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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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 19 of 38)
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in his eyes shone the lurid light of murder, as plainly as ever it shone
in a villain's eyes. Mabruki sneaked to my rear, deliberately putting
powder in the pan of his musket, but sweeping the gun sharply round, I
planted the muzzle of it at about two feet from his wicked-looking face,
and ordered him to drop his gun instantly. He let it fall from his hand
quickly, and giving him a vigorous poke in the breast with my gun, which
sent him reeling away a few feet from me, I faced round to Asmani, and
ordered him to put his gun down, accompanying it with a nervous movement
of my gun, pressing gently on the trigger at the same time. Never was
a man nearer his death than was Asmani during those few moments. I was
reluctant to shed his blood, and I was willing to try all possible means
to avoid doing so; but if I did not succeed in cowing this ruffian,
authority was at an end. The truth was, they feared to proceed further
on the road, and the only possible way of inducing them to move was
by an overpowering force, and exercise of my power and will in this
instance, even though he might pay the penalty of his disobedience with
death. As I was beginning to feel that Asmani had passed his last moment
on earth, as he was lifting his gun to his shoulder, a form came up from
behind him, and swept his gun aside with an impatient, nervous movement,
and I heard Mabruki Burton say in horror-struck accents:

"Man, how dare you point your gun, at the master?" Mabruki then threw
himself at my feet, and endeavoured to kiss them and entreated me not
to punish him. "It was all over now," he said; "there would be no more
quarreling, they would all go as far as the Tanganika, without any more
noise; and Inshallah!" said he, "we shall find the old Musungu * at


"Speak, men, freedmen, shall we not? - shall we not go to the Tanganika
without any more trouble? tell the master with one voice."

"Ay Wallah! Ay Wallah! Bana yango! Hamuna manneno mgini!" which
literally translated means, "Yes by God! Yes by God! my master! There
are no other words," said each man loudly.

"Ask the master's pardon, man, or go thy way," said Mabruki
peremptorily, to Asmani: which Asmani did, to the gratification of us

It remained for me only to extend a general pardon to all except to
Bombay and Ambari, the instigators of the mutiny, which was now happily
quelled. For Bombay could have by a word, as my captain, nipped all
manifestation of bad temper at the outset, had he been so disposed.
But no, Bombay was more averse to marching than the cowardliest of his
fellows, not because he was cowardly, but because he loved indolence.

Again the word was given to march, and each man, with astonishing
alacrity, seized his load, and filed off quickly out of sight.

While on this subject, I may as well give here a sketch of each of the
principal men whose names must often appear in the following chapters.
According to rank, they consist of Bombay, Mabruki Burton, Asmani the
guide, Chowpereh, Ulimengo, Khamisi, Ambari, Jumah, Ferajji the cook,
Maganga the Mnyamwezi, Selim the Arab boy, and youthful Kalulu a

Bombay has received an excellent character from Burton and Speke.
"Incarnation of honesty" Burton grandly terms him. The truth is, Bombay
was neither very honest nor very dishonest, i.e., he did not venture
to steal much. He sometimes contrived cunningly, as he distributed the
meat, to hide a very large share for his own use. This peccadillo of his
did not disturb me much; he deserved as captain a larger share than the
others. He required to be closely watched, and when aware that this was
the case, he seldom ventured to appropriate more cloth than I would have
freely given him, had he asked for it. As a personal servant, or valet,
he would have been unexceptionable, but as a captain or jemadar over his
fellows, he was out of his proper sphere. It was too much brain-work,
and was too productive of anxiety to keep him in order. At times he was
helplessly imbecile in his movements, forgot every order the moment it
was given him, consistently broke or lost some valuable article, was
fond of argument, and addicted to bluster. He thinks Hajji Abdullah one
of the wickedest white men born, because he saw him pick up men's skulls
and put them in sacks, as if he was about to prepare a horrible medicine
with them. He wanted to know whether his former master had written down
all he himself did, and when told that Burton had not said anything,
in his books upon the Lake Regions, upon collecting skulls at Kilwa,
thought I would be doing a good work if I published this important

* Bombay intends to make a pilgrimage to visit Speke's grave
some day.

** I find upon returning to England, that Capt. Burton has
informed the world of this "wicked and abominable deed," in
his book upon Zanzibar, and that the interesting collection
may be seen at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

Mabruki, "Ras-bukra Mabruki," Bull-headed Mabruki, as Burton calls
him, is a sadly abused man in my opinion. Mabruki, though stupid, is
faithful. He is entirely out of his element as valet, he might as well
be clerk. As a watchman he is invaluable, as a second captain or fundi,
whose duty it is to bring up stragglers, he is superexcellent. He is
ugly and vain, but he is no coward.

Asmani the guide is a large fellow, standing over six feet, with the
neck and shoulders of a Hercules. Besides being guide, he is a fundi,
sometimes called Fundi Asmani, or hunter. A very superstitious man, who
takes great care of his gun, and talismanic plaited cord, which he has
dipped in the blood of all the animals he has ever shot. He is afraid of
lions, and will never venture out where lions are known to be. All other
animals he regards as game, and is indefatigable in their pursuit. He is
seldom seen without an apologetic or a treacherous smile on his face. He
could draw a knife across a man's throat and still smile.

Chowpereh is a sturdy short man of thirty or thereabouts; very
good-natured, and humorous. When Chowpereh speaks in his dry Mark Twain
style, the whole camp laughs. I never quarrel with Chowpereh, never
did quarrel with him. A kind word given to Chowpereh is sure to be
reciprocated with a good deed. He is the strongest, the healthiest,
the amiablest, the faithfulest of all. He is the embodiment of a good

Khamisi is a neat, cleanly boy of twenty, or thereabouts, active,
loud-voiced, a boaster, and the cowardliest of the cowardly. He will
steal at every opportunity. He clings to his gun most affectionately; is
always excessively anxious if a screw gets loose, or if a flint will
not strike fire, yet I doubt that he would be able to fire his gun at an
enemy from excessive trembling. Khamisi would rather trust his safety to
his feet, which are small, and well shaped.

Ambari is a man of about forty. He is one of the "Faithfuls" of Speke,
and one of my Faithfuls. He would not run away from me except when in
the presence of an enemy, and imminent personal danger. He is clever
in his way, but is not sufficiently clever to enact the part of
captain - could take charge of a small party, and give a very good
account of them. Is lazy, and an admirer of good living - abhors
marching, unless he has nothing to carry but his gun.

Jumah is the best abused man of the party, because he has old-womanish
ways with him, yet in his old-womanish ways he is disposed to do the
best he can for me, though he will not carry a pound in weight without
groaning terribly at his hard fate. To me he is sentimental and
pathetic; to the unimportant members of the caravan he is stern and
uncompromising. But the truth is, that I could well dispense with
Jumah's presence: he was one of the incorrigible inutiles, eating far
more than he was worth; besides being an excessively grumbling and
querulous fool.

Ulimengo, a strong stalwart fellow of thirty, was the maddest and most
hare-brained of my party. Though an arrant coward, he was a consummate
boaster. But though a devotee of pleasure and fun, he was not averse
from work. With one hundred men such as he, I could travel through
Africa provided there was no fighting to do. It will be remembered that
he was the martial coryphaeus who led my little army to war against
Mirambo, chanting the battle-song of the Wangwana; and that I stated,
that when the retreat was determined upon, he was the first of my party
to reach the stronghold of Mfuto. He is a swift runner, and a fair
hunter. I have been indebted to him on several occasions for a welcome
addition to my larder.

Ferajji, a former dish-washer to Speke, was my cook. He was promoted
to this office upon the defection of Bunder Salaam, and the extreme
non-fitness of Abdul Kader. For cleaning dishes, the first corn-cob,
green twig, a bunch of leaves or grass, answered Ferajji's purposes in
the absence of a cloth. If I ordered a plate, and I pointed out a
black, greasy, sooty thumbmark to him, a rub of a finger Ferajji thought
sufficient to remove all objections. If I hinted that a spoon was rather
dirty, Ferajji fancied that with a little saliva, and a rub of his loin
cloth, the most fastidious ought to be satisfied. Every pound of meat,
and every three spoonfuls of musk or porridge I ate in Africa, contained
at least ten grains of sand. Ferajji was considerably exercised at a
threat I made to him that on arrival at Zanzibar, I would get the great
English doctor there to open my stomach, and count every grain of sand
found in it, for each grain of which Ferajji should be charged one
dollar. The consciousness that my stomach must contain a large number,
for which the forfeits would be heavy, made him feel very sad at
times. Otherwise, Ferajji was a good cook, most industrious, if not
accomplished. He could produce a cup of tea, and three or four hot
pancakes, within ten minutes after a halt was ordered, for which I was
most grateful, as I was almost always hungry after a long march. Ferajji
sided with Baraka against Bombay in Unyoro, and when Speke took Bombay's
side of the question, Ferajji, out of love for Baraka, left Speke's
service, and so forfeited his pay.

Maganga was a Mnyamwezi, a native of Mkwenkwe, a strong, faithful
servant, an excellent pagazi, with an irreproachable temper. He it was
who at all times, on the march, started the wildly exuberant song of the
Wanyamwezi porters, which, no matter how hot the sun, or how long the
march, was sure to produce gaiety and animation among the people. At
such times all hands sang, sang with voices that could be heard miles
away, which made the great forests ring with the sounds, which startled
every animal big or little, for miles around. On approaching a village
the temper of whose people might be hostile to us, Maganga would
commence his song, with the entire party joining in the chorus, by
which mode we knew whether the natives were disposed to be friendly or
hostile. If hostile, or timid, the gates would at once be closed, and
dark faces would scowl at us from the interior; if friendly, they rushed
outside of their gates to welcome us, or to exchange friendly remarks.

An important member of the Expedition was Selim, the young Arab. Without
some one who spoke good Arabic, I could not have obtained the friendship
of the chief Arabs in Unyanyembe; neither could I have well communicated
with them, for though I understood Arabic, I could not speak it.

I have already related how Kalulu came to be in my service, and how he
came to bear his present name. I soon found how apt and quick he was to
learn, in consequence of which, he was promoted to the rank of personal
attendant. Even Selim could not vie with Kalulu in promptness and
celerity, or in guessing my wants at the table. His little black eyes
were constantly roving over the dishes, studying out the problem of what
was further necessary, or had become unnecessary.

We arrived at the Ziwani, in about 4 h. 30 m. from the time of our
quitting the scene which had well-nigh witnessed a sanguinary conflict.
The Ziwani, or pool, contained no water, not a drop, until the parched
tongues of my people warned them that they must proceed and excavate
for water. This excavation was performed (by means of strong hard sticks
sharply pointed) in the dry hard-caked bottom. After digging to a depth
of six feet their labours were rewarded with the sight of a few drops of
muddy liquid percolating through the sides, which were eagerly swallowed
to relieve their raging thirst. Some voluntarily started with buckets,
gourds, and canteens south to a deserted clearing called the "Tongoni"
in Ukamba, and in about three hours returned with a plentiful supply for
immediate use, of good and clear water.

In 1 h. 30 m. we arrived at this Tongoni, or deserted clearing of
the Wakamba. Here were three or four villages burnt, and an extensive
clearing desolate, the work of the Wa-Ruga-Raga of Mirambo. Those of the
inhabitants who were left, after the spoliation and complete destruction
of the flourishing settlement, emigrated westerly to Ugara. A large
herd of buffalo now slake their thirst at the pool which supplied the
villages of Ukamba with water.

Great masses of iron haematite cropped up above the surfaces in these
forests. Wild fruit began to be abundant; the wood-apple and tamarind
and a small plum-like fruit, furnished us with many an agreeable repast.

The honey-bird is very frequent in these forests of Ukonongo. Its cry is
a loud, quick chirrup. The Wakonongo understand how to avail themselves
of its guidance to the sweet treasure of honey which the wild bees have
stored in the cleft of some great tree. Daily, the Wakonongo who had
joined our caravan brought me immense cakes of honey-comb, containing
delicious white and red honey. The red honey-comb generally contains
large numbers of dead bees, but our exceedingly gluttonous people
thought little of these. They not only ate the honey-bees, but they also
ate a good deal of the wax.

As soon as the honey-bird descries the traveller, he immediately utters
a series of wild, excited cries, hops about from twig to twig, and from
branch to branch, then hops to another tree, incessantly repeating his
chirruping call. The native, understanding the nature of the little
bird, unhesitatingly follows him; but perhaps his steps are too slow for
the impatient caller, upon which he flies back, urging him louder, more
impatient cries, to hasten, and then darts swiftly forward, as if he
would show how quickly he could go to the honey-store, until at last the
treasure is reached, the native has applied fire to the bees' nest, and
secured the honey, while the little bird preens himself, and chirrups in
triumphant notes, as if he were informing the biped that without his aid
he never could have found the honey.

Buffalo gnats and tsetse were very troublesome on this march, owing to
the numerous herds of game in the vicinity.

On the 9th of October we made a long march in a southerly direction, and
formed our camp in the centre of a splendid grove of trees. The water
was very scarce on the road. The Wamrima and Wanyamwezi are not long
able to withstand thirst. When water is plentiful they slake their
thirst at every stream and pool; when it is scarce, as it is here and
in the deserts of Marenga and Magunda Mkali, long afternoon-marches are
made; the men previously, however, filling their gourds, so as to enable
them to reach the water early next morning. Selim was never able to
endure thirst. It mattered not how much of the precious liquid he
carried, he generally drank it all before reaching camp, and he
consequently suffered during the night. Besides this, he endangered
his life by quaffing from every muddy pool; and on this day he began to
complain that he discharged blood, which I took to be an incipient stage
of dysentery.

During these marches, ever since quitting Ugunda, a favourite topic
at the camp-fires were the Wa-Ruga-Ruga, and their atrocities, and a
possible encounter that we might have with these bold rovers of
the forest. I verily believe that a sudden onset of half a dozen of
Mirambo's people would have set the whole caravan arunning.

We reached Marefu the next day, after a short three hours' march. We
there found an embassy sent by the Arabs of Unyanyembe, to the Southern
Watuta, bearing presents of several bales, in charge of Hassan the
Mseguhha. This valiant leader and diplomatist had halted here some ten
days because of wars and rumours of wars in his front. It was said that
Mbogo, Sultan of Mboga in Ukonongo, was at war with the brother of Manwa
Sera, and as Mbogo was a large district of Ukonongo only two days' march
from Marefu; fear of being involved in it was deterring old Hassan from
proceeding. He advised me also not to proceed, as it was impossible to
be able to do so without being embroiled in the conflict. I informed
him that I intended to proceed on my way, and take my chances, and
graciously offered him my escort as far as the frontier of Ufipa, from
which he could easily and safely continue on his way to the Watuta, but
he declined it.

We had now been travelling fourteen days in a south-westerly direction,
having made a little more than one degree of latitude. I had intended to
have gone a little further south, because it was such a good road, also
since by going further south we should have labored under no fear of
meeting Mirambo; but the report of this war in our front, only two days
off, compelled me, in the interest of the Expedition, to strike across
towards the Tanganika, an a west-by-north course through the forest,
travelling, when it was advantageous, along elephant tracks and local
paths. This new plan was adopted after consulting with Asmani, the
guide. We were now in Ukonongo, having entered this district when
we crossed the Gombe creek. The next day after arriving at Marefu we
plunged westward, in view of the villagers, and the Arab ambassador,
who kept repeating until the last moment that we should "certainly catch

We marched eight hours through a forest, where the forest peach, or the
"mbembu," is abundant. The tree that bears this fruit is very like
a pear-tree, and is very productive. I saw one tree, upon which I
estimated there were at least six or seven bushels. I ate numbers of the
peaches on this day. So long as this fruit can be produced, a traveller
in these regions need not fear starvation.

At the base of a graceful hilly cone we found a village called Utende,
the inhabitants of which were in a state of great alarm, as we suddenly
appeared on the ridge above them. Diplomacy urged me to send forward a
present of one doti to the Sultan, who, however, would not accept it,
because he happened to be drunk with pombe, and was therefore disposed
to be insolent. Upon being informed that he would refuse any present,
unless he received four more cloths, I immediately ordered a strong
boma to be constructed on the summits of a little hill, near enough to
a plentiful supply of water, and quietly again packed up the present in
the bale. I occupied a strategically chosen position, as I could have
swept the face of the hill, and the entire space between its base and
the village of Watende. Watchmen were kept on the look-out all
night; but we were fortunately not troubled until the morning; when
a delegation of the principal men came to ask if I intended to depart
without having made a present to the chief. I replied to them that I did
not intend passing through any country without making friends with the
chief; and if their chief would accept a good cloth from me, I would
freely give it to him. Though they demurred at the amount of the present
at first, the difference between us was finally ended by my adding a
fundo of red beads - sami-sami - for the chief's wife.

From the hill and ridge of Utende sloped a forest for miles and miles
westerly, which was terminated by a grand and smooth-topped ridge rising
500 or 600 feet above the plain.

A four hours' march, on the 12th of October, brought us to a nullah
similar to the Gombe, which, during the wet season, flows to the Gombe
River, and thence into the Malagarazi River.

A little before camping we saw a herd of nimba, or pallah; I had the
good fortune to shoot one, which was a welcome addition to our fast
diminishing store of dried meats, prepared in our camp on the Gombe. By
the quantity of bois de vaches, we judged buffaloes were plentiful here,
as well as elephant and rhinoceros. The feathered species were well
represented by ibis, fish-eagles, pelicans, storks, cranes, several
snowy spoon-bills, and flamingoes.

From the nullah, or mtoni, we proceeded to Mwaru, the principal village
of the district of Mwaru, the chief of which is Ka-mirambo. Our march
lay over desolated clearings once occupied by Ka-mirambo's people, but
who were driven away by Mkasiwa some ten years ago, during his warfare
against Manwa Sera. Niongo, the brother of the latter, now waging war
against Mbogo, had passed through Mwaru the day before we arrived, after
being defeated by his enemy.

The hilly ridge that bounded the westward horizon, visible from Utende,
was surmounted on this day. The western slope trends south-west, and is
drained by the River Mrera, which empties into the Malagarazi River. We
perceived the influence of the Tanganika, even here, though we were
yet twelve or fifteen marches from the lake. The jungles increased in
density, and the grasses became enormously tall; these points reminded
us of the maritime districts of Ukwere and Ukami.

We heard from a caravan at this place, just come from Ufipa, that
a white man was reported to be in "Urua," whom I supposed to mean

Upon leaving Mwaru we entered the district of Mrera, a chief who once
possessed great power and influence over this region. Wars, however,
have limited his possessions to three or four villages snugly embosomed
within a jungle, whose outer rim is so dense that it serves like a stone
wall to repel invaders. There were nine bleached skulls, stuck on the
top of as many poles, before the principal gate of entrance, which told
us of existing feuds between the Wakonongo and the Wazavira. This latter
tribe dwelt in a country a few marches west of us; whose territory
we should have to avoid, unless we sought another opportunity to
distinguish ourselves in battle with the natives. The Wazavira, we were
told by the Wakonongo of Mrera, were enemies to all Wangwana.

In a narrow strip of marsh between Mwaru and Mrera, we saw a small herd
of wild elephants. It was the first time I had ever seen these animals
in their native wildness, and my first impressions of them I shall not
readily forget. I am induced to think that the elephant deserves the
title of "king of beasts." His huge form, the lordly way in which he
stares at an intruder on his domain, and his whole appearance indicative
of conscious might, afford good grounds for his claim to that title.
This herd, as we passed it at the distance of a mile, stopped to survey
the caravan as it passed: and, after having satisfied their curiosity,
the elephants trooped into the forest which bounded the marshy plain
southward, as if caravans were every-day things to them, whilst
they - the free and unconquerable lords of the forest and the marsh - had
nothing in common with the cowardly bipeds, who never found courage to
face them in fair combat. The destruction which a herd makes in a forest
is simply tremendous. When the trees are young whole swathes may be
found uprooted and prostrate, which mark the track of the elephants as
they "trampled their path through wood and brake."

The boy Selim was so ill at this place that I was compelled to halt the
caravan for him for two days. He seemed to be affected with a disease
in the limbs, which caused him to sprawl, and tremble most painfully,
besides suffering from an attack of acute dysentery. But constant
attendance and care soon brought him round again; and on the third day
he was able to endure the fatigue of riding.

I was able to shoot several animals during our stay at Mrera. The forest
outside of the cultivation teems with noble animals. Zebra, giraffe,
elephant, and rhinoceros are most common; ptarmigan and guinea-fowl were
also plentiful.

The warriors of Mrera are almost all armed with muskets, of which they
take great care. They were very importunate in their demands for flints,
bullets, and powder, which I always made it a point to refuse, lest
at any moment a fracas occurring they might use the ammunition thus

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 19 of 38)