Josiah Tyler.

Livingstone lost and found online

. (page 31 of 51)
Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 31 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

by way of parenthesis, that I am not at all obliged to Captain
Burton for a recomendation of a man who so ill deserved it
as Bombay.

Arriving at Marefu, we overtook an embassy from the
Arabs at Unyanyembe to the chief of the ferocious Watuta,
who live a month's march southwest of this frontier village
of Ukonongo. Old Hassan, the Mseguhha, was the person
who held the honorable post of chief of the embassy, who
had volunteered to conduct the negotiations which were to
secure the "Watuta's services against Mirambo, the dreaded
chief of Uyowa. Assured by the Arabs that there was no
danger, and having received the sum of forty dollars for his
services, he had gone on, sanguine of success, and had arrived
at Marefu, where we overtook him.

But old Hassan was not the man for the position, as I per-
ceived, when, after visiting me in my tent, he began to unfold
the woes which already had befallen him, which were as
nothing, however, to those sure to happen to him if he went
on much farther. There were only two roads by which he
might hope to reach the "Watuta, and these ran through
countries where the people of Mbogo of Ukonongo w r ere at
war with Niongo, the brother of Manua Sera, (the chief who
disturbed Unyanyembe during Speke's residence there,) and
the Wasavira contended against Simba, son of King Mkasiva.
He was eloquent in endeavoring to dissuade me from the
attempt to pass through the country of the "Wasavira, and
advised me, as an old man who knew well whereof he was
speaking, not to proceed farther, but wait at Marefu until
better times ; and, sure enough, on my return from Ujiji with
Livingstone, I heard that old Hassan was still encamped at
Marefu, waiting patiently for the better times he hoped to see.


"We left old Hassan after earnestly commending him to of " Allah" the next day, for the prosecution of the
work of the expedition, feeling much happier than we had
felt for many a day. Desertions had now ceased, and there
remained in chains but one incorrigible, whom I had appre-
hended twice after twice deserting. Bombay and his sympa-
thizers were now beginning to perceive that after all there
was not much danger at least not as much as the Arabs
desired us to believe and he was heard expressing his belief,
in his broken English, that I would " catch the Tanganyika
after all," and the standing joke was now that we could smell
the fish of the Tanganyika Lake, and that we could not bo
far from it.

New scenes also met the eye. Here and there were
upheaved above the tree tops sugar-loaf hills, and, darkly
blue, west of, us loomed up a noble ridge of hills which form-
ed the boundary between Kamirabo's territory and that of
Utende. Elephant tracks became numerous, and buffalo met
the delighted eyes everywhere. Crossing the mountainous
ridge of Mwaru, with its lengthy slope slowly descending
westward, the vegetation became more varied and the out-
lines of the land before us more picturesque.

We became sated with the varieties of novel fruit which
we saw hanging thickly on trees. There was the mbembu
with the taste of an over-ripe peach ; the tamarind pod and
beans, with their grateful acidity, resembling somewhat the
lemon in its flavor. The matonga, or nux vomica, was wel-
come, and the luscious singwe, the plum of Africa, was the
most delicious of all.

Ptarmigans and ducks supplied our table, and often the
lump of a buffalo or an extravagant piece of venison filled
our camp kettles. My health was firmly established. The
faster we prosecuted our journey the better I felt. I had
long bidden adieu to the nauseous calomel and rhubarb com-
pounds, and had become a stranger to quinine. There was
only one drawback to it all, and that was the feeble health of
the Arab boy Selim, who was suffering from an attack of


acute dysentery, caused by inordinate drinking of the bad
water of the pools at which we had camped between Man-
yara and Mrera. But judicious attendance and Dover's pow-
ders brought the boy around again.

Mrera, in Ukonongo, nine days southwest of the
Xullah, brought to our minds the jungle habitats of the
Wawkwere on the coast, and an ominous sight to travelers
were the bleached skulls of men which adorned the tops of
tall poles before the gates of the village. The Sultan of
Mrera and myself became fast friends after he had tasted of
my liberality.

After a halt of three days at this village, for the benefit of
the Arab boy, we proceeded westerly, with the understanding
that we should behold the waters of the Tanganyika within
ten days. Traversing a dense forest of young trees we came
to a plain dotted with scores of ant-hills. Their uniform
height, about seven feet high above the plain, leads me to
believe that they were constructed during an unusually wet
season, and when the country was inundated for a long time
in consequence. The surface of the plain also bore the
appearance of being subject to such inundations. Beyond
this plain about four miles, we came to a running stream of
purest water a most welcome sight after so many months
spent by brackish pools and nauseous swamps.

Crossing the stream, which ran northwest, we immediately
ascended a steep and lofty ridge, whence we obtained a view
of grand and imposing mountains, of isolated hills, rising
sheer to great heights from a plain stretching far into the
heart of Ufipa, cut up by numerous streams flowing into the
Rungwa River, which during the rainy season overflows this
plain and forms the lagoon set down by Speke as the Rikwa.
The sight was encouraging in the extreme, for it was not to
be doubted now that we were near the Tanganyika. "Wo
continued still westward, crossing many a broad stretch of
marsh and oozy bed of mellahs, whence rose the streams that
formed the Rungwa some forty miles south.

At a camping place beyond Mrera, we heard enough from


some natives who visited us to assure us that we were rush-
ing to our destruction if we still kept westward. After
receiving hints of how to evade the war-stricken country in
our front, we took a road leading north-northwest. While
continuing on this course we crossed streams running to the
Kungwa south, and others running directly north to the Mal-
aga razi, from either side of a length y ridge which served to
separate the country of Unyamwezi from Ukawendi. We
were also attracted for the first time by the lofty and tapering
moule tree, used on the Tanganyika Lake for the canoes of
the natives who dwell on its shores.

The banks of the numerous streams were lined with dense
growths of these shapely trees, as well as of sycamore, and
gigantic tamarinds, which rivalled the largest sycamore in
their breadth of shade. The undergrowth of bushes and tall
grass, dense and impenetrable, likely resorts of leopard and
lion and wild boar, were enough to appall the stoutest heart.
One of my donkeys, while being driven to water along a
narrow path, hedged by the awesome brake on either side,
was attacked by a leopard, which fastened its fangs in the
poor animals neck, and it would have made short work of it
had not its companions set up such a braying chorus as
might well have terrified a score of leopards. And that same
night, while encamped contiguous to that limpid stream of
Mtambu, with that lofty line of enormous trees rising dark
and awful above us, the lions issued from the brakes beneath
and prowled about the well-set bush defence of our camp,
venting their fearful clamor without intermissionnntil morn-
ing. Towards daylight they retreated to their leafy cav-
erns, for

There the lion dwells, the monarch,

Mightiest among the brutes;
There his right to reign supremest,

Never one his claim disputes.
There he layeth down to slumber,

Having slain and ta'en his till,
There he roameth, there he croucheth,

As it suits his lordly will.


And few, I believe, would venture therein to dispute it ; not
I, " i'faith " when searching after Livingstone.

Our camps by these thick belts of timber, peopled as they
were with the wild beasts, my men never fancied. But
Southern Ukawendi, with its fair, lovely valleys and pellucid
streams, nourishing vegetation to extravagant growth, density
and height, is infested with troubles of this kind. And it is
probable, from the spread of this report among the natives,
that this is the cause of the scant population of one of the
loveliest countries Africa can boast. The fairest of Califor-
nia scenery cannot excel, though it may equal, such scenes
as Ukawendi can boast of, and yet a land as large as the Stato
of New York is almost uninhabited. Days and days one
may travel through primeval forests, now ascending ridges
overlooking broad, well watered valleys, with belts of valua-
ble timber crowning the banks of the rivers, and behold
exquisite bits of scenery wild, fantastic, picturesque and
pretty all within the scope of vision whichever way one
may turn. And to crown the glories of this lovely portion
of earth, underneath the surface but a few feet is one mass of
iron ore, extending across three degrees of longitude and
nearly four of latitude, cropping out at intervals, so that the
traveler cannot remain ignorant of the wealth lying beneath.

Ah, me ! What wild and ambitious projects fill a man's
brain as he looks over the forgotten and unpeopled country,
containing in its bosom such store of wealth, and with such
an expanse of fertile soil, capable of sustaining millions!
What a settlement one could have in this valley ! See, it is
broad enough to support a large population ! Fancy a church
spire rising where that tamarind rears its dark crown of foli-
age, and think how well a score or so of pretty cottages
would look, instead of those thorn clumps and gum trees !
Fancy this lovely valley teeming with herds of cattle and
fields of corn, spreading to the right and left of this stream !
How much better would such a state become this valley,
rather than its present deserted and wild aspect !

Not be hopeful. The day will come and a future year


see it, when happier lands have become crowded and
nations have become so overgrown that they have no room
to turn about. It only needs an Abraham or a Lot, an Alaric
or an Attila to lead their hosts to this land, which, perhaps,
has been wisely reserved for such a time.

After the warning so kindly given by the natives soon
after leaving Mrera, in Ukonongo, five days' marches brought
us to Mrera, in the district of Kusawa, in Ukawendi. Arri-
ving here we questioned the natives as to the best course to
pursue should we make direct for the Tanganyika or go
north to the Malagarazi Kiver ? They advised us to the lat-
ter course, though no Arab had ever taken it. Two days
through the forest, they said, would enable us to reach the

The guide, who had by this time forgotten our disagree-
ment, endorsed this opinion, as beyond the Malagarazi
he was sufficiently qualified to show the way. "We laid in a
stock of four-days' provisions against contingencies, and bid-
ding farewell to the hospitable people of Rusawa, continued
our journey northward. After finding a pass to the wooded
plateau above Mrera, through the arc of mountains which
environed it on the north and west, the soldiers improved
another occasion to make themselves disagreeable.

One of their number had shot a buffalo towards night, and
the approaching darkness had prevented him from following
it up to a clump of jungle, whither it had gone to die, and
the black soldiers, ever on the lookout for meat, came to me
in a body, to request a day's halt to eat meat and make them-
selves strong for the forest road, to which I gave a point-
blank refusal, as I vowed I would not halt again until I did
it on the banks of the Malagarazi, where I would give them
as much meat as their hearts could desire. There was an
evident disposition to resist ; but I held up a warning finger,
as an indication that I would not suffer any grumbling, and
told them I had business at Ujiji, which the "Wasungu
expected I would attend to, and that if I failed to perform
it they would take no excuse, but condemn me at once.


I saw that they were in an excellent mood to rebel, and
the guide, who seemed to be ever on the lookout to revenge
his humiliation on the Gombe, was a fit man to lead them ;
but they knew I had more than a dozen men upon whom I
could rely at a crisis, and besides, as no harsh word or offen-
sive epithet challenged them to commence an outbreak, the
order to march, though received with much peevishness, was

This peevishness may always be expected when on a long
march. It is much the result of fatigue and monotony, every
day being but a repetition of previous days, and a prudent
man will not pay much attention to mere growling and surli-
ness of temper, but keep himself prepared for an emergency
which might possibly arise. By the time we had arrived at
camp we were all in excellent humor with one another, and
confidently laughed and shouted until the deep woods rang

The scenery was getting more sublime every day as we
advanced northward, even approaching the terrible. We
seemed to have left the monotony of a desert, for the wild,
picturesque scenery of Abyssinia and the terrible mountains
of the Sierra Nevadas. I named one tabular mountain, which
recalled memories of the Abyssinian campaign, Magdala, and
as I gave it a place on my chart it became of great use to me,
as it rose so prominently into view that I was enabled to lay
down our route pretty accurately.

The four days' provisions we had taken with us were soon
consumed, and still we were far from the Malagarazi River.
Though we eked out our own stores with great care, as ship-
wrecked men at sea, these also gave out on the sixth day, and
still the Malagarazi was not in sight. The country was get-
ting more difficult for travel, owing to the numerous ascents
and descents we had to make in the course of a day's march.
Bleached and bare, it was cut up by a thousand deep ravines,
and intersected by a thousand dry water courses, whose beds
were filled with immense sandstone rocks and boulders washed
away from the great heights which rose above us on every


side. We were not protected now by the shades of the forest,
and the heat became excessive and water became scarce.

But we still held on our way, as a halt would be death to
us, hoping that each day's march would bring us in sight of
the long-looked for and mnch-desired Malagarazi. Fortunately,
we had filled our bags and baskets with the forest peaches
with which the forests of Rusawa had supplied us, and these
sustained us in this extremity.

On the seventh day, after a six hours' inarch, during which
we had descended more than a thousand feet, through rocky
ravines, and over miles of rocky plateaus, above which pro-
truded masses of hematite of iron, we arrived at a happy
camping place, situated in a valley which was seductively
pretty, and a hidden garden. Deserted bomas told us that
it had once been occupied, and that at a recent date, which
we took to be a sign that we were not far from habited dis-
tricts. Before retiring to sleep, the soldiers indulged them-
selves in prayer to Allah for relief. Indeed, our position was
most desperate and unenviable ; yet, since leaving the coast
when had it been enviable, and when had traveling in Africa
ever been enviable ?

Proceeding on our road on the eighth day, everything we
saw tended to confirm us in the belief that food was at hand.
Rhinoceros tracks abounded, and the lois de vache, or buffalo
droppings, were frequent, and the presence of a river or a
body of water was known in the humidity of the atmosphere.
After traveling two hours, still descending rapidly towards
a deep basin which we saw, the foremost of the expedition
halted, attracted by the sight of a village situated on a table-
topped mountain on our right. The guide told us it must be
that of the Son of Nzogera, of Uvinza. We followed a road
leading to the foot of the mountain, and camped on the edge
of an extensive morass.

Though we fired guns to announce our arrival, it was
unnecessary, for the people were already hurrying to our
camps to inquire about our intentions. The explanation was
satisfactory, but they said that they had taken us to be ene-



mies few friends having ever come along our road. In a
few minutes there was an abundance of meat and grain in
the camp, and the men's jaws were busy in the process of

During the whole of the afternoon we were engaged upon
the terms Nzogera's son exacted for the privilege of passing
through his country. We found him to be the first of a
tribute-taking tribe, which subsequently made much havoc in
the bales of the expedition. Seven and a half doti of cloth
were what we were compelled to pay, whether we returned
or proceeded on our way.



AFTER a days halt, we proceeded, under the guidance of
two men granted to me as qualified to lead us to the Mala-
garazi River. We had to go east-northeast for a considerable
time, in order to avoid the morass that lay directly across the
country that intervened between the triangular mountain on
whose top Nzogera's son dwelt. This marsh drains three
extensive ranges of mountains which, starting from the west-
ward, separated only by two deep chasms from each other,
run at wide angles one southeast, one northeast, and the
other northwest. From a distance this marsh looks fair
enough ; stately trees at intervals rise seemingly from its
bosom, and between them one catches glimpses of a lovely
champaign, bounded by perpendicular mountains, in the far
distance. After a wide detour we struck straight for this
marsh, which presented to us another novelty in the water-
shed of the Tanganyika.

Fancy a river broad as the Hudson at Albany, though not
near so deep or swift, covered over by water plants and
grasses, which had become so interwoven and netted together
as to form a bridge covering its entire length and breadth,
under which the river flowed calm and deep below. It was
over this natural bridge we were expected to cross. Adding
to the tremor which one naturally felt at having to cross this
frail bridge, was the tradition that only a few yards higher up
an Arab and his donkey, thirty-five slaves and sixteen tusks

of ivory had suddenly sunk forever out of sight.



As one-half of our little column had already arrived at
the center, we on the shore could see the network of grass
waving on either side and between each man, in one place
like the swell of a sea after a storm and in another like a
small lake violently ruffled by a squall. Hundreds of yards
away from it, ruffled and undulated one wave after another.

As we all got on it we perceived it to sink about a foot,
forcing the water on which it rested into the grassy channel
formed by our footsteps. One of my donkeys broke through
and it required the united strength of ten men to extricate
him. The aggregate weight of the donkey and men caused
that portion of the bridge on which they stood to sink about
two feet, and a circular pool of water was formed, and I
expected every minute to see them suddenly sink out of sight.
Fortunately we managed to cross the treacherous bridge with-
out accident.

Arriving on the other side, we struck north, passing through
a delightful country, in every way suitable for agricultural
settlements or happy mission stations. The primitive rock
began to show itself anew in eccentric clusters, as a flat-topped
rock, on which the villages of the Wavinza were seen, and
where the natives prided themselves on their security and
conducted themselves accordingly, ever insolent and forward,
though I believe that with forty good rifles I could have
made the vain fellows desert their country en masse. But a
white traveler's motto in their lands is, "Do, dare and
endure," and those who come out of Africa alive have gener-
ally to thank themselves for their prudence rather than their
temerity. "We were halted every two or three miles by the
demand for tribute, which we did not, because we could not,
pay, and they did not press it overmuch, though we had black
looks enough.

On the second day after leaving Nzogera's son, we commen-
ced a series of descents, the deep valleys on each side of us
astonishing us by their profundity ; and the dark gloom pre-
v^iling below, amid their wonderful dense forests of tall trees,
ana glimpses of plains beyond, invited sincere admiration.


In about a couple of hours we discovered the river we were
looking for below, at the distance of a mile, rnnnirig like a
silver vein through a broad valley. Halting at Kiala's, eldest
son of Nzogera, the principal sultan of Uvinza, we waited an
hour to see on what terms he would ferry us over the Mala-

As we could not come to a definite conclusion respecting
them, we were obliged to camp in his village. Late in the
afternoon Kiala sent his chiefs to our camp with a bundle of
short sticks, fifty-six in number. Each stick, we were soon
informed, represented a doti, or four yards of cloth, which
were to consist of best, good, bad and indifferent. Only
one bale of cloth was the amount of the tribute to be exact-
ed of us !

Bombay and the guide were told by me to inform Kiala's
ambassadors that I would pay ten doti. The gentlemen del-
egated by Kiala to receive the tribute, soon made us aware
what thoughts they entertained of us, by stating that if we
ran away from Mirambo, we could not run away from them.
Indeed, such was the general opinion of the natives of Uvin-
za ; for they live directly west of Uyowa, Mirambo's country,
and news travels fast enough in these regions, though there
are no established post offices or telegraph stations.

In two hours, however, we reduced the demand of fifty-six
doti to twenty-three, and the latter number was sent and
received, not for crossing the Malagarazi, but for the privilege
of passing through Okidla's country in peace. Of these
twenty-three cloths, thirteen were sent to Nzogera, the sultan,
while his affectionate son retained ten for himself.

Towards midnight, about retiring for the night after such
an eventful day, while congratulating ourselves that Nzogera
and Kiala were both rather moderate in their demands, con-
sidering the circumstances, came another demand for four
more cloths, with a promise that we might depart in the mor-
ning, or when we pleased ; but as poor Bombay said, from
sheer weariness, that if we had to talk longer he would be
driven mad, I told him he might pay them, after a little hag-


gling, least they, imagining that they had asked too little,
would make another demand in the morning.

Until three o'clock P. M. the following day continued the
negotiations for ferrying us across the Malagarazi, consisting
of arguments, threats, quarrels, loud shouting and stormy
debate on both sides. Finally, six doti and ten f undo of sami-
sami beads were agreed upon. After which we marched to
the ferry, distant half a mile from the scene of so much con-
tention. The river at this place was not more than thirty
yards broad, sluggish and deep ; yet I would prefer attempt-
ing to cross the Mississippi by swimming, rather than the
Malagarazi. Such another river for the crocodiles, cruel as
death, I cannot conceive. Their long, tapering heads dotted
the river everywhere, and though I amused myself, pelting
them with two-ounce balls, I made no effect on their numbers.

Two canoes had discharged their live cargo on the other
side of the river, when the story of Captain Burton's passage
across the Malagarazi higher up, was brought vividly to my
mind by the extortions which the mutware now commenced.

About twenty or so of his men had collected, and, backed
by these, he became insolent. If it were worth while to
commence a struggle for two or three more doti of cloth the
mere firing of one revolver at such close quarters would have
settled the day ; but I could not induce myself to believe that
it was the best way of proceeding, taking in view the object
of our expedition, and accordingly this extra demand was set-
tled at once with as much amiability as I could muster ; but I
warned him not to repeat it, and, to prevent him from doing

Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 31 of 51)