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C92 SPEKE AND GRANT'S EXPEDITION.

appeared with a large escort, with orders to accompany the
white men to his camp. Grant was at the time quite ill, but
it was determined that Speke should go on at once.

Victoria N'yanza is shaped like a top, its northern end almost
on a line with the Equator, covering nearly three degrees
of longitude, and its eastern and western boundaries tapering
down to a point at about 3 P S. latitude. This lake is 3740
feet above the level of the ocean, and is studded with islands.
Speke, in his discovery of the lake, only reached the southern
extremity or point of it, and got but a faint idea of its immense
size.

His course then from Kaze had been almost due north. In this
trip he bore more to the westward, which carried him almost
parallel with the western shore of the lake, but quite a dis~-
tance from it. From Karague he bore towards the east, and
struck the lake about 1 south of the Equator. Following
the shore up, he crossed the Equator, then turned east along
the northern end of the lake the shore running almost due
east from this point. Uganda is the northern boundary of the
lake, and to reach its capital Speke passed over nearly half the
extent of the lake, going parallel with it.

He arrived at this place in February 1862,and was received by
Mtesa, the king, in a most cordial manner. His experiences
in this country were of the most interesting nature. IViiesa
was a singular character, full of whims and oddities, capricious
as any city belle. Speke managed to get up quite a flirtation
with the head queen. He assumed the role of a foreign prince,
and insisted upon being received as such, claiming, that lodg-
ing in the king's palace was his right. He also administered
medicine to the queen, and became quite noted as a medical
practitioner. The king had a large harem, and Speke thus
speaks of an addition to it :

" Then twenty naked virgins, the daughters of "Wakungn,
all smeared and shining with grease, each holding a small
square of mbugu for a fig-leaf, marched in a line before us,
as a fresh addition to the harem, while the happy fathers




ARREST OF THE yUtEN.



DEPLETING THE HAREM. 695

floundered n'yanzigging on the ground, delighted to find
their darlings appreciated by the king."

His method of depleting his harem was also a novel one.
Speke thus describes it. Speaking of a visit of the king and
his suite to the N'yanza, he says :

" Next, the whole party took a walk, winding through the
trees, and picking fruit, enjoying themselves amazingly, till,
by some unlucky chance, one of the royal wives, a most
charming creature, and truly one of the best of the lot,
plucked a fruit and offered it to the king, thinking doubtless,
to please him greatly ; but he, like a madman, flew into a
towering passion, said it was the first time a woman ever
had the impudence to offer him any thing, and ordered the
pages to seize, bind, and lead her off to execution.

" These words were no sooner uttered by the king than
the whole bevy of pages slipped their cord turbans from their
heads, and rushed like a pack of cupid beagles upon the fairy
queen, who, indignant at the little urchins daring to touch
her majesty, remonstrated with the king, and tried to beat
them off like flies, but was soon captured, overcome, and
dragged away, crying, in the names of the kamraviona and
mzungu (myself), for help and protection ; while Lubnga, the
pet sister, and all the other women, clasped the king by his
legs, and, kneeling, implored forgiveness for their sister.
The more they craved for mercy the more brutal he became,
till at last he took a heavy stick and began to belabor the
poor victim on the head."

Speke was furnished with wives which he could not refuse
to accept, and the queen proposed to give him one or more
of her own daughters, in fact so much attached did the
king and his court become to Speke, that it was with diffi-
culty he could get them to listen to any proposition for his
proceeding. Eventually Grant was able to leave Karague,
and joined him, and at a grand'levee held for the purpose,
Speke introduced him to the queen. He thus describes the
scene :

" The queen, squatting within her hut, now ordered both
Grant and myself to sit outside and receive a present of* five



696 SPEKE AND GRANT'S EXPEDITION.

eggs and one cock each, saying coaxingly, ' These are for my
children.' Then taking out the presents, she learned the way
of wearing her watch with a tape guard round her neck,
reposing the instrument in her bare bosom, and of opening
and shutting it, which so pleased her that she declared it
quite satisfactory. The key was quite a minor consideration,
for she could show it to her attendants just as well without
one. The towel and handkerchiefs were also very beautiful,
but what use could they be put to ? ' Oh, your majesty, to
wipe the mouth with after drinking pombe.' ' Of course,' is
the reply ' excellent ; I won't use a mbugu napkin any more,
but have one of these placed on my cup when it is brought to
drink, and wipe my mouth with it afterward. But what does
Bana want ?' ' The road to Gani,' says Bombay for me."

The queen promised to use her influence to get the king's
permission for them to proceed on their journey northerly,
but it was not until July that they obtained it.

Availing themselves of the first opportunity, they pushed
easterly forty miles, and discovered the Ripon Falls, caused
by the Nile flowing out of the lake. These falls are about
twelve feet high and four hundred and fifty feet wide, and are
described as being very beautiful. Here our travelers made
rafts, and started on a voyage down the Nile, but came near
being overwhelmed by a party of Wanyoro who attacked them.
Powder and shot prevailed, however, and the way was cleared
into Unyoro, the country over which reigned Kamrasi, the
" father of kings."

This monarch was more capricious if possible than Mtesa.
He postponed seeing Speke and Grant from day to day, until
they threatened to blacken their faces aud cut off their hair if
he longer delayed. This threat had its effect, and a levee
was held, at which our travelers presented their presents,
which they opened, and placed upon a red blanket. " The
goggles created some mirth ; so did the scissors, as Bombay,
to show their use, clipped his beard ; and the lucifers were
considered a wonder ; but the king scarcely moved or uttered
any remarks till all was over, when, at the instigation of the
courtiers, my chronometer was asked for and shown. This



ON THE NILE. 699

wonderful instrument, said tlie officers (mistaking it for my
compass), was the magic horn by which the white men found
their way everywhere. Kamrasi said he must have it ; for,
besides it, the gun was the only thing new to him. The
chronometer, however, I said, was the only one left, and
could not possibly be parted with ; though, if Kamrasi liked
to send men to Gani, a new one could be obtained for him."

At a second meeting, Kamrasi made another request for
the chronometer, and the travelers were eventually obliged
to surrender it to him, in order to obtain any favors.
Kamrasi proved to be an inveterate beggar, and it was with
the utmost difficulty Speke finally succeeded in getting away
from the country.

Taking boats they proceeded down the Nile for some dis-
tance, when they were forced to take to the land again.
Passing the country of the Gani they entered Madi. Here
they found the first evidences of civilization, in a party of
Turks who were there under the control of one Mahamed.
These Turks were mostly married to native wives at least
temporarily so and were raising families of children.

Pushing onwards our travelers arrived at Gondokoro in
North Latitude 4 45 ' ', where they met Mr. Baker now Sir
Samuel Baker, who was then en-route up the Nile on his tour
of discovery. The meeting of course was an unexpected as
well as joyful one. At this place was established an Austrian
Mission and some priests attached to it were there.

Gondokoro was reached by our travelers in February 1863
just twenty-eight months from the time they left Bagamoyo
having passed up through the very centre of Africa, over a
route entirely unknown, and among tribes who had never
seen a white face before from Kaze to Gondokoro over
about 10 of latitude during the time entirely cut off from
all civilization and the outside world. Down the Nile they
went afterwards and proceeded to England, having accom-
plished one of the most wonderful journeys on record.



CHAPTER XLIY.
BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS.

SAMUEL "W. BAKER, an Englishman, accompanied by his
wife, started from Cairo, April 15th, 1871, to sail up the
Nile. On arriving at Korosko, twenty-six days from Cairo,
they started across the Nubian Desert on camels, through a
wilderness of scorched sands and glowing basaltic rock, thus
cutting off the western bend of the Nile. In seven days they
struck the river again at Abou Hamed. Eight days' march
on the margin of the river brought them to Berber, a consid-
erable town on the banks of the Nile.

Here Baker decided, to make a detour eastward, to explore
the two great Abyssinian tributaries of the Nile the Atbara
and the Blue Nile. These rivers, although streams of extreme
grandeur during the rainy season from June to September
are reduced during the dry months to utter insignificance ;
the Blue Nile becomes very shallow, and the Atbara perfectly
dry.

Leaving Berber on the 10th of June, the travelers in two
days reached the Atbara, and found its bed a mere sheet of
glaring sand, with now and then a pool of water where the
denizens of the river assembled to drink.

Passing on up the Atbara the travelers encamped, June
23d, on its banks, and were aroused from sleep by a rum-
bling like distant thunder followed by the voices of Arabs,
who shouted, "El Bahr! El Bahr!" (the tfver! the river!)
Scarcely had some of the men who were sleeping in the dry
bed escaped, before the waters arrived.

700



BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS. 703

In the morning Baker stood on the banks of a noble river,
although there had been no drop of rain or sign of a cloud.
" Dust and desolation yesterday to-day a magnificent stream,
some five hundred yards in width, and from fifteen to twenty
feet in depth, flowed through the dreary desert ! The rains
were pouring in Abyssinia ! these were the sources of the
Nile!"

Baker followed the banks of the Atbara to the junction of
the Settite river, and then followed the latter stream into the
Abyssinian Mountains. Here, with his Hamran sword-hunters,
all well mounted, he had an exciting rhinoceros chase, the
result of which shows the speed of these clumsy-looking
animals.

" The two rhinoceros were running neck and neck, like a
pair of horses in harness, but bounding along at tremendous
speed within ten yards of the leading Hamran. This was
Talier Sherrif, who with his sword drawn and his long hair
flying wildly behind him, urged his horse forward in the race
amid a cloud of dust raised by the two huge beasts. * *
There were seven of us, and, passing Abou Do, whose face
wore an expression of agony at finding that his horse was
failing, I quickly obtained a place close to the leading Hamran
* * * I tried to pass the rhinoceros on my left, so
as to fire close into the shoulder, my remaining barrel ; but it
was impossible to overtake the animals. The horses were
pressed to the utmost ; we had already run about two miles
and the game showed no signs of giving up."

Three of the horses gave out, and also that of Abou Do,
who, thereupon, sprang to the ground at full speed, sword in
hand, and, preferring his own legs, ran like an antelope, and
in a hundred yards race nearly beat the horses. On Hearing
the jungle " Taher made a final effort, and his sword flashed
in the sunshine, as the rear-most rhinoceros disappeared in .
the dark screen of thorns, with a gash upon his hind quar-
ters." (See cut, page T13.)

A few days afterwards there was another race with a rhi-
noceros but the order of march was reversed ; recent tracks



704 BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS.

of these animals had been discovered, when whiff! whiff!
whiff! " We heard the sharp whistling snort, with a tremen-
dous rush through the high grass and thorns close to us ; and
at the same moment two of the brutes were upon us in full
charge. There was no time for more than one look behind.
I dug the spurs into Aggahr's flanks, and clasping him round
the neck, I ducked my head down to his shoulder, and kept
the spurs going, blindly trusting to Providence and my good
horse in my flight over big rocks, fallen trees, thorns, and
and high grass, with the two infernal animals in full chase
only a few feet behind me.

" The good old hunter flew over obstacles that I should have
thought impossible, and dashed straight under the hooked
thorn-bushes and doubled like a hare. The aggageers were
all scattered ; Mahomet was knocked over by the shoulder of
a rhinoceros ; all the men were sprawling upon the rocks
with their guns, and the party was entirely discomfited.
Having passed the kittar thorn, I turned, and discovered that
the beasts had gone straight on." (See cut, page T09.)

Mr. Baker had much trouble with his attendants, who fre-
quently deserted, and sometimes mutinied ; once as he was
about making a new start, his camel-men said they would go
no further with him but set out on their return the next
morning. Their excuse was that the proposed route led into
an enemies' country and they feared they should lose their
camels. Mr. Baker says in continuation of the narrative :

" We had constructed a fence of thorns around our camp,
within which the camels were now reposing, and as the argu-
ment had become hot, the Arabs expressed their determina-
tion to start home that very instant, and we were to be left
alone, unless they could persuade other men of their tribe to
join us with their animals. Accordingly they at once pro-
ceeded to saddle their camels for an immediate start. With-
out saying another word, I quietly took my little Fletcher
rifle and cocked both barrels, as I sat within ten yards of the
exit from the camp. The men were just ready to depart and
several had mounted their camels. * Goodbye,' I said; 'give






,v








BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS. 707

my salaams to the Sheik when you arrive at Geera ; but the
first camel that passes through the gate of the camp I shall
shoot through the head.'

" They had heard the sharp click of the locks ; not a camel
moved. My Tokrooris, and Taher Noor now came forward
as mediators and begged me not to shoot the camels. As I
had the rifle pointed, I replied to this demand conditionally,
that the Arabs should dismount and unsaddle immediately ;
this led to a parley, and I agreed to become responsible for
the value of the camels should they be stolen in Mek Mum-
mur's country. The affair was settled."

This country into which they now entered was literally
a hunter's paradise. There was an immense amount of large
game, and Baker made a mixed bag of elephants, hippo-
potami, buffaloes, rhinoceros, giraffes, and antelopes. Lions
were numerous, but shy, and hard to bag, although sometimes
met at close quarters. Baker gives the following account of
such an interview : "I was carelessly pushing my way
through the opposing thorns, when a sudden roar, just before
me, at once brought my rifle upon full cock, and I saw a
magnificent lion standing in the middle of the glade, about
ten yards from me. He had been lying on the ground, and
had started to his feet upon hearing me approach. For an
instant he stood in an attitude of attention, as we were hardly
visible ; but at the same moment I took a quick but sure shot
with the little Fletcher. He gave a convulsive bound, but
rolled over backward ; before he could recover himself J fired
the left-hand barrel. It was a glorious sight. I had advanced
a few steps into the glade, and Hassan had quickly handed me
a spare rifle, while Taher Noor stood by me sword in hand.
The lion in the greatest fury, with his shaggy mane bristling
in the air, roared with death-like growls, as open-mouthed he
endeavoured to charge upon us; but he dragged his hind-
quarters upon the ground, and I saw immediately that his
spine was broken."

Mr. Baker made a long halt in this section and had many
hunting experiences. Near one camp was a regular game



70S BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS

path by which animals arrived at the river every morning to
drink. One morning Mr. Baker, who was concealed behind
a rock, saw two ostriches which are here very rare arrive
at the river to drink ; he determined to capture one and thus
describes the attempt : " I now had a good chance, as the
herd of animals returned from drinking by charging at full
speed up the steep bank from the water, and they passed
about ninety yards from my hiding-place, headed by -the os-
triches. Having the little Fletcher I was suddenly tempted
to fire at right and left, so as to bag an ostrich with one bar-
rel, and a tetel with the other. Both fell for an instant ; the
tettel dead, shot through the neck ; but my ostrich, a fine
cock bird, immediately recovered and went off with his wife
as fast as their long legs could carry them. I had evidently
fired too far behind, not having allowed sufficiently for the
rapidity of their speed."

Leaving the head-waters of the Settite, Baker crossed over
to the rivers Royan, Salaam and Angrab at the foot of a
magnificent range of mountains. Having explored these
rivers he passed through an extensive and beautiful country
and, again crossing the Atbara, arrived at the frontier town
of Gallabat. Marching due west from this place he arrived
at the Rahad, and descended its banks to its junction with
the Blue Nile. The route then lay down that grand river to
Khartoum, where the travelers arrived exactly twelve months
from the day when they left Berber.

At Khartoum Baker hired forty-five men, whom he
armed and paid five month's wages in advance ; the party
started in three vessels, December 18th, 1862, and reached
Gondokoro, the head of navigation, February 2d, 1863. Ba-
ker was the first Englishman who had ever been there, but
Speke and Grant arrived from the south a few days after-
ward. Here all of Baker's men excepting two mutinied and
deserted, and it was impossible to obtain others. Seventeen
of them subsequently decided to go on if the route could be
east instead of south ; the party left Gondokoro on the night
of March 26th, and followed in the wake of a trader's party



GAME RETURNING FROM THE RIVER.



ATTACK OF THE RHINOCEROS.




BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS. til

bound for Latooka, which had started that day, after refusing
Baker permission to accompany and daring him to follow
them.

Passing the belligerent Turkish caravan at night, Baker's
party pushed on, and after an exciting and dangerous march
of about fifty miles reached the beautiful valley of Ellyria
walled in by high mountains. The whole country was a
series of natural forts occupied by a large population. The
Turkish caravan arrived about the same time, and after ' a talk '
its leader and Baker concluded to be friends.

At Latooka, fifty miles east of Ellyria, Baker was kindly
received by the chief, who was so delighted with some beads
given him, that he begged another string for his head wife.
On receiving them he said, " What a row there will be in
the family when my other wives see Bokke dressed up in
her finery," Baker took the hint, and gave him enough prob-
ably to supply all.

Baker left Latooka early in May, and proceeded south-
westerly to Obbo lying in the heart of. the mountains. The
chief of Obbo met the travelers and acted the buffoon for
their amusement. Not being able to proceed south till the
rainy season was over, as the Achua River could not be
crossed, Baker and his wife returned to Latooka towards the
close of May. Here Mrs. Baker was dangerously ill, but
owing to trouble between the Latookas and Turks, she \vas
taken to Obbo in a palanquin about the last of June. Here
Baker and his wife were, very sick ; famine and small-pox
were desolating the land, and but for special attentions from
the chief it seems as if both travelers would have died.

For months Baker and his wife dragged on a miserable
existence at Obbo, wrecked by fever, and it was not till Jan-
uary 5th 1864, that they left Obbo ; even then both were far
from strong. They started on ox back, but Baker's first ox
ran away with the saddle and was lost.

The route taken was south and south-west, and on the 22d
of January, Atada, near the Karuma Falls on the Somerset
River, was reached, and after an interview with the head men



712 BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS,

of the King of Unyoro, Baker was pronounced to be
" Speke's own brother " and invited to visit Kamrasi's capital.
On the 10th of February the travelers were conducted to a marsh
opposite the town, but were not allowed to cross the river
till February 21st, Mrs. Baker being meantime very sick.

Two or three days afterward, Baker and his wife started to
discover a large lake said to lie to the westward. Porters and
a guide had been furnished by Kamrasi. After traveling
about a mile they were overtaken by the person who had
been introduced to them as Kamrasi, and whom they sup-
posed to be that monarch. A halt was made to give him
audience, during which he said to Baker : " I will send you
to the lake as I have promised ; ~but you must leave your wife
with me /"

A scene ensued in which Mrs. Baker and her woman took
a part, and it so impressed Kamrasi that he said :

" Don't be angry ! I had no intention of offending you by
asking for your wife ; I will give you a wife if you want one ;
it is my custom to give my visitors pretty wives, and I thought
you might exchange."

The apology was coolly accepted, and the march continued.
On the way to the lake Mrs. Baker suffered a sun stroke, and
was for a long time unconscious, followed by seven days of
brain fever. It afterwards appeared that they had not seen
the king at all, but that he had sent his brother to personify
him, through his own cowardice.

Baker discovered the lake on the fourteenth of March, and
named it Albert N'yanza. "It was" says Baker "with ex-
treme emotion that I enjoyed the glorious scene. My wife,
who had followed me so devotedly, stood by my side pale and
and exhausted a wreck upon the shores of the great Albert
Lake that we had so long striven to reach. This was the
great reservoir of the Nile P

After eight days halt at the lake, boats were procured and
the party rowed northerly up the eastern shore of the lake
for thirteen days, when they reached Magungo, at the mouth
of the Somerset river. They then rowed easterly up that



BAKER'S EXPLORATIONS. 715

river till they approached a perpendicular fall of about one
hundred and twenty feet, and this Baker named the Mur-
chison Falls. Here they left their boats, and marched along
the banks of the river.

In consequence of the illness of Baker and his wife, the
loss of their oxen, the refusal of the natives to assist them,
and a war which was going on, they were delayed a long
time just south of the Somerset River in the territory of
Kamrasi, and hardly expected to survive the horrors of their
imprisonment. Here they finally had an interview with the
genuine Kamrasi, who vainly begged for Baker's assistance
in fighting his enemy, Fowaaka.

One day the king appeared at Baker's hut, dreadfully
alarmed and stripped of all the beautiful dress of skins which
he usually wore. On being complimented for adopting a
dress so well adapted for fighting, he exclaimed in horror :
"Fighting ! I am not going to fight ! I have dressed lightly
to bo able to run fast. I mean to run away." It appeared
that a trading party had joined Fowaaka's forces and were
marching to attack Kamrasi.

Baker raised the English flag and assured Kamrasi of pro-
tection as long as he remained under it. He then obtained
an interview with the leaders of the trading party, and pre-
emptorily ordered them to leave the country, which he claim-
ed by right of discovery ; he also threatened to report them
to the Turkish officials at Khartoum, if they refused to obey.
The next day the Turkish traders recrossed the river, to the
great joy of Kamrasi and his people.

Soon afterwards, early in October, news came that the
Waganda were approaching from the south, to fight Kamrasi.
Thereupon the coward set fire to his villages, and ran with
his wives and subjects to a safe place, on an island in the
river, leaving Baker's party alone. The king's brother, how-



Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 47 of 51)