “Starving,” in large letters on the trunk of a sycamore.
In passing through the forest of Ukamba, we saw the bleached skull of an unfortunate victim to the privations of travel. Referring to it, the Doctor remarked that he could never pass through an African forest, with its solemn stillness and serenity, without wishing to be buried quietly under the dead leaves, where he would be sure to rest undisturbed. In England there was no elbow-room, the graves were often desecrated; and ever since he had buried his wife in the woods of Shupanga he had sighed for just such a spot, where his weary bones would receive the eternal rest they coveted.
The same evening, when the tent door was down, and the interior was made cheerful by the light of a paraffin candle, the Doctor related to me some incidents respecting the career and the death of his eldest son, Robert. Readers of Livingstone’s first book, ‘South Africa,’ without which no boy should be, will probably recollect the dying Sebituane’s regard for the little boy “Robert.” Mrs. Livingstone and family were taken to the Cape of Good Hope, and thence sent to England, where Robert was put in the charge of a tutor; but wearied of inactivity, when he was about eighteen, he left Scotland and came to Natal, whence he endeavoured to reach his father. Unsuccessful in his attempt, he took ship and sailed for New York, and enlisted in the Northern Army, in a New Hampshire regiment of Volunteers, discarding his own name of Robert Moffatt Livingstone, and taking that of Rupert Vincent that his tutor, who seems to have been ignorant of his duties to the youth, might not find him. From one of the battles before Richmond, he was conveyed to a North Carolina hospital, where he died from his wounds.
On the 7th of February we arrived at the Gombe, and camped near one of its largest lakes. This lake is probably several miles in length, and swarms with hippopotami and crocodiles.
From this camp I despatched Ferajji, the cook, and Chowpereh to Unyanyembe, to bring the letters and medicines that were sent to me from Zanzibar, and meet us at Ugunda, while the next day we moved to our old quarters on the Gombe, where we were first introduced to the real hunter’s paradise in Central Africa. The rain had scattered the greater number of the herds, but there was plenty of game in the vicinity. Soon after breakfast I took Khamisi and Kalulu with me for a hunt. After a long walk we arrived near a thin jungle, where I discovered the tracks of several animals — boar, antelope, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and an unusual number of imprints of the lion’s paw. Suddenly I heard Khamisi say, “Master, master! here is a ‘simba!’ (lion);” and he came up to me trembling with excitement and fear — for the young fellow was an arrant coward — to point out the head of a beast, which could be seen just above the tall grass, looking steadily towards us. It immediately afterwards bounded from side to side, but the grass was so high that it was impossible to tell exactly what it was. Taking advantage of a tree in my front, I crept quietly onwards, intending to rest the heavy rifle against it, as I was so weak from the effects of several fevers that I felt myself utterly incapable of supporting my rifle for a steady aim. But my surprise was great when I cautiously laid it against the tree, and then directed its muzzle to the spot where I had seen him stand. Looking further away — to where the grass was thin and scant — I saw the animal bound along at a great rate, and that it was a lion: the noble monarch of the forest was in full flight! From that moment I ceased to regard him as the “mightiest among the brutes;” or his roar as anything more fearful in broad daylight than a sucking dove’s.
The next day was also a halt, and unable to contain my longing for the chase, where there used to be such a concourse of game of all kinds, soon after morning coffee, and after despatching a couple of men with presents to my friend Ma-manyara, of ammonia-bottle memory, I sauntered out once more for the park. Not five hundred yards from the camp, myself and men were suddenly halted by hearing in our immediate vicinity, probably within fifty yards or so, a chorus of roars, issuing from a triplet of lions. Instinctively my fingers raised the two hammers, as I expected a general onset on me; for though one lion might fly, it was hardly credible that three should. While looking keenly about I detected, within easy rifle-shot, a fine hartebeest, trembling and cowering behind a tree, as if it expected the fangs of the lion in its neck. Though it had its back turned to me, I thought a bullet might plough its way to a vital part, and without a moment’s hesitation I aimed and fired. The animal gave a tremendous jump, as if it intended to take a flying leap through the tree; but recovering itself it dashed through the underbrush in a different direction from that in which I supposed the lions to be, and I never saw it again, though I knew I had struck it from the bloody trail it left; neither did I see nor hear anything more of the lions. I searched far and wide over the park-land for prey of some kind, but was compelled to return unsuccessful to camp.
Disgusted with my failure, we started a little after noon for Manyara, at which place we were hospitably greeted by my friend, who had sent men to tell me that his white brother must not halt in the woods but must come to his village. “We received a present of honey and food from the chief, which was most welcome to us in our condition. Here was an instance of that friendly disposition among Central African chiefs when they have not been spoiled by the Arabs, which Dr. Livingstone found among the Babisa and Ba-ulungu, and in Manyuema. I received the same friendly recognition from all the chiefs, from Imrera, in Ukawendi, to Unyanyembe, as I did from Ma-manyara.
On the 14th we arrived at Ugunda, and soon after we had established ourselves comfortably in a hut which the chief lent us for our use, in came Ferajji and Chowpereh, bringing with them Sarmean and Uledi Manwa Sera, who, it will be recollected, were the two soldiers sent to Zanzibar with letters and who should Sarmean have in charge but the deserter Hamdallah, who decamped at Manyara, as we were going to Ujiji. This fellow, it seems, had halted at Kigandu, and had informed the chief and the doctor of the village that he had been sent by the white man to take back the cloth left there for the cure of Mabruk Saleem; and the simple chief had commanded it to be given up to him upon his mere word, in consequence of which the sick man had died.
Upon Sarmean’s arrival in Unyanyembe from Zanzibar, about fifty days after the Expedition had departed for Ujiji the news he received was that the white man (Shaw) was dead; and that a man called Hamdallah, who had engaged himself as one of my guides, but who had shortly after returned, was at Unyanyembe. He had left him unmolested until the appearance of Ferajji and his companion, when they at once, in a body, made a descent on his hut and secured him. With the zeal which always distinguished him in my service, Sarmean had procured a forked pole, between the prongs of which the neck of the absconder was placed; and a cross stick, firmly lashed, effectually prevented him from relieving himself of the incumbrance attached to him so deftly.
There were no less than seven packets of letters and newspapers from Zanzibar, which had been collecting during my absence from Unyanyembe. These had been intrusted at various times to the chiefs of caravans, who had faithfully delivered them at my tembe, according to their promise to the Consul. There was one packet for me, which contained two or three letters for Dr. Livingstone, to whom, of course, they were at once transferred, with my congratulations. In the same packet there was also a letter to me from the British Consul at Zanzibar requesting me to take charge of Livingstone’s goods and do the best I could to forward them on to him, dated 25th September, 1871, five days after I left Unyanyembe on my apparently hopeless task.
“Well, Doctor,” said I to Livingstone, “the English Consul requests me to do all I can to push forward your goods to you. I am sorry that I did not get the authority sooner, for I should have attempted it; but in the absence of these instructions I have done the best I could by pushing you towards the goods. The mountain has not been able to advance towards Mohammed, but Mohammed has been compelled to advance towards the mountain.”
But Dr. Livingstone was too deeply engrossed in his own letters from home, which were just a year old.
I received good and bad news from New York, but the good news was subsequent, and wiped out all feelings that might have been evoked had I received the bad only. But the newspapers, nearly a hundred of them, New York, Boston, and London journals, were full of most wonderful news. The Paris Commune was in arms against the National Assembly; the Tuileries, the Louvre, and the ancient city Lutetia Parisiorum had been set in flames by the blackguards of Saint–Antoine! French troops massacring and murdering men, women, and children; rampant diabolism, and incarnate revenge were at work in the most beautiful city in the world! Fair women converted into demons, and dragged by ruffianly soldiery through the streets to universal execration and pitiless death; children of tender age pinned to the earth and bayoneted; men innocent or not, shot, cut, stabbed, slashed, destroyed — a whole city given up to the summa injuria of an infuriate, reckless, and brutal army! Oh France! Oh Frenchmen! Such things are unknown even in the heart of barbarous Central Africa. We spurned the newspapers with our feet; and for relief to sickened hearts gazed on the comic side of our world, as illustrated in the innocent pages of ‘Punch.’ Poor ‘Punch!’ good-hearted, kindly-natured ‘Punch!’ a traveller’s benison on thee! Thy jokes were as physic; thy innocent satire was provocative of hysteric mirth.
Our doors were crowded with curious natives, who looked with indescribable wonder at the enormous sheets. I heard them repeat the words, “Khabari Kisungu” — white man’s news — often, and heard them discussing the nature of such a quantity of news, and expressing their belief that the “Wasungu” were “mbyah sana,” and very “mkali;” by which they meant to say that the white men were very wicked, and very smart and clever though the term wicked is often employed to express high admiration.
On the fourth day from Ugunda, or the 18th of February, and the fifty-third day from Ujiji, we made our appearance with flags flying and guns firing in the valley of Kwihara, and when the Doctor and myself passed through the portals of my old quarters I formally welcomed him to Unyanyembe and to my house.
Since the day I had left the Arabs, sick and, weary almost with my life, but, nevertheless, imbued with the high hope that my mission would succeed, 131 days had elapsed — with what vicissitudes of fortune the reader well knows — during which time I had journeyed over 1,200 miles.
The myth after which I travelled through the wilderness proved to be a fact; and never was the fact more apparent than when the Living Man walked with me arm in arm to my old room, and I said to him, “Doctor, we are at last home!”
Last updated Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 21:30