Homeward Bound. — Livingstone’s last words — The final farewell
Unyanyembe was now to me a terrestrial Paradise. Livingstone was no less happy; he was in comfortable quarters, which were a palace compared to his hut in Ujiji. Our store-rooms were full of the good things of this life, besides cloth, beads, wire, and the thousand and one impedimenta and paraphernalia of travel with which I had loaded over one hundred and fifty men at Bagamoyo. I had seventy-four loads of miscellaneous things, the most valuable of which were now to be turned over to Livingstone, for his march back to the sources of the Nile.
It was a great day with, us when, with hammer and chisel, I broke open the Doctor’s boxes, that we might feast our famished stomachs on the luxuries which were to redeem us from the effect of the cacotrophic dourra and maize food we had been subjected to in the wilderness. I conscientiously believed that a diet on potted ham, crackers, and jellies would make me as invincible as Talus, and that I only required a stout flail to be able to drive the mighty Wagogo into the regions of annihiliation, should they dare even to wink in a manner I disapproved.
The first box opened contained three tins of biscuits, six tins of potted hams — tiny things, not much larger than thimbles, which, when opened, proved to be nothing more than a table-spoonful of minced meat plentifully seasoned with pepper: the Doctor’s stores fell five hundred degrees below zero in my estimation. Next were brought out five pots of jam, one of which was opened — this was also a delusion. The stone jars weighed a pound, and in each was found a little over a tea-spoonful of jam. Verily, we began to think our hopes and expectations had been raised to too high a pitch. Three bottles of curry were next produced — but who cares for curry? Another box was opened, and out tumbled a fat dumpy Dutch cheese, hard as a brick, but sound and good; though it is bad for the liver in Unyamwezi. Then another cheese was seen, but this was all eaten up — it was hollow and a fraud. The third box contained nothing but two sugar loaves; the fourth, candles; the fifth, bottles of salt, Harvey, Worcester, and Reading sauces, essence of anchovies, pepper, and mustard. Bless me! what food were these for the revivifying of a moribund such as I was! The sixth box contained four shirts, two pairs of stout shoes, some stockings and shoe-strings, which delighted the Doctor so much when he tried them on that he exclaimed, “Richard is himself again!” “That man,” said I, “whoever he is, is a friend, indeed.” “Yes, that is my friend Waller.”
The five other boxes contained potted meat and soups; but the twelfth, containing one dozen bottles of medicinal brandy, was gone;and a strict cross-examination of Asmani, the head man of Livingstone’s caravan, elicited the fact, that not only was one case of brandy missing, but also two bales of cloth and four bags of the most valuable beads in Africa — sami-sami — which are as gold with the natives.
I was grievously disappointed after the stores had been examined; everything proved to be deceptions in my jaundiced eyes. Out of the tins of biscuits when opened, there was only one sound box; the whole of which would not make one full meal. The soups — who cared for meat soups in Africa? Are there no bullocks, and sheep, and goats in the land, from which far better soup can be made than any that was ever potted? Peas, or any other kind of vegetable soup, would have been a luxury; but chicken and game soups! — what nonsense!
I then overhauled my own stores. I found some fine old brandy and one bottle of champagne still left; though it was evident, in looking at the cloth bales, that dishonesty had been at work; and some person happened to suggest Asmani — the head man sent by Dr. Kirk in charge of Livingstone’s goods — as the guilty party. Upon his treasures being examined, I found eight or ten coloured cloths, with the mark of my own agent at Zanzibar on them. As he was unable to give a clear account of how they came in his box, they were at once confiscated, and distributed among the most deserving of the Doctor’s people. Some of the watchmen also accused him of having entered into my store-room, and of having abstracted two or three gorah of domestics from my bales, and of having, some days afterwards, snatched the keys from the hands of one of my men, and broken them, lest other people might enter, and find evidences of his guilt. As Asmani was proved to be another of the “moral idiots,” Livingstone discharged him on the spot. Had we not arrived so soon at Unyanyembe, it is probable that the entire stock sent from Zanzibar had in time disappeared.
Unyanyembe being rich in fruits, grain, and cattle, we determined to have our Christmas dinner over again in style, and, being fortunately in pretty good health, I was enabled to superintend its preparation. Never was such prodigality seen in a tembe of Unyamwezi as was seen in ours, nor were ever such delicacies provided.
There were but few Arabs in Unyanyembe when we arrived, as they were investing the stronghold of Mirambo. About a week after our return, “the little mannikin,” Sheikh Sayd bin Salim — El Wali — who was the commander-inchief of their forces, came to Kwihara from the front. But the little Sheikh was in no great hurry to greet the man he had wronged so much. As soon as we heard of his arrival we took the opportunity to send men immediately after the goods which were forwarded to the Wali’s care soon after Livingstone’s departure for Mikindany Bay. The first time we sent men for them the governor declared himself too sick to attend to such matters, but the second day they were surrendered, with a request that the Doctor would not be very angry at their condition, as the white ants had destroyed everything.
The stores this man had detained at Unyanyembe were in a most sorry state. The expenses were prepaid for their carriage to Ujiji, but the goods had been purposely detained at this place by Sayd bin Salim since 1867 that he might satisfy his appetite for liquor, and probably fall heir to two valuable guns that were known to be with them. The white ants had not only eaten up bodily the box in which the guns were packed, but they had also eaten the gunstocks. The barrels were corroded, and the locks were quite destroyed. The brandy bottles, most singular to relate, had also fallen a prey to the voracious and irresistible destroyers the white ants — and, by some unaccountable means, they had imbibed the potent Hennessy, and replaced the corks with corn-cobs. The medicines had also vanished, and the zinc pots in which they had been snugly packed up were destroyed by corrosion. Two bottles of brandy and one small zinc case of medicines only were saved out of the otherwise utter wreck.
I also begged the Doctor to send to Sheikh Sayd, and ask him if he had received the two letters despatched by him upon his first arrival at Ujiji for Dr. Kirk and Lord Clarendon; and if he had forwarded them to the coast, as he was desired to do. The reply to the messengers was in the affirmative; and, subsequently, I obtained the same answer in the presence of the Doctor,
On the 222nd of February, the pouring rain, which had dogged us the entire distance from Ujiji, ceased, and we had now beautiful weather; and while I prepared for the homeward march, the Doctor was busy writing his letters, and entering his notes into his journal, which I was to take to his family. When not thus employed, we paid visits to the Arabs at Tabora, by whom we were both received with that bounteous hospitality for which they are celebrated.
Among the goods turned over by me to Dr. Livingstone, while assorting such cloths as I wished to retain for my homeward trip, were —
Doti. Yards. First-class American sheeting . . . 285 = 1140 " Kaniki (blue stuff) . . . 16 = 64 Medium " (blue stuff) . . . 60 = 240 " Dabwani cloth . . . . 41 = 64 Barsati cloths . . . . 28 = 112 Printed handkerchiefs . . 70 = 280 Medium Rehani cloth . . . . . 127 = 508 " Ismahili " . . . . 20 = 80 " Sohari " . . . . . 20 = 80 4 pieces fine Kungura (red check) 22 = 88 4 gorah Rehani . . . . . . . 8 = 32 Total number of cloths . 697 = 2788 Besides: Cloth, 2788 yards. Assorted beads, 16 sacks, weight = 992 lbs. Brass wire, Nos. 5 and 6; 10 fraslilah = 350 lbs. 1 canvas tent, waterproof. 1 air-bed. 1 boat (canvas} 1 bag of tools, carpenter's. 1 rip saw. 2 barrels of tar. 12 sheets of ship's copper = 60 lbs. Clothes. 1 Jocelyn breech-loader (metallic cartridge). 1 Starr's " " " 1 Henry (16-shooter) " " 1 revolver. 200 rounds revolver ammunition. 2000 " Jocelyn and Starrs ammunition. 1500 " Henry rifle ammunition. Cooking utensils, medicine chest, books, sextant, canvas bags, &c., &c., &c.
The above made a total of about forty loads. Many things in the list would have brought fancy prices in Unyanyembe, especially the carbines and ammunition, the saw, carpenter’s tools the beads, and wire. Out of the thirty-three loads which were stored for him in my tembe — the stock sent to Livingstone, Nov. 1,1870 — but few of them would be available for his return trip to Rua and Manyuema. The 696 doti of cloth which were left to him formed the only marketable articles of value he possessed; and in Manyuema, where the natives manufactured their own cloth, such an article would be considered a drug; while my beads and wire, with economy, would suffice to keep him and his men over two years in those regions. His own cloth, and what I gave him, made in the aggregate 1,393 doti, which, at 2 doti per day for food, were sufficient to keep him and sixty men 696 days. He had thus four years’ supplies. The only articles he lacked to make a new and completely fitted-up expedition were the following, a list of which he and I drew up; —
A few tins of American wheat-flour. " " soda crackers. " " preserved fruits A few tins of salmon, 10 lbs. Hyson tea. Some sewing thread and needles. 1 dozen official envelopes. `Nautical Almanac' for 1872 and 1873. 1 blank journal. 1 chronometer, stopped. 1 chain for refractory people.
With the articles just named he would have a total of seventy loads, but without carriers they were an incumbrance to him; for, with only the nine men which he now had, he could go nowhere with such a splendid assortment of goods. I was therefore commissioned to enlist, — as soon as I reached Zanzibar, — fifty freemen, arm them with a gun and hatchet each man, besides accoutrements, and to purchase two thousand bullets, one thousand flints, and ten kegs of gunpowder. The men were to act as carriers, to follow wherever Livingstone might desire to go. For, without men, he was simply tantalized with the aspirations roused in him by the knowledge that he had abundance of means, which were irrealizable without carriers. All the wealth of London and New York piled before him were totally unavailable to him without the means of locomotion. No Mnyamwezi engages himself as carrier during war-time. You who have read the diary of my ‘Life in Unyanyembe’ know what stubborn Conservatives the Wanyamwezi are. A duty lay yet before me which I owed to my illustrious companion, and that was to hurry to the coast as if on a matter of life and death — act for him in the matter of enlisting men as if he were there himself — to work for him with the same zeal as I would for myself — not to halt or rest until his desires should be gratified, And this I vowed to do; but it was a death-blow to my project of going down the Nile, and getting news of Sir S. Baker.
The Doctor’s task of writing his letters was ended. He delivered into my hand twenty letters for Great Britain, six for Bombay, two for New York, and one for Zanzibar. The two letters for New York were for James Gordon Bennett, junior, as he alone, not his father, was responsible for the Expedition sent under my command. I beg the reader’s pardon for republishing one of these letters here, as its spirit and style indicate the man, the mere knowledge of whose life or death was worth a costly Expedition.
Ujiji, on Tanganika, East Africa, November, 1871.
James Gordon Bennett, Jr., Esq.
My Dear Sir, — It is in general somewhat difficult to write to one we have never seen — it feels so much like addressing an abstract idea — but the presence of your representative, Mr. H. M. Stanley, in this distant region takes away the strangeness I should otherwise have felt, and in writing to thank you for the extreme kindness that prompted you to send him, I feel quite at home.
If I explain the forlorn condition in which he found me you will easily perceive that I have good reason to use very strong expressions of gratitude. I came to Ujiji off a tramp of between four hundred and five hundred miles, beneath a blazing vertical sun, having been baffled, worried, defeated and forced to return, when almost in sight of the end of the geographical part of my mission, by a number of half-caste Moslem slaves sent to me from Zanzibar, instead of men. The sore heart made still sorer by the woeful sights I had seen of man’s inhumanity to man racked and told on the bodily frame, and depressed it beyond measure. I thought that I was dying on my feet. It is not too much to say that almost every step of the weary sultry way was in pain, and I reached Ujiji a mere ruckle of bones.
There I found that some five hundred pounds’ sterling worth of goods which I had ordered from Zanzibar had unaccountably been entrusted to a drunken half-caste Moslem tailor, who, after squandering them for sixteen months on the way to Ujiji; finished up by selling off all that remained for slaves and ivory for himself. He had “divined” on the Koran and found that I was dead. He had also written to the Governor of Unyanyembe that he had sent slaves after me to Manyuema, who returned and reported my decease, and begged permission to sell off the few goods that his drunken appetite had spared.
He, however, knew perfectly well, from men who had seen me, that I was alive, and waiting for the goods and men; but as for morality, he is evidently an idiot, and there being no law here except that of the dagger or musket, I had to sit down in great weakness, destitute of everything save a few barter cloths and beads, which I had taken the precaution to leave here in case of extreme need.
The near prospect of beggary among Ujijians made me miserable.
I could not despair, because I laughed so much at a friend who, on reaching the mouth of the Zambezi, said that he was tempted to despair on breaking the photograph of his wife. We could have no success after that. Afterward the idea of despair had to me such a strong smack of the ludicrous that it was out of the question.
Well, when I had got to about the lowest verge, vague rumors of an English visitor reached me. I thought of myself as the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho; but neither priest, Levite, nor Samaritan could possibly pass my way. Yet the good Samaritan was close at hand, and one of my people rushed up at the top of his speed, and, in great excitement, gasped out, “An Englishman coming! I see him!” and off he darted to meet him.
An American flag, the first ever seen in these parts, at the head of a caravan, told me the nationality of the stranger.
I am as cold and non-demonstrative as we islanders are usually reputed to be; but your kindness made my frame thrill. It was, indeed, overwhelming, and I said in my soul, “Let the richest blessings descend from the Highest on you and yours!”
The news Mr. Stanley had to tell was thrilling. The mighty political changes on the Continent; the success of the Atlantic cables; the election of General Grant, and many other topics’ riveted my attention for days together, and had an immediate and beneficial effect on my health. I had been without news from home for years save what I could glean from a few ‘Saturday Reviews’ and ‘Punch’ of 1868. The appetite revived, and in a week I began to feel strong again.
Mr. Stanley brought a most kind and encouraging despatch from Lord Clarendon (whose loss I sincerely deplore), the first I have received from the Foreign Office since 1866, and information that the British Government had kindly sent a thousand pounds sterling to my aid. Up to his arrival I was not aware of any pecuniary aid. I came unsalaried, but this want is now happily repaired, and I am anxious that you and all my friends should know that, though uncheered by letter, I have stuck to the task which my friend Sir Roderick Murchison set me with “John Bullish” tenacity, believing that all would come right at last.
The watershed of South Central Africa is over seven hundred wiles in length. The fountains thereon are almost innumerable — that is, it would take a man’s lifetime to count them. From the watershed they converge into four large rivers, and these again into two mighty streams in the great Nile valley, which begins in ten degrees to twelve degrees south latitude. It was long ere light dawned on the ancient problem and gave me a clear idea of the drainage. I had to feel my way, and every step of the way, and was, generally, groping in the dark — for who cared where the rivers ran? “We drank our fill and let the rest run by.”
The Portuguese who visited Cazembe asked for slaves and ivory, and heard of nothing else. I asked about the waters, questioned and cross-questioned, until I was almost afraid of being set down as afflicted with hydrocephalus.
My last work, in which I have been greatly hindered from want of suitable attendants, was following the central line of drainage down through the country of the cannibals, called Manyuema, or, shortly Manyema. This line of drainage has four large lakes in it. The fourth I was near when obliged to turn. It is from one to three miles broad, and never can be reached at any point, or at any time of the year. Two western drains, the Lufira, or Bartle Frere’s River, flow into it at Lake Kamolondo. Then the great River Lomame flows through Lake Lincoln into it too, and seems to form the western arm of the Nile, on which Petherick traded.
Now, I knew about six hundred miles of the watershed, and unfortunately the seventh hundred is the most interesting of the whole; for in it, if I am not mistaken, four fountains arise from an earthen mound, and the last of the four becomes, at no great distance off, a large river.
Two of these run north to Egypt, Lufira and Lomame, and two run south into inner Ethiopia, as the Leambaye, or Upper Zambezi, and the Kaful.
Are not these the sources of the Nile mentioned by the Secretary of Minerva, in the city of Sais, to Herodotus?
I have heard of them so often, and at great distances off, that I cannot doubt their existence, and in spite of the sore longing for home that seizes me every time I think of my family, I wish to finish up by their rediscovery.
Five hundred pounds sterling worth of goods have again unaccountably been entrusted to slaves, and have been over a year on the way, instead of four months. I must go where they lie at your expense, ere I can put the natural completion to my work.
And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together. Now that you have done with domestic slavery for ever, lend us your powerful aid toward this great object. This fine country is blighted, as with a curse from above, in order that the slavery privileges of the petty Sultan of Zanzibar may not be infringed, and the rights of the Crown of Portugal, which are mythical, should be kept in abeyance till some future time when Africa will become another India to Portuguese slave-traders.
I conclude by again thanking you most cordially for your great generosity, and am,
To the above letter I have nothing to add — it speaks for itself; but I then thought it was the best evidence of my success. For my own part, I cared not one jot or tittle about his discoveries, except so far as it concerned the newspaper which commissioned me for the “search.” It is true I felt curious as to the result of his travels; but, since he confessed that he had not completed what he had begun, I felt considerable delicacy to ask for more than he could afford to give. His discoveries were the fruits of of his own labours — to him they belonged — by their publication he hoped to obtain his reward, which he desired to settle on his children. Yet Livingstone had a higher and nobler ambition than the mere pecuniary sum he would receive: he followed the dictates of duty. Never was such a willing slave to that abstract virtue. His inclinations impelled him home, the fascinations of which it required the sternest resolves to resist. With every foot of new ground he travelled over he forged a chain of sympathy which should hereafter bind the Christian nations in bonds of love and charity to the Heathen of the African tropics. If he were able to complete this chain of love — by actual discovery and description of them to embody such peoples and nations as still live in darkness, so as to attract the good and charitable of his own land to bestir themselves for their redemption and salvation — this, Livingstone would consider an ample reward.
“A delirious and fatuous enterprise, a Quixotic scheme!” some will say. Not it, my friends; for as sure as the sun shines on both Christian and Infidel, civilised and Pagan, the day of enlightenment will come; and, though Livingstone, the Apostle of Africa, may not behold it himself, nor we younger men, not yet our children, the Hereafter will see it, and posterity will recognise the daring pioneer of its civilization.
The following items are extracted in their entirety from my Diary:
March 12th. — The Arabs have sent me as many as forty-five letters to carry to the coast. I am turned courier in my latter days; but the reason is that no regularly organized caravans are permitted to leave Unyanyembe now, because of the war with Mirambo. What if I had stayed all this time at Unyanyembe waiting for the war to end! It is my opinion that, the Arabs will not be able to conquer Mirambo under nine months yet.
To-night the natives have gathered themselves together to give me a farewell dance in front of my house. I find them to be the pagazis of Singiri, chief of Mtesa’s caravan. My men joined in, and, captivated by the music despite myself, I also struck in, and performed the “light fantastic,” to the intense admiration of my braves, who were delighted to see their master unbend a little from his usual stiffness.
It is a wild dance altogether. The music is lively, and evoked from the sonorous sound of four drums, which are arranged before the bodies of four men, who stand in the centre of the weird circle. Bombay, as ever comical, never so much at home as when in the dance of the Mrima, has my water-bucket on his head; Chowpereh — the sturdy, the nimble, sure-footed Chowpereh — has an axe in his hand, and wears a goatskin on his head; Baraka has my bearskin, and handles a spear; Mabruki, the “Bull-headed,” has entered into the spirit of the thing, and steps up and down like a solemn elephant; Ulimengo has a gun, and is a fierce Drawcansir, and you would imagine he was about to do battle to a hundred thousand, so ferocious is he in appearance; Khamisi and Kamna are before the drummers, back to back, kicking up ambitiously at the stars; Asmani, — the embodiment of giant strength, — a towering Titan, — has also a gun, with which he is dealing blows in the air, as if he were Thor, slaying myriads with his hammer. The scruples and passions of us all are in abeyance; we are contending demons under the heavenly light of the stars, enacting only the part of a weird drama, quickened into action and movement by the appalling energy and thunder of the drums.
The warlike music is ended, and another is started. The choragus has fallen on his knees, and dips his head two or three times in an excavation in the ground, and a choir, also on their knees, repeat in dolorous tones the last words of a slow and solemn refrain. The words are literally translated:—
Choragus. Oh-oh-oh! the white man is going home!
Choir. Oh-oh-oh! going home!
Going home, oh-oh-oh!
Choragus. To the happy island on the sea,
Where the beads are plenty, oh-oh-oh!
Choir. Oh-oh-oh! where the beads are plenty,
Choragus. While Singiri has kept us, oh, very long
From our homes very long, oh-oh-oh.!
Choir From our homes, oh-oh-oh!
Choragus. And we have had no food for very long —
We are half-starved, oh, for so long!
Choir. For so very long, oh-oh-oh!
Singiri! oh, Singiri
Choragus. Mirambo has gone to war
To fight against the Arabs;
The Arabs and Wangwana
Have gone to fight Mirambo!
Choir Oh-oh-oh! to fight Mirambo!
Oh, Mirambo! Mirambo
Oh, to fight Mirambo!
Choragus. But the white man will make us glad,
He is going home! For he is going home,
And he will make us glad! Sh-sh-sh!
Choir. The white man will make us glad! Sh-sh-sh
Sh —— sh-h-h —— sh-h-h-h-h-h!
Um-m — mu —— um-m-m —— sh!
This is the singular farewell which I received from the Wanyamwezi of Singiri, and for its remarkable epic beauty(?), rhythmic excellence(?), and impassioned force(?), I have immortalised it in the pages of this book, as one of the most wonderful productions of the chorus-loving children of Unyamwezi.
March 13th. — The last day of my stay with Livingstone has come and gone, and the last night we shall be together is present, and I cannot evade the morrow! I feel as though I would rebel against the fate which drives me away from him. The minutes beat fast, and grow into hours.
Our door is closed, and we are both of us busy with our own thoughts. What his thoughts are I know not. Mine are sad. My days seem to have been spent in an Elysian field; otherwise, why should I so keenly regret the near approach of the parting hour? Have I not been battered by successive fevers, prostrate with agony day after day lately? Have I not raved and stormed in madness? Have I not clenched my fists in fury, and fought with the wild strength of despair when in delirium? Yet, I regret to surrender the pleasure I have felt in this man’s society, though so dearly purchased.
I cannot resist the sure advance of time, which flies this night as if it mocked me, and gloated on the misery it created! Be it so!
How many times have I not suffered the pang of parting with friends! I wished to linger longer, but the inevitable would come — Fate sundered us. This is the same regretful feeling, only it is more poignant, and the farewell may be forever! Forever? And “for ever,” echo the reverberations of a woful whisper.
I have noted down all he has said to-night; but the reader shall not share it with me. It is mine!
I am as jealous as he is himself of his Journal; and I have written in German text, and in round hand, on either side of it, on the waterproof canvas cover, “Positively not to be opened;” to which he has affixed his signature. I have stenographed every word he has said to me respecting the equable distribution of certain curiosities among his friends and children, and his last wish about “his” dear old friend, Sir Roderick Murchison, because he has been getting anxious about him ever since we received the newspapers at Ugunda, when we read that the old man was suffering from a paralytic stroke. I must be sure to send him the news, as soon as I get to Aden; and I have promised that he will receive the message from me quicker than anything was ever received in Central Africa.
“To-morrow night, Doctor, you will be alone!”
“Yes; the house will look as though a death had taken place. You had better stop until the rains, which are now near, are over.”
“I would to God I could, my dear Doctor; but every day I stop here, now that there is no necessity for me to stay longer, keeps you from your work and home.”
“I know; but consider your health — you are not fit to travel. What is it? Only a few weeks longer. You will travel to the coast just as quickly when the rains are over as you will by going now. The plains will be inundated between here and the coast.”
“You think so; but I will reach the coast in forty days; if not in forty, I will in fifty — certain. The thought that I am doing you an important service will spur me on.”
March 14th. — At dawn we were up, the bales and baggage were taken outside of the building, and the men prepared themselves for the first march towards home.
We had a sad breakfast together. I could not eat, my heart was too full; neither did my companion seem to have an appetite. We found something to do which kept us longer together. At 8 o’clock I was not gone, and I had thought to have been off at 5 A.M.
“Doctor,” said I, “I will leave two men with you, who will stop today and tomorrow with you, for it may be that you have forgotten something in the hurry of my departure. I will halt a day at Tura, on the frontier of Unyamwezi, for your last word, and your last wish; and now we must part — there is no help for it. Good-bye.”
“Oh, I am coming with you a little way. I must see you off on the road.”
“Thank you. Now, my men, Home! Kirangozi, lift the flag, and march!”
The house looked desolate — it faded from our view. Old times, and the memories of my aspirations and kindling hopes, came strong on me. The old hills round about, that I once thought tame and uninteresting, had become invested with histories and reminiscences for me. On that burzani I have sat hour after hour, dreaming, and hoping, and sighing. On that col I stood, watching the battle and the destruction of Tabora. Under that roof I have sickened and been delirious, and cried out like a child at the fate that threatened my mission. Under that banian tree lay my dead comrade — poor Shaw; I would have given a fortune to have had him by my side at this time. From that house I started on my journey to Ujiji; to it I returned as to a friend, with a newer and dearer companion; and now I leave all. Already it all appears like a strange dream.
We walked side by side; the men lifted their voices into a song. I took long looks at Livingstone, to impress his features thoroughly on my memory.
“The thing is, Doctor, so far as I can understand it, you do not intend to return home until you have satisfied yourself about the ‘Sources of the Nile.’ When you have satisfied yourself, you will come home and satisfy others. Is it not so?”
“That is it, exactly. When your men come back, I shall immediately start for Ufipa; then, crossing the Rungwa River, I shall strike south, and round the extremity of the Tanganika. Then, a south-east course will take me to Chicumbi’s, on the Luapula. On crossing the Luapula, I shall go direct west to the copper-mines of Katanga. Eight days south of Katanga, the natives declare the fountains to be. When I have found them, I shall return by Katanga to the underground houses of Rua. From the caverns, ten days north-east will take me to Lake Kamolondo. I shall be able to travel from the lake, in your boat, up the River Lufira, to Lake Lincoln. Then, coming down again, I can proceed north, by the Lualaba, to the fourth lake — which, I think, will explain the whole problem; and I will probably find that it is either Chowambe (Baker’s lake), or Piaggia’s lake.
“And how long do you think this little journey will take you?”
“A year and a half, at the furthest, from the day I leave Unyanyembe.”
“Suppose you say two years; contingencies might arise, you know. It will be well for me to hire these new men for two years; the day of their engagement to begin from their arrival at Unyanyembe.”
“Yes, that will do excellently well.”
“Now, my dear Doctor, the best friends must part. You have come far enough; let me beg of you to turn back.”
“Well, I will say this to you: you have done what few men could do — far better than some great travellers I know. And I am grateful to you for what you have done for me. God guide you safe home, and bless you, my friend.”
“And may God bring you safe back to us all, my dear friend. Farewell!”
We wrung each other’s hands, and I had to tear myself away before I unmanned myself; but Susi, and Chumah, and Hamoydah — the Doctor’s faithful fellows — they must all shake and kiss my hands before I could quite turn away. I betrayed myself!
“Good-bye, Doctor — dear friend!”
The farewell between Livingstone and myself had been spoken. We were parted, he to whatever fate Destiny had yet in store for him, to battling against difficulties, to many, many days of marching through wildernesses, with little or nothing much to sustain him save his own high spirit, and enduring faith in God — “who would bring all things right at last;” and I to that which Destiny may have in store for me.
But though I may live half a century longer, I shall never forget that parting scene in Central Africa. I shall never cease to think of the sad tones of that sorrowful word Farewell, how they permeated through every core of my heart, how they clouded my eyes, and made me wish unutterable things which could never be.
An audacious desire to steal one embrace from the dear old man came over me, and almost unmanned me. I felt tempted to stop with him and assist him, on his long return march to the fountain region, but these things were not to be, any more than many other impulsive wishes, and despite the intensified emotions which filled both of us, save by silent tears, and a tremulous parting word, we did not betray our stoicism of manhood and race.
I assumed a gruff voice, and ordered the Expedition to march, and I resolutely turned my face toward the eastern sky. But ever and anon my eyes would seek that deserted figure of an old man in grey clothes, who with bended head and slow steps was returning to his solitude, the very picture of melancholy, and each time I saw him — as the plain was wide and clear of obstructions — I felt my eyes stream, and my heart swell with a vague, indefinable feeling of foreboding and sorrow.
I thought of his lonely figure sitting day after day on the burzani of his house, by which all caravans from the coast would have to pass, and of the many, many times he would ask the new-comers whether they had passed any men coming along the road for him, and I thought as each day passed, and his stores and letters had not arrived how be would grieve at the lengthening delay. I then felt strong again, as I felt that so long as I should be doing service for Livingstone, I was not quite parted from him, and by doing the work effectively and speedily the bond of friendship between us would be strengthened. Such thoughts spurred me to the resolution to march so quickly for the coast, that Arabs in after time should marvel at the speed with which the white man’s caravan travelled from Unyanyembe to Zanzibar.
I took one more look at him; he was standing near the gate of Kwikuru with his servants near him. I waved a handkerchief to him, as a final token of farewell, and he responded to it by lifting his cap. It was the last opportunity, for we soon surmounted the crest of a land-wave, and began the descent into the depression on the other side, and I never saw him more.
God grant, dear reader, that if ever you take to travelling in Central Africa, you find as good and true a man, for your companion, as I found in noble David Livingstone. For four months and four days he and I occupied the same house, or, the same tent, and I never had one feeling of resentment against him, nor did he show any against me, and the longer I lived with him the more did my admiration and reverence for him increase.
What were Livingstone’s thoughts during the time which elapsed between my departure for the coast, and the arrival of his supplies, may be gathered from a letter which he wrote on the 2nd of July to Mr. John F. Webb, American Consul at Zanzibar.
I have been waiting up here like Simeon Stylites on his pillar, and counting every day, and conjecturing each step taken by our friend towards the coast, wishing and praying that no sickness might lay him up, no accident befall him, and no unlooked-for combinations of circumstances render his kind intentions vain or fruitless. Mr. Stanley had got over the tendency to the continued form of fever which is the most dangerous, and was troubled only with the intermittent form, which is comparatively safe, or I would not have allowed him, but would have accompanied him to Zanzibar. I did not tell himself so; nor did I say what I thought, that he really did a very plucky thing in going through the Mirambo war in spite of the remonstrances of all the Arabs, and from Ujiji guiding me back to Unyanyembe. The war, as it is called, is still going on. The danger lay not so much in the actual fighting as in the universal lawlessness the war engendered.
I am not going to inflict on the reader a repetition of our march back, except to record certain incidents which occurred to us as we journeyed to the coast.
March 17th. — We came to the Kwalah River. The first rain of the Masika season fell on this day; I shall be mildewed before I reach the coast. Last year’s Masika began at Bagamoyo, March 23rd, and ended 30th April.
The next day I halted the Expedition at Western Tura, on the Unyamwezi frontier, and on the 20th arrived at Eastern Tura; when, soon after, we heard a loud report of a gun, and Susi and Hamoydah, the Doctor’s servants, with Uredi, and another of my men, appeared with a letter for “Sir Thomas MacLear, Observatory, Cape of Good Hope,” and one for myself, which read as follows:
Kwihara, March 15, 1872.
If you can telegraph on your arrival in London, be particular, please, to say how Sir Roderick is. You put the matter exactly yesterday, when you said that I was “not yet satisfied about the Sources; but as soon as I shall be satisfied, I shall return and give satisfactory reasons fit for other people.” This is just as it stands.
I wish I could give you a better word than the Scotch one to “put a stout heart to a stey brae” — (a steep ascent) — for you will do that; and I am thankful that, before going away, the fever had changed into the intermittent, or safe form. I would not have let you go, but with great concern, had you still been troubled with the continued type. I feel comfortable in commending you to the guardianship of the good Lord and Father of all.
I am gratefully yours,
I have worked as hard as I could copying observations made in one line of march from Kabuire, back again to Cazembe, and on to Lake Baugweolo, and am quite tired out. My large figures fill six sheets of foolscap, and many a day will elapse ere I take to copying again. I did my duty when ill at Ujiji in 1869, and am not to blame, though they grope a little in the dark at home. Some Arab letters have come, and I forward them to you.
March 16, 1872.
P.S. — I have written a note this morning to Mr. Murray, 50, Albemarle Street, the publisher, to help you, if necessary, in sending the Journal by book post, or otherwise, to Agnes. If you call on him you will find him a frank gentleman. A pleasant journey to you.
To Henry M. Stanley, Esq., Wherever he may be found.
Several Wangwana arrived at Tura to join our returning Expedition, as they were afraid to pass through Ugogo by themselves; others were reported coming; but as all were sufficiently warned at Unyanyembe that the departure of the caravan would take place positively on the 14th, I was not disposed to wait longer.
As we were leaving Tura, on the 21st, Susi and Hamoydah were sent back to the Doctor, with last words from me, while we continued our march to Nghwhalah River.
Two days afterwards we arrived before the village of Ngaraisa, into which the head of the caravan attempted to enter but the angry Wakimbu forcibly ejected them.
On the 24th, we encamped in the jungle, in what is called the “tongoni,” or clearing.
This region was at one period in a most flourishing state; the soil is exceedingly fertile; the timber is large, and would be valuable near the coast; and, what is highly appreciated in Africa, there is an abundance of water. We camped near a smooth, broad hump of syenite, at one end of which rose, upright and grand, a massive square rock, which towered above several small trees in the vicinity; at the other end stood up another singular rock, which was loosened at the base.
The members of the Expedition made use of the great sheet of rock to grind their grain; a common proceeding in these lands where villages are not near, or when the people are hostile.
On the 27th of March we entered Kiwyeh. At dawn, when leaving Mdaburu River, the solemn warning had been given that we were about entering Ugogo; and as we left Kaniyaga village, with trumpet-like blasts of the guide’s horn, we filed into the depths of an expanse of rustling Indian corn. The ears were ripe enough for parching and roasting, and thus was one anxiety dispelled by its appearance; for generally, in early March, caravans suffer from famine, which overtakes both natives and strangers.
We soon entered the gum-tree districts, and we knew we were in Ugogo. The forests of this country are chiefly composed of the gum and thorn species — mimosa and tamarisk, with often a variety of wild fruit trees. The grapes were plentiful, though they were not quite ripe; and there was also a round, reddish fruit with the sweetness of the Sultana grape, with leaves like a gooseberry-bush. There was another about the size of an apricot, which was excessively bitter.
Emerging from the entangled thorn jungle, the extensive settlements of Kiwyeh came into view; and to the east of the chief’s village we found a camping place under the shade of a group of colossal baobab.
We had barely encamped when we heard the booming, bellowing war horns sounding everywhere, and we espied messengers darting swiftly in every direction giving the alarm of war. When first informed that the horns were calling the people to arm themselves, and prepare for war, I half suspected that an attack was about to be made on the Expedition; but the words “Urugu, warugu” (thief! thieves!) — bandied about, declared the cause. Mukondoku, the chief of the populous district two days to the north-east, where we experienced some excitement when westward-bound, was marching to attack the young Mtemi, Kiwyeh, and Kiwyeh’s soldiers were called to the fight. The men rushed to their villages, and in a short time we saw them arrayed in full fighting costume. Feathers of the ostrich and the eagle waved over their fronts, or the mane of the zebra surrounded their heads; their knees and ankles were hung with little bells; joho robes floated behind, from their necks; spears, assegais, knob-sticks, and bows were flourished over their heads, or held in their right hands, as if ready for hurling. On each flank of a large body which issued from the principal village, and which came at a uniform swinging double-quick, the ankle and knee bells all chiming in admirable unison, were a cloud of skirmishers, consisting of the most enthusiastic, who exercised themselves in mimic war as they sped along. Column after column, companies, and groups from every village hurried on past our camp until, probably, there were nearly a thousand soldiers gone to the war. This scene gave me a better idea than anything else of the weakness of even the largest caravans which travelled between Zanzibar and Unyanyembe.
At night the warriors returned from the forest; the alarm proved to be without foundation. At first it was generally reported that the invaders were Wahehe, or the Wadirigo, as that tribe are scornfully called from their thieving propensities. The Wahehe frequently make a foray upon the fat cattle of Ugogo. They travel from their own country in the south-east, and advance through the jungle, and when about to approach the herds, stoop down, covering their bodies with their shields of bull-hide. Having arrived between the cattle and the herdsmen, they suddenly rise up and begin to switch the cattle heartily, and, having started them off into the jungle in the care of men already detailed for the work, they turn about, and plant their shields before them, to fight the aroused shepherds.
On the 30th we arrived at Khonze, which is remarkable for the mighty globes of foliage which the giant sycamores and baobabs put forth above the plain. The chief of Khonze boasts of four tembes, out of which he could muster in the aggregate fifty armed men; yet this fellow, instigated by the Wanyamwezi residents, prepared to resist our advance, because I only sent him three doti — twelve yards of cloth — as honga.
We were halted, waiting the return of a few friendly Wagogo travellers who had joined us, and who were asked to assist Bombay in the negotiation of the tribute, when the Wagogo returned to us at breathless speed, and shouted out to me, “Why do you halt here? Do you wish to die? These pagans will not take the tribute, but they boast that they will eat up all your cloth.”
The renegade Wanyamwezi who had married into Wagogo families were always our bane in this country. As the chief of Khonze came up I ordered the men to load their guns, and I loaded my own ostentatiously in his presence, and then strode up to him, and asked if he had come to take the cloth by force, or if he were going to accept quietly what I would give him. As the Mnyamwezi who caused this show of hostilities was beginning to speak, I caught him by the throat, and threatened to make his nose flatter if he attempted to speak again in my presence, and to shoot him first, if we should be forced to fight. The rascal was then pushed away into the rear. The chief, who was highly amused with this proceeding, laughed loudly at the discomfiture of the parasite, and in a short time he and I had settled the tribute to our mutual satisfaction, and we parted great friends. The Expedition arrived at Sanza that night.
On the 31st we came to Kanyenyi, to the great Mtemi — Magomba’s — whose son and heir is Mtundu M’gondeh. As we passed by the tembe of the great Sultan, the msagira, or chief counsellor, a pleasant grey-haired man, was at work making a thorn fence around a patch of young corn. He greeted the caravan with a sonorous “Yambo,” and, putting himself at its head, he led the way to our camp. When introduced to me he was very cordial in his manner. He was offered a kiti-stool and began to talk very affably. He remembered my predecessors, Burton, Speke, and Grant, very well; declared me to be much younger than any of them; and, recollecting that one of the white men used to drink asses’ milk (Burton?), offered to procure me some. The way I drank it seemed to give him very great satisfaction.
His son, Unamapokera, was a tall man of thirty or thereabouts, and he conceived a great friendship for me, and promised that the tribute should be very light, and that he would send a man to show me the way to Myumi, which was a village on the frontier of Kanyenyi, by which I would be enabled to avoid the rapacious Kisewah, who was in the habit of enforcing large tribute from caravans.
With the aid of Unamapokera and his father, we contrived to be mulcted very lightly, for we only paid ten doti, while Burton was compelled to pay sixty doti or two hundred and forty yards of cloth.
On the 1st of April, rising early, we reached Myumi after a four hours’ march; then plunged into the jungle, and, about 2 P.M. arrived at a large ziwa, or pond, situate in the middle of a jungle; and on the next day, at 10 A.M., reached the fields of Mapanga. We were passing the village of Mapanga to a resting-place beyond the village, where we might breakfast and settle the honga, when a lad rushed forward to meet us, and asked us where we were going. Having received a reply that we were going to a camping-place, he hastened on ahead, and presently we heard him talking to some men in a field on our right.
In the meantime, we had found a comfortable shady place, and had come to a halt; the men were reclining on the ground, or standing up near their respective loads; Bombay was about opening a bale, when we heard a great rush of men, and loud shouts, and, immediately after, out rushed from the jungle near by a body of forty or fifty armed men, who held their spears above their heads, or were about to draw their bows, with a chief at their head, all uttering such howls of rage as only savages can, which sounded like a long-drawn “Hhaat-uh — Hhaat-uhh-uhh,” which meant, unmistakably, “You will, will you? No, you will not!” — at once determined, defiant, and menacing.
I had suspected that the voices I heard boded no good to us, and I had accordingly prepared my weapons and cartridges. Verily, what a fine chance for adventure this was! One spear flung at us, or one shot fired into this minatory mob of savages, and the opposing’ bands had been plunged into a fatal conflict! There would have been no order of battle, no pomp of war, but a murderous strife, a quick firing of breech-loaders, and volleys from flint-lock muskets, mixed with the flying of spears and twanging of bows, the cowardly running away at once, pursued by yelping savages; and who knows how it all would have terminated? Forty spears against forty guns — but how many guns would not have decamped? Perhaps all, and I should have been left with my boy gunbearers to have my jugular deliberately severed, or to be decapitated, leaving my head to adorn a tall pole in the centre of a Kigogo village, like poor Monsieur Maizan’s at Dege la Mhora, in Uzaramo. Happy end of an Expedition! And the Doctor’s Journal lost for ever — the fruits of six years’ labor!
But in this land it will not do to fight unless driven to the very last extremity. No belligerent Mungo Park can be successful in Ugogo unless he has a sufficient force of men with him. With five hundred Europeans one could traverse Africa from north to south, by tact, and the moral effect that such a force would inspire. Very little fighting would be required.
Without rising from the bale on which I was seated, I requested the kirangozi to demand an explanation of their furious hubbub and threatening aspect; if they were come to rob us.
“No,” said the chief; “we do not want to stop the road, or to rob you; but we want the tribute.”
“But don’t you see us halted, and the bale opened to send it to you? We have come so far from your village that after the tribute is settled we can proceed on our way, as the day is yet young.”
The chief burst into a loud laugh, and was joined by ourselves. He evidently felt ashamed of his conduct for he voluntarily offered the explanation, that as he and his men were cutting wood to make a new fence for his village, a lad came up to him, and said that a caravan of Wangwana were about passing through the country without stopping to explain who they were. We were soon very good friends. He begged of me to make rain for him, as his crops were suffering, and no rain had fallen for months. I told him that though white people were very great and clever people, much superior to the Arabs, yet we could not make rain. Though very much disappointed, he did not doubt my statement, and after receiving his honga, which was very light, he permitted us to go on our way, and even accompanied us some distance to show us the road.
At 3 P.M. we entered a thorny jungle; and by 5 P.M. we had arrived at Muhalata, a district lorded over by the chief Nyamzaga. A Mgogo, of whom I made a friend, proved very staunch. He belonged to Mulowa, a country to the S.S.E., and south of Kulabi; and was active in promoting my interests by settling the tribute, with the assistance of Bombay, for me. When, on the next day, we passed through Kulabi on our way to Mvumi, and the Wagogo were about to stop us for the honga, he took upon himself the task of relieving us from further toll, by stating we were from Ugogo or Kanyenyi. The chief simply nodded his head, and we passed on. It seems that the Wagogo do not exact blackmail of those caravans who intend only to trade in their own country, or have no intention of passing beyond their own frontier.
Leaving Kulabi, we traversed a naked, red, loamy plain, over which the wind from the heights of Usagara, now rising a bluish-black jumble of mountains in our front, howled most fearfully. With clear, keen, incisive force, the terrible blasts seemed to penetrate through an through our bodies, as though we were but filmy gauze. Manfully battling against this mighty “peppo “ — storm — we passed through Mukamwa’s, and crossing a broad sandy bed of a stream, we entered the territory of Mvumi, the last tribute-levying chief of Ugogo.
The 4th of April, after sending Bombay and my friendly Mgogo with eight doti, or thirty-two yards of cloth, as a farewell tribute to the Sultan, we struck off through the jungle, and in five hours we were on the borders of the wilderness of “Marenga Mkali” — the “hard,” bitter or brackish, water.
From our camp I despatched three men to Zanzibar with letters to the American Consul, and telegraphic despatches for the ‘Herald,’ with a request to the Consul that he would send the men back with a small case or two containing such luxuries as hungry, worn-out, and mildewed men would appreciate. The three messengers were charged not to halt for anything — rain or no rain, river or inundation — as if they did not hurry up we should catch them before they reached the coast. With a fervent “Inshallah, bana,” they departed.
On the 5th, with a loud, vigorous, cheery “Hurrah!” we plunged into the depths of the wilderness, which, with its eternal silence and solitude, was far preferable to the jarring, inharmonious discord of the villages of the Wagogo. For nine hours we held on our way, starting with noisy shouts the fierce rhinoceros, the timid quagga, and the herds of antelopes which crowd the jungles of this broad salina. On the 7th, amid a pelting rain, we entered Mpwapwa, where my Scotch assistant, Farquhar, died. We had performed the extraordinary march of 338 English statute miles from the 14th of March to the 7th of April, or within twenty-four days, inclusive of halts, which was a little over fourteen miles a day.
Leukole, the chief of Mpwapwa, with whom I left Farquhar, gave the following account of the death of the latter: —
“The white man seemed to be improving after you left him, until the, fifth day, when, while attempting to rise and walk out of his tent, he fell back; from that minute he got worse and worse, and in the afternoon he died, like one going to sleep. His legs and abdomen had swollen considerably, and something, I think, broke within him when he fell, for he cried out like a man who was very much hurt, and his servant said, ‘The master says he is dying.’
“We had him carried out under a large tree, and after covering him with leaves, there left him. His servant took possession of his things, his rifle, clothes, and blanket, and moved off to the tembe of a Mnyamwezi, near Kisokweh, where he lived for three months, when he also died. Before he died he sold his master’s rifle to an Arab going to Unyanyembe for ten doti (forty yards of cloth). That is all I know about it.”
He subsequently showed me the hollow into which the dead body of Farquhar was thrown, but I could not find a vestige of his bones, though we looked sharply about that we might make a decent grave for them. Before we left Unyanyembe fifty men were employed two days carrying rocks, with which I built up a solid enduring pile around Shaw’s grave eight feet long and five feet broad, which Dr. Livingstone said would last hundreds of years, as the grave of the first white man who died in Unyamwezi. But though we could not discover any remains of the unfortunate Farquhar, we collected a large quantity of stones, and managed to raise a mound near the banks of the stream to commemorate the spot where his body was laid.
It was not until we had entered the valley of the Mukondokwa River that we experienced anything like privation or hardship from the Masika. Here the torrents thundered and roared; the river was a mighty brown flood, sweeping downward with, an almost resistless flow. The banks were brimful, and broad nullahs were full of water, and the fields were inundated, and still the rain came surging down in a shower, that warned us of what we might expect during our transit of the sea-coast region. Still we urged our steps onward like men to whom every moment was precious — as if a deluge was overtaking us. Three times we crossed this awful flood at the fords by means of ropes tied to trees from bank to bank, and arrived at Kadetamare on the 11th, a most miserable, most woe-begone set of human beings; and camped on a hill opposite Mount Kibwe, which rose on the right of the river — one of the tallest peaks of the range.
On the 12th of April, after six hours of the weariest march I had ever undergone, we arrived at the mouth of the Mukondokwa Pass, out of which the river debouches into the Plain of Makata. We knew that it was an unusual season, for the condition of the country, though bad enough the year before, was as nothing compared to this year. Close to the edge of the foaming, angry flood lay our route, dipping down frequently into deep ditches, wherein we found ourselves sometimes up to the waist in water, and sometimes up to the throat. Urgent necessity impelled us onward, lest we might have to camp at one of these villages until the end of the monsoon rains; so we kept on, over marshy bottoms, up to the knees in mire, under jungly tunnels dripping with wet, then into sloughs arm-pit deep. Every channel seemed filled to overflowing, yet down the rain poured, beating the surface of the river into yellowish foam, pelting us until we were almost breathless. Half a day’s battling against such difficulties brought us, after crossing the river, once again to the dismal village of Mvumi.
We passed the night fighting swarms of black and voracious mosquitoes, and in heroic endeavours to win repose in sleep, in which we were partly successful, owing to the utter weariness of our bodies.
On the 13th we struck out of the village of Mvumi. It had rained the whole night, and the morning brought no cessation. Mile after mile we traversed, over fields covered by the inundation, until we came to a branch river-side once again, where the river was narrow, and too deep to ford in the middle. We proceeded to cut a tree down, and so contrived that it should fall right across the stream. Over this fallen tree the men, bestriding it, cautiously moved before them their bales and boxes; but one young fellow, Rojab — through over-zeal, or in sheer madness — took up the Doctor’s box which contained his letters and Journal of his discoveries on his head, and started into the river. I had been the first to arrive on the opposite bank, in order to superintend the crossing; when I caught sight of this man walking in the river with the most precious box of all on his head. Suddenly he fell into a deep hole, and the man and box went almost out of sight, while I was in an agony at the fate which threatened the despatches. Fortunately, he recovered himself and stood up, while I shouted to him, with a loaded revolver pointed at his head, “Look out! Drop that bog, and I’ll shoot you.”
All the men halted in their work while they gazed at their comrade who was thus imperilled by bullet and flood. The man himself seemed to regard the pistol with the greatest awe, and after a few desperate efforts succeeded in getting the box safely ashore. As the articles within were not damaged, Rojab escaped punishment, with a caution not to touch the bog again on any account, and it was transferred to the keeping of the sure-footed and perfect pagazi, Maganga.
From this stream, in about an hour, we came to the main river, but one look at its wild waters was enough. We worked hard to construct a raft, but after cutting down four trees and lashing the green logs together, and pushing them into the whirling current, we saw them sink like lead. We then tied together all the strong rope in our possession, and made a line 180 feet long, with one end of which tied round his body, Chowpereh was sent across to lash it to a tree. He was carried far down the stream; but being an excellent swimmer, he succeeded in his attempt. The bales were lashed around the middle, and, heaved into the stream, were dragged through the river to the opposite bank, as well as the tent, and such things as could not be injured much by the water. Several of the men, as well as myself, were also dragged through the water; each of the boys being attended by the best swimmers; but when we came to the letter-boxes and valuables, we could suggest no means to take them over. Two camps were accordingly made, one on each side of the stream; the one on the bank which I had just left occupying an ant-hill of considerable height; while my party had to content itself with a flat, miry marsh. An embankment of soil, nearly a foot high, was thrown up in a circle thirty feet in diameter, in the centre of which my tent was pitched, and around it booths were erected.
It was an extraordinary and novel position that we found ourselves in. Within twenty feet of our camp was a rising river, with flat, low banks; above us was a gloomy, weeping sky; surrounding us on three sides was an immense forest, on whose branches we heard the constant, pattering rain; beneath our feet was a great depth of mud, black and loathsome; add to these the thought that the river might overflow, and sweep us to utter destruction.
In the morning the river was still rising, and an inevitable doom seemed to hang over us. There was yet time to act — to bring over the people, with the most valuable effects of the Expedition — as I considered Dr. Livingstone’s Journal and letters, and my own papers, of far greater value than anything else. While looking at the awful river an idea struck me that I might possibly carry the boxes across, one at a time, by cutting two slender poles, and tying cross sticks to them, making a kind of hand-barrow, on which a box might rest when lashed to it. Two men swimming across, at the same time holding on to the rope, with the ends of the poles resting on the men’s shoulders, I thought, would be enabled to convey over a 70 lb. box with ease. In a short time one of these was made, and six couples of the strongest swimmers were prepared, and stimulated with a rousing glass of stiff grog each man, with a promise of cloth to each also if they succeeded in getting everything ashore undamaged by the water. When I saw with what ease they dragged themselves across, the barrow on their shoulders, I wondered that I had not thought of the plan before. Within an hour of the first couple had gone over, the entire Expedition was safe on the eastern bank; and at once breaking camp, we marched north through the swampy forest, which in some places was covered with four feet of water. Seven hours’ constant splashing brought us to Rehenneko, after experiencing several queer accidents. We were now on the verge only of the inundated plain of the Makata, which, even with the last year’s rain, was too horrible to think of undertaking again in cold blood.
We were encamped ten days on a hill near Rehenneko, or until the 25th, when, the rain having entirely ceased, we resolved to attempt the crossing of the Makata. The bales of cloth had all been distributed as presents to the men for their work, except a small quantity which I retained for the food of my own mess.
But we should have waited a month longer, for the inundation had not abated four inches. However, after we once struggled up to our necks in water it was use less to turn back. For two marches of eight hours each we plunged through slush, mire, deep sloughs, water up to our necks, and muddy cataclysms, swam across nullahs, waded across gullies, and near sunset of the second day arrived on the banks of the Makata River. My people are not likely to forget that night; not one of them was able to sleep until it was long past midnight, because of the clouds of mosquitoes, which threatened to eat us all up; and when the horn sounded for the march of another day, there was not one dissentient amongst them.
It was 5 A.M. when we began the crossing of the Makata River, but beyond it for six miles stretched one long lake, the waters of which flowed gently towards the Wami. This was the confluence of the streams: four rivers were here gathered into one. The natives of Kigongo warned us not to attempt it, as the water was over our heads; but I had only to give a hint to the men, and we set on our way. Even the water — we were getting quite amphibious — was better than the horrible filth and piles of decaying vegetation which were swept against the boma of the village.
We were soon up to our armpits, then the water shallowed to the knee, then we stepped up to the neck, and waded on tiptoe, supporting the children above the water; and the same experiences occurred as those which we suffered the day before, until we were halted on the edge of the Little Makata, which raced along at the rate of eight knots an hour; but it was only fifty yards wide, and beyond it rose a high bank, and dry park-lands which extended as far as Simbo. We had no other option than to swim it; but it was a slow operation, the current was so swift and strong. Activity and zeal, high rewards, presents of money, backed by the lively feeling that we were nearing home, worked wonders, and in a couple of hours we were beyond the Makata.
Cheery and hopeful, we sped along the dry, smooth path that now lay before us, with the ardor and vivacity of heroes, and the ease and power of veterans, We rolled three ordinary marches into one that day, and long before night arrived at Simbo.
On the 29th we crossed the Ungerengeri, and as we came to Simbamwenni-the “Lion City” of Useguhha — lo! what a change! The flooded river had swept the entire front wall of the strongly-walled city away, and about fifty houses had been destroyed by the torrent. Villages of Waruguru, on the slopes of the Uruguru Mountains — Mkambaku range — had also suffered disastrously. If one-fourth of the reports we heard were true, at least a hundred people must have perished.
The Sultana had fled, and the stronghold of Kimbengo was no more! A deep canal that he had caused to be excavated when alive, to bring a branch of the Ungerengeri near his city — which was his glory and boast — proved the ruin of Simbamwenni. After the destruction of the place the river had formed a new bed, about 300 yards from the city. But what astonished us most were the masses of debris which seemed to be piled everywhere, and the great numbers of trees that were prostrate; and they all seemed to lie in the same direction, as if a strong wind had come from the south-west. The aspect of the Ungerengeri valley was completely changed — from a Paradise it was converted into a howling waste.
We continued our march until we reached Ulagalla, and it was evident, as we advanced, that an unusual storm had passed over the land, for the trees in some places seemed to lie in swathes.
A most fatiguing and long march brought us to Mussoudi, on the eastern bank of the Ungerengeri; but long before we reached it we realized that a terrific destruction of human life and property had occurred. The extent and nature of the calamity may be imagined, when I state that nearly one hundred villages, according to Mussoudi’s report, were swept away.
Mussoudi, the Diwan, says that the inhabitants had gone to rest as usual — as they had done ever since he had settled in the valley, twenty-five years ago — when, in the middle of the night, they heard a roar like many thunders, which woke them up to the fact that death was at work in the shape of an enormous volume of water, that, like a wall, came down, tearing the tallest trees with it, carrying away scores of villages at one fell, sure swoop into utter destruction. The scene six days after the event — when the river has subsided into its normal breadth and depth during the monsoons — is simply awful. Wherever we look, we find something very suggestive of the devastation that has visited the country; fields of corn are covered with many feet of sand and debris; the sandy bed the river has deserted is about a mile wide; and there are but three villages standing of all that I noticed when en route to Unyanyembe. When I asked Mussoudi where the people had gone to, he replied, “God has taken most of them, but some have gone to Udoe.” The surest blow ever struck at the tribe of the Wakami was indeed given by the hand of God; and, to use the words of the Diwan, “God’s power is wonderful, and who can resist Him!”
I again resort to my Diary, and extract the following:
April 30th. — Passing Msuwa, we travelled hurriedly through the jungle which saw such hard work with us when going to Unyanyembe. What dreadful odors and indescribable loathing this jungle produces! It is so dense that a tiger could not crawl through it; it is so impenetrable that an elephant could not force his way! Were a bottleful of concentrated miasma, such as we inhale herein, collected, what a deadly poison, instantaneous in its action, undiscoverable in its properties, would it be! I think it would act quicker than chloroform, be as fatal as prussic acid.
Horrors upon horrors are in it. Boas above our heads, snakes and scorpions under our feet. Land-crabs, terrapins, and iguanas move about in our vicinity. Malaria is in the air we breathe; the road is infested with “hotwater” ants, which bite our legs until we dance and squirm about like madmen. Yet, somehow, we are fortunate enough to escape annihilation, and many another traveller might also. Yet here, in verity, are the ten plagues of Egypt, through which a traveller in these regions must run the gauntlet:
1. Plague of boas. | 7. Suffocation from the 2. Red ants, or “hot-water.” | density of the jungle. 3 Scorpions. | 8. Stench. 4. Thorns and spear cacti. | 9. Thorns in the road. 5. Numerous impediments. | 10. Miasma. 6 Black mud knee-deep. |
May 1st. Kingaru Hera. — We heard news of a great storm having raged at Zanzibar, which has destroyed every house and every ship, — so the story runs; — and the same destruction has visited Bagamoyo and Whinde, they say. But I am by this time pretty well acquainted with the exaggerative tendency of the African. It is possible that serious loss has been sustained, from the evidences of the effects of the storm in the interior. I hear, also, that there are white men at Bagamoyo, who are about starting into the country to look after me (?). Who would look after me, I cannot imagine. I think they must have some confused idea of my Expedition; though, how they came to know that I was looking for any man I cannot conceive, because I never told a soul until I reached Unyanyembe.
May 2nd. Rosako. — I had barely arrived at the village before the three men I despatched from Mvumi, Ugogo, entered, bringing with them from the generous American Consul a few bottles of champagne, a few pots of jam, and two boxes of Boston crackers. These were most welcome after my terrible experiences in the Makata Valley. Inside one of these boxes, carefully put up by the Consul, were four numbers of the ‘Herald’; one of which contained my correspondence from Unyanyembe, wherein were some curious typographical errors, especially in figures and African names. I suppose my writing was wretched, owing to my weakness. In another are several extracts from various newspapers, in which I learn that many editors regard the Expedition into Africa as a myth. Alas! it has been a terrible, earnest fact with me; nothing but hard, conscientious work, privation, sickness, and almost death. Eighteen men have paid the forfeit of their lives in the undertaking. It certainly is not a myth — the death of my two white assistants; they, poor fellows, found their fate in the inhospitable regions of the interior.
One of my letters received from Zanzibar by my messengers states that there is an expedition at Bagamoyo called the “Livingstone Search and Relief Expedition.” What will the leaders of it do now? Livingstone is found and relieved already. Livingstone says he requires nothing more. It is a misfortune that they did not start earlier; then they might with propriety proceed, and be welcomed.
May 4th. — Arrived at Kingwere’s Ferry, but we were unable to attract the attention of the canoe paddler. Between our camp and Bagamoyo we have an inundated plain that is at least four miles broad. The ferrying of our Expedition across this broad watery waste will occupy considerable time.
May 5th. — Kingwere, the canoe proprietor, came about 11 A.M. from his village at Gongoni, beyond the watery plain. By his movements I am fain to believe him to be a descendant of some dusky King Log, for I have never seen in all this land the attributes and peculiarities of that royal personage so faithfully illustrated as in Kingwere. He brought two canoes with him, short, cranky things, in which only twelve of us could embark at a time. It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon before we arrived at Gongoni village.
May 6th. — After impressing Kingwere with the urgent necessity of quick action on his part, with a promise of an extra five-dollar gold piece, I had the satisfaction to behold the last man reach my camp at 3.30 p.m.
An hour later, and we are en route, at a pace that I never saw equalled at any time by my caravan. Every man’s feelings are intensified, for there is an animated, nay, headlong, impetuosity about their movements that indicates but too well what is going on in their minds. Surely, my own are a faithful index to their feelings; and I do not feel a whit too proud to acknowledge the great joy that possesses me. I feel proud to think that I have been successful; but, honestly, I do not feel so elated at that as at the hope that tomorrow I shall sit before a table bounteous with the good things of this life. How I will glory in the hams, and potatoes, and good bread! What a deplorable state of mind, is it not? Ah, my friend, wait till you are reduced to a skeleton by gaunt famine and coarse, loathsome food — until you have waded a Makata swamp, and marched 525 miles in thirty-five days through such weather as we have had — then you will think such pabula, food fit for gods!
Happy are we that, — after completing our mission, after the hurry and worry of the march, after the anxiety and vexation suffered from fractious tribes, after tramping for the last fifteen days through mire and Stygian marsh, — we near Beulah’s peace and rest! Can we do otherwise than express our happiness by firing away gunpowder until our horns are emptied — than shout our “hurrahs” until we are hoarse — than, with the hearty, soul-inspiring “Yambos,” greet every mother’s son fresh from the sea? Not so, think the Wangwana soldiers; and I so sympathize with them that I permit them to act their maddest without censure.
At sunset we enter the town of Bagamoyo. “More pilgrims come to town,” were the words heard in Beulah. “The white man has come to town,” were the words we heard in Bagamoyo. And we shall cross the water tomorrow to Zanzibar, and shall enter the golden gate; we shall see nothing, smell nothing, taste nothing that is offensive to the stomach any more!
The kirangozi blows his horn, and gives forth blasts potential as Astolpho’s, as the natives and Arabs throng around us. And that bright flag, whose stars have waved over the waters of the great lake in Central Africa, which promised relief to the harassed Livingstone when in distress at Ujiji, returns to the sea once again — torn, it is true, but not dishonoured — tattered, but not disgraced.
As we reached the middle of the town, I saw on the steps of a large white house a white man, in flannels and helmet similar to that I wore. I thought myself rather akin to white men in general, and I walked up to him. He advanced towards me, and we shook hands — did everything but embrace.
“Won’t you walk in?” said he.
“What will you have to drink — beer, stout, brandy? Eh, by George! I congratulate you on your splendid success,” said he, impetuously.
I knew him immediately. He was an Englishman. He was Lieut. William Henn, R.N., chief of the Livingstone Search and Relief Expedition, about to be despatched by the Royal Geographical Society to find and relieve Livingstone. The former chief, as the Expedition was at first organized, was Lieut. Llewellyn S. Dawson, who, as soon as he heard from my men that I had found Livingstone, had crossed over to Zanzibar, and, after consultation with Dr. John Kirk, had resigned. He had now nothing further to do with it, the command having formally devolved on Lieut. Henn. A Mr. Charles New, also, missionary from Mombasah, had joined the expedition, but he had resigned too. So now there were left but Lieut. Henn and Mr. Oswell Livingstone, second son of the Doctor.
“Is Mr. Oswell Livingstone here?” I asked, with considerable surprise.
“Yes; he will be here directly.”
“What are you going to do now?” I asked.
“I don’t think it worth my while to go now. You have taken the wind out of our sails completely. If you have relieved him, I don’t see the use of my going. Do you?”
“Well, it depends. You know your own orders best. If you have come only to find and relieve him, I can tell you truly he is found and relieved, and that he wants nothing more than a few canned meats, and some other little things which I dare say you have not got. I have his list in his own handwriting with me. But his son must go anyhow, and I can get men easily enough for him.”
“Well, if he is relieved, it is of no use my going.”
At this time in walked a slight, young, gentlemanly man, with light complexion, light hair, dark, lustrous eyes, who was introduced to me as Mr. Oswell Livingstone. The introduction was hardly necessary, for in his features there was much of what were the specialities of his father. There was an air of quiet resolution about him, and in the greeting which he gave me he exhibited rather a reticent character; but I attributed that to a receptive nature, which augured well for the future.
“I was telling Lieut. Henn that, whether he goes or not, you must go to your father, Mr. Livingstone.”
“Oh, I mean to go.”
“Yes, that’s right. I will furnish you with men and what stores your father needs. My men will take you to Unyanyembe without any difficulty. They know the road well, and that is a great advantage. They know how to deal with the negro chiefs, and you will have no need to trouble your head about them, but march. The great thing that is required is speed. Your father will be waiting for the things.”
“I will march them fast enough, if that is all.”
“Oh, they will be going up light, and they can easily make long marches.”
It was settled, then. Henn made up his mind that, as the Doctor had been relieved, he was not wanted; but, before formally resigning, he intended to consult with Dr. Kirk, and for that purpose he would cross over to Zanzibar the next day with the ‘Herald’ Expedition.
At 2 A.M. I retired to sleep on a comfortable bed. There was a great smell of newness about certain articles in the bedroom, such as haversacks, knapsacks, portmanteaus, leather gun-cases, &c. Evidently the new Expedition had some crudities about it; but a journey into the interior would soon have lessened the stock of superfluities, which all new men at first load themselves with.
Ah! what a sigh of relief was that I gave, as I threw myself on my bed, at the thought that, “Thank God! my marching was ended.”
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59