Henry M. Stanley.

How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley online

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Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 9 of 38)
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held his hand over his head, by which he meant that we should have to
swim. Swim five miles through a reedy marsh! It was impossible; it was
also impossible that such varied accounts could all be correct. Without
hesitation, therefore, I ordered the Wangwana to proceed with the
animals. After three hours of splashing through four feet of water we
reached dry land, and had traversed the swamp of Makata. But not without
the swamp with its horrors having left a durable impression upon our
minds; no one was disposed to forget its fatigues, nor the nausea of
travel which it almost engendered. Subsequently, we had to remember its
passage still more vividly, and to regret that we had undertaken the
journey during the Masika season, when the animals died from this date
by twos and threes, almost every day, until but five sickly worn-out
beasts remained; when the Wangwana, soldiers, and pagazis sickened of
diseases innumerable; when I myself was finally compelled to lie a-bed
with an attack of acute dysentery which brought me to the verge of the
grave. I suffered more, perhaps, than I might have done had I taken the
proper medicine, but my over-confidence in that compound, called "Collis
Brown's Chlorodyne," delayed the cure which ultimately resulted from a
judicious use of Dover's powder. In no one single case of diarrhoea
or acute dysentery had this "Chlorodyne," about which so much has been
said, and written, any effect of lessening the attack whatever, though
I used three bottles. To the dysentery contracted during, the transit of
the Makata swamp, only two fell victims, and those were a pagazi and my
poor little dog "Omar," my companion from India.

The only tree of any prominence in the Makata valley was the Palmyra
palm (Borassus flabelliformis), and this grew in some places in numbers
sufficient to be called a grove; the fruit was not ripe while we passed,
otherwise we might have enjoyed it as a novelty. The other vegetation
consisted of the several species of thorn bush, and the graceful
parachute-topped and ever-green mimosa.

The 4th of May we were ascending a gentle slope towards the important
village of Rehenneko, the first village near to which we encamped in
Usagara. It lay at the foot of the mountain, and its plenitude and
mountain air promised us comfort and health. It was a square, compact
village, surrounded by a thick wall of mud, enclosing cone-topped huts,
roofed with bamboo and holcus-stalks; and contained a population of
about a thousand souls. It has several wealthy and populous neighbours,
whose inhabitants are independent enough in their manner, but not
unpleasantly so. The streams are of the purest water, fresh, and
pellucid as crystal, bubbling over round pebbles and clean gravel, with
a music delightful to hear to the traveller in search of such a sweetly
potable element.

The bamboo grows to serviceable size in the neighbourhood of Rehenneko,
strong enough for tent and banghy poles; and in numbers sufficient to
supply an army. The mountain slopes are densely wooded with trees that
might supply very good timber for building purposes.

We rested four days at this pleasant spot, to recruit ourselves, and to
allow the sick and feeble time to recover a little before testing their
ability in the ascent of the Usagara mountains.

The 8th of May saw us with our terribly jaded men and animals winding up
the steep slopes of the first line of hills; gaining the summit of which
we obtained a view remarkably grand, which exhibited as in a master
picture the broad valley of the Makata, with its swift streams like so
many cords of silver, as the sunshine played on the unshadowed reaches
of water, with its thousands of graceful palms adding not a little to
the charm of the scene, with the great wall of the Uruguru and
Uswapanga mountains dimly blue, but sublime in their loftiness and
immensity - forming a fit background to such an extensive, far-embracing

Turning our faces west, we found ourselves in a mountain world, fold
rising above fold, peak behind peak, cone jostling cone; away to the
north, to the west, to the south, the mountain tops rolled like so many
vitrified waves; not one adust or arid spot was visible in all this
scene. The diorama had no sudden changes or striking contrasts, for a
universal forest of green trees clothed every peak, cone, and summit.

To the men this first day's march through the mountain region of Usagara
was an agreeable interlude after the successive journey over the flats
and heavy undulations of the maritime region, but to the loaded and
enfeebled animals it was most trying. We were minus two by the time
we had arrived at our camp, but seven miles from Rehenneko, our first
instalment of the debt we owed to Makata. Water, sweet and clear, was
abundant in the deep hollows of the mountains, flowing sometimes over
beds of solid granite, sometimes over a rich red sandstone, whose
soft substance was soon penetrated by the aqueous element, and whose
particles were swept away constantly to enrich the valley below; and in
other ravines it dashed, and roared, miniature thunder, as it leaped
over granite boulders and quartz rock.

The 9th of May, after another such an up-and-down course, ascending
hills and descending into the twilight depths of deepening valleys, we
came suddenly upon the Mukondokwa, and its narrow pent-up valley crowded
with rank reedy grass, cane, and thorny bushes; and rugged tamarisk
which grappled for existence with monster convolvuli, winding their
coils around their trunks with such tenacity and strength that the
tamarisk seemed grown but for their support.

The valley was barely a quarter of a mile broad in some places - at
others it widened to about a mile. The hills on either side shot up into
precipitous slopes, clothed with mimosa, acacia, and tamarisk,
enclosing a river and valley whose curves and folds were as various as a

Shortly after debouching into the Mukondokwa valley, we struck the
road traversed by Captains Buxton and Speke in 1857, between Mbumi and
Kadetamare (the latter place should be called Misonghi, Kadetamare
being but the name of a chief). After following the left bank of
the Mukondokwa, during which our route diverged to every point from
south-east to west, north and northeast, for about an hour, we came to
the ford. Beyond the ford, a short half-hour's march, we came to Kiora.

At this filthy village of Kiora, which was well-grounded with goat-dung,
and peopled with a wonderful number of children for a hamlet that did
not number twenty families, with a hot sun pouring on the limited open
space, with a fury that exceeded 128 degrees Fahrenheit; which swarmed
with flies and insects of known and unknown species; I found, as I had
been previously informed, the third caravan, which had started out of
Bagamoyo so well fitted and supplied. The leader, who was no other
than the white man Farquhar, was sick-a-bed with swollen legs (Bright's
disease), unable to move.

As he heard my voice, Farquhar staggered out of his tent, so changed
from my spruce mate who started from Bagamoyo, that I hardly knew him at
first. His legs were ponderous, elephantine, since his leg-illness was
of elephantiasis, or dropsy. His face was of a deathly pallor, for he
had not been out of his tent for two weeks.

A breezy hill, overlooking the village of Kiora, was chosen by me for
my camping-ground, and as soon as the tents were pitched, the animals
attended to, and a boma made of thorn bushes, Farquhar was carried up
by four men into my tent. Upon being questioned as to the cause of his
illness, he said he did not know what had caused it. He had no pain, he
thought, anywhere. I asked, "Do you not sometimes feel pain on the right
side?" - "Yes, I think I do; but I don't know." - "Nor over the left
nipple sometimes - a quick throbbing, with a shortness of
breath?" - "Yes, I think I have. I know I breathe quick sometimes." He
said his only trouble was in the legs, which were swollen to an immense
size. Though he had a sound appetite, he yet felt weak in the legs.

From the scant information of the disease and its peculiarities, as
given by Farquhar himself, I could only make out, by studying a little
medical book I had with me, that "a swelling of the legs, and sometimes
of the body, might result from either heart, liver, or kidney disease."
But I did not know to what to ascribe the disease, unless it was to
elephantiasis - a disease most common in Zanzibar; nor did I know how
to treat it in a man who, could not tell me whether he felt pain in his
head or in his back, in his feet or in his chest.

It was therefore fortunate for me that I overtook him at Kiora; though
he was about to prove a sore incumbrance to me, for he was not able to
walk, and the donkey-carriage, after the rough experience of the Makata
valley, was failing. I could not possibly leave him at Kiora, death
would soon overtake him there; but how long I could convey a man in
such a state, through a country devoid of carriage, was a question to be
resolved by circumstances.

On the 11th of May, the third and fifth caravans, now united, followed
up the right bank of the Mukondokwa, through fields of holcus, the great
Mukondokwa ranges rising in higher altitude as we proceeded west, and
enfolding us in the narrow river valley round about. We left Muniyi
Usagara on our right, and soon after found hill-spurs athwart our road,
which we were obliged to ascend and descend.

A march of eight miles from the ford of Misonghi brought us to another
ford of the Mukondokwa, where we bid a long adieu to Burton's road,
which led up to the Goma pass and up the steep slopes of Rubeho. Our
road left the right bank and followed the left over a country quite
the reverse of the Mukondokwa Valley, enclosed between mountain ranges.
Fertile soils and spontaneous vegetation, reeking with miasma and
overpowering from their odour, we had exchanged for a drouthy wilderness
of aloetic and cactaceous plants, where the kolquall and several thorn
bushes grew paramount.

Instead of the tree-clad heights, slopes and valleys, instead of
cultivated fields, we saw now the confines of uninhabited wilderness.
The hill-tops were bared of their bosky crowns, and revealed their rocky
natures bleached white by rain and sun. Nguru Peak, the loftiest of the
Usagara cones, stood right shoulderwards of us as we ascended the long
slope of dun-grey soil which rose beyond the brown Mukondokwa on the

At the distance of two miles from the last ford, we found a neat khambi,
situated close to the river, where it first broke into a furious rapid.

The next morning the caravan was preparing for the march, when I was
informed that the "Bana Mdogo" - little master - Shaw, had not yet arrived
with the cart, and the men in charge of it. Late the previous night I
had despatched one donkey for Shaw, who had said he was too ill to walk,
and another for the load that was on the cart; and had retired satisfied
that they would soon arrive. My conclusion, when I learned in the
morning that the people had not yet come in, was that Shaw was not aware
that for five days we should have to march through a wilderness totally
uninhabited. I therefore despatched Chowpereh, a Mgwana soldier, with
the following note to him: - "You will, upon receipt of this order pitch
the cart into the nearest ravine, gully, or river, as well as all the
extra pack saddles; and come at once, for God's sake, for we must not
starve here!"

One, two, three, and four hours were passed by me in the utmost
impatience, waiting, but in vain, for Shaw. Having a long march before
us, I could wait no longer, but went to meet his party myself. About a
quarter of mile from the ford I met the van of the laggards - stout
burly Chowpereh - and, O cartmakers, listen! he carried the cart on his
head - wheels, shafts, body, axle, and all complete; he having found that
carrying it was much easier than drawing it. The sight was such a damper
to my regard for it as an experiment, that the cart was wheeled into the
depths of the tall reeds, and there left. The central figure was Shaw
himself, riding at a gait which seemed to leave it doubtful on my mind
whether he or his animal felt most sleepy. Upon expostulating with him
for keeping the caravan so long waiting when there was a march on hand,
in a most peculiar voice - which he always assumed when disposed to be
ugly-tempered - he said he had done the best he could; but as I had
seen the solemn pace at which he rode, I felt dubious about his best
endeavours; and of course there was a little scene, but the young
European mtongi of an East African expedition must needs sup with the
fellows he has chosen.

We arrived at Madete at 4 P.M., minus two donkeys, which had stretched
their weary limbs in death. We had crossed the Mukondokwa about 3 P.M.,
and after taking its bearings and course, I made sure that its rise took
place near a group of mountains about forty miles north by west of Nguru
Peak. Our road led W.N.W., and at this place finally diverged from the

On the 14th, after a march of seven miles over hills whose sandstone
and granite formation cropped visibly here and there above the surface,
whose stony and dry aspect seemed reflected in every bush and plant, and
having gained an altitude of about eight hundred feet above the flow
of the Mukondokwa, we sighted the Lake of Ugombo - a grey sheet of water
lying directly at the foot of the hill, from whose summit we gazed at
the scene. The view was neither beautiful nor pretty, but what I should
call refreshing; it afforded a pleasant relief to the eyes fatigued
from dwelling on the bleak country around. Besides, the immediate
neighbourhood of the lake was too tame to call forth any enthusiasm;
there were no grandly swelling mountains, no smiling landscapes - nothing
but a dun-brown peak, about one thousand feet high above the surface of
the lake at its western extremity, from which the lake derived its name,
Ugombo; nothing but a low dun-brown irregular range, running parallel
with its northern shore at the distance of a mile; nothing but a low
plain stretching from its western shore far away towards the Mpwapwa
Mountains and Marenga Mkali, then apparent to us from our coign of
vantage, from which extensive scene of dun-brownness we were glad to
rest our eyes on the quiet grey water beneath.

Descending from the summit of the range, which bounded the lake east for
about four hundred feet, we travelled along the northern shore. The time
occupied in the journey from the eastern to the western extremity was
exactly one hour and thirty minutes.

As this side represents its greatest length I conclude that the lake is
three miles long by two miles greatest breadth. The immediate shores of
the lake on all sides, for at least fifty feet from the water's edge,
is one impassable morass nourishing rank reeds and rushes, where the
hippopotamus' ponderous form has crushed into watery trails the soft
composition of the morass as he passes from the lake on his nocturnal
excursions; the lesser animals; such as the "mbogo" (buffalo), the
"punda-terra" (zebra); the "twiga" (giraffe), the boar, the kudu, the
hyrax or coney and the antelope; come here also to quench their thirst
by night. The surface of the lake swarms with an astonishing variety of
water-fowl; such as black swan, duck, ibis sacra cranes, pelicans; and
soaring above on the look-out for their prey are fish-eagles and
hawks, while the neighbourhood is resonant with the loud chirps of the
guinea-fowls calling for their young, with the harsh cry of the toucan,
the cooing of the pigeon, and the "to-whit, to-whoo" of the owl. From
the long grass in its vicinity also issue the grating and loud cry of
the florican, woodcock, and grouse.

Being obliged to halt here two days, owing to the desertion of the Hindi
cooper Jako with one of my best carbines, I improved the opportunity
of exploring the northern and southern shores of the lake. At the rocky
foot of a low, humpy hill on the northern side, about fifteen feet
above the present surface of the water I detected in most distinct and
definite lines the agency of waves. From its base could be traced clear
to the edge of the dank morass tiny lines of comminuted shell as plainly
marked as the small particles which lie in rows on a beech after a
receding tide. There is no doubt that the wave-marks on the sandstone
might have been traced much higher by one skilled in geology; it was
only its elementary character that was visible to me. Nor do I entertain
the least doubt, after a two days' exploration of the neighbourhood,
especially of the low plain at the western end, that this Lake of Ugombo
is but the tail of what was once a large body of water equal in extent
to the Tanganika; and, after ascending half way up Ugombo Peak, this
opinion was confirmed when I saw the long-depressed line of plain at
its base stretching towards the Mpwapwa Mountains thirty miles off, and
thence round to Marenga Mkali, and covering all that extensive surface
of forty miles in breadth, and an unknown length. A depth of twelve feet
more, I thought, as I gazed upon it, would give the lake a length
of thirty miles, and a breadth of ten. A depth of thirty feet would
increase its length over a hundred miles, and give it a breadth of
fifty, for such was the level nature of the plain that stretched west
of Ugombo, and north of Marenga Mkali. Besides the water of the lake
partook slightly of the bitter nature of the Matamombo creek, distant
fifteen miles, and in a still lesser degree of that of Marenga Mkali,
forty miles off.

Towards the end of the first day of our halt the Hindi cooper Jako
arrived in camp, alleging as an excuse, that feeling fatigued he had
fallen asleep in some bushes a few feet from the roadside. Having been
the cause of our detention in the hungry wilderness of Ugombo, I was
not in a frame of mind to forgive him; so, to prevent any future truant
tricks on his part, I was under the necessity of including him with the
chained gangs of runaways.

Two more of our donkeys died, and to prevent any of the valuable
baggage being left behind, I was obliged to send Farquhar off on my own
riding-ass to the village of Mpwapwa, thirty miles off, under charge of
Mabruki Burton.

To save the Expedition from ruin, I was reluctantly compelled to come to
the conclusion that it were better for me, for him, and concerned, that
he be left with some kind chief of a village, with a six months'
supply of cloth and beads, until he got well, than that he make his own
recovery impossible.

The 16th of May saw us journeying over the plain which lies between
Ugombo and Mpwapwa, skirting close, at intervals, a low range of
trap-rock, out of which had become displaced by some violent agency
several immense boulders. On its slopes grew the kolquall to a size
which I had not seen in Abyssinia. In the plain grew baobab, and immense
tamarind, and a variety of thorn.

Within five hours from Ugombo the mountain range deflected towards the
north-east, while we continued on a north-westerly course, heading for
the lofty mountain-line of the Mpwapwa. To our left towered to the blue
clouds the gigantic Rubeho. The adoption of this new road to Unyanyembe
by which we were travelling was now explained - we were enabled to
avoid the passes and stiff steeps of Rubeho, and had nothing worse to
encounter than a broad smooth plain, which sloped gently to Ugogo.

After a march of fifteen miles we camped at a dry mtoni, called
Matamombo, celebrated for its pools of bitter water of the colour
of ochre. Monkeys and rhinoceroses, besides kudus, steinboks, and
antelopes, were numerous in the vicinity. At this camp my little dog
"Omar" died of inflammation of the bowels, almost on the threshold of
the country - Ugogo - where his faithful watchfulness would have been
invaluable to me.

The next day's march was also fifteen miles in length, through one
interminable jungle of thorn-bushes. Within two miles of the camp, the
road led up a small river bed, broad as an avenue, clear to the khambi
of Mpwapwa; which was situated close to a number of streams of the
purest water.

The following morning found us much fatigued after the long marches
from Ugombo, and generally disposed to take advantage of the precious
luxuries Mpwapwa offered to caravans fresh from the fly-plagued lands
of the Waseguhha and Wadoe. Sheikh Thani - clever but innocently-speaking
old Arab - was encamped under the grateful umbrage of a huge Mtamba
sycamore, and had been regaling himself with fresh milk, luscious
mutton, and rich bullock humps, ever since his arrival here, two days
before; and, as he informed me, it did not suit his views to quit such
a happy abundance so soon for the saline nitrous water of Marenga Mkali,
with its several terekezas, and manifold disagreeables. "No!" said he to
me, emphatically, "better stop here two or three days, give your tired
animals some rest; collect all the pagazis you can, fill your inside
with fresh milk, sweet potatoes, beef, mutton, ghee, honey, beans,
matama, maweri, and nuts; - then, Inshallah! we shall go together through
Ugogo without stopping anywhere." As the advice tallied accurately with
my own desired and keen appetite for the good things he named, he had
not long to wait for my assent to his counsel. "Ugogo," continued he,
"is rich with milk and honey - rich in flour, beans and almost every
eatable thing; and, Inshallah! before another week is gone we shall be
in Ugogo!"

I had heard from passing caravans so many extremely favourable reports
respecting Ugogo and its productions that it appeared to me a very Land
of Promise, and I was most anxious to refresh my jaded stomach with some
of the precious esculents raised in Ugogo; but when I heard that Mpwapwa
also furnished some of those delicate eatables, and good things, most of
the morning hours were spent in inducing the slow-witted people to part
with them; and when, finally, eggs, milk, honey, mutton, ghee, ground
matama and beans had been collected in sufficient quantities to produce
a respectable meal, my keenest attention and best culinary talents were
occupied for a couple of hours in converting this crude supply into
a breakfast which could be accepted by and befit a stomach at once
fastidious and famished, such as mine was. The subsequent healthy
digestion of it proved my endeavours to have been eminently successful.
At the termination of this eventful day, the following remark was jotted
down in my diary: "Thank God! After fifty-seven days of living
upon matama porridge and tough goat, I have enjoyed with unctuous
satisfaction a real breakfast and dinner."

It was in one of the many small villages which are situated upon the
slopes of the Mpwapwa that a refuge and a home for Farquhar was found
until he should be enabled by restored health to start to join us at

Food was plentiful and of sufficient variety to suit the most
fastidious - cheap also, much cheaper than we had experienced for many
a day. Leucole, the chief of the village, with whom arrangements for
Farquhar's protection and comfort were made, was a little old man of
mild eye and very pleasing face, and on being informed that it was
intended to leave the Musungu entirely under his charge, suggested that
some man should be left to wait on him, and interpret his wishes to his

As Jako was the only one who could speak English, except Bombay and
Selim, Jako was appointed, and the chief Leucole was satisfied. Six
months' provisions of white beads, Merikani and Kaniki cloth, together
with two doti of handsome cloth to serve as a present to Leucole after
his recovery, were taken to Farquhar by Bombay, together with a Starr's
carbine, 300 rounds of cartridge, a set of cooking pots, and 3 lbs. of

Abdullah bin Nasib, who was found encamped here with five hundred
pagazis, and a train of Arab and Wasawahili satellites, who revolved
around his importance, treated me in somewhat the same manner that Hamed
bin Sulayman treated Speke at Kasenge. Followed by his satellites, he
came (a tall nervous-looking man, of fifty or thereabouts) to see me in
my camp, and asked me if I wished to purchase donkeys. As all my animals
were either sick or moribund, I replied very readily in the affirmative,
upon which he graciously said he would sell me as many as I wanted, and
for payment I could give him a draft on Zanzibar. I thought him a very
considerate and kind person, fully justifying the encomiums lavished
on him in Burton's 'Lake Regions of Central Africa,' and accordingly I

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 9 of 38)