Henry M. Stanley.

How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley online

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reasonable person. Not quite so powerful as the Sultan of Mvumi, he yet
owned a fair share of Ugogo and about forty villages, and could, if he
chose, have oppressed the mercantile souls of my Arab companions, in
the same way as he of Mvumi. Four doti of cloth were taken to him as a
preliminary offering to his greatness, which he said he would accept, if
the Arabs and Musungu would send him four more. As his demands were
so reasonable, this little affair was soon terminated to everybody's
satisfaction; and soon after, the kirangozi of Sheikh Hamed sounded the
signal for the morrow's march.

At the orders of the same Sheikh, the kirangozi stood up to speak before
the assembled caravans. "Words, words, from the Bana," he shouted.
"Give ear, kirangozis! Listen, children of Unyamwezi! The journey is for
to-morrow! The road is crooked and bad, bad! The jungle is there, and
many Wagogo lie hidden within it! Wagogo spear the pagazis, and cut
the throats of those who carry mutumba (bales) and ushanga (beads)! The
Wagogo have been to our camp, they have seen your bales; to-night
they seek the jungle: to-morrow watch well, O Wanyamwezi! Keep close
together, lag not behind! Kirangozis walk slow, that the weak, the
sick, and the young may keep up with the strong! Take two rests on the
journey! These are the words of the Bana (master). Do you hear
them, Wanyamwezi? (A loud shout in the affirmative from all.) Do you
understand them well? (another chorus); then Bas;" having said which,
the eloquent kirangozi retired into the dark night, and his straw hut.

The march to Bihawana, our next camp, was rugged and long, through a
continuous jungle of gums and thorns, up steep hills and finally over a
fervid plain, while the sun waxed hotter and hotter as it drew near the
meridian, until it seemed to scorch all vitality from inanimate nature,
while the view was one white blaze, unbearable to the pained sight,
which sought relief from the glare in vain. Several sandy watercourses,
on which were impressed many a trail of elephants, were also passed on
this march. The slope of these stream-beds trended south-east and south.

In the middle of this scorching plain stood the villages of Bihawana,
almost undistinguishable, from the extreme lowness of the huts, which
did not reach the height of the tall bleached grass which stood smoking
in the untempered heat.

Our camp was in a large boma, about a quarter of a mile from the
Sultan's tembe. Soon after arriving at the camp, I was visited by three
Wagogo, who asked me if I had seen a Mgogo on the road with a woman
and child. I was about to answer, very innocently, "Yes," when
Mabruki - cautious and watchful always for the interests of the
master - requested me not to answer, as the Wagogo, as customary, would
charge me with having done away with them, and would require their price
from me. Indignant at the imposition they were about to practise upon
me, I was about to raise my whip to flog them out of the camp, when
again Mabruki, with a roaring voice, bade me beware, for every blow
would cost me three or four doti of cloth. As I did not care to gratify
my anger at such an expense, I was compelled to swallow my wrath, and
consequently the Wagogo escaped chastisement.

We halted for one day at this place, which was a great relief to me, as
I was suffering severely from intermittent fever, which lasted in this
case two weeks, and entirely prevented my posting my diary in full, as
was my custom every evening after a march.

The Sultan of Bihawana, though his subjects were evil-disposed, and
ready-handed at theft and murder, contented himself with three doti as
honga. From this chief I received news of my fourth caravan, which had
distinguished itself in a fight with some outlawed subjects of his; my
soldiers had killed two who had attempted, after waylaying a couple of
my pagazis, to carry away a bale of cloth and a bag of beads; coming
up in time, the soldiers decisively frustrated the attempt. The Sultan
thought that if all caravans were as well guarded as mine were, there
would be less depredations committed on them while on the road; with
which I heartily agreed.

The next sultan's tembe through whose territory we marched, this being
on the 30th May, was at Kididimo, but four miles from Bihawna. The road
led through a flat elongated plain, lying between two lengthy hilly
ridges, thickly dotted with the giant forms of the baobab. Kididimo is
exceedingly bleak in aspect. Even the faces of the Wagogo seemed to have
contracted a bleak hue from the general bleakness around. The water of
the pits obtained in the neighbourhood had an execrable flavor, and two
donkeys sickened and died in less than an hour from its effects.
Man suffered nausea and a general irritability of the system, and
accordingly revenged himself by cursing the country and its imbecile
ruler most heartily. The climax came, however, when Bombay reported,
after an attempt to settle the Muhongo, that the chief's head had grown
big since he heard that the Musungu had come, and that its "bigness"
could not be reduced unless he could extract ten doti as tribute. Though
the demand was large, I was not in a humour - being feeble, and almost
nerveless, from repeated attacks of the Mukunguru - to dispute the sum:
consequently it was paid without many words. But the Arabs continued the
whole afternoon negotiating, and at the end had to pay eight doti each.

Between Kididimo and Nyambwa, the district of the Sultan Pembera Pereh,
was a broad and lengthy forest and jungle inhabited by the elephant,
rhinoceros, zebra, deer, antelope, and giraffe. Starting at dawn of
the 31st; we entered the jungle, whose dark lines and bosky banks were
clearly visible from our bower at Kididimo; and, travelling for two
hours, halted for rest and breakfast, at pools of sweet water surrounded
by tracts of vivid green verdure, which were a great resort for the wild
animals of the jungle, whose tracks were numerous and recent. A narrow
nullah, shaded deeply with foliage, afforded excellent retreats from
the glaring sunshine. At meridian, our thirst quenched, our hunger
satisfied, our gourds refilled, we set out from the shade into the
heated blaze of hot noon. The path serpentined in and out of jungle, and
thin forest, into open tracts of grass bleached white as stubble, into
thickets of gums and thorns, which emitted an odour as rank as a stable;
through clumps of wide-spreading mimosa and colonies of baobab, through
a country teeming with noble game, which, though we saw them frequently,
were yet as safe from our rifles as if we had been on the Indian Ocean.
A terekeza, such as we were now making, admits of no delay. Water we
had left behind at noon: until noon of the next day not a drop was to be
obtained; and unless we marched fast and long on this day, raging
thirst would demoralize everybody. So for six long weary hours we toiled
bravely; and at sunset we camped, and still a march of two hours, to be
done before the sun was an hour high, intervened between us and our camp
at Nyambwa. That night the men bivouacked under the trees, surrounded by
many miles of dense forest, enjoying the cool night unprotected by hat
or tent, while I groaned and tossed throughout the night in a paroxysm
of fever.

The morn came; and, while it was yet young, the long caravan, or string
of caravans, was under way. It was the same forest, admitting, on the
narrow line which we threaded, but one man at a time. Its view was as
limited. To our right and left the forest was dark and deep. Above was
a riband of glassy sky flecked by the floating nimbus. We heard nothing
save a few stray notes from a flying bird, or the din of the caravans as
the men sang, or hummed, or conversed, or shouted, as the thought struck
them that we were nearing water. One of my pagazis, wearied and sick,
fell, and never rose again. The last of the caravan passed him before he

At 7 A.M. we were encamped at Nyambwa, drinking the excellent water
found here with the avidity of thirsty camels. Extensive fields of grain
had heralded the neighbourhood of the villages, at the sight of which we
were conscious that the caravan was quickening its pace, as approaching
its halting-place. As the Wasungu drew within the populated area, crowds
of Wagogo used their utmost haste to see them before they passed by.
Young and old of both genders pressed about us in a multitude - a very
howling mob. This excessive demonstrativeness elicited from my sailor
overseer the characteristic remark, "Well, I declare, these must be
the genuine Ugogians, for they stare! stare - there is no end to their
staring. I'm almost tempted to slap 'em in the face!" In fact, the
conduct of the Wagogo of Nyambwa was an exaggeration of the general
conduct of Wagogo. Hitherto, those we had met had contented themselves
with staring and shouting; but these outstepped all bounds, and my
growing anger at their excessive insolence vented itself in gripping
the rowdiest of them by the neck, and before he could recover from his
astonishment administering a sound thrashing with my dog-whip, which he
little relished. This proceeding educed from the tribe of starers all
their native power of vituperation and abuse, in expressing which they
were peculiar. Approaching in manner to angry tom-cats, they jerked
their words with something of a splitting hiss and a half bark. The
ejaculation, as near as I can spell it phonetically, was "hahcht"
uttered in a shrill crescendo tone. They paced backwards and forwards,
asking themselves, "Are the Wagoga to be beaten like slaves by this
Musungu? A Mgogo is a Mgwana (a free man); he is not used to be
beaten, - hahcht." But whenever I made motion, flourishing my whip,
towards them, these mighty braggarts found it convenient to move to
respectable distances from the irritated Musungu.

Perceiving that a little manliness and show of power was something which
the Wagogo long needed, and that in this instance it relieved me from
annoyance, I had recourse to my whip, whose long lash cracked like
a pistol shot, whenever they overstepped moderation. So long as they
continued to confine their obtrusiveness to staring, and communicating
to each other their opinions respecting my complexion, and dress, and
accoutrements, I philosophically resigned myself in silence for their
amusement; but when they pressed on me, barely allowing me to proceed, a
few vigorous and rapid slashes right and left with my serviceable thong,
soon cleared the track.

Pembera Pereh is a queer old man, very small, and would be very
insignificant were he not the greatest sultan in Ugogo; and enjoying a
sort of dimediate power over many other tribes. Though such an
important chief, he is the meanest dressed of his subjects, - is always
filthy, - ever greasy - eternally foul about the mouth; but these are mere
eccentricities: as a wise judge, he is without parallel, always has a
dodge ever ready for the abstraction of cloth from the spiritless Arab
merchants, who trade with Unyanyembe every year; and disposes with ease
of a judicial case which would overtask ordinary men.

Sheikh Hamed, who was elected guider of the united caravans now
travelling through Ugogo, was of such a fragile and small make, that he
might be taken for an imitation of his famous prototype "Dapper." Being
of such dimensions, what he lacked for weight and size he made up by
activity. No sooner had he arrived in camp than his trim dapper form
was seen frisking about from side to side of the great boma, fidgeting,
arranging, disturbing everything and everybody. He permitted no bales
or packs to be intermingled, or to come into too close proximity to his
own; he had a favourite mode of stacking his goods, which he would see
carried out; he had a special eye for the best place for his tent, and
no one else must trespass on that ground. One would imagine that walking
ten or fifteen miles a day, he would leave such trivialities to his
servants, but no, nothing could be right unless he had personally
superintended it; in which work he was tireless and knew no fatigue.

Another not uncommon peculiarity pertained to Sheikh Hamed; as he was
not a rich man, he laboured hard to make the most of every shukka
and doti expended, and each fresh expenditure seemed to gnaw his very
vitals: he was ready to weep, as he himself expressed it, at the high
prices of Ugogo, and the extortionate demands of its sultans. For this
reason, being the leader of the caravans, so far as he was able we were
very sure not to be delayed in Ugogo, where food was so dear.

The day we arrived at Nyambwa will be remembered by Hamed as long as he
lives, for the trouble and vexation which he suffered. His misfortunes
arose from the fact that, being too busily engaged in fidgeting about
the camp, he permitted his donkeys to stray into the matama fields of
Pembera Pereh, the Sultan. For hours he and his servants sought for the
stray donkeys, returning towards evening utterly unsuccessful, Hamed
bewailing, as only an Oriental can do, when hard fate visits him with
its inflictions, the loss of a hundred do dollars worth of Muscat
donkeys. Sheikh Thani, older, more experienced, and wiser, suggested
to him that he should notify the Sultan of his loss. Acting upon
the sagacious advice, Hamed sent an embassy of two slaves, and the
information they brought back was, that Pembera Pereh's servants had
found the two donkeys eating the unripened matama, and that unless
the Arab who owned them would pay nine doti of first-class cloths, he,
Pembera Pereh, would surely keep them to remunerate him for the matama
they had eaten. Hamed was in despair. Nine doti of first-class cloths,
worth $25 in Unyanyembe, for half a chukka's worth of grain, was, as
he thought, an absurd demand; but then if he did not pay it, what would
become of the hundred dollars' worth of donkeys? He proceeded to the
Sultan to show him the absurdity of the damage claim, and to endeavour
to make him accept one chukka, which would be more than double the worth
of what grain the donkeys had consumed. But the Sultan was sitting on
pombe; he was drunk, which I believe to be his normal state - too drunk
to attend to business, consequently his deputy, a renegade Mnyamwezi,
gave ear to the business. With most of the Wagogo chiefs lives a
Mnyamwezi, as their right-hand man, prime minister, counsellor,
executioner, ready man at all things save the general good; a sort of
harlequin Unyamwezi, who is such an intriguing, restless, unsatisfied
person, that as soon as one hears that this kind of man forms one of and
the chief of a Mgogo sultan's council, one feels very much tempted to
do damage to his person. Most of the extortions practised upon the Arabs
are suggested by these crafty renegades. Sheikh Hamed found that the
Mnyamwezi was far more obdurate than the Sultan - nothing under nine
doti first-class cloths would redeem the donkeys. The business that day
remained unsettled, and the night following was, as one may imagine, a
very sleepless one to Hamed. As it turned out, however, the loss of the
donkeys, the after heavy fine, and the sleepless night, proved to be
blessings in disguise; for, towards midnight, a robber Mgogo visited his
camp, and while attempting to steal a bale of cloth, was detected in
the act by the wide-awake and irritated Arab, and was made to vanish
instantly with a bullet whistling in close proximity to his ear.

From each of the principals of the caravans, the Mnyamwezi had received
as tribute for his drunken master fifteen doti, and from the other
six caravans six doti each, altogether fifty-one doti, yet on the next
morning when we took the road he was not a whit disposed to deduct a
single cloth from the fine imposed on Hamed, and the unfortunate Sheikh
was therefore obliged to liquidate the claim, or leave his donkeys

After travelling through the corn-fields of Pembera Pereh we emerged
upon a broad flat plain, as level as the still surface of a pond, whence
the salt of the Wagogo is obtained. From Kanyenyi on the southern
road, to beyond the confines of Uhumba and Ubanarama, this saline field
extends, containing many large ponds of salt bitter water whose low
banks are covered with an effervescence partaking of the nature of
nitrate. Subsequently, two days afterwards, having ascended the elevated
ridge which separates Ugogo from Uyanzi, I obtained a view of this
immense saline plain, embracing over a hundred square miles. I may
have been deceived, but I imagined I saw large expanses of greyish-blue
water, which causes me to believe that this salina is but a corner of
a great salt lake. The Wahumba, who are numerous, from Nyambwa to the
Uyanzi border, informed my soldiers that there was a "Maji Kuba" away to
the north.

Mizanza, our next camp after Nyambwa, is situated in a grove of palms,
about thirteen miles from the latter place. Soon after arriving I had
to bury myself under blankets, plagued with the same intermittent fever
which first attacked me during the transit of Marenga Mkali. Feeling
certain that one day's halt, which would enable me to take regular doses
of the invaluable sulphate of quinine, would cure me, I requested Sheikh
Thani to tell Hamed to halt on the morrow, as I should be utterly unable
to continue thus long, under repeated attacks of a virulent disease
which was fast reducing me into a mere frame of skin and bone. Hamed, in
a hurry to arrive at Unyanyembe in order to dispose of his cloth before
other caravans appeared in the market, replied at first that he would
not, that he could not, stop for the Musungu. Upon Thani's reporting his
answer to me, I requested him to inform Hamed that, as the Musungu did
not wish to detain him, or any other caravan, it was his express wish
that Hamed would march and leave him, as he was quite strong enough in
guns to march through Ugogo alone. Whatever cause modified the Sheikh's
resolution and his anxiety to depart, Hamed's horn signal for the march
was not heard that night, and on the morrow he had not gone.

Early in the morning I commenced on my quinine doses; at 6 A.M. I took
a second dose; before noon I had taken four more - altogether, fifty
measured grains-the effect of which was manifest in the copious
perspiration which drenched flannels, linen, and blankets. After noon I
arose, devoutly thankful that the disease which had clung to me for the
last fourteen days had at last succumbed to quinine.

On this day the lofty tent, and the American flag which ever flew from
the centre pole, attracted the Sultan of Mizanza towards it, and was the
cause of a visit with which he honoured me. As he was notorious among
the Arabs for having assisted Manwa Sera in his war against Sheikh
Sny bin Amer, high eulogies upon whom have been written by Burton, and
subsequently by Speke, and as he was the second most powerful chief in
Ugogo, of course he was quite a curiosity to me. As the tent-door was
uplifted that he might enter, the ancient gentleman was so struck with
astonishment at the lofty apex, and internal arrangements, that the
greasy Barsati cloth which formed his sole and only protection against
the chills of night and the heat of noon, in a fit of abstraction was
permitted to fall down to his feet, exposing to the Musungu's unhallowed
gaze the sad and aged wreck of what must once have been a towering form.
His son, a youth of about fifteen, attentive to the infirmities of his
father, hastened with filial duty to remind him of his condition, upon
which, with an idiotic titter at the incident, he resumed his scanty
apparel and sat down to wonder and gibber out his admiration at the tent
and the strange things which formed the Musungu's personal baggage and
furniture. After gazing in stupid wonder at the table, on which was
placed some crockery and the few books I carried with me; at the slung
hammock, which he believed was suspended by some magical contrivance;
at the portmanteaus which contained my stock of clothes, he ejaculated,
"Hi-le! the Musungu is a great sultan, who has come from his country to
see Ugogo." He then noticed me, and was again wonder-struck at my pale
complexion and straight hair, and the question now propounded was, "How
on earth was I white when the sun had burned his people's skins into
blackness?" Whereupon he was shown my cork topee, which he tried on his
woolly head, much to his own and to our amusement. The guns were next
shown to him; the wonderful repeating rifle of the Winchester Company,
which was fired thirteen times in rapid succession to demonstrate
its remarkable murderous powers. If he was astonished before he was a
thousand times more so now, and expressed his belief that the Wagogo
could not stand before the Musungu in battle, for wherever a Mgogo was
seen such a gun would surely kill him. Then the other firearms were
brought forth, each with its peculiar mechanism explained, until, in, a
burst of enthusiasm at my riches and power, he said he would send me a
sheep or goat, and that he would be my brother. I thanked him for the
honour, and promised to accept whatever he was pleased to send me. At
the instigation of Sheikh Thani, who acted as interpreter, who said that
Wagogo chiefs must not depart with empty hands, I cut off a shukka
of Kaniki and presented it to him, which, after being examined and
measured, was refused upon the ground that, the Musungu being a great
sultan should not demean himself so much as to give him only a shukka.
This, after the twelve doti received as muhongo from the caravans, I
thought, was rather sore; but as he was about to present me with a sheep
or goat another shukka would not matter much.

Shortly after he departed, and true to his promise, I received a large,
fine sheep, with a broad tail, heavy with fat; but with the words: "That
being now his brother, I must send him three doti of good cloth." As the
price of a sheep is but a doti and a half, I refused the sheep and the
fraternal honour, upon the ground that the gifts were all on one side;
and that, as I had paid muhongo, and given him a doti of Kaniki as a
present, I could not, afford to part with any more cloth without an
adequate return.

During the afternoon one more of my donkeys died, and at night the
hyaenas came in great numbers to feast upon the carcase. Ulimengo,
the chasseur, and best shot of my Wangwana, stole out and succeeded in
shooting two, which turned out to be some of the largest of their kind..
One of them measured six feet from the tip of the nose to the extremity
of the tail, and three feet around the girth.

On the 4th. June we struck camp, and after travelling westward for about
three miles, passing several ponds of salt water, we headed north by
west, skirting the range of low hills which separates Ugogo from Uyanzi.

After a three hours' march, we halted for a short time at Little
Mukondoku, to settle tribute with the brother of him who rules at
Mukondoku Proper. Three doti satisfied the Sultan, whose district
contains but two villages, mostly occupied by pastoral Wahumba and
renegade Wahehe. The Wahumba live in plastered (cow-dung) cone huts,
shaped like the tartar tents of Turkestan.

The Wahumba, so far as I have seen them, are a fine and well-formed
race. The men are positively handsome, tall, with small heads, the
posterior parts of which project considerably. One will look in vain for
a thick lip or a flat nose amongst them; on the contrary, the mouth is
exceedingly well cut, delicately small; the nose is that of the Greeks,
and so universal was the peculiar feature, that I at once named them the
Greeks of Africa. Their lower limbs have not the heaviness of the
Wagogo and other tribes, but are long and shapely, clean as those of an
antelope. Their necks are long and slender, on which their small heads
are poised most gracefully. Athletes from their youth, shepherd bred,
and intermarrying among themselves, thus keeping the race pure, any
of them would form a fit subject for the sculptor who would wish to
immortalize in marble an Antinous, a Hylas, a Daphnis, or an Apollo.
The women are as beautiful as the men are handsome. They have clear ebon
skins, not coal-black, but of an inky hue. Their ornaments consist of
spiral rings of brass pendent from the ears, brass ring collars about
the necks, and a spiral cincture of brass wire about their loins for the
purpose of retaining their calf and goat skins, which are folded about
their bodies, and, depending from the shoulder, shade one half of the
bosom, and fall to the knees.

The Wahehe may be styled the Romans of Africa. Resuming our march, after

Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 11 of 38)