Copyright
Josiah Tyler.

Livingstone lost and found online

. (page 23 of 51)
Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 23 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


pledges. Some thirty of the garrison at Kaole also escorted
them during the first twenty days of the journey. " It was
a gallant sight to see the Baloch, as with trailed matchlocks,

344



DEPARTURE OF THE CARAVAN. 345

and in bravery of shield, sword, and dagger, they hurried in
Indian file out of the Kaole cantonments, following their
blood-red flag, and their high-featured, snowy -bearded chief,
the " Sahib Mohammed "- old Mohammed. Issuing from
the little palisade of Kaole, the path winds in a southwesterly
direction over & sandy soil, thick with thorns and bush, which
in places project across the way. Thence ascending a wave
of ground where cocoas and the wild arrow-root flourish, it
looks down upon park land like that described by travelers in
Caffraria, a fair expanse of sand veiled with humus, here and
there growing rice, with mangoes a*nd other tall trees regu-
larly disposed as if by the hand of man."

" The departure from Bomani was effected on the 1st of
July with some trouble ; it was like driving a herd of wild
cattle. At length, by ejecting skulkers from their huts, by
dint of promises and threats, of gentleness and violence, of
soft words and hard words, occasionally backed by a smart
application of the ' bakur ' the local ' cat ' by sitting in the
sun, in fact by incessant worry and fidget from 6 A.M. to
3 P. M., the sluggish and unwieldy body acquired some
momentum.

" Nzasa is the first district of independent Uzaramo. Here
I was visited by three p'hazi, or headmen. They came to
ascertain whether I was bound on peaceful errand or march-
ing to revenge the murder of my ' brother,' (M. Maizan.)
Assured of our un warlike intentions, they told me that I
must halt on the morrow and send forward a message to. the
next chief. I replied through Said that I could not be bound
by their rules, but was ready to pay for their infraction...

" During the debate upon this fascinating proposal, for
breaking the law, Yusuf , one of the most turbulent of" the
Baloch, drew his sword on an old woman because she refused,
to give up a basket of grain. She rushed, with the face of a.
black Medusa, into the assembly, and provoked not very
peaceable remarks concerning the peaceful nature of our
intentions. When the excitement was allayed, the principal
p'hazi began to ask what had brought the white man. into.
18



346 UPROAR IN THE VAN.

their country, and in a breath to predict the loss of their
gains and commerce, their land and liberty.

" ' I am old,' pathetically quoth the p'hazi, c and my beard
is gray, yet I have never beheld such a calamity as this !'

" ' These men,' replied Said, ' neither buy nor sell ; they
do not inquire into price, nor do they covet profit. More-
over,' he pursued, { what have ye to lose f

"A present opened the headmen's hearts: they privily
termed me Murungwana Sana, a real freeman, and detached
Kizaya to accompany me as far as the western half of the
Jingani Valley. At 4 P. M. a loud drumming collected the
women, who began a dance of ceremony with peculiar vigor.

" The next day there was an uproar in the van of the cara-
van ; Moiran, a petty lord, had barred the road with a dozen
'men, demanding ' dash.' Speke, who was attended only by
'Bombay,' his gun-carrier, and a few Baloch, remarked to
the iuterferers that he had been franked through the country
by paying at Nzasa. To this they obstinately objected. The
Baloch began to light their matches and to use hard words.
A fight appeared imminent. Presently, however, when the
"Wazaramo saw my flag rounding the hill-shoulder with a
.fresh party, whose numbers were exaggerated by distance, they
gave way ; and finally, when Muinyi Wazira opened upon
:them the invincible artillery of his tongue, they fell back and
^tood off the road to gaze. The linguist returned to the rear
in great glee, blowing his finger-tips, as if they had been
attached to a matchlock, and otherwise deriding the overboil-
ing valor of the Baloch, who, not suspecting his purport,
indulged in the wildest outbreak of boasting, offering at once
to take the whole country and to convert me into its sultan.

"Several down-caravans were halted at Tumba There. The
slaves brought from the interior were tied together by their
necks, and one obstinate deserter was so lashed to a forked
pole with the bifurcation under his chin, that when once on
the ground he could not rise without assistance. These
wretches scarcely appeared to like the treatment ; they were
not, however, in bad condition.



A WILD DAY. 34-7

" On the 6th of July, we entered the fine grain-fields that
gird the settlements of Muhogwe, one of the most dreaded in
dreaded Uzaramo. In our case, however, the only peril was
the levee in masse of the fair sex in the villages, to stare,
laugh, and wonder at the white men. ' What should you
think of these whites as husbands ?' asked Muinyi Wazira of
the crowd. ' With such things on their legs ? Sivyo ! not
by any means !' was the unanimous reply, accompanied with
peals of merrriment.

" On the 8th of July we fell into the malarious river plain
of the Kingani River. It was a wild day. From the black
brumal clouds driven before furious blasts battered rain-drops
like musket bullets, splashing the already saturated ground.
The tall stiff trees groaned and bent before the gusts ; the
birds screamed as they were driven from their perching-places ;
the asses stood with heads depressed, ears hung down, and
shrinking tails turned toward to the weather, and even the
beasts of the wild seemed to have taken refuge in their dens.
"At the junction of the Mbuamaji trunk-road with the other
lines branching from various minor sea-ports, Speke found his
passage barred by about fifty Wazaramo standing across the
path in a single line that extended to the travelers' right,
while a reserve party squatted on the left of the road. Their
chief stepping to the front and quietly removing the load
from the foremost porter's head, signaled the strangers to
halt. Prodigious excitement of the Baloch, whose loud ' Hai,
hui !' and nervous anxiety contrasted badly with the perfect
sang froid of the barbarians. Presently Muinyi Wazira,
coming up, addressed to the headman a few words, promising
cloth and beads, when this African modification of the 'pike'
was opened, and the guard moved forward as before. As I
passed, the Wazaramo stood under a tree to gaze. I could
not but admire the athletic and statuesque figures of the
young warriors and their martial attitude, grasping in one
hand their full-sized bows, and in the other sheaths of grinded
arrows, whose black barbs and necks showed a fresh layer of
poison.



348 MURDER OF A FRENCH EXPLORER.

" On the eleventh day after leaving Kaole, I was obliged
to mount by a weakness which scarcely allowed me to stand.
We passed a well-palisaded village, belonging formerly to
Mazungera, and now occupied by his son Ilembe. Reports
of our warlike intentions had caused Ilembe to ' clear decks
for action ;' the women had been sent from the village, and
some score of tall youths, archers and spearmen, admirably
appointed, lined the hedges, prepared, at the leveling of the
first matchlock, to let loose a flight of poisoned arrows, which
would certainly have dispersed the whole party. A halt was
called by the trembling Said, who at such conjunctures would
cling like a woman to my companion or to me. Daring the
few minutes' delay the ' sons of Eamji,' who were as pale aa
blacks could be, allowed their asses to bump off half a dozen
loads. Presently Ilembe, accompanied by a small guard,
came forward, and after a few words with "Wazira and Said,
the donkey, from which I had not dismounted, was hurried
forward by the Baloeh."

This village, Dege la Mhora, was the place whereM. Maizan
the French explorer, was murdered in 1845. He had come to
visit Mazungera escorted by Frederique, a Madagascar man and
a few followers. "After some days of the most friendly inter-
course, during which the villain's plans were being matured,
Mazungera, suddenly sending for his guest, reproached him
as he entered the hut with giving away goods to other chiefs.
Presently working himself into a rage, the African exclaimed,
' Thou shalt die at this moment !' At the signal a crowd of
savages rushed in, bearing two long poles. Frederique was
saved by the p'hazi's wife : he cried to his master to run and
touch her, in which case he would have been tinder her pro-
tection ; but the traveler had probably lost his presence of
mind, and the woman was removed. The unfortunate man's
arms were tightly bound to a pole lashed crosswise upon
another, to which his legs and head were secured by a rope
tied across the brow. In this state he was carried out of the
village to a calabash-tree, and inhumanly murdered.

"The lower portion of the Mgeta's bed was unfordable after



CROSSING TBE MGETA. 351

the heavy rains: other caravans, however, had made a rude
bridge of trees, felled on each side, lashed with creepers, and
jammed together by the force of the current. The men,
perched upon the trunks and boughs, tossed or handed to one
another the loads and packages while the asses, pushed by
force of arm down the banks, were driven with sticks and
stones across the stream. Suddenly a louder cry than usual
arose from the mob ; my double-barreled elephant-gun found
a grave below the cold and swirling w r aters.

" Resuming our march on the 15th July, we entered the
* Doab,' on the western bank of the Mgeta, where a thick and
tangled jungle, with luxuriant and putrescent vegetation, is
backed by low grassy grounds, frequently inundated. Pres-
ently, however, the dense thicket opened out into a fine park
country, peculiarly rich in game, where the calabash and the
giant trees of the sea-board gave way to mimosas, gums, and
stunted thorns. Large gnus, whom the porters regard with
wholesome awe, declaring that they are capable of charging
a caravan, pranced about, pawing the ground, and shaking
their formidable manes ; hartebeest and other antelopes clus-
tered together on the plain, or traveled in herds to slake their
thirst at the river.

The travelers were detained at Dut'humi a week, both of
them being down with fever. They resumed their journey
on the 24th of July, being carried in hammocks slung on poles
and carried by slaves who were there hired as porters.

"On the next day we came, after a long tramp, to the
nearest outposts of the Zungomero district ; here were sev-
eral caravans with pitched tents, piles of ivory and crowds of
porters. The gang of thirty-six Wanyamwezi, who had pre-
ceded us, having located themselves at a distant hamlet, we
resumed our march, and presently were met by a number of
our men headed by their guard, the two ' sons of Ramji.'
Ensued a general sword and spear play, each man with howls
and cheers brandished his blade or vibrated his missile, rush-
ing about in all directions, and dealing death among ideal foes
with such action as may often be observed in poultry-yards



352 ZUNGOMERO.

when the liens indulge in a little merry pugnacity. The
inarch had occupied us four weeks about double the usual
time and the porters had naturally begun to suspect acci-
dents from the Wazaramo.

"Zungomero, the head of the great river-valley, is a plain
of black earth and sand, prodigiously fertile. It is the great
bandari or centre of traffic in the eastern, as are Unyanyembe
and Ujiji in the middle and the western regions. Lying
upon the main trunk-road, it must be traversed by the up and
down caravans, and, during the traveling season, between
June and April, large bodies of some thousand men pass
through it every week.

" The Arab merchants usually pitch tents, preferring them
to the leaky native huts, full of hens and pigeons, rats and
mice, snakes and lizards, crickets and cockroaches, gnats and
flies, and spiders of hideous appearance, where the inmates
are often routed by swarms of bees, and are ever in imminent
danger of fires. The armed slaves accompanying the caravan
seize the best huts, which they either monopolize or share
with the hapless inmates, and the porters stow themselves
away, under the projecting eaves of the habitations. The
main attraction of the place is the plenty of provisions.

" The first country west of the Mrima is Uzaramo ; next
comes Khuta, at the westerly side of which is Zungomero.
The principal inhabitants of this section, are the Wazaramo
and the AVakhuta, the latter a timid race have no Sultan, and
are much abused by bands of touters from the coast towns.
Their settlements are composed of a few straggling hovels of
the humblest description, with doors little higher than an
English pig-sty, and eaves so low that a man can not enter
them except on all fours. In the middle of the settlement
there is usually a tall tree, under which the men lounge upon
cots scarcely large enough for an English child ; and where
the slaves, wrangling and laughing, husk their holcus in huge
wooden mortars. These villages can scarcely be called per-
manent : even the death of a chief causes them to be aban-



THE WAZARAMO. 353

doned, and in a few months long grass waves over the circlets
of charred stakes and straw.

" The "Wazaramo are a noisy, violent and impracticable
race. Sometimes they act as porters to Arabs. The p'hazi
usually fills a small village with his wives and families ; he
has also large estates, and he personally superintends the
the labor of his slave gangs. He can not sell his subjects
except for two offenses ugoni or adultery, and uchawi or
black magic. The latter crime is usually punished by the
stake ; in some parts of the country the roadside shows at
every few miles a heap or two of ashes, with a few calcined
and blackened human bones mixed with bits of half consumed
charcoal, telling the tragedy that has been enacted there.
Here and there, close to the larger circles where the father
and mother have been burnt, a smaller heap shows that some
wretched child has shared their terrible fate, lest growing up
he should follow in his parents' path.

" The East Africans, are fond of calling their children after
Arabs and other strangers ; they will even pay a sheep for
the loan of a merchant's name. There must be many hun-
dred Sayyid Saids and Sayyid Majids now in the country ;
and as during the eighteen months' peregrination of the East
African Expedition every child born on and near the great
trunk-line was called Muzungu, the ' white,' the Englishman
has also left his mark in the land."

The party halted at Zungomero two weeks to obtain new
porters, and left there on the Tth of August. " Life at Zun-
gomero, was the acme of discomfort. The weather was, as
usual at the base of the mountains, execrable ; pelting show-
ers descended in a succession, interrupted only by an occa-
sional burst of fiery sunshine, which extracted steam from the
thick covert of grass, bush, and tree. The party, dispersing
throughout the surrounding villages in which, it was said,
about one thousand travelers were delayed by the inunda-
tions drank beer, smoked bhang, quarreled among them-
selves, and. by their insolence and violence, caused continual
complaints on the part of the villagers.



354: -A. CHANGE OF SCENE.

"From Central Zungomero to the nearest ascent of

o

the Usagara Mountains is a march of nearly five hours.
About noon we diverged a few yards from the Mgeta, and
ascended the incline of the first gradient in Usagara, rising
about 300 feet from the plain below. This, the frontier of
the second region, or ghauts, and the debris encumbering the
lowest escarpment, is called Mzizi Mdogo.

" There was a wondrous change of climate at Mzizi Mdogo;
strength and health returned as if by magic. Truly delicious
was the escape from the cruel climate of the river valley, to
the pure sweet mountain-air. Dull mangrove, dismal jungle,
and monotonous grass, were supplanted by tall solitary trees,
among which the lofty tamarind rose conspicuously graceful,
and a card-table-like swamp, cut by a net-work of streams,
nullahs, and stagnant pools, gave way to dry, healthy slopes,
with short steep pitches and gently shelving hills. The beams
of the large sun of the equator and nowhere have I seen the
rulers of night and day so large danced gaily upon blocks and
pebbles of red, yellow, and dazzling snowy quartz, and the
bright sea-breeze waved the summits of the trees, from which
depended graceful llianas, and wood-apples large as melons,
while creepers, like vine tendrils, rising from large bulbs of
brown-gray wood, clung closely to. their stalwart trunks.
Monkeys played at hide-and-seek, chattering behind the bolls,
as the iguana, with its painted scale-armor, issued forth to
bask upon the sunny bank ; white-breasted ravens cawed when
disturbed from their perching-places ; doves cooed on the well-
clothed boughs, and hawks soared high in the transparent sky.
The field-cricket chirped like the Italian cigala in the shady
bush, and everywhere, from air, from earth, from the hill
slopes above, and from the marshes below, the hum, the buzz,
and the long continuous voice of insect life, through the length
of the day, spoke out its natural joy. Our gypsy encamp
ment lay

'By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.'

" By night, the soothing murmurs of the stream at the hill's



DESERTED BY THE GUARD. 355

base rose mingled with the faint mstling of the breeze, which
at times broken by the scream of the night-heron, the bellow
of the bull-frog in his swampy home, the cynhyena's whim-
per, and the fox's whining bark, sounded through the silence
most musical, most melancholy. Instead of the cold night
rain, and the soughing of the blast, the view disclosed a peace-
ful scene, the moonbeams lying like sheets of snow upon the
ruddy highlands, and the stars hanging like lamps of gold
from the dome of infinite blue. 1 never wearied with con-
templating the scene, for, contrasting with the splendors
around me, still stretched in sight the Slough of Despond, un-
happy Zungomero, lead-colored above, mud-colored below,
wind-swept, fog-veiled, and deluged by clouds that dared not
approach these delectable mountains."

" Zonhwe was the turning-point of the expedition's difficul-
ties. Another ass had died, reducing the number to twenty-
three, and the Baloch, at first contented with two, doubled
their requirements, and on the 14th of August took a fifth,
besides placing their powder on our hard-w r orked animals. I
therefore proposed to the jemadar that the cloth, the beads,
and the other similar luggage of his men, should be packed,
sealed up, and inserted into the porter's loads, of which sev*
eral had shrunk to half weight. While I was explaining the
object of the measure, the escort appeared in mass, and, with
noise sufficient for a general action, ostentatiously strewed
their old clothes upon the ground, declaring that at Zanzibar
they were honorable men. The jemadar accused me of starv-
ing the party. I told him not to eat abominations, upon
which, clapping hand to hilt, he theatrically forbade me to
repeat the words. Being prostrated at the time by fever, I
could only show him how little dangerous he was by using
the same phrase half a dozen times. He then turned fiercely
upon the timid Said bin Salim, and having safely vented the
excels of his wrath, he departed to hold a colloquy with his
men.

" Presently Said bin Salim was deputed by them to state
that for the future they would require one sheep per diem



356 RETURN OF THE DESERTERS.

men who, when at Zanzibar, saw flesh probably once a year
on the Eed. This being inadmissible, they demanded three
cloths daily instead of one. They declared that in case of
refusal they would sleep at the village, and on the next day
would return to Zanzibar. Receiving a contemptuous answer,
they marched away in a body, noisily declaring that they were
going to make instant preparation for departure.

"After the disappearance of the Baloch, the sons of Ramji
were summoned. The slaves, when they heard the state of
the case, cheerfully promised to stand by us, but on the same
evening, they agreed to follow the example of the escort on
the first justifiable occasion. I did not learn this till some
days afterward, and even if I had been told it on the spot it
would have mattered little. My companion and I had made
up our minds, in case of the escort and the slaves deserting, to
bury our baggage, and to trust ourselves in the hands of the
Wanyamwezi porters.

"A march was ordered for the next day the 17th of
August. As the asses were being loaded, appeared the one-
eyed jemadar, with Gray-beard Musa and Darwaysh, looking
more crestfallen and foolish than they had ever looked before.
They took my hand with a polite violence, begged suppliantly
for a paper of dismissal to ' cover their shame,' and declared
that, so far from deserting me, I was deserting them. As this
required no reply, I mounted and rode on.

" About noon, I lay down half-fainting in the sandy bed of
the Mnhama Nullah and retaining Wazira and Mabruki, I
urged the caravan forward, that my companion might send
me back a hammock from the halting-place. Suddenly
appeared the whole body of deserters shouldering as porters
and asses had been taken from them their luggage, which
outwardly consisted of cloth, dirty rags, green skins, old
earthen pots, and greasy gourds and calabashes. They led
me to a part of the nullah where stagnant water was found,
and showing abundant penitence, they ever and anon,
attempted excuses, which were reserved for consideration.
At 3 P.M., the hammock appearing, I remounted, and pur-



THE AFTERNOON MARCH. 357

sued a path over rolling ground, which renewed the scenery
of the 'Slough of Despond' Zungomero. Then appeared on a
hill-side the kraal in which the caravan had halted ; the party
had lost the road, and had been dispersed by a swarm of bees,
an accident even more frequent in East Africa than in India.

"Next morning the Baloch professed themselves profoundly
penitent, and attributing their unsoldierlike conduct to opium
and to the wiswas, the temptations of Sathanas, they promised
to reform. The promise was kept till we reached Ugogo.

" We left Kadetamare on the 25th of August, to ascend the
valley of the Mukondokwa. Crippled by the night-cold that
rose from the river-bed, and then wet through with the dew
that dripped from the tall grass, we traversed, within ear-shot
of the frightened villagers who hailed one another from the
heights, some fields of grain and tobacco that had been lately
reaped.

" Rumuma is a favorite resting-place with caravans, on ac-
count of the comparative abundance of its supplies. Here, for
the first time, the country people descended in crowds from
the hills, bringing fowls, hauling along small but beautifully-
formed goats, lank sheep, and fine bullocks. The Wasagara
of Rumuma are short, black, beardless men. They wear their
hair combed off the forehead, and twisted into a fringe of
little pig-tails, which extend to the nape of the neck. Few
boast of cloth, the general body contenting themselves with a
goat-skin flap somewhat like a cobbler's apron tied over one
shoulder, as we sling a game-bag. I was visited by their Sul-
tan Njasa, a small grizzled old man, with eyes reddened by
liquor, a wide mouth, a very thin beard, a sooty skin, and
long straggling hair.

" For many miles beyond Marenga Mk'hali water is rarely
found. Caravans, therefore, resort to what is called a 'tiri-
keza,' or afternoon march. The tirikeza is one of the severest
inflictions that African traveling knows. At 11 A. M. every
thing is thrown into confusion, although two or three hours
must elapse before departure. Loads are bound up, kitchen
batteries are washed and packed, tents are thrown, and stools



358 DOWN THE USAGARA MOUNTAINS.

are carried off by fidgeting porters and excited slaves. Hav-
ing drank for the last time, and filled their gourds for the
night, the wayfarers set out when the midday ends. The sun
is far more severely felt after the sudden change from shade,
than during the morning inarches, when its increase of heat is
slow and gradual. They trudge under the fire-ball in the fir-
mament, over ground seething with glow and reek, through
an air which seems to parch the eye-balls, and they endure the
affliction till their shadows lengthen out upon the ground.
The tirikeza is almost invariably a lengthy stage, as the por-
ters wish to abridge the next morning's march, which leads
to water. It is often bright moonlight before they arrive at



Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 23 of 51)