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

. (page 3 of 38)
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 3 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Accordingly I had a cart constructed, eighteen inches wide and five feet
long, supplied with two fore-wheels of a light American wagon, more for
the purpose of conveying the narrow ammunition-boxes. I estimated that
if a donkey could carry to Unyanyembe a load of four frasilahs, or 140
lbs., he ought to be able to draw eight frasilahs on such a cart,
which would be equal to the carrying capacity of four stout pagazis or
carriers. Events will prove, how my theories were borne out by practice.

When my purchases were completed, and I beheld them piled up, tier after
tier, row upon row, here a mass of cooking-utensils, there bundles of
rope, tents, saddles, a pile of portmanteaus and boxes, containing every
imaginable thing, I confess I was rather abashed at my own temerity.
Here were at least six tons of material! "How will it ever be possible,"
I thought, "to move all this inert mass across the wilderness stretching
between the sea, and the great lakes of Africa? Bah, cast all doubts
away, man, and have at them! 'Sufficient for the day is the evil
thereof,' without borrowing from the morrow."

The traveller must needs make his way into the African interior after
a fashion very different from that to which he has been accustomed in
other countries. He requires to take with him just what a ship must have
when about to sail on a long voyage. He must have his slop chest, his
little store of canned dainties, and his medicines, besides which, he
must have enough guns, powder, and ball to be able to make a series of
good fights if necessary. He must have men to convey these miscellaneous
articles; and as a man's maximum load does not exceed 70 lbs., to convey
11,000 lbs. requires nearly 160 men.

Europe and the Orient, even Arabia and Turkestan, have royal ways
of travelling compared to Africa. Specie is received in all those
countries, by which a traveller may carry his means about with him on
his own person. Eastern and Central Africa, however, demand a necklace,
instead of a cent; two yards of American sheeting, instead of half a
dollar, or a florin, and a kitindi of thick brass-wire, in place of a
gold piece.

The African traveller can hire neither wagons nor camels, neither
horses nor mules, to proceed with him into the interior. His means of
conveyance are limited to black and naked men, who demand at least $15 a
head for every 70 lbs. weight carried only as far as Unyanyembe.

One thing amongst others my predecessors omitted to inform men bound for
Africa, which is of importance, and that is, that no traveller should
ever think of coming to Zanzibar with his money in any other shape than
gold coin. Letters of credit, circular notes, and such civilized things
I have found to be a century ahead of Zanzibar people.

Twenty and twenty-five cents deducted out of every dollar I drew on
paper is one of the unpleasant, if not unpleasantest things I have
committed to lasting memory. For Zanzibar is a spot far removed from all
avenues of European commerce, and coin is at a high premium. A man
may talk and entreat, but though he may have drafts, cheques, circular
notes, letters of credit, a carte blanche to get what he wants, out of
every dollar must, be deducted twenty, twenty-five and thirty cents,
so I was told, and so was my experience. What a pity there is no
branch-bank here!

I had intended to have gone into Africa incognito. But the fact that a
white man, even an American, was about to enter Africa was soon known
all over Zanzibar. This fact was repeated a thousand times in the
streets, proclaimed in all shop alcoves, and at the custom-house. The
native bazaar laid hold of it, and agitated it day and night until my
departure. The foreigners, including the Europeans, wished to know the
pros and cons of my coming in and going out.

My answer to all questions, pertinent and impertinent, was, I am going
to Africa. Though my card bore the words

| |
| |
| |
| New York Herald. |

very few, I believe, ever coupled the words 'New York Herald' with a
search after "Doctor Livingstone." It was not my fault, was it?

Ah, me! what hard work it is to start an expedition alone! What with
hurrying through the baking heat of the fierce relentless sun from shop
to shop, strengthening myself with far-reaching and enduring patience
far the haggling contest with the livid-faced Hindi, summoning courage
and wit to brow-beat the villainous Goanese, and match the foxy Banyan,
talking volumes throughout the day, correcting estimates, making up
accounts, superintending the delivery of purchased articles, measuring
and weighing them, to see that everything was of full measure and
weight, overseeing the white men Farquhar and Shaw, who were busy on
donkey saddles, sails, tents, and boats for the Expedition, I felt, when
the day was over, as though limbs and brain well deserved their rest.
Such labours were mine unremittingly for a month.

Having bartered drafts on Mr. James Gordon Bennett to the amount of
several thousand dollars for cloth, beads, wire, donkeys, and a thousand
necessaries, having advanced pay to the white men, and black escort
of the Expedition, having fretted Capt. Webb and his family more than
enough with the din of preparation, and filled his house with my goods,
there was nothing further to do but to leave my formal adieus with the
Europeans, and thank the Sultan and those gentlemen who had assisted me,
before embarking for Bagamoyo.

The day before my departure from Zanzibar the American Consul, having
just habited himself in his black coat, and taking with him an extra
black hat, in order to be in state apparel, proceeded with me to the
Sultan's palace. The prince had been generous to me; he had presented me
with an Arab horse, had furnished me with letters of introduction to his
agents, his chief men, and representatives in the interior, and in many
other ways had shown himself well disposed towards me.

The palace is a large, roomy, lofty, square house close to the fort,
built of coral, and plastered thickly with lime mortar. In appearance
it is half Arabic and half Italian. The shutters are Venetian blinds
painted a vivid green, and presenting a striking contrast to the
whitewashed walls. Before the great, lofty, wide door were ranged in
two crescents several Baluch and Persian mercenaries, armed with
curved swords and targes of rhinoceros hide. Their dress consisted of a
muddy-white cotton shirt, reaching to the ancles, girdled with a leather
belt thickly studded with silver bosses.

As we came in sight a signal was passed to some person inside the
entrance. When within twenty yards of the door, the Sultan, who was
standing waiting, came down the steps, and, passing through the ranks,
advanced toward us, with his right hand stretched out, and a genial
smile of welcome on his face. On our side we raised our hats, and shook
hands with him, after which, doing according as he bade us, we passed
forward, and arrived on the highest step near the entrance door. He
pointed forward; we bowed and arrived at the foot of an unpainted
and narrow staircase to turn once more to the Sultan. The Consul, I
perceived, was ascending sideways, a mode of progression which I saw was
intended for a compromise with decency and dignity. At the top of the
stairs we waited, with our faces towards the up-coming Prince. Again we
were waved magnanimously forward, for before us was the reception-hall
and throne-room. I noticed, as I marched forward to the furthest end,
that the room was high, and painted in the Arabic style, that the carpet
was thick and of Persian fabric, that the furniture consisted of a dozen
gilt chairs and a chandelier,

We were seated; Ludha Damji, the Banyan collector of customs, a
venerable-looking old man, with a shrewd intelligent face, sat on the
right of the Sultan; next to him was the great Mohammedan merchant Tarya
Topan who had come to be present at the interview, not only because he
was one of the councillors of His Highness, but because he also took a
lively interest in this American Expedition. Opposite to Ludha sat Capt.
Webb, and next to him I was seated, opposite Tarya Topan. The Sultan sat
in a gilt chair between the Americans and the councillors. Johari
the dragoman stood humbly before the Sultan, expectant and ready to
interpret what we had to communicate to the Prince.

The Sultan, so far as dress goes, might be taken for a Mingrelian
gentleman, excepting, indeed, for the turban, whose ample folds in
alternate colours of red, yellow, brown, and white, encircled his head.
His long robe was of dark cloth, cinctured round the waist with his rich
sword-belt, from which was suspended a gold-hilted scimitar, encased in
a scabbard also enriched with gold: His legs and feet were bare, and had
a ponderous look about them, since he suffered from that strange curse
of Zanzibar - elephantiasis. His feet were slipped into a pair of watta
(Arabic for slippers), with thick soles and a strong leathern band over
the instep. His light complexion and his correct features, which are
intelligent and regular, bespeak the Arab patrician. They indicate,
however, nothing except his high descent and blood; no traits of
character are visible unless there is just a trace of amiability, and
perfect contentment with himself and all around.

Such is Prince, or Seyd Burghash, Sultan of Zanzibar and Pemba, and the
East coast of Africa, from Somali Land to the Mozambique, as he appeared
to me.

Coffee was served in cups supported by golden finjans, also some
cocoa-nut milk, and rich sweet sherbet.

The conversation began with the question addressed to the Consul.

"Are you well?"

Consul. - "Yes, thank you. How is His Highness?"

Highness. - "Quite well!"

Highness to me. - "Are you well?"

Answer. - "Quite well, thanks!"

The Consul now introduces business; and questions about my travels
follow from His Highness -

"How do you like Persia?"

"Have you seen Kerbela, Bagdad, Masr, Stamboul?"

"Have the Turks many soldiers?"

"How many has Persia?"

"Is Persia fertile?"

"How do you like Zanzibar?"

Having answered each question to his Highness' satisfaction, he handed
me letters of introduction to his officers at Bagamoyo and Kaole, and a
general introductory letter to all Arab merchants whom I might meet on
the road, and concluded his remarks to me, with the expressed hope, that
on whatever mission I was bound, I should be perfectly successful.

We bowed ourselves out of his presence in much the same manner that we
had bowed ourselves in, he accompanying us to the great entrance door.

Mr. Goodhue of Salem, an American merchant long resident in Zanzibar,
presented me, as I gave him my adieu, with a blooded bay horse, imported
from the Cape of Good Hope, and worth, at least at Zanzibar, $500.

Feb. 4. - By the 4th of February, twenty-eight days from the date of my
arrival at Zanzibar, the organization and equipment of the "'New
York Herald' Expedition" was complete; tents and saddles had been
manufactured, boats and sails were ready. The donkeys brayed, and the
horses neighed impatiently for the road.

Etiquette demanded that I should once more present my card to the
European and American Consuls at Zanzibar, and the word "farewell" was
said to everybody.

On the fifth day, four dhows were anchored before the American
Consulate. Into one were lifted the two horses, into two others the
donkeys, into the fourth, the largest, the black escort, and bulky
moneys of the Expedition.

A little before noon we set sail. The American flag, a present to the
Expedition by that kind-hearted lady, Mrs. Webb, was raised to the
mast-head; the Consul, his lady, and exuberant little children, Mary
and Charley, were on the housetop waving the starry banner, hats, and
handkerchiefs, a token of farewell to me and mine. Happy people, and
good! may their course and ours be prosperous, and may God's blessing
rest on us all!


The isle of Zanzibar with its groves of cocoa-nut, mango, clove,
and cinnamon, and its sentinel islets of Chumbi and French, with its
whitewashed city and jack-fruit odor, with its harbor and ships that
tread the deep, faded slowly from view, and looking westward, the
African continent rose, a similar bank of green verdure to that which
had just receded till it was a mere sinuous line above the horizon,
looming in a northerly direction to the sublimity of a mountain chain.
The distance across from Zanzibar to Bagamoyo may be about twenty-five
miles, yet it took the dull and lazy dhows ten hours before they dropped
anchor on the top of the coral reef plainly visible a few feet below the
surface of the water, within a hundred yards of the beach.

The newly-enlisted soldiers, fond of noise and excitement, discharged
repeated salvos by way of a salute to the mixed crowd of Arabs, Banyans,
and Wasawahili, who stood on the beach to receive the Musungu (white
man), which they did with a general stare and a chorus of "Yambo, bana?"
(how are you, master?)

In our own land the meeting with a large crowd is rather a tedious
operation, as our independent citizens insist on an interlacing of
fingers, and a vigorous shaking thereof before their pride is satisfied,
and the peaceful manifestation endorsed; but on this beach, well lined
with spectators, a response of "Yambo, bana!" sufficed, except with one
who of all there was acknowledged the greatest, and who, claiming, like
all great men, individual attention, came forward to exchange another
"Yambo!" on his own behalf, and to shake hands. This personage with a
long trailing turban, was Jemadar Esau, commander of the Zanzibar force
of soldiers, police, or Baluch gendarmes stationed at Bagamoyo. He had
accompanied Speke and Grant a good distance into the interior, and they
had rewarded him liberally. He took upon himself the responsibility of
assisting in the debarkation of the Expedition, and unworthy as was his
appearance, disgraceful as he was in his filth, I here commend him for
his influence over the rabble to all future East African travellers.

Foremost among those who welcomed us was a Father of the Society of
St.-Esprit, who with other Jesuits, under Father Superior Horner, have
established a missionary post of considerable influence and merit at
Bagamoyo. We were invited to partake of the hospitality of the Mission,
to take our meals there, and, should we desire it, to pitch our camp
on their grounds. But however strong the geniality of the welcome and
sincere the heartiness of the invitation, I am one of those who prefer
independence to dependence if it is possible. Besides, my sense of the
obligation between host and guest had just had a fine edge put upon
it by the delicate forbearance of my kind host at Zanzibar, who had
betrayed no sign of impatience at the trouble I was only too conscious
of having caused him. I therefore informed the hospitable Padre, that
only for one night could I suffer myself to be enticed from my camp.

I selected a house near the western outskirts of the town, where there
is a large open square through which the road from Unyanyembe enters.
Had I been at Bagamoyo a month, I could not have bettered my location.
My tents were pitched fronting the tembe (house) I had chosen, enclosing
a small square, where business could be transacted, bales looked over,
examined, and marked, free from the intrusion of curious sightseers.
After driving the twenty-seven animals of the Expedition into the
enclosure in the rear of the house, storing the bales of goods, and
placing a cordon of soldiers round, I proceeded to the Jesuit Mission,
to a late dinner, being tired and ravenous, leaving the newly-formed
camp in charge of the white men and Capt. Bombay.

The Mission is distant from the town a good half mile, to the north of
it; it is quite a village of itself, numbering some fifteen or sixteen
houses. There are more than ten padres engaged in the establishment,
and as many sisters, and all find plenty of occupation in educing from
native crania the fire of intelligence. Truth compels me to state that
they are very successful, having over two hundred pupils, boys and
girls, in the Mission, and, from the oldest to the youngest, they show
the impress of the useful education they have received.

The dinner furnished to the padres and their guest consisted of as many
plats as a first-class hotel in Paris usually supplies, and cooked with
nearly as much skill, though the surroundings were by no means equal.
I feel assured also that the padres, besides being tasteful in their
potages and entrees, do not stultify their ideas for lack of that
element which Horace, Hafiz, and Byron have praised so much. The
champagne - think of champagne Cliquot in East Africa! - Lafitte, La Rose,
Burgundy, and Bordeaux were of first-rate quality, and the meek and
lowly eyes of the fathers were not a little brightened under the
vinous influence. Ah! those fathers understand life, and appreciate its
duration. Their festive board drives the African jungle fever from their
doors, while it soothes the gloom and isolation which strike one with
awe, as one emerges from the lighted room and plunges into the depths
of the darkness of an African night, enlivened only by the wearying
monotone of the frogs and crickets, and the distant ululation of the
hyena. It requires somewhat above human effort, unaided by the ruby
liquid that cheers, to be always suave and polite amid the dismalities
of native life in Africa.

After the evening meal, which replenished my failing strength, and for
which I felt the intensest gratitude, the most advanced of the pupils
came forward, to the number of twenty, with brass instruments,
thus forming a full band of music. It rather astonished me to hear
instrumental sounds issue forth in harmony from such woolly-headed
youngsters; to hear well-known French music at this isolated port,
to hear negro boys, that a few months ago knew nothing beyond the
traditions of their ignorant mothers, stand forth and chant Parisian
songs about French valor and glory, with all the sangfroid of gamins
from the purlieus of Saint-Antoine.

I had a most refreshing night's rest, and at dawn I sought out my
camp, with a will to enjoy the new life now commencing. On counting the
animals, two donkeys were missing; and on taking notes of my African
moneys, one coil of No. 6 wire was not to be found. Everybody had
evidently fallen on the ground to sleep, oblivious of the fact that
on the coast there are many dishonest prowlers at night. Soldiers were
despatched to search through the town and neighbourhood, and Jemadar
Esau was apprised of our loss, and stimulated to discover the animals
by the promise of a reward. Before night one of the missing donkeys was
found outside the town nibbling at manioc-leaves, but the other animal
and the coil of wire were never found.

Among my visitors this first day at Bagamoyo was Ali bin Salim, a
brother of the famous Sayd bin Salim, formerly Ras Kafilah to Burton
and Speke, and subsequently to Speke and Grant. His salaams were very
profuse, and moreover, his brother was to be my agent in Unyamwezi, so
that I did not hesitate to accept his offer of assistance. But, alas,
for my white face and too trustful nature! this Ali bin Salim turned out
to be a snake in the grass, a very sore thorn in my side. I was invited
to his comfortable house to partake of coffee. I went there: the coffee
was good though sugarless, his promises were many, but they proved
valueless. Said he to me, "I am your friend; I wish to serve you., what
can I do for you?" Replied I, "I am obliged to you, I need a good friend
who, knowing the language and Customs of the Wanyamwezi, can procure me
the pagazis I need and send me off quickly. Your brother is acquainted
with the Wasungu (white men), and knows that what they promise they make
good. Get me a hundred and forty pagazis and I will pay you your price."
With unctuous courtesy, the reptile I was now warmly nourishing; said,
"I do not want anything from you, my friend, for such a slight service,
rest content and quiet; you shall not stop here fifteen days. To-morrow
morning I will come and overhaul your bales to see what is needed." I
bade him good morning, elated with the happy thought that I was soon to
tread the Unyanyembe road.

The reader must be made acquainted with two good and sufficient reasons
why I was to devote all my energy to lead the Expedition as quickly as
possible from Bagamoyo.

First, I wished to reach Ujiji before the news reached Livingstone that
I was in search of him, for my impression of him was that he was a man
who would try to put as much distance as possible between us, rather
than make an effort to shorten it, and I should have my long journey for

Second, the Masika, or rainy season, would soon be on me, which, if it
caught me at Bagamoyo, would prevent my departure until it was over,
which meant a delay of forty days, and exaggerated as the rains were by
all men with whom I came in contact, it rained every day for forty days
without intermission. This I knew was a thing to dread; for I had my
memory stored with all kinds of rainy unpleasantnesses. For instance,
there was the rain of Virginia and its concomitant horrors - wetness,
mildew, agues, rheumatics, and such like; then there were the English
rains, a miserable drizzle causing the blue devils; then the rainy
season of Abyssinia with the flood-gates of the firmament opened, and
an universal down-pour of rain, enough to submerge half a continent in
a few hours; lastly, there was the pelting monsoon of India, a steady
shut-in-house kind of rain. To which of these rains should I compare
this dreadful Masika of East Africa? Did not Burton write much about
black mud in Uzaramo? Well, a country whose surface soil is called black
mud in fine weather, what can it be called when forty days' rain beat on
it, and feet of pagazis and donkeys make paste of it? These were natural
reflections, induced by the circumstances of the hour, and I found
myself much exercised in mind in consequence.

Ali bin Salim, true to his promise, visited my camp on the morrow, with
a very important air, and after looking at the pile of cloth bales,
informed me that I must have them covered with mat-bags. He said he
would send a man to have them measured, but he enjoined me not to make
any bargain for the bags, as he would make it all right.

While awaiting with commendable patience the 140 pagazis promised by
Ali bin Salim we were all employed upon everything that thought could
suggest needful for crossing the sickly maritime region, so that we
might make the transit before the terrible fever could unnerve us,
and make us joyless. A short experience at Bagamoya showed us what we
lacked, what was superfluous, and what was necessary. We were visited
one night by a squall, accompanied by furious rain. I had $1,500 worth
of pagazi cloth in my tent. In the morning I looked and lo! the drilling
had let in rain like a sieve, and every yard of cloth was wet. It
occupied two days afterwards to dry the cloths, and fold them again. The
drill-tent was condemned, and a No. 5 hemp-canvas tent at onto prepared.
After which I felt convinced that my cloth bales, and one year's
ammunition, were safe, and that I could defy the Masika.

In the hurry of departure from Zanzibar, and in my ignorance of how
bales should be made, I had submitted to the better judgment and ripe
experience of one Jetta, a commission merchant, to prepare my bales for
carriage. Jetta did not weigh the bales as he made them up, but piled
the Merikani, Kaniki, Barsati, Jamdani, Joho, Ismahili, in alternate
layers, and roped the same into bales. One or two pagazis came to my
camp and began to chaffer; they wished to see the bales first, before
they would make a final bargain. They tried to raise them up - ugh! ugh!
it was of no use, and withdrew. A fine Salter's spring balance was hung
up, and a bale suspended to the hook; the finger indicated 105 lbs. or
3 frasilah, which was just 35 lbs. or one frasilah overweight. Upon
putting all the bales to this test, I perceived that Jetta's guess-work,
with all his experience, had caused considerable trouble to me.

The soldiers were set to work to reopen and repack, which latter task

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 3 of 38)