Copyright
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 7 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 7 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


dish-dasheh - a long shirt of the Arabic pattern, 10 lbs. of beads, and
a few fine cloths, which Uledi, in a generous fit, had intrusted to
him, while he carried the pagazi's load, 70 lbs. of Bubu beads. This
defalcation was not to be overlooked, nor should Khamisi be permitted to
return without an effort to apprehend him. Accordingly Uledi and Ferajji
were despatched in pursuit while we rested at Imbiki, in order to give
the dilapidated soldiers and animals time to recruit.

On the 8th we continued our journey, and arrived at Msuwa. This march
will be remembered by our caravan as the most fatiguing of all, though
the distance was but ten miles. It was one continuous jungle, except
three interjacent glades of narrow limits, which gave us three breathing
pauses in the dire task of jungle travelling. The odour emitted from
its fell plants was so rank, so pungently acrid, and the miasma from its
decayed vegetation so dense, that I expected every moment to see myself
and men drop down in paroxysms of acute fever. Happily this evil was
not added to that of loading and unloading the frequently falling packs.
Seven soldiers to attend seventeen laden donkeys were entirely too small
a number while passing through a jungle; for while the path is but a
foot wide, with a wall of thorny plants and creepers bristling on each
side, and projecting branches darting across it, with knots of spikey
twigs stiff as spike-nails, ready to catch and hold anything above four
feet in height, it is but reasonable to suppose that donkeys standing
four feet high, with loads measuring across from bale to bale four feet,
would come to grief. This grief was of frequent recurrence here, causing
us to pause every few minutes for re-arrangements. So often had this
task to be performed, that the men got perfectly discouraged, and had to
bespoken to sharply before they set to work. By the time I reached Msuwa
there was nobody with me and the ten donkeys I drove but Mabruk the
Little, who, though generally stolid, stood to his work like a man.
Bombay and Uledi were far behind, with the most jaded donkeys. Shaw
was in charge of the cart, and his experiences were most bitter, as he
informed me he had expended a whole vocabulary of stormy abuse known
to sailors, and a new one which he had invented ex tempore. He did not
arrive until two o'clock next morning, and was completely worn out.

Another halt was fixed at Msuwa, that we and our animals might
recuperate. The chief of the village, a white man in everything but
colour, sent me and mine the fattest broad-tailed sheep of his
flock, with five measures of matama grain. The mutton was excellent,
unapproachable. For his timely and needful present I gave him two doti,
and amused him with an exhibition of the wonderful mechanism of the
Winchester rifle, and my breechloading revolvers.

He and his people were intelligent enough to comprehend the utility of
these weapons at an emergency, and illustrated in expressive pantomime
the powers they possessed against numbers of people armed only with
spears and bows, by extending their arms with an imaginary gun and
describing a clear circle. "Verily," said they, "the Wasungu are far
wiser than the Washensi. What heads they have! What wonderful things
they make! Look at their tents, their guns, their time-pieces, their
clothes, and that little rolling thing (the cart) which carries more
than five men, - -que!"

On the 10th, recovered from the excessive strain of the last march, the
caravan marched out of Msuwa, accompanied by the hospitable villagers
as far as their stake defence, receiving their unanimous "Kwaheris."
Outside the village the march promised to be less arduous than between
Imbiki and Msuwa. After crossing a beautiful little plain intersected
by a dry gully or mtoni, the route led by a few cultivated fields, where
the tillers greeted us with one grand unwinking stare, as if fascinated.

Soon after we met one of those sights common in part of the world, to
wit a chain slave-gang, bound east. The slaves did not appear to be
in any way down-hearted on the contrary, they seemed imbued with the
philosophic jollity of the jolly servant of Martin Chuzzlewit. Were it
not for their chains, it would have been difficult to discover master
from slave; the physiognomic traits were alike - the mild benignity with
which we were regarded was equally visible on all faces. The chains were
ponderous - they might have held elephants captive; but as the slaves
carried nothing but themselves, their weight could not have been
insupportable.

The jungle was scant on this march, and though in some places the packs
met with accidents, they were not such as seriously to retard progress.
By 10 A.M. we were in camp in the midst of an imposing view of green
sward and forest domed by a cloudless sky. We had again pitched our camp
in the wilderness, and, as is the custom of caravans, fired two shots to
warn any Washensi having grain to sell, that we were willing to trade.

Our next halting-place was Kisemo, distant but eleven miles from Msuwa,
a village situated in a populous district, having in its vicinity no
less than five other villages, each fortified by stakes and thorny
abattis, with as much fierce independence as if their petty lords were
so many Percys and Douglasses. Each topped a ridge, or a low hummock,
with an assumption of defiance of the cock-on-its-own-dunghill type.
Between these humble eminences and low ridges of land wind narrow vales
which are favored with the cultivation of matama and Indian corn. Behind
the village flows the Ungerengeri River, an impetuous stream during the
Masika season, capable of overflowing its steep banks, but in the dry
season it subsides into its proper status, which is that of a small
stream of very clear sweet water. Its course from Kisemo is south-west,
then easterly; it is the main feeder of the Kingani River.

The belles of Kisemo are noted for their vanity in brass wire, which is
wound in spiral rings round their wrists and ankles, and the varieties
of style which their hispid heads exhibit; while their poor lords,
obliged to be contented with dingy torn clouts and split ears, show what
wide sway Asmodeus holds over this terrestrial sphere - for it must have
been an unhappy time when the hard-besieged husbands finally gave
way before their spouses. Besides these brassy ornaments on their
extremities, and the various hair-dressing styles, the women of Kisemo
frequently wear lengthy necklaces, which run in rivers of colours down
their bodies.

A more comical picture is seldom presented than that of one of these
highly-dressed females engaged in the homely and necessary task of
grinding corn for herself and family. The grinding apparatus consists
of two portions: one, a thick pole of hard wood about six feet long,
answering for a pestle; the other, a capacious wooden mortar, three feet
in height.

While engaged in setting his tent, Shaw was obliged to move a small flat
stone, to drive a peg into the ground. The village chief, who saw him do
it, rushed up in a breathless fashion, and replaced the stone instantly,
then stood on it in an impressive manner, indicative of the great
importance attached to that stone and location. Bombay, seeing Shaw
standing in silent wonder at the act, volunteered to ask the chief what
was the matter. The Sheikh solemnly answered, with a finger pointing
downward, "Uganga!" Whereupon I implored him to let me see what was
under the stone. With a graciousness quite affecting he complied. My
curiosity was gratified with the sight of a small whittled stick, which
pinned fast to the ground an insect, the cause of a miscarriage to a
young female of the village.

During the afternoon, Uledi and Ferajji, who had been despatched after
the truant Khamisi, returned with him and all the missing articles.
Khamisi, soon after leaving the road and plunging into the jungle,
where he was mentally triumphing in his booty, was met by some of the
plundering Washensi, who are always on the qui vive for stragglers, and
unceremoniously taken to their village in the woods, and bound to a tree
preparatory, to being killed. Khamisi said that he asked them why they
tied him up, to which they answered, that they were about to kill him,
because he was a Mgwana, whom they were accustomed to kill as soon as
they were caught. But Uledi and Ferajji shortly after coming upon the
scene, both well armed, put an end to the debates upon Khamisi's fate,
by claiming him as an absconding pagazi from the Musungu's camp, as well
as all the articles he possessed at the time of capture. The robbers did
not dispute the claim for the pagazi, goats, tent, or any other
valuable found with him, but intimated that they deserved a reward for
apprehending him. The demand being considered just, a reward to the
extent of two doti and a fundo, or ten necklaces of beads, was given.

Khamisi, for his desertion and attempted robbery, could not be pardoned
without first suffering punishment. He had asked at Bagamoyo, before
enlisting in my service, an advance of $5 in money, and had received it,
and a load of Bubu beads, no heavier than a pagazis load, had been given
him to carry; he had, therefore, no excuse for desertion. Lest I should
overstep prudence, however, in punishing him, I convened a court of
eight pagazis and four soldiers to sit in judgment, and asked them
to give me their decision as to what should be done. Their unanimous
verdict was that he was guilty of a crime almost unknown among the
Wanyamwezi pagazis, and as it was likely to give bad repute to the
Wanyamwezi carriers, they therefore sentenced him to be flogged with the
"Great Master's" donkey whip, which was accordingly carried out, to poor
Khamisi's crying sorrow.

On the 12th the caravan reached Mussoudi, on the Ungerengeri river.
Happily for our patient donkeys this march was free from all the
annoying troubles of the jungle. Happily for ourselves also, for we had
no more the care of the packs and the anxiety about arriving at camp
before night. The packs once put firmly on the backs of our good
donkeys, they marched into camp - the road being excellent - without a
single displacement or cause for one impatient word, soon after leaving
Kisemo. A beautiful prospect, glorious in its wild nature, fragrant with
its numerous flowers and variety of sweetly-smelling shrubs, among which
I recognised the wild sage, the indigo plant, &c., terminated only
at the foot of Kira Peak and sister cones, which mark the boundaries
between Udoe and Ukami, yet distant twenty miles. Those distant
mountains formed a not unfit background to this magnificent picture
of open plain, forest patches, and sloping lawns - there was enough of
picturesqueness and sublimity in the blue mountains to render it one
complete whole. Suppose a Byron saw some of these scenes, he would be
inclined to poetize in this manner:

Morn dawns, and with it stern Udoe's hills, Dark Urrugum's rocks, and
Kira's peak, Robed half in mist, bedewed with various rills, Arrayed in
many a dun and purple streak.

When drawing near the valley of Ungerengeri, granite knobs and
protuberances of dazzling quartz showed their heads above the reddish
soil. Descending the ridge where these rocks were prominent, we found
ourselves in the sable loam deposit of the Ungerengeri, and in the midst
of teeming fields of sugar-cane and matama, Indian corn, muhogo,
and gardens of curry, egg, and cucumber plants. On the banks of the
Ungerengeri flourished the banana, and overtopping it by seventy feet
and more, shot up the stately mparamusi, the rival in beauty of the
Persian chenar and Abyssinian plane. Its trunk is straight and comely
enough for the mainmast of a first, class frigate, while its expanding
crown of leafage is distinguished from all others by its density and
vivid greenness. There were a score of varieties of the larger kind of
trees, whose far-extending branches embraced across the narrow but swift
river. The depressions of the valley and the immediate neighbourhood of
the river were choked with young forests of tiger-grass and stiff reeds.

Mussoudi is situated on a higher elevation than the average level of the
village, and consequently looks down upon its neighbours, which number a
hundred and more. It is the western extremity of Ukwere. On the western
bank of the Ungerengeri the territory of the Wakami commences. We had to
halt one day at Mussoudi because the poverty of the people prevented us
from procuring the needful amount of grain. The cause of this scantiness
in such a fertile and populous valley was, that the numerous caravans
which had preceded us had drawn heavily for their stores for the
upmarches.

On the 14th we crossed the Ungerengeri, which here flows southerly to
the southern extremity of the valley, where it bends easterly as far as
Kisemo. After crossing the river here, fordable at all times and only
twenty yards in breadth, we had another mile of the valley with its
excessively moist soil and rank growth of grass. It then ascended into
a higher elevation, and led through a forest of mparamusi, tamarind,
tamarisk, acacia, and the blooming mimosa. This ascent was continued for
two hours, when we stood upon the spine of the largest ridge, where we
could obtain free views of the wooded plain below and the distant ridges
of Kisemo, which we had but lately left. A descent of a few hundred feet
terminated in a deep but dry mtoni with a sandy bed, on the other side
of which we had to regain the elevation we had lost, and a similar
country opened into view until we found a newly-made boma with
well-built huts of grass rear a pool of water, which we at once occupied
as a halting-place for the night. The cart gave us considerable trouble;
not even our strongest donkey, though it carried with ease on its back
196 lbs., could draw the cart with a load of only 225 lbs. weight.

Early on the morning of the 15th we broke camp and started for Mikeseh.
By 8.30 A.M. we were ascending the southern face of the Kira Peak. When
we had gained the height of two hundred feet above the level of the
surrounding country, we were gratified with a magnificent view of a land
whose soil knows no Sabbath.

After travelling the spine of a ridge abutting against the southern
slope of Kira we again descended into the little valley of Kiwrima,
the first settlement we meet in Udoe, where there is always an abundant
supply of water. Two miles west of Kiwrima is Mikiseh.

On the 16th we reached Ulagalla after a few hours' march. Ulagalla is
the name of a district, or a portion of a district, lying between the
mountains of Uruguru, which bound it southerly, and the mountains of
Udoe, lying northerly and parallel with them, and but ten miles apart.
The principal part of the basin thus formed is called Ulagalla.

Muhalleh is the next settlement, and here we found ourselves in
the territory of the Waseguhha. On this march we were hemmed in by
mountains - on our left by those of Uruguru, on our right by those of
Udoe and Useguhha - a most agreeable and welcome change to us after
the long miles of monotonous level we had hitherto seen. When tired of
looking into the depths of the forest that still ran on either side
of the road, we had but to look up to the mountain's base, to note its
strange trees, its plants and vari-coloured flowers, we had but to raise
our heads to vary this pleasant occupation by observing the lengthy and
sinuous spine of the mountains, and mentally report upon their outline,
their spurs, their projections and ravines, their bulging rocks and deep
clefts, and, above all, the dark green woods clothing them from summit
to base. And when our attention was not required for the mundane task
of regarding the donkeys' packs, or the pace of the cautious-stepping
pagazis, it was gratifying to watch the vapours play about the mountain
summits - to see them fold into fleecy crowns and fantastic clusters,
dissolve, gather together into a pall that threatened rain, and sail
away again before the brightening sun.

At Muhalleh was the fourth caravan under Maganga with three more sick
men, who turned with eager eyes to myself, "the dispenser of medicine,"
as I approached. Salvos of small arms greeted me, and a present of rice
and ears of Indian corn for roasting were awaiting my acceptance; but,
as I told Maganga, I would have preferred to hear that his party were
eight or ten marches ahead. At this camp, also, we met Salim bin Rashid,
bound eastward, with a huge caravan carrying three hundred ivory tusks.
This good Arab, besides welcoming the new comer with a present of rice,
gave me news of Livingstone. He had met the old traveller at Ujiji, had
lived in the next but to him for two weeks, described him as looking
old, with long grey moustaches and beard, just recovered from severe
illness, looking very wan; when fully recovered Livingstone intended to
visit a country called Manyema by way of Marungu.

The valley of the Ungerengeri with Muhalleh exhibits wonderful
fertility. Its crops of matama were of the tallest, and its Indian
corn would rival the best crops ever seen in the Arkansas bottoms. The
numerous mountain-fed streams rendered the great depth of loam very
sloppy, in consequence of which several accidents occurred before we
reached the camp, such as wetting cloth, mildewing tea, watering sugar,
and rusting tools; but prompt attention to these necessary things saved
us from considerable loss.

There was a slight difference noticed in the demeanour and bearing of
the Waseguhha compared with the Wadoe, Wakami, and Wakwere heretofore
seen. There was none of that civility we had been until now pleased to
note: their express desire to barter was accompanied with insolent
hints that we ought to take their produce at their own prices. If
we remonstrated they became angry; retorting fiercely, impatient of
opposition, they flew into a passion, and were glib in threats. This
strange conduct, so opposite to that of the calm and gentle Wakwere,
may be excellently illustrated by comparing the manner of the hot-headed
Greek with that of the cool and collected German. Necessity compelled us
to purchase eatables of them, and, to the credit of the country and its
productions, be it said, their honey had the peculiar flavour of that of
famed Hymettus.

Following the latitudinal valley of the Ungerengeri, within two hours on
the following morning we passed close under the wall of the capital of
Useguhha - Simbamwenni. The first view of the walled town at the
western foot of the Uruguru mountains, with its fine valley abundantly
beautiful, watered by two rivers, and several pellucid streams of water
distilled by the dew and cloud-enriched heights around, was one that
we did not anticipate to meet in Eastern Africa. In Mazanderan, Persia,
such a scene would have answered our expectations, but here it was
totally unexpected. The town may contain a population of 3,000, having
about 1,000 houses; being so densely crowded, perhaps 5,000 would more
closely approximate. The houses in the town are eminently African, but
of the best type of construction. The fortifications are on an Arabic
Persic model - combining Arab neatness with Persian plan. Through a ride
of 950 miles in Persia I never met a town outside of the great cities
better fortified than Simbamwenni. In Persia the fortifications were
of mud, even those of Kasvin, Teheran, Ispahan, and Shiraz; those
of Simbamwenni are of stone, pierced with two rows of loopholes for
musketry. The area of the town is about half a square mile, its plan
being quadrangular. Well-built towers of stone guard each corner; four
gates, one facing each cardinal point, and set half way between the
several towers, permit ingress and egress for its inhabitants. The gates
are closed with solid square doors made of African teak, and carved
with the infinitesimally fine and complicated devices of the Arabs, from
which I suspect that the doors were made either at Zanzibar or on the
coast, and conveyed to Simbamwenni plank by plank; yet as there is much
communication between Bagamoyo and Simbamwenni, it is just possible that
native artisans are the authors of this ornate workmanship, as several
doors chiselled and carved in the same manner, though not quite so
elaborately, were visible in the largest houses. The palace of the
Sultan is after the style of those on the coast, with long sloping roof,
wide eaves, and veranda in front.

The Sultana is the eldest daughter of the famous Kisabengo, a name
infamous throughout the neighbouring countries of Udoe, Ukami, Ukwere,
Kingaru, Ukwenni, and Kiranga-Wanna, for his kidnapping propensities.
Kisabengo was another Theodore on a small scale. Sprung from humble
ancestry, he acquired distinction for his personal strength, his powers
of harangue, and his amusing and versatile address, by which he gained
great ascendency over fugitive slaves, and was chosen a leader among
them. Fleeing from justice, which awaited him at the hands of the
Zanzibar Sultan, he arrived in Ukami, which extended at that time from
Ukwere to Usagara, and here he commenced a career of conquest, the
result of which was the cession by the Wakami of an immense tract of
fertile country, in the valley of the Ungerengeri. On its most desirable
site, with the river flowing close under the walls, he built his
capital, and called it Simbamwenni, which means "The Lion," or the
strongest, City. In old age the successful robber and kidnapper
changed his name of Kisabengo, which had gained such a notoriety, to
Simbamwenni, after his town; and when dying, after desiring that his
eldest daughter should succeed him, he bestowed the name of the town
upon her also, which name of Simbamwenni the Sultana now retains and is
known by.

While crossing a rapid stream, which, as I said before flowed close
to the walls, the inhabitants of Simbamwenni had a fine chance of
gratifying their curiosity of seeing the "Great Musungu," whose several
caravans had preceded him, and who unpardonably, because unlicensed, had
spread a report of his great wealth and power. I was thus the object of
a universal stare. At one time on the banks there were considerably over
a thousand natives going through the several tenses and moods of the
verb "to stare," or exhibiting every phase of the substantive, viz. - the
stare peremptory, insolent, sly, cunning, modest, and casual. The
warriors of the Sultana, holding in one hand the spear, the bow, and
sheaf or musket, embraced with the other their respective friends, like
so many models of Nisus and Euryalus, Theseus and Pirithous, Damon and
Pythias, or Achilles and Patroclus, to whom they confidentially related
their divers opinions upon my dress and colour. The words "Musungu kuba"
had as much charm for these people as the music of the Pied Piper had
for the rats of Hamelin, since they served to draw from within the walls
across their stream so large a portion of the population; and when I
continued the journey to the Ungerengeri, distant four miles, I feared
that the Hamelin catastrophe might have to be repeated before I could
rid myself of them. But fortunately for my peace of mind, they finally
proved vincible under the hot sun, and the distance we had to go to
camp.

As we were obliged to overhaul the luggage, and repair saddles, as well
as to doctor a few of the animals, whose backs had by this time become
very sore, I determined to halt here two days. Provisions were very
plentiful also at Simbamwenni, though comparatively dear.

On the second day I was, for the first time, made aware that my
acclimatization in the ague-breeding swamps of Arkansas was powerless
against the mukunguru of East Africa. The premonitory symptoms of the
African type were felt in my system at 10 A.M. First, general lassitude
prevailed, with a disposition to drowsiness; secondly, came the spinal
ache which, commencing from the loins, ascended the vertebrae, and
extended around the ribs, until it reached the shoulders, where it
settled into a weary pain; thirdly came a chilliness over the whole
body, which was quickly followed by a heavy head, swimming eyes, and
throbbing temples, with vague vision, which distorted and transformed
all objects of sight. This lasted until 10 P.M., and the mukunguru left
me, much prostrated in strength.

The remedy, applied for three mornings in succession after the attack,
was such as my experience in Arkansas had taught me was the most
powerful corrective, viz., a quantum of fifteen grains of quinine,
taken in three doses of five grains each, every other hour from dawn to



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 7 of 38)