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 5 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 5 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

away the interval employed in preparing for the march.

I had now despatched four caravans into the interior, and the fifth,
which was to carry the boats and boxes, personal luggage, and a few
cloth and bead loads, was ready to be led by myself. The following is
the order of departure of the caravans.

1871. Feb. 6. - Expedition arrived at Bagamoyo.

1871. Feb. 18. - First caravan departs with twenty-four pagazis and three

1871. Feb. 21. - Second caravan departs with twenty-eight pagazis, two
chiefs, and two soldiers.

1871. Feb. 25. - Third caravan departs with twenty-two pagazis, ten
donkeys, one white man, one cook, and three soldiers.

1871. March. 11. - Fourth caravan departs with fifty-five pagazis, two
chiefs, and three soldiers.

1871. March. 21. - Fifth caravan departs with twenty-eight pagazis,
twelve soldiers, two white men, one tailor, one cook, one interpreter,
one gun-bearer, seventeen asses, two horses, and one dog.

Total number, inclusive of all souls, comprised in caravans connected
with the "New York Herald' Expedition," 192.


Leaving Bagamoyo for the interior. - Constructing a Bridge. -
Our first troubles. - Shooting Hippopotami. - A first view of
the Game Land. - Anticipating trouble with the Wagogo. - The
dreadful poison - flies. - Unlucky adventures while hunting. -
The cunning chief of Kingaru. - Sudden death of my two
horses. - A terrible experience. - The city of the "Lion

On the 21st of March, exactly seventy-three days after my arrival at
Zanzibar, the fifth caravan, led by myself, left the town of Bagamoyo
for our first journey westward, with "Forward!" for its mot du guet. As
the kirangozi unrolled the American flag, and put himself at the head of
the caravan, and the pagazis, animals, soldiers, and idlers were lined
for the march, we bade a long farewell to the dolce far niente of
civilised life, to the blue ocean, and to its open road to home, to the
hundreds of dusky spectators who were there to celebrate our departure
with repeated salvoes of musketry.

Our caravan is composed of twenty-eight pagazis, including the
kirangozi, or guide; twelve soldiers under Capt. Mbarak Bombay, in
charge of seventeen donkeys and their loads; Selim, my interpreter, in
charge of the donkey and cart and its load; one cook and sub, who is
also to be tailor and ready hand for all, and leads the grey horse;
Shaw, once mate of a ship, now transformed into rearguard and overseer
for the caravan, who is mounted on a good riding-donkey, and wearing a
canoe-like tepee and sea-boots; and lastly, on, the splendid bay horse
presented to me by Mr. Goodhue, myself, called Bana Mkuba, "the big
master," by my people - the vanguard, the reporter, the thinker, and
leader of the Expedition.

Altogether the Expedition numbers on the day of departure three white
men, twenty-three soldiers, four supernumeraries, four chiefs, and one
hundred and fifty-three pagazis, twenty-seven donkeys, and one cart,
conveying cloth, beads, and wire, boat-fixings, tents, cooking utensils
and dishes, medicine, powder, small shot, musket-balls, and metallic
cartridges; instruments and small necessaries, such as soap, sugar, tea,
coffee, Liebig's extract of meat, pemmican, candles, &c., which make
a total of 153 loads. The weapons of defence which the Expedition
possesses consist of one double-barrel breech-loading gun, smooth bore;
one American Winchester rifle, or "sixteen-shooter;" one Henry rifle,
or "sixteen-shooter;" two Starr's breech-loaders, one Jocelyn
breech-loader, one elephant rifle, carrying balls eight to the pound;
two breech-loading revolvers, twenty-four muskets (flint locks), six
single-barrelled pistols, one battle-axe, two swords, two daggers
(Persian kummers, purchased at Shiraz by myself), one boar-spear,
two American axes 4 lbs. each, twenty-four hatchets, and twenty-four

The Expedition has been fitted with care; whatever it needed was not
stinted; everything was provided. Nothing was done too hurriedly, yet
everything was purchased, manufactured, collected, and compounded with
the utmost despatch consistent with efficiency and means. Should it fail
of success in its errand of rapid transit to Ujiji and back, it must
simply happen from an accident which could not be controlled. So much
for the _personnel_ of the Expedition and its purpose, until its _point
de mire_ be reached.

We left Bagamoyo the attraction of all the curious, with much eclat, and
defiled up a narrow lane shaded almost to twilight by the dense umbrage
of two parallel hedges of mimosas. We were all in the highest spirits.
The soldiers sang, the kirangozi lifted his voice into a loud bellowing
note, and fluttered the American flag, which told all on-lookers, "Lo, a
Musungu's caravan!" and my heart, I thought, palpitated much too quickly
for the sober face of a leader. But I could not check it; the enthusiasm
of youth still clung to me - despite my travels; my pulses bounded with
the full glow of staple health; behind me were the troubles which had
harassed me for over two months. With that dishonest son of a Hindi,
Soor Hadji Palloo, I had said my last word; of the blatant rabble, of
Arabs, Banyans, and Baluches I had taken my last look; with the Jesuits
of the French Mission I had exchanged farewells, and before me beamed
the sun of promise as he sped towards the Occident. Loveliness glowed
around me. I saw fertile fields, riant vegetation, strange trees - I
heard the cry of cricket and pee-wit, and sibilant sound of many
insects, all of which seemed to tell me, "At last you are started." What
could I do but lift my face toward the pure-glowing sky, and cry, "God
be thanked!"

The first camp, Shamba Gonera, we arrived at in 1 hour 30 minutes, equal
to 3 1/4 miles. This first, or "little journey," was performed very
well, "considering," as the Irishman says. The boy Selim upset the cart
not more than three times. Zaidi, the soldier, only once let his donkey,
which carried one bag of my clothes and a box of ammunition, lie in
a puddle of black water. The clothes have to be re-washed; the
ammunition-box, thanks to my provision, was waterproof. Kamna perhaps
knew the art of donkey-driving, but, overjoyful at the departure, had
sung himself into oblivion of the difficulties with which an animal of
the pure asinine breed has naturally to contend against, such as not
knowing the right road, and inability to resist the temptation of
straying into the depths of a manioc field; and the donkey, ignorant of
the custom in vogue amongst ass-drivers of flourishing sticks before
an animal's nose, and misunderstanding the direction in which he was
required to go, ran off at full speed along an opposite road, until his
pack got unbalanced, and he was fain to come to the earth. But these
incidents were trivial, of no importance, and natural to the first
"little journey" in East Africa.

The soldiers' point of character leaked out just a little. Bombay turned
out to be honest and trusty, but slightly disposed to be dilatory.
Uledi did more talking than work; while the runaway Ferajji and the
useless-handed Mabruki Burton turned out to be true men and staunch,
carrying loads the sight of which would have caused the strong-limbed
hamals of Stamboul to sigh.

The saddles were excellent, surpassing expectation. The strong hemp
canvas bore its one hundred and fifty-pounds' burden with the strength
of bull hide, and the loading and unloading of miscellaneous baggage
was performed with systematic despatch. In brief, there was nothing to
regret - the success of the journey proved our departure to be anything
but premature.

The next three days were employed in putting the finishing touches to
our preparations for the long land journey and our precautions against
the Masika, which was now ominously near, and in settling accounts.

Shamba Gonera means Gonera's Field. Gonera is a wealthy Indian widow,
well disposed towards the Wasungu (whites). She exports much cloth,
beads, and wire into the far interior, and imports in return much ivory.
Her house is after the model of the town houses, with long sloping roof
and projecting eaves, affording a cool shade, under which the pagazis
love to loiter. On its southern and eastern side stretch the cultivated
fields which supply Bagamoyo with the staple grain, matama, of East
Africa; on the left grow Indian corn, and muhogo, a yam-like root
of whitish colour, called by some manioc; when dry, it is ground and
compounded into cakes similar to army slapjacks. On the north, just
behind the house, winds a black quagmire, a sinuous hollow, which in
its deepest parts always contains water - the muddy home of the
brake-and-rush-loving "kiboko" or hippopotamus. Its banks, crowded
with dwarf fan-palm, tall water-reeds, acacias, and tiger-grass, afford
shelter to numerous aquatic birds, pelicans, &c. After following a
course north-easterly, it conflows with the Kingani, which, at distance
of four miles from Gonera's country-house; bends eastward into the sea.
To the west, after a mile of cultivation, fall and recede in succession
the sea-beach of old in lengthy parallel waves, overgrown densely
with forest grass and marsh reeds. On the spines of these land-swells
flourish ebony, calabash, and mango.

"Sofari - sofari leo! Pakia, pakia!" - "A journey - a journey to day! Set
out! - set out!" rang the cheery voice of the kirangozi, echoed by that
of my servant Selim, on the morning of the fourth day, which was fixed
for our departure in earnest. As I hurried my men to their work, and
lent a hand with energy to drop the tents, I mentally resolved that,
if my caravans a should give me clear space, Unyanyembe should be our
resting-place before three months expired. By 6 A.M. our early breakfast
was despatched, and the donkeys and pagazis were defiling from Camp
Gonera. Even at this early hour, and in this country place, there was
quite a collection of curious natives, to whom we gave the parting
"Kwaheri" with sincerity. My bay horse was found to be invaluable for
the service of a quarter-master of a transport-train; for to such was I
compelled to compare myself. I could stay behind until the last donkey
had quitted the camp, and, by a few minutes' gallop, I could put myself
at the head, leaving Shaw to bring up the rear.

The road was a mere footpath, and led over a soil which, though
sandy, was of surprising fertility, producing grain and vegetables
a hundredfold, the sowing and planting of which was done in the most
unskilful manner. In their fields, at heedless labor, were men and women
in the scantiest costumes, compared to which Adam and Eve, in their
fig-tree apparel, must have been _en grande tenue_. We passed them with
serious faces, while they laughed and giggled, and pointed their index
fingers at this and that, which to them seemed so strange and bizarre.

In about half an hour we had left the tall matama and fields of
water-melons, cucumbers, and manioc; and, crossing a reedy slough,
were in an open forest of ebony and calabash. In its depths are deer in
plentiful numbers, and at night it is visited by the hippopotami of the
Kingani for the sake of its grass. In another hour we had emerged from
the woods, and were looking down upon the broad valley of the Kingani,
and a scene presented itself so utterly different from what my foolish
imagination had drawn, that I felt quite relieved by the pleasing
disappointment. Here was a valley stretching four miles east and west,
and about eight miles north and south, left with the richest soil to its
own wild growth of grass - which in civilization would have been a most
valuable meadow for the rearing of cattle - invested as it was by dense
forests, darkening the horizon at all points of the compass, and folded
in by tree-clad ridges.

At the sound of our caravan the red antelope bounded away to our right
and the left, and frogs hushed their croak. The sun shone hot, and
while traversing the valley we experienced a little of its real African
fervour. About half way across we came to a sluice of stagnant water
which, directly in the road of the caravan, had settled down into an
oozy pond. The pagazis crossed a hastily-constructed bridge, thrown up
a long time ago by some Washensi Samaritans. It was an extraordinary
affair; rugged tree limbs resting on very unsteady forked piles, and it
had evidently tested the patience of many a loaded Mnyamwezi, as it
did those porters of our caravan. Our weaker animals were unloaded, the
puddle between Bagamoyo and Genera having taught us prudence. But
this did not occasion much delay; the men worked smartly under Shaw's

The turbid Kingani, famous for its hippopotami, was reached in a short
time, and we began to thread the jungle along its right bank until we
were halted point-blank by a narrow sluice having an immeasurable depth
of black mud. The difficulty presented by this was very grave, though
its breadth was barely eight feet; the donkeys, and least of all the
horses, could not be made to traverse two poles like our biped carriers,
neither could they be driven into the sluice, where they would quickly
founder. The only available way of crossing it in safety was by means
of a bridge, to endure in this conservative land for generations as the
handiwork of the Wasungu. So we set to work, there being no help for it,
with American axes - the first of their kind the strokes of which ever
rang in this part of the world - to build a bridge. Be sure it was made
quickly, for where the civilized white is found, a difficulty must
vanish. The bridge was composed of six stout trees thrown across, over
these were laid crosswise fifteen pack saddles, covered again with a
thick layer of grass. All the animals crossed it safely, and then for a
third time that morning the process of wading was performed. The Kingani
flowed northerly here, and our course lay down its right bank. A half
mile in that direction through a jungle of giant reeds and extravagant
climbers brought us to the ferry, where the animals had to be again
unloaded - verily, I wished when I saw its deep muddy waters that I
possessed the power of Moses with his magic rod, or what would have
answered my purpose as well, Aladdin's ring, for then I could have found
myself and party on the opposite side without further trouble; but not
having either of these gifts I issued orders for an immediate crossing,
for it was ill wishing sublime things before this most mundane prospect.

Kingwere, the canoe paddler, espying us from his brake covert, on the
opposite side, civilly responded to our halloos, and brought his huge
hollowed tree skilfully over the whirling eddies of the river to where
we stood waiting for him. While one party loaded the canoe with our
goods, others got ready a long rape to fasten around the animals' necks,
wherewith to haul them through the river to the other bank. After seeing
the work properly commenced, I sat down on a condemned canoe to amuse
myself with the hippopotami by peppering their thick skulls with my No.
12 smooth-bore. The Winchester rifle (calibre 44), a present from the
Hon. Edward Joy Morris - our minister at Constantinople - did no more than
slightly tap them, causing about as much injury as a boy's sling; it was
perfect in its accuracy of fire, for ten times in succession I struck
the tops of their heads between the ears. One old fellow, with the look
of a sage, was tapped close to the right ear by one of these bullets.
Instead of submerging himself as others had done he coolly turned round
his head as if to ask, "Why this waste of valuable cartridges on
us?" The response to the mute inquiry of his sageship was an
ounce-and-a-quarter bullet from the smooth-bore, which made him bellow
with pain, and in a few moments he rose up again, tumbling in his death
agonies. As his groans were so piteous, I refrained from a useless
sacrifice of life, and left the amphibious horde in peace.

A little knowledge concerning these uncouth inmates of the African
waters was gained even during the few minutes we were delayed at the
ferry. When undisturbed by foreign sounds, they congregate in shallow
water on the sand bars, with the fore half of their bodies exposed
to the warm sunshine, and are in appearance, when thus somnolently
reposing, very like a herd of enormous swine. When startled by the noise
of an intruder, they plunge hastily into the depths, lashing the waters
into a yellowish foam, and scatter themselves below the surface, when
presently the heads of a few reappear, snorting the water from their
nostrils, to take a fresh breath and a cautious scrutiny around them;
when thus, we see but their ears, forehead, eyes and nostrils, and as
they hastily submerge again it requires a steady wrist and a quick hand
to shoot them. I have heard several comparisons made of their appearance
while floating in this manner: some Arabs told me before I had seen them
that they looked like dead trees carried down the river; others, who in
some country had seen hogs, thought they resembled them, but to my mind
they look more like horses when swimming their curved necks and
pointed ears, their wide eyes and expanded nostrils, favor greatly this

At night they seek the shore, and wander several miles over the country,
luxuriating among its rank grasses. To within four miles of the town
of Bagamoyo (the Kingani is eight miles distant) their wide tracks are
seen. Frequently, if not disturbed by the startling human voice, they
make a raid on the rich corn-stalks of the native cultivators, and a
dozen of them will in a few minutes make a frightful havoc in a large
field of this plant. Consequently, we were not surprised, while delayed
at the ferry, to hear the owners of the corn venting loud halloos, like
the rosy-cheeked farmer boys in England when scaring the crows away from
the young wheat.

The caravan in the meanwhile had crossed safely - bales, baggage,
donkeys, and men. I had thought to have camped on the bank, so as to
amuse myself with shooting antelope, and also for the sake of procuring
their meat, in order to save my goats, of which I had a number
constituting my live stock of provisions; but, thanks to the awe and
dread which my men entertained of the hippopotami, I was hurried on to
the outpost of the Baluch garrison at Bagamoyo, a small village called
Kikoka, distant four miles from the river.

The western side of the river was a considerable improvement upon the
eastern. The plain, slowly heaving upwards, as smoothly as the beach of
a watering-place, for the distance of a mile, until it culminated in
a gentle and rounded ridge, presented none of those difficulties which
troubled us on the other side. There were none of those cataclysms
of mire and sloughs of black mud and over-tall grasses, none of that
miasmatic jungle with its noxious emissions; it was just such a scene
as one may find before an English mansion - a noble expanse of lawn
and sward, with boscage sufficient to agreeably diversify it. After
traversing the open plain, the road led through a grove of young ebony
trees, where guinea-fowls and a hartebeest were seen; it then wound,
with all the characteristic eccentric curves of a goat-path, up and
down a succession of land-waves crested by the dark green foliage of
the mango, and the scantier and lighter-coloured leaves of the enormous
calabash. The depressions were filled with jungle of more or less
density, while here and there opened glades, shadowed even during noon
by thin groves of towering trees. At our approach fled in terror flocks
of green pigeons, jays, ibis, turtledoves, golden pheasants, quails and
moorhens, with crows and hawks, while now and then a solitary pelican
winged its way to the distance.

Nor was this enlivening prospect without its pairs of antelope, and
monkeys which hopped away like Australian kangaroos; these latter were
of good size, with round bullet heads, white breasts, and long tails
tufted at the end.

We arrived at Kikoka by 5 P.M., having loaded and unloaded our pack
animals four times, crossing one deep puddle, a mud sluice, and a river,
and performed a journey of eleven miles.

The settlement of Kikoka is a collection of straw huts; not built after
any architectural style, but after a bastard form, invented by indolent
settlers from the Mrima and Zanzibar for the purpose of excluding as
much sunshine as possible from the eaves and interior. A sluice and some
wells provide them with water, which though sweet is not particularly
wholesome or appetizing, owing to the large quantities of decayed matter
which is washed into it by the rains, and is then left to corrupt in it.
A weak effort has been made to clear the neighbourhood for providing
a place for cultivation, but to the dire task of wood-chopping and
jungle-clearing the settlers prefer occupying an open glade, which they
clear of grass, so as to be able to hoe up two or three inches of soil,
into which they cast their seed, confident of return.

The next day was a halt at Kikoka; the fourth caravan, consisting solely
of Wanyamwezi, proving a sore obstacle to a rapid advance. Maganga, its
chief, devised several methods of extorting more cloth and presents from
me, he having cost already more than any three chiefs together; but his
efforts were of no avail further than obtaining promises of reward if he
would hurry on to Unyanyembe so that I might find my road clear.

On the 2(7?)th, the Wanyamwezi having started, we broke camp soon after
at 7 am. The country was of the same nature as that lying between
the Kingani and Kikokaa park land, attractive and beautiful in every

I rode in advance to secure meat should a chance present itself, but
not the shadow of vert or venison did I see. Ever in our
front - westerly - rolled the land-waves, now rising, now subsiding,
parallel one with the other, like a ploughed field many times magnified.
Each ridge had its knot of jungle or its thin combing of heavily
foliaged trees, until we arrived close to Rosako, our next halting
place, when the monotonous wavure of the land underwent a change,
breaking into independent hummocks clad with dense jungle. On one of
these, veiled by an impenetrable jungle of thorny acacia, rested Rosako;
girt round by its natural fortification, neighbouring another village
to the north of it similarly protected. Between them sank a valley
extremely fertile and bountiful in its productions, bisected by a small
stream, which serves as a drain to the valley or low hills surrounding

Rosako is the frontier village of Ukwere, while Kikoka is the
north-western extremity of Uzaramo. We entered this village, and
occupied its central portion with our tents and animals. A kitanda,
or square light bedstead, without valance, fringe, or any superfluity
whatever, but nevertheless quite as comfortable as with them, was
brought to my tent for my use by the village chief. The animals were,
immediately after being unloaded, driven out to feed, and the soldiers
to a man set to work to pile the baggage up, lest the rain, which during
the Masika season always appears imminent, might cause irreparable

Among other experiments which I was about to try in Africa was that of
a good watch-dog on any unmannerly people who would insist upon coming
into my tent at untimely hours and endangering valuables. Especially did
I wish to try the effect of its bark on the mighty Wagogo, who, I was
told by certain Arabs, would lift the door of the tent and enter whether
you wished them or not; who would chuckle at the fear they inspired, and
say to you, "Hi, hi, white man, I never saw the like of you before; are
there many more like you? where do you come from?" Also would they take
hold of your watch and ask you with a cheerful curiosity, "What is this
for, white man?" to which you of course would reply that it was to tell
you the hour and minute. But the Mgogo, proud of his prowess, and more
unmannerly than a brute, would answer you with a snort of insult. I
thought of a watch-dog, and procured a good one at Bombay not only as a
faithful companion, but to threaten the heels of just such gentry.

But soon after our arrival at Rosako it was found that the dog, whose
name was "Omar," given him from his Turkish origin, was missing; he had
strayed away from the soldiers during a rain-squall and had got lost.
I despatched Mabruki Burton back to Kikoka to search for him. On the
following morning, just as we were about to leave Rosako, the faithful

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 5 of 38)