New York Herald/August 10, 1872
Bunder, Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika, Central Africa
November 23, 1871
Only two months gone, and what a change in my feelings ! But two months ago, what a peevish, fretful soul was mine! What a hopeless prospect presented itself before your correspondent! Arabs vowing that I would never behold the Tanganyika; Sheikh, the son of Nasib, declaring me a madman to his fellows because I would not heed his words. My men deserting, my servants whining day by day, and my white man endeavoring to impress me with the belief that we were all doomed men! And the only answer to it all is, Livingstone, the hero traveler, is alongside of me, writing as hard as he can to his friends in England, India and America, and I am quite safe and sound in health and limb. Wonderful, is it not, that such a thing should be, when the seers had foretold that it would be otherwise — that all my schemes, that all my determination would avail me nothing? But probably you are in as much of a hurry to know how it all took place as I am to relate. So, to the recital.
September 23 I left Unyamyembe, driving before me fifty wellarmed black men, loaded with the goods of the expedition, and dragging after me one white man. Several Arabs stood by my late residence to see the last of me and mine, as they felt assured there was not the least hope of their ever seeing me again. Shaw, the white man, was pale as death, and would willingly have received the order to stop behind in Unyamyembe, only he had not quite the courage to ask permission, from the fact that only the night before he had expressed a hope that I would not leave him behind, and I had promised to give him a good riding donkey and to walk after him until he recovered perfect health. However, as I gave the order to march, some of the men, in a hurry to obey the order, managed to push by him suddenly, and down he went like a dead man. The Arabs, thinking, doubtless, that I would not go now because my white subordinate seemed so ill, hurried in a body to the fallen man, loudly crying at what they were pleased to term my cruelty and obstinacy; but, pushing them back, I mounted Shaw on his donkey, and told them that I must see the Tanganyika first, as I had sworn to go on. Putting two soldiers, one on each side of him, I ordered Shaw to move on and not to play the fool before the Arabs, lest they should triumph over us. Three or four black laggards loth to go (Bombay was one of them) received my dog whip across their shoulders as a gentle intimation that I was not to be balked after having fed them so long and paid them so much. And it was thus we left Unyanyembe. Not in the best humor, was it? However, where there is will there is a way.
Once away from the hateful valley of Kwihara, once out of sight of the obnoxious fields my enthusiasm for my work rose as newborn as when I left the coast. But my enthusiasm was short-lived for before reaching camp I was almost delirious with fever. Long before I reached the camp I saw from a ridge overlooking a fair valley, dotted with villages and green with groves of plantains and fields of young rice, my tent and from its tall pole the American flag waving gaily before the strong breeze which blew from the eastward. When I had arrived at the camp, burning with fever, my pulse bounding many degrees too fast and my temper made more acrimonious by my sufferings, I found the camp almost deserted.
The men as soon as they had arrived at Mkwenkwe, the village agreed upon, had hurried back to Kwihara. Livingstone’s letter carrier had not made his appearance — it was an abandoned camp. I instantly dispatched six of the best of those who had refused to return to ask Sheikh, the son of Nasib, to lend or sell me the longest slave chain he had, then to hunt up the runaways and bring them back to camp bound, and promised them that for every head captured they should have a brand new cloth. I also did not forget to tell my trusty men to tell Livingstone’s messenger that if he did not come to camp before night I would return to Unyanyembe — or Kwihara rather, for I was yet in Unyanyembe — catch him and put him in chains and never release him until his master saw him. My men went off in high glee, and I went off to bed passing long hours groaning and tossing about for the deadly sickness that had overtaken me.
Next morning fourteen out of twenty of those who had deserted back to their wives and huts (as is generally the custom) had reappeared, and, as the fever had left me, I only lectured them, and they gave me their promise not to desert me again under any circumstances. Livingstone’s messenger had passed the night in bonds, because he had resolutely refused to come. I unloosed him and gave him a paternal lecture, painting in glowing colors the benefits he would receive if he came along quietly and the horrible punishment of being chained up until I reached Ujiji if he was still resolved not to come. “Kaif Halleck” (Arabic for “How do you do?”) melted, and readily gave me his promise to come and obey me as he would his own master — Livingstone — until we should see him, “which Inshallah we shall! Please God, please God, we shall,” I replied, “and you will be no loser.”
During the day my soldiers had captured the others, and as they all promised obedience and fidelity in future they escaped punishment. But I was well aware that so long as I remained in such close proximity the temptation to revisit the fat pasture grounds of Unyanyembe, where they had luxuriated so long, would be too strong, and to enable them to resist I ordered a march towards evening, and two hours after dark we arrived at the village of Kasegera.
It is possible for any of your readers so disposed to construct a map of the road on which the HERALD expedition was now journeying, if they draw a line 150 miles long south by west from Unyanyembe, then 150 miles west northwest, then ninety miles north, half east, then seventy miles west by north, and that will take them to Ujiji.
Before taking up the narrative of the march I must tell you that during the night after reaching Kasegera two deserted, and on calling the men to fall in for the road I detected two more trying to steal away behind some of the huts of the village wherein we were encamped. An order quietly given to Chowpereh and Bombay soon brought them back, and without hesitation I had them tied up and flogged, and then adorned their stubborn necks with the chain kindly lent by Sheikh bin Nasib. I had good cause to chuckle complacently for the bright idea that suggested the chain as a means to check the tendency of the bounty jumpers to desert; for these men were as much bounty jumpers as our refractory roughs during the war, who pocketed their thousands and then coolly deserted. These men, imitating their white prototypes, had received double pay of cloth and double rations, and, imagining they could do with me as they could with the other good white men, whom tradition kept faithfully in memory, who had preceded your correspondent in this country, waited for opportunities to decamp; but I was determined to try a new method, not having the fear of Exeter Hall before my eyes, and I am happy to say to-day, for the benefit of all future travelers, that it is the best method yet adopted, and that I will never travel in Africa again without a good long chain. Chowpereh and Bombay returned to Unyanyembe and the “HERALD Expedition” kept on its way south, for I desired to put as many miles as possible between that district and ourselves, for I perceived that few were inclined for the road, my white man, I am sorry to say, least of all. The village of Kigandu was reached after four hours’ march from Kasegera.
As we entered the camp Shaw, the Englishman, fell from his donkey, and, despite all endeavors to raise him up, refused to stand. When his tent was pitched I had him carried in from the sun, and after tea was made I persuaded him to swallow a cup, which seemed to revive him. He then said to me, “Mr. Stanley, I don’t believe I can go further with you. I feel very much worse, and I beg of you to let me go back.” This was just what I expected. I knew perfectly well what was coming while he was drinking his tea, and, with the illustrious example of Livingstone traveling by himself before me, I was asking myself, Would it not be just as well for me to try to do the same thing, instead of dragging an unwilling man with me who would, if I refused to send him back, be only a hindrance? So I told him, “Well, my dear Shaw, I have come to the conclusion that it is best you should return, and I will hire some carriers to take you back in a cot which I will have made immediately to carry you in. In the meanwhile, for your own sake, I would advise you to keep yourself as busy as possible and follow the instructions as to diet and medicine which I will write out for you. You shall have the key to the storeroom, and you can help yourself to anything you may fancy.” These were the words with which I parted from him — as next morning I only bade him goodbye, besides enjoining on him to be of good hope, as, if I was successful, not more than five months would elapse before I would return to Unyanyembe. Chowpereh and Bombay returned before I started from Kigandu, with the runaways, and after administering to them a sound flogging I chained them, and the expedition was once more on its way.
We were about entering the immense forest that separates Unyanyembe from the district of Ugunda. In lengthy undulating waves the land stretches before us — the new land which no European knew, the unknown, mystic land. The view which the eyes hurry to embrace as we ascend some ridge higher than another is one of the most disheartening that can be conceived. Away, one beyond another, wave the lengthy rectilinear ridges, clad in the same garb of color. Woods, woods, woods, forests, leafy branches, green and sere, yellow and dark red and purple, then an indefinable ocean, bluer than the bluest sky. The horizon all around shows the same scene — a sky dropping into the depths of the endless forest, with but two or three tall giants of the forest higher than their neighbors, which are conspicuous in their outlines, to break the monotony of the scene. On no one point do our eyes rest with pleasure; they have viewed the same outlines, the same forest and the same horizon day after day, week after week; and again, like Noah’s dove from wandering over a world without a halting place, return wearied with the search.
Mukunguru, or fever, is very plentiful in these forests, owing to their density preventing free circulation of air, as well as want of drainage. As we proceed on our journey, in the dry season as it is with us now, we see nothing very offensive to the sight. If the trees are dense, impeding fresh air, we are shaded from the sun, and may often walk long stretches with the hat off. Numbers of trees lie about in the last stages of decay, and working with might and main are numberless ants of various species to clear the encumbered ground, and thus they do such a country as this great service. Impalpably, however, the poison of the dead and corrupting vegetation is inhaled into the system with often as fatal result as that which is said to arise from the vicinity of the upas tree. The first evil results experienced from the presence of malaria are confined bowels, an oppressive languor, excessive drowsiness and a constant disposition to yawn. The tongue has a sickly yellow hue, or is colored almost to blackness; even the teeth assume a yellow color and become coated with an offensive matter. The eyes sparkle with a lustre which is an unmistakable symptom of the fever in its incipient state, which presently will rage through the system and lay the sufferer prostrate quivering with agony. This fever is sometimes preceded by a violent shaking fit, during which period blankets may be heaped upon the sufferer with but little amelioration of his state. It is then succeeded by an unusually severe headache, with excessive pains about the loins and spinal column, spreading gradually over the shoulder blades, and which, running up the nape of the neck, finally find a lodgment in the posterior and front parts of the head. This kind is generally of the intermittent type, and is not considered dangerous. The remittant form — the most dangerous — is not preceded by a shaking fit, but the patient is at once seized with excessive heat, throbbing temples, loin and spinal aches: a raging thirst takes possession of him, and the brain becomes crowded with strange fancies, which sometimes assume most hideous shapes. Before the darkened vision float in a seething atmosphere figures of created and uncreated, possible and impossible figures, which are metamorphosed every instant into stranger shapes and designs, growing every instant more confused, more complicated, hideous and terrible until the sufferer, unable to bear longer the distracting scene, with an effort opens his eyes and dissolves it, only to glide again unconsciously into another dreamland, where a similar unreal inferno is dioramically revealed.
It takes seven hours to traverse the forest between Kigandu and Ugunda, when we come to the capital of the new district, wherein one may laugh at Mirambo and his forest thieves. At least the Sultan, or Lord of Ugunda , feels in a laughing mood while in his strong stockade, should one but hint to him that Mirambo might come to settle up the long debt that Chieftain owes him, for defeating him the last time — a year ago — he attempted to storm his place. And well may the Sultan laugh at him, and all others which the hospitable Chief may permit to reside within, for it is the strongest place — except Simba-Moeni and Kwikuru, in Unyanyembe — I have as yet seen in Africa. The defences of the capital consist of a strong stockade surrounding it, or tall thick poles planted deep in the earth, and so close to each other in some places that a spear head could not be driven between. At intervals also rise wooden towers above the palisade, where the best marksmen, known for their skill with the musket, are posted to pick out the foremost or most prominent of the assailants. Against such forces as the African chiefs could bring against such palisaded villages Ugunda may be considered impregnable, though a few white men with a two-pounder might soon effect an entrance. Having arrived safely at Ugunda we may now proceed on our journey fearless of Mirambo, though he has attacked places four days south of this; but as he has already at a former time felt the power of the Wanyamwezi of Ugunda he will not venture again in a hurry. On the sixth day of our departure from Unyanyembe we continued our journey south.
Three long marches, under a hot sun, through jungly plains, heat-cracked expanses of prairie land, through young forests, haunted by the tseetse and sword flies, considered fatal to cattle, brought us to the gates of a village called Manyara, whose chief was determined not to let us in nor sell us a grain of corn, because he had never seen a white man before, and he must know all about this wonderful specimen of humanity before he would allow us to pass through his country. My men were immediately dismayed at this, and the guide, whom I had already marked as a coward, and one I mistrusted, quaked as if he had the ague. The chief, however, expressed his belief that we should find a suitable camping place near some pools of water distant half a mile to the right of his village.
Having arrived at the khambi, or camp, I dispatched Bombay with a propitiating gift of cloth to the Chief — a gift at once so handsome and so munificent, consisting of no less than two royal cloths and three common dotis, that the Chief surrendered at once, declaring that the white man was a superior being to any he had ever seen. “Surely,” said he, “he must have a friend; otherwise how came he to send me such fine cloths? Tell the white man that I shall come and see him.” Permission was at once given to his people to sell us as much corn as we needed. We had barely finished distributing five days’ rations to each man when the Chief was announced.
Gunbearers, twenty in number, preceded him, and thirty spearmen 10 followed him, and behind these came eight or ten men loaded with gifts of honey, native beer, holcus sorghum, beans and maize. I at once advanced and invited the Chief to my tent, which had undergone some alterations, that I might honor him as much as lay in my power. Mamanyara was a tall, stalwart man, with a very pleasing face. He carried in his hand a couple of spears, and, with the exception of a well-worn barsati around his loins, he was naked. Three of his principal men and himself were invited to seat themselves on my Persian carpet. They began to admire it excessively, and asked if it came from my country? Where was my country? Was it large? How many days to it? Was I a king? Had I many soldiers? were questions quickly asked, and as quickly answered, and the ice being broken, the chief being equally candid as I was myself, he grasped my fore and middle fingers and vowed we were friends. The revolvers and Winchester’s repeating rifles were things so wonderful that to attempt to give you any idea of how awe-struck he and his men were would task my powers.
The Chief roared with laughter; he tickled his men in the ribs with his forefinger, he clasped their fore and middle fingers, vowed that the Muzungu was a wonder, a marvel, and no mistake. Did they ever see anything like it? “No,” his men solemnly said. Did they ever hear anything like it before? “No,” as solemnly as before. “Is he not a wonder? Quite a wonder — positively a wonder!”
My medicine chest was opened next, and I uncorked a small phial of medicinal brandy and gave each a teaspoonful. The men all gazed at their Chief and he gazed at them; they were questioning each other with their eyes. What was it? Pombe was my reply. Pombe kisungu. (The white man’s pombe.) “Surely this is also wonderful, as all things belonging to him are,” said the Chief. “Wonderful,” they echoed; and then all burst into another series of cachinations, ear-splitting almost. Smelling at the ammonia bottle was a thing all must have; but some were fearful, owing to the effects produced on each man’s eyes and the facial contortions which followed the olfactory effort. The Chief smelt three or four times, after which he declared his headache vanished and that I must be a great and good white man. Suffice it that I made myself so popular with Mamanyara and his people that they will not forget me in a hurry.
Leaving kind and hospitable Ma-manyara, after a four hours’ march we came to the banks of the Gombe Nullah, not the one which Burton, Speke and Grant have described, for the Gombe which I mean is about one hundred and twenty-five miles south of the Northern Gombe. The glorious park land spreading out north and south of the Southern Gombe is a hunter’s paradise. It is full of game of all kinds — herds of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, pallah, water buck, springbok, gemsbok, blackbuck and kudu, besides several eland, warthog, or wild boar, and hundreds of the smaller antelope. We saw all these in one day, and at night heard the lions roar and the low of the hippopotamus. I halted here three days to shoot, and there is no occasion to boast of what I shot, considering the myriads of game I saw at every step I took. Not half the animals shot here by myself and men were made use of. Two buffaloes and one kudu were brought to camp the first day, besides a wild boar, which my mess finished up in one night. My boy gun-bearers sat up the whole night eating boar meat, and until I went to sleep I could hear the buffalo meat sizzling over the fires as the Islamized soldiers prepared it for the road.
The second day of the halt I took the Winchester rifle or the fifteen-shooter to prey on the populous plain, but I only bagged a tiny blue buck by shooting it through the head. I had expected great things of this rifle, and am sorry I was disappointed. The Winchester rifle cartridges might as well have been filled up with sawdust as with the powder the New York Ammunition Company put in them. Only two out of ten would fire, which so spoiled my aim that nothing could be done with the rifle. The cartridges of all the English rifles always went off, and I commend Eley, of London, to everybody in need of cartridges to explode. The third day, arming myself with a double-barrelled English smooth-bore, I reaped a bountiful harvest of meat, and having marched over a larger space saw a much larger variety of game than on any preceding day. The Gombe Nullah during the dry season is but a system of long, narrow pools, full of crocodiles and hippopotami. In the wet season it overflows its banks and is a swift, broad stream, emptying into the Malagarazi, thence into the Lake Tanganyika.
From Manyara to Marefu, in Ukonongo, are five days’ marches. It is an uninhabited forest now and is about eighty miles in length. Clumps of forest and dense islets of jungle dot plains which separate the forests proper. It is monotonous owing to the sameness of the scenes. And throughout this length of eighty miles there is nothing to catch a man’s eye in search of the picturesque or novel save the Gombe’s pools, with their amphibious inhabitants, and the variety of noble game which inhabit the forests and plain. A travelling band of Wakonongo, bound to Ukonongo from Manyara, prayed to have our escort, which was readily granted. They were famous foresters, who knew the various fruits fit to eat; who knew the cry of the honeybird, and could follow it to the treasure of honey which it wished to show its human friends. It is a pretty bird, not much larger than a wren, and, “tweettweet,” it immediately cries when it sees a human being. It becomes very busy all at once, hops and skips, and flies from branch to branch with marvellous celerity. The traveler lifts up his eyes, beholds the tiny little bird, hopping about, and hears its sweet call — “tweet-tweet-tweet.” If he is a Mkonongo he follows it. Away flies the bird on to another tree, springs to another branch nearer to the lagging man as if to say, “Shall I, must I come and fetch you?” but assured by his advance, away again to another tree, coquets about, and tweets his call rapidly; sometimes more earnest and loud, as if chiding him for being so slow; then off again, until at last the treasure is found and secured. And as he is a very busy little bird, while the man secures his treasure of honey, he plumes himself, ready for another flight and to discover another treasure. Every evening the Makonongo brought us stores of beautiful red and white honey, which is only to be secured in the dry season. Over pancakes and fritters the honey is very excellent; but as it is apt to disturb the stomach, I seldom rejoiced in its sweetness without suffering some indisposition afterwards.
As we were leaving the banks of the Gombe at one time, near a desolate looking place, fit scene for a tragedy, occurred an incident which I shall not readily forget. I had given three days’ rest to the soldiers, and their clothloads were furnished with bountiful supplies of meat, which told how well they had enjoyed themselves during the halt; but the guide, a stubborn fellow, one inclined to be impertinent whenever he had the chance, wished for another day’s hunting. He selected Bombay as his mouthpiece, and I scolded Bombay for being the bearer of such an unreasonable demand, when he knew very well I could not possibly allow it after halting already three days. Bombay became sulky, said it was not his fault, and that he could do nothing more than come and tell me, which I denied in toto, and said to him that he could have done much, very much more, and better, by telling the guide that another day’s halt was impossible; that we had not come to hunt, but to march and find the white man, Livingstone; that if he had spoken to the guide against it, as it was his duty, he being captain, instead of to me, it would have been much better. I ordered the horn to sound, and the expedition had gone but three miles when I found they had come to a dead stand. As I was walking up to see what was the matter I saw the guide and his brother sitting on an ant hill, apart from the other people, fingering their guns in what appeared to me a most suspicious manner. Calling Salim, I took the double-barrelled smooth-bore and slipped in two charges of buckshot and then walked on to my people, keeping an eye, however, upon the guide and his brother. I asked Bombay to give me an explanation of the stoppage. He would not answer, though he mumbled something sullenly, which was unintelligible to me. I looked to the other people, and perceived that they acted in an irresolute manner, as if they feared to take my part or were of the same mind as the party on the ant hill. I was but thirty paces from the guide, and throwing the barrel of the gun into the hollow of my left hand, I presented it, cocked at the guide and called out to him if he did not come to me at once I would shoot him, giving him and his companion to understand that I had twenty-four small bullets in the gun and that I could blow them to pieces.
In a very reluctant manner they advanced toward me. When they were sufficiently near I ordered them to halt; but the guide, as he did so, brought his gun to the present, with his finger on the trigger, and, with a treacherous and cunning smile which I perfectly understood, he asked what I wanted of him. His companion, while he was speaking, was sidling to my rear and was imprudently engaged in filling the pan of his musket with powder; but a threat to finish him if he did not go back to his companion and there stand until I gave him permission to move compelled this villanous Thersites to execute the “right about” with a promptitude which earned commendation from me. Then, facing my Ajax of a guide with my gun, I next requested him to lower his gun if he did not wish to receive the contents of mine in his head; and I do not know but what the terrible catastrophe warranted by stern necessity had occurred then and there if Mabrouki (“bull-headed” Mabrouki, but my faithful porter and faithful soldier) had not dashed the man’s gun aside asking him how he dared level his gun at his master, and then thrown himself at my feet, praying me to forgive him. Mabrouki’s action and subsequent conduct somewhat disconcerted myself as well as the murderous-looking guide, but I felt thankful that I had been spared shedding blood, though there was great provocation. Few cases of homicide could have been more justified than this, and I felt certain that this man had been seducing my soldiers from their duties to me, and was the cause principally of Bombay remaining in the background during this interesting episode of a march through the wilderness, instead of acting the part which Mabrouki so readily undertook to do. When Mabrouki’s prayer for forgiveness was seconded by that of the principal culprit, that I would overlook his act, I was enabled to act as became a prudent commander, though I felt some remorse that I had not availed myself of the opportunity to punish the guide and his companion as they eminently deserved. But perhaps had I proceeded to extremities my people — fickle enough at all times — would have taken the act as justifying them for deserting in a body, and the search after Livingstone had ended there and then, which would have been as unwelcome to the HERALD as unhappy to myself.
However, as Bombay could not bend himself to ask forgiveness, I came to the conclusion that it were best he should be made to feel the penalty for stirring dissensions in the expedition and be brought to look with a more amiable face upon the scheme of proceeding to Ujiji through Ukonongo and Ukawendi, and I at once proceeded about it with such vigor that Bombay’s back will for as long a time bear traces of the punishment which I administered to him as his front teeth do of that which Speke rightfully bestowed on him some eleven years ago. And here I may as well interpolate by way of parenthesis that I am not at all obliged to Captain Burton for a recommendation 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 Uyoweh. Assured by the Arabs that there was no danger, and having received the sum of $40 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 perceived 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 were 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 the care 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 apprehended twice after twice deserting. Bombay and his sympathizers 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 be 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 formed the boundary between Kamirambo’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 outlines of the land before us became 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 overripe peach; the tamarind pod and beans, with their grateful acidity, resembling somewhat the lemon in its flavor. The matonga, or nux vomica , was welcome, and the luscious singwe, the plum of Africa, was the most delicious of all. There were wild plums like our own, and grapes unpicked long past their season, and beyond eating. Guinea fowls, the moorhen, 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 compounds, and had become quite 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 Manyara and Mrera. But judicious attendance and Dover’s powders brought the boy around again.
Mrera, in Ukonongo, nine days southwest of the Gombe Nullah, brought to our minds the jungle habitats of the Wakwere 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. We continued still westward, crossing many a broad stretch of marsh and oozy bed of nullahs, 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 rushing 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 Rungwa south and others running directly north to the Malagarazi, from either side of a lengthy ridge which served to separate the country of Unyamwezi from Ukawendi. We were also attracted for the first time by the lofty and tapering mvule 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 appal 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 animal’s 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 intermission until morning. Towards daylight they retreated to their leafy caverns, 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 fill,
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 California scenery cannot excel, though it may equal, such scenes as Ukawendi can boast of, and yet a land as large as the State 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 valuable 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 foliage, 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! But be hopeful. The day will come and a future year will 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 Rusawa, in Ukawendi. Arriving 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 River? They advised us to the latter course, though no Arab had ever taken it. Two days through the forest, they said, would enable us to reach the Malagarazi. The guide, who had by this time forgotten our disagreement, 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 bidding 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 themselves 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 offensive epithet challenged them to commence an outbreak, the order to march, though received with much peevishness, was obeyed. 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 surliness 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 again.
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 my 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 getting 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 much-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’ march, during which we had descended more than a thousand feet, through rocky ravines, and over miles of rocky plateaus, above which protruded 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 districts. Before retiring to sleep the soldiers indulged themselves 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 travelling 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 bois 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 travelling 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 enemies, 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 mastication.
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 day’s halt we proceeded under the guidance of two men granted to me as qualified to show the way to the Malagarazi 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 westward, 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 centre we on the shore could see the network of grass waving on either side and between each man, in one place like to 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 them 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 without 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 generally 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, as they did not press it overmuch, though we had black looks enough.
On the second day after leaving Nzogera’s son we commenced a series of descents, the deep valleys on each side of us astonishing us by their profundity, and the dark gloom prevailing below, amid their wonderful dense forests of tall trees, and 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, running 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 Malagarazi. As we could not come to a definite conclusion respecting them we were obliged to camp in his village. Late in the afternoon Rial a 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 exacted of us! Bombay and the guide were told by me to inform Kiala’s ambassadors that I would pay ten doti. The gentlemen delegated 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 Uvinza; for they lived directly west of Uyoweh, 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 Kiala’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, considering the circumstances, came another demand for four more cloths, with a promise that we might depart in the morning, 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 haggling, 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 fundo of sami-sami beads were agreed upon. After which we marched to the ferry, distant half a mile from the scene of so much contention. The river at this place was not more than thirty yards broad, sluggish and deep; yet I would prefer attempting 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 worthwhile 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 settled at once with as much amiability as I could muster, but I warned him not to repeat it, and to prevent him from doing so ordered a man to each canoe, and to be seated there with a loaded gun in each man’s hands. After this little episode we got on very well until all the men excepting two besides Bombay and myself were safe on the other side.
We then drove a donkey into the river, having first tied a strong halter to his neck; but he had barely reached the middle of the river when a crocodile, darting beneath, seized him by the neck and dragged him under, after several frantic but ineffectual endeavors to draw him ashore. A sadness stole over all after witnessing this scene, and as the shades of night had now drawn around us, and had tinged the river to a black, dismal color, it was with a feeling of relief that the fatal river was crossed, that we all set foot ashore. In the morning the other donkey swam the river safe enough, the natives firmly declaring that they had so covered him with medicine that though the crocodiles swarmed around him they did not dare attack the animal, so potent was the medicine — for which I had to give a present, such as became a kindness. I rather incline to the belief, however, that the remaining donkey owed his safety to the desertion of the river for the banks, where they love to bask in the sun undisturbed, and as the neighborhood of the ferry was constantly disturbed they could not possibly be in the neighborhood, and the donkey consequently escaped the jaws of the crocodiles. The notes in my journal of what occurred on the following day read as follows: November 3, Friday, 1871.
Katalambula, N.N.W., 1-1/2 hours.
What talk! What excitement, so grotesque, yet so frenzied! Withal what anxiety have we suffered since we came to Uvinza! These people are worse than the Wagogo, and their greed is immeasurable. They are more noisy and intolerable, especially those who dwell close to the river. Their pride, the guide says, is because they have possession of the river, and all men have to speak them fair, pay high tribute, &c. On the northern side, though, I find the Wavinza, more amiable and more favorably disposed toward caravans, because they bring terms, and might in a pinch help them against their cruel neighbors, the Watuta. Before crossing the river a native guide, procured from the son of Nzogera, who lives on the frontier, was recognized as a spy in the service of Lokandamira, who is at war against King Nzogera. The cry for rope to bind him was quickly responded to, for every tree in their vicinity was furnished with enough strong bark to tie a dozen spies. They afterwards conveyed him to Kwi-Kuru, or the capital of Nzogera, which is situated a few miles below here, on an island well guarded by crocodiles. Lokandamira is at war with Nzogera about certain salt-pans, which must, of course, belong to the strongest party, for might is right in this world.
We set out from the banks of the river with two new guides, furnished us by the old man (Usenge is his name) of the ferry. Arriving at Isinga after traversing a saline plain, which, as we advanced into the interior, grew wonderfully fertile, we were told by the native Kirangozi that to-morrow’s march would have to be made with great caution, for Makumbi, a great warrior chief of Nzogera, was returning triumphantly from war, and it was his custom to leave nothing behind him at such times. Intoxicated with victory he attacked villages and caravans, and of whatever live stock, slaves or bales he met, he took what he liked. The results of a month’s campaign against Lokandamira were two villages captured, several men and a son of Nzogera’s enemy being killed, while Makumbi only lost three men in battle and two from bowel explosion from drinking too much water. So the Kirangozi says. “Near Isinga met a caravan of eighty Waguhha direct from Ujiji, bearing oil, and bound for Unyanyembe. They report that a white man was left by them five days ago at Ujiji. He had the same color as I have, wears the same shoes, the same clothes, and has hair on his face like I have, only his is white. This is Livingstone. Hurrah for Ujiji! My men share my joy, for we shall be coming back now directly; and, being so happy at the prospect, I buy three goats and five gallons of native beer, which will be eaten and drank directly.”
Two marches from Malagarazi brought us to Uhha. Kawanga was the first place in Uhha where we halted. It is the village where resides the first mutware, or chief, to whom caravans have to pay tribute. To this man we paid twelve and a half doti, upon the understanding that we would have to pay no more between here and Ujiji. Next morning, buoyed up by the hope that we should soon come to our journey’s end, we had arranged to make a long march of it that day. We left Kawanga cheerfully enough. The country undulated gently before us like the prairie of Nebraska, as devoid of trees almost as our own plains. The top of every wave of land enabled us to see the scores of villages which dotted its surface, though it required keen eyes to detect at a distance the beehive and straw-thatched huts from the bleached grass of the plain. We had marched an hour, probably, and were passing a large village, with populous suburbs about it, when we saw a large party pursuing us, who, when they had come up to us, asked us how we dared pass by without paying the tribute to the King of Uhha.
“We have paid it!” we said, quite astonished.
“To the Chief of Kawanga.”
“Twelve and a half doti.”
“Oh, but that is only for himself. However, you had better stop and rest at our village until we find all about it.”
But we halted in the middle of the road until the messengers they sent came back. Seeing our reluctance to halt at their village, they sent men also to Mionvu, living an arrow’s flight from where we were halted, to warn him of our contumacy. Mionvu came to us, robed most royally, after the fashion of Central Africa, in a crimson cloth, arranged toga-like over his shoulder and descending to his ankles, and a brand new piece of Massachusetts sheeting folded around his head. He greeted us graciously — he was the prince of politeness — shook hands first with myself, then with my head men, and cast a keen glance around, in order, as I thought, to measure our strength. Then seating himself, he spoke with deliberation something in this style:
“Why does the white man stand in the road? The sun is hot; let him seek the shelter of my village, where we can arrange this little matter between us. Does he not know that there is a king in Uhha, and that I, Mionvu, am his servant? It is a custom with us to make friends with great men, such as the white man. All Arabs and Wanguana stop here and give us cloth. Does the white man mean to go on without paying? Why should he desire war? I know he is stronger than we are here, his men have guns, and we have but spears and arrows; but Uhha is large, and has plenty of people. The children of the king are many. If he comes to be a friend to us he will come to our village, give us something, and then go on his way.”
The armed warriors around applauded the very commonplace speech of Mionvu because it spoke the feelings with which they viewed our bales. Certain am I, though, that one portion of his speech — that which related to our being stronger than the Wahha — was an untruth, and that he knew it, and that he only wished us to start hostilities in order that he might have good reason for seizing the whole. But it is not new to you, of course, if you have read this letter through, that the representative of the HERALD was held of small account here, and never one did I see who would care a bead for anything that you would ever publish against him. So the next time you wish me to enter Africa I only hope you will think it worthwhile to send with me 100 good men from the HERALD office to punish this audacious Mionvu, who fears neither the NEW YORK HERALD nor the “Star Spangled Banner,” be the latter ever so much spangled with stars.
I submitted to Mionvu’s proposition, and went with him to his village, where he fleeced me to his heart’s content. His demand, which he adhered to like a man who knew what he was about, was sixty doti for the King, twelve doti for himself, three for his wife, three each to three makko, or subchiefs, one to Mibruri’s little boy: total, eighty-five doti, or one good bale of cloth. Not one doti did he abate, though I talked until six p.m. from ten a.m. I went to bed that night like a man on the verge of ruin. However, Mionvu said that we would have to pay no more in Uhha.
Pursuing our way next day, after a four hours’ march, we came to Kahirigi, and quartered ourselves in a large village, governed over by Mionvu’s brother, who had already been advised by Mionvu of the windfall in store for him. This man, as soon as we had set the tent, put in a claim for thirty doti, which I was able to reduce after much eloquence, lasting over five hours, to twenty-six doti. I am short enough in relating it because I am tired of the theme; but there lives not a man in the whole United States with whom I would not gladly have exchanged positions had it been possible. I saw my fine array of bales being reduced fast. Four more such demands as Mionvu’s would leave me, in unclassic phrase, “cleaned out.”
After paying this last tribute, as it was night, I closed my tent and, lighting my pipe, began to think seriously upon my position and how to reach Ujiji without paying more tribute. It was high time to resort either to battle or to a strategy of some kind, possibly to striking into the jungle; but there was no jungle in Uhha, and a man might be seen miles off on its naked plains. At least this last was the plan most likely to succeed without endangering the prospects almost within reach of the expedition. Calling the guide, I questioned him as to its feasibility, first scolding him for leading me to such a strait. He said there was a Mguana, a slave of Thani Bin Abdullah, in the Boma, with whom I might consult. Sending for him, he presently came, and I began to ask him for how much he would guide us out of Uhha without being compelled to pay any more Muhongo. He replied that it was a hard thing to do, unless I had complete control over my men and they could be got to do exactly as I told them. When satisfied on this point he entered into an agreement to show me a road — or rather to lead me to it — that might be clear of all habitations as far as Ujiji for twelve doti, paid beforehand. The cloth was paid to him at once.
At half-past two a.m. the men were ready, and, stealing silently past the huts, the guide opened the gates, and we filed out one by one as quickly as possible. The moon was bright, and by it we perceived that we were striking across a burned plain in a southerly direction, and then turned westward, parallel with the high road, at the distance of four miles, sometimes lessening or increasing that distance as circumstances compelled us. At dawn we crossed the swift Rusizi, which flowed southward into the Malagarizi, after which we took a northwesterly direction through a thick jungle of bamboo. There was no road, and behind us we left but little trail on the hard, dry ground. At eight a.m. we halted for breakfast, having marched nearly six hours, within the jungle which stretched for miles around us.
We were only once on the point of being discovered through the mad freak of a weak-brained woman, who was the wife of one of the black soldiers. We were crossing the knee-deep Rusizi, when this woman, suddenly and without cause, took it into her head to shriek and shout as if a crocodile had bitten her. The guide implored me to stop her shrieking, or she would alarm the whole country, and we would have hundreds of angry Wahha about us. The men were already preparing to bolt — several being on the run with their loads. At my order to stop her noise, she launched into another fit of hysterical shrieking, and I was compelled to stop her cries with three or four smart cuts across her shoulders, though I felt rather ashamed of myself; but our lives and the success of the expedition was worth more, in my opinion, than a hundred of such women. As a further precaution she was gagged and her arms tied behind her, and a cord led from her waist to that of her liege lord’s, who gladly took upon himself the task of looking after her, and who threatened to cut her head off if she attempted to make another outcry.
At 10 a.m. we resumed our journey, and after three hours camped at Lake Musuma, a body of water which during the rainy season has a length of three miles and a breadth of two miles. It is one of a group of lakes which fill deep hollows in the plain of Uhha. They swarm with hippopotami, and their shores are favorite resorts of large herds of buffalo and game. The eland and buffalo especially are in large numbers here, and the elephant and rhinoceros are exceedingly numerous. We saw several of these, but did not dare to fire.
On the second morning after crossing the Sunuzzi and Rugufu Rivers, we had just started from our camp, and as there was no moonlight the head of the column came to a village, whose inhabitants, as we heard a few voices, were about starting. We were all struck with consternation, but, consulting with the guide, we dispatched our goats and chickens, and leaving them in the road faced about, retraced our steps, and after a quarter of an hour struck up a ravine, and descending several precipitous places, about half-past six o’clock found ourselves in Ukaranga — safe and free from all tribute taking Wahha.
Exultant shouts were given — equivalent to the Anglo-Saxon hurrah — upon our success. Addressing the men, I asked them, “Why should we halt when but a few hours from Ujiji? Let us march a few hours more and to-morrow we shall see the white man at Ujiji, and who knows but this may be the man we are seeking? Let us go on, and after to-morrow we shall have fish for dinner and many days’ rest afterwards, every day eating the fish of the Tanganyika. Stop; I think I smell the Tanganyika fish even now.” This speech was hailed with what the newspapers call “loud applause; great cheering,” and “Ngema — very well, master;” “Hyah Barak-Allah — Onward, and the blessing of God be on you.”
We strode from the frontier at the rate of four miles an hour, and, after six hours’ march the tired caravan entered the woods which separate the residence of the Chief of Ukaranga from the villages on the Mkuti River. As we drew near the village we went slower, unfurled the American and Zanzibar flags, presenting quite an imposing array. When we came in sight of Nyamtaga, the name of the Sultan’s residence, and our flags and numerous guns were seen, the Wakaranga and their Sultan deserted the village en masse , and rushed into the woods, believing that we were Mirambo’s robbers, who, after destroying Unyanyembe, were come to destroy the Arabs and bunder of Ujiji; but he and his people were soon reassured, and came forward to welcome us with presents of goats and beer, all of which were very welcome after the exceedingly lengthy marches we had recently undertaken.
Rising at early dawn our new clothes were brought forth again that we might present as decent an appearance as possible before the Arabs of Ujiji, and my helmet was well chalked and a new puggeree folded around it, my boots were well oiled and my white flannels put on, and altogether, without joking, I might have paraded the streets of Bombay without attracting any very great attention.
A couple of hours brought us to the base of a hill, from the top of which the Kirangozi said we could obtain a view of the great Tanganyika Lake. Heedless of the rough path or of the toilsome steep, spurred onward by the cheery promise, the ascent was performed in a short time. On arriving at the top we beheld it at last from the spot whence, probably. Burton and Speke looked at it — “the one in a half paralyzed state, the other almost blind.” Indeed, I was pleased at the sight; and, as we descended, it opened more and more into view until it was revealed at last into a grand inland sea, bounded westward by an appalling and black-blue range of mountains, and stretching north and south without bounds, a gray expanse of water.
From the western base of the hill was a three hours’ march, though no march ever passed off so quickly. The hours seemed to have been quarters, we had seen so much that was novel and rare to us who had been travelling so long on the highlands. The mountains bounding the lake on the eastward receded and the lake advanced. We had crossed the Ruche, or Liuche, and its thick belt of tall matete grass. We had plunged into a perfect forest of them, and had entered into the cultivated fields which supply the port of Ujiji with vegetables, & c., and we stood at last on the summit of the last hill of the myriads we had crossed, and the port of Ujiji, embowered in palms, with the tiny waves of the silver waters of the Tanganyika rolling at its feet, was directly below us.
We are now about descending — in a few minutes we shall have reached the spot where we imagine the object of our search — our fate will soon be decided. No one in that town knows we are coming; least of all do they know we are so close to them. If any of them ever heard of the white man at Unyanyembe they must believe we are there yet. We shall take them all by surprise, for no other but a white man would dare leave Unyanyembe for Ujiji with the country in such a distracted state — no other but a crazy white man, whom Sheik, the son of Nasib, is going to report to Syed or Prince Burghash for not taking his advice.
Well, we are but a mile from Ujiji now, and it is high time we should let them know a caravan is coming; so “Commence firing” is the word passed along the length of the column, and gladly do they begin. They have loaded their muskets half full, and they roar like the broadside of a line-of -battle ship. Down go the ramrods, sending huge charges home to the breech, and volley after volley is fired. The flags are fluttered; the banner of America is in front waving joyfully; the guide is in the zenith of his glory. The former residents of Zanzibar will know it directly, and will wonder — as well they may — as to what it means. Never were the Stars and Stripes so beautiful to my mind — the breeze of the Tanganyika has such an effect on them. The guide blows his horn, and the shrill, wild clangor of it is far and near; and still the cannon muskets tell the noisy seconds. By this time the Arabs are fully alarmed; the natives of Ujiji, Waguhha, Warundi, Wanguana, and I know not whom, hurry up by the hundreds to ask what it all means — this fusilading, shouting and blowing of horns and flag-flying. There are Yambos shouted out to me by the dozen, and delighted Arabs have run up breathlessly to shake my hands and ask anxiously where I came from. But I have no patience with them. The expedition goes far too slow. I should like to settle the vexed question by one personal view. Where is he? Has he fled?
Suddenly a man — a black man — at my elbow shouts in English, “How do you, sir?”
“Hello! who the deuce are you?”
“I am the servant of Dr. Livingstone,” he says; but before I can ask any more questions he is running like a madman towards the town.
We have at last entered the town. There are hundreds of people around me — I might say thousands without exaggeration, it seems to me. It is a grand triumphal procession. As we move they move. All eyes are drawn towards us. The expedition at last comes to a halt; the journey is ended for a time; but I alone have a few more steps to make.
There is a group of the most respectable Arabs, and as I come nearer I see the white face of an old man among them. He has a cap with a gold band around it, his dress is a short jacket of red blanket cloth, and his pants — well, I didn’t observe. I am shaking hands with him. We raise our hats, and I say:
“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
And he says, “Yes.”
Finis coronat opus.
(Source: “Stanley’s Despatches to the New York Herald,” Archive.org)