ducks. The flesh of the one set is every bit as good as that of
the other, and yet the poorest peasant would turn up his nose at
them. Here sheep and oxen, horses and donkeys, will not live, and
the natives very wisely make the most of the animals which can do
Frank was soon tired of Bonny, and was glad to hear that they would
start the next day for Fernando Po in a little steamer called the
Retriever. The island of Fernando Po is a very beautiful one, the
peak rising ten thousand feet above the sea, and wooded to the
very summit. Were the trees to some extent cleared away the island
might be very healthy. As it is, it is little better than the
There was not much to see in the town of Clarence, whose population
consists entirely of traders from Sierra Leone, Kroomen, etc. The
natives, whose tribal name is Adiza, live in little villages in
the interior. They are an extremely primitive people, and for the
most part dispense altogether with clothing. The island belongs to
Spain, and is used as a prison, the convicts being kept in guard
ships in the harbor. After a stay of three days there Mr. Goodenough
and Frank took passage in a sailing ship for the Gaboon.
CHAPTER IX: THE START INLAND
After the comforts of a fine steamer the accommodation on board the
little trader was poor indeed. The vessel smelt horribly of palm
oil and was alive with cockroaches. These, however, Mr. Goodenough
and Frank cared little for, as they brought up their mattresses and
slept on deck. Upon their voyage out from England Frank, as well as
several of the other passengers, had amused himself by practicing
with his rifle at empty bottles thrown overboard, and other
objects, and having nothing else to do now, he resumed the practice,
accustoming himself also to the use of his revolver, the mark being
a small log of wood swung from the end of a yard.
"I told you," Mr. Goodenough said, "that your skill with the blowgun
would prove useful to you in shooting. You are as good a shot as
I am, and I am considered a fair one. I have no doubt that with a
little practice you will succeed as well with your double barrel.
The shooting of birds on the wing is a knack which seems to come
naturally to some people, while others, practice as they will,
never become good shots."
The ship touched twice upon its way down to the Gaboon. Once at
the Malimba river, the second time at Botauga, the latter being
the principal ivory port in equatorial Africa.
"Shall we meet with any elephants, do you think?" Frank asked his
"In all probability," Mr. Goodenough said. "Elephant shooting, of
course, does not come within our line of action, and I should not
go at all out of my way for them. Still, if we meet them we will
shoot them. The ivory is valuable and will help to pay our expenses,
while the meat is much prized by the natives, who will gladly assist
us in consideration of the flesh."
On the sixteenth day after leaving Fernando Po they entered the
Gaboon. On the right hand bank were the fort and dwellings of the
French. A little farther up stood the English factories; and upon
a green hill behind, the church, school, and houses of an American
mission. On the left bank was the wattle town of King William, the
sable monarch of the Gaboon. Mr. Goodenough at once landed and made
inquiries for a house. He succeeded in finding one, consisting of
three rooms, built on piles, an important point in a country in
which disease rises from the soil. At Bonny Mr. Goodenough had,
with the assistance of the agent, enlisted six Houssas. These people
live much higher up on the coast, but they wander a good deal and
may be met with in most of the ports. The men had formed a guard
in one of the hulks, but trade having been bad the agent had gone
home, and they were glad to take service with Mr. Goodenough. They
spoke a few words of English, and, like the Kroomen, rejoiced in
names which had been given them by sailors. They were called Moses,
Firewater, Ugly Tom, Bacon, Tatters, and King John. They were now
for the first time set to work, and the goods were soon transported
from the brig to the house.
"Is anything the matter with you, Frank?" Mr. Goodenough asked that
"I don't know, sir. My head feels heavy, somehow, and I am giddy."
Mr. Goodenough felt his pulse.
"You have got your first touch of fever," he said. "I wonder you've
been so long without it. You had better lie down at once."
A quarter of an hour afterwards Frank was seized with an overpowering
heat, every vein appearing to be filled with liquid fire; but his
skin, instead of being, as usual, in a state of perspiration, was
dry and hard.
"Now, Frank, sit up and drink this. It's only some mustard and salt
and water. I have immense faith in an emetic."
The draught soon took its effect. Frank was violently sick, and
the perspiration broke in streams from him.
"Here is a cup of tea," Mr. Goodenough said; "drink that and you
will find that there will be little the matter with you in the
Frank awoke feeling weak, but otherwise perfectly well. Mr.
Goodenough administered a strong dose of quinine, and after he had
had his breakfast he felt quite himself again.
"Now," Mr. Goodenough said, "we will go up to the factories and
mission and try and find a really good servant. Everything depends
In a short time an engagement was made with a negro of the name of
Ostik. He was a Mpongwe man, that being the name of the tribe on
the coast. He spoke English fairly, as well as two or three of the
native languages. He had before made a journey some distance into
the interior with a white traveler. He was a tall and powerfully
built negro, very ugly, but with a pleasant and honest face. Frank
felt at once that he should like him.
"You quite understand," Mr. Goodenough explained, "we are going
through the Fan country, far into the interior. We may be away from
the coast for many months."
"Me ready, sar," the man answered with a grin. "Mak no odds to
Ostik. He got no wife, no piccanniny. Ostik very good cook. Master
find good grub; he catch plenty of beasts."
"You're not afraid, Ostik, because it is possible we may have
trouble on the way?"
"Me not very much afraid, massa. You good massa to Ostik he no run
away if fightee come; but no good fight whole tribe."
"I hope not to have any fighting at all, Ostik; but as I have got
six Houssas with me who will all carry breech loading guns, I think
we should be a match for a good sized tribe, if necessary."
Ostik looked thoughtful. "More easy, massa, go without Houssas,"
he said. "Black man not often touch white traveler."
"No, Ostik, that is true; but I must take with me trade goods for
paying my way and hiring carriers, and if alone I should be at the
mercy of every petty chief who chose to plunder and delay me. I
am going as a peaceful traveler, ready to pay my way, and to make
presents to the different kings through whose territories I may
pass. But I do not choose to put myself at the mercy of any of
them. I do not say that eight men armed with breech loaders could
defeat a whole tribe; but they would be so formidable, that any of
these negro kings would probably prefer taking presents and letting
us pass peacefully to trying to rob us. The first thing to do,
will be to hire one large canoe, or two if necessary. The men must
agree to take us up into the Fan country, as far as the rapids on
the Gaboon. Then we shall take carriers there, and the boat can
return by itself. These are the things which will have to go."
The baggage consisted of ten large tin cases, each weighing about
eighty pounds. These contained cotton cloths, powder, beads, tea,
chocolate, sugar, and biscuits. There were in addition three bundles
of stair rods, each about the same weight as the boxes. These were
done up in canvas. There was also a tent made of double canvas
weighing fifty pounds, and two light folding tressel beds weighing
fifteen pounds apiece. Thus fourteen men would be required as
carriers, besides some for plantains and other provisions, together
with the portmanteaus, rugs, and waterproof sheets of the travelers.
There were besides six great chests made of light iron. Four of
these were fitted with trays with cork bottoms, for insects. The
other two were for the skins of birds. All the boxes and cases had
strips of India rubber where the lids fitted down, in order to keep
out both damp and the tiny ants which are the plague of naturalists
Four or five days were occupied in getting together a crew, for the
natives had an abject fear of entering the country of the cannibal
Fans. Mr. Goodenough promised that they should not be obliged to
proceed unless a safe conduct for their return was obtained from
the King of the Fans. A large canoe was procured, sufficient to
convey the whole party. Twelve paddlers were hired, and the goods
taken down and arranged in the boat. The Houssas had been, on
landing, furnished with their guns, which were Snider rifles, had
been instructed in the breech loading arrangement, and had been set
to work to practice at a mark at a hundred and fifty yards distance
- the stump of an old tree, some five feet in height, serving
for the purpose. The men were delighted with the accuracy of their
pieces and the rapidity at which they could be fired. Mr. Goodenough
impressed upon them that unless attacked at close quarters, and
specially ordered to fire fast, they must aim just as slowly and
deliberately as if using their old guns, for that in so long a
journey ammunition would be precious, and must, therefore, on no
account whatever, be wasted. In the boxes were six thousand rounds
of ammunition, a thousand for each gun, besides the ammunition for
the rifles and fowling pieces of Mr. Goodenough and Frank.
In order to render the appearance of his followers as imposing as
possible, Mr. Goodenough furnished each of the Houssas with a pair
of trousers made of New Zealand flax, reaching to their knees.
These he had brought from England with him. They were all found to
be too large, but the men soon set to work with rough needles and
thread and took them in. In addition to these, each man was furnished
with a red sash, which went several times round the waist, and
served to keep the trousers up and to give a gay aspect to the
dress. The Houssas were much pleased with their appearance. All
of them carried swords in addition to the guns, as in their own
country they are accustomed to fight with these weapons.
They started early in the morning, and after four hours' paddling
passed Konig Island, an abandoned Dutch settlement. Here they stopped
for an hour or two, and then the sea breeze sprang up, a sail was
hoisted, and late at night they passed a French guardship placed
to mark the boundary of that settlement at a point where a large
tributary called the Boqui runs into it. Here is a little island
called Nenge Nenge, formerly a missionary station, where the natives
are still Christians. At this place the canoe was hauled ashore.
The Houssas had already been instructed in the method of pitching
the tent, and in a very few minutes this was erected. It was a
double poled tent, some ten feet square, and there was a waterproof
sheet large enough to cover the whole of the interior, thus
preventing the miasma from arising from the ground within it. The
beds were soon opened and fixed, two of the large cases formed a
table and two smaller ones did service as chairs. A lamp was lit,
and Frank was charmed with the comfort and snugness of the abode.
The men's weapons were fastened round one of the poles to keep them
from the damp night air. Ostik had at once set to work on landing,
leaving the Houssas to pitch the tent. A fire was soon blazing and
a kettle and saucepans suspended over it. Rice was served out to
the men, with the addition of some salt meat, of which sufficient
had been purchased from the captain of the brig to last throughout
the journey in the canoe. The men were all in high spirits at this
addition to their fare, which was more than had been bargained for,
and their songs rose merrily round the fire in the night air.
In the morning, after breakfast, they again took their places in the
canoe. For twelve miles they paddled, the tide at first assisting
them, but after this the water from the mountains ahead overpowered
it. Presently they arrived at the first Fan village, called Olenga,
which they reached six hours after starting. The natives crowded
round as the canoe approached, full of curiosity and excitement,
for never but once had a white man passed up the river. These
Fans differed widely from the coast negroes. Their hair was longer
and thicker, their figures were slight, their complexion coffee
colored, and their projecting upper jaws gave them a rabbit mouthed
appearance. They wore coronets on their heads adorned with the
red tail feathers of the common gray parrot. Most of the men had
beards, which were divided in the middle, red and white beads being
strung up the tips. Some wore only a strip of goatskin hanging
from the waist, or the skin of a tigercat, while others had short
petticoats made of cloth woven from the inner bark of a tree. The
travelers were led to the hut of the chief, where they were surrounded
by a mob of the cannibals. The Houssas had been strictly enjoined
to leave their guns in the bottom of the canoe, as Mr. Goodenough
desired to avoid all appearance of armed force. The chief demanded
of Ostik what these two white men wanted here, and whether they
had come to trade. Ostik replied that the white men were going up
the river into the country beyond to shoot elephants and buy ivory,
that they did not want to trade for logwood or oil, but that they
would give presents to the chiefs of the Fan villages. A score
of cheap Birmingham muskets had been brought from England by Mr.
Goodenough for this purpose. One of these was now bestowed upon
the chief, together with some powder and ball, three bright cotton
handkerchiefs, some gaudy glass beads, and two looking glasses for
his wives. This was considered perfectly satisfactory.
The crowd was very great, and at Mr. Goodenough's dictation Ostik
informed the chief that if the white men were left quiet until
the evening they would show his people many strange things. On the
receipt of this information the crowd dispersed. But when at sunset
the two travelers took a turn through the village, the excitement
was again very great. The men stood their ground and stared at them,
but the women and children ran screaming away to hide themselves.
The idea of the people of Central Africa of the whites is that
they are few in number, that they live at the bottom of the sea,
and are possessed of great wealth, but that they have no palm oil
or logwood, and are, therefore, compelled to come to land to trade
for these articles. They believe that the strange clothes they wear
are manufactured from the skins of sea beasts.
When night fell Mr. Goodenough fastened a sheet against the outside
of the chief's hut, and then placed a magic lantern in position
ten paces from it. The Fans were then invited to gather round and
take their seats upon the ground. A cry of astonishment greeted the
appearance of the bright disk. This was followed by a wilder yell
when this was darkened, and an elephant bearing some men sitting
on his back was seen to cross the house. The men leaped to their
feet and seized their spears. The women screamed, and Ostik, who
was himself somewhat alarmed, had great difficulty in calming their
fears and persuading them to sit down again, assuring them that
they would see many wonderful things, but that nothing would hurt
The next view was at first incomprehensible to many of them. It was
a ship tossing in a stormy sea; but some of those present had been
down to the mouth of the river, and these explained to the others
the nature of the phenomenon. In all there were twenty slides, all
of which were provided with movable figures; the last two being
chromatropes, whose dancing colors elicited screams of delight
from the astonished natives. This concluded the performance, but
for hours after it was over the village rang with a perfect Babel
of shouts, screams, and chatter. The whole thing was to the Fans
absolutely incomprehensible, and their astonishment was equalled
by their awe at the powers of the white men.
The next two days they remained at Olenga, as word was sent up to
Itchongue, the next town, asking the chief there for leave to come
forward. The people had now begun to get over their first timidity,
and when Frank went out for a walk after breakfast he was somewhat
embarrassed by the women and girls crowding round him, feeling his
clothes and touching his hands and face to assure themselves that
these felt like those of human beings. He afforded them huge delight
by taking off his Norfolk jacket and pulling up the sleeves of his
shirt to show them that his arms were the same color as his hands,
and so elated were they with this exhibition that it was with
great difficulty that he withstood their entreaties that he would
disrobe entirely. Indeed, Ostik had at last to come to his rescue
and carry him off from the laughing crowd by which he was surrounded.
After dinner Mr. Goodenough invited the people to sit down in a
vast circle holding each other's hands. He then told them that he
should at a word make them all jump to their feet. Then taking out
a small but powerful galvanic battery, he arranged it and placed
wires into the hands of the two men nearest to him in the great
"Now," he said, "when I clap my hands you will find that you are
all obliged to jump up."
He gave the signal. Frank turned on the battery, and in an instant
the two hundred men and women, with a wild shriek, either leapt
to their feet or rolled backward on the ground. In another minute
not a native was to be seen, with the exception of the chief, who
had not been included in the circle. The latter, at Mr. Goodenough's
request, shouted loudly to his subjects to return, for that the white
men would do them no harm; but it was a long time before, slowly
and cautiously, they crept back again. When they had reassembled
Mr. Goodenough showed them several simple but astonishing chemical
experiments, which stupefied them with wonder; and concluded with
three or four conjuring tricks, which completed their amazement.
A long day's paddling took them to Itchongue, where they were as
well received as at Olenga. Here they stopped for two days, and the
magic lantern was again brought out, and the other tricks repeated
with a success equal to that which they had before obtained. As
another day's paddling would take them to the rapids Mr. Goodenough
now set up a negotiation for obtaining a sufficient number of
carriers. After great palaver, and the presentation of three guns
to the chief to obtain his assistance, thirty men were engaged.
These were each to receive a yard of calico or one brass stair rod
a day, and were to proceed with the party until such time as they
could procure carriers from another tribe.
The new recruits were taken up in another canoe. Several villages
were passed on the way. The river became a mere rapid, against which
the canoes with difficulty made their way. They had now entered
the mountains which rose steeply above them, embowered in wood.
Two days of severe work took them to the foot of the falls. Here
the canoes were unloaded. The men hired on the coast received
their pay, and turned the boat's head down stream. The other canoe
accompanied it, and the travelers remained with their bodyguard of
Houssas and their carriers.
"Now," Mr. Goodenough said, "we are fairly embarked on our journey,
and we will commence operations at once. I have heard the cries
of a great many birds which are strange to me today, and I expect
that we shall have a good harvest. We may remain here for some
time. The first thing to do is to find food for our followers. We
have got six sacks of rice, but it will never do to let our men
depend solely upon these. They would soon come to an end."
"But how are we to feed forty people?" Frank asked in astonishment.
"I pointed out to you today," Mr. Goodenough said, "the tracks of
hippopotami in various places. One of these beasts will feed the
men for nearly a week. There were, too, numbers of alligators'
eggs on the banks, and these creatures make by no means bad eating.
Your rifle will be of no use against such animals as these. You
had better take one of the Sniders. I have some explosive shells
which will fit them. My own double barrelled rifle is of the same
After dinner Mr. Goodenough told two of the Houssas to accompany
them with their rifles, together with three or four of the Fans.
He made his way down the stream to a point where the hills receded,
and where he had observed a great many marks of the river horses. As
they approached the spot they heard several loud snorts, and making
their way along as quietly as possible they saw two of the great
beasts standing in the stream. At this point it widened a good deal
and was shallow and quite near the bank. The Fans had been told
to stay behind directly the snorting was heard, and Mr. Goodenough
and Frank, rifle in hand, crept forward, with the Houssas as still
and noiseless as cats close behind them.
CHAPTER X: LOST IN THE FOREST
The hippopotami were playing together, floundering in the shallow
water, and the noise they made prevented their hearing the stealthy
approach of their enemies.
"You take the one nearest shore, Frank, I will take the other. Aim
at the forehead between the eyes. I will make a slight sound to
attract their attention."
Frank knelt on one knee and took steady aim. Mr. Goodenough then
gave a shout, and the two animals turning their heads stood staring
at the foliage, scarce a dozen yards away, in which the travelers
were concealed. The guns flashed at the same moment, and as if
struck by lightning the hippopotami fell in the stream. The explosive
balls had both flown true to the mark, invariably a fatal one in
the case of the river horse. Frank as he fired had taken another
rifle which the Houssas held in readiness for him, but there was
no occasion for its use. The Fans came running up, and on seeing
the great beasts lying in the stream, gave a shout of joy.
"That will do for this evening," Mr. Goodenough said. "They are
large beasts, and will give food enough for a week or ten days."
They then returned to the camp which, at the news brought by one
of the Fans, had already been deserted. Before the natives retired
to sleep the hippopotami had been cut up and carried to the camp.
Portions were already frizzling over the fires, other parts set
aside for the consumption of the next two days, and the rest cut
up in strips to be dried in the sun. The tongue of one was cut up
and fried as a great luxury for the white men's supper by Ostik.
It is not often that the natives of equatorial Africa are able to
indulge in meat, and the joy of the Fans at this abundant supply,
and the prospect afforded them of further good eating, raised their
spirits to the highest extent.
Next morning at daybreak Mr. Goodenough and Frank set out from
the camp. Each carried a double barreled gun, and was accompanied
by one of the Houssas carrying his rifle and a butterfly net, and
when three hours later they returned to the camp for breakfast and
compared their spoils they found that an excellent beginning had
been made. Nearly a score of birds, of which several were very
rare, and five were pronounced by Mr. Goodenough to be entirely
new, had been shot, and many butterflies captured. Frank had been
most successful in this respect, as he had come across a small
clearing in which were several deserted huts. This was just the
place in which butterflies delight, for, although many kinds prefer
the deep shades of the forest, by far the greater portion love the
After breakfast they again set out, Frank this time keeping along
the edge of the stream, where he had observed many butterflies as
he came up, and where many birds of the kingfisher family had also
been seen. He had been very successful, and was walking along by
the edge of the water with his eyes fixed upon the trees above,
where he had a minute before heard the call of a bird, when he was
startled by a shout from the Houssa behind him. He involuntarily
sprang back, and it was well he did so; for on the instant something
swept by within an inch or two of his head. Looking round he saw, at