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 28 of 38)
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before arriving at Nyabigma. The Mshala River is considered by both
nations to be the proper divisional line; though there are parties of
Warundi who have emigrated beyond the frontier into Ujiji; for instance,
the Mutware and villagers of populous Kagunga, distant an hour north
from Zassi. There are also several small parties of Wajiji, who
have taken advantage of the fine lands in the deltas of the Kasokwe,
Namusinga, and Luaba Rivers, the two first of which enter the Tanganika
in this bay, near the head of which Nyabigma is situated.

From Nyabigma, a pretty good view of the deep curve in the great
mountain range which stretches from Cape Kazinga and terminates at Cape
Kasofu, may be obtained - a distance of twenty or twenty-five miles. It
is a most imposing scene, this great humpy, ridgy, and irregular line
of mountains. Deep ravines and chasms afford outlets to the numerous
streams and rivers which take their rise in the background; the pale
fleecy ether almost always shrouds its summit. From its base extends a
broad alluvial plain, rich beyond description, teeming with palms
and plantains, and umbrageous trees. Villages are seen in clusters
everywhere. Into this alluvial plain run the Luaba, or Ruaba River, on
the north side of Cape Kitunda, and the Kasokwe, Namusinga, and Mshala
Rivers, on the south side of the cape. All the deltas of rivers emptying
into the Tanganika are hedged in on all sides with a thick growth of
matete, a gigantic species of grass, and papyrus. In some deltas, as
that of Luaba and Kasokwe, morasses have been formed, in which the
matete and papyrus jungle is impenetrable. In the depths of them are
quiet and deep pools, frequented by various aquatic birds, such as
geese, ducks, snipes, widgeons, kingfishers and ibis, cranes and
storks, and pelicans. To reach their haunts is, however, a work of great
difficulty to the sportsman in quest of game; a work often attended with
great danger, from the treacherous nature of these morasses, as well as
from the dreadful attacks of fever which, in these regions, invariably
follow wet feet and wet clothes.

At Nyabigma we prepared, by distributing ten rounds of ammunition to
each of our men, for a tussle with the Warundi of two stages ahead,
should they invite it by a too forward exhibition of their prejudice to

At dawn of the fifth day we quitted the haven of Nyabigma Island, and
in less than an hour had arrived off Cape Kitunda. This cape is a low
platform of conglomerate sandstone, extending for about eight miles from
the base of the great mountain curve which gives birth to the Luaba and
its sister streams. Crossing the deep bay, at the head of which is the
delta of the Luaba, we came to Cape Kasofu. Villages are numerous in
this vicinity. From hence we obtained a view of a series of points or
capes, Kigongo, Katunga, and Buguluka, all of which we passed before
coming to a halt at the pretty position of Mukungu.

At Mukungu, where we stopped on the fifth day, we were asked for honga,
or tribute. The cloth and beads upon which we subsisted during our
lake voyage were mine, but the Doctor, being the elder of the two,
more experienced, and the "big man" of the party, had the charge of
satisfying all such demands. Many and many a time had I gone through the
tedious and soul-wearying task of settling the honga, and I was quite
curious to see how the great traveller would perform the work.

The Mateko (a man inferior to a Mutware) of Mukungu asked for two and a
half doti. This was the extent of the demand, which he made known to us
a little after dark. The Doctor asked if nothing had been brought to us.
He was answered, "No, it was too late to get anything now; but, if we
paid the honga, the Mateko would be ready to give us something when we
came back." Livingstone, upon hearing this, smiled, and the Mateko being
then and there in front of him, he said to him. "Well, if you can't get
us anything now, and intend to give something when we return, we had
better keep the honga until then." The Mateko was rather taken aback
at this, and demurred to any such proposition. Seeing that he was
dissatisfied, we urged him to bring one sheep - one little sheep - for our
stomachs were nearly empty, having been waiting more than half a day for
it. The appeal was successful, for the old man hastened, and brought us
a lamb and a three-gallon pot of sweet but strong zogga, or palm toddy,
and in return the Doctor gave him two and a half doti of cloth. The lamb
was killed, and, our digestions being good, its flesh agreed with us;
but, alas, for the effects of zogga, or palm toddy! Susi, the invaluable
adjunct of Dr. Livingstone, and Bombay, the headman of my caravan, were
the two charged with watching the canoe; but, having imbibed too freely
of this intoxicating toddy, they slept heavily, and in the morning
the Doctor and I had to regret the loss of several valuable and
indispensable things; among which may be mentioned the Doctor's
900-fathom sounding-line, 500 rounds of pin, rim, and central-fire
cartridges for my arms, and ninety musket bullets, also belonging to me.
Besides these, which were indispensable in hostile Warundi, a large bag
of flour and the Doctor's entire stock of white sugar were stolen. This
was the third time that my reliance in Bombay's trustworthiness resulted
in a great loss to me, and for the ninety-ninth time I had to
regret bitterly having placed such entire confidence in Speke's loud
commendation of him. It was only the natural cowardice of ignorant
thieves that prevented the savages from taking the boat and its entire
contents, together with Bombay and Susi as slaves. I can well imagine
the joyful surprise which must have been called forth at the sight and
exquisite taste of the Doctor's sugar, and the wonder with which they
must have regarded the strange ammunition of the Wasungu. It is to be
sincerely hoped that they did not hurt themselves with the explosive
bullets and rim cartridges through any ignorance of the nature of the
deadly contents; in which ease the box and its contents would prove a
very Pandora's casket.

Much grieved at our loss, we set off on the sixth day at the usual hour
on our watery journey. We coasted close to the several low headlands
formed by the rivers Kigwena, Kikuma, and Kisunwe; and when any
bay promised to be interesting, steered the canoe according to its
indentations. While travelling on the water - each day brought forth
similar scenes - on our right rose the mountains of Urundi, now and then
disclosing the ravines through which the several rivers and streams
issued into the great lake; at their base were the alluvial plains,
where flourished the oil-palm and grateful plantain, while scores of
villages were grouped under their shade. Now and then we passed long
narrow strips of pebbly or sandy beach, whereon markets were improvised
for selling fish, and the staple products of the respective communities.
Then we passed broad swampy morasses, formed by the numerous streams
which the mountains discharged, where the matete and papyrus flourished.
Now the mountains approached to the water, their sides descending
abruptly to the water's edge; then they receded into deep folds, at the
base of which was sure to be seen an alluvial plain from one to
eight miles broad. Almost constantly we observed canoes being punted
vigorously close to the surf, in fearless defiance of a catastrophe,
such as a capsize and gobbling-up by voracious crocodiles. Sometimes we
sighted a canoe a short distance ahead of us; whereupon our men, with
song and chorus, would exert themselves to the utmost to overtake it.
Upon observing our efforts, the natives would bend themselves to
their tasks, and paddling standing and stark naked, give us ample
opportunities for studying at our leisure comparative anatomy. Or we
saw a group of fishermen lazily reclining in _puris naturalibus_ on
the beach, regarding with curious eye the canoes as they passed their
neighbourhood; then we passed a flotilla of canoes, their owners sitting
quietly in their huts, busily plying the rod and hook, or casting their
nets, or a couple of men arranging their long drag nets close in shore
for a haul; or children sporting fearlessly in the water, with their
mothers looking on approvingly from under the shade of a tree, from
which I infer that there are not many crocodiles in the lake, except in
the neighbourhood of the large rivers.

After passing the low headland of Kisunwe, formed by the Kisunwe River,
we came in view of Murembwe Cape, distant about four or five miles: the
intervening ground being low land, a sandy and pebbly beach. Close to
the beach are scores of villages, while the crowded shore indicates the
populousness of the place beyond. About half way between Cape Kisunwe
and Murembwe, is a cluster of villages called Bikari, which has a
mutware who is in the habit of taking honga. As we were rendered
unable to cope for any length of time with any mischievously inclined
community, all villages having a bad reputation with the Wajiji were
avoided by us. But even the Wajiji guides were sometimes mistaken, and
led us more than once into dangerous places. The guides evidently had
no objections to halt at Bikari, as it was the second camp from Mukungu;
because with them a halt in the cool shade of plaintains was infinitely
preferable to sitting like carved pieces of wood in a cranky canoe. But
before they stated their objections and preferences, the Bikari people
called to us in a loud voice to come ashore, threatening us with the
vengeance of the great Wami if we did not halt. As the voices were
anything but siren-like, we obstinately refused to accede to the
request. Finding threats of no avail, they had recourse to stones,
and, accordingly, flung them at us in a most hearty manner. As one came
within a foot of my arm, I suggested that a bullet be sent in return in
close proximity to their feet; but Livingstone, though he said nothing,
yet showed plainly enough that he did not quite approve of this. As
these demonstrations of hostility were anything but welcome, and as we
saw signs of it almost every time we came opposite a village, we kept on
our way until we came to Murembwe Point, which, being a delta of a river
of the same name, was well protected by a breadth of thorny jungle,
spiky cane, and a thick growth of reed and papyrus, from which the
boldest Mrundi might well shrink, especially if he called to mind that
beyond this inhospitable swamp were the guns of the strangers his like
had so rudely challenged. We drew our canoe ashore here, and, on a
limited area of clean sand, Ferajji, our rough-and-ready cook, lit his
fire, and manufactured for us a supply of most delicious Mocha coffee.
Despite the dangers which still beset us, we were quite happy, and
seasoned our meal with a little moral philosophy, which lifted us
unconsciously into infinitely superior beings to the pagans by whom we
were surrounded - upon whom we now looked down, under the influence of
Mocha coffee and moral philosophy, with calm contempt, not unmixed with
a certain amount of compassion. The Doctor related some experiences he
had had among people of similar disposition, but did not fail to ascribe
them, with the wisdom of a man of ripe experiences, to the unwise
conduct of the Arabs and half-castes; in this opinion I unreservedly

From Murembwe Point, having finished our coffee and ended our discourse
on ethics, we proceeded on our voyage, steering for Cape Sentakeyi,
which, though it was eight or ten miles away, we hoped to make before
dark. The Wangwana pulled with right good will, but ten hours went by,
and night was drawing near, and we were still far from Sentakeyi. As
it was a fine moonlight night, and we were fully alive to the dangerous
position in which we might find ourselves, they consented to pull
an hour or two more. About 1 P.M., we pulled in shore for a deserted
spot - a clean shelf of sand, about thirty feet long by ten deep, from
which a clay bank rose about ten or twelve feet above, while on each
side there were masses of disintegrated rock. Here we thought, that
by preserving some degree of silence, we might escape observation, and
consequent annoyance, for a few hours, when, being rested, we might
continue our journey. Our kettle was boiling for tea, and the men had
built a little fire for themselves, and had filled their black earthen
pot with water for porridge, when our look-outs perceived dark forms
creeping towards our bivouac. Being hailed, they at once came forward,
and saluted us with the native "Wake." Our guides explained that we were
Wangwana, and intended to camp until morning, when, if they had anything
to sell, we should be glad to trade with them. They said they were
rejoiced to hear this, and after they had exchanged a few words
more - during which time we observed that they were taking mental notes
of the camp - they went away. Upon leaving, they promised to return in
the morning with food, and make friends with us. While drinking our tea,
the look-outs warned us of the approach of a second party, which went
through the same process of saluting and observing as the first had
done. These also went away, over-exuberant, as I thought, and were
shortly succeeded by a third party, who came and went as the others had.
From all this we inferred that the news was spreading rapidly through
the villages about, and we had noticed two canoes passing backwards and
forwards with rather more haste than we deemed usual or necessary. We
had good cause to be suspicious; it is not customary for people (at
least, between Ujiji and Zanzibar) to be about visiting and saluting
after dark, under any pretence; it is not permitted to persons to prowl
about camp after dark without being shot at; and this going backward and
forward, this ostentatious exuberance of joy at the arrival of a small
party of Wangwana, which in many parts of Urundi would be regarded as a
very common event, was altogether very suspicious. While the Doctor and
I were arriving at the conclusion that these movements were preliminary
to or significant of hostility, a fourth body, very boisterous and loud,
came and visited us. Our supper had been by this time despatched, and
we thought it high time to act. The fourth party having gone with
extravagant manifestations of delight, the men were hurried into the
canoe, and, when all were seated, and the look-outs embarked, we quietly
pushed off, but not a moment too soon. As the canoe was gliding from the
darkened light that surrounded us, I called the Doctor's attention to
several dark forms; some of whom were crouching behind the rocks on
our right, and others scrambling over them to obtain good or better
positions; at the same time people were approaching from the left of
our position, in the same suspicious way; and directly a voice hailed us
from the top of the clay bank overhanging the sandy shelf where we
had lately been resting. "Neatly done," cried the Doctor, as we were
shooting through the water, leaving the discomfited would-be robbers
behind us. Here, again, my hand was stayed from planting a couple of
good shots, as a warning to them in future from molesting strangers, by
the more presence of the Doctor, who, as I thought, if it were actually
necessary, would not hesitate to give the word.

After pulling six hours more, during which we had rounded Cape
Sentakeyi, we stopped at the small fishing village of Mugeyo, where we
were permitted to sleep unmolested. At dawn we continued our journey,
and about 8 A.M. arrived at the village of the friendly Mutware of
Magala. We had pulled for eighteen hours at a stretch, which, at the
rate of two miles and a half per hour, would make forty-five miles.
Taking bearings from our camp at Cape Magala, one of the most prominent
points in travelling north from Ujiji, we found that the large island
of Muzimu, which had been in sight ever since rounding Cape Bangwe, near
Ujiji Bunder, bore about south-south-west, and that the western shore
had considerably approached to the eastern; the breadth of the lake
being at this point about eight or ten miles. We had a good view of the
western highlands, which seemed to be of an average height, about 3,000
feet above the lake. Luhanga Peak, rising a little to the north of west
from Magala, might be about 500 feet higher; and Sumburizi, a little
north of Luhanga, where lived Mruta, Sultan of Uvira, the country
opposite to this part of Urundi, about 300 feet higher than the
neighbouring heights. Northward from Magala Cape the lake streamed away
between two chains of mountains; both meeting in a point about thirty
miles north of us.

The Warundi of Magala were very civil, and profound starers. They
flocked around the tent door, and most pertinaciously gazed on us, as
if we were subjects of most intense interest, but liable to sudden and
eternal departure. The Mutware came to see us late in the afternoon,
dressed with great pomp. He turned out to be a boy whom I had noticed in
the crowd of gazers for his good looks and fine teeth, which he showed,
being addicted to laughing continually. There was no mistaking him,
though he was now decorated with many ivory ornaments, with necklaces,
and with heavy brass bracelets and iron wire anklets. Our admiration
of him was reciprocated; and, in return for our two doti of cloth and a
fundo of samsam, he gave a fine fat and broad-tailed sheep, and a pot of
milk. In our condition both were extremely acceptable.

At Magala we heard of a war raging between Mukamba, for whose country we
were bound, and Warumashanya, a Sultan of an adjoining district; and
we were advised that, unless we intended to assist one of these chiefs
against the other, it would be better for us to return. But, as we had
started to solve the problem of the Rusizi River, such considerations
had no weight with us.

On the eighth morning from leaving Ujiji we bade farewell to the
hospitable people of Magala, and set off for Mukamba's country, which
was in view. Soon after passing the boundary between Urundi proper,
and what is known as Usige, a storm from the south-west arose; and
the fearful yawing of our canoe into the wave trough warned us from
proceeding further; so we turned her head for Kisuka village, about four
miles north, where Mugere, in Usige, begins.

At Kisuka a Mgwana living with Mukamba came to see us, and gave us
details of the war between Mukamba and Warumashanya, from which it
seemed that these two chiefs were continually at loggerheads. It is a
tame way of fighting, after all. One chief makes a raid into the other's
country, and succeeds in making off with a herd of cattle, killing one
or two men who have been surprised. Weeks, or perhaps months elapse
before the other retaliates, and effects a capture in a similar way, and
then a balance is struck in which neither is the gainer. Seldom do they
attack each other with courage and hearty goodwill, the constitution of
the African being decidedly against any such energetic warfare.

This Mgwana, further, upon being questioned, gave us information far
more interesting, viz., about the Rusizi. He told us positively, with
the air of a man who knew all about it, and as if anybody who doubted
him might well be set down as an egregious ass, that the Rusizi River
flowed out of the lake, away to Suna's (Mtesa's) country. "Where else
could it flow to?" he asked. The Doctor was inclined to believe it, or,
perhaps he was more inclined to let it rest as stated until our own eyes
should confirm it. I was more inclined to doubt, as I told the
Doctor; first, it was too good to be true; second, the fellow was too
enthusiastic upon a subject that could not possibly interest him. His
"Barikallahs" and "Inshallahs" were far too fervid; his answers too
much in accordance with our wishes. The Doctor laid great stress on the
report of a Mgwana he met far south, who stated that the grandfather or
father of Rumanika, present King of Karagwah, had thought of excavating
the bed of the Kitangule River, in order that his canoes might go to
Ujiji to open a trade. From this, I imagine, coinciding as it did with
his often-expressed and present firm belief that the waters of the
Tanganika had an outlet somewhere, the Doctor was partial to the report
of the Mgwana; but as we proceed we shall see how all this will end.

On the ninth morning from Ujiji, about two hours after sunrise, we
passed the broad delta of the Mugere, a river which gives its name also
to the district on the eastern shore ruled over by Mukamba. We had come
directly opposite the most southern of its three mouths, when we found
quite a difference in the colour of the water. An almost straight line,
drawn east and west from the mouth would serve well to mark off the
difference that existed between the waters. On the south side was pure
water of a light green, on the north side it was muddy, and the current
could be distinctly seen flowing north. Soon after passing the first
mouth we came to a second, and then a third mouth, each only a few yards
broad, but each discharging sufficient water to permit our following the
line of the currents several rods north beyond the respective mouths.

Beyond the third mouth of the Mugere a bend disclosed itself, with
groups of villages beyond on its bank. These were Mukamba's, and in one
of them lived Mukamba, the chief. The natives had yet never seen a white
man, and, of course, as soon as we landed we were surrounded by a large
concourse, all armed with long spears - the only weapon visible amongst
them save a club-stick, and here and there a hatchet.

We were shown into a hut, which the Doctor and I shared between us. What
followed on that day I have but a dim recollection, having been struck
down by fever - the first since leaving Unyanyembe. I dimly recollect
trying to make out what age Mukamba might be, and noting that he was
good-looking withal, and kindly-disposed towards us. And during the
intervals of agony and unconsciousness, I saw, or fancied I saw,
Livingstone's form moving towards me, and felt, or fancied I felt,
Livingstone's hand tenderly feeling my hot head and limbs. I had
suffered several fevers between Bagamoyo and Unyanyembe, without
anything or anybody to relieve me of the tedious racking headache and
pain, or to illumine the dark and gloomy prospect which must necessarily
surround the bedside of the sick and solitary traveller. But though this
fever, having enjoyed immunity from it for three months, was more severe
than usual, I did not much regret its occurrence, since I became the
recipient of the very tender and fatherly kindness of the good man whose
companion I now found myself.

The next morning, having recovered slightly from the fever, when Mukamba
came with a present of an ox, a sheep, and a goat, I was able to attend
to the answers which he gave to the questions about the Rusizi River
and the head of the lake. The ever cheerful and enthusiastic Mgwana was
there also, and he was not a whit abashed, when, through him, the chief
told us that the Rusizi, joined by the Ruanda, or Luanda, at a distance
of two days' journey by water, or one day by land from the head of the
lake, flowed INTO the lake.

Thus our hopes, excited somewhat by the positive and repeated assurances
that the river flowed out away towards Karagwah, collapsed as speedily
as they were raised.

We paid Mukamba the honga, consisting of nine doti and nine fundo of
samsam, lunghio, muzurio n'zige. The printed handkerchiefs, which I had
in abundance at Unyanyembe, would have gone well here. After receiving
his present, the chief introduced his son, a tall youth of eighteen or
thereabouts, to the Doctor, as a would-be son of the Doctor; but, with
a good-natured laugh, the Doctor scouted all such relationship with him,
as it was instituted only for the purpose of drawing more cloth out of
him. Mukamba took it in good part, and did not insist on getting more.

Our second evening at Mukamba's, Susi, the Doctor's servant, got
gloriously drunk, through the chief's liberal and profuse gifts of
pombe. Just at dawn neat morning I was awakened by hearing several
sharp, crack-like sounds. I listened, and I found the noise was in our
hut. It was caused by the Doctor, who, towards midnight, had felt some
one come and lie down by his side on the same bed, and, thinking it was
me, he had kindly made room, and laid down on the edge of the bed. But
in the morning, feeling rather cold, he had been thoroughly awakened,
and, on rising on his elbow to see who his bed-fellow was, he
discovered, to his great astonishment, that it was no other than his

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 28 of 38)