Part 10 out of 15
would be sure to send if they came to hand, but I afterward found that,
though he had offered a large sum to any one who would return
with an assurance of having delivered the last packet he sent,
no one followed me with it to Cabango. The unwearied attentions
of this good Englishman, from his first welcome to me when,
a weary, dejected, and worn-down stranger, I arrived at his residence,
and his whole subsequent conduct, will be held in lively remembrance by me
to my dying day.
Several of the native traders here having visited the country of Luba,
lying far to the north of this, and there being some visitors also
from the town of Mai, which is situated far down the Kasai, I picked up
some information respecting those distant parts. In going to the town of Mai
the traders crossed only two large rivers, the Loajima and Chihombo.
The Kasai flows a little to the east of the town of Mai,
and near it there is a large waterfall. They describe the Kasai
as being there of very great size, and that it thence bends round to the west.
On asking an old man, who was about to return to his chief Mai,
to imagine himself standing at his home, and point to the confluence
of the Quango and Kasai, he immediately turned, and, pointing to the westward,
said, "When we travel five days (thirty-five or forty miles)
in that direction, we come to it." He stated also that the Kasai received
another river, named the Lubilash. There is but one opinion among the Balonda
respecting the Kasai and Quango. They invariably describe the Kasai
as receiving the Quango, and, beyond the confluence, assuming the name
of Zaire or Zerezere. And the Kasai, even previous to the junction,
is much larger than the Quango, from the numerous branches it receives.
Besides those we have already crossed, there is the Chihombo at Cabango;
and forty-two miles beyond this, eastward, runs the Kasai itself;
fourteen miles beyond that, the Kaunguesi; then, forty-two miles farther east,
flows the Lolua; besides numbers of little streams, all of which contribute
to swell the Kasai.
About thirty-four miles east of the Lolua, or a hundred and thirty-two miles
E.N.E. of Cabango, stands the town of Matiamvo, the paramount chief of all
the Balonda. The town of Mai is pointed out as to the N.N.W. of Cabango,
and thirty-two days or two hundred and twenty-four miles distant,
or about lat. S. 5d 45'. The chief town of Luba, another independent chief,
is eight days farther in the same direction, or lat. S. 4d 50'. Judging from
the appearance of the people who had come for the purposes of trade from Mai,
those in the north are in quite as uncivilized a condition as the Balonda.
They are clad in a kind of cloth made of the inner bark of a tree.
Neither guns nor native traders are admitted into the country,
the chief of Luba entertaining a dread of innovation. If a native trader
goes thither, he must dress like the common people in Angola,
in a loose robe resembling a kilt. The chief trades in shells and beads only.
His people kill the elephants by means of spears, poisoned arrows, and traps.
All assert that elephants' tusks from that country are heavier
and of greater length than any others.
It is evident, from all the information I could collect
both here and elsewhere, that the drainage of Londa falls to the north
and then runs westward. The countries of Luba and Mai are evidently
lower than this, and yet this is of no great altitude --
probably not much more than 3500 feet above the level of the sea.
Having here received pretty certain information on a point
in which I felt much interest, namely, that the Kasai is not navigable
from the coast, owing to the large waterfall near the town of Mai,
and that no great kingdom exists in the region beyond,
between this and the equator, I would fain have visited Matiamvo.
This seemed a very desirable step, as it is good policy as well as right
to acknowledge the sovereign of a country; and I was assured,
both by Balonda and native traders, that a considerable branch of the Zambesi
rises in the country east of his town, and flows away to the south.
The whole of this branch, extending down even to where it turns westward
to Masiko, is probably placed too far eastward on the map.
It was put down when I believed Matiamvo and Cazembe to be farther east
than I have since seen reason to believe them. All, being derived
from native testimony, is offered to the reader with diffidence,
as needing verification by actual explorers. The people of that part,
named Kanyika and Kanyoka, living on its banks, are represented
as both numerous and friendly, but Matiamvo will on no account permit
any white person to visit them, as his principal supplies of ivory are drawn
from them. Thinking that we might descend this branch of the Zambesi
to Masiko, and thence to the Barotse, I felt a strong inclination to make
the attempt. The goods, however, we had brought with us to pay our way,
had, by the long detention from fever and weakness in both myself and men,
dwindled to a mere fragment; and, being but slightly acquainted with
the Balonda dialect, I felt that I could neither use persuasion nor presents
to effect my object. From all I could hear of Matiamvo,
there was no chance of my being allowed to proceed through his country
to the southward. If I had gone merely to visit him, all the goods
would have been expended by the time I returned to Cabango;
and we had not found mendicity so pleasant on our way to the north
as to induce us to desire to return to it.
The country of Matiamvo is said to be well peopled, but they have
little or no trade. They receive calico, salt, gunpowder,
coarse earthenware, and beads, and give in return ivory and slaves.
They possess no cattle, Matiamvo alone having a single herd, which he keeps
entirely for the sake of the flesh. The present chief is said to be mild
in his government, and will depose an under-chief for unjust conduct.
He occasionally sends the distance of a hundred miles or more
to behead an offending officer. But, though I was informed by the Portuguese
that he possesses absolute power, his name had less influence
over his subjects with whom I came in contact than that of Sekeletu has
over his people living at a much greater distance from the capital.
As we thought it best to strike away to the S.E. from Cabango
to our old friend Katema, I asked a guide from Muanzanza
as soon as the funeral proceedings were over. He agreed to furnish one,
and also accepted a smaller present from me than usual,
when it was represented to him by Pascoal and Faria that I was not a trader.
He seemed to regard these presents as his proper dues;
and as a cargo of goods had come by Senhor Pascoal, he entered the house
for the purpose of receiving his share, when Senhor Faria
gravely presented him with the commonest earthenware vessel,
of which great numbers are brought for this trade. The chief received it
with expressions of abundant gratitude, as these vessels are highly valued,
because from their depth they can hold so much food or beer.
The association of ideas is sometimes so very ludicrous that it is difficult
to maintain one's gravity.
Several of the children of the late Matiamvo came to beg from me, but never
to offer any food. Having spoken to one young man named Liula (Heavens)
about their stinginess, he soon brought bananas and manioc.
I liked his appearance and conversation, and believe that the Balonda
would not be difficult to teach, but their mode of life would be a drawback.
The Balonda in this quarter are much more agreeable-looking
than any of the inhabitants nearer the coast. The women allow their teeth
to remain in their beautifully white state, and would be comely
but for the custom of inserting pieces of reed into the cartilage of the nose.
They seem generally to be in good spirits, and spend their time
in everlasting talk, funeral ceremonies, and marriages.
This flow of animal spirits must be one reason why they are such
an indestructible race. The habitual influence on their minds
of the agency of unseen spirits may have a tendency in the same direction,
by preserving the mental quietude of a kind of fatalism.
We were forced to prepay our guide and his father too,
and he went but one day, although he promised to go with us to Katema.
He was not in the least ashamed at breaking his engagements,
and probably no disgrace will be attached to the deed by Muanzanza.
Among the Bakwains he would have been punished. My men would have
stripped him of the wages which he wore on his person, but thought that,
as we had always acted on the mildest principles, they would let him move off
with his unearned gains.
They frequently lamented the want of knowledge in these people, saying,
in their own tongue, "Ah! they don't know that we are men as well as they,
and that we are only bearing with their insolence with patience
because we are men." Then would follow a hearty curse,
showing that the patience was nearly expended; but they seldom quarreled
in the language of the Balonda. The only one who ever lost his temper
was the man who struck a head man of one of the villages on the mouth,
and he was the most abject individual in our company.
The reason why we needed a guide at all was to secure the convenience
of a path, which, though generally no better than a sheep-walk,
is much easier than going straight in one direction, through tangled forests
and tropical vegetation. We knew the general direction we ought to follow,
and also if any deviation occurred from our proper route;
but, to avoid impassable forests and untreadable bogs, and to get to
the proper fords of the rivers, we always tried to procure a guide,
and he always followed the common path from one village to another
when that lay in the direction we were going.
After leaving Cabango on the 21st, we crossed several little streams
running into the Chihombo on our left, and in one of them
I saw tree ferns (`Cyathea dregei') for the first time in Africa.
The trunk was about four feet high and ten inches in diameter.
We saw also grass trees of two varieties, which, in damp localities,
had attained a height of forty feet. On crossing the Chihombo, which we did
about twelve miles above Cabango, we found it waist-deep and rapid.
We were delighted to see the evidences of buffalo and hippopotami
on its banks. As soon as we got away from the track of the slave-traders,
the more kindly spirit of the southern Balonda appeared,
for an old man brought a large present of food from one of the villages,
and volunteered to go as guide himself. The people, however,
of the numerous villages which we passed always made efforts to detain us,
that they might have a little trade in the way of furnishing our suppers.
At one village, indeed, they would not show us the path at all
unless we remained at least a day with them. Having refused,
we took a path in the direction we ought to go, but it led us
into an inextricable thicket. Returning to the village again,
we tried another footpath in a similar direction, but this led us into
an equally impassable and trackless forest. We were thus forced
to come back and remain. In the following morning they put us
in the proper path, which in a few hours led us through a forest
that would otherwise have taken us days to penetrate.
Beyond this forest we found the village of Nyakalonga, a sister of
the late Matiamvo, who treated us handsomely. She wished her people
to guide us to the next village, but this they declined
unless we engaged in trade. She then requested us to wait an hour or two
till she could get ready a present of meal, manioc roots,
ground-nuts, and a fowl. It was truly pleasant to meet with people
possessing some civility, after the hauteur we had experienced
on the slave-path. She sent her son to the next village
without requiring payment. The stream which ran past her village
was quite impassable there, and for a distance of about a mile on either side,
the bog being soft and shaky, and, when the crust was broken through,
about six feet deep.
On the 28th we reached the village of the chief Bango (lat. 12d 22' 53" S.,
long. 20d 58' E.), who brought us a handsome present of meal,
and the meat of an entire pallah. We here slaughtered the last of the cows
presented to us by Mr. Schut, which I had kept milked until it gave
only a teaspoonful at a time. My men enjoyed a hearty laugh
when they found that I had given up all hope of more,
for they had been talking among themselves about my perseverance.
We offered a leg of the cow to Bango, but he informed us
that neither he nor his people ever partook of beef,
as they looked upon cattle as human, and living at home like men.
None of his people purchased any of the meat, which was always eagerly done
every where else. There are several other tribes who refuse to keep cattle,
though not to eat them when offered by others, because, say they, oxen bring
enemies and war; but this is the first instance I have met with in which
they have been refused as food. The fact of killing the pallahs for food
shows that the objection does not extend to meat in general.
The little streams in this part of the country did not flow in deep dells,
nor were we troubled with the gigantic grasses which annoyed our eyes
on the slopes of the streams before we came to Cabango.
The country was quite flat, and the people cultivated manioc very extensively.
There is no large collection of the inhabitants in any one spot.
The ambition of each seems to be to have his own little village; and we see
many coming from distant parts with the flesh of buffaloes and antelopes
as the tribute claimed by Bango. We have now entered again
the country of the game, but they are so exceedingly shy
that we have not yet seen a single animal. The arrangement into many villages
pleases the Africans vastly, for every one who has a few huts under him
feels himself in some measure to be a chief. The country at this time
is covered with yellowish grass quite dry. Some of the bushes and trees
are green; others are shedding their leaves, the young buds
pushing off the old foliage. Trees, which in the south stand bare
during the winter months, have here but a short period of leaflessness.
Occasionally, however, a cold north wind comes up even as far as Cabango,
and spreads a wintry aspect on all the exposed vegetation.
The tender shoots of the evergreen trees on the south side
become as if scorched; the leaves of manioc, pumpkins, and other tender plants
are killed; while the same kinds, in spots sheltered by forests,
continue green through the whole year. All the interior of South Africa
has a distinct winter of cold, varying in intensity with the latitudes.
In the central parts of the Cape Colony the cold in the winter
is often severe, and the ground is covered with snow. At Kuruman
snow seldom falls, but the frost is keen. There is frost
even as far as the Chobe, and a partial winter in the Barotse valley,
but beyond the Orange River we never have cold and damp combined.
Indeed, a shower of rain seldom or never falls during winter, and hence
the healthiness of the Bechuana climate. From the Barotse valley northward
it is questionable if it ever freezes; but, during the prevalence
of the south wind, the thermometer sinks as low as 42 Deg.,
and conveys the impression of bitter cold.
Nothing can exceed the beauty of the change from the wintry appearance
to that of spring at Kolobeng. Previous to the commencement of the rains,
an easterly wind blows strongly by day, but dies away at night.
The clouds collect in increasing masses, and relieve in some measure
the bright glare of the southern sun. The wind dries up every thing,
and when at its greatest strength is hot, and raises clouds of dust.
The general temperature during the day rises above 96 Deg.:
then showers begin to fall; and if the ground is but once well soaked
with a good day's rain, the change produced is marvelous.
In a day or two a tinge of green is apparent all over the landscape,
and in five or six days the fresh leaves sprouting forth,
and the young grass shooting up, give an appearance of spring
which it requires weeks of a colder climate to produce. The birds,
which in the hot, dry, windy season had been silent, now burst forth
into merry twittering songs, and are busy building their nests. Some of them,
indeed, hatch several times a year. The lowering of the temperature,
by rains or other causes, has much the same effect as the increasing mildness
of our own spring. The earth teems with myriads of young insects;
in some parts of the country hundreds of centipedes, myriapedes, and beetles
emerge from their hiding-places, somewhat as our snails at home do;
and in the evenings the white ants swarm by thousands. A stream of them
is seen to rush out of a hole, and, after flying one or two hundred yards,
they descend; and if they light upon a piece of soil proper for
the commencement of a new colony, they bend up their tails,
unhook their wings, and, leaving them on the surface,
quickly begin their mining operations. If an attempt is made
to separate the wings from the body by drawing them away backward, they seem
as if hooked into the body, and tear away large portions of the insect;
but if turned forward, as the ant itself does, they snap off
with the greatest ease. Indeed, they seem formed only to serve the insect
in its short flight to a new habitation, and then to be thrown aside.
Nothing can exceed the eagerness with which, at the proper time,
they rush out from their birth-place. Occasionally this occurs in a house,
and then, in order to prevent every corner from being filled with them,
I have seen a fire placed over the orifice; but they hesitate not even
to pass through the fire. While swarming they appear like snow-flakes
floating about in the air, and dogs, cats, hawks, and almost every bird,
may be seen busily devouring them. The natives, too, profit by the occasion,
and actively collect them for food, they being about half an inch long,
as thick as a crow-quill, and very fat. When roasted they are said
to be good, and somewhat resemble grains of boiled rice.
An idea may be formed of this dish by what once occurred
on the banks of the Zouga. The Bayeiye chief Palani visiting us while eating,
I gave him a piece of bread and preserved apricots; and as he seemed
to relish it much, I asked him if he had any food equal to that
in his country. "Ah!" said he, "did you ever taste white ants?"
As I never had, he replied, "Well, if you had, you never could have desired
to eat any thing better." The general way of catching them
is to dig into the ant-hill, and wait till the builders come forth
to repair the damage, then brush them off quickly into a vessel,
as the ant-eater does into his mouth.
The fall of the rain makes all the cattle look fresh and clean,
and both men and women proceed cheerily to their already hoed gardens,
and sow the seed. The large animals in the country leave the spots
where they had been compelled to congregate for the sake of water,
and become much wilder. Occasionally a herd of buffaloes or antelopes
smell rain from afar, and set off in a straight line toward the place.
Sometimes they make mistakes, and are obliged to return to the water
they had left.
Very large tracts of country are denuded of old grass during the winter
by means of fire, in order to attract the game to that which there springs up
unmixed with the older crop. This new herbage has a renovating tendency,
for as long as they feed on the dry grass of the former season
they continue in good condition; but no sooner are they able to indulge
their appetites on the fresh herbage, than even the marrow in their bones
becomes dissolved, and a red, soft, uneatable mass is left behind.
After this commences the work of regaining their former plumpness.
MAY 30TH. We left Bango, and proceeded to the River Loembwe,
which flows to the N.N.E., and abounds in hippopotami.
It is about sixty yards wide, and four feet deep, but usually contains
much less water than this, for there are fishing-weirs placed right across it.
Like all the African rivers in this quarter, it has morasses on each bank,
yet the valley in which it winds, when seen from the high lands above,
is extremely beautiful. This valley is about the fourth of a mile wide,
and it was easy to fancy the similarity of many spots on it
to the goodly manors in our own country, and feel assured that there was still
ample territory left for an indefinite increase of the world's population.
The villages are widely apart and difficult of access, from the paths being
so covered with tall grass that even an ox can scarcely follow the track.
The grass cuts the feet of the men; yet we met a woman with a little child,
and a girl, wending their way home with loads of manioc.
The sight of a white man always infuses a tremor into their dark bosoms,
and in every case of the kind they appeared immensely relieved
when I had fairly passed without having sprung upon them.
In the villages the dogs run away with their tails between their legs,
as if they had seen a lion. The women peer from behind the walls
till he comes near them, and then hastily dash into the house.
When a little child, unconscious of danger, meets you in the street,
he sets up a scream at the apparition, and conveys the impression
that he is not far from going into fits. Among the Bechuanas I have been
obliged to reprove the women for making a hobgoblin of the white man,
and telling their children that they would send for him to bite them.
Having passed the Loembwe, we were in a more open country,
with every few hours a small valley, through which ran a little rill
in the middle of a bog. These were always difficult to pass,
and being numerous, kept the lower part of the person constantly wet.
At different points in our course we came upon votive offerings to the Barimo.
These usually consisted of food; and every deserted village
still contained the idols and little sheds with pots of medicine in them.
One afternoon we passed a small frame house with the head of an ox in it as
an object of worship. The dreary uniformity of gloomy forests and open flats
must have a depressing influence on the minds of the people.
Some villages appear more superstitious than others, if we may judge
from the greater number of idols they contain.
Only on one occasion did we witness a specimen of quarreling.
An old woman, standing by our camp, continued to belabor
a good-looking young man for hours with her tongue. Irritated at last,
he uttered some words of impatience, when another man sprang at him,
exclaiming, "How dare you curse my `Mama'?" They caught each other,
and a sort of pushing, dragging wrestling-match ensued.
The old woman who had been the cause of the affray wished us to interfere,
and the combatants themselves hoped as much; but we, preferring to
remain neutral, allowed them to fight it out. It ended by one falling
under the other, both, from their scuffling, being in a state of nudity.
They picked up their clothing and ran off in different directions,
each threatening to bring his gun and settle the dispute in mortal combat.
Only one, however, returned, and the old woman continued her scolding
till my men, fairly tired of her tongue, ordered her to be gone.
This trifling incident was one of interest to me, for, during the whole period
of my residence in the Bechuana country, I never saw unarmed men
strike each other. Their disputes are usually conducted with
great volubility and noisy swearing, but they generally terminate
by both parties bursting into a laugh.
At every village attempts were made to induce us to remain a night.
Sometimes large pots of beer were offered to us as a temptation.
Occasionally the head man would peremptorily order us to halt under a tree
which he pointed out. At other times young men volunteered to guide us
to the impassable part of the next bog, in the hope of bringing us to a stand,
for all are excessively eager to trade; but food was so very cheap that
we sometimes preferred paying them to keep it, and let us part in good humor.
A good-sized fowl could be had for a single charge of gunpowder.
Each native who owns a gun carries about with him a measure
capable of holding but one charge, in which he receives his powder.
Throughout this region the women are almost entirely naked,
their gowns being a patch of cloth frightfully narrow, with no flounces;
and nothing could exceed the eagerness with which they offered to purchase
strips of calico of an inferior description. They were delighted
with the large pieces we gave, though only about two feet long,
for a fowl and a basket of upward of 20 lbs. of meal. As we had now
only a small remnant of our stock, we were obliged to withstand
their importunity, and then many of their women, with true maternal feelings,
held up their little naked babies, entreating us to sell only a little rag
for them. The fire, they say, is their only clothing by night,
and the little ones derive heat by sticking closely to their parents.
Instead of a skin or cloth to carry their babies in, the women plait a belt
about four inches broad, of the inner bark of a tree, and this,
hung from the one shoulder to the opposite side, like a soldier's belt,
enables them to support the child by placing it on their side
in a sitting position. Their land is very fertile, and they can raise
ground-nuts and manioc in abundance. Here I observed no cotton,
nor any domestic animals except fowls and little dogs. The chief possessed
a few goats, and I never could get any satisfactory reason
why the people also did not rear them.
On the evening of the 2d of June we reached the village of Kawawa,
rather an important personage in these parts. This village
consists of forty or fifty huts, and is surrounded by forest.
Drums were beating over the body of a man who had died the preceding day,
and some women were making a clamorous wail at the door of his hut,
and addressing the deceased as if alive. The drums continued beating
the whole night, with as much regularity as a steam-engine thumps
on board ship. We observed that a person dressed fantastically
with a great number of feathers left the people at the dance and wailing,
and went away into the deep forest in the morning, to return again
to the obsequies in the evening; he is intended to represent
one of the Barimo.
In the morning we had agreeable intercourse with Kawawa; he visited us,
and we sat and talked nearly the whole day with him and his people.
When we visited him in return, we found him in his large court-house,
which, though of a beehive shape, was remarkably well built.
As I had shown him a number of curiosities, he now produced a jug,
of English ware, shaped like an old man holding a can of beer in his hand,
as the greatest curiosity he had to exhibit.
We had now an opportunity of hearing a case brought before him for judgment.
A poor man and his wife were accused of having bewitched the man
whose wake was now held in the village. Before Kawawa even heard the defense,
he said, "You have killed one of my children; bring all yours before me,
that I may choose which of them shall be mine instead."
The wife eloquently defended herself, but this availed little,
for these accusations are the means resorted to by some chiefs
to secure subjects for the slave-market. He probably thought
that I had come to purchase slaves, though I had already given
a pretty full explanation of my pursuits both to himself and his people.
We exhibited the pictures of the magic lantern in the evening,
and all were delighted except Kawawa himself. He showed symptoms of dread,
and several times started up as if to run away, but was prevented
by the crowd behind. Some of the more intelligent understood
the explanations well, and expatiated eloquently on them to the more obtuse.
Nothing could exceed the civilities which had passed between us
during this day; but Kawawa had heard that the Chiboque had forced us
to pay an ox, and now thought he might do the same. When, therefore,
I sent next morning to let him know that we were ready to start,
he replied in his figurative way, "If an ox came in the way of a man,
ought he not to eat it? I had given one to the Chiboque,
and must give him the same, together with a gun, gunpowder, and a black robe,
like that he had seen spread out to dry the day before; that, if I refused
an ox, I must give one of my men, and a book by which he might see
the state of Matiamvo's heart toward him, and which would forewarn him,
should Matiamvo ever resolve to cut off his head." Kawawa came
in the coolest manner possible to our encampment after sending this message,
and told me he had seen all our goods, and must have all he asked,
as he had command of the Kasai in our front, and would prevent us
from passing it unless we paid this tribute. I replied that the goods
were my property and not his; that I would never have it said that a white man
had paid tribute to a black, and that I should cross the Kasai
in spite of him. He ordered his people to arm themselves,
and when some of my men saw them rushing for their bows, arrows, and spears,
they became somewhat panic-stricken. I ordered them to move away,
and not to fire unless Kawawa's people struck the first blow.
I took the lead, and expected them all to follow, as they usually had done,
but many of my men remained behind. When I knew this, I jumped off the ox,
and made a rush to them with the revolver in my hand. Kawawa ran away
among his people, and they turned their backs too. I shouted to my men
to take up their luggage and march; some did so with alacrity,
feeling that they had disobeyed orders by remaining; but one of them refused,
and was preparing to fire at Kawawa, until I gave him a punch on the head
with the pistol, and made him go too. I felt here, as elsewhere,
that subordination must be maintained at all risks. We all moved
into the forest, the people of Kawawa standing about a hundred yards off,
gazing, but not firing a shot or an arrow. It is extremely unpleasant
to part with these chieftains thus, after spending a day or two
in the most amicable intercourse, and in a part where the people
are generally civil. This Kawawa, however, is not a good specimen
of the Balonda chiefs, and is rather notorious in the neighborhood
for his folly. We were told that he has good reason to believe that Matiamvo
will some day cut off his head for his disregard of the rights of strangers.
Kawawa was not to be balked of his supposed rights by the unceremonious way
in which we had left him; for, when we had reached the ford of the Kasai,
about ten miles distant, we found that he had sent four of his men,
with orders to the ferrymen to refuse us passage. We were here
duly informed that we must deliver up all the articles mentioned,
and one of our men besides. This demand for one of our number
always nettled every heart. The canoes were taken away before our eyes,
and we were supposed to be quite helpless without them, at a river
a good hundred yards broad, and very deep. Pitsane stood on the bank,
gazing with apparent indifference on the stream, and made
an accurate observation of where the canoes were hidden among the reeds.
The ferrymen casually asked one of my Batoka if they had rivers
in his country, and he answered with truth, "No, we have none."
Kawawa's people then felt sure we could not cross. I thought of swimming
when they were gone; but after it was dark, by the unasked loan
of one of the hidden canoes, we soon were snug in our bivouac
on the southern bank of the Kasai. I left some beads as payment for some meal
which had been presented by the ferrymen; and, the canoe having been left
on their own side of the river, Pitsane and his companions
laughed uproariously at the disgust our enemies would feel,
and their perplexity as to who had been our paddler across.
They were quite sure that Kawawa would imagine that we had been ferried over
by his own people, and would be divining to find out who had done the deed.
When ready to depart in the morning, Kawawa's people appeared
on the opposite heights, and could scarcely believe their eyes
when they saw us prepared to start away to the south. At last one of them
called out, "Ah! ye are bad," to which Pitsane and his companions retorted,
"Ah! ye are good, and we thank you for the loan of your canoe."
We were careful to explain the whole of the circumstances to Katema
and the other chiefs, and they all agreed that we were perfectly justifiable
under the circumstances, and that Matiamvo would approve our conduct.
When any thing that might bear an unfavorable construction
happens among themselves, they send explanations to each other.
The mere fact of doing so prevents them from losing their character,
for there is public opinion even among them.
Level Plains -- Vultures and other Birds -- Diversity of Color in Flowers
of the same Species -- The Sundew -- Twenty-seventh Attack of Fever --
A River which flows in opposite Directions -- Lake Dilolo the Watershed
between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans -- Position of Rocks --
Sir Roderick Murchison's Explanation -- Characteristics of the Rainy Season
in connection with the Floods of the Zambesi and the Nile --
Probable Reason of Difference in Amount of Rain South and North
of the Equator -- Arab Reports of Region east of Londa --
Probable Watershed of the Zambesi and the Nile -- Lake Dilolo --
Reach Katema's Town: his renewed Hospitality; desire to appear
like a White Man; ludicrous Departure -- Jackdaws --
Ford southern Branch of Lake Dilolo -- Small Fish -- Project for
a Makololo Village near the Confluence of the Leeba and the Leeambye --
Hearty Welcome from Shinte -- Kolimbota's Wound --
Plant-seeds and Fruit-trees brought from Angola --
Masiko and Limboa's Quarrel -- Nyamoana now a Widow --
Purchase Canoes and descend the Leeba -- Herds of wild Animals on its Banks
-- Unsuccessful Buffalo-hunt -- Frogs -- Sinbad and the Tsetse --
Dispatch a Message to Manenko -- Arrival of her Husband Sambanza --
The Ceremony called Kasendi -- Unexpected Fee for performing
a surgical Operation -- Social Condition of the Tribes --
Desertion of Mboenga -- Stratagem of Mambowe Hunters -- Water-turtles --
Charged by a Buffalo -- Reception from the People of Libonta --
Explain the Causes of our long Delay -- Pitsane's Speech --
Thanksgiving Services -- Appearance of my "Braves" --
Wonderful Kindness of the People.
After leaving the Kasai, we entered upon the extensive level plains
which we had formerly found in a flooded condition. The water on them
was not yet dried up, as it still remained in certain hollow spots.
Vultures were seen floating in the air, showing that carrion was to be found;
and, indeed, we saw several of the large game, but so exceedingly wild
as to be unapproachable. Numbers of caterpillars mounted the stalks of grass,
and many dragonflies and butterflies appeared, though this was winter.
The caprimulgus or goat-sucker, swifts, and different kinds of swallows,
with a fiery-red bee-eater in flocks, showed that the lowest temperature here
does not destroy the insects on which they feed. Jet-black larks,
with yellow shoulders, enliven the mornings with their songs,
but they do not continue so long on the wing as ours, nor soar so high.
We saw many of the pretty white ardea, and other water-birds,
flying over the spots not yet dried up; and occasionally wild ducks,
but these only in numbers sufficient to remind us that we were approaching
the Zambesi, where every water-fowl has a home.
While passing across these interminable-looking plains,
the eye rests with pleasure on a small flower, which exists in such numbers
as to give its own hue to the ground. One broad band of yellow
stretches across our path. On looking at the flowers which formed
this golden carpet, we saw every variety of that color, from the palest lemon
to the richest orange. Crossing a hundred yards of this,
we came upon another broad band of the same flower, but blue,
and this color is varied from the lightest tint to dark blue, and even purple.
I had before observed the same flower possessing different colors in different
parts of the country, and once a great number of liver-colored flowers,
which elsewhere were yellow. Even the color of the birds changed
with the district we passed through; but never before did I see
such a marked change as from yellow to blue, repeated again and again
on the same plain. Another beautiful plant attracted my attention
so strongly on these plains that I dismounted to examine it.
To my great delight I found it to be an old home acquaintance,
a species of Drosera, closely resembling our own sundew (`Drosera Anglia').
The flower-stalk never attains a height of more than two or three inches,
and the leaves are covered with reddish hairs, each of which
has a drop of clammy fluid at its tip, making the whole appear
as if spangled over with small diamonds. I noticed it first in the morning,
and imagined the appearance was caused by the sun shining on drops of dew;
but, as it continued to maintain its brilliancy during the heat of the day,
I proceeded to investigate the cause of its beauty, and found
that the points of the hairs exuded pure liquid, in, apparently,
capsules of clear, glutinous matter. They were thus like dewdrops
preserved from evaporation. The clammy fluid is intended to entrap insects,
which, dying on the leaf, probably yield nutriment to the plant.
During our second day on this extensive plain I suffered from
my twenty-seventh attack of fever, at a part where no surface-water
was to be found. We never thought it necessary to carry water with us
in this region; and now, when I was quite unable to move on,
my men soon found water to allay my burning thirst by digging with sticks
a few feet beneath the surface. We had thus an opportunity of observing
the state of these remarkable plains at different seasons of the year.
Next day we pursued our way, and on the 8th of June we forded the Lotembwa
to the N.W. of Dilolo, and regained our former path.
The Lotembwa here is about a mile wide, about three feet deep,
and full of the lotus, papyrus, arum, mat-rushes, and other aquatic plants.
I did not observe the course in which the water flowed while crossing;
but, having noticed before that the Lotembwa on the other side
of the Lake Dilolo flowed in a southerly direction, I supposed
that this was simply a prolongation of the same river beyond Dilolo,
and that it rose in this large marsh, which we had not seen
in our progress to the N.W. But when we came to the Southern Lotembwa,
we were informed by Shakatwala that the river we had crossed
flowed in an opposite direction -- not into Dilolo, but into the Kasai.
This phenomenon of a river running in opposite directions
struck even his mind as strange; and, though I did not observe the current,
simply from taking it for granted that it was toward the lake,
I have no doubt that his assertion, corroborated as it was by others,
is correct, and that the Dilolo is actually the watershed between
the river systems that flow to the east and west.
I would have returned in order to examine more carefully
this most interesting point, but, having had my lower extremities chilled
in crossing the Northern Lotembwa, I was seized with vomiting of blood,
and, besides, saw no reason to doubt the native testimony.
The distance between Dilolo and the valleys leading to that of the Kasai
is not more than fifteen miles, and the plains between are perfectly level;
and, had I returned, I should only have found that this little lake Dilolo,
by giving a portion to the Kasai and another to the Zambesi,
distributes its waters to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. I state the fact
exactly as it opened to my own mind, for it was only now that I apprehended
the true form of the river systems and continent. I had seen the various
rivers of this country on the western side flowing from the subtending ridges
into the centre, and had received information from natives and Arabs
that most of the rivers on the eastern side of the same great region
took a somewhat similar course from an elevated ridge there,
and that all united in two main drains, the one flowing to the north
and the other to the south, and that the northern drain found its way out
by the Congo to the west, and the southern by the Zambesi to the east.
I was thus on the watershed, or highest point of these two great systems,
but still not more than 4000 feet above the level of the sea,
and 1000 feet lower than the top of the western ridge we had already crossed;
yet, instead of lofty snow-clad mountains appearing to verify
the conjectures of the speculative, we had extensive plains,
over which one may travel a month without seeing any thing higher
than an ant-hill or a tree. I was not then aware that any one else
had discovered the elevated trough form of the centre of Africa.
I had observed that the old schistose rocks on the sides dipped in
toward the centre of the country, and their strike nearly corresponded
with the major axis of the continent; and also that where
the later erupted trap rocks had been spread out in tabular masses
over the central plateau, they had borne angular fragments of the older rocks
in their substance; but the partial generalization which the observations
led to was, that great volcanic action had taken place in ancient times,
somewhat in the same way it does now, at distances of not more than
three hundred miles from the sea, and that this igneous action,
extending along both sides of the continent, had tilted up the lateral rocks
in the manner they are now seen to lie. The greater energy
and more extended range of igneous action in those very remote periods
when Africa was formed, embracing all the flanks, imparted to it
its present very simple literal outline. This was the length
to which I had come.
The trap rocks, which now constitute the "filling up" of the great valley,
were always a puzzle to me till favored with Sir Roderick Murchison's
explanation of the original form of the continent, for then
I could see clearly why these trap rocks, which still lie
in a perfectly horizontal position on extensive areas, held in their substance
angular fragments, containing algae of the old schists,
which form the bottom of the original lacustrine basin: the traps,
in bursting through, had broken them off and preserved them.
There are, besides, ranges of hills in the central parts,
composed of clay and sandstone schists, with the ripple mark distinct,
in which no fossils appear; but as they are usually tilted away
from the masses of horizontal trap, it is probable that they too
were a portion of the original bottom, and fossils may yet be found in them.*
* After dwelling upon the geological structure of the Cape Colony
as developed by Mr. A. Bain, and the existence in very remote periods
of lacustrine conditions in the central part of South Africa,
as proved by fresh-water and terrestrial fossils, Sir Roderick Murchison
"Such as South Africa is now, such have been her main features
during countless past ages anterior to the creation of the human race;
for the old rocks which form her outer fringe unquestionably circled round
an interior marshy or lacustrine country, in which the Dicynodon flourished,
at a time when not a single animal was similar to any living thing
which now inhabits the surface of our globe. The present
central and meridian zone of waters, whether lakes or marshes,
extending from Lake Tchad to Lake 'Ngami, with hippopotami on their banks,
are therefore but the great modern residual geographical phenomena
of those of a mesozoic age. The differences, however,
between the geological past of Africa and her present state are enormous.
Since that primeval time, the lands have been much elevated
above the sea-level -- eruptive rocks piercing in parts through them;
deep rents and defiles have been suddenly formed in the subtending ridges
through which some rivers escape outward.
"Travelers will eventually ascertain whether the basin-shaped structure,
which is here announced as having been the great feature
of the most ancient, as it is of the actual geography of South Africa
(i.e., from primeval times to the present day), does, or does not,
extend into Northern Africa. Looking at that much broader portion
of the continent, we have some reason to surmise that the higher mountains
also form, in a general sense, its flanks only." -- President's Address,
Royal Geographical Society, 1852, p. cxxiii.
The characteristics of the rainy season in this wonderfully humid region
may account in some measure for the periodical floods of the Zambesi,
and perhaps the Nile. The rains seem to follow the course of the sun,
for they fall in October and November, when the sun passes over this zone
on his way south. On reaching the tropic of Capricorn in December, it is dry;
and December and January are the months in which injurious droughts
are most dreaded near that tropic (from Kolobeng to Linyanti).
As he returns again to the north in February, March, and April, we have
the great rains of the year; and the plains, which in October and November
were well moistened, and imbibed rain like sponges, now become supersaturated,
and pour forth those floods of clear water which inundate
the banks of the Zambesi. Somewhat the same phenomenon probably causes
the periodical inundations of the Nile. The two rivers rise
in the same region; but there is a difference in the period of flood,
possibly from their being on opposite sides of the equator.
The waters of the Nile are said to become turbid in June;
and the flood attains its greatest height in August, or the period
when we may suppose the supersaturation to occur. The subject is worthy
the investigation of those who may examine the region
between the equator and 10 Deg. S.; for the Nile does not show much increase
when the sun is at its farthest point north, or tropic of Cancer,
but at the time of its returning to the equator, exactly as in the other case
when he is on Capricorn, and the Zambesi is affected.*
* The above is from my own observation, together with information
derived from the Portuguese in the interior of Angola; and I may add
that the result of many years' observation by Messrs. Gabriel and Brand
at Loanda, on the west coast, is in accordance therewith.
It rains there between the 1st and 30th of November,
but January and December are usually both warm and dry.
The heavier rains commence about the 1st of February,
and last until the 15th of May. Then no rain falls
between the 20th of May and the 1st of November. The rain averages
from 12 to 15 inches per annum. In 1852 it was 12.034 inches;
in 1853, 15.473 inches. Although I had no means of measuring
the amount of rain which fell in Londa, I feel certain
that the annual quantity exceeds very much that which falls on the coast,
because for a long time we noticed that every dawn was marked
by a deluging shower, which began without warning-drops or thunder.
I observed that the rain ceased suddenly on the 28th of April,
and the lesser rains commenced about a fortnight before
the beginning of November.
From information derived from Arabs of Zanzibar, whom I met at Naliele
in the middle of the country, the region to the east of the parts of Londa
over which we have traveled resembles them in its conformation.
They report swampy steppes, some of which have no trees,
where the inhabitants use grass, and stalks of native corn, for fuel.
A large shallow lake is also pointed out in that direction,
named Tanganyenka, which requires three days for crossing in canoes.
It is connected with another named Kalagwe (Garague?), farther north,
and may be the Nyanja of the Maravim. From this lake is derived, by numerous
small streams, the River Loapula, the eastern branch of the Zambesi,
which, coming from the N.E., flows past the town of Cazembe.
The southern end of this lake is ten days northeast of the town of Cazembe;
and as that is probably more than five days from Shinte,
we can not have been nearer to it than 150 miles. Probably this lake
is the watershed between the Zambesi and the Nile, as Lake Dilolo
is that between the Leeba and Kasai. But, however this may be,
the phenomena of the rainy season show that it is not necessary to assume
the existence of high snowy mountains until we get reliable information.
This, it is to be hoped, will be one of the results of the researches
of Captain Burton in his present journey.
The original valley formation of the continent determined
the northern and southern course of the Zambesi in the centre,
and also of the ancient river which once flowed from the Linyanti basin
to the Orange River. It also gave direction to the southern and northern flow
of the Kasai and the Nile. We find that between the latitudes,
say 6 Deg. and 12 Deg. S., from which, in all probability,
the head waters of those rivers diverge, there is a sort of elevated partition
in the great longitudinal valley. Presuming on the correctness
of the native information, which places the humid region to which
the Nile and Zambesi probably owe their origin within the latitudes indicated,
why does so much more rain fall there than in the same latitudes
north of the equator? Why does Darfur not give rise to great rivers,
like Londa and the country east of it? The prevailing winds in the ocean
opposite the territory pointed out are said to be from the N.E. and S.E.
during a great part of the year; they extend their currents
on one side at least of the equator quite beyond the middle of the continent,
and even until in Angola they meet the sea-breeze from the Atlantic.
If the reader remembers the explanation given at page 109,*
that the comparative want of rain on the Kalahari Desert is caused
by the mass of air losing its humidity as it passes up and glides over
the subtending ridge, and will turn to the map, he may perceive
that the same cause is in operation in an intense degree
by the mountains of Abyssinia to render the region about Darfur
still more arid, and that the flanking ranges mentioned
lie much nearer the equator than those which rob the Kalahari of humidity.
The Nile, even while running through a part of that region,
receives remarkably few branches. Observing also that there is
no known abrupt lateral mountain-range between 6 Deg. and 12 Deg. S.,
but that there is an elevated partition there, and that
the southing and northing of the southeasters and northeasters
probably cause a confluence of the two great atmospheric currents,
he will perceive an accumulation of humidity on the flanks and crown
of the partition, instead of, as elsewhere, opposite the Kalahari and Darfur,
a deposition of the atmospheric moisture on the eastern slopes
of the subtending ridges. This explanation is offered with all deference
to those who have made meteorology their special study,
and as a hint to travelers who may have opportunity to examine the subject
more fully. I often observed, while on a portion of the partition,
that the air by night was generally quite still, but as soon as the sun's rays
began to shoot across the upper strata of the atmosphere in the early morning,
a copious discharge came suddenly down from the accumulated clouds.
It always reminded me of the experiment of putting a rod
into a saturated solution of a certain salt, causing instant crystallization.
This, too, was the period when I often observed the greatest amount of cold.
* Since the explanation in page 109 [Chapter 5 Paragraph 5] was printed,
I have been pleased to see the same explanation given
by the popular astronomer and natural philosopher, M. Babinet,
in reference to the climate of France. It is quoted from
a letter of a correspondent of the `Times' in Paris:
"In the normal meteorological state of France and Europe,
the west wind, which is the counter-current of the trade-winds
that constantly blow from the east under the tropics --
the west wind, I say, after having touched France and Europe
by the western shores, re-descends by Marseilles and the Mediterranean,
Constantinople and the Archipelago, Astrakan and the Caspian Sea,
in order to merge again into the great circuit of the general winds,
and be thus carried again into the equatorial current.
Whenever these masses of air, impregnated with humidity
during their passage over the ocean, meet with an obstacle,
such as a chain of mountains, for example, they slide up the acclivity,
and, when they reach the crest, find themselves relieved
from a portion of the column of air which pressed upon them.
Thus, dilating by reason of their elasticity, they cause
a considerable degree of cold, and a precipitation of humidity
in the form of fogs, clouds, rain, or snow. A similar effect occurs
whatever be the obstacle they find in their way. Now this is what
had gradually taken place before 1856. By some cause or other connected
with the currents of the atmosphere, the warm current from the west
had annually ascended northward, so that, instead of passing through France,
it came from the Baltic and the north of Germany, thus momentarily
disturbing the ordinary law of the temperatures of Europe.
But in 1856 a sudden change occurred. The western current again passed,
as before, through the centre of France. It met with an obstacle in the air
which had not yet found its usual outlet toward the west and south.
Hence a stoppage, a rising, a consequent dilation and fall of temperature,
extraordinary rains and inundations. But, now that the natural
state of things is restored, nothing appears to prognosticate
the return of similar disasters. Were the western current
found annually to move further north, we might again experience
meteorological effects similar to those of 1856. Hence the regular seasons
may be considered re-established in France for several years to come.
The important meteorological communications which the Imperial Observatory
is daily establishing with the other countries of Europe,
and the introduction of apparatus for measuring the velocity
of the aerial currents and prevailing winds, will soon afford prognostics
sufficiently certain to enable an enlightened government to provide in time
against future evils."
After crossing the Northern Lotembwa we met a party of the people of Kangenke,
who had treated us kindly on our way to the north, and sent him
a robe of striped calico, with an explanation of the reason
for not returning through his village. We then went on to the Lake Dilolo.
It is a fine sheet of water, six or eight miles long, and one or two broad,
and somewhat of a triangular shape. A branch proceeds from one of the angles,
and flows into the Southern Lotembwa. Though laboring under fever,
the sight of the blue waters, and the waves lashing the shore,
had a most soothing influence on the mind, after so much of lifeless, flat,
and gloomy forest. The heart yearned for the vivid impressions which
are always created by the sight of the broad expanse of the grand old ocean.
That has life in it; but the flat uniformities over which we had roamed
made me feel as if buried alive. We found Moene Dilolo (Lord of the Lake)
a fat, jolly fellow, who lamented that when they had no strangers they had
plenty of beer, and always none when they came. He gave us a handsome present
of meal and putrid buffalo's flesh. Meat can not be too far gone for them,
as it is used only in small quantities, as a sauce to their tasteless manioc.
They were at this time hunting antelopes, in order to send the skins
as a tribute to Matiamvo. Great quantities of fish are caught in the lake;
and numbers of young water-fowl are now found in the nests among the reeds.
Our progress had always been slow, and I found that our rate of traveling
could only be five hours a day for five successive days. On the sixth,
both men and oxen showed symptoms of knocking up. We never exceeded
two and a half or three miles an hour in a straight line,
though all were anxious to get home. The difference in the rate of traveling
between ourselves and the slave-traders was our having a rather quicker step,
a longer day's journey, and twenty traveling days a month
instead of their ten. When one of my men became ill, but still could walk,
others parted his luggage among them; yet we had often to stop one day a week,
besides Sundays, simply for the sake of rest. The latitude of Lake Dilolo
is 11d 32' 1" S., long. 22d 27' E.
JUNE 14TH. We reached the collection of straggling villages
over which Katema rules, and were thankful to see old familiar faces again.
Shakatwala performed the part of a chief by bringing forth
abundant supplies of food in his master's name. He informed us
that Katema, too, was out hunting skins for Matiamvo.
In different parts of this country, we remarked that when old friends
were inquired for, the reply was, "Ba hola" (They are getting better);
or if the people of a village were inquired for, the answer was,
"They are recovering," as if sickness was quite a common thing.
Indeed, many with whom we had made acquaintance in going north we now found
were in their graves. On the 15th Katema came home from his hunting,
having heard of our arrival. He desired me to rest myself and eat abundantly,
for, being a great man, I must feel tired; and he took good care
to give the means of doing so. All the people in these parts are
exceedingly kind and liberal with their food, and Katema was not behindhand.
When he visited our encampment, I presented him with a cloak of red baize,
ornamented with gold tinsel, which cost thirty shillings,
according to the promise I had made in going to Londa; also a cotton robe,
both large and small beads, an iron spoon, and a tin pannikin
containing a quarter of a pound of powder. He seemed greatly pleased
with the liberality shown, and assured me that the way was mine,
and that no one should molest me in it if he could help it.
We were informed by Shakatwala that the chief never used any part of a present
before making an offer of it to his mother, or the departed spirit
to whom he prayed. Katema asked if I could not make a dress for him
like the one I wore, so that he might appear as a white man
when any stranger visited him. One of the councilors, imagining that
he ought to second this by begging, Katema checked him by saying,
"Whatever strangers give, be it little or much, I always receive it
with thankfulness, and never trouble them for more." On departing,
he mounted on the shoulders of his spokesman, as the most dignified
mode of retiring. The spokesman being a slender man, and the chief
six feet high, and stout in proportion, there would have been a break-down
had he not been accustomed to it. We were very much pleased with Katema;
and next day he presented us with a cow, that we might enjoy
the abundant supplies of meal he had given with good animal food.
He then departed for the hunting-ground, after assuring me that the town
and every thing in it were mine, and that his factotum, Shakatwala,
would remain and attend to every want, and also conduct us to the Leeba.
On attempting to slaughter the cow Katema had given, we found the herd
as wild as buffaloes; and one of my men having only wounded it,
they fled many miles into the forest, and were with great difficulty
brought back. Even the herdsman was afraid to go near them.
The majority of them were white, and they were all beautiful animals.
After hunting it for two days it was dispatched at last by another ball.
Here we saw a flock of jackdaws, a rare sight in Londa, busy with the grubs
in the valley, which are eaten by the people too.
Leaving Katema's town on the 19th, and proceeding four miles to the eastward,
we forded the southern branch of Lake Dilolo. We found it
a mile and a quarter broad; and, as it flows into the Lotembwa,
the lake would seem to be a drain of the surrounding flats,
and to partake of the character of a fountain. The ford was waist-deep,
and very difficult, from the masses of arum and rushes
through which we waded. Going to the eastward about three miles,
we came to the Southern Lotembwa itself, running in a valley two miles broad.
It is here eighty or ninety yards wide, and contains numerous islands
covered with dense sylvan vegetation. In the rainy season the valley
is flooded, and as the waters dry up great multitudes of fish are caught.
This happens very extensively over the country, and fishing-weirs are met with
every where. A species of small fish, about the size of the minnow,
is caught in bagfuls and dried in the sun. The taste is a pungent
aromatic bitter, and it was partaken of freely by my people, although they
had never met with it before. On many of the paths which had been flooded
a nasty sort of slime of decayed vegetable matter is left behind,
and much sickness prevails during the drying up of the water.
We did not find our friend Mozinkwa at his pleasant home on the Lokaloeje;
his wife was dead, and he had removed elsewhere. He followed us
some distance, but our reappearance seemed to stir up his sorrows.
We found the pontoon at the village in which we left it.
It had been carefully preserved, but a mouse had eaten a hole in it
and rendered it useless.
We traversed the extended plain on the north bank of the Leeba,
and crossed this river a little farther on at Kanyonke's village,
which is about twenty miles west of the Peri hills, our former ford.
The first stage beyond the Leeba was at the rivulet Loamba,
by the village of Chebende, nephew of Shinte; and next day
we met Chebende himself returning from the funeral of Samoana, his father.
He was thin and haggard-looking compared to what he had been before,
the probable effect of the orgies in which he had been engaged.
Pitsane and Mohorisi, having concocted the project of a Makololo village
on the banks of the Leeba, as an approach to the white man's market,
spoke to Chebende, as an influential man, on the subject,
but he cautiously avoided expressing an opinion. The idea which had sprung up
in their own minds of an establishment somewhere near the confluence
of the Leeba and Leeambye, commended itself to my judgment at the time
as a geographically suitable point for civilization and commerce.
The right bank of the Leeba there is never flooded; and from that point
there is communication by means of canoes to the country of the Kanyika,
and also to Cazembe and beyond, with but one or two large waterfalls between.
There is no obstruction down to the Barotse valley; and there is probably
canoe navigation down the Kafue or Bashukulompo River, though it is reported
to contain many cataracts. It flows through a fertile country,
well peopled with Bamasasa, who cultivate the native produce largely.
As this was the middle of winter, it may be mentioned
that the temperature of the water in the morning was 47 Deg.,
and that of the air 50 Deg., which, being loaded with moisture,
was very cold to the feelings. Yet the sun was very hot by day,
and the temperature in the coolest shade from 88 Deg. to 90 Deg.;
in the evenings from 76 Deg. to 78 Deg.
Before reaching the town of Shinte we passed through many large villages
of the Balobale, who have fled from the chief Kangenke. The Mambari from Bihe
come constantly to him for trade; and, as he sells his people,
great numbers of them escape to Shinte and Katema, who refuse to give them up.
We reached our friend Shinte, and received a hearty welcome
from this friendly old man, and abundant provisions of the best he had.
On hearing the report of the journey given by my companions,
and receiving a piece of cotton cloth about two yards square,
he said, "These Mambari cheat us by bringing little pieces only;
but the next time you pass I shall send men with you to trade for me
in Loanda." When I explained the use made of the slaves he sold,
and that he was just destroying his own tribe by selling his people,
and enlarging that of the Mambari for the sake of these small pieces of cloth,
it seemed to him quite a new idea. He entered into a long detail
of his troubles with Masiko, who had prevented him from cultivating
that friendship with the Makololo which I had inculcated,
and had even plundered the messengers he had sent with Kolimbota
to the Barotse valley. Shinte was particularly anxious to explain
that Kolimbota had remained after my departure of his own accord,
and that he had engaged in the quarrels of the country without being invited;
that, in attempting to capture one of the children of a Balobale man,
who had offended the Balonda by taking honey from a hive
which did not belong to him, Kolimbota had got wounded by a shot in the thigh,
but that he had cured the wound, given him a wife, and sent
a present of cloth to Sekeletu, with a full account of the whole affair.
From the statement of Shinte we found that Kolimbota had learned,
before we left his town, that the way we intended to take was so dangerous
that it would be better for him to leave us to our fate;
and, as he had taken one of our canoes with him, it seemed evident
that he did not expect us to return. Shinte, however, sent a recommendation
to his sister Nyamoana to furnish as many canoes as we should need
for our descent of the Leeba and Leeambye.
As I had been desirous of introducing some of the fruit-trees of Angola,
both for my own sake and that of the inhabitants, we had carried
a pot containing a little plantation of orange, cashew-trees,
custard-apple-trees (`anona'), and a fig-tree, with coffee,
aracas (`Araca pomifera'), and papaws (`Carica papaya'). Fearing that,
if we took them farther south at present, they might be killed by the cold,
we planted them out in an inclosure of one of Shinte's principal men,
and, at his request, promised to give Shinte a share when grown.
They know the value of fruits, but at present have none except wild ones.
A wild fruit we frequently met with in Londa is eatable,
and, when boiled, yields a large quantity of oil, which is much used
in anointing both head and body. He eagerly accepted
some of the seeds of the palm-oil-tree (`Elaeis Guineensis'),
when told that this would produce oil in much greater quantity
than their native tree, which is not a palm. There are very few palm-trees
in this country, but near Bango we saw a few of a peculiar palm,
the ends of the leaf-stalks of which remain attached to the trunk,
giving it a triangular shape.
It is pleasant to observe that all the tribes in Central Africa
are fond of agriculture. My men had collected quantities of seeds in Angola,
and now distributed them among their friends. Some even carried onions,
garlic, and bird's-eye pepper, growing in pannikins. The courts
of the Balonda, planted with tobacco, sugar-cane, and plants used as relishes,
led me to the belief that care would be taken of my little nursery.
The thermometer early in the mornings ranged from 42 Deg. to 52 Deg.,
at noon 94 Deg. to 96 Deg., and in the evening about 70 Deg. It was placed
in the shade of my tent, which was pitched under the thickest tree
we could find. The sensation of cold, after the heat of the day,
was very keen. The Balonda at this season never leave their fires
till nine or ten in the morning. As the cold was so great here,
it was probably frosty at Linyanti; I therefore feared
to expose my young trees there. The latitude of Shinte's town
is 12d 37' 35" S., longitude 22d 47' E.
We remained with Shinte till the 6th of July, he being unwilling
to allow us to depart before hearing in a formal manner,
in the presence of his greatest councilor Chebende, a message from Limboa,
the brother of Masiko. When Masiko fled from the Makololo country
in consequence of a dislike of being in a state of subjection to Sebituane,
he came into the territory of Shinte, who received him kindly,
and sent orders to all the villages in his vicinity to supply him with food.
Limboa fled in a westerly direction with a number of people,
and also became a chief. His country was sometimes called Nyenko,
but by the Mambari and native Portuguese traders "Mboela" -- the place
where they "turned again", or back. As one of the fruits of polygamy,
the children of different mothers are always in a state of variance.
Each son endeavors to gain the ascendency by enticing away
the followers of the others. The mother of Limboa being of a high family,
he felt aggrieved because the situation chosen by Masiko was better than his.
Masiko lived at a convenient distance from the Saloisho hills,
where there is abundance of iron ore, with which the inhabitants
manufacture hoes, knives, etc. They are also skillful
in making wooden vessels. Limboa felt annoyed because he was obliged
to apply for these articles through his brother, whom he regarded
as his inferior, and accordingly resolved to come into the same district.
As this was looked upon as an assertion of superiority
which Masiko would resist, it was virtually a declaration of war.
Both Masiko and Shinte pleaded my injunction to live in peace and friendship,
but Limboa, confident of success, now sent the message which I was
about to hear -- "That he, too, highly approved of the `word' I had given,
but would only for once transgress a little, and live at peace
for ever afterward." He now desired the aid of Shinte to subdue his brother.
Messengers came from Masiko at the same time, desiring assistance
to repel him. Shinte felt inclined to aid Limboa, but,
as he had advised them both to wait till I came, I now urged him
to let the quarrel alone, and he took my advice.
We parted on the best possible terms with our friend Shinte,
and proceeded by our former path to the village of his sister Nyamoana,
who is now a widow. She received us with much apparent feeling, and said,
"We had removed from our former abode to the place where you found us,
and had no idea then that it was the spot where my husband was to die."
She had come to the River Lofuje, as they never remain in a place
where death has once visited them. We received the loan of five small canoes
from her, and also one of those we had left here before, to proceed
down the Leeba. After viewing the Coanza at Massangano, I thought the Leeba
at least a third larger, and upward of two hundred yards wide.
We saw evidence of its rise during its last flood having been
upward of forty feet in perpendicular height; but this is probably
more than usual, as the amount of rain was above the average.
My companions purchased also a number of canoes from the Balonda.
These are very small, and can carry only two persons.
They are made quite thin and light, and as sharp as racing-skiffs,
because they are used in hunting animals in the water.
The price paid was a string of beads equal to the length of the canoe.
We advised them to bring canoes for sale to the Makololo,
as they would gladly give them cows in exchange.
In descending the Leeba we saw many herds of wild animals,
especially the tahetsi (`Aigoceros equina'), one magnificent antelope,
the putokuane (`Antilope niger'), and two fine lions. The Balobale, however,
are getting well supplied with guns, and will soon thin out the large game.
At one of the villages we were entreated to attack some buffaloes
which grazed in the gardens every night and destroyed the manioc.
As we had had no success in shooting at the game we had seen,
and we all longed to have a meal of meat, we followed the footprints
of a number of old bulls. They showed a great amount of cunning
by selecting the densest parts of very closely-planted forests
to stand or recline in during the day. We came within six yards of them
several times before we knew that they were so near. We only heard them
rush away among the crashing branches, catching only a glimpse of them.
It was somewhat exciting to feel, as we trod on the dry leaves
with stealthy steps, that, for any thing we knew, we might next moment
be charged by one of the most dangerous beasts of the forest. We threaded out
their doublings for hours, drawn on by a keen craving for animal food,
as we had been entirely without salt for upward of two months,
but never could get a shot.
In passing along the side of the water every where except in Londa,
green frogs spring out at your feet, and light in the water
as if taking a "header"; and on the Leeambye and Chobe
we have great numbers of small green frogs (`Rana fasciata', Boie),
which light on blades of grass with remarkable precision;
but on coming along the Leeba I was struck by the sight of a light green toad
about an inch long. The leaf might be nearly perpendicular,
but it stuck to it like a fly. It was of the same size
as the `Brachymerus bi-fasciatus' (Smith),* which I saw only once
in the Bakwain country. Though small, it was hideous,
being colored jet black, with vermilion spots.
* The discovery of this last species is thus mentioned by that
accomplished naturalist, Dr. Smith: "On the banks of the Limpopo River,
close to the tropic of Capricorn, a massive tree was cut down to obtain wood
to repair a wagon. The workman, while sawing the trunk longitudinally
nearly along its centre, remarked, on reaching a certain point,
`It is hollow, and will not answer the purpose for which it is wanted.'
He persevered, however, and when a division into equal halves was effected,
it was discovered that the saw in its course had crossed a large hole,
in which were five specimens of the species just described,
each about an inch in length. Every exertion was made to discover
a means of communication between the external air and the cavity,
but without success. Every part of the latter was probed with
the utmost care, and water was kept in each half for a considerable time,
without any passing into the wood. The inner surface of the cavity
was black, as if charred, and so was likewise the adjoining wood
for half an inch from the cavity. The tree, at the part where
the latter existed, was 19 inches in diameter; the length of the trunk
was 18 feet. When the Batrachia above mentioned were discovered,
they appeared inanimate, but the influence of a warm sun to which
they were subjected soon imparted to them a moderate degree of vigor.
In a few hours from the time they were liberated they were tolerably active,
and able to move from place to place apparently with great ease."
Before reaching the Makondo rivulet, latitude 13d 23' 12" S.,
we came upon the tsetse in such numbers that many bites were inflicted
on my poor ox, in spite of a man with a branch warding them off.
The bite of this insect does not affect the donkey as it does cattle.
The next morning, the spots on which my ox had been bitten were marked
by patches of hair about half an inch broad being wetted by exudation.
Poor Sinbad had carried me all the way from the Leeba to Golungo Alto,
and all the way back again, without losing any of his peculiarities,
or ever becoming reconciled to our perversity in forcing him away each morning
from the pleasant pasturage on which he had fed. I wished to give
the climax to his usefulness, and allay our craving for animal food
at the same time; but my men having some compunction, we carried him
to end his days in peace at Naliele.
Having dispatched a message to our old friend Manenko, we waited a day
opposite her village, which was about fifteen miles from the river.
Her husband was instantly dispatched to meet us with liberal presents of food,
she being unable to travel in consequence of a burn on the foot.
Sambanza gave us a detailed account of the political affairs of the country,
and of Kolimbota's evil doings, and next morning performed the ceremony
called "Kasendi", for cementing our friendship. It is accomplished thus:
The hands of the parties are joined (in this case Pitsane and Sambanza
were the parties engaged); small incisions are made on the clasped hands,
on the pits of the stomach of each, and on the right cheeks and foreheads.
A small quantity of blood is taken off from these points in both parties
by means of a stalk of grass. The blood from one person
is put into a pot of beer, and that of the second into another;
each then drinks the other's blood, and they are supposed to become
perpetual friends or relations. During the drinking of the beer,
some of the party continue beating the ground with short clubs,
and utter sentences by way of ratifying the treaty. The men belonging to each
then finish the beer. The principals in the performance of "Kasendi" are
henceforth considered blood-relations, and are bound to disclose to each other
any impending evil. If Sekeletu should resolve to attack the Balonda,
Pitsane would be under obligation to give Sambanza warning to escape,
and so on the other side. They now presented each other with
the most valuable presents they had to bestow. Sambanza walked off with
Pitsane's suit of green baize faced with red, which had been made in Loanda,
and Pitsane, besides abundant supplies of food, obtained two shells
similar to that I had received from Shinte.
On one occasion I became blood-relation to a young woman by accident.
She had a large cartilaginous tumor between the bones of the fore-arm,
which, as it gradually enlarged, so distended the muscles
as to render her unable to work. She applied to me to excise it.
I requested her to bring her husband, if he were willing
to have the operation performed, and, while removing the tumor,
one of the small arteries squirted some blood into my eye. She remarked,
when I was wiping the blood out of it, "You were a friend before,
now you are a blood-relation; and when you pass this way, always send me word,
that I may cook food for you." In creating these friendships, my men had
the full intention of returning; each one had his `Molekane' (friend)
in every village of the friendly Balonda. Mohorisi even married a wife
in the town of Katema, and Pitsane took another in the town of Shinte.
These alliances were looked upon with great favor by the Balonda chiefs,
as securing the good-will of the Makololo.
In order that the social condition of the tribes may be understood
by the reader, I shall mention that, while waiting for Sambanza,
a party of Barotse came from Nyenko, the former residence of Limboa,
who had lately crossed the Leeba on his way toward Masiko.
The head man of this party had brought Limboa's son to his father,
because the Barotse at Nyenko had, since the departure of Limboa,
elected Nananko, another son of Santuru, in his stead;
and our visitor, to whom the boy had been intrusted as a guardian,
thinking him to be in danger, fled with him to his father. The Barotse,
whom Limboa had left behind at Nyenko, on proceeding to elect Nananko,
said, "No, it is quite too much for Limboa to rule over two places."
I would have gone to visit Limboa and Masiko too, in order to
prevent hostilities, but the state of my ox would not allow it.
I therefore sent a message to Limboa by some of his men,
protesting against war with his brother, and giving him formal notice
that the path up the Leeba had been given to us by the Balonda,
the owners of the country, and that no attempt must ever be made
to obstruct free intercourse.
On leaving this place we were deserted by one of our party, Mboenga,
an Ambonda man, who had accompanied us all the way to Loanda and back.
His father was living with Masiko, and it was natural for him
to wish to join his own family again. He went off honestly,
with the exception of taking a fine "tari" skin given me by Nyamoana,
but he left a parcel of gun-flints which he had carried for me
all the way from Loanda. I regretted parting with him thus,
and sent notice to him that he need not have run away,
and if he wished to come to Sekeletu again he would be welcome.
We subsequently met a large party of Barotse fleeing in the same direction;
but when I represented to them that there was a probability
of their being sold as slaves in Londa, and none in the country of Sekeletu,
they concluded to return. The grievance which the Barotse most feel
is being obliged to live with Sekeletu at Linyanti, where there is neither
fish nor fowl, nor any other kind of food, equal in quantity
to what they enjoy in their own fat valley.
A short distance below the confluence of the Leeba and Leeambye
we met a number of hunters belonging to the tribe called Mambowe,
who live under Masiko. They had dried flesh of hippopotami, buffaloes,
and alligators. They stalk the animals by using the stratagem of a cap
made of the skin of a leche's or poku's head, having the horns still attached,
and another made so as to represent the upper white part of the crane
called jabiru (`Mycteru Senegalensis'), with its long neck and beak above.
With these on, they crawl through the grass; they can easily
put up their heads so far as to see their prey without being recognized until
they are within bow-shot. They presented me with three fine water-turtles,*
one of which, when cooked, had upward of forty eggs in its body.
The shell of the egg is flexible, and it is of the same size at both ends,
like those of the alligator. The flesh, and especially the liver,
is excellent. The hunters informed us that, when the message
inculcating peace among the tribes came to Masiko, the common people
were so glad at the prospect of "binding up the spears",
that they ran to the river, and bathed and plunged in it for joy. This party
had been sent by Masiko to the Makololo for aid to repel their enemy,
but, afraid to go thither, had spent the time in hunting.
They have a dread of the Makololo, and hence the joy they expressed
when peace was proclaimed. The Mambowe hunters were much alarmed
until my name was mentioned. They then joined our party,
and on the following day discovered a hippopotamus dead,
which they had previously wounded. This was the first feast of flesh
my men had enjoyed, for, though the game was wonderfully abundant,
I had quite got out of the way of shooting, and missed perpetually.
Once I went with the determination of getting so close that I should not miss
a zebra. We went along one of the branches that stretch out from the river
in a small canoe, and two men, stooping down as low as they could,
paddled it slowly along to an open space near to a herd of zebras and pokus.
Peering over the edge of the canoe, the open space seemed
like a patch of wet ground, such as is often seen on the banks of a river,
made smooth as the resting-place of alligators. When we came within
a few yards of it, we found by the precipitate plunging of the reptile
that this was a large alligator itself. Although I had been most careful
to approach near enough, I unfortunately only broke the hind leg of a zebra.
My two men pursued it, but the loss of a hind leg does not prevent this animal
from a gallop. As I walked slowly after the men on an extensive plain
covered with a great crop of grass, which was `laid' by its own weight,
I observed that a solitary buffalo, disturbed by others of my own party,
was coming to me at a gallop. I glanced around, but the only tree
on the plain was a hundred yards off, and there was no escape elsewhere.
I therefore cocked my rifle, with the intention of giving him a steady shot
in the forehead when he should come within three or four yards of me.
The thought flashed across my mind, "What if your gun misses fire?"
I placed it to my shoulder as he came on at full speed,
and that is tremendous, though generally he is a lumbering-looking animal
in his paces. A small bush and bunch of grass fifteen yards off made him
swerve a little, and exposed his shoulder. I just heard the ball crack there
as I fell flat on my face. The pain must have made him
renounce his purpose, for he bounded close past me on to the water,
where he was found dead. In expressing my thankfulness to God among my men,
they were much offended with themselves for not being present
to shield me from this danger. The tree near me was a camel-thorn,
and reminded me that we had come back to the land of thorns again,
for the country we had left is one of evergreens.
* It is probably a species allied to the `Sternotherus sinuatus' of Dr. Smith,
as it has no disagreeable smell. This variety annually leaves the water
with so much regularity for the deposit of its eggs, that the natives decide
on the time of sowing their seed by its appearance.
JULY 27TH. We reached the town of Libonta, and were received
with demonstrations of joy such as I had never witnessed before.
The women came forth to meet us, making their curious
dancing gestures and loud lulliloos. Some carried a mat and stick,
in imitation of a spear and shield. Others rushed forward and kissed
the hands and cheeks of the different persons of their acquaintance among us,
raising such a dust that it was quite a relief to get to the men
assembled and sitting with proper African decorum in the kotla.
We were looked upon as men risen from the dead, for the most skillful
of their diviners had pronounced us to have perished long ago.
After many expressions of joy at meeting, I arose, and, thanking them,
explained the causes of our long delay, but left the report to be made
by their own countrymen. Formerly I had been the chief speaker,
now I would leave the task of speaking to them. Pitsane then delivered
a speech of upward of an hour in length, giving a highly flattering picture
of the whole journey, of the kindness of the white men in general,
and of Mr. Gabriel in particular. He concluded by saying that
I had done more for them than they expected; that I had not only opened up
a path for them to the other white men, but conciliated all the chiefs
along the route. The oldest man present rose and answered this speech,
and, among other things, alluded to the disgust I felt at the Makololo
for engaging in marauding expeditions against Lechulatebe and Sebolamakwaia,
of which we had heard from the first persons we met, and which my companions
most energetically denounced as "mashue hela", entirely bad.
He entreated me not to lose heart, but to reprove Sekeletu as my child.
Another old man followed with the same entreaties. The following day
we observed as our thanksgiving to God for his goodness in bringing us all
back in safety to our friends. My men decked themselves out in their best,
and I found that, although their goods were finished, they had managed to save
suits of European clothing, which, being white, with their red caps,
gave them rather a dashing appearance. They tried to walk like the soldiers
they had seen in Loanda, and called themselves my "braves" (batlabani).
During the service they all sat with their guns over their shoulders,
and excited the unbounded admiration of the women and children.
I addressed them all on the goodness of God in preserving us
from all the dangers of strange tribes and disease. We had a similar service
in the afternoon. The men gave us two fine oxen for slaughter,
and the women supplied us abundantly with milk, meal, and butter.
It was all quite gratuitous, and I felt ashamed that I could make no return.
My men explained the total expenditure of our means, and the Libontese
answered gracefully, "It does not matter; you have opened a path for us,
and we shall have sleep." Strangers came flocking from a distance,
and seldom empty-handed. Their presents I distributed among my men.
Our progress down the Barotse valley was just like this. Every village
gave us an ox, and sometimes two. The people were wonderfully kind.
I felt, and still feel, most deeply grateful, and tried to benefit them
in the only way I could, by imparting the knowledge of that Savior
who can comfort and supply them in the time of need, and my prayer is that
he may send his good Spirit to instruct them and lead them into his kingdom.
Even now I earnestly long to return, and make some recompense to them
for their kindness. In passing them on our way to the north,
their liberality might have been supposed to be influenced
by the hope of repayment on our return, for the white man's land
is imagined to be the source of every ornament they prize most.
But, though we set out from Loanda with a considerable quantity of goods,
hoping both to pay our way through the stingy Chiboque,
and to make presents to the kind Balonda and still more generous Makololo,
the many delays caused by sickness made us expend all my stock,
and all the goods my men procured by their own labor at Loanda,
and we returned to the Makololo as poor as when we set out.
Yet no distrust was shown, and my poverty did not lessen my influence.
They saw that I had been exerting myself for their benefit alone,
and even my men remarked, "Though we return as poor as we went,
we have not gone in vain." They began immediately to collect
tusks of hippopotami and other ivory for a second journey.
Colony of Birds called Linkololo -- The Village of Chitlane --
Murder of Mpololo's Daughter -- Execution of the Murderer and his Wife --
My Companions find that their Wives have married other Husbands --
Sunday -- A Party from Masiko -- Freedom of Speech -- Canoe struck
by a Hippopotamus -- Gonye -- Appearance of Trees at the end of Winter --
Murky Atmosphere -- Surprising Amount of organic Life --
Hornets -- The Packages forwarded by Mr. Moffat --
Makololo Suspicions and Reply to the Matebele who brought them --
Convey the Goods to an Island and build a Hut over them -- Ascertain that
Sir R. Murchison had recognized the true Form of African Continent --
Arrival at Linyanti -- A grand Picho -- Shrewd Inquiry --
Sekeletu in his Uniform -- A Trading-party sent to Loanda with Ivory --
Mr. Gabriel's Kindness to them -- Difficulties in Trading --
Two Makololo Forays during our Absence -- Report of the Country to the N.E.
-- Death of influential Men -- The Makololo desire to be nearer the Market
-- Opinions upon a Change of Residence -- Climate of Barotse Valley --
Diseases -- Author's Fevers not a fair Criterion in the Matter --
The Interior an inviting Field for the Philanthropist -- Consultations about
a Path to the East Coast -- Decide on descending North Bank of Zambesi --
Wait for the Rainy Season -- Native way of spending Time during the period
of greatest Heat -- Favorable Opening for Missionary Enterprise --
Ben Habib wishes to marry -- A Maiden's Choice -- Sekeletu's Hospitality --
Sulphureted Hydrogen and Malaria -- Conversations with Makololo --
Their moral Character and Conduct -- Sekeletu wishes to purchase
a Sugar-mill, etc. -- The Donkeys -- Influence among the Natives --
"Food fit for a Chief" -- Parting Words of Mamire -- Motibe's Excuses.
On the 31st of July we parted with our kind Libonta friends.
We planted some of our palm-tree seeds in different villages of this valley.
They began to sprout even while we were there, but, unfortunately,
they were always destroyed by the mice which swarm in every hut.
At Chitlane's village we collected the young of a colony of
the linkololo (`Anastomus lamalligerus'), a black, long-legged bird,
somewhat larger than a crow, which lives on shellfish (`Ampullaria'),
and breeds in society at certain localities among the reeds.
These places are well known, as they continue there from year to year,
and belong to the chiefs, who at particular times of the year
gather most of the young. The produce of this "harvest", as they call it,
which was presented to me, was a hundred and seventy-five unfledged birds.
They had been rather late in collecting them, in consequence of waiting
for the arrival of Mpololo, who acts the part of chief, but gave them to me,
knowing that this would be pleasing to him, otherwise this colony
would have yielded double the amount. The old ones appear along the Leeambye
in vast flocks, and look lean and scraggy. The young are very fat,
and, when roasted, are esteemed one of the dainties of the Barotse valley.
In presents of this kind, as well as of oxen, it is a sort of feast of joy,
the person to whom they are presented having the honor of distributing
the materials of the feast. We generally slaughtered every ox at the village
where it was presented, and then our friends and we rejoiced together.
The village of Chitlane is situated, like all others in the Barotse valley,
on an eminence, over which floods do not rise; but this last year
the water approached nearer to an entire submergence of the whole valley
than has been known in the memory of man. Great numbers of people
were now suffering from sickness, which always prevails when the waters
are drying up, and I found much demand for the medicines I had brought
from Loanda. The great variation of the temperature each day
must have a trying effect upon the health. At this village
there is a real Indian banian-tree, which has spread itself
over a considerable space by means of roots from its branches;
it has been termed, in consequence, "the tree with legs" (more oa maotu).
It is curious that trees of this family are looked upon with veneration,
and all the way from the Barotse to Loanda are thought to be
preservatives from evil.
On reaching Naliele on the 1st of August we found Mpololo in great affliction
on account of the death of his daughter and her child. She had been
lately confined; and her father naturally remembered her when an ox
was slaughtered, or when the tribute of other food, which he receives
in lieu of Sekeletu, came in his way, and sent frequent presents to her.
This moved the envy of one of the Makololo who hated Mpololo,
and, wishing to vex him, he entered the daughter's hut by night,
and strangled both her and her child. He then tried to make fire in the hut
and burn it, so that the murder might not be known; but the squeaking noise
of rubbing the sticks awakened a servant, and the murderer was detected.
Both he and his wife were thrown into the river; the latter having
"known of her husband's intentions, and not revealing them." She declared
she had dissuaded him from the crime, and, had any one interposed a word,
she might have been spared.
Mpololo exerted himself in every way to supply us with other canoes,
and we left Shinte's with him. The Mambowe were well received,
and departed with friendly messages to their chief Masiko.
My men were exceedingly delighted with the cordial reception we met with
every where; but a source of annoyance was found where it was not expected.
Many of their wives had married other men during our two years' absence.
Mashauana's wife, who had borne him two children, was among the number.
He wished to appear not to feel it much, saying, "Why, wives are
as plentiful as grass, and I can get another: she may go;"
but he would add, "If I had that fellow, I would open his ears for him."
As most of them had more wives than one, I tried to console them
by saying that they had still more than I had, and that they had enough yet;
but they felt the reflection to be galling, that while they were toiling,
another had been devouring their corn. Some of their wives came
with very young infants in their arms. This excited no discontent;
and for some I had to speak to the chief to order the men,
who had married the only wives some of my companions ever had,
to restore them.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5TH. A large audience listened most attentively
to my morning address. Surely some will remember the ideas conveyed,
and pray to our merciful Father, who would never have thought of Him
but for this visit. The invariably kind and respectful treatment
I have received from these, and many other heathen tribes in this
central country, together with the attentive observations of many years,
have led me to the belief that, if one exerts himself for their good,
he will never be ill treated. There may be opposition to his doctrine,
but none to the man himself.
While still at Naliele, a party which had been sent after me
by Masiko arrived. He was much disappointed because I had not visited him.
They brought an elephant's tusk, two calabashes of honey,
two baskets of maize, and one of ground-nuts, as a present.
Masiko wished to say that he had followed the injunction which I had given
as the will of God, and lived in peace until his brother Limboa came,
captured his women as they went to their gardens, and then appeared
before his stockade. Masiko offered to lead his men out;
but they objected, saying, "Let us servants be killed, you must not be slain."
Those who said this were young Barotse who had been drilled to fighting
by Sebituane, and used shields of ox-hide. They beat off the party of Limboa,
ten being wounded, and ten slain in the engagement. Limboa subsequently sent
three slaves as a self-imposed fine to Masiko for attacking him. I succeeded
in getting the Makololo to treat the messengers of Masiko well, though,
as they regarded them as rebels, it was somewhat against the grain at first
to speak civilly to them.
Mpololo, attempting to justify an opposite line of conduct,
told me how they had fled from Sebituane, even though he had given them
numbers of cattle after their subjection by his arms, and was rather surprised
to find that I was disposed to think more highly of them
for having asserted their independence, even at the loss of milk.
For this food, all who have been accustomed to it from infancy in Africa
have an excessive longing. I pointed out how they might be
mutually beneficial to each other by the exchange of canoes and cattle.
There are some very old Barotse living here who were the companions
of the old chief Santuru. These men, protected by their age, were very free
in their comments on the "upstart" Makololo. One of them, for instance,
interrupted my conversation one day with some Makololo gentlemen
with the advice "not to believe them, for they were only a set of thieves;"
and it was taken in quite a good-natured way. It is remarkable that
none of the ancients here had any tradition of an earthquake having occurred
in this region. Their quick perception of events recognizable by the senses,
and retentiveness of memory, render it probable that no perceptible
movement of the earth has taken place between 7 Deg. and 27 Deg. S.
in the centre of the continent during the last two centuries at least.
There is no appearance of recent fracture or disturbance of rocks
to be seen in the central country, except the falls of Gonye;
nor is there any evidence or tradition of hurricanes.
I left Naliele on the 13th of August, and, when proceeding along the shore
at midday, a hippopotamus struck the canoe with her forehead,
lifting one half of it quite out of the water, so as nearly to overturn it.
The force of the butt she gave tilted Mashauana out into the river;
the rest of us sprang to the shore, which was only about ten yards off.
Glancing back, I saw her come to the surface a short way off,
and look to the canoe, as if to see if she had done much mischief.
It was a female, whose young one had been speared the day before.
No damage was done except wetting person and goods. This is so unusual
an occurrence, when the precaution is taken to coast along the shore,
that my men exclaimed, "Is the beast mad?" There were eight of us
in the canoe at the time, and the shake it received shows
the immense power of this animal in the water.
On reaching Gonye, Mokwala, the head man, having presented me with a tusk,
I gave it to Pitsane, as he was eagerly collecting ivory
for the Loanda market. The rocks of Gonye are reddish gray sandstone,
nearly horizontal, and perforated by madrepores, the holes showing
the course of the insect in different directions. The rock itself
has been impregnated with iron, and that hardened, forms a glaze
on the surface -- an appearance common to many of the rocks of this country.
AUGUST 22D. This is the end of winter. The trees which line the banks
begin to bud and blossom, and there is some show of the influence
of the new sap, which will soon end in buds that push off the old foliage
by assuming a very bright orange color. This orange is so bright that
I mistook it for masses of yellow blossom. There is every variety of shade
in the leaves -- yellow, purple, copper, liver-color, and even inky black.
Having got the loan of other canoes from Mpololo, and three oxen
as provision for the way, which made the number we had been presented with
in the Barotse valley amount to thirteen, we proceeded down the river
toward Sesheke, and were as much struck as formerly with the noble river.
The whole scenery is lovely, though the atmosphere is murky
in consequence of the continuance of the smoky tinge of winter.
This peculiar tinge of the atmosphere was observed every winter at Kolobeng,
but it was not so observable in Londa as in the south, though I had always
considered that it was owing to the extensive burnings of the grass,
in which hundreds of miles of pasturage are annually consumed.
As the quantity burned in the north is very much greater than in the south,
and the smoky tinge of winter was not observed, some other explanation
than these burnings must be sought for. I have sometimes imagined
that the lowering of the temperature in the winter rendered the vapor
in the upper current of air visible, and imparted this hazy appearance.
The amount of organic life is surprising. At the time the river
begins to rise, the `Ibis religiosa' comes down in flocks of fifties,
with prodigious numbers of other water-fowl. Some of the sand-banks
appear whitened during the day with flocks of pelicans -- I once counted
three hundred; others are brown with ducks (`Anas histrionica') --
I got fourteen of these by one shot (`Querquedula Hottentota', Smith),
and other kinds. Great numbers of gulls (`Procellaria turtur', Smith),
and several others, float over the surface. The vast quantity of small birds,
which feed on insects, show that the river teems also
with specimens of minute organic life. In walking among bushes on the banks
we are occasionally stung by a hornet, which makes its nest
in form like that of our own wasp, and hangs it on the branches of trees.
The breeding storgh* is so strong in this insect that it pursues any one
twenty or thirty yards who happens to brush too closely past its nest.
The sting, which it tries to inflict near the eye, is more like
a discharge of electricity from a powerful machine, or a violent blow,
than aught else. It produces momentary insensibility,
and is followed by the most pungent pain. Yet this insect is quite timid
when away from its nest. It is named Murotuani by the Bechuanas.
* (Greek) sigma-tau-omicron-rho-gamma-eta.
We have tsetse between Nameta and Sekhosi. An insect of prey,
about an inch in length, long-legged and gaunt-looking, may be observed
flying about and lighting upon the bare ground. It is a tiger in its way,
for it springs upon tsetse and other flies, and, sucking out their blood,
throws the bodies aside.
Long before reaching Sesheke we had been informed that a party of Matebele,
the people of Mosilikatse, had brought some packages of goods for me
to the south bank of the river, near the Victoria Falls,
and, though they declared that they had been sent by Mr. Moffat,
the Makololo had refused to credit the statement of their sworn enemies.
They imagined that the parcels were directed to me as a mere trick,
whereby to place witchcraft-medicine into the hands of the Makololo.
When the Matebele on the south bank called to the Makololo on the north
to come over in canoes and receive the goods sent by Moffat to "Nake",
the Makololo replied, "Go along with you, we know better than that;
how could he tell Moffat to send his things here, he having gone away
to the north?" The Matebele answered, "Here are the goods;
we place them now before you, and if you leave them to perish
the guilt will be yours." When they had departed the Makololo
thought better of it, and, after much divination, went over
with fear and trembling, and carried the packages carefully
to an island in the middle of the stream; then, building a hut over them
to protect them from the weather, they left them; and there I found
they had remained from September, 1854, till September, 1855,
in perfect safety. Here, as I had often experienced before,
I found the news was very old, and had lost much of its interest
by keeping, but there were some good eatables from Mrs. Moffat.
Among other things, I discovered that my friend, Sir Roderick Murchison,
while in his study in London, had arrived at the same conclusion
respecting the form of the African continent as I had lately come to
on the spot (see note p. 512 [footnote to Chapter 24 Paragraph 7]);
and that, from the attentive study of the geological map of Mr. Bain
and other materials, some of which were furnished by the discoveries
of Mr. Oswell and myself, he had not only clearly enunciated
the peculiar configuration as an hypothesis in his discourse
before the Geographical Society in 1852, but had even the assurance
to send me out a copy for my information! There was not much use
in nursing my chagrin at being thus fairly "cut out" by the man
who had foretold the existence of the Australian gold before its discovery,
for here it was in black and white. In his easy-chair he had forestalled me
by three years, though I had been working hard through jungle,
marsh, and fever, and, since the light dawned on my mind at Dilolo,
had been cherishing the pleasing delusion that I should be the first
to suggest the idea that the interior of Africa was a watery plateau
of less elevation than flanking hilly ranges.
Having waited a few days at Sesheke till the horses which we had left
at Linyanti should arrive, we proceeded to that town, and found the wagon,
and every thing we had left in November, 1853, perfectly safe.
A grand meeting of all the people was called to receive our report,
and the articles which had been sent by the governor and merchants of Loanda.
I explained that none of these were my property, but that they were sent
to show the friendly feelings of the white men, and their eagerness
to enter into commercial relations with the Makololo. I then requested
my companions to give a true account of what they had seen.
The wonderful things lost nothing in the telling, the climax always being
that they had finished the whole world, and had turned only
when there was no more land. One glib old gentleman asked,
"Then you reached Ma Robert (Mrs. L.)?" They were obliged to confess
that she lived a little beyond the world. The presents were received
with expressions of great satisfaction and delight; and on Sunday,
when Sekeletu made his appearance at church in his uniform,
it attracted more attention than the sermon; and the kind expressions
they made use of respecting myself were so very flattering
that I felt inclined to shut my eyes. Their private opinion must have tallied
with their public report, for I very soon received offers from volunteers
to accompany me to the east coast. They said they wished to be able
to return and relate strange things like my recent companions;
and Sekeletu immediately made arrangements with the Arab Ben Habib
to conduct a fresh party with a load of ivory to Loanda. These, he said,
must go with him and learn to trade: they were not to have any thing to do
in the disposal of the ivory, but simply look and learn. My companions
were to remain and rest themselves, and then return to Loanda
when the others had come home. Sekeletu consulted me as to sending presents
back to the governor and merchants of Loanda, but, not possessing
much confidence in this Arab, I advised him to send a present by Pitsane,
as he knew who ought to receive it.
Since my arrival in England, information has been received from Mr. Gabriel
that this party had arrived on the west coast, but that the ivory
had been disposed of to some Portuguese merchants in the interior,
and the men had been obliged to carry it down to Loanda.
They had not been introduced to Mr. Gabriel, but that gentleman,
having learned that they were in the city, went to them, and pronounced
the names Pitsane, Mashauana, when all started up and crowded round him.
When Mr. G. obtained an interpreter, he learned that they had been
ordered by Sekeletu to be sure and go to my brother, as he termed him.
Mr. G. behaved in the same liberal manner as he had done to my companions,
and they departed for their distant home after bidding him
a formal and affectionate adieu.
It was to be expected that they would be imposed upon in their first attempt
at trading, but I believe that this could not be so easily repeated.
It is, however, unfortunate that in dealing with the natives in the interior
there is no attempt made at the establishment of fair prices.
The trader shows a quantity of goods, the native asks for more,
and more is given. The native, being ignorant of the value
of the goods or of his ivory, tries what another demand will bring.
After some haggling, an addition is made, and that bargain is concluded
to the satisfaction of both parties. Another trader comes, and perhaps
offers more than the first; the customary demand for an addition is made,
and he yields. The natives by this time are beginning to believe
that the more they ask the more they will get: they continue to urge,
the trader bursts into a rage, and the trade is stopped,
to be renewed next day by a higher offer. The natives naturally conclude that
they were right the day before, and a most disagreeable commercial intercourse
is established. A great amount of time is spent in concluding these bargains.
In other parts, it is quite common to see the natives going
from one trader to another till they have finished the whole village;
and some give presents of brandy to tempt their custom.
Much of this unpleasant state of feeling between natives and Europeans results
from the commencements made by those who were ignorant of the language,
and from the want of education being given at the same time.
During the time of our absence at Loanda, the Makololo had made two forays,
and captured large herds of cattle. One, to the lake,
was in order to punish Lechulatebe for the insolence he had manifested
after procuring some fire-arms; and the other to Sebola Makwaia,
a chief living far to the N.E. This was most unjustifiable,
and had been condemned by all the influential Makololo.
Ben Habib, however, had, in coming from Zanzibar, visited Sebola Makwaia,
and found that the chief town was governed by an old woman of that name.
She received him kindly, and gave him a large quantity of magnificent ivory,
sufficient to set him up as a trader, at a very small cost;
but, his party having discharged their guns, Ben Habib observed
that the female chief and her people were extremely alarmed, and would have
fled and left their cattle in a panic, had he not calmed their fears.
Ben Habib informed the uncle of Sekeletu that he could easily
guide him thither, and he might get a large number of cattle
without any difficulty. This uncle advised Sekeletu to go;
and, as the only greatness he knew was imitation of his father's deeds,
he went, but was not so successful as was anticipated.
Sebola Makwaia had fled on hearing of the approach of the Makololo;
and, as the country is marshy and intersected in every direction by rivers,
they could not easily pursue her. They captured canoes,
and, pursuing up different streams, came to a small lake called "Shuia".
Having entered the Loangwa, flowing to the eastward, they found it advisable
to return, as the natives in those parts became more warlike
the further they went in that direction. Before turning,
the Arab pointed out an elevated ridge in the distance,
and said to the Makololo, "When we see that, we always know
that we are only ten or fifteen days from the sea." On seeing him afterward,
he informed me that on the same ridge, but much further to the north,
the Banyassa lived, and that the rivers flowed from it toward the S.W.
He also confirmed the other Arab's account that the Loapula,
which he had crossed at the town of Cazembe, flowed in the same direction,
and into the Leeambye.
Several of the influential Makololo who had engaged in these
marauding expeditions had died before our arrival, and Nokwane had succumbed
to his strange disease. Ramosantane had perished through vomiting blood
from over-fatigue in the march, and Lerimo was affected by a leprosy
peculiar to the Barotse valley. In accordance with the advice
of my Libonta friends, I did not fail to reprove "my child Sekeletu"
for his marauding. This was not done in an angry manner, for no good
is ever achieved by fierce denunciations. Motibe, his father-in-law,
said to me, "Scold him much, but don't let others hear you."
The Makololo expressed great satisfaction with the route we had opened up
to the west, and soon after our arrival a "picho" was called,
in order to discuss the question of removal to the Barotse valley,
so that they might be nearer the market. Some of the older men objected
to abandoning the line of defense afforded by the rivers Chobe and Zambesi
against their southern enemies the Matebele. The Makololo generally have
an aversion to the Barotse valley, on account of the fevers
which are annually engendered in it as the waters dry up. They prefer it
only as a cattle station; for, though the herds are frequently thinned
by an epidemic disease (peripneumonia), they breed so fast that the losses
are soon made good. Wherever else the Makololo go, they always leave
a portion of their stock in the charge of herdsmen in that prolific valley.
Some of the younger men objected to removal, because the rankness of the grass
at the Barotse did not allow of their running fast, and because there
"it never becomes cool."
Sekeletu at last stood up, and, addressing me, said, "I am perfectly satisfied
as to the great advantages for trade of the path which you have opened,
and think that we ought to go to the Barotse, in order to make the way
from us to Loanda shorter; but with whom am I to live there?
If you were coming with us, I would remove to-morrow; but now you are going
to the white man's country to bring Ma Robert, and when you return
you will find me near to the spot on which you wish to dwell."
I had then no idea that any healthy spot existed in the country,
and thought only of a convenient central situation, adapted for intercourse
with the adjacent tribes and with the coast, such as that
near to the confluence of the Leeba and Leeambye.
The fever is certainly a drawback to this otherwise important
missionary field. The great humidity produced by heavy rains and inundations,
the exuberant vegetation caused by fervid heat in rich moist soil,
and the prodigious amount of decaying vegetable matter annually exposed
after the inundations to the rays of a torrid sun, with a flat surface
often covered by forest through which the winds can not pass, all combine
to render the climate far from salubrious for any portion of the human family.
But the fever, thus caused and rendered virulent, is almost the only disease
prevalent in it. There is no consumption or scrofula,
and but little insanity. Smallpox and measles visited the country
some thirty years ago and cut off many, but they have since made no return,
although the former has been almost constantly in one part or another
of the coast. Singularly enough, the people used inoculation
for this disease; and in one village, where they seem to have chosen
a malignant case from which to inoculate the rest, nearly the whole village
was cut off. I have seen but one case of hydrocephalus, a few of epilepsy,
none of cholera or cancer, and many diseases common in England
are here quite unknown. It is true that I suffered severely from fever,
but my experience can not be taken as a fair criterion in the matter.
Compelled to sleep on the damp ground month after month, exposed to
drenching showers, and getting the lower extremities wetted two or three times
every day, living on native food (with the exception of sugarless coffee,
during the journey to the north and the latter half of the return journey),
and that food the manioc roots and meal, which contain so much
uncombined starch that the eyes become affected (as in the case of animals
fed for experiment on pure gluten or starch), and being exposed during
many hours each day in comparative inaction to the direct rays of the sun,
the thermometer standing above 96 Deg. in the shade -- these constitute
a more pitiful hygiene than any missionaries who may follow
will ever have to endure. I do not mention these privations
as if I considered them to be "sacrifices", for I think that the word
ought never to be applied to any thing we can do for Him
who came down from heaven and died for us; but I suppose it is necessary
to notice them, in order that no unfavorable opinion may be formed
from my experience as to what that of others might be, if less exposed
to the vicissitudes of the weather and change of diet.
I believe that the interior of this country presents
a much more inviting field for the philanthropist than does the west coast,
where missionaries of the Church Missionary, United Presbyterian,
and other societies have long labored with most astonishing devotedness
and never-flagging zeal. There the fevers are much more virulent
and more speedily fatal than here, for from 8 Deg. south
they almost invariably take the intermittent or least fatal type;
and their effect being to enlarge the spleen, a complaint which
is best treated by change of climate, we have the remedy at hand
by passing the 20th parallel on our way south. But I am not to be understood
as intimating that any of the numerous tribes are anxious for instruction:
they are not the inquiring spirits we read of in other countries;
they do not desire the Gospel, because they know nothing about either it
or its benefits; but there is no impediment in the way of instruction.
Every head man would be proud of a European visitor or resident
in his territory, and there is perfect security for life and property
all over the interior country. The great barriers which have kept Africa shut
are the unhealthiness of the coast, and the exclusive, illiberal disposition
of the border tribes. It has not within the historic period been cut into
by deep arms of the sea, and only a small fringe of its population
have come into contact with the rest of mankind. Race has much to do
in the present circumstances of nations; yet it is probable
that the unhealthy coast-climate has reacted on the people, and aided
both in perpetuating their own degradation and preventing those more inland
from having intercourse with the rest of the world. It is to be hoped
that these obstacles will be overcome by the more rapid means of locomotion
possessed in the present age, if a good highway can become available
from the coast into the interior.
Having found it impracticable to open up a carriage-path to the west,
it became a question as to which part of the east coast
we should direct our steps. The Arabs had come from Zanzibar
through a peaceful country. They assured me that the powerful chiefs
beyond the Cazembe on the N.E., viz., Moatutu, Moaroro, and Mogogo,
chiefs of the tribes Batutu, Baroro, and Bagogo, would have no objection
to my passing through their country. They described the population there
as located in small villages like the Balonda, and that no difficulty
is experienced in traveling among them. They mentioned also that,
at a distance of ten days beyond Cazembe, their path winds round
the end of Lake Tanganyenka. But when they reach this lake,
a little to the northwest of its southern extremity, they find no difficulty
in obtaining canoes to carry them over. They sleep on islands, for it is said
to require three days in crossing, and may thus be forty or fifty miles broad.
Here they punt the canoes the whole way, showing that it is shallow.
There are many small streams in the path, and three large rivers.
This, then, appeared to me to be the safest; but my present object
being a path admitting of water rather than land carriage,
this route did not promise so much as that by way of the Zambesi or Leeambye.
The Makololo knew all the country eastward as far as the Kafue,
from having lived in former times near the confluence of that river
with the Zambesi, and they all advised this path in preference to that
by the way of Zanzibar. The only difficulty that they assured me of
was that in the falls of Victoria. Some recommended my going to Sesheke,
and crossing over in a N.E. direction to the Kafue, which is only
six days distant, and descending that river to the Zambesi.
Others recommended me to go on the south bank of the Zambesi until
I had passed the falls, then get canoes and proceed farther down the river.
All spoke strongly of the difficulties of traveling on the north bank,
on account of the excessively broken and rocky nature of the country
near the river on that side. And when Ponuane, who had lately headed
a foray there, proposed that I should carry canoes along that side
till we reached the spot where the Leeambye becomes broad and placid again,
others declared that, from the difficulties he himself had experienced
in forcing the men of his expedition to do this, they believed that mine
would be sure to desert me if I attempted to impose such a task upon them.
Another objection to traveling on either bank of the river
was the prevalence of the tsetse, which is so abundant that the inhabitants
can keep no domestic animals except goats.
While pondering over these different paths, I could not help regretting
my being alone. If I had enjoyed the company of my former companion,
Mr. Oswell, one of us might have taken the Zambesi, and the other gone
by way of Zanzibar. The latter route was decidedly the easiest,
because all the inland tribes were friendly, while the tribes
in the direction of the Zambesi were inimical, and I should now be obliged
to lead a party, which the Batoka of that country view as hostile invaders,
through an enemy's land; but, as the prospect of permanent water-conveyance
was good, I decided on going down the Zambesi, and keeping on the north bank,
because, in the map given by Bowditch, Tete, the farthest inland
station of the Portuguese, is erroneously placed on that side.
Being near the end of September, the rains were expected daily;
the clouds were collecting, and the wind blew strongly from the east,
but it was excessively hot. All the Makololo urged me strongly to remain
till the ground should be cooled by the rains; and as it was probable
that I should get fever if I commenced my journey now, I resolved to wait.
The parts of the country about 17 Deg. and 18 Deg. suffer from drought
and become dusty. It is but the commencement of the humid region
to the north, and partakes occasionally of the character of both
the wet and dry regions. Some idea may be formed of the heat in October
by the fact that the thermometer (protected) stood, in the shade of my wagon,
at 100 Deg. through the day. It rose to 110 Deg. if unprotected
from the wind; at dark it showed 89 Deg.; at 10 o'clock, 80 Deg.;
and then gradually sunk till sunrise, when it was 70 Deg. That is usually
the period of greatest cold in each twenty-four hours in this region.
The natives, during the period of greatest heat, keep in their huts,
which are always pleasantly cool by day, but close and suffocating by night.
Those who are able to afford it sit guzzling beer or boyaloa.
The perspiration produced by copious draughts seems to give enjoyment,
the evaporation causing a feeling of coolness. The attendants of the chief,
on these occasions, keep up a continuous roar of bantering, raillery,
laughing, and swearing. The dance is kept up in the moonlight
till past midnight. The women stand clapping their hands continuously,
and the old men sit admiringly, and say, "It is really very fine." As crowds
came to see me, I employed much of my time in conversation, that being
a good mode of conveying instruction. In the public meetings for worship
the people listened very attentively, and behaved with more decorum
than formerly. They really form a very inviting field for a missionary.
Surely the oft-told tale of the goodness and love of our heavenly Father,
in giving up his own Son to death for us sinners, will, by the power
of his Holy Spirit, beget love in some of these heathen hearts.
1ST OCTOBER. Before Ben Habib started for Loanda, he asked
the daughter of Sebituane in marriage. This is the plan the Arabs adopt
for gaining influence in a tribe, and they have been known
to proceed thus cautiously to form connections, and gradually gain
so much influence as to draw all the tribe over to their religion.
I never heard of any persecution, although the Arabs with whom
I came in contact seemed much attached to their religion.
This daughter of Sebituane, named Manchunyane, was about twelve years of age.
As I was the bosom-friend of her father, I was supposed to have a voice
in her disposal, and, on being asked, objected to her being taken away,
we knew not whither, and where we might never see her again.
As her name implies, she was only a little black, and, besides being as fair
as any of the Arabs, had quite the Arab features; but I have no doubt
that Ben Habib will renew his suit more successfully on some other occasion.
In these cases of marriage, the consent of the young women is seldom asked.
A maid-servant of Sekeletu, however, pronounced by the Makololo
to be good-looking, was at this time sought in marriage by five young men.
Sekeletu, happening to be at my wagon when one of these preferred his suit,
very coolly ordered all five to stand in a row before the young woman,
that she might make her choice. Two refused to stand, apparently,
because they could not brook the idea of a repulse, although willing enough
to take her if Sekeletu had acceded to their petition without reference