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A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone's Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries: And of the Discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa (1858-1864)

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asked if he was not afraid of perishing from cold; but, with the
genuine spirit of an Italian organ-grinder, he replied, "Oh, no; I
shall spend the night with my white comrades in the big canoe; I have
often heard of the white men, but have never seen them till now, and
I must sing and play well to them." A small piece of cloth, however,
bought him off, and he moved away in good humour. The water of the
river was 70 degrees at sunrise, which was 23 degrees warmer than the
air at the same time, and this caused fogs, which rose like steam off
the river. When this is the case cold bathing in the mornings at
this time of the year is improper, for, instead of a glow on coming
out, one is apt to get a chill; the air being so much colder than the

A range of hills, commencing opposite Senna, comes to within two or
three miles of Mboma village, and then runs in a north-westerly
direction; the principal hill is named Malawe; a number of villages
stand on its tree-covered sides, and coal is found cropping out in
the rocks. The country improves as we ascend, the rich valley
becoming less swampy, and adorned with a number of trees.

Both banks are dotted with hippopotamus traps, over every track which
these animals have made in going up out of the water to graze. The
hippopotamus feeds on grass alone, and, where there is any danger,
only at night. Its enormous lips act like a mowing-machine, and form
a path of short-cropped grass as it feeds. We never saw it eat
aquatic plants or reeds. The tusks seem weapons of both offence and
defence. The hippopotamus trap consists of a beam five or six feet
long, armed with a spear-head or hard-wood spike, covered with
poison, and suspended to a forked pole by a cord, which, coming down
to the path, is held by a catch, to be set free when the beast treads
on it. Being wary brutes, they are still very numerous. One got
frightened by the ship, as she was steaming close to the bank. In
its eager hurry to escape it rushed on shore, and ran directly under
a trap, when down came the heavy beam on its back, driving the
poisoned spear-head a foot deep into its flesh. In its agony it
plunged back into the river, to die in a few hours, and afterwards
furnished a feast for the natives. The poison on the spear-head does
not affect the meat, except the part around the wound, and that is
thrown away. In some places the descending beam is weighted with
heavy stones, but here the hard heavy wood is sufficient.

"She is leaking worse than ever forward, sir, and there is a foot of
water in the hold," was our first salutation on the morning of the
20th. But we have become accustomed to these things now; the cabin-
floor is always wet, and one is obliged to mop up the water many
times a day, giving some countenance to the native idea that
Englishmen live in or on the water, and have no houses but ships.
The cabin is now a favourite breeding-place for mosquitoes, and we
have to support both the ship-bred and shore-bred bloodsuckers, of
which several species show us their irritating attentions. A large
brown sort, called by the Portuguese mansos (tame), flies straight to
its victim, and goes to work at once, as though it were an invited
guest. Some of the small kinds carry uncommonly sharp lancets, and
very potent poison. "What would these insects eat, if we did not
pass this way?" becomes a natural question.

The juices of plants, and decaying vegetable matter in the mud,
probably form the natural food of mosquitoes, and blood is not
necessary for their existence. They appear so commonly at malarious
spots, that their presence may be taken as a hint to man to be off to
more healthy localities. None appear on the high lands. On the low
lands they swarm in myriads. The females alone are furnished with
the biting apparatus, and their number appears to be out of all
proportion in excess of the males. At anchor, on a still evening,
they were excessively annoying; and the sooner we took refuge under
our mosquito curtains, the better. The miserable and sleepless night
that only one mosquito inside the curtain can cause, is so well
known, and has been so often described, that it is needless to
describe it here. One soon learns, from experience, that to beat out
the curtains thoroughly before entering them, so that not one of
these pests can possibly be harboured within, is the only safeguard
against such severe trials to one's tranquillity and temper.

A few miles above Mboma we came again to the village (16 degrees 44
minutes 30 seconds S.) of the chief Tingane, the beat of whose war-
drums can speedily muster some hundreds of armed men. The bows and
poisoned arrows here are of superior workmanship to those below.
Mariano's slave-hunting parties stood in great awe of these barbed
arrows, and long kept aloof from Tingane's villages. His people were
friendly enough with us now, and covered the banks with a variety of
articles for sale. The majestic mountain, Chipirone, to which we
have given the name of Mount Clarendon, now looms in sight, and
further to the N.W. the southern end of the grand Milanje range rises
in the form of an unfinished sphinx looking down on Lake Shirwa. The
Ruo (16 degrees 31 minutes 0 seconds S.) is said to have its source
in the Milanje mountains, and flows to the S.W., to join the Shire
some distance above Tingane's. A short way beyond the Ruo lies the
Elephant marsh, or Nyanja Mukulu, which is frequented by vast herds
of these animals. We believe that we counted eight hundred elephants
in sight at once. In the choice of such a strong hold, they have
shown their usual sagacity, for no hunter can get near them through
the swamps. They now keep far from the steamer; but, when she first
came up, we steamed into the midst of a herd, and some were shot from
the ship's deck. A single lesson was sufficient to teach them that
the steamer was a thing to be avoided; and at the first glimpse they
are now off two or three miles to the midst of the marsh, which is
furrowed in every direction by wandering branches of the Shire. A
fine young elephant was here caught alive, as he was climbing up the
bank to follow his retreating dam. When laid hold of, he screamed
with so much energy that, to escape a visit from the enraged mother,
we steamed off, and dragged him through the water by the proboscis.
As the men were holding his trunk over the gunwale, Monga, a brave
Makololo elephant-hunter, rushed aft, and drew his knife across it in
a sort of frenzy peculiar to the chase. The wound was skilfully sewn
up, and the young animal soon became quite tame, but, unfortunately
the breathing prevented the cut from healing, and he died in a few
days from loss of blood. Had he lived, and had we been able to bring
him home, he would have been the first AFRICAN elephant ever seen in
England. The African male elephant is from ten to a little over
eleven feet in height, and differs from the Asiatic species more
particularly in the convex shape of his forehead, and the enormous
size of his ears. In Asia many of the males, and all the females,
are without tusks, but in Africa both sexes are provided with these
weapons. The enamel in the molar teeth is arranged differently in
the two species. By an admirable provision, new teeth constantly
come up at the part where in man the wisdom teeth appear, and these
push the others along, and out at the front end of the jaws, thus
keeping the molars sound by renewal, till the animal attains a very
great age. The tusks of animals from dry rocky countries are very
munch more dense and heavier than those from wet and marshy
districts, but the latter attain much the larger size.

The Shire marshes support prodigious numbers of many kinds of water-
fowl. An hour at the mast-head unfolds novel views of life in an
African marsh. Near the edge, and on the branches of some favourite
tree, rest scores of plotuses and cormorants, which stretch their
snake-like necks, and in mute amazement turn one eye and then another
towards the approaching monster. By and-by the timid ones begin to
fly off, or take "headers" into the stream; but a few of the bolder,
or more composed, remain, only taking the precaution to spread their
wings ready for instant flight. The pretty ardetta (Herodias
bubulcus), of a light yellow colour when at rest, but seemingly of a
pure white when flying, takes wing, and sweeps across the green grass
in large numbers, often showing us where buffaloes and elephants are,
by perching on their backs. Flocks of ducks, of which the kind
called "Soriri" (Dendrocygna personata) is most abundant, being night
feeders, meditate quietly by the small lagoons, until startled by the
noise of the steam machinery. Pelicans glide over the water,
catching fish, while the Scopus (Scopus umbretta) and large herons
peer intently into pools. The large black and white spur-winged
goose (a constant marauder of native gardens) springs up, and circles
round to find out what the disturbance can be, and then settles down
again with a splash. Hundreds of Linongolos (Anastomus lamelligerus)
rise on the wing from the clumps of reeds, or low trees (the
Eschinomena, from which pith hats are made), on which they build in
colonies, and are speedily high in mid-air. Charming little red and
yellow weavers (Ploceidae) remind one of butterflies, as they fly in
and out of the tall grass, or hang to the mouths of their pendent
nests, chattering briskly to their mates within. These weavers seem
to have "cock nests," built with only a roof, and a perch beneath,
with a doorway on each side. The natives say they are made to
protect the bird from the rain. Though her husband is very
attentive, we have seen the hen bird tearing her mate's nest to
pieces, but why we cannot tell. Kites and vultures are busy
overhead, beating the ground for their repast of carrion; and the
solemn-looking, stately-stepping Marabout, with a taste for dead
fish, or men, stalks slowly along the almost stagnant channels.
Groups of men and boys are searching diligently in various places for
lotus and other roots. Some are standing in canoes, on the weed-
covered ponds, spearing fish, while others are punting over the small
intersecting streams, to examine their sunken fish-baskets.

Towards evening, hundreds of pretty little hawks (Erythropus
vespertinus) are seen flying in a southerly direction, and feeding on
dragon-flies and locusts. They come, apparently, from resting on the
palm-trees during the heat of the day. Flocks of scissor-bills
(Rhyncops) are then also on the wing, and in search of food,
ploughing the water with their lower mandibles, which are nearly half
an inch longer than the upper ones.

At the north-eastern end of the marsh, and about three miles from the
river, commences a great forest of palm-trees (Borassus Aethiopium).
It extends many miles, and at one point comes close to the river.
The grey trunks and green tops of this immense mass of trees give a
pleasing tone of colour to the view. The mountain-range, which rises
close behind the palms, is generally of a cheerful green, and has
many trees, with patches of a lighter tint among them, as if spots of
land had once been cultivated. The sharp angular rocks and dells on
its sides have the appearance of a huge crystal broken; and this is
so often the case in Africa, that one can guess pretty nearly at
sight whether a range is of the old crystalline rocks or not. The
Borassus, though not an oil-bearing palm, is a useful tree. The
fibrous pulp round the large nuts is of a sweet fruity taste, and is
eaten by men and elephants. The natives bury the nuts until the
kernels begin to sprout; when dug up and broken, the inside resembles
coarse potatoes, and is prized in times of scarcity as nutritious
food. During several months of the year, palm-wine, or sura, is
obtained in large quantities; when fresh, it is a pleasant drink,
somewhat like champagne, and not at all intoxicating; though, after
standing a few hours, it becomes highly so. Sticks, a foot long, are
driven into notches in the hard outside of the tree--the inside being
soft or hollow--to serve as a ladder; the top of the fruit-shoot is
cut off, and the sap, pouring out at the fresh wound, is caught in an
earthen pot, which is hung at the point. A thin slice is taken off
the end, to open the pores, and make the juice flow every time the
owner ascends to empty the pot. Temporary huts are erected in the
forest, and men and boys remain by their respective trees day and
night; the nuts, fish, and wine, being their sole food. The
Portuguese use the palm-wine as yeast, and it makes bread so light,
that it melts in the mouth like froth.

Beyond the marsh the country is higher, and has a much larger
population. We passed a long line of temporary huts, on a plain on
the right bank, with crowds of men and women hard at work making
salt. They obtain it by mixing the earth, which is here highly
saline, with water, in a pot with a small hole in it, and then
evaporating the liquid, which runs through, in the sun. From the
number of women we saw carrying it off in bags, we concluded that
vast quantities must be made at these works. It is worth observing
that on soils like this, containing salt, the cotton is of larger and
finer staple than elsewhere. We saw large tracts of this rich
brackish soil both in the Shire and Zambesi valleys, and hence,
probably, sea-island cotton would do well; a single plant of it,
reared by Major Sicard, flourished and produced the long staple and
peculiar tinge of this celebrated variety, though planted only in the
street at Tette; and there also a salt efflorescence appears,
probably from decomposition of the rock, off which the people scrape
it for use.

The large village of the chief, Mankokwe, occupies a site on the
right bank; he owns a number of fertile islands, and is said to be
the Rundo, or paramount chief, of a large district. Being of an
unhappy suspicious disposition, he would not see us; so we thought it
best to move on, rather than spend time in seeking his favour.

On the 25th August we reached Dakanamoio island, opposite the
perpendicular bluff on which Chibisa's village stands; he had gone,
with most of his people, to live near the Zambesi, but his headman
was civil, and promised us guides and whatever else we needed. A few
of the men were busy cleaning, sorting, spinning, and weaving cotton.
This is a common sight in nearly every village, and each family
appears to have its patch of cotton, as our own ancestors in Scotland
had each his patch of flax. Near sunset an immense flock of the
large species of horn-bill (Buceros cristatus) came here to roost on
the great trees which skirt the edge of the cliff. They leave early
in the morning, often before sunrise, for their feeding-places,
coming and going in pairs. They are evidently of a loving
disposition, and strongly attached to each other, the male always
nestling close beside his mate. A fine male fell to the ground, from
fear, at the report of Dr. Kirk's gun; it was caught and kept on
board; the female did not go off in the mornings to feed with the
others, but flew round the ship, anxiously trying, by her plaintive
calls, to induce her beloved one to follow her: she came again in
the evenings to repeat the invitations. The poor disconsolate
captive soon refused to eat, and in five days died of grief, because
he could not have her company. No internal injury could be detected
after death.

Chibisa and his wife, with a natural show of parental feeling, had
told the Doctor, on his previous visit, that a few years before some
of Chisaka's men had kidnapped and sold their little daughter, and
that she was now a slave to the padre at Tette. On his return to
Tette, the Doctor tried hard to ransom and restore the girl to her
parents, and offered twice the value of a slave; the padre seemed
willing, but she could not be found. This padre was better than the
average men of the country; and, being always civil and obliging,
would probably have restored her gratuitously, but she had been sold,
it might be to the distant tribe Bazizulu, or he could not tell
where. Custom had rendered his feelings callous, and Chibisa had to
be told that his child would never return. It is this callous state
of mind which leads some of our own blood to quote Scripture in
support of slavery. If we could afford to take a backward step in
civilization, we might find men among ourselves who would in like
manner prove Mormonism or any other enormity to be divine.

We left the ship on the 28th of August, 1859, for the discovery of
Lake Nyassa. Our party numbered forty-two in all--four whites,
thirty-six Makololo, and two guides. We did not actually need so
many, either for carriage or defence; but took them because we
believed that, human nature being everywhere the same, blacks are as
ready as whites to take advantage of the weak, and are as civil and
respectful to the powerful. We armed our men with muskets, which
gave us influence, although it did not add much to our strength, as
most of the men had never drawn a trigger, and in any conflict would
in all probability have been more dangerous to us than the enemy.

Our path crossed the valley, in a north-easterly direction, up the
course of a beautiful flowing stream. Many of the gardens had
excellent cotton growing in them. An hour's march brought us to the
foot of the Manganja hills, up which lay the toilsome road. The
vegetation soon changed; as we rose bamboos appeared, and new trees
and plants were met with, which gave such incessant employment to Dr.
Kirk, that he travelled the distance three times over. Remarkably
fine trees, one of which has oil-yielding seeds, and belongs to the
mahogany family, grow well in the hollows along the rivulet courses.
The ascent became very fatiguing, and we were glad of a rest.
Looking back from an elevation of a thousand feet, we beheld a lovely
prospect. The eye takes in at a glance the valley beneath, and the
many windings of its silver stream Makubula, or Kubvula, from the
shady hill-side, where it emerges in foaming haste, to where it
slowly glides into the tranquil Shire; then the Shire itself is seen
for many a mile above and below Chibisa's, and the great level
country beyond, with its numerous green woods; until the prospect,
west and north-west, is bounded far away by masses of peaked and
dome-shaped blue mountains, that fringe the highlands of the Maravi

After a weary march we halted at Makolongwi, the village of Chitimba.
It stands in a woody hollow on the first of the three terraces of the
Manganja hills, and, like all other Manganja villages, is surrounded
by an impenetrable hedge of poisonous euphorbia. This tree casts a
deep shade, which would render it difficult for bowmen to take aim at
the villagers inside. The grass does not grow beneath it, and this
may be the reason why it is so universally used, for when dry the
grass would readily convey fire to the huts inside; moreover, the
hedge acts as a fender to all flying sparks. As strangers are wont
to do, we sat down under some fine trees near the entrance of the
village. A couple of mats, made of split reeds, were spread for the
white men to sit on; and the headman brought a seguati, or present,
of a small goat and a basket of meal. The full value in beads and
cotton cloth was handed to him in return. He measured the cloth,
doubled it, and then measured that again. The beads were
scrutinized; he had never seen beads of that colour before, and
should like to consult with his comrades before accepting them, and
this, after repeated examinations and much anxious talk, he concluded
to do. Meal and peas were then brought for sale. A fathom of blue
cotton cloth, a full dress for man or woman, was produced. Our
Makololo headman, Sininyane, thinking a part of it was enough for the
meal, was proceeding to tear it, when Chitimba remarked that it was a
pity to cut such a nice dress for his wife, he would rather bring
more meal. "All right," said Sininyane; "but look, the cloth is very
wide, so see that the basket which carries the meal be wide too, and
add a cock to make the meal taste nicely." A brisk trade sprang up
at once, each being eager to obtain as fine things as his neighbour,-
-and all were in good humour. Women and girls began to pound and
grind meal, and men and boys chased the screaming fowls over the
village, until they ran them down. In a few hours the market was
completely glutted with every sort of native food; the prices,
however, rarely fell, as they could easily eat what was not sold.

We slept under the trees, the air being pheasant, and no mosquitoes
on the hills. According to our usual plan of marching, by early dawn
our camp was in motion. After a cup of coffee and a bit of biscuit
we were on the way. The air was deliciously cool, and the path a
little easier than that of yesterday. We passed a number of
villages, occupying very picturesque spots among the hills, and in a
few hours gained the upper terrace, 3000 feet above the level of the
sea. The plateau lies west of the Milanje mountains, and its north-
eastern border slopes down to Lake Shirwa. We were all charmed with
the splendid country, and looked with never-failing delight on its
fertile plains, its numerous hills, and majestic mountains. In some
of the passes we saw bramble-berries growing; and the many other
flowers, though of great beauty, did not remind us of youth and of
home like the ungainly thorny bramble-bushes. We were a week in
crossing the high-lands in a northerly direction; then we descended
into the Upper Shire Valley, which is nearly 1200 feet above the
level of the sea. This valley is wonderfully fertile, and supports a
large population. After leaving the somewhat flat-topped southern
portion, the most prominent mountain of the Zomba range is Njongone,
which has a fine stream running past its northern base. We were
detained at the end of the chain some days by one of our companions
being laid up with fever. One night we were suddenly aroused by
buffaloes rushing close by the sick-bed. We were encamped by a wood
on the border of a marsh, but our patient soon recovered,
notwithstanding the unfavourable situation, and the poor

The Manganja country is delightfully well watered. The clear, cool,
gushing streams are very numerous. Once we passed seven fine brooks
and a spring in a single hour, and this, too, near the close of the
dry season. Mount Zomba, which is twenty miles long, and from 7000
to 8000 feet high, has a beautiful stream flowing through a verdant
valley on its summit, and running away down into Lake Shirwa. The
highlands are well wooded, and many trees, admirable for their height
and timber, grow on the various watercourses. "Is this country good
for cattle?" we inquired of a Makololo herdsman, whose occupation had
given him skill in pasturage. "Truly," he replied, "do you not see
abundance of those grasses which the cattle love, and get fat upon?"
Yet the people have but few goats, and fewer sheep. With the
exception of an occasional leopard, there are no beasts of prey to
disturb domestic animals. Wool-sheep would, without doubt, thrive on
these highlands. Part of the Upper Shire valley has a lady
paramount, named Nyango; and in her dominions women rank higher and
receive more respectful treatment than their sisters on the hills.

The hill chief, Mongazi, called his wife to take charge of a present
we had given him. She dropped down on her knees, clapping her hands
in reverence, before and after receiving our presents from his lordly
hands. It was painful to see the abject manner in which the women of
the hill tribes knelt beside the path as we passed; but a great
difference took place when we got into Nyango's country.

On entering a village, we proceeded, as all strangers do, at once to
the Boalo: mats of split reeds or bamboo were usually spread for us
to sit on. Our guides then told the men who might be there, who we
were, whence we had come, whither we wanted to go, and what were our
objects. This information was duly carried to the chief, who, if a
sensible man, came at once; but, if he happened to be timid and
suspicious, waited until he had used divination, and his warriors had
time to come in from outlying hamlets. When he makes his appearance,
all the people begin to clap their hands in unison, and continue
doing so till he sits down opposite to us. His counsellors take
their places beside him. He makes a remark or two, and is then
silent for a few seconds. Our guides then sit down in front of the
chief and his counsellors, and both parties lean forward, looking
earnestly at each other; the chief repeats a word, such as "Ambuiatu"
(our Father, or master)--or "moio" (life), and all clap their hands.
Another word is followed by two claps, a third by still more
clapping, when each touches the ground with both hands placed
together. Then all rise and lean forward with measured clap, and sit
down again with clap, clap, clap, fainter, and still fainter, till
the last dies away, or is brought to an end by a smart loud clap from
the chief. They keep perfect time in this species of court
etiquette. Our guides now tell the chief, often in blank verse, all
they have already told his people, with the addition perhaps of their
own suspicions of the visitors. He asks some questions, and then
converses with us through the guides. Direct communication between
the chief and the head of the stranger party is not customary. In
approaching they often ask who is the spokesman, and the spokesman of
the chief addresses the person indicated exclusively. There is no
lack of punctilious good manners. The accustomed presents are
exchanged with civil ceremoniousness; until our men, wearied and
hungry, call out, "English do not buy slaves, they buy food," and
then the people bring meal, maize, fowls, batatas, yams, beans, beer,
for sale.

The Manganja are an industrious race; and in addition to working in
iron, cotton, and basket-making, they cultivate the soil extensively.
All the people of a village turn out to labour in the fields. It is
no uncommon thing to see men, women, and children hard at work, with
the baby lying close by beneath a shady bush. When a new piece of
woodland is to be cleared, they proceed exactly as farmers do in
America. The trees are cut down with their little axes of soft
native iron; trunks and branches are piled up and burnt, and the
ashes spread on the soil. The corn is planted among the standing
stumps which are left to rot. If grass land is to be brought under
cultivation, as much tall grass as the labourer can conveniently lay
hold of is collected together and tied into a knot. He then strikes
his hoe round the tufts to sever the roots, and leaving all standing,
proceeds until the whole ground assumes the appearance of a field
covered with little shocks of corn in harvest. A short time before
the rains begin, these grass shocks are collected in small heaps,
covered with earth, and burnt, the ashes and burnt soil being used to
fertilize the ground. Large crops of the mapira, or Egyptian dura
(Holcus sorghum), are raised, with millet, beans, and ground-nuts;
also patches of yams, rice, pumpkins, cucumbers, cassava, sweet
potatoes, tobacco, and hemp, or bang (Cannabis setiva). Maize is
grown all the year round. Cotton is cultivated at almost every
village. Three varieties of cotton have been found in the country,
namely, two foreign and one native. The "tonje manga," or foreign
cotton, the name showing that it has been introduced, is of excellent
quality, and considered at Manchester to be nearly equal to the best
New Orleans. It is perennial, but requires replanting once in three
years. A considerable amount of this variety is grown in the Upper
and Lower Shire valleys. Every family of any importance owns a
cotton patch which, from the entire absence of weeds, seemed to be
carefully cultivated. Most were small, none seen on this journey
exceeding half an acre; but on the former trip some were observed of
more than twice that size.

The "tonje cadja," or indigenous cotton, is of shorter staple, and
feels in the hand like wool. This kind has to be planted every
season in the highlands; yet, because it makes stronger cloth, many
of the people prefer it to the foreign cotton; the third variety is
not found here. It was remarked to a number of men near the Shire
Lakelet, a little further on towards Nyassa, "You should plant plenty
of cotton, and probably the English will come and buy it." "Truly,"
replied a far-travelled Babisa trader to his fellows, "the country is
full of cotton, and if these people come to buy they will enrich us."
Our own observation on the cotton cultivated convinced us that this
was no empty flourish, but a fact. Everywhere we met with it, and
scarcely ever entered a village without finding a number of men
cleaning, spinning, and weaving. It is first carefully separated
from the seed by the fingers, or by an iron roller, on a little block
of wood, and rove out into long soft bands without twist. Then it
receives its first twist on the spindle, and becomes about the
thickness of coarse candlewick; after being taken off and wound into
a large ball, it is given the final hard twist, and spun into a firm
cop on the spindle again: all the processes being painfully slow.

Iron ore is dug out of the hills, and its manufacture is the staple
trade of the southern highlands. Each village has its smelting-
house, its charcoal-burners, and blacksmiths. They make good axes,
spears, needles, arrowheads, bracelets and anklets, which,
considering the entire absence of machinery, are sold at surprisingly
low rates; a hoe over two pounds in weight is exchanged for calico of
about the value of fourpence. In villages near Lake Shirwa and
elsewhere, the inhabitants enter pretty largely into the manufacture
of crockery, or pottery, making by hand all sorts of cooking, water,
and grain pots, which they ornament with plumbago found in the hills.
Some find employment in weaving neat baskets from split bamboos, and
others collect the fibre of the buaze, which grows abundantly on the
hills, and make it into fish-nets. These they either use themselves,
or exchange with the fishermen on the river or lakes for dried fish
and salt. A great deal of native trade is carried on between the
villages, by means of barter in tobacco, salt, dried fish, skins, and
iron. Many of the men are intelligent-looking, with well-shaped
heads, agreeable faces, and high foreheads. We soon learned to
forget colour, and we frequently saw countenances resembling those of
white people we had known in England, which brought back the looks of
forgotten ones vividly before the mind. The men take a good deal of
pride in the arrangement of their hair; the varieties of style are
endless. One trains his long locks till they take the admired form
of the buffalo's horns; others prefer to let their hair hang in a
thick coil down their backs, like that animal's tail; while another
wears it in twisted cords, which, stiffened by fillets of the inner
bark of a tree wound spirally round each curl, radiate from the head
in all directions. Some have it hanging all round the shoulders in
large masses; others shave it off altogether. Many shave part of it
into ornamental figures, in which the fancy of the barber crops out
conspicuously. About as many dandies run to seed among the blacks as
among the whites. The Man ganja adorn their bodies extravagantly,
wearing rings on their fingers and thumbs, besides throatlets,
bracelets, and anklets of brass, copper, or iron. But the most
wonderful of ornaments, if such it may be called, is the pelele, or
upper-lip ring of the women. The middle of the upper lip of the
girls is pierced close to the septum of the nose, and a small pin
inserted to prevent the puncture closing up. After it has healed,
the pin is taken out and a larger one is pressed into its place, and
so on successively for weeks, and months, and years. The process of
increasing the size of the lip goes on till its capacity becomes so
great that a ring of two inches diameter can be introduced with ease.
All the highland women wear the pelele, and it is common on the Upper
and Lower Shire. The poorer classes make them of hollow or of solid
bamboo, but the wealthier of ivory or tin. The tin pelele is often
made in the form of a small dish. The ivory one is not unlike a
napkin-ring. No woman ever appears in public without the pelele,
except in times of mourning for the dead. It is frightfully ugly to
see the upper lip projecting two inches beyond the tip of the nose.
When an old wearer of a hollow bamboo ring smiles, by the action of
the muscles of the cheeks, the ring and lip outside it are dragged
back and thrown above the eyebrows. The nose is seen through the
middle of the ring, amid the exposed teeth show how carefully they
have been chipped to look like those of a cat or crocodile. The
pelele of an old lady, Chikanda Kadze, a chieftainess, about twenty
miles north of Morambala, hung down below her chin, with, of course,
a piece of the upper lip around its border. The labial letters
cannot be properly pronounced, but the under lip has to do its best
for them, against the upper teeth and gum. Tell them it makes them
ugly; they had better throw it away; they reply, "Kodi! Really! it
is the fashion." How this hideous fashion originated is an enigma.
Can thick lips ever have been thought beautiful, and this mode of
artificial enlargement resorted to in consequence? The constant
twiddling of the pelele with the tongue by the younger women
suggested the irreverent idea that it might have been invented to
give safe employment to that little member. "Why do the women wear
these things?" we inquired of the old chief, Chinsunse. Evidently
surprised at such a stupid question, he replied, "For beauty, to be
sure! Men have beards and whiskers; women have none; and what kind
of creature would a woman be without whiskers, and without the
pelele? She would have a mouth like a man, and no beard; ha! ha!
ha!" Afterwards on the Rovuma, we found men wearing the pelele, as
well as women. An idea suggested itself on seeing the effects of the
slight but constant pressure exerted on the upper gum and front
teeth, of which our medical brethren will judge the value. In many
cases the upper front teeth, instead of the natural curve outwards,
which the row presents, had been pressed so as to appear as if the
line of alveoli in which they were planted had an inward curve. As
this was produced by the slight pressure of the pelele backwards,
persons with too prominent teeth might by slight, but long-continued
pressure, by some appliance only as elastic as the lip, have the
upper gum and teeth depressed, especially in youth, more easily than
is usually imagined. The pressure should be applied to the upper gum
more than to the teeth.

The Manganja are not a sober people: they brew large quantities of
beer, and like it well. Having no hops, or other means of checking
fermentation, they are obliged to drink the whole brew in a few days,
or it becomes unfit for use. Great merry-makings take place on these
occasions, and drinking, drumming, and dancing continue day and
night, till the beer is gone. In crossing the hills we sometimes
found whole villages enjoying this kind of mirth. The veteran
traveller of the party remarked, that he had not seen so much
drunkenness during all the sixteen years he had spent in Africa. As
we entered a village one afternoon, not a man was to be seen; but
some women were drinking beer under a tree. In a few moments the
native doctor, one of the innocents, "nobody's enemy but his own,"
staggered out of a hut, with his cupping-horn dangling from his neck,
and began to scold us for a breach of etiquette. "Is this the way to
come into a man's village, without sending him word that you are
coming?" Our men soon pacified the fuddled but good-humoured medico,
who, entering his beer-cellar, called on two of them to help him to
carry out a huge pot of beer, which he generously presented to us.
While the "medical practitioner" was thus hospitably employed, the
chief awoke in a fright, and shouted to the women to run away, or
they would all be killed. The ladies laughed at the idea of their
being able to run away, and remained beside the beer-pots. We
selected a spot for our camp, our men cooked the dinner as usual, and
we were quietly eating it, when scores of armed men, streaming with
perspiration, came pouring into the village. They looked at us, then
at each other, and turning to the chief upbraided him for so
needlessly sending for them. "These people are peaceable; they do
not hurt you; you are killed with beer:" so saying, they returned to
their homes.

Native beer has a pinkish colour, and the consistency of gruel. The
grain is made to vegetate, dried in the sun, pounded into meal, and
gently boiled. When only a day or two old, the beer is sweet, with a
slight degree of acidity, which renders it a most grateful beverage
in a hot climate, or when fever begets a sore craving for acid
drinks. A single draught of it satisfies this craving at once. Only
by deep and long-continued potations can intoxication be produced:
the grain being in a minutely divided state, it is a good way of
consuming it, and the decoction is very nutritious. At Tette a
measure of beer is exchanged for an equal-sized pot full of grain. A
present of this beer, so refreshing to our dark comrades, was brought
to us in nearly every village. Beer-drinking does not appear to
produce any disease, or to shorten life on the hills. Never before
did we see so many old, grey-headed men and women; leaning on their
staves they came with the others to see the white men. The aged
chief, Muata Manga, could hardly have been less than ninety years of
age; his venerable appearance struck the Makololo. "He is an old
man," said they, "a very old man; his skin hangs in wrinkles, just
like that on elephants' hips." "Did you never," he was asked, "have
a fit of travelling come over you; a desire to see other lands and
people?" No, he had never felt that, and had never been far from
home in his life. For long life they are not indebted to frequent
ablutions. An old man told us that he remembered to have washed once
in his life, but it was so long since that he had forgotten how it
felt. "Why do you wash?" asked Chinsunse's women of the Makololo;
"our men never do."

The superstitious ordeal, by drinking the poisonous muave, obtains
credit here; and when a person is suspected of crime, this ordeal is
resorted to. If the stomach rejects the poison, the accused is
pronounced innocent; but if it is retained, guilt is believed to be
demonstrated. Their faith is so firm in its discriminating power,
that the supposed criminal offers of his own accord to drink it, and
even chiefs are not exempted. Chibisa, relying on its efficacy,
drank it several times, in order to vindicate his character. When
asserting that all his wars had been just, it was hinted that, as
every chief had the same tale of innocence to tell, we ought to
suspend our judgment. "If you doubt my word," said he, "give me the
muave to drink." A chief at the foot of Mount Zomba successfully
went through the ordeal the day we reached his village; and his
people manifested their joy at his deliverance by drinking beer,
dancing, and drumming for two days and nights. It is possible that
the native doctor, who mixes the ingredients of the poisoned bowl,
may be able to save those whom he considers innocent; but it is
difficult to get the natives to speak about the matter, and no one is
willing to tell what the muave poison consists of. We have been
shown trees said to be used, but had always reason to doubt the
accuracy of our informants. We once found a tree in a village, with
many pieces of the bark chipped off, closely allied to the Tangena or
Tanghina, the ordeal poison tree of Madagascar; but we could not
ascertain any particulars about it. Death is inflicted on those
found guilty of witchcraft, by the muave.

The women wail for the dead two days. Seated on the ground they
chant a few plaintive words, and end each verse with the prolonged
sound of a-a, or o-o, or ea-ea-ea--a. Whatever beer is in the house
of the deceased, is poured out on the ground with the meal, and all
cooking and water pots are broken, as being of no further use. Both
men and women wear signs of mourning for their dead relatives. These
consist of narrow strips of the palm-leaf wound round the head, the
arms, legs, neck, and breasts, and worn till they drop off from
decay. They believe in the existence of a supreme being, called
Mpambe, and also Morungo, and in a future state. "We live only a few
days here," said old Chinsunse, "but we live again after death: we
do not know where, or in what condition, or with what companions, for
the dead never return to tell us. Sometimes the dead do come back,
and appear to us in dreams; but they never speak nor tell us where
they have gone, nor how they fare."


The Upper Shire--Discovery of Lake Nyassa--Distressing exploration--
Return to Zambesi--Unpleasant visitors--Start for Sekeletu's Country
in the interior.

Our path followed the Shire above the cataracts, which is now a broad
deep river, with but little current. It expands in one place into a
lakelet, called Pamalombe, full of fine fish, and ten or twelve miles
long by five or six in breadth. Its banks are low, and a dense wall
of papyrus encircles it. On its western shore rises a range of hills
running north. On reaching the village of the chief Muana-Moesi, and
about a day's march distant from Nyassa, we were told that no lake
had ever been heard of there; that the River Shire stretched on as we
saw it now to a distance of "two months," and then came out from
between perpendicular rocks, which towered almost to the skies. Our
men looked blank at this piece of news, and said, "Let us go back to
the ship, it is of no use trying to find the lake." "We shall go and
see those wonderful rocks at any rate," said the Doctor. "And when
you see them," replied Masakasa, "you will just want to see something
else. But there IS a lake," rejoined Masakasa, "for all their
denying it, for it is down in a book." Masakasa, having unbounded
faith in whatever was in a book, went and scolded the natives for
telling him an untruth. "There is a lake," said he, "for how could
the white men know about it in a book if it did not exist?" They
then admitted that there was a lake a few miles off. Subsequent
inquiries make it probable that the story of the "perpendicular
rocks" may have had reference to a fissure, known to both natives and
Arabs, in the north-eastern portion of the lake. The walls rise so
high that the path along the bottom is said to be underground. It is
probably a crack similar to that which made the Victoria Falls, and
formed the Shire Valley.

The chief brought a small present of meal in the evening, and sat
with us for a few minutes. On leaving us he said that he wished we
might sleep well. Scarce had he gone, when a wild sad cry arose from
the river, followed by the shrieking of women. A crocodile had
carried off his principal wife, as she was bathing. The Makololo
snatched up their arms, and rushed to the bank, but it was too late,
she was gone. The wailing of the women continued all night, and next
morning we met others coming to the village to join in the general
mourning. Their grief was evidently heartfelt, as we saw the tears
coursing down their cheeks. In reporting this misfortune to his
neighbours, Muana-Moesi said, "that white men came to his village;
washed themselves at the place where his wife drew water and bathed;
rubbed themselves with a white medicine (soap); and his wife, having
gone to bathe afterwards, was taken by a crocodile; he did not know
whether in consequence of the medicine used or not." This we could
not find fault with. On our return we were viewed with awe, and all
the men fled at our approach; the women remained; and this elicited
the remark from our men, "The women have the advantage of men, in not
needing to dread the spear." The practice of bathing, which our
first contact with Chinsunse's people led us to believe was unknown
to the natives, we afterwards found to be common in other parts of
the Manganja country.

We discovered Lake Nyassa a little before noon of the 16th September,
1859. Its southern end is in 14 degrees 25 minutes S. Lat., and 35
degrees 30 minutes E. Long. At this point the valley is about twelve
miles wide. There are hills on both sides of the lake, but the haze
from burning grass prevented us at the time from seeing far. A long
time after our return from Nyassa, we received a letter from Captain
R. B. Oldfield, R.N., then commanding H.M.S. "Lyra," with the
information that Dr. Roscher, an enterprising German who
unfortunately lost his life in his zeal for exploration, had also
reached the Lake, but on the 19th November following our discovery;
and on his arrival had been informed by the natives that a party of
white men were at the southern extremity. On comparing dates (16th
September and 19th November) we were about two months before Dr.

It is not known where Dr. Roscher first saw its waters; as the exact
position of Nusseewa on the borders of the Lake, where he lived some
time, is unknown. He was three days north-east of Nusseewa, and on
the Arab road back to the usual crossing-place of the Rovuma, when he
was murdered. The murderers were seized by one of the chiefs, sent
to Zanzibar, and executed. He is said to have kept his discoveries
to himself, with the intention of publishing in Europe the whole at
once, in a splendid book of travels.

The chief of the village near the confluence of the Lake and River
Shire, an old man, called Mosauka, hearing that we were sitting under
a tree, came and kindly invited us to his village. He took us to a
magnificent banyan-tree, of which he seemed proud. The roots had
been trained down to the ground into the form of a gigantic arm-
chair, without the seat. Four of us slept in the space betwixt its
arms. Mosauka brought us a present of a goat and basket of meal "to
comfort our hearts." He told us that a large slave party, led by
Arabs, were encamped close by. They had been up to Cazembe's country
the past year, and were on their way back, with plenty of slaves,
ivory, and malachite. In a few minutes half a dozen of the leaders
came over to see us. They were armed with long muskets, and, to our
mind, were a villanous-looking lot. They evidently thought the same
of us, for they offered several young children for sale, but, when
told that we were English, showed signs of fear, and decamped during
the night. On our return to the Kongone, we found that H.M.S. "Lynx"
had caught some of these very slaves in a dhow; for a woman told us
she first saw us at Mosauka's, and that the Arabs had fled for fear
of an UNCANNY sort of Basungu.

This is one of the great slave-paths from the interior, others cross
the Shire a little below, and some on the lake itself. We might have
released these slaves but did not know what to do with them
afterwards. On meeting men, led in slave-sticks, the Doctor had to
bear the reproaches of the Makololo, who never slave, "Ay, you call
us bad, but are we yellow-hearted, like these fellows--why won't you
let us choke them?" To liberate and leave them, would have done but
little good, as the people of the surrounding villages would soon
have seized them, and have sold them again into slavery. The
Manganja chiefs sell their own people, for we met Ajawa and slave-
dealers in several highland villages, who had certainly been
encouraged to come among them for slaves. The chiefs always seemed
ashamed of the traffic, and tried to excuse themselves. "We do not
sell many, and only those who have committed crimes." As a rule the
regular trade is supplied by the low and criminal classes, and hence
the ugliness of slaves. Others are probably sold besides criminals,
as on the accusation of witchcraft. Friendless orphans also
sometimes disappear suddenly, and no one inquires what has become of
them. The temptation to sell their people is peculiarly great, as
there is but little ivory on the hills, and often the chief has
nothing but human flesh with which to buy foreign goods. The Ajawa
offer cloth, brass rings, pottery, and sometimes handsome young
women, and agree to take the trouble of carrying off by night all
those whom the chief may point out to them. They give four yards of
cotton cloth for a man, three for a woman, and two for a boy or girl,
to be taken to the Portuguese at Mozambique, Iboe, and Quillimane.

The Manganja were more suspicious and less hospitable than the tribes
on the Zambesi. They were slow to believe that our object in coming
into their country was really what we professed it to be. They
naturally judge us by the motives which govern themselves. A chief
in the Upper Shire Valley, whose scared looks led our men to christen
him Kitlabolawa (I shall be killed), remarked that parties had come
before, with as plausible a story as ours, and, after a few days, had
jumped up and carried off a number of his people as slaves. We were
not allowed to enter some of the villages in the valley, nor would
the inhabitants even sell us food; Zimika's men, for instance, stood
at the entrance of the euphorbia hedge, and declared we should not
pass in. We sat down under a tree close by. A young fellow made an
angry oration, dancing from side to side with his bow and poisoned
arrows, and gesticulating fiercely in our faces. He was stopped in
the middle of his harangue by an old man, who ordered him to sit
down, and not talk to strangers in that way; he obeyed reluctantly,
scowling defiance, and thrusting out his large lips very
significantly. The women were observed leaving the village; and,
suspecting that mischief might ensue, we proceeded on our journey, to
the great disgust of our men. They were very angry with the natives
for their want of hospitality to strangers, and with us, because we
would not allow them to give "the things a thrashing." "This is what
comes of going with white men," they growled out; "had we been with
our own chief, we should have eaten their goats to-night, and had
some of themselves to carry the bundles for us to-morrow." On our
return by a path which left his village on our right, Zimika sent to
apologize, saying that "he was ill, and in another village at the
time; it was not by his orders we were sent away; his men did not
know that we were a party wishing the land to dwell in peace."

We were not able, when hastening back to the men left in the ship, to
remain in the villages belonging to this chief; but the people came
after us with things for sale, and invited us to stop, and spend the
night with them, urging, "Are we to have it said that white people
passed through our country and we did not see them?" We rested by a
rivulet to gratify these sight-seers. We appear to them to be red
rather than white; and, though light colour is admired among
themselves, our clothing renders us uncouth in aspect. Blue eyes
appear savage, and a red beard hideous. From the numbers of aged
persons we saw on the highlands, and the increase of mental and
physical vigour we experienced on our ascent from the lowlands, we
inferred that the climate was salubrious, and that our countrymen
might there enjoy good health, and also be of signal benefit, by
leading the multitude of industrious inhabitants to cultivate cotton,
buaze, sugar, and other valuable produce, to exchange for goods of
European manufacture; at the same time teaching them, by precept and
example, the great truths of our Holy Religion.

Our stay at the Lake was necessarily short. We had found that the
best plan for allaying any suspicions, that might arise in the minds
of a people accustomed only to slave-traders, was to pay a hasty
visit, and then leave for a while, and allow the conviction to form
among the people that, though our course of action was so different
from that of others, we were not dangerous, but rather disposed to be
friendly. We had also a party at the vessel, and any indiscretion on
their part might have proved fatal to the character of the

The trade of Cazembe and Katanga's country, and of other parts of the
interior, crosses Nyassa and the Shire, on its way to the Arab port,
Kilwa, and the Portuguese ports of Iboe and Mozambique. At present,
slaves, ivory, malachite, and copper ornaments, are the only articles
of commerce. According to information collected by Colonel Rigby at
Zanzibar, and from other sources, nearly all the slaves shipped from
the above-mentioned ports come from the Nyassa district. By means of
a small steamer, purchasing the ivory of the Lake and River above the
cataracts, which together have a shore-line of at least 600 miles,
the slave-trade in this quarter would be rendered unprofitable,--for
it is only by the ivory being carried by the slaves, that the latter
do not eat up all the profits of a trip. An influence would be
exerted over an enormous area of country, for the Mazitu about the
north end of the Lake will not allow slave-traders to pass round that
way through their country. They would be most efficient allies to
the English, and might themselves be benefited by more intercourse.
As things are now, the native traders in ivory and malachite have to
submit to heavy exactions; and if we could give them the same prices
which they at present get after carrying their merchandise 300 miles
beyond this to the Coast, it might induce them to return without
going further. It is only by cutting off the supplies in the
interior, that we can crush the slave-trade on the Coast. The plan
proposed would stop the slave-trade from the Zambesi on one side and
Kilwa on the other; and would leave, beyond this tract, only the
Portuguese port of Inhambane on the south, and a portion of the
Sultan of Zanzibar's dominion on the north, for our cruisers to look
after. The Lake people grow abundance of cotton for their own
consumption, and can sell it for a penny a pound or even less.
Water-carriage exists by the Shire and Zambesi all the way to
England, with the single exception of a portage of about thirty-five
miles past the Murchison Cataracts, along which a road of less than
forty miles could be made at a trifling expense; and it seems
feasible that a legitimate and thriving trade might, in a short time,
take the place of the present unlawful traffic.

Colonel Rigby, Captains Wilson, Oldfield, and Chapman, and all the
most intelligent officers on the Coast, were unanimous in the belief,
that one small vessel on the Lake would have decidedly more
influence, and do more good in suppressing the slave-trade, than half
a dozen men-of-war on the ocean. By judicious operations, therefore,
on a small scale inland, little expense would be incurred, and the
English slave-trade policy on the East would have the same fair
chance of success, as on the West Coast.

After a land-journey of forty days, we returned to the ship on the
6th of October, 1859, in a somewhat exhausted condition, arising more
from a sort of poisoning, than from the usual fatigue of travel. We
had taken a little mulligatawney paste, for making soup, in case of
want of time to cook other food. Late one afternoon, at the end of
an unusually long march, we reached Mikena, near the base of Mount
Njongone to the north of Zomba, and the cook was directed to use a
couple of spoonfuls of the paste; but, instead of doing so, he put in
the whole potful. The soup tasted rather hot, but we added boiled
rice to it, and, being very hungry, partook freely of it; and, in
consequence of the overdose, we were delayed several days in severe
suffering, and some of the party did not recover till after our
return to the ship. Our illness may partly have arisen from another
cause. One kind of cassava (Jatropha maligna) is known to be, in its
raw state, poisonous, but by boiling it carefully in two waters,
which must be thrown off, the poison is extracted and the cassava
rendered fit for food. The poisonous sort is easily known by raising
a bit of the bark of the root, and putting the tongue to it. A
bitter taste shows poison, but it is probable that even the sweet
kind contains an injurious principle. The sap, which, like that of
our potatoes, is injurious as an article of food, is used in the
"Pepper-pot" of the West Indies, under the name of "Cassereep," as a
perfect preservative of meat. This juice put into an earthen vessel
with a little water and Chili pepper is said to keep meat, that is
immersed in it, good for a great length of time; even for years. No
iron or steel must touch the mixture, or it will become sour. This
"Pepper-pot," of which we first heard from the late Archbishop
Whately, is a most economical meat-safe in a hot climate; any beef,
mutton, pork, or fowl that may be left at dinner, if put into the
mixture and a little fresh cassereep added, keeps perfectly, though
otherwise the heat of the climate or flies would spoil it. Our cook,
however, boiled the cassava root as he was in the habit of cooking
meat, namely, by filling the pot with it, and then pouring in water,
which he allowed to stand on the fire until it had become absorbed
and boiled away. This method did not expel the poisonous properties
of the root, or render it wholesome; for, notwithstanding our
systematic caution in purchasing only the harmless sort, we suffered
daily from its effects, and it was only just before the end of our
trip that this pernicious mode of boiling it was discovered by us.

In ascending 3000 feet from the lowlands to the highlands, or on
reaching the low valley of the Shire from the higher grounds, the
change of climate was very marked. The heat was oppressive below,
the thermometer standing at from 84 degrees to 103 degrees in the
shade; and our spirits were as dull and languid as they had been
exhilarated on the heights in a temperature cooler by some 20
degrees. The water of the river was sometimes 84 degrees or higher,
whilst that we had been drinking in the hill streams was only 65

It was found necessary to send two of our number across from the
Shire to Tette; and Dr. Kirk, with guides from Chibisa, and
accompanied by Mr. Rae, the engineer, accomplished the journey. We
had found the country to the north and east so very well watered,
that no difficulty was anticipated in this respect in a march of less
than a hundred miles; but on this occasion our friends suffered
severely. The little water to be had at this time of the year, by
digging in the beds of dry watercourses, was so brackish as to
increase thirst--some of the natives indeed were making salt from it;
and when at long intervals a less brackish supply was found, it was
nauseous and muddy from the frequent visits of large game. The
tsetse abounded. The country was level, and large tracts of it
covered with mopane forest, the leaves of which afford but scanty
shade to the baked earth, so that scarcely any grass grows upon it.
The sun was so hot, that the men frequently jumped from the path, in
the vain hope of cooling, for a moment, their scorched feet under the
almost shadeless bushes; and the native who carried the provision of
salt pork got lost, and came into Tette two days after the rest of
the party, with nothing but the fibre of the meat left, the fat,
melted by the blazing sun, having all run down his back. This path
was soon made a highway for slaving parties by Captain Raposo, the
Commandant. The journey nearly killed our two active young friends;
and what the slaves must have since suffered on it no one can
conceive; but slaving probably can never be conducted without
enormous suffering and loss of life.

Mankokwe now sent a message to say that he wished us to stop at his
village on our way down. He came on board on our arrival there with
a handsome present, and said that his young people had dissuaded him
from visiting us before; but now he was determined to see what every
one else was seeing. A bald square-headed man, who had been his
Prime Minister when we came up, was now out of office, and another
old man, who had taken his place accompanied the chief. In passing
the Elephant Marsh, we saw nine large herds of elephants; they
sometimes formed a line two miles long.

On the 2nd of November we anchored off Shamoara, and sent the boat to
Senna for biscuit and other provisions. Senhor Ferrao, with his
wonted generosity, gave us a present of a bullock, which he sent to
us in a canoe. Wishing to know if a second bullock would be
acceptable to us, he consulted his Portuguese and English dictionary,
and asked the sailor in charge if he would take ANOTHER; but Jack,
mistaking the Portuguese pronunciation of the letter h, replied, "Oh
no, sir, thank you, I don't want an OTTER in the boat, they are such
terrible biters!"

We had to ground the vessel on a shallow sandbank every night; she
leaked so fast, that in deep water she would have sunk, and the pump
had to be worked all day to keep her afloat. Heavy rains fell daily,
producing the usual injurious effects in the cabin; and, unable to
wait any longer for our associates, who had gone overland from the
Shire to Tette, we ran down the Kongone and beached her for repairs.
Her Majesty's ship "Lynx," Lieut. Berkeley commanding, called shortly
afterwards with supplies; the bar, which had been perfectly smooth
for some time before, became rather rough just before her arrival, so
that it was two or three days before she could communicate with us.
Two of her boats tried to come in on the second day, and one of them,
mistaking the passage, capsized in the heavy breakers abreast of the
island. Mr. Hunt, gunner, the officer in charge of the second boat,
behaved nobly, and by his skilful and gallant conduct succeeded in
rescuing every one of the first boat's crew. Of course the things
that they were bringing to us were lost, but we were thankful that
all the men were saved. The loss of the mail-bags, containing
Government despatches and our friends' letters for the past year, was
felt severely, as we were on the point of starting on an expedition
into the interior, which might require eight or nine months; and
twenty months is a weary time to be without news of friends and
family. In the repairing of our crazy craft, we received kind and
efficient aid from Lieutenant Berkeley, and we were enabled to leave
for Tette on December 16th.

We had now frequent rains, and the river rose considerably; our
progress up the stream was distressingly slow, and it was not until
the 2nd of February, 1860, that we reached Tette. Mr. Thornton
returned on the same day from a geological tour, by which some
Portuguese expected that a fabulous silver-mine would be
rediscovered. The tradition in the country is, that the Jesuits
formerly knew and worked a precious lode at Chicova. Mr. Thornton
had gone beyond Zumbo, in company with a trader of colour; he soon
after this left the Zambesi and, joining the expedition of the Baron
van der Decken, explored the snow mountain Kilimanjaro, north-west of
Zanzibar. Mr. Thornton's companion, the trader, brought back much
ivory, having found it both abundant and cheap. He was obliged,
however, to pay heavy fines to the Banyai and other tribes, in the
country which is coolly claimed in Europe as Portuguese. During this
trip of six mouths 200 pieces of cotton cloth of sixteen yards each,
besides beads and brass wire, were paid to the different chiefs, for
leave to pass through their country. In addition to these
sufficiently weighty exactions, the natives of THIS DOMINION have got
into the habit of imposing fines for alleged milandos, or crimes,
which the traders' men may have unwittingly committed. The
merchants, however, submit rather than run the risk of fighting.

The general monotony of existence at Tette is sometimes relieved by
an occasional death or wedding. When the deceased is a person of
consequence, the quantity of gunpowder his slaves are allowed to
expend is enormous. The expense may, in proportion to their means,
resemble that incurred by foolishly gaudy funerals in England. When
at Tette, we always joined with sympathizing hearts in aiding, by our
presence at the last rites, to soothe the sorrows of the surviving
relatives. We are sure that they would have done the same to us had
we been the mourners. We never had to complain of want of
hospitality. Indeed, the great kindness shown by many of whom we
have often spoken, will never be effaced from our memory till our
dying day. When we speak of their failings it is in sorrow, not in
anger. Their trading in slaves is an enormous mistake. Their
Government places them in a false position by cutting them off from
the rest of the world; and of this they always speak with a
bitterness which, were it heard, might alter the tone of the
statesmen of Lisbon. But here there is no press, no booksellers'
shops, and scarcely a schoolmaster. Had we been born in similar
untoward circumstances--we tremble to think of it!

The weddings are celebrated with as much jollity as weddings are
anywhere. We witnessed one in the house of our friend the Padre. It
being the marriage of his goddaughter, he kindly invited us to be
partakers in his joy; and we there became acquainted with old Donna
Engenia, who was a married wife and had children, when the slaves
came from Cassange, before any of us were born. The whole merry-
making was marked by good taste amid propriety.

About the only interesting object in the vicinity of Tette is the
coal a few miles to the north. There, in the feeders of the stream
Revubue, it crops out in cliff sections. The seams are from four to
seven feet in thickness; one measured was found to be twenty-five
feet thick.

Learning that it would be difficult for our party to obtain food
beyond Kebrabasa before the new crop came in and knowing the
difficulty of hunting for so many men in the wet season, we decided
on deferring our departure for the interior until May, and in the
mean time to run down once more to the Kongone, in the hopes of
receiving letters and despatches from the man-of-war that was to call
in March. We left Tette on the 10th, and at Senna heard that our
lost mail had been picked up on the beach by natives, west of the
Milambe; carried to Quillimane, sent thence to Senna, and, passing us
somewhere on the river, on to Tette. At Shupanga the governor
informed us that it was a very large mail; no great comfort, seeing
it was away up the river.

Mosquitoes were excessively troublesome at the harbour, and
especially when a light breeze blew from the north over the
mangroves. We lived for several weeks in small huts, built by our
men. Those who did the hunting for the party always got wet, and
were attacked by fever, but generally recovered in time to be out
again before the meat was all consumed. No ship appearing, we
started off on the 15th of March, and stopped to wood on the Luabo,
near an encampment of hippopotamus hunters; our men heard again,
through them, of the canoe path from this place to Quillimane, but
they declined to point it out.

We found our friend Major Sicard at Mazaro with picks, shovels,
hurdles, and slaves, having come to build a fort and custom-house at
the Kongone. As we had no good reason to hide the harbour, but many
for its being made known, we supplied him with a chart of the
tortuous branches, which, running among the mangroves, perplex the
search; and with such directions as would enable him to find his way
down to the river. He had brought the relics of our fugitive mail,
and it was a disappointment to find that all had been lost, with the
exception of a bundle of old newspapers, two photographs, and three
letters, which had been written before we left England.

The distance from Mazaro, on the Zambesi side, to the Kwakwa at
Nterra, is about six miles, over a surprisingly rich dark soil. We
passed the night in the long shed, erected at Nterra, on the banks of
this river, for the use of travellers, who have often to wait several
days for canoes; we tried to sleep, but the mosquitoes and rats were
so troublesome as to render sleep impossible. The rats, or rather
large mice, closely resembling Mus pumilio (Smith), of this region,
are quite facetious, and, having a great deal of fun in them, often
laugh heartily. Again and again they woke us up by scampering over
our faces, and then bursting into a loud laugh of He! he! he! at
having performed the feat. Their sense of the ludicrous appears to
be exquisite; they screamed with laughter at the attempts which
disturbed and angry human nature made in the dark to bring their ill-
timed merriment to a close. Unlike their prudent European cousins,
which are said to leave a sinking ship, a party of these took up
their quarters in our leaky and sinking vessel. Quiet and invisible
by day, they emerged at night, and cut their funny pranks. No sooner
were we all asleep, than they made a sudden dash over the lockers and
across our faces for the cabin door, where all broke out into a loud
He! he! he! he! he! he! showing how keenly they enjoyed the joke.
They next went forward with as much delight, and scampered over the
men. Every night they went fore and aft, rousing with impartial feet
every sleeper, and laughing to scorn the aimless blows, growls, and
deadly rushes of outraged humanity. We observed elsewhere a species
of large mouse, nearly allied to Euryotis unisulcatus (F. Cuvier),
escaping up a rough and not very upright wall, with six young ones
firmly attached to the perineum. They were old enough to be well
covered with hair, and some were not detached by a blow which
disabled the dam. We could not decide whether any involuntary
muscles were brought into play in helping the young to adhere. Their
weight seemed to require a sort of cataleptic state of the muscles of
the jaw, to enable them to hold on.

Scorpions, centipedes, and poisonous spiders also were not
unfrequently brought into the ship with the wood, and occasionally
found their way into our beds; but in every instance we were
fortunate enough to discover and destroy them before they did any
harm. Naval officers on this coast report that, when scorpions and
centipedes remain a few weeks after being taken on board in a similar
manner, their poison loses nearly all its virulence; but this we did
not verify. Snakes sometimes came in with the wood, but oftener
floated down the river to us, climbing on board with ease by the
chain-cable, and some poisonous ones were caught in the cabin. A
green snake lived with us several weeks, concealing himself behind
the casing of the deckhouse in the daytime. To be aroused in the
dark by five feet of cold green snake gliding over one's face is
rather unpleasant, however rapid the movement may be. Myriads of two
varieties of cockroaches infested the vessel; they not only ate round
the roots of our nails, but even devoured and defiled our food,
flannels, and boots. Vain were all our efforts to extirpate these
destructive pests; if you kill one, say the sailors, a hundred come
down to his funeral! In the work of Commodore Owen it is stated that
cockroaches, pounded into a paste, form a powerful carminative; this
has not been confirmed, but when monkeys are fed on them they are
sure to become lean.

On coming to Senna, we found that the Zulus had arrived in force for
their annual tribute. These men are under good discipline, and never
steal from the people. The tax is claimed on the ground of conquest,
the Zulus having formerly completely overcome the Senna people, and
chased them on to the islands in the Zambesi. Fifty-four of the
Portuguese were slain on the occasion, and, notwithstanding the mud
fort, the village has never recovered its former power. Fever was
now very prevalent, and most of the Portuguese were down with it.

For a good view of the adjacent scenery, the hill, Baramuana, behind
the village, was ascended. A caution was given about the probability
of an attack of fever from a plant that grows near the summit. Dr.
Kirk discovered it to be the Paedevia foetida, which, when smelt,
actually does give headache and fever. It has a nasty fetor, as its
name indicates. This is one instance in which fever and a foul smell
coincide. In a number of instances offensive effluvia and fever
seems to have no connection. Owing to the abundant rains, the crops
in the Senna district were plentiful; this was fortunate, after the
partial failure of the past two years. It was the 25th of April,
1860, before we reached Tette; here also the crops were luxuriant,
and the people said that they had not had such abundance since 1856,
the year when Dr. Livingstone came down the river. It is astonishing
to any one who has seen the works for irrigation in other countries,
as at the Cape and in Egypt, that no attempt has ever been made to
lead out the water either of the Zambesi or any of its tributaries;
no machinery has ever been used to raise it even from the stream, but
droughts and starvations are endured, as if they were inevitable
dispensations of Providence, incapable of being mitigated.

Feeling in honour bound to return with those who had been the
faithful companions of Dr. Livingstone, in 1856, and to whose
guardianship and services was due the accomplishment of a journey
which all the Portuguese at Tette had previously pronounced
impossible, the requisite steps were taken to convey them to their

We laid the ship alongside of the island Kanyimbe, opposite Tette;
and, before starting for the country of the Makololo, obtained a
small plot of land, to form a garden for the two English sailors who
were to remain in charge during our absence. We furnished them with
a supply of seeds, and they set to work with such zeal, that they
certainly merited success. Their first attempt at African
horticulture met with failure from a most unexpected source; every
seed was dug up and the inside of it eaten by mice. "Yes," said an
old native, next morning, on seeing the husks, "that is what happens
this month; for it is the mouse month, and the seed should have been
sown last mouth, when I sowed mine." The sailors, however, sowed
more next day; and, being determined to outwit the mice, they this
time covered the beds over with grass. The onions, with other seeds
of plants cultivated by the Portuguese, are usually planted in the
beginning of April, in order to have the advantage of the cold
season; the wheat a little later, for the same reason. If sown at
the beginning of the rainy season in November, it runs, as before
remarked, entirely to straw; but as the rains are nearly over in May,
advantage is taken of low-lying patches, which have been flooded by
the river. A hole is made in the mud with a hoe, a few seeds dropped
in, and the earth shoved back with the foot. If not favoured with
certain misty showers, which, lower down the river, are simply fogs,
water is borne from the river to the roots of the wheat in earthern
pots; and in about four months the crop is ready for the sickle. The
wheat of Tette is exported, as the best grown in the country; but a
hollow spot at Maruru, close by Mazaro, yielded very good crops,
though just at the level of the sea, as a few inches rise of tide

A number of days were spent in busy preparation for our journey; the
cloth, beads, and brass wire, for the trip were sewn up in old
canvas, and each package had the bearer's name printed on it. The
Makololo, who had worked for the Expedition, were paid for their
services, and every one who had come down with the Doctor from the
interior received a present of cloth and ornaments, in order to
protect them from the greater cold of their own country, and to show
that they had not come in vain. Though called Makololo by courtesy,
as they were proud of the name, Kanyata, the principal headman, was
the only real Makololo of the party; and he, in virtue of his birth,
had succeeded to the chief place on the death of Sekwebu. The others
belonged to the conquered tribes of the Batoka, Bashubia, Ba-Selea,
and Barotse. Some of these men had only added to their own vices
those of the Tette slaves; others, by toiling during the first two
years in navigating canoes, and hunting elephants, had often managed
to save a little, to take back to their own country, but had to part
with it all for food to support the rest in times of hunger, and,
latterly, had fallen into the improvident habits of slaves, and spent
their surplus earnings in beer and agua ardiente.

Everything being ready on the 15th of May, we started at 2 p.m. from
the village where the Makololo had dwelt. A number of the men did
not leave with the goodwill which their talk for months before had
led us to anticipate; but some proceeded upon being told that they
were not compelled to go unless they liked, though others altogether
declined moving. Many had taken up with slave-women, whom they
assisted in hoeing, and in consuming the produce of their gardens.
Some fourteen children had been born to them; and in consequence of
now having no chief to order them, or to claim their services, they
thought that they were about as well off as they had been in their
own country. They knew and regretted that they could call neither
wives nor children their own; the slave-owners claimed the whole; but
their natural affections had been so enchained, that they clave to
the domestic ties. By a law of Portugal the baptized children of
slave women are all free; by the custom of the Zambesi that law is
void. When it is referred to, the officers laugh and say, "These
Lisbon-born laws are very stringent, but somehow, possibly from the
heat of the climate, here they lose all their force." Only one woman
joined our party--the wife of a Batoka man: she had been given to
him, in consideration of his skilful dancing, by the chief, Chisaka.
A merchant sent three of his men along with us, with a present for
Sekeletu, and Major Sicard also lent us three more to assist us on
our return, and two Portuguese gentleman kindly gave us the loan of a
couple of donkeys. We slept four miles above Tette, and hearing that
the Banyai, who levy heavy fines on the Portuguese traders, lived
chiefly on the right bank, we crossed over to the left, as we could
not fully trust our men. If the Banyai had come in a threatening
manner, our followers might, perhaps, from having homes behind them,
have even put down their bundles and run. Indeed, two of them at
this point made up their minds to go no further, and turned back to
Tette. Another, Monga, a Batoka, was much perplexed, and could not
make out what course to pursue, as he had, three years previously,
wounded Kanyata, the headman, with a spear. This is a capital
offence among the Makololo, and he was afraid of being put to death
for it on his return. He tried, in vain, to console himself with the
facts that he had neither father, mother, sisters, nor brothers to
mourn for him, and that he could die but once. He was good, and
would go up to the stars to Yesu, and therefore did not care for
death. In spite, however, of these reflections, he was much cast
down, until Kanyata assured him that he would never mention his
misdeed to the chief; indeed, he had never even mentioned it to the
Doctor, which he would assuredly have done had it lain heavy on his
heart. We were right glad of Monga's company, for he was a merry
good-tempered fellow, and his lithe manly figure had always been in
the front in danger; and, from being left-handed, had been easily
recognized in the fight with elephants.

We commenced, for a certain number of days, with short marches,
walking gently until broken in to travel. This is of so much
importance, that it occurs to us that more might be made out of
soldiers if the first few days' marches were easy, and gradually
increased in length and quickness. The nights were cold, with heavy
dews and occasional showers, and we had several cases of fever. Some
of the men deserted every night, and we fully expected that all who
had children would prefer to return to Tette, for little ones are
well known to prove the strongest ties, even to slaves. It was
useless informing them, that if they wanted to return they had only
to come and tell us so; we should not be angry with them for
preferring Tette to their own country. Contact with slaves had
destroyed their sense of honour; they would not go in daylight, but
decamped in the night, only in one instance, however, taking our
goods, though, in two more, they carried off their comrades'
property. By the time we had got well into the Kebrabasa hills
thirty men, nearly a third of the party, had turned back, and it
became evident that, if many more left us, Sekeletu's goods could not
be carried up. At last, when the refuse had fallen away, no more
desertions took place.

Stopping one afternoon at a Kebrabasa village, a man, who pretended
to be able to change himself into a lion, came to salute us.
Smelling the gunpowder from a gun which had been discharged, he went
on one side to get out of the wind of the piece, trembling in a most
artistic manner, but quite overacting his part. The Makololo
explained to us that he was a Pondoro, or a man who can change his
form at will, and added that he trembles when he smells gunpowder.
"Do you not see how he is trembling now?" We told them to ask him to
change himself at once into a lion, and we would give him a cloth for
the performance. "Oh no," replied they; "if we tell him so, he may
change himself and come when we are asleep and kill us." Having
similar superstitions at home, they readily became as firm believers
in the Pondoro as the natives of the village. We were told that he
assumes the form of a lion and remains in the woods for days, and is
sometimes absent for a whole month. His considerate wife had built
him a hut or den, in which she places food and beer for her
transformed lord, whose metamorphosis does not impair his human
appetite. No one ever enters this hut except the Pondoro and his
wife, and no stranger is allowed even to rest his gun against the
baobab-tree beside it: the Mfumo, or petty chief, of another small
village wished to fine our men for placing their muskets against an
old tumble-down hut, it being that of the Pondoro. At times the
Pondoro employs his acquired powers in hunting for the benefit of the
village; and after an absence of a day or two, his wife smells the
lion, takes a certain medicine, places it in the forest, and there
quickly leaves it, lest the lion should kill even her. This medicine
enables the Pondoro to change himself back into a man, return to the
village, and say, "Go and get the game that I have killed for you."
Advantage is of course taken of what a lion has done, and they go and
bring home the buffalo or antelope killed when he was a lion, or
rather found when he was patiently pursuing his course of deception
in the forest. We saw the Pondoro of another village dressed in a
fantastic style, with numerous charms hung round him, and followed by
a troop of boys who were honouring him with rounds of shrill

It is believed also that the souls of departed chiefs enter into
lions, and render them sacred. On one occasion, when we had shot a
buffalo in the path beyond the Kafue, a hungry lion, attracted
probably by the smell of the meat, came close to our camp, and roused
up all hands by his roaring. Tuba Mokoro, imbued with the popular
belief that the beast was a chief in disguise, scolded him roundly
during his brief intervals of silence. "You a chief, eh? You call
yourself a chief, do you? What kind of chief are you to come
sneaking about in the dark, trying to steal our buffalo meat! Are
you not ashamed of yourself? A pretty chief truly; you are like the
scavenger beetle, and think of yourself only. You have not the heart
of a chief; why don't you kill your own beef? You must have a stone
in your chest, and no heart at all, indeed!" Tuba Mokoro producing
no impression on the transformed chief, one of the men, the most
sedate of the party, who seldom spoke, took up the matter, and tried
the lion in another strain. In his slow quiet way he expostulated
with him on the impropriety of such conduct to strangers, who had
never injured him. "We were travelling peaceably through the country
back to our own chief. We never killed people, nor stole anything.
The buffalo meat was ours, not his, and it did not become a great
chief like him to be prowling round in the dark, trying, like a
hyena, to steal the meat of strangers. He might go and hunt for
himself, as there was plenty of game in the forest." The Pondoro,
being deaf to reason, and only roaring the louder, the men became
angry, and threatened to send a ball through him if he did not go
away. They snatched up their guns to shoot him, but he prudently
kept in the dark, outside the luminous circle made by our camp fires,
and there they did not like to venture. A little strychnine was put
into a piece of meat, and thrown to him, when he soon departed, and
we heard no more of the majestic sneaker.

The Kebrabasa people were now plumper and in better condition than on
our former visits; the harvest had been abundant; they had plenty to
eat and drink, and they were enjoying life as much as ever they
could. At Defwe's village, near where the ship lay on her first
ascent, we found two Mfumos or headmen, the son and son-in-law of the
former chief. A sister's son has much more chance of succeeding to a
chieftainship than the chief's own offspring, it being unquestionable
that the sister's child has the family blood. The men are all marked
across the nose and up the middle of the forehead with short
horizontal bars or cicatrices; and a single brass earring of two or
three inches diameter, like the ancient Egyptian, is worn by the men.
Some wear the hair long like the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians, and
a few have eyes with the downward and inward slant of the Chinese.

After fording the rapid Luia, we left our former path on the banks of
the Zambesi, and struck off in a N.W. direction behind one of the
hill ranges, the eastern end of which is called Mongwa, the name of
an acacia, having a peculiarly strong fetor, found on it. Our route
wound up a valley along a small mountain-stream which was nearly dry,
and then crossed the rocky spurs of some of the lofty hills. The
country was all very dry at the time, and no water was found except
in an occasional spring and a few wells dug in the beds of
watercourses. The people were poor, and always anxious to convince
travellers of the fact. The men, unlike those on the plains, spend a
good deal of their time in hunting; this may be because they have but
little ground on the hill-sides suitable for gardens, and but little
certainty of reaping what may be sown in the valleys. No women came
forward in the hamlet, east of Chiperiziwa, where we halted for the
night. Two shots had been fired at guinea-fowl a little way off in
the valley; the women fled into the woods, and the men came to know
if war was meant, and a few of the old folks only returned after
hearing that we were for peace. The headman, Kambira, apologized for
not having a present ready, and afterwards brought us some meal, a
roasted coney (Hyrax capensis), and a pot of beer; he wished to be
thought poor. The beer had come to him from a distance; he had none
of his own. Like the Manganja, these people salute by clapping their
hands. When a man comes to a place where others are seated, before
sitting down he claps his hands to each in succession, and they do
the same to him. If he has anything to tell, both speaker and hearer
clap their hands at the close of every paragraph, and then again
vigorously at the end of the speech. The guide, whom the headman
gave us, thus saluted each of his comrades before he started off with
us. There is so little difference in the language, that all the
tribes of this region are virtually of one family.

We proceeded still in the same direction, and passed only two small
hamlets during the day. Except the noise our men made on the march,
everything was still around us: few birds were seen. The appearance
of a whydahbird showed that he had not yet parted with his fine long
plumes. We passed immense quantities of ebony and lignum-vitae, and
the tree from whose smooth and bitter bark granaries are made for
corn. The country generally is clothed with a forest of ordinary-
sized trees. We slept in the little village near Sindabwe, where our
men contrived to purchase plenty of beer, and were uncommonly
boisterous all the evening. We breakfasted next morning under green
wild date-palms, beside the fine flowery stream, which runs through
the charming valley of Zibah. We now had Mount Chiperiziwa between
us, and part of the river near Morumbwa, having in fact come north
about in order to avoid the difficulties of our former path. The
last of the deserters, a reputed thief, took French leave of us here.
He left the bundle of cloth he was carrying in the path a hundred
yards in front of where we halted, but made off with the musket and
most of the brass rings and beads of his comrade Shirimba, who had
unsuspectingly intrusted them to his care.

Proceeding S.W. up this lovely valley, in about an hour's time we
reached Sandia's village. The chief was said to be absent hunting,
and they did not know when he would return. This is such a common
answer to the inquiry after a headman, that one is inclined to think
that it only means that they wish to know the stranger's object
before exposing their superior to danger. As some of our men were
ill, a halt was made here.

As we were unable to march next morning, six of our young men,
anxious to try their muskets, went off to hunt elephants. For
several hours they saw nothing, and some of them, getting tired,
proposed to go to a village and buy food. "No!" said Mantlanyane,
"we came to hunt, so let us go on." In a short time they fell in
with a herd of cow elephants and calves. As soon as the first cow
caught sight of the hunters on the rocks above her, she, with true
motherly instinct, placed her young one between her fore-legs for
protection. The men were for scattering, and firing into the herd
indiscriminately. "That won't do," cried Mantlanyane, "let us all
fire at this one." The poor beast received a volley, and ran down
into the plain, where another shot killed her; the young one escaped
with the herd. The men were wild with excitement, and danced round
the fallen queen of the forest, with loud shouts and exultant songs.
They returned, bearing as trophies the tail and part of the trunk,
and marched into camp as erect as soldiers, and evidently feeling
that their stature had increased considerably since the morning.

Sandia's wife was duly informed of their success, as here a law
decrees that half the elephant belongs to the chief on whose ground
it has been killed. The Portuguese traders always submit to this
tax, and, were it of native origin, it could hardly be considered
unjust. A chief must have some source of revenue; and, as many
chiefs can raise none except from ivory or slaves, this tax is more
free from objections than any other that a black Chancellor of the
Exchequer could devise. It seems, however, to have originated with
the Portuguese themselves, and then to have spread among the adjacent
tribes. The Governors look sharply after any elephant that may be
slain on the Crown lands, and demand one of the tusks from their
vassals. We did not find the law in operation in any tribe beyond
the range of Portuguese traders, or further than the sphere of travel
of those Arabs who imitated Portuguese customs in trade. At the
Kafue in 1855 the chiefs bought the meat we killed, and demanded
nothing as their due; and so it was up the Shire during our visits.
The slaves of the Portuguese, who are sent by their masters to shoot
elephants, probably connive at the extension of this law, for they
strive to get the good will of the chiefs to whose country they come,
by advising them to make a demand of half of each elephant killed,
and for this advice they are well paid in beer. When we found that
the Portuguese argued in favour of this law, we told the natives that
they might exact tusks from THEM, but that the English, being
different, preferred the pure native custom. It was this which made
Sandia, as afterwards mentioned, hesitate; but we did not care to
insist on exemption in our favour, where the prevalence of the custom
might have been held to justify the exaction.

The cutting up of an elephant is quite a unique spectacle. The men
stand remind the animal in dead silence, while the chief of the
travelling party declares that, according to ancient law, the head
and right hind-leg belong to him who killed the beast, that is, to
him who inflicted the first wound; the left leg to bins who delivered
the second, or first touched the animal after it fell. The meat
around the eye to the English, or chief of the travellers, and
different parts to the headmen of the different fires, or groups, of
which the camp is composed; not forgetting to enjoin the preservation
of the fat and bowels for a second distribution. This oration
finished, the natives soon become excited, and scream wildly as they
cut away at the carcass with a score of spears, whose long handles
quiver in the air above their heads. Their excitement becomes
momentarily more and more intense, and reaches the culminating point
when, as denoted by a roar of gas, the huge mass is laid fairly open.
Some jump inside, and roll about there in their eagerness to seize
the precious fat, while others run off, screaming, with pieces of the
bloody meat, throw it on the grass, and run back for more: all keep
talking and shouting at the utmost pitch of their voices. Sometimes
two or three, regardless of all laws, seize the same piece of meat,
and have a brief fight of words over it. Occasionally an agonized
yell bursts forth, and a native emerges out of the moving mass of
dead elephant and wriggling humanity, with his hand badly cut by the
spear of his excited friend and neighbour: this requires a rag and
some soothing words to prevent bad blood. In an incredibly short
time tons of meat are cut up, and placed in separate heaps around.

Sandia arrived soon after the beast was divided: he is an elderly
man, and wears a wig made of "ife" fibre (sanseviera) dyed black, and
of a fine glossy appearance. This plant is allied to the aloes, and
its thick fleshy leaves, in shape somewhat like our sedges, when
bruised yield much fine strong fibre, which is made into ropes, nets,
and wigs. It takes dyes readily, and the fibre might form a good
article of commerce. "Ife" wigs, as we afterwards saw, are not
uncommon in this country, though perhaps not so common as hair wigs
at home. Sandia's mosamela, or small carved wooden pillow, exactly
resembling the ancient Egyptian one, was hung from the back of his
neck; this pillow and a sleeping mat are usually carried by natives
when on hunting excursions.

We had the elephant's fore-foot cooked for ourselves, in native
fashion. A large hole was dug in the ground, in which a fire was
made; and, when the inside was thoroughly heated, the entire foot was
placed in it, and covered over with the hot ashes and soil; another
fire was made above the whole, and kept burning all night. We had
the foot thus cooked for breakfast next morning, and found it
delicious. It is a whitish mass, slightly gelatinous, and sweet,
like marrow. A long march, to prevent biliousness, is a wise
precaution after a meal of elephant's foot. Elephant's trunk and
tongue are also good, and, after long simmering, much resemble the
hump of a buffalo and the tongue of an ox; but all the other meat is
tough, and, from its peculiar flavour, only to be eaten by a hungry
man. The quantities of meat our men devour is quite astounding.
They boil as much as their pots will hold, and eat till it becomes
physically impossible for them to stow away any more. An uproarious
dance follows, accompanied with stentorian song; and as soon as they
have shaken their first course down, and washed off the sweat and
dust of the after performance, they go to work to roast more: a
short snatch of sleep succeeds, and they are up and at it again; all
night long it is boil and eat, roast and devour, with a few brief
interludes of sleep. Like other carnivora, these men can endure
hunger for a much longer period than the mere porridge-eating tribes.
Our men can cook meat as well as any reasonable traveller could
desire; and, boiled in earthen pots, like Indian chatties, it tastes
much better than when cooked in iron ones.


Magnificent scenery--Method of marching--Hippopotamus killed--Lions
and buffalo--Sequasha the ivory-trader.

Sandia gave us two guides; and on the 4th of June we left the
Elephant valley, taking a westerly course; and, after crossing a few
ridges, entered the Chingerere or Paguruguru valley, through which,
in the rainy season, runs the streamlet Pajodze. The mountains on
our left, between us and the Zambesi, our guides told us have the
same name as the valley, but that at the confluence of the Pajodze is
called Morumbwa. We struck the river at less than half a mile to the
north of the cataract Morumbwa. On climbing up the base of this
mountain at Pajodze, we found that we were distant only the diameter
of the mountain from the cataract. In measuring the cataract we
formerly stood on its southern flank; now we were perched on its
northern flank, and at once recognized the onion-shaped mountain,
here called Zakavuma, whose smooth convex surface overlooks the
broken water. Its bearing by compass was l80 degrees from the spot
to which we had climbed, and 700 or 800 yards distant. We now, from
this standing-point, therefore, completed our inspection of all
Kebrabasa, and saw what, as a whole, was never before seen by
Europeans so far as any records show.

The remainder of the Kebrabasa path, on to Chicova, was close to the
compressed and rocky river. Ranges of lofty tree-covered mountains,
with deep narrow valleys, in which are dry watercourses, or flowing
rivulets, stretch from the north-west, and are prolonged on the
opposite side of the river in a south-easterly direction. Looking
back, the mountain scenery in Kebrabasa was magnificent; conspicuous
from their form and steep sides, are the two gigantic portals of the
cataract; the vast forests still wore their many brilliant autumnal-
coloured tints of green, yellow, red, purple, and brown, thrown into
relief by the grey bark of the trunks in the background. Among these
variegated trees were some conspicuous for their new livery of fresh
light-green leaves, as though the winter of others was their spring.
The bright sunshine in these mountain forests, and the ever-changing
forms of the cloud shadows, gliding over portions of the surface,
added fresh charms to scenes already surpassingly beautiful.

From what we have seen of the Kebrabasa rocks and rapids, it appears
too evident that they must always form a barrier to navigation at the
ordinary low water of the river; but the rise of the water in this
gorge being as much as eighty feet perpendicularly, it is probable
that a steamer might be taken up at high flood, when all the rapids
are smoothed over, to run on the Upper Zambesi. The most formidable
cataract in it, Morumbwa, has only about twenty feet of fall, in a
distance of thirty yards, and it must entirely disappear when the
water stands eighty feet higher. Those of the Makololo who worked on
board the ship were not sorry at the steamer being left below, as
they had become heartily tired of cutting the wood that the
insatiable furnace of the "Asthmatic" required. Mbia, who was a bit
of a wag, laughingly exclaimed in broken English, "Oh, Kebrabasa
good, very good; no let shippee up to Sekeletu, too muchee work,
cuttee woodyee, cuttee woodyee: Kebrabasa good." It is currently
reported, and commonly believed, that once upon a time a Portuguese
named Jose Pedra,--by the natives called Nyamatimbira,--chief, or
capitao mor, of Zumbo, a man of large enterprise and small humanity,-
-being anxious to ascertain if Kebrabasa could be navigated, made two
slaves fast to a canoe, and launched it from Chicova into Kebrabasa,
in order to see if it would come out at the other end. As neither
slaves nor canoe ever appeared again, his Excellency concluded that
Kebrabasa was unnavigable. A trader had a large canoe swept away by
a sudden rise of the river, and it was found without damage below;
but the most satisfactory information was that of old Sandia, who
asserted that in flood all Kebrabasa became quite smooth, and he had
often seen it so.

We emerged from the thirty-five or forty miles of Kebrabasa hills
into the Chicova plains on the 7th of June, 1860, having made short
marches all the way. The cold nights caused some of our men to cough
badly, and colds in this country almost invariably become fever. The
Zambesi suddenly expands at Chicova, and assumes the size and
appearance it has at Tette. Near this point we found a large seam of
coal exposed in the left bank.

We met with native travellers occasionally. Those on a long journey
carry with them a sleeping-mat and wooden pillow, cooking-pot and bag
of meal, pipe and tobacco-pouch, a knife, bow, and arrows, and two
small sticks, of from two to three feet in length, for making fire,
when obliged to sleep away from human habitations. Dry wood is
always abundant, and they get fire by the following method. A notch
is cut in one of the sticks, which, with a close-grained outside, has
a small core of pith, and this notched stick is laid horizontally on
a knife-blade on the ground; the operator squatting, places his great
toes on each end to keep all steady, and taking the other wand which
is of very hard wood cut to a blunt point, fits it into the notch at
right angles; the upright wand is made to spin rapidly backwards and
forwards between the palms of the hands, drill fashion, and at the
same time is pressed downwards; the friction, in the course of a
minute or so, ignites portions of the pith of the notched stick,
which, rolling over like live charcoal on to the knife-blade, are
lifted into a handful of fine dry grass, and carefully blown, by
waving backwards and forwards in the air. It is hard work for the
hands to procure fire by this process, as the vigorous drilling and
downward pressure requisite soon blister soft palms.

Having now entered a country where lions were numerous, our men began
to pay greater attention to the arrangements of the camp at night.
As they are accustomed to do with their chiefs, they place the white
men in the centre; Kanyata, his men, and the two donkeys, camp on our
right; Tuba Mokoro's party of Bashubia are in front; Masakasa, and
Sininyane's body of Batoka, on the left; and in the rear six Tette
men have their fires. In placing their fires they are careful to put
them where the smoke will not blow in our faces. Soon after we halt,
the spot for the English is selected, and all regulate their places
accordingly, and deposit their burdens. The men take it by turns to
cut some of the tall dry grass, and spread it for our beds on a spot,
either naturally level, or smoothed by the hoe; some, appointed to
carry our bedding, then bring our rugs and karosses, and place the
three rugs in a row on the grass; Dr. Livingstone's being in the
middle, Dr. Kirk's on the right, and Charles Livingstone's on the
left. Our bags, rifles, and revolvers are carefully placed at our
heads, and a fire made near our feet. We have no tent nor covering
of any kind except the branches of the tree under which we may happen
to lie; and it is a pretty sight to look up and see every branch,
leaf, and twig of the tree stand out, reflected against the clear
star-spangled and moonlit sky. The stars of the first magnitude have
names which convey the same meaning over very wide tracts of country.
Here when Venus comes out in the evenings, she is called Ntanda, the
eldest or first-born, and Manjika, the first-born of morning, at
other times: she has so much radiance when shining alone, that she
casts a shadow. Sirius is named Kuewa usiko, "drawer of night,"
because supposed to draw the whole night after it. The moon has no
evil influence in this country, so far as we know. We have lain and
looked up at her, till sweet sleep closed our eyes, unharmed. Four
or five of our men were affected with moon-blindness at Tette; though
they had not slept out of doors there, they became so blind that
their comrades had to guide their hands to the general dish of food;
the affection is unknown in their own country. When our posterity
shall have discovered what it is which, distinct from foul smells,
causes fever, and what, apart from the moon, causes men to be moon-
struck, they will pity our dulness of perception.

The men cut a very small quantity of grass for themselves, and sleep
in fumbas or sleeping-bags, which are double mats of palm-leaf, six
feet long by four wide, and sewn together round three parts of the
square, and left open only on one side. They are used as a
protection from the cold, wet, and mosquitoes, and are entered as we
should get into our beds, were the blankets nailed to the top,
bottom, and one side of the bedstead.

A dozen fires are nightly kindled in the camp; and these, being
replenished from time to time by the men who are awakened by the
cold, are kept burning until daylight. Abundance of dry hard wood is
obtained with little trouble; and burns beautifully. After the great
business of cooking and eating is over, all sit round the camp-fires,
and engage in talking or singing. Every evening one of the Batoka
plays his "sansa," and continues at it until far into the night; he
accompanies it with an extempore song, in which he rehearses their
deeds ever since they left their own country. At times animated
political discussions spring up, and the amount of eloquence expended
on these occasions is amazing. The whole camp is aroused, and the
men shout to one another from the different fires; whilst some, whose
tongues are never heard on any other subject, burst forth into
impassioned speech.

As a specimen of our mode of marching, we rise about five, or as soon
as dawn appears, take a cup of tea and a bit of biscuit; the servants
fold up the blankets and stow them away in the bags they carry; the
others tie their fumbas and cooking-pots to each end of their
carrying-sticks, which are borne on the shoulder; the cook secures
the dishes, and all are on the path by sunrise. If a convenient spot
can be found we halt for breakfast about nine a.m. To save time,
this meal is generally cooked the night before, and has only to be
warmed. We continue the march after breakfast, rest a little in the
middle of the day, and break off early in the afternoon. We average
from two to two-and-a-half miles an hour in a straight line, or as
the crow flies, and seldom have more than five or six hours a day of
actual travel. This in a hot climate is as much as a man can
accomplish without being oppressed; and we always tried to make our
progress more a pleasure than a toil. To hurry over the ground,
abuse, and look ferocious at one's native companions, merely for the
foolish vanity of boasting how quickly a distance was accomplished,
is a combination of silliness with absurdity quite odious; while
kindly consideration for the feelings of even blacks, the pleasure of
observing scenery and everything new as one moves on at an ordinary
pace, and the participation in the most delicious rest with our
fellows, render travelling delightful. Though not given to over
haste, we were a little surprised to find that we could tire our men
out; and even the headman, who carried but little more than we did,
and never, as we often had to do, hunted in the afternoon, was no
better than his comrades. Our experience tends to prove that the
European constitution has a power of endurance, even in the tropics,
greater than that of the hardiest of the meat-eating Africans.

After pitching our camp, one or two of us usually go off to hunt,
more as a matter of necessity than of pleasure, for the men, as well
as ourselves, must have meat. We prefer to take a man with us to
carry home the game, or lead the others to where it lies; but as they
frequently grumble and complain of being tired, we do not
particularly object to going alone, except that it involves the extra
labour of our making a second trip to show the men where the animal
that has been shot is to be found. When it is a couple of miles off
it is rather fatiguing to have to go twice; more especially on the
days when it is solely to supply their wants that, instead of resting
ourselves, we go at all. Like those who perform benevolent deeds at
home, the tired hunter, though trying hard to live in charity with
all men, is strongly tempted to give it up by bringing only
sufficient meat for the three whites and leaving the rest; thus
sending the "idle ungrateful poor" supperless to bed. And yet it is
only by continuance in well-doing, even to the length of what the
worldly-wise call weakness, that the conviction is produced anywhere,
that our motives are high enough to secure sincere respect.

A jungle of mimosa, ebony, and "wait-a-bit" thorn lies between the
Chicova flats and the cultivated plain, on which stand the villages
of the chief, Chitora. He brought us a present of food and drink,
because, as he, with the innate politeness of an African, said, he
"did not wish us to sleep hungry: he had heard of the Doctor when he
passed down, and had a great desire to see and converse with him; but
he was a child then, and could not speak in the presence of great
men. He was glad that he had seen the English now, and was sorry
that his people were away, or he should have made them cook for us."
All his subsequent conduct showed him to be sincere.

Many of the African women are particular about the water they use for
drinking and cooking, and prefer that which is filtered through sand.
To secure this, they scrape holes in the sandbanks beside the stream,
and scoop up the water, which slowly filters through, rather than
take it from the equally clear and limpid river. This practice is
common in the Zambesi, the Rovuma, and Lake Nyassa; and some of the
Portuguese at Tette have adopted the native custom, and send canoes
to a low island in the middle of the river for water. Chitora's
people also obtained their supply from shallow wells in the sandy bed
of a small rivulet close to the village. The habit may have arisen
from observing the unhealthiness of the main stream at certain
seasons. During nearly nine months in the year, ordure is deposited
around countless villages along the thousands of miles drained by the
Zambesi. When the heavy rains come down, and sweep the vast fetid
accumulation into the torrents, the water is polluted with filth;
and, but for the precaution mentioned, the natives would prove
themselves as little fastidious as those in London who drink the
abomination poured into the Thames by Reading and Oxford. It is no
wonder that sailors suffered so much from fever after drinking
African river water, before the present admirable system of
condensing it was adopted in our navy.

The scent of man is excessively terrible to game of all kinds, much
more so, probably, than the sight of him. A herd of antelopes, a
hundred yards off, gazed at us as we moved along the winding path,
and timidly stood their ground until half our line had passed, but
darted off the instant they "got the wind," or caught the flavour of
those who had gone by. The sport is all up with the hunter who gets
to the windward of the African beast, as it cannot stand even the
distant aroma of the human race, so much dreaded by all wild animals.
Is this the fear and the dread of man, which the Almighty said to
Noah was to be upon every beast of the field? A lion may, while
lying in wait for his prey, leap on a human being as he would on any
other animal, save a rhinoceros or an elephant, that happened to
pass; or a lioness, when she has cubs, might attack a man, who,
passing "up the wind of her," had unconsciously, by his scent,
alarmed her for the safety of her whelps; or buffaloes, amid other
animals, might rush at a line of travellers, in apprehension of being
surrounded by them; but neither beast nor snake will, as a general
rule, turn on man except when wounded, or by mistake. If gorillas,
unwounded, advance to do battle with him, and beat their breasts in
defiance, they are an exception to all wild beasts known to us. From
the way an elephant runs at the first glance of man, it is inferred
that this huge brute, though really king of beasts, would run even
from a child.

Our two donkeys caused as much admiration as the three white men.
Great was the astonishment when one of the donkeys began to bray.
The timid jumped more than if a lion had roared beside them. All
were startled, and stared in mute amazement at the harsh-voiced one,
till the last broken note was uttered; then, on being assured that
nothing in particular was meant, they looked at each other, and burst
into a loud laugh at their common surprise. When one donkey
stimulated the other to try his vocal powers, the interest felt by
the startled visitors, must have equalled that of the Londoners, when
they first crowded to see the famous hippopotamus.

We were now, when we crossed the boundary rivulet Nyamatarara, out of
Chicova and amongst sandstone rocks, similar to those which prevail
between Lupata and Kebrabasa. In the latter gorge, as already
mentioned, igneous and syenitic masses have been acted on by some
great fiery convulsion of nature; the strata are thrown into a
huddled heap of confusion. The coal has of course disappeared in
Kebrabasa, but is found again in Chicova. Tette grey sandstone is
common about Sinjere, and wherever it is seen with fossil wood upon
it, coal lies beneath; and here, as at Chicova, some seams crop out
on the banks of the Zambesi. Looking southwards, the country is open
plain and woodland, with detached hills and mountains in the
distance; but the latter are too far off, the natives say, for them
to know their names. The principal hills on our right, as we look up
stream, are from six to twelve miles away, and occasionally they send
down spurs to the river, with brooks flowing through their narrow
valleys. The banks of the Zambesi show two well-defined terraces;
the first, or lowest, being usually narrow, and of great fertility,
while the upper one is a dry grassy plain, a thorny jungle, or a
mopane (Bauhinia) forest. One of these plains, near the Kafue, is
covered with the large stumps and trunks of a petrified forest. We
halted a couple of days by the fine stream Sinjere, which comes from
the Chiroby-roby hills, about eight miles to the north. Many lumps
of coal, brought down by the rapid current, lie in its channel. The
natives never seem to have discovered that coal would burn, and, when
informed of the fact, shook their heads, smiled incredulously, and
said "Kodi" (really), evidently regarding it as a mere traveller's
tale. They were astounded to see it burning freely on our fire of
wood. They told us that plenty of it was seen among the hills; but,
being long ago aware that we were now in an immense coalfield, we did
not care to examine it further.

A dyke of black basaltic rock, called Kakolole, crosses the river
near the mouth of the Sinjere; but it has two open gateways in it of
from sixty to eighty yards in breadth, and the channel is very deep.

On a shallow sandbank, under the dyke, lay a herd of hippopotami in
fancied security. The young ones were playing with each other like
young puppies, climbing on the backs of their dams, trying to take
hold of one another by the jaws and tumbling over into the water.
Mbia, one of the Makololo, waded across to within a dozen yards of
the drowsy beasts, and shot the father of the herd; who, being very
fat, soon floated, and was secured at the village below. The headman
of the village visited us while we were at breakfast. He wore a
black "ife" wig and a printed shirt. After a short silence he said
to Masakasa, "You are with the white people, so why do you not tell
them to give me a cloth?" "We are strangers," answered Masakasa,
"why do you not bring us some food?" He took the plain hint, and
brought us two fowls, in order that we should not report that in
passing him we got nothing to eat; and, as usual, we gave a cloth in
return. In reference to the hippopotamus he would make no demand,
but said he would take what we chose to give him. The men gorged
themselves with meat for two days, and cut large quantities into long
narrow strips, which they half-dried and half-roasted on wooden
frames over the fire. Much game is taken in this neighbourhood in
pitfalls. Sharp-pointed stakes are set in the bottom, on which the
game tumbles and gets impaled. The natives are careful to warn
strangers of these traps, and also of the poisoned beams suspended on
the tall trees for the purpose of killing elephants and hippopotami.
It is not difficult to detect the pitfalls after one's attention has
been called to them; but in places where they are careful to carry
the earth off to a distance, and a person is not thinking of such
things, a sudden descent of nine feet is an experience not easily
forgotten by the traveller. The sensations of one thus
instantaneously swallowed up by the earth are peculiar. A momentary
suspension of consciousness is followed by the rustling sound of a
shower of sand and dry grass, and the half-bewildered thought of
where he is, and how he came into darkness. Reason awakes to assure
him that he must have come down through that small opening of
daylight overhead, and that he is now where a hippopotamus ought to
have been. The descent of a hippopotamus pitfall is easy, but to get
out again into the upper air is a work of labour. The sides are
smooth and treacherous, and the cross reeds, which support the
covering, break in the attempt to get out by clutching them. A cry
from the depths is unheard by those around, and it is only by
repeated and most desperate efforts that the buried alive can regain
the upper world. At Tette we are told of a white hunter, of
unusually small stature, who plumped into a pit while stalking a
guinea-fowl on a tree. It was the labour of an entire forenoon to
get out; and he was congratulating himself on his escape, and
brushing off the clay from his clothes, when down he went into a
second pit, which happened, as is often the case, to be close beside
the first, and it was evening before he could work himself out of

Elephants and buffaloes seldom return to the river by the same path
on two successive nights, they become so apprehensive of danger from
this human art. An old elephant will walk in advance of the herd,
and uncover the pits with his trunk, that the others may see the
openings and tread on firm ground. Female elephants are generally
the victims: more timid by nature than the males, and very motherly
in their anxiety for their calves, they carry their trunks up, trying
every breeze for fancied danger, which often in reality lies at their
feet. The tusker, fearing less, keeps his trunk down, and, warned in
time by that exquisitely sensitive organ, takes heed to his ways.

Our camp on the Sinjere stood under a wide-spreading wild fig-tree.
From the numbers of this family, of large size, dotted over the
country, the fig or banyan species would seem to have been held
sacred in Africa from the remotest times. The soil teemed with white
ants, whose clay tunnels, formed to screen them from the eyes of
birds, thread over the ground, up the trunks of trees, and along the
branches, from which the little architects clear away all rotten or
dead wood. Very often the exact shape of branches is left in tunnels
on the ground and not a bit of the wood inside. The first night we
passed here these destructive insects ate through our grass-beds, and
attacked our blankets, and certain large red-headed ones even bit our

On some days not a single white ant is to be seen abroad; and on
others, and during certain hours, they appear out of doors in
myriads, and work with extraordinary zeal and energy in carrying bits
of dried grass down into their nests. During these busy reaping-fits
the lizards and birds have a good time of it, and enjoy a rich feast
at the expense of thousands of hapless workmen; and when they swarm
they are caught in countless numbers by the natives, and their
roasted bodies are spoken of in an unctuous manner as resembling
grains of soft rice fried in delicious fresh oil.

A strong marauding party of large black ants attacked a nest of white
ones near the camp: as the contest took place beneath the surface,
we could not see the order of the battle; but it soon became apparent
that the blacks had gained the day, and sacked the white town, for
they returned in triumph, bearing off the eggs, and choice bits of
the bodies of the vanquished. A gift, analogous to that of language,
has not been withheld from ants: if part of their building is
destroyed, an official is seen coming out to examine the damage; and,
after a careful survey of the ruins, he chirrups a few clear and
distinct notes, and a crowd of workers begin at once to repair the
breach. When the work is completed, another order is given, and the
workmen retire, as will appear on removing the soft freshly-built
portion. We tried to sleep one rainy might in a native hut, but
could not because of attacks by the fighting battalions of a very
small species of formica, not more than one-sixteenth of an inch in
length. It soon became obvious that they were under regular
discipline, and even attempting to carry out the skilful plans and
stratagems of some eminent leader. Our hands and necks were the
first objects of attack. Large bodies of these little pests were
massed in silence round the point to be assaulted. We could hear the
sharp shrill word of command two or three times repeated, though
until then we had not believed in the vocal power of an ant; the
instant after we felt the storming hosts range over head and neck,
biting the tender skin, clinging with a death-grip to the hair, and
parting with their jaws rather than quit their hold. On our lying
down again in the hope of their having been driven off, no sooner was
the light out, and all still, than the manoeuvre was repeated. Clear
and audible orders were issued, and the assault renewed. It was as
hard to sleep in that hut as in the trenches before Sebastopol. The
white ant, being a vegetable feeder, devours articles of vegetable
origin only, and leather, which, by tanning, is imbued with a
vegetable flavour. "A man may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow,
from the ravages of white ants," said a Portuguese merchant. "If he
gets sick, and unable to look after his goods, his slaves neglect
them, and they are soon destroyed by these insects." The reddish
ant, in the west called drivers, crossed our path daily, in solid
columns an inch wide, and never did the pugnacity of either man or
beast exceed theirs. It is a sufficient cause of war if you only
approach them, even by accident. Some turn out of the ranks and
stand with open mandibles, or, charging with extended jaws, bite with
savage ferocity. When hunting, we lighted among them too often;
while we were intent on the game, and without a thought of ants, they
quietly covered us from head to foot, then all began to bite at the
same instant; seizing a piece of the skin with their powerful
pincers, they twisted themselves round with it, as if determined to

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