fellow returned with the lost dog, having found him at Kikoka.
Previous to our departure on the morning after this, Maganga, chief
of the fourth caravan, brought me the unhappy report that three of his
pagazis were sick, and he would like to have some "dowa" - medicine.
Though not a doctor, or in any way connected with the profession, I had
a well-supplied medicine chest - without which no traveller in Africa
could live - for just such a contingency as was now present. On visiting
Maganga's sick men, I found one suffering from inflammation of the
lungs, another from the mukunguru (African intermittent). They all
imagined themselves about to die, and called loudly for "Mama!" "Mama!"
though they were all grown men. It was evident that the fourth caravan
could not stir that day, so leaving word with Magauga to hurry after me
as soon as possible, I issued orders for the march of my own.
Excepting in the neighbourhood of the villages which we have passed
there were no traces of cultivation. The country extending between the
several stations is as much a wilderness as the desert of Sahara, though
it possesses a far more pleasing aspect. Indeed, had the first man at
the time of the Creation gazed at his world and perceived it of the
beauty which belongs to this part of Africa, he would have had no cause
of complaint. In the deep thickets, set like islets amid a sea of grassy
verdure, he would have found shelter from the noonday heat, and a safe
retirement for himself and spouse during the awesome darkness. In the
morning he could have walked forth on the sloping sward, enjoyed its
freshness, and performed his ablutions in one of the many small streams
flowing at its foot. His garden of fruit-trees is all that is required;
the noble forests, deep and cool, are round about him, and in their
shade walk as many animals as one can desire. For days and days let a
man walk in any direction, north, south, east, and west, and he will
behold the same scene.
Earnestly as I wished to hurry on to Unyanyembe, still a heart-felt
anxiety about the arrival of my goods carried by the fourth caravan,
served as a drag upon me and before my caravan had marched nine miles
my anxiety had risen to the highest pitch, and caused me to order a camp
there and then. The place selected for it was near a long straggling
sluice, having an abundance of water during the rainy season, draining
as it does two extensive slopes. No sooner had we pitched our camp,
built a boma of thorny acacia, and other tree branches, by stacking them
round our camp, and driven our animals to grass; than we were made aware
of the formidable number and variety of the insect tribe, which for a
time was another source of anxiety, until a diligent examination of the
several species dispelled it.
As it was a most interesting hunt which I instituted for the several
specimens of the insects, I here append the record of it for what it is
worth. My object in obtaining these specimens was to determine whether
the genus _Glossina morsitans_ of the naturalist, or the tsetse
(sometimes called setse) of Livingstone, Vardon, and Gumming, said to
be deadly to horses, was amongst them. Up to this date I had been nearly
two months in East Africa, and had as yet seen no tsetse; and my horses,
instead of becoming emaciated - for such is one of the symptoms of a
tsetse bite - had considerably improved in condition. There were three
different species of flies which sought shelter in my tent, which,
unitedly, kept up a continual chorus of sounds - one performed the basso
profondo, another a tenor, and the third a weak contralto. The first
emanated from a voracious and fierce fly, an inch long, having a ventral
capacity for blood quite astonishing.
This larger fly was the one chosen for the first inspection, which was
of the intensest. I permitted one to alight on my flannel pyjamas, which
I wore while en deshabille in camp. No sooner had he alighted than his
posterior was raised, his head lowered, and his weapons, consisting
of four hair-like styles, unsheathed from the proboscis-like bag which
concealed them, and immediately I felt pain like that caused by a
dexterous lancet-cut or the probe of a fine needle. I permitted him to
gorge himself, though my patience and naturalistic interest were sorely
tried. I saw his abdominal parts distend with the plenitude of the
repast until it had swollen to three times its former shrunken girth,
when he flew away of his own accord laden with blood. On rolling up my
flannel pyjamas to see the fountain whence the fly had drawn the fluid,
I discovered it to be a little above the left knee, by a crimson bead
resting over the incision. After wiping the blood the wound was similar
to that caused by a deep thrust of a fine needle, but all pain had
vanished with the departure of the fly.
Having caught a specimen of this fly, I next proceeded to institute a
comparison between it and the tsetse, as described by Dr. Livingstone on
pp. 56-57, 'Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa' (Murray's
edition of 1868). The points of disagreement are many, and such as to
make it entirely improbable that this fly is the true tsetse, though my
men unanimously stated that its bite was fatal to horses as well as to
donkeys. A descriptive abstract of the tsetse would read thus: "Not much
larger than a common house-fly, nearly of the same brown colour as the
honey-bee. After-part of the body has yellow bars across it. It has a
peculiar buzz, and its bite is death to the horse, ox, and dog. On man
the bite has no effect, neither has it on wild animals. When allowed
to feed on the hand, it inserts the middle prong of three portions into
which the proboscis divides, it then draws the prong out a little
way, and it assumes a crimson colour as the mandibles come into brisk
operation; a slight itching irritation follows the bite."
The fly which I had under inspection is called mabunga by the natives.
It is much larger than the common housefly, fully a third larger than
the common honey-bee, and its colour more distinctly marked; its head is
black, with a greenish gloss to it; the after-part of the body is marked
by a white line running lengthwise from its junction with the trunk, and
on each side of this white line are two other lines, one of a crimson
colour, the other of a light brown. As for its buzz, there is no
peculiarity in it, it might be mistaken for that of a honey-bee. When
caught it made desperate efforts to get away, but never attempted to
bite. This fly, along with a score of others, attacked my grey horse,
and bit it so sorely in the legs that they appeared as if bathed in
blood. Hence, I might have been a little vengeful if, with more than the
zeal of an entomologist, I caused it to disclose whatever peculiarities
its biting parts possessed.
In order to bring this fly as life-like as possible before my readers, I
may compare its head to most tiny miniature of an elephant's, because it
has a black proboscis and a pair of horny antennae, which in colour and
curve resemble tusks. The black proboscis, however, the simply a hollow
sheath, which encloses, when not in the act of biting, four reddish
and sharp lancets. Under the microscope these four lancets differ in
thickness, two are very thick, the third is slender, but the fourth, of
an opal colour and almost transparent, is exceedingly fine. This last
must be the sucker. When the fly is about to wound, the two horny
antennae are made to embrace the part, the lancets are unsheathed, and
on the instant the incision is performed. This I consider to be the
The second fly, which sang the tenor notes more nearly resembled in size
and description the tsetse. It was exceedingly nimble, and it occupied
three soldiers nearly an hour to capture a specimen; and, when it was
finally caught, it stung most ravenously the hand, and never ceased
its efforts to attack until it was pinned through. It had three or four
white marks across the after-part of its body; but the biting parts of
this fly consisted of two black antennae and an opal coloured style,
which folded away under the neck. When about to bite, this style was
shot out straight, and the antennae embraced it closely. After death the
fly lost its distinctive white marks. Only one of this species did
we see at this camp. The third fly, called "chufwa," pitched a weak
alto-crescendo note, was a third larger than the house fly, and had long
wings. If this insect sang the feeblest note, it certainly did the most
work, and inflicted the most injury. Horses and donkeys streamed with
blood, and reared and kicked through the pain. So determined was it not
to be driven before it obtained its fill, that it was easily despatched;
but this dreadful enemy to cattle constantly increased in numbers. The
three species above named are, according to natives, fatal to
cattle; and this may perhaps be the reason why such a vast expanse of
first-class pasture is without domestic cattle of any kind, a few goats
only being kept by the villagers. This fly I subsequently found to be
On the second morning, instead of proceeding, I deemed it more prudent
to await the fourth caravan. Burton experimented sufficiently for me
on the promised word of the Banyans of Kaole and Zanzibar, and waited
eleven months before he received the promised articles. As I did not
expect to be much over that time on my errand altogether, it would be
ruin, absolute and irremediable, should I be detained at Unyanyembe so
long a time by my caravan. Pending its arrival, I sought the pleasures
of the chase. I was but a tyro in hunting, I confess, though I had shot
a little on the plains of America and Persia; yet I considered myself
a fair shot, and on game ground, and within a reasonable proximity to
game, I doubted not but I could bring some to camp.
After a march of a mile through the tall grass of the open, we gained
the glades between the jungles. Unsuccessful here, after ever so much
prying into fine hiding-places and lurking corners, I struck a trail
well traversed by small antelope and hartebeest, which we followed. It
led me into a jungle, and down a watercourse bisecting it; but, after
following it for an hour, I lost it, and, in endeavouring to retrace it,
lost my way. However, my pocket-compass stood me in good stead; and by
it I steered for the open plain, in the centre of which stood the camp.
But it was terribly hard work - this of plunging through an African
jungle, ruinous to clothes, and trying to the cuticle. In order to
travel quickly, I had donned a pair of flannel pyjamas, and my feet were
encased in canvas shoes. As might be expected, before I had gone a
few paces a branch of the acacia horrida - only one of a hundred such
annoyances - caught the right leg of my pyjamas at the knee, and ripped
it almost clean off; succeeding which a stumpy kolquall caught me by the
shoulder, and another rip was the inevitable consequence. A few yards
farther on, a prickly aloetic plant disfigured by a wide tear the
other leg of my pyjamas, and almost immediately I tripped against a
convolvulus strong as ratline, and was made to measure my length on a
bed of thorns. It was on all fours, like a hound on a scent, that I was
compelled to travel; my solar topee getting the worse for wear every
minute; my skin getting more and more wounded; my clothes at each step
becoming more and more tattered. Besides these discomforts, there was
a pungent, acrid plant which, apart from its strong odorous emissions,
struck me smartly on the face, leaving a burning effect similar to
cayenne; and the atmosphere, pent in by the density of the jungle, was
hot and stifling, and the perspiration transuded through every pore,
making my flannel tatters feel as if I had been through a shower. When I
had finally regained the plain, and could breathe free, I mentally vowed
that the penetralia of an African jungle should not be visited by me
again, save under most urgent necessity.
The second and third day passed without any news of Maganga.
Accordingly, Shaw and Bombay were sent to hurry him up by all means.
On the fourth morning Shaw and Bombay returned, followed by the
procrastinating Maganga and his laggard people. Questions only elicited
an excuse that his men had been too sick, and he had feared to tax their
strength before they were quite equal to stand the fatigue. Moreover he
suggested that as they would be compelled to stay one day more at the
camp, I might push on to Kingaru and camp there, until his arrival.
Acting upon which suggestion I broke camp and started for Kingaru,
distant five miles.
On this march the land was more broken, and the caravan first
encountered jungle, which gave considerable trouble to our cart.
Pisolitic limestone cropped out in boulders and sheets, and we began
to imagine ourselves approaching healthy highlands, and as if to give
confirmation to the thought, to the north and north-west loomed the
purple cones of Udoe, and topmost of all Dilima Peak, about 1,500 feet
in height above the sea level. But soon after sinking into a bowl-like
valley, green with tall corn, the road slightly deviated from north-west
to west, the country still rolling before us in wavy undulations.
In one of the depressions between these lengthy land-swells stood the
village of Kingaru, with surroundings significant in their aspect
of ague and fever. Perhaps the clouds surcharged with rain, and the
overhanging ridges and their dense forests dulled by the gloom, made the
place more than usually disagreeable, but my first impressions of the
sodden hollow, pent in by those dull woods, with the deep gully close by
containing pools of stagnant water, were by no means agreeable.
Before we could arrange our camp and set the tents up, down poured the
furious harbinger of the Masika season in torrents sufficient to damp
the ardor and newborn love for East Africa I had lately manifested.
However, despite rain, we worked on until our camp was finished and the
property was safely stored from weather and thieves, and we could regard
with resignation the raindrops beating the soil into mud of a very
tenacious kind, and forming lakelets and rivers of our camp-ground.
Towards night, the scene having reached its acme of unpleasantness, the
rain ceased, and the natives poured into camp from the villages in the
woods with their vendibles. Foremost among these, as if in duty bound,
came the village sultan - lord, chief, or head - bearing three measures
of matama and half a measure of rice, of which he begged, with paternal
smiles, my acceptance. But under his smiling mask, bleared eyes, and
wrinkled front was visible the soul of trickery, which was of the
cunningest kind. Responding under the same mask adopted by this knavish
elder, I said, "The chief of Kingaru has called me a rich sultan. If I
am a rich sultan why comes not the chief with a rich present to me, that
he might get a rich return?" Said he, with another leer of his wrinkled
visage, "Kingaru is poor, there is no matama in the village." To which
I replied that since there was no matama in the village I would pay him
half a shukka, or a yard of cloth, which would be exactly equivalent to
his present; that if he preferred to call his small basketful a present,
I should be content to call my yard of cloth a present. With which logic
he was fain to be satisfied.
April 1st. - To-day the Expedition suffered a loss in the death of the
grey Arab horse presented by Seyd Burghash, Sultan of Zanzibar. The
night previous I had noticed that the horse was suffering. Bearing in
mind what has been so frequently asserted, namely, that no horses could
live in the interior of Africa because of the tsetse, I had him opened,
and the stomach, which I believed to be diseased, examined. Besides much
undigested matama and grass there were found twenty-five short, thick,
white worms, sticking like leeches into the coating of the stomach,
while the intestines were almost alive with the numbers of long white
worms. I was satisfied that neither man nor beast could long exist with
such a mass of corrupting life within him.
In order that the dead carcase might not taint the valley, I had it
buried deep in the ground, about a score of yards from the encampment.
From such a slight cause ensued a tremendous uproar from Kingaru - chief
of the village - who, with his brother-chiefs of neighbouring villages,
numbering in the aggregate two dozen wattled huts, had taken counsel
upon the best means of mulcting the Musungu of a full doti or two of
Merikani, and finally had arrived at the conviction that the act of
burying a dead horse in their soil without "By your leave, sir," was
a grievous and fineable fault. Affecting great indignation at the
unpardonable omission, he, Kingaru, concluded to send to the Musungu
four of his young men to say to him that "since you have buried your
horse in my ground, it is well; let him remain there; but you must pay
me two doti of Merikani." For reply the messengers were told to say to
the chief that I would prefer talking the matter over with himself face
to face, if he would condescend to visit me in my tent once again. As
the village was but a stone's throw from our encampment, before many
minutes had elapsed the wrinkled elder made his appearance at the door
of my tent with about half the village behind him.
The following dialogue which took place will serve to illustrate the
tempers of the people with whom I was about to have a year's trading
White Man. - "Are you the great chief of Kingaru?"
Kingaru. - "Huh-uh. Yes."
W. M. - "The great, great chief?"
Kingaru. - "Huh-uh. Yes."
W. M. - "How many soldiers have you?"
Kingaru. - " Why?"
W. M. - "How many fighting men have you?"
Kingaru. - "None."
W. M. - "Oh! I thought you might have a thousand men with you, by your
going to fine a strong white man, who has plenty of guns and soldiers,
two doti for burying a dead horse."
Kingaru (rather perplexed). - "No; I have no soldiers. I have only a few
W. M. - "Why do you come and make trouble, then?"
Kingaru. - "It was not I; it was my brothers who said to me, 'Come here,
come here, Kingaru, see what the white man has done! Has he not taken
possession of your soil, in that he has put his horse into your ground
without your permission? Come, go to him and see by what right.'
Therefore have I come to ask you, who gave you permission to use my soil
for a burying-ground?"
W. M. "I want no man's permission to do what is right. My horse died;
had I left him to fester and stink in your valley, sickness would visit
your village, your water would become unwholesome, and caravans would
not stop here for trade; for they would say, 'This is an unlucky spot,
let us go away.' But enough said: I understand you to say that you do
not want him buried in your ground; the error I have fallen into is
easily put right. This minute my soldiers shall dig him out again, and
cover up the soil as it was before; and the horse shall be left where he
died." (Then shouting to Bombay.) "Ho! Bombay, take soldiers with jembes
to dig my horse out of the ground, drag him to where he died, and make
everything ready for a march to-morrow morning."
Kingaru, his voice considerably higher, and his head moving to and fro
with emotion, cries out, "Akuna, akuna, bana!" - "No, no, master! Let not
the white man get angry. The horse is dead, and now lies buried; let him
remain so, since he is already there, and let us be friends again."
The Sheikh of Kingaru being thus brought to his senses, we bid each
other the friendly "Kwaheri," and I was left alone to ruminate over my
loss. Barely half an hour had elapsed, it was 9 P.M., the camp was in
a semi-doze, when I heard deep groans issuing from one of the animals.
Upon inquiry as to what animal was suffering, I was surprised to hear
that it was my bay horse. With a bull's-eye lantern, I visited him, and
perceived that the pain was located in the stomach, but whether it was
from some poisonous plant he had eaten while out grazing, or from some
equine disease, I did not know. He discharged copious quantities of
loose matter, but there was nothing peculiar in its colour. The pain was
evidently very great, for his struggles were very violent. I was up all
night, hoping that it was but a temporary effect of some strange and
noxious plant; but at 6 o'clock the next morning, after a short period
of great agony, he also died; exactly fifteen hours after his companion.
When the stomach was opened, it was found that death was caused by the
internal rupture of a large cancer, which had affected the larger half
of the coating of his stomach, and had extended an inch or two up the
larynx. The contents of the stomach and intestines were deluged with the
yellow viscous efflux from the cancer.
I was thus deprived of both my horses, and that within the short space
of fifteen hours. With my limited knowledge of veterinary science,
however, strengthened by the actual and positive proofs obtained by the
dissection of the two stomachs, I can scarcely state that horses can
live to reach Unyanyembe, or that they can travel with ease through this
part of East Africa. But should I have occasion at some future day,
I should not hesitate to take four horses with me, though I should
certainly endeavour to ascertain previous to purchase whether they, were
perfectly sound and healthy, and to those travellers who cherish a good
horse I would say, "Try one," and be not discouraged by my unfortunate
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of April passed, and nothing had we heard or
seen of the ever-lagging fourth caravan. In the meanwhile the list of
casualties was being augmented. Besides the loss of this precious time,
through the perverseness of the chief of the other caravan, and the
loss of my two horses, a pagazi carrying boat-fixtures improved the
opportunity, and deserted. Selim was struck down with a severe attack
of ague and fever, and was soon after followed by the cook, then by the
assistant cook and tailor, Abdul Kader. Finally, before the third day
was over, Bombay had rheumatism, Uledi (Grant's old valet) had a swollen
throat, Zaidi had the flux, Kingaru had the mukunguru; Khamisi, a
pagazi, suffered from a weakness of the loins; Farjalla had a bilious
fever; and before night closed Makoviga was very ill. Out of a force of
twenty-five men one had deserted, and ten were on the sick list, and the
presentiment that the ill-looking neighbourhood of Kingaru would prove
calamitous to me was verified.
On the 4th April Maganga and his people appeared, after being heralded
by musketry-shots and horn-blowing, the usual signs of an approaching
caravan in this land. His sick men were considerably improved, but they
required one more day of rest at Kingaru. In the afternoon he came to
lay siege to my generosity, by giving details of Soor Hadji Palloo's
heartless cheats upon him; but I informed him, that since I had left
Bagamoyo, I could no longer be generous; we were now in a land where
cloth was at a high premium; that I had no more cloth than I should need
to furnish food for myself and men; that he and his caravan had cost me
more money and trouble than any three caravans I had, as indeed was the
case. With this counter-statement he was obliged to be content. But I
again solved his pecuniary doubts by promising that, if he hurried his
caravan on to Unyanyembe, he should have no cause of complaint.
The 5th of April saw the fourth caravan vanish for once in our front,
with a fair promise that, however fast we should follow, we should not
see them the hither side of Sinbamwenni.
The following morning, in order to rouse my people from the sickened
torpitude they had lapsed into, I beat an exhilarating alarum on a
tin pan with an iron ladle, intimating that a sofari was about to be
undertaken. This had a very good effect, judging from the extraordinary
alacrity with which it was responded to. Before the sun rose we started.
The Kingaru villagers were out with the velocity of hawks for any rags
or refuse left behind us.
The long march to Imbiki, fifteen miles, proved that our protracted stay
at Kingaru had completely demoralized my soldiers and pagazis. Only
a few of them had strength enough to reach Imbiki before night. The
others, attending the laden donkeys, put in an appearance next morning,
in a lamentable state of mind and body. Khamisi - the pagazi with the
weak loins - had deserted, taking with him two goats, the property tent,
and the whole of Uledi's personal wealth, consisting of his visiting