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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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accompany the bold flights of my mind and satisfy the craving I feel to
resolve the vexed question that ever rises to my lips - "Is he alive?"
O soul of mine, be patient, thou hast a felicitous tranquillity, which
other men might envy thee! Sufficient for the hour is the consciousness
thou hast that thy mission is a holy one! Onward, and be hopeful!

Monday, the 2nd of October, found us traversing the forest and plain
that extends from the Ziwani to Manyara, which occupied us six and a
half hours. The sun was intensely hot; but the mtundu and miombo trees
grew at intervals, just enough to admit free growth to each tree, while
the blended foliage formed a grateful shade. The path was clear and
easy, the tamped and firm red soil offered no obstructions. The only
provocation we suffered was from the attacks of the tsetse, or panga
(sword) fly, which swarmed here. We knew we were approaching an
extensive habitat of game, and we were constantly on the alert for any
specimens that might be inhabiting these forests.

While we were striding onward, at the rate of nearly three miles an
hour, the caravan I perceived sheered off from the road, resuming it
about fifty yards ahead of something on the road, to which the attention
of the men was directed. On coming up, I found the object to be the
dead body of a man, who had fallen a victim to that fearful scourge
of Africa, the small-pox. He was one of Oseto's gang of marauders, or
guerillas, in the service of Mkasiwa of Unyanyembe, who were hunting
these forests for the guerillas of Mirambo. They had been returning from
Ukonongo from a raid they had instituted against the Sultan of Mbogo,
and they had left their comrade to perish in the road. He had apparently
been only one day dead.

Apropos of this, it was a frequent thing with us to discover a skeleton
or a skull on the roadside. Almost every day we saw one, sometimes two,
of these relics of dead, and forgotten humanity.

Shortly after this we emerged from the forest, and entered a mbuga, or
plain, in which we saw a couple of giraffes, whose long necks were seen
towering above a bush they had been nibbling at. This sight was greeted
with a shout; for we now knew we had entered the game country, and that
near the Gombe creek, or river, where we intended to halt, we should see
plenty of these animals.

A walk of three hours over this hot plain brought us to the cultivated
fields of Manyara. Arriving before the village-gate, we were forbidden
to enter, as the country was throughout in a state of war, and it
behoved them to be very careful of admitting any party, lest the
villagers might be compromised. We were, however, directed to a khambi
to the right of the village, near some pools of clear water, where we
discovered some half dozen ruined huts, which looked very uncomfortable
to tired people.

After we had built our camp, the kirangozi was furnished with some
cloths to purchase food from the village for the transit of a wilderness
in front of us, which was said to extend nine marches, or 135 miles.
He was informed that the Mtemi had strictly prohibited his people from
selling any grain whatever.

This evidently was a case wherein the exercise of a little diplomacy
could only be effective; because it would detain us several days here,
if we were compelled to send men back to Kikuru for provisions. Opening
a bale of choice goods, I selected two royal cloths, and told Bombay to
carry them to him, with the compliments and friendship of the white man.
The Sultan sulkily refused them, and bade him return to the white man
and tell him not to bother him. Entreaties were of no avail, he would
not relent; and the men, in exceedingly bad temper, and hungry, were
obliged to go to bed supperless. The words of Njara, a slave-trader,
and parasite of the great Sheikh bin Nasib, recurred to me. "Ah, master,
master, you will find the people will be too much for you, and that you
will have to return. The Wa-manyara are bad, the Wakonongo are very bad,
the Wazavira are the worst of all. You have come to this country at a
bad time. It is war everywhere." And, indeed, judging from the tenor
of the conversations around our camp-fires, it seemed but too evident.
There was every prospect of a general decamp of all my people. However,
I told them not to be discouraged; that I would get food for them in the
morning.

The bale of choice cloths was opened again next morning, and four royal
cloths were this time selected, and two dotis of Merikani, and Bombay
was again despatched, burdened with compliments, and polite words.

It was necessary to be very politic with a man who was so surly, and too
powerful to make an enemy of. What if he made up his mind to imitate
the redoubtable Mirambo, King of Uyoweh! The effect of my munificent
liberality was soon seen in the abundance of provender which came to my
camp. Before an hour went by, there came boxes full of choroko, beans,
rice, matama or dourra, and Indian corn, carried on the heads of a dozen
villagers, and shortly after the Mtemi himself came, followed by about
thirty musketeers and twenty spearmen, to visit the first white man
ever seen on this road. Behind these warriors came a liberal gift, fully
equal in value to that sent to him, of several large gourds of honey,
fowls, goats, and enough vetches and beans to supply my men with four
days' food.

I met the chief at the gate of my camp, and bowing profoundly, invited
him to my tent, which I had arranged as well as my circumstances would
permit, for this reception. My Persian carpet and bear skin were spread
out, and a broad piece of bran-new crimson cloth covered my kitanda, or
bedstead.

The chief, a tall robust man, and his chieftains, were invited to seat
themselves. They cast a look of such gratified surprise at myself, at
my face, my clothes, and guns, as is almost impossible to describe. They
looked at me intently for a few seconds, and then at each other, which
ended in an uncontrollable burst of laughter, and repeated snappings
of the fingers. They spoke the Kinyamwezi language, and my interpreter
Maganga was requested to inform the chief of the great delight I felt in
seeing them. After a short period expended in interchanging compliments,
and a competitive excellence at laughing at one another, their chief
desired me to show him my guns. The "sixteen-shooter," the Winchester
rifle, elicited a thousand flattering observations from the excited man;
and the tiny deadly revolvers, whose beauty and workmanship they thought
were superhuman, evoked such gratified eloquence that I was fain to try
something else. The double-barrelled guns fired with heavy charges of
power, caused them to jump up in affected alarm, and then to subside
into their seats convulsed with laughter. As the enthusiasm of my guests
increased, they seized each other's index fingers, screwed them, and
pulled at them until I feared they would end in their dislocation. After
having explained to them the difference between white men and Arabs, I
pulled out my medicine chest, which evoked another burst of rapturous
sighs at the cunning neatness of the array of vials. He asked what they
meant.

"Dowa," I replied sententiously, a word which may be
interpreted - medicine.

"Oh-h, oh-h," they murmured admiringly. I succeeded, before long, in
winning unqualified admiration, and my superiority, compared to the
best of the Arabs they had seen, was but too evident. "Dowa, dowa," they
added.

"Here," said I, uncorking a vial of medicinal brandy, "is the Kisungu
pombe" (white man's beer); "take a spoonful and try it," at the same
time handing it.

"Hacht, hacht, oh, hacht! what! eh! what strong beer the white men
have! Oh, how my throat burns!"

"Ah, but it is good," said I, "a little of it makes men feel strong, and
good; but too much of it makes men bad, and they die."

"Let me have some," said one of the chiefs; "and me," "and me," "and
me," as soon as each had tasted.

"I next produced a bottle of concentrated ammonia, which as I explained
was for snake bites, and head-aches; the Sultan immediately complained
he had a head-ache, and must have a little. Telling him to close his
eyes, I suddenly uncorked the bottle, and presented it to His Majesty's
nose. The effect was magical, for he fell back as if shot, and such
contortions as his features underwent are indescribable. His chiefs
roared with laughter, and clapped their hands, pinched each other,
snapped their fingers, and committed many other ludicrous things. I
verily believe if such a scene were presented on any stage in the world
the effect of it would be visible instantaneously on the audience; that
had they seen it as I saw it, they would have laughed themselves to
hysteria and madness. Finally the Sultan recovered himself, great tears
rolling down his cheeks, and his features quivering with laughter,
then he slowly uttered the word 'kali,' - hot, strong, quick, or ardent
medicine. He required no more, but the other chiefs pushed forward
to get one wee sniff, which they no sooner had, than all went into
paroxysms of uncontrollable laughter. The entire morning was passed in
this state visit, to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned. 'Oh,'
said the Sultan at parting, 'these white men know everything, the Arabs
are dirt compared to them!'"

That night Hamdallah, one of the guides, deserted, carrying with him his
hire (27 doti), and a gun. It was useless to follow him in the morning,
as it would have detained me many more days than I could afford; but
I mentally vowed that Mr. Hamdallah should work out those 27 doti of
cloths before I reached the coast.

Wednesday, October 4th, saw us travelling to the Gombe River, which is 4
h. 15 m. march from Manyara.

We had barely left the waving cornfields of my friend Ma-manyara before
we came in sight of a herd of noble zebra; two hours afterwards we
had entered a grand and noble expanse of park land, whose glorious
magnificence and vastness of prospect, with a far-stretching carpet of
verdure darkly flecked here and there by miniature clumps of jungle,
with spreading trees growing here and there, was certainly one of the
finest scenes to be seen in Africa. Added to which, as I surmounted one
of the numerous small knolls, I saw herds after herds of buffalo and
zebra, giraffe and antelope, which sent the blood coursing through my
veins in the excitement of the moment, as when I first landed on African
soil. We crept along the plain noiselessly to our camp on the banks of
the sluggish waters of the Gombe.

Here at last was the hunter's Paradise! How petty and insignificant
appeared my hunts after small antelope and wild boar what a foolish
waste of energies those long walks through damp grasses and through
thorny jungles! Did I not well remember ' my first bitter experience
in African jungles when in the maritime region! But this - where is
the nobleman's park that can match this scene? Here is a soft, velvety
expanse of young grass, grateful shade under those spreading clumps;
herds of large and varied game browsing within easy rifle range. Surely
I must feel amply compensated now for the long southern detour I have
made, when such a prospect as this opens to the view! No thorny jungles
and rank smelling swamps are here to daunt the hunter, and to sicken
his aspirations after true sport! No hunter could aspire after a nobler
field to display his prowess.

Having settled the position of the camp, which overlooked one of
the pools found in the depression of the Gombe creek, I took my
double-barrelled smooth-bore, and sauntered off to the park-land.
Emerging from behind a clump, three fine plump spring-bok were seen
browsing on the young grass just within one hundred yards. I knelt down
and fired; one unfortunate antelope bounded upward instinctively, and
fell dead. Its companions sprang high into the air, taking leaps about
twelve feet in length, as if they were quadrupeds practising gymnastics,
and away they vanished, rising up like India-rubber balls; until a
knoll hid them from view. My success was hailed with loud shouts by the
soldiers; who came running out from the camp as soon as they heard the
reverberation of the gun, and my gun-bearer had his knife at the beast's
throat, uttering a fervent "Bismillah!" as he almost severed the head
from the body.

Hunters were now directed to proceed east and north to procure meat,
because in each caravan it generally happens that there are fundi, whose
special trade it is to hunt for meat for the camp. Some of these are
experts in stalking, but often find themselves in dangerous positions,
owing to the near approach necessary, before they can fire their most
inaccurate weapons with any certainty.

After luncheon, consisting of spring-bok steak, hot corn-cake, and a
cup of delicious Mocha coffee, I strolled towards the south-west,
accompanied by Kalulu and Majwara, two boy gun-bearers. The tiny
perpusilla started up like rabbits from me as I stole along through the
underbrush; the honey-bird hopped from tree to tree chirping its
call, as if it thought I was seeking the little sweet treasure, the
hiding-place of which it only knew; but no! I neither desired perpusilla
nor the honey. I was on the search for something great this day.
Keen-eyed fish-eagles and bustards poised on trees above the sinuous
Gombe thought, and probably with good reason that I was after them;
judging by the ready flight with which both species disappeared as they
sighted my approach. Ah, no! nothing but hartebeest, zebra, giraffe,
eland, and buffalo this day! After following the Gombe's course for
about a mile, delighting my eyes with long looks at the broad and
lengthy reaches of water to which I was so long a stranger, I came upon
a scene which delighted the innermost recesses of my soul; five, six,
seven, eight, ten zebras switching their beautiful striped bodies, and
biting one another, within about one hundred and fifty yards. The scene
was so pretty, so romantic, never did I so thoroughly realize that I
was in Central Africa. I felt momentarily proud that I owned such a vast
domain, inhabited with such noble beasts. Here I possessed, within reach
of a leaden ball, any one I chose of the beautiful animals, the pride of
the African forests! It was at my option to shoot any of them! Mine they
were without money or without price; yet, knowing this, twice I dropped
my rifle, loth to wound the royal beasts, but - crack! and a royal one
was on his back battling the air with his legs. Ah, it was such a
pity! but, hasten, draw the keen sharp-edged knife across the beautiful
stripes which fold around the throat; and - what an ugly gash! it is
done, and 1 have a superb animal at my feet. Hurrah! I shall taste of
Ukonongo zebra to-night.

I thought a spring-bok and zebra enough for one day's sport, especially
after a long march. The Gombe, a long stretch of deep water, winding in
and out of green groves, calm, placid, with lotus leaves lightly resting
on its surface, all pretty, picturesque, peaceful as a summer's dream,
looked very inviting for a bath. I sought out the most shady spot under
a wide-spreading mimosa, from which the ground sloped smooth as a
lawn, to the still, clear water. I ventured to undress, and had already
stepped in to my ancles in the water, and had brought my hands together
for a glorious dive, when my attention was attracted by an enormously
long body which shot into view, occupying the spot beneath the surface
that I was about to explore by a "header." Great heavens, it was
a crocodile! I sprang backward instinctively, and this proved my
salvation, for the monster turned away with the most disappointed look,
and I was left to congratulate myself upon my narrow escape from his
jaws, and to register a vow never to be tempted again by the treacherous
calm of an African river.

As soon as I had dressed I turned away from the now repulsive aspect of
the stream. In strolling through the jungle, towards my camp, I detected
the forms of two natives looking sharply about them, and, after bidding
my young attendants to preserve perfect quiet, I crept on towards them,
and, by the aid of a thick clump of underbush, managed to arrive within
a few feet of the natives undetected. Their mere presence in the immense
forest, unexplained, was a cause of uneasiness in the then disturbed
state of the country, and my intention was to show myself suddenly to
them, and note its effect, which, if it betokened anything hostile to
the Expedition, could without difficulty be settled at once, with the
aid of my double-barrelled smooth-bore.

As I arrived on one side of this bush, the two suspicious-looking
natives arrived on the other side, and we were separated by only a
few feet. I made a bound, and we were face to face. The natives cast a
glance at the sudden figure of a white man, and seemed petrified for a
moment, but then, recovering themselves, they shrieked out, "Bana, bana,
you don't know us. We are Wakonongo, who came to your camp to accompany
you to Mrera, and we are looking for honey."

"Oh, to be sure, you are the Wakonongo. Yes - Yes. Ah, it is all right
now, I thought you might be Ruga-Ruga."

So the two parties, instead of being on hostile terms with each other,
burst out laughing. The Wakonongo enjoyed it very much, and laughed
heartily as they proceeded on their way to search for the wild honey.
On a piece of bark they carried a little fire with which they smoked the
bees out from their nest in the great mtundu-trees.

The adventures of the day were over; the azure of the sky had changed
to a dead grey; the moon was appearing just over the trees; the water
of the Gombe was like a silver belt; hoarse frogs bellowed their
notes loudly by the margin of the creek; the fish-eagles uttered their
dirge-like cries as they were perched high on the tallest tree; elands
snorted their warning to the herds in the forest; stealthy forms of the
carnivora stole through the dark woods outside of our camp. Within the
high inclosure of bush and thorn, which we had raised around our camp,
all was jollity, laughter, and radiant, genial comfort. Around every
camp-fire dark forms of men were seen squatted: one man gnawed at a
luscious bone; another sucked the rich marrow in a zebra's leg-bone;
another turned the stick, garnished with huge kabobs, to the bright
blaze; another held a large rib over a flame; there were others busy
stirring industriously great black potfuls of ugali, and watching
anxiously the meat simmering, and the soup bubbling, while the
fire-light flickered and danced bravely, and cast a bright glow over the
naked forms of the men, and gave a crimson tinge to the tall tent that
rose in the centre of the camp, like a temple sacred to some mysterious
god; the fires cast their reflections upon the massive arms of the
trees, as they branched over our camp, and, in the dark gloom of their
foliage, the most fantastic shadows were visible. Altogether it was
a wild, romantic, and impressive scene. But little recked my men for
shadows and moonlight, for crimson tints, and temple-like tents - they
were all busy relating their various experiences, and gorging themselves
with the rich meats our guns had obtained for us. One was telling how he
had stalked a wild boar, and the furious onset the wounded animal made
on him, causing him to drop his gun, and climb a tree, and the terrible
grunt of the beast he well remembered, and the whole welkin rang with
the peals of laughter which his mimic powers evoked. Another had shot a
buffalo-calf, and another had bagged a hartebeest; the Wakonongo related
their laughable rencontre with me in the woods, and were lavish in their
description of the stores of honey to be found in the woods; and all
this time Selim and his youthful subs were trying their sharp teeth on
the meat of a young pig which one of the hunters had shot, but which
nobody else would eat, because of the Mohammedan aversion to pig, which
they had acquired during their transformation from negro savagery to the
useful docility of the Zanzibar freed-man.

We halted the two following days, and made frequent raids on the herds
of this fine country. The first day I was fairly successful again in
the sport. I bagged a couple of antelopes, a kudu (A. strepsiceros) with
fine twisting horns, and a pallah-buck (A. melampus), a reddish-brown
animal, standing about three and a half feet, with broad posteriors.
I might have succeeded in getting dozens of animals had I any of those
accurate, heavy rifles manufactured by Lancaster, Reilly, or Blissett,
whose every shot tells. But my weapons, save my light smoothbore,
were unfit for African game. My weapons were more for men. With the
Winchester rifle, and the Starr's carbine, I was able to hit anything
within two hundred yards, but the animals, though wounded, invariably
managed to escape the knife, until I was disgusted with the pea-bullets.
What is wanted for this country is a heavy bore - No. 10 or 12 is the
real bone-crusher - that will drop every animal shot in its tracks, by
which all fatigue and disappointment are avoided. Several times during
these two days was I disappointed after most laborious stalking and
creeping along the ground. Once I came suddenly upon an eland while
I had a Winchester rifle in my hand - the eland and myself mutually
astonished - at not more than twenty-five yards apart. I fired at its
chest, and bullet, true to its aim, sped far into the internal parts,
and the blood spouted from the wound: in a few minutes he was far away,
and I was too much disappointed to follow him. All love of the chase
seemed to be dying away before these several mishaps. What were two
antelopes for one day's sport to the thousands that browsed over the
plain?

The animals taken to camp during our three days' sport were two
buffaloes, two wild boar, three hartebeest, one zebra, and one pallah;
besides which, were shot eight guinea-fowls, three florican, two
fish-eagles, one pelican, and one of the men caught a couple of large
silurus fish. In the meantime the people had cut, sliced, and dried
this bounteous store of meat for our transit through the long wilderness
before us.

Saturday the 7th day of October, we broke up camp, to the great regret
of the meat-loving, gormandizing Wangwana. They delegated Bombay early
in the morning to speak to me, and entreat of me to stop one day longer.
It was ever the case; they had always an unconquerable aversion to work,
when in presence of meat. Bombay was well scolded for bearing any such
request to me after two days' rest, during which time they had been
filled to repletion with meat. And Bombay was by no means in the best of
humour; flesh-pots full of meat were more to his taste than a constant
tramping, and its consequent fatigues. I saw his face settle into sulky
ugliness, and his great nether lip hanging down limp, which meant as if
expressed in so many words, "Well, get them to move yourself, you wicked
hard man! I shall not help you."

An ominous silence followed my order to the kirangozi to sound the
horn, and the usual singing and chanting were not heard. The men turned
sullenly to their bales, and Asmani, the gigantic guide, our fundi, was
heard grumblingly to say he was sorry he had engaged to guide me to the
Tanganika. However, they started, though reluctantly. I stayed behind
with my gunbearers, to drive the stragglers on. In about half an hour I
sighted the caravan at a dead stop, with the bales thrown on the ground,
and the men standing in groups conversing angrily and excitedly.

Taking my double-barrelled gun from Selim's shoulder, I selected a dozen
charges of buck-shot, and slipping two of them into the barrels, and
adjusting my revolvers in order for handy work, I walked on towards
them. I noticed that the men seized their guns, as I advanced. When
within thirty yards of the groups, I discovered the heads of two men
appear above an anthill on my left, with the barrels of their guns
carelessly pointed toward the road.

I halted, threw the barrel of my gun into the hollow of the left hand,
and then, taking a deliberate aim at them, threatened to blow their
heads off if they did not come forward to talk to me. These two men
were, gigantic Asmani and his sworn companion Mabruki, the guides of
Sheikh bin Nasib. As it was dangerous not to comply with such an order,
they presently came, but, keeping my eye on Asmani, I saw him move his
fingers to the trigger of his gun, and bring his gun to a "ready." Again
I lifted my gun, and threatened him with instant death, if he did not
drop his gun.

Asmani came on in a sidelong way with a smirking smile on his face, but



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 18 of 38)