My life and troubles in Unyanyembe — (continued).
It never occurred to the Arab magnates that I had cause of complaint against them, or that I had a right to feel aggrieved at their conduct, for the base desertion of an ally, who had, as a duty to friendship, taken up arms for their sake. Their “salaams” the next morning after the retreat, were given as if nothing had transpired to mar the good feeling that had existed between us.
They were hardly seated, however, before I began to inform them that as the war was only between them and Mirambo, and that as I was afraid, if they were accustomed to run away after every little check, that the war might last a much longer time than I could afford to lose; and that as they had deserted their wounded on the field, and left their sick friends to take care of themselves, they must not consider me in the light of an ally any more. “I am satisfied,” said I, “having seen your mode of fighting, that the war will not be ended in so short a time as you think it will. It took you five years, I hear, to conquer and kill Manwa Sera, you will certainly not conquer Mirambo in less than a year.6 I am a white man, accustomed to wars after a different style, I know something about fighting, but I never saw people run away from an encampment like ours at Zimbizo for such slight cause as you had. By running away, you have invited Mirambo to follow you to Unyanyembe; you may be sure he will come.”
6 The same war is still raging, April, 1874.
The Arabs protested one after another that they had not intended to have left me, but the Wanyamwezi of Mkasiwa had shouted out that the “Musungu” was gone, and the cry had caused a panic among their people, which it was impossible to allay.
Later that day the Arabs continued their retreat to Tabora; which is twenty-two miles distant from Mfuto. I determined to proceed more leisurely, and on the second day after the flight from Zimbizo, the Expedition, with all the stores and baggage, marched back to Masangi, and on the third day to Kwihara.
The following extracts from my Diary will serve to show better than anything else, my feelings and thoughts about this time, after our disgraceful retreat:
Kwihara. Friday, 11th August, 1871. — Arrived today from Zimbili, village of Bomboma’s. I am quite disappointed and almost disheartened. But I have one consolation, I have done my duty by the Arabs, a duty I thought I owed to the kindness they received me with, now, however, the duty is discharged, and I am free to pursue my own course. I feel happy, for some reasons, that the duty has been paid at such a slight sacrifice. Of course if I had lost my life in this enterprise, I should have been justly punished. But apart from my duty to the consideration with which the Arabs had received me, was the necessity of trying every method of reaching Livingstone. This road which the war with Mirambo has closed, is only a month’s march from this place, and, if the road could be opened with my aid, sooner than without it, why should I refuse my aid? The attempt has been made for the second time to Ujiji — both have failed. I am going to try another route; to attempt to go by the north would be folly. Mirambo’s mother and people, and the Wasui, are between me and Ujiji, without including the Watuta, who are his allies, and robbers. The southern route seems to be the most practicable one. Very few people know anything of the country south; those whom I have questioned concerning it speak of “want of water” and robber Wazavira, as serious obstacles; they also say that the settlements are few and far between.
But before I can venture to try this new route, I have to employ a new set of men, as those whom I took to Mfuto consider their engagements at an end, and the fact of five of their number being killed rather damps their ardor for travelling. It is useless to hope that Wanyamwezi can be engaged, because it is against their custom to go with caravans, as carriers, during war time. My position is most serious. I have a good excuse for returning to the coast, but my conscience will not permit me to do so, after so much money has been expended, and so much confidence has been placed in me. In fact, I feel I must die sooner than return.
Saturday, August 12th. — My men, as I supposed they would, have gone; they said that I engaged them to go, to Ujiji by Mirambo’s road. I have only thirteen left.
With this small body of men, whither can I go? I have over one hundred loads in the storeroom. Livingstone’s caravan is also here; his goods consist of seventeen bales of cloth, twelve boxes, and six bags of beads. His men are luxuriating upon the best the country affords.
If Livingstone is at Ujiji, he is now locked up with small means of escape. I may consider myself also locked up at Unyamyembe, and I suppose cannot go to Ujiji until this war with Mirambo is settled. Livingstone cannot get his goods, for they are here with mine. He cannot return to Zanzibar, and the road to the Nile is blocked up. He might, if he has men and stores, possibly reach Baker by travelling northwards, through Urundi, thence through Ruanda, Karagwah, Uganda, Unyoro, and Ubari to Gondokoro. Pagazis he cannot obtain, for the sources whence a supply might be obtained are closed. It is an erroneous supposition to think that Livingstone, any more than any other energetic man of his calibre, can travel through Africa without some sort of an escort, and a durable supply of marketable cloth and beads.
I was told today by a man that when Livingstone was coming from Nyassa Lake towards the Tanganika (the very time that people thought him murdered) he was met by Sayd bin Omar’s caravan, which was bound for Ulamba. He was travelling with Mohammed bin Gharib. This Arab, who was coming from Urunga, met Livingstone at Chi-cumbi’s, or Kwa-chi-kumbi’s, country, and travelled with him afterwards, I hear, to Manyuema or Manyema. Manyuema is forty marches from the north of Nyassa. Livingstone was walking; he was dressed in American sheeting. He had lost all his cloth in Lake Liemba while crossing it in a boat. He had three canoes with him; in one he put his cloth, another he loaded with his boxes and some of his men, into the third he went himself with two servants and two fishermen. The boat with his cloth was upset. On leaving Nyassa, Livingstone went to Ubisa, thence to Uemba, thence to Urungu. Livingstone wore a cap. He had a breech-loading double-barreled rifle with him, which fired fulminating balls. He was also armed with two revolvers. The Wahiyow with Livingstone told this man that their master had many men with him at first, but that several had deserted him.
August 13th. — A caravan came in today from the seacoast. They reported that William L. Farquhar, whom I left sick at Mpwapwa, Usagara, and his cook, were dead. Farquhar, I was told, died a few days after I had entered Ugogo, his cook died a few weeks later. My first impulse was for revenge. I believed that Leukole had played me false, and had poisoned him, or that he had been murdered in some other manner; but a personal interview with the Msawahili who brought the news informing me that Farquhar had succumbed to his dreadful illness has done away with that suspicion. So far as I could understand him, Farquhar had in the morning declared himself well enough to proceed, but in attempting to rise, had fallen backward and died. I was also told that the Wasagara, possessing some superstitious notions respecting the dead, had ordered Jako to take the body out for burial, that Jako, not being able to carry it, had dragged the body to the jungle, and there left it naked without the slightest covering of earth, or anything else.
“There is one of us gone, Shaw, my boy! Who will be the next?” I remarked that night to my companion.
August 14th. — Wrote some letters to Zanzibar. Shaw was taken very ill last night.
August 19th. Saturday. — My soldiers are employed stringing beads. Shaw is still a-bed. We hear that Mirambo is coming to Unyanyembe. A detachment of Arabs and their slaves have started this morning to possess themselves of the powder left there by the redoubtable Sheikh Sayd bin Salim, the commander-inchief of the Arab settlements.
August 21st. Monday. — Shaw still sick. One hundred fundo of beads have been strung. The Arabs are preparing for another sally against Mirambo. The advance of Mirambo upon Unyanyembe was denied by Sayd bin Salim, this morning.
August 22nd. — We were stringing beads this morning, when, about 10 A.M., we heard a continued firing from the direction of Tabora. Rushing out from our work to the front door facing Tabora, we heard considerable volleying, and scattered firing, plainly; and ascending to the top of my tembe, I saw with my glasses the smoke of the guns. Some of my men who were sent on to ascertain the cause came running back with the information that Mirambo had attacked Tabora with over two thousand men, and that a force of over one thousand Watuta, who had allied themselves with him for the sake of plunder, had come suddenly upon Tabora, attacking from opposite directions.
Later in the day, or about noon, watching the low saddle over which we could see Tabora, we saw it crowded with fugitives from that settlement, who were rushing to our settlement at Kwihara for protection. From these people we heard the sad information that the noble Khamis bin Abdullah, his little protege, Khamis, Mohammed bin Abdullah, Ibrahim bin Rashid, and Sayf, the son of Ali, the son of Sheikh, the son of Nasib, had been slain.
When I inquired into the details of the attack, and the manner of the death of these Arabs, I was told that after the first firing which warned the inhabitants of Tabora that the enemy was upon them, Khamis bin Abdullah and some of the principal Arabs who happened to be with him had ascended to the roof of his tembe, and with his spyglass he had looked towards the direction of the firing. To his great astonishment he saw the plain around Tabora filled with approaching savages, and about two miles off, near Kazima, a tent pitched, which he knew to belong to Mirambo, from its having been presented to that chief by the Arabs of Tabora when they were on good terms with him.
Khamis bin Abdullah descended to his house saying, “Let us go to meet him. Arm yourselves, my friends, and come with me.” His friends advised him strongly sat to go out of his tembe; for so long as each Arab kept to his tembe they were more than a match for the Ruga Ruga and the Watuta together. But Khamis broke out impatiently with, “Would you advise us to stop in our tembes, for fear of this Mshensi (pagan)? Who goes with me?” His little protege, Khamis,, son of a dead friend, asked to be allowed to be his gun-bearer;. Mohammed bin Abdulluh, Ibrahim bin Rashid, and Sayf, the son of Ali, young Arabs of good families, who were proud to live with the noble Khamis, also offered to go with him. After hastily arming eighty of his slaves, contrary to the advice of his prudent friends, he sallied out, and was soon face to face with his cunning and determined enemy Mirambo. This chief, upon seeing the Arabs advance towards him, gave orders to retreat slowly. Khamis, deceived by this, rushed on with his friends after them. Suddenly Mirambo ordered his men to advance upon them in a body, and at the sight of the precipitate rush upon their party, Khamis’s slaves incontinently took to their heels, never even deigning to cast a glance behind them, leaving their master to the fate which was now overtaking him. The savages surrounded the five Arabs, and though several of them fell before the Arabs’ fire, continued to shoot at the little party, until Khamis bin Abdullah received a bullet in the leg, which brought him to his knees, and, for the first time, to the knowledge that his slaves had deserted him. Though wounded, the brave man continued shooting, but he soon afterwards received a bullet through the heart. Little Khamis, upon seeing his adopted father’s fall, exclaimed: “My father Khamis is dead, I will die with him,” and continued fighting until he received, shortly after, his death wound. In a few minutes there was not one Arab left alive.
Late at night some more particulars arrived of this tragic scene. I was told by people who saw the bodies, that the body of Khamis bin Abdullah, who was a fine noble, brave, portly man, was found with the skin of his forehead, the beard and skin of the lower part of his face, the fore part of the nose, the fat over the stomach and abdomen, and, lastly, a bit from each heel, cut off, by the savage allies of Mirambo. And in the same condition were found the bodies of his adopted son and fallen friends. The flesh and skin thus taken from the bodies was taken, of course, by the waganga or medicine men, to make what they deem to be the most powerful potion of all to enable men to be strong against their enemies. This potion is mixed up with their ugali and rice, and is taken in this manner with the most perfect confidence in its efficacy, as an invulnerable protection against bullets and missiles of all descriptions.
It was a most sorry scene to witness from our excited settlement at Kwihara, almost the whole of Tabora in flames, and to see the hundreds of people crowding into Kwihara.
Perceiving that my people were willing to stand by me, I made preparations for defence by boring loopholes for muskets into the stout clay walls of my tembe. They were made so quickly, and seemed so admirably adapted for the efficient defence of the tembe, that my men got quite brave, and Wangwana refugees with guns in their hands, driven out of Tabora, asked to be admitted into our tembe to assist in its defence. Livingstone’s men were also collected, and invited to help defend their master’s goods against Mirambo’s supposed attack. By night I had one hundred and fifty armed men in my courtyard, stationed at every possible point where an attack might be expected. To-morrow Mirambo has threatened that he will come to Kwihara. I hope he will come, and if he comes within range of an American rifle, I shall see what virtue lies in American lead.
August 23rd. — We have passed a very anxious day in the valley of Kwihara. Our eyes were constantly directed towards unfortunate Tabora. It has been said that three tembes only have stood the brunt of the attack. Abid bin Suliman’s house has been destroyed, and over two hundred tusks of ivory that belonged to him have become the property of the African Bonaparte. My tembe is in as efficient a state of defence as its style and means of defence will allow. Rifle-pits surround the house outside, and all native huts that obstructed the view have been torn down, and all trees and shrubs which might serve as a shelter for any one of the enemy have been cut. Provisions and water enough for six days have been brought. I have ammunition enough to last two weeks. The walls are three feet thick, and there are apartments within apartments, so that a desperate body of men could fight until the last room had been taken.
The Arabs, my neighbours, endeavour to seem brave, but it is evident they are about despairing; I have heard it rumoured that the Arabs of Kwihara, if Tabora is taken, will start en masse for the coast, and give the country up to Mirambo. If such are their intentions, and they are really carried into effect, I shall be in a pretty mess. However, if they do leave me, Mirambo will not reap any benefit from my stores, nor from Livingstone’s either, for I shall burn the whole house, and everything in it.
August 24th. — The American flag is still waving above my house, and the Arabs are still in Unyanyembe.
About 10 A.M., a messenger came from Tabora, asking us if we were not going to assist them against Mirambo. I felt very much like going out to help them; but after debating long upon the pros and cons of it, — asking myself, Was it prudent? Ought I to go? What will become of the people if I were killed? Will they not desert me again? What was the fate of Khamis bin Abdullah? — I sent word that I would not go; that they ought to feel perfectly at home in their tembes against such a force as Mirambo had, that I should be glad if they could induce him to come to Kwihara, in which case I would try and pick him off.
They say that Mirambo, and his principal officer, carry umbrellas over their heads, that he himself has long hair like a Mnyamwezi pagazi, and a beard. If he comes, all the men carrying umbrellas will have bullets rained on them in the hope that one lucky bullet may hit him. According to popular ideas, I should make a silver bullet, but I have no silver with me. I might make a gold one.
About, noon I went over to see Sheikh bin Nasib, leaving about 100 men inside the house to guard it while I was absent. This old fellow is quite a philosopher in his way. I should call him a professor of minor philosophy. He is generally so sententious — fond of aphorisms, and a very deliberate character. I was astonished to find him so despairing. His aphorisms have deserted him, his philosophy has not been able to stand against disaster. He listened to me, more like a moribund, than one possessing all the means of defence and offence.
I loaded his two-pounder with ball, and grape, and small slugs of iron, and advised him not to fire it until Mirambo’s people were at his gates.
About 4 p.m. I heard that Mirambo had deported himself to Kazima, a place north-west of Tabora a couple of miles.
August 26th. — The Arabs sallied out this morning to attack Kazima, but refrained, because Mirambo asked for a day’s grace, to eat the beef he had stolen from them. He has asked them impudently to come tomorrow morning, at which time he says he will give them plenty of fighting,
Kwihara is once more restored to a peaceful aspect, and fugitives no longer throng its narrow limits in fear and despair.
August 27th. — Mirambo retreated during the night; and when the Arabs went in force to attack his village of Kazima, they found it vacant.
The Arabs hold councils of war now-a-days — battle meetings, of which they seem to be very fond, but extremely slow to act upon. They were about to make friends with the northern Watuta, but Mirambo was ahead of them. They had talked of invading Mirambo’s territory the second time, but Mirambo invaded Unyanyembe with fire and sword, bringing death to many a household, and he has slain the noblest of them all.
The Arabs spend their hours in talking and arguing, while the Ujiji and Karagwah roads are more firmly closed than ever. Indeed many of the influential Arabs are talking of returning to Zanzibar; saying, “Unyanyembe is ruined.”
Meanwhile, with poor success, however, perceiving the impossibility of procuring Wanyamwezi pagazis, I am hiring the Wangwana renegades living in Unyanyembe to proceed with me to Ujiji, at treble prices. Each man is offered 30 doti, ordinary hire of a carrier being only from 5 to 10 doti to Ujiji. I want fifty men. I intend to leave about sixty or seventy loads here under charge of a guard. I shall leave all personal baggage behind, except one small portmanteau.
August 28th. — No news today of Mirambo. Shaw is getting strong again.
Sheikh bin Nasib called on me today, but, except on minor philosophy, he had nothing to say.
I have determined, after a study of the country, to lead a flying caravan to Ujiji, by a southern road through northern Ukonongo and Ukawendi. Sheikh bin Nasib has been informed to-night of this determination.
August 29th. — Shaw got up today for a little work. Alas! all my fine-spun plans of proceeding by boat over the Victoria N’Yanza, thence down the Nile, have been totally demolished, I fear, through this war with Mirambo — this black Bonaparte. Two months have been wasted here already. The Arabs take such a long time to come to a conclusion. Advice is plentiful, and words are as numerous as the blades of grass in our valley; all that is wanting indecision. The Arabs’ hope and stay is dead — Khamis bin Abdullah is no more. Where are the other warriors of whom the Wangwana and Wanyamwezi bards sing? Where is mighty Kisesa — great Abdullah bin Nasib? Where is Sayd, the son of Majid? Kisesa is in Zanzibar, and Sayd, the son of Majid, is in Ujiji, as yet ignorant that his son has fallen in the forest of Wilyankuru.
Shaw is improving fast. I am unsuccessful as yet in procuring soldiers. I almost despair of ever being able to move from here. It is such a drowsy, sleepy, slow, dreaming country. Arabs, Wangwana, Wanyamwezi, are all alike — all careless how time flies. Their tomorrow means sometimes within a month. To me it is simply maddening.
August 30th. — Shaw will not work. I cannot get him to stir himself. I have petted him and coaxed him; I have even cooked little luxuries for him myself. And, while I am straining every nerve to get ready for Ujiji, Shaw is satisfied with looking on listlessly. What a change from the ready-handed bold man he was at Zanzibar!
I sat down by his side today with my palm and needle in order to encourage him, and today, for the first time, I told him of the real nature of my mission. I told him that I did not care about the geography of the country half as much as I cared about finding Livingstone! I told him, for the first time, “Now, my dear Shaw, you think probably that I have been sent here to find the depth of the Tanganika. Not a bit of it, man; I was told to find Livingstone. It is to find Livingstone I am here. It is to find Livingstone I am going. Don’t you see, old fellow, the importance of the mission; don’t you see what reward you will get from Mr. Bennett, if you will help me? I am sure, if ever you come to New York, you will never be in want of a fifty-dollar bill. So shake yourself; jump about; look lively. Say you will not die; that is half the battle. Snap your fingers at the fever. I will guarantee the fever won’t kill you. I have medicine enough for a regiment here!”
His eyes lit up a little, but the light that shone in them shortly faded, and died. I was quite disheartened. I made some strong punch, to put fire in his veins, that I might see life in him. I put sugar, and eggs, and seasoned it with lemon and spice. “Drink, Shaw,” said I, “and forget your infirmities. You are not sick, dear fellow; it is only ennui you are feeling. Look at Selim there. Now, I will bet any amount, that he will not die; that I will carry him home safe to his friends! I will carry you home also, if you will, let me!”
September 1st:— According to Thani bin Abdullah whom I visited today, at his tembe in Maroro, Mirambo lost two hundred men in the attack upon Tabora, while the Arabs’ losses were, five Arabs, thirteen freemen and eight slaves, besides three tembes, and over one hundred small huts burned, two hundred and eighty ivory tusks, and sixty cows and bullocks captured.
September 3rd. — Received a packet of letters and newspapers from Capt. Webb, at Zanzibar. What a good thing it is that one’s friends, even in far America, think of the absent one in Africa! They tell me, that no one dreams of my being in Africa yet!
I applied to Sheikh bin Nasib today to permit Livingstone’s caravan to go under my charge to Ujiji, but he would not listen to it. He says he feels certain I am going to my death.
September 4th. — Shaw is quite well today, he says. Selim is down with the fever. My force is gradually increasing, though some of my old soldiers are falling off. Umgareza is blind; Baruti has the small-pox very badly; Sadala has the intermittent.
September 5th. — Baruti died this morning. He was one of my best soldiers; and was one of those men who accompanied Speke to Egypt. Baruti is number seven of those who have died since leaving Zanzibar.
To-day my ears have been poisoned with the reports of the Arabs, about the state of the country I am about to travel through. “The roads are bad; they are all stopped; the Ruga–Ruga are out in the forests; the Wakonongo are coming from the south to help Mirambo; the Washensi are at war, one tribe against another.” My men are getting dispirited, they have imbibed the fears of the Arabs and the Wanyamwezi. Bombay begins to feel that I had better go back to the coast, and try again some other time.
We buried Baruti under the shade of the banyan-tree, a few yards west of my tembe. The grave was made four and a half feet deep and three feet wide. At the bottom on one side a narrow trench was excavated, into which the body was rolled on his side, with his face turned towards Mecca. The body was dressed in a doti and a half of new American sheeting. After it was placed properly in its narrow bed, a sloping roof of sticks, covered over with matting and old canvas, was made, to prevent the earth from falling over the body. The grave was then filled, the soldiers laughing merrily. On the top of the grave was planted a small shrub, and into a small hole made with the hand, was poured water lest he might feel thirsty — they said — on his way to Paradise; water was then sprinkled all ever the grave, and the gourd broken. This ceremony being ended, the men recited the Arabic Fat-hah, after which they left the grave of their dead comrade to think no more of him,
September 7th. — An Arab named Mohammed presented me today with a little boy-slave, called “Ndugu M’hali” (my brother’s wealth). As I did not like the name, I called the chiefs of my caravan together, and asked them to give him a better name. One suggested “Simba” (a lion), another said he thought “Ngombe” (a cow) would suit the boy-child, another thought he ought to be called “Mirambo,” which raised a loud laugh. Bombay thought “Bombay Mdogo” would suit my black-skinned infant very well. Ulimengo, however, after looking at his quick eyes, and noting his celerity of movement, pronounced the name Ka-lu-la as the best for him, “because,” said he, “just look at his eyes, so bright look at his form, so slim! watch his movements, how quick! Yes, Kalulu is his name.”“Yes, bana,” said the others, “let it be Kalulu.”
“Kalulu” is a Kisawahili term for the young of the blue-buck (perpusilla) antelope.
“Well, then,” said I, water being brought in a huge tin pan, Selim, who was willing to stand godfather, holding him over the water, “let his name henceforth be Kalulu, and let no man take it from him,” and thus it was that the little black boy of Mohammed’s came to be called Kalulu.
The Expedition is increasing in numbers.
We had quite an alarm before dark. Much firing was heard at Tabora, which led us to anticipate an attack on Kwihara. It turned out, however, to be a salute fired in honour of the arrival of Sultan Kitambi to pay a visit to Mkasiwa, Sultan of Unyanyembe.
September 8th. — Towards night Sheikh bin Nasib received a letter from an Arab at Mfuto, reporting that an attack was made on that place by Mirambo and his Watuta allies. It also warned him to bid the people of Kwihara hold themselves in readiness, because if Mirambo succeeded in storming Mfuto, he would march direct on Kwihara.
September 9th. — Mirambo was defeated with severe loss yesterday, in his attack upon Mfuto. He was successful in an assault he made upon a small Wanyamwezi village, but when he attempted to storm Mfuto, he was repulsed with severe loss, losing three of his principal men. Upon withdrawing his forces from the attack, the inhabitants sallied out, and followed him to the forest of Umanda, where he was again utterly routed, himself ingloriously flying from the field.
The heads of his chief men slain in the attack were brought to Kwikuru, the boma of Mkasiwa.
September 14th. — The Arab boy Selim is delirious from constant fever. Shaw is sick again. These two occupy most of my time. I am turned into a regular nurse, for I have no one to assist me in attending upon them. If I try to instruct Abdul Kader in the art of being useful, his head is so befogged with the villainous fumes of Unyamwezi tobacco, that he wanders bewildered about, breaking dishes, and upsetting cooked dainties, until I get so exasperated that my peace of mind is broken completely for a full hour. If I ask Ferajji, my now formally constituted cook, to assist, his thick wooden head fails to receive an idea, and I am thus obliged to play the part of chef de cuisine.
September 15th. — The third month of my residence in Unyanyembe is almost finished, and I am still here, but I hope to be gone before the 23rd inst.
All last night, until nine A.M. this morning, my soldiers danced and sang to the names of their dead comrades, whose bones now bleach in the forests of Wilyankuru. Two or three huge pots of pombe failed to satisfy the raging thirst which the vigorous exercise they were engaged in, created. So, early this morning, I was called upon to contribute a shukka for another potful of the potent liquor.
To-day I was busy selecting the loads for each soldier and pagazi. In order to lighten their labor as much as possible, I reduced each load from 70 lbs. to 50 lbs., by which I hope to be enabled to make some long marches. I have been able to engage ten pagazis during the last two or three days.
I have two or three men still very sick, and it is almost useless to expect that they will be able to carry anything, but I am in hopes that other men may be engaged to take their places before the actual day of departure, which now seems to be drawing near rapidly.
September 16th. — We have almost finished our work — on the fifth day from this — God willing — we shall march. I engaged two more pagazis besides two guides, named Asmani and Mabruki. If vastness of the human form could terrify any one, certainly Asmani’s appearance is well calculated to produce that effect. He stands considerably over six feet without shoes, and has shoulders broad enough for two ordinary men.
To-morrow I mean to give the people a farewell feast, to celebrate our departure from this forbidding and unhappy country.
September 17th. — The banquet is ended. I slaughtered two bullocks, and had a barbacue; three sheep, two goats, and fifteen chickens, 120 lbs. of rice, twenty large loaves of bread made of Indian corn-flour, one hundred eggs, 10 lbs. of butter, and five gallons of sweet-milk, were the contents of which the banquet was formed. The men invited their friends and neighbours, and about one hundred women and children partook of it.
After the banquet was ended, the pombe, or native beer, was brought in in five gallon pots, and the people commenced their dance, which continues even now as I write.
September 19th. — I had a slight attack of fever today, which has postponed our departure. Selim and Shaw are both recovered.
About 8 P.M. Sheik bin Nasib came to me imploring me not to go away tomorrow, because I was so sick. Thani Sakhburi suggested to me that I might stay another month. In answer, I told them that white men are not accustomed to break their words. I had said I would go, and I intended to go.
Sheikh bin Nasib gave up all hope of inducing me to remain another day, and he has gone away, with a promise to write to Seyd Burghash to tell him how obstinate I am; and that I am determined to be killed. This was a parting shot.
About 10 P.M. the fever had gone. All were asleep in the tembe but myself, and an unutterable loneliness came on me as I reflected on my position, and my intentions, and felt the utter lack of sympathy with me in all around. It requires more nerve than I possess, to dispel all the dark presentiments that come upon the mind. But probably what I call presentiments are simply the impress on the mind of the warnings which these false-hearted Arabs have repeated so often. This melancholy and loneliness I feel, may probably have their origin from the same cause. The single candle, which barely lights up the dark shade that fills the corners of my room, is but a poor incentive to cheerfulness. I feel as though I were imprisoned between stone walls. But why should I feel as if baited by these stupid, slow-witted Arabs and their warnings and croakings? I fancy a suspicion haunts my mind, as I write, that there lies some motive behind all this. I wonder if these Arabs tell me all these things to keep me here, in the hope that I might be induced another time to assist them in their war with Mirambo! If they think so, they are much mistaken, for I have taken a solemn, enduring oath, an oath to be kept while the least hope of life remains in me, not to be tempted to break the resolution I have formed, never to give up the search, until I find Livingstone alive, or find his dead body; and never to return home without the strongest possible proofs that he is alive, or that he is dead. No living man, or living men, shall stop me, only death can prevent me. But death — not even this; I shall not die, I will not die, I cannot die! And something tells me, I do not know what it is — perhaps it is the ever-living hopefulness of my own nature, perhaps it is the natural presumption born out of an abundant and glowing vitality, or the outcome of an overweening confidence in oneself — anyhow and everyhow, something tells me to-night I shall find him, and — write it larger — find him! find him! Even the words are inspiring. I feel more happy. Have I uttered a prayer? I shall sleep calmly to-night.
I have felt myself compelled to copy out of my Diary the above notes, as they explain, written as they are on the spot, the vicissitudes of my “Life at Unyanyembe.” To me they appear to explain far better than any amount of descriptive writing, even of the most graphic, the nature of the life I led. There they are, unexaggerated, in their literality, precisely as I conceived them at the time they happened. They speak of fevers without number to myself and men, they relate our dangers, and little joys, our annoyances and our pleasures, as they occurred.
Last updated Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 21:30