Josiah Tyler.

Livingstone lost and found online

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thirty or forty miles of hills.

" In looking down into the fissure on the right of the island,
one sees nothing but a dense white cloud, which, at the time
we visited the spot, had two bright rainbows on it. From
this cloud rushed up a great jet of vapor exactly like steam,
and it mounted 200 or 300 feet high ; there condensing, it
changed its hue to that of dark smoke, and came back in a
constant shower, which soon wetted us to the skin. This
shower falls chiefly on the opposite side of the fissure, and a
few yards back from the lip there stands a straight hedge of
evergreen trees, whose leaves are always wet.

" On the left of the island we see the water at the bottom,
a white rolling mass moving away to the prolongation of the
fissure, which branches off near the left bank of the river.
A piece of the rock has fallen off a spot on the left of the
island, and juts out from the water below, and from it I
judged the distance which the water falls to be about 100
feet. The walls of this gigantic crack are perpendicular, and
composed of one homogeneous mass of rock. The rock is
dark brown in color, except about ten feet from the bottom,
which is discolored by the annual rise of the water to that or
a greater height. ,

" On the left side of the island we have a good view of the
mass of water which causes one of the columns of vapor to


Mcend, as it leaps quite clear of the rock, and forms a thick
unbroken fleece all the way to the bottom. Its whiteness
gave the idea of snow, a sight 1 had not seen for many a day.
As it broke into (if I may nse the term) pieces of water, all
rushing on in the same direction, each gave off several rays
of foam, exactly as bits of steel, when burned in oxygen gas,
give off rays of sparks. The snow-white sheet seemed like
myriads of small comets rushing on in one direction, each of
which left behind it nucleus rays of foam.

At three spots near these falls, one of them the island in
the middle, on which we were, three Batoka chiefs offered up
prayers and sacrifices to the Barimo. They chose their places
of praver within the sound of the roar of the cataract, and
in sight of the bright bows in the cloud. They must have
looked upon the scene with awe. Fear may have induced
the selection. The river itself is to them mysterious. The
words of the canoe song are :

*TWLeebye! Nobody knows

! it camusrt whither Ugoej."*

On die 90th of November, Sekeletn and his large
started on their return home, and Livingstone, with a compa-
ny of one hundred and fourteen men furnished by Sekelet u
to carry tasks to. the coast, bade adieu to the Makololos, and
proceeded northward through a beautiful country, once
densely inhabited bj the Batoka tribe, who had suffered
nodi from former wars with the victorious Makololo.

On the 24th, they reached the village of Moyara, whose
father had been a powerful and cruel Batoka chief; but
Moyara sat among the ruins of the village, with four or five
wives and very few people. At his hamlet a number of stakes
were planted in die ground, and on them hung over fifty
ekulls of Matebele whom the former chief had put to death.

On the 2Sth of November, Livingstone entered a beauti-
ful country from which Sebituane had been formerly driven
by the Matebele; his people all considered it a perfect
paradise. On the 4th of December they approached the first
Tillage of a portion of the Batoka whom the Makololo's con-


sidered rebels, and were of course anxious as to the way they
would be received.

" Remaining at a distance of a quarter of a mile, we sent
two men to inform them who we were, and that our purposes
were peaceful. The head man came and spoke civilly, but,
when nearly dark, the people of another village arrived and
behaved very differently. They began by trying to spear a
young man who had gone for water. Then they approached
us, and one came forward howling at the top of his voice in
the most hideous manner; his eyes were shot out, his lips
covered with foam, and every muscle in his frame quivered.
lie came near to me, and, having a small battle-axe in his
hand, alarmed my men lest he might do violence ; but they
were afraid to disobey my previous orders, and to follow their
own inclination by knocking him on the head. I felt a little
alarmed too, but would not show fear before my own people
or strangers, and kept a sharp look-out on the little battle-axe.

" It seemed to me a case of ecstasy or prophetic phrensy,
voluntarily produced. I felt it would be a sorry way to leave
the world, to get my head chopped by a mad savage, though
that, perhaps, would be preferable to hydrophobia or delir-
ium tremens. Sekwebu took a spear in his hand, as if to
pierce a bit of leather, but in reality to plunge it into the
man if he offered violence to me. After my courage had been
sufficiently tested, I beckoned with the head to the civil head
man to remove him, and he did so by drawing him aside.
This man pretended not to know what he was doing."

The party proceeded without molestation, as the head man
ran ahead of them and quieted the people who lined their
path through a forest, and soon came among more friendly

"The farther we advanced, the more we found the country
swarming with inhabitants. Great numbers came to see the
white man, a sight they had never beheld before. They
always brought presents of maize and masuka. Their mode
of salutation is quite singular. They throw themselves on
their backs on the ground, and, rolling from side to side, slap


the outside of their thighs as expressions of thankfulness and
welcome, uttering the words ' Kina bomba.' This method of
salutation was to me very disagreeable, and I never could get
reconciled to it. I called out/ Stop, stop ; I don't want that ;'
but they, imagining I was dissatisfied, only tumbled about
more furiously, and slapped their thighs with greater vigor.
The men being totally unclothed, this performance imparted
to my mind a painful sense of their extreme degradation."

The Batoka of the Zambesi are generally very dark in color
and negro like in appearance. Some who live on the higher
regions are of a lighter color. Several of this tribe accompa-
nied Livingstone to the west coast, and on his subsequent
journeyings on the Zambesi. One of them, named Mantan-
yani, was a very skillful boatman, and was at first supposed
to be one of the Makololo. The engraving, from a drawing
by Mr. Baines, represents Mantanyani sitting on the edge of
his boat.

Sunday the 10th was spent at the village of Monze, who
was considered the chief of all the Batoka. He came to see
Livingstone, wrapped in a large cloth, and rolled himself about
in the dust, screaming ' Kina bomba.' A wife accompanied
him, with a battle-axe in her hand, and helped her husband
scream. They were greatly excited, having never seen a
white man before.

On the 14th Livingstone entered a most beautiful valley,
abounding in large game and thus describes his adventures,
and an elephant hunt by the natives.

" Finding a buifalo lying down, I went to secure him for
our food. Three balls did not kill him, and, as he turned
round as if for a charge, we ran for the shelter of some rocks.
Before we gained them, we found that three elephants, prob-
ably attracted by the strange noise, had cut off our retreat on
that side ; they, however, turned short off, and allowed us to
gain the rocks. We then saw that the buffalo was moving off
quite briskly, and, in order not to be entirely balked, I tried
a long shot at the last of the elephants, and to the great joy
of my people, broke his fore leg. The young men soon




brought him to a stand, and one shot in the brain dispatched
him. I was right glad to see the joy manifested at such an
abundant supply of meat.

"On the following day, while my men were cutting up the
elephant, great numbers of the villagers came to enjoy the
feast. "We were on the side of a fine green valley, studded
here and there with trees, and cut by numerous rivulets. I
had retired from the noise, to take an observation among some
rocks of laminated grit, when I beheld an elephant and her
calf at the end of the valley, about two miles distant. The
calf was rolling in the mud, and the dam was standing fan-
ning herself with her great ears. As I looked at them
through my glass, I saw a long string of my own men appear-
ing on the other side of them, and Sekwebu came and told
me that these had gone off saying,' Our father will see to-day
what sort of men he has got.' I then went higher up the
Bide of the valley, in order to have a distinct view of their
mode of hunting.

" The goodly beast, totally unconscious of the approach of
an enemy, stood for some time suckling her young one, which
seemed about two years old ; they then went into a pit con-
taining mud, and smeared themselves all over with it, the lit-
tle one frisking about his dam, flapping his ears and tossing
his trunk incessantly, in elephantine fashion. She kept flap-
ping her ears and wagging her tail, as if in the height of
enjoyment. Then began the piping of her enemies, which
was performed by blowing into a tube, or the hands closed
together, as boys do into a key. They call out to attract the
animal's attention :

"0 chief! chief! we have come to kill you.
chief! chief! many more will die besides you, etc.
The gods have said it," etc., etc.

" Both animals expanded their ears and listened, then left
their bath as the crowd rushed toward them. The little one
ran forward toward the end of the valley, but, seeing the men
there, returned to his dam. She placed herself on the dan-
ger side of her calf, and passed her proboscis over it again


and again, as if to assure it of safety. She frequently looked
back to the men, who kept up an incessant shouting, singing,
and piping ; then looked at her young one and ran after it,
sometimes sideways, as if her feelings were divided between
anxiety to protect hor offspring, and desire to revpnge the
temerity of her persecutors. The men kept about a hundred
yards in her rear, and some that distance from her flanks, and
continued thus until she was obliged to cross a rivulet.
The time spent in descending and getting up the opposite
bank allowed of their coming up to the edge, and discharg-
ing their spears at about twenty yards distance. After the
first discharge she appeared with her sides red with blood,
and, beginning to flee for her own life, seemed to think no
more of her young.

" I had previously sent off Sekwebu with orders to spare
the calf. It ran very fast, but neither young nor old ever
enter into a gallop ; their quickest pace is only a sharp walk.
Before Sekwebu could reach them, the calf had taken refuge
in the water, and was killed. The pace of the dam gradually
became slower. She turned with a shriek of rage, and made
a furious charge back among the men. They vanished at
right angles to her course, or sideways, and, as she ran
straight on, she went through the whole party, but came
near no one except a man who wore a piece of cloth on his
shoulders. Bright clothing is always dangerous in these
cases. She charged three or four times, and, except in the
first instance, never went farther than one hundred yards.
She often stood after she had crossed a rivulet, and faced the
men, thougli she received fresh spears. It was by this pro-
cess of spearing and loss of blood that she was killed ; for at
last, making a short charge, she staggered round and sank
down dead in a kneeling posture. I did not see the whole
hunt, having been tempted away by both sun and moon
appearing unclouded. I turned from the spectacle of the
destruction of noble animals, which might be made so useful
in Africa, with a feeling of sickness, and it was not relieved


by the recollection that the ivory was mine, though that was
the case.

" As we approached nearer the Zambesi, the country became
covered with broad-leaved bushes, pretty thickly planted, and
we had several times to shout to elephants to get out of our
way. At an open space, a herd of buffaloes came trotting up
to look at our oxen, and it was only by shooting one that I
made them retreat. Each village we passed furnished us
with a couple of men to take us on to the next. They were
useful in showing us the parts least covered with jungle.
When we came near a village, we saw men, women, and
children employed in weeding their gardens, they being great
agriculturists. The women are in the habit of piercing the
upper lip, and gradually enlarging the orifice until they can
insert a shell. The lip then appears drawn out beyond the
perpendicular of the nose, and gives them a most ungainly
aspect. Sekwebu remarked, ' These women want to make
their mouths like those of ducks.'

" We reached the confluence of the Loangwa and the Zam-
besi, on the 14th of January 1856, most thankful to God for
his great mercies in helping us thus far. The people tell us
that this was formerly the residence of the Bazunga, and
maintain silence as to the cause of their leaving it. I
walked about some ruins I discovered, built of stone, and found
the remains of a church, and on one side lay a broken bell,
with the letters I. H. S. and a cross, but no date. There
were no inscriptions on stone, and the people could not tell
what the Bazunga called their place. We found afterward it
was Zumbo. Next morning we passed along the bottom of
the range called Mazanzwe, and found the ruins of eight or
ten stone houses.

" The situation of Zumbo was admirably well chosen as a
site for commerce. The merchants, as they sat beneath the
verandas in front of their houses, had a magnificent view of
the two rivers at their confluence; of their church at the
angle ; and of all the gardens which they had on both sides
of the rivers. From this point the merchants had water


communication in three directions beyond. Several expedi-
tions went to the north as far as to Cazembe, one of which
was led by Dr. Larcerda, the commandant of Tete, who was
cut off while there. ,

" On the morning of the 17th, we were pleased to see a
person coming from the island of Shibanga with jacket and
hat on. He was quite black, but had come from the Portu-
guese settlement at Tete ; and now, for the first time, we
understood that the Portuguese settlement was on the other
bank of the river, and that they had been fighting with the
natives for the last two years. "We had thus got into the
midst of a Caffre war, without any particular wish to be on
either side. He advised us to cross the river at once, as
Mpende lived on this side. We had been warned by the
guides against him, for they said that if we could get past
Mpende we might reach the white men, but that he was
determined that no white man should pass him. Wishing to
follow this man's advice, we proposed to borrow his canoes ;
but, being afraid to offend the lords of the river, he declined.
Finding no one willing to aid us in crossing the river, we pro-
ceeded to the village of the chief Mpende.

" At sunrise, a party of Mpende's people came close to our
encampment, uttering strange cries and waving some bright
red substance toward us. They then lighted a fire with
charms in it, and departed, uttering the same hideous screams
as before. This was intended to render us powerless, and
probably also to frighten us. Ever since dawn, parties of
armed men have been seen collecting from all quarters, and
numbers passed us while it was yet dark. Had we moved
down the river at once, it would have been considered an
indication of fear or defiance, and so would a retreat. I
therefore resolved to wait, trusting in Him who has the hearts
of all men in His hands. They evidently intended to attack
us, for no friendly message was sent ; and when three of the
Batoka the night before entered the village to beg food, a
man went round about each of them, making a noise like a
lion. The villagers then called upon them to do homage,


and, when they complied, the chief ordered some chaff to be
given them, as if it had been food.

" As we were now pretty certain of a skirmish, I ordered
an ox to be slaughtered, as this is a means which Sebituane
employed for inspiring courage. I have no doubt that we
should have been victorious ; indeed my men, who were far
better acquainted with fighting than any of the people on the
Zambesi, were rejoicing in the prospect of securing captives
to carry the tusks for them. ' We shall now,' said they,
* get both corn and clothes in plenty.' They were in a sad
state, poor fellows ; for the rains we had encountered had
made their skin-clothing drop off piecemeal, and they were
looked upon with disgust by the well-fed and well-clothed
Zambesi ans.

' They were, however, veterans in marauding, and the
head men, instead of being depressed by fear, as the people
of Mpende intended should be the case in using their charms,
hinted broadly to me that I ought to allow them to keep
Mpende's wives. The roasting of meat went on fast and
furious, and some of the young men said to me :

" ' You have seen us with elephants, but you don't know
yet what we can do with men.'

" Mpende's whole tribe was assembled at about the dis-
tance of half a mile. As the country is covered with trees,
we did not see them ; but every now and then a few came
about us as spies, and would answer no questions. I handed
a leg of the ox to two of these, and desired them to take it to
Mpende. After waiting considerable time in suspense, two
old men made their appearance, and said they had come to
inquire who I was.

"I replied, ' I am Lekoa '(an Englishman).

" They said, ' We don't know that tribe. We suppose you
are a Mozunga, the tribe with which we have been fighting.'

"As I was not yet aware that the term Mozunga was
applied to a Portuguese, and thought they meant half-castes.
I showed them my hair and the skin of my bosom, and asked
if the Bazunga had hair and skin like mine. As the Portu-


gucso have the custom of cutting the hair close, and are also
somewhat darker than we are, they answered :

" * No ; we never saw skin so white as that : ' and added,
* Ah ! you must be one of tribe that loves the black men.' I
of course gladly responded in the affirmative."

The messengers returned to Mpende, and after a long
discussion between him and his comrades it was decided
to let Livingstone pass. Mpende expressed regret that he
had not known Livingstone sooner, as then he would have
prevented his enchanter from coming near him. He did
every thing possible to help on the travelers, and ordered the
people to ferry them across the river, and on the 29th of Jan-
uarv, Livingstone was sincerely thankful to find himself on.
the south side of the Zambesi. He sent back to Mpende as a
thank-offering, a shirt and one of his two spoons.

They now continued on through a country whose inhabitants
were innured to the slave trade ; here the character of the
English, who were known to be opposed to the system, was
much extolled, several of the natives declaring that the Eng-
lish were men. The people were very liberal and friendly to
the travelers.

" The real politeness with which food is given by nearly
all the interior tribes, who have not had much intercourse
with Europeans, makes it a pleasure to accept. Again and
again I have heard an apology made for the smallness of the
present, and generally they readily accepted our excuse at
having nothing to give in return, by saying that they were
quite aware that there are no white men's goods in the interior.
When I had it in my power, I always gave something really

" How some men can offer three buttons, or some other
equally contemptible gift, while they have abundance in
their possession, is to me unaccountable. The people receive
the offering with a degree of shame, and ladies may be seen
to hand it quickly to the attendants, and, when they retire,
laugh until the tears stand in their eyes, saying to those about


them, 'Is that a white man? then there are niggards among
them too. Some of them are born without hearts !'

" One white trader, having presented an old gun to a chief,
became a standing joke in the tribe : ' The white man who
made a present of a gun that was new when his grandfather
was sucking his great-grandmother.' "

On the 14th of February the party entered the Mopane
country. Here an elephant was espied and the men went in
pursuit. The desire for animal food made them eager to kill
him, and one of them rushed up and hamstrung the beast
while standing still by a blow with an axe.

" Some Banyai elephant-hunters happened to be present
when my men were fighting with him. One of them took
out his snuff-box, and poured out all its contents at the root
of a tree as an offering to the Barimo for success. As soon
as the animal fell, the whole of my party engaged in a wild,
savage dance round the body, which quite frightened the Ban-
yai; and he who made the offering said to me :

" ' I see you are traveling with people who don't know
how to pray : I therefore offered the only thing I had in their
behalf, and the elephant soon fell.'

" Another Banyai who remained with me, ran a little for-
ward, when an opening in the trees gave us a view of the
chase, and uttered loud prayers for ^uccess in the combat.
My own people, who are rather a degraded lot, remarked to
me as I came up :

" ' God gave it to us. He said to the old beast, * Go up
there ; men are come who will kill and eat you.'

" The birds of the tropics have been described as generally
wanting in power of song. I was decidedly of opinion that
this was not applicable to many parts in Londa, though birds
there are remarkably scarce. Here the chorus, or body of
song, was not much smaller in volume than it is in England.
It was not so harmonious, and sounded always as if the birds
were singing in a foreign tongue.

" These African birds have not been wanting in song ; they


have only lacked poets to sing their praises, which ours have
had from the time ot Aristophanes downward. Ours have
both a classic and a modern interest to enhance their fame.
In hot, dry weather, or at midday when the sun is fierce, all
are still : let, however, a good shower fall, and all burst forth
at once into merry lays and loving courtship. The early
mornings and the cool evenings are their favorite times for
singing. There are comparatively few with gaudy plumage,
being totally unlike, in this respect, the birds of the Brazils.
The majority have decidedly a sober dress, though collectors,
having generally selected the gaudiest as the most valuable,
have conveyed the idea that the birds of the tropics for the
most part possess gorgeous plumage."

Livingstone thus describes the peculiar habits of one of the
African birds : " Standing by a tree, a native looked behind
me and exclaimed, ' There is the nest of a korwe.' I saw a
slit only, about half an inch wide and three or four inches
long, in the slight hollow of the tree. Thinking the word
korwe denoted some small animal, I waited with interest to
see what he would extract; he broke the clay which sur-
rounded the slit, put his arm into the hole, and brought out a
Toclcus, or red-leaked hornlill, which he killed. He informed
me that, when the female enters her nest, she submits to a
real confinement. The male plasters up the entrance, leaving
only a narrow slit by which to feed his mate, which exactly suits
the form of his beak. The female makes a nest of her own
feathers, lays her eggs, hatches them, and remains with the
young till they are fully fledged. During all this time, which
is stated to be two or three months, the male continues to feed
her and the young family. The prisoner generally becomes
quite fat, and is esteemed a very dainty morsel by the natives,
while the poor slave of a husband gets so lean that, on the
sudden lowering of the temperature which sometimes happens
after a fall of rain, he is benumbed, falls down and dies.

" The black rhinoceros is remarkably scarce in all the coun-
try^ north of the Zambesi. The white rhinoceros is quite
extinct here, and will soon become unknown in the country


to the south. It feeds almost entirely on grasses, and is of a

Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 17 of 51)