Part 11 out of 15
to her will. Three dandified fellows stood forth, and she unhesitatingly
decided on taking one who was really the best looking. It was amusing to see
the mortification exhibited on the black faces of the unsuccessful candidates,
while the spectators greeted them with a hearty laugh.
During the whole of my stay with the Makololo, Sekeletu supplied
my wants abundantly, appointing some cows to furnish me with milk,
and, when he went out to hunt, sent home orders for slaughtered oxen
to be given. That the food was not given in a niggardly spirit
may be inferred from the fact that, when I proposed to depart
on the 20th of October, he protested against my going off in such a hot sun.
"Only wait," said he, "for the first shower, and then I will let you go."
This was reasonable, for the thermometer, placed upon a deal box in the sun,
rose to 138 Deg. It stood at 108 Deg. in the shade by day,
and 96 Deg. at sunset. If my experiments were correct,
the blood of a European is of a higher temperature than that of an African.
The bulb, held under my tongue, stood at 100 Deg.; under that of the natives,
at 98 Deg. There was much sickness in the town, and no wonder,
for part of the water left by the inundation still formed a large pond
in the centre. Even the plains between Linyanti and Sesheke had not yet been
freed from the waters of the inundation. They had risen higher than usual,
and for a long time canoes passed from the one place to the other,
a distance of upward of 120 miles, in nearly a straight line.
We found many patches of stagnant water, which, when disturbed
by our passing through them, evolved strong effluvia of sulphureted hydrogen.
At other times these spots exhibit an efflorescence of the nitrate of soda;
they also contain abundance of lime, probably from decaying vegetable matter,
and from these may have emanated the malaria which caused
the present sickness. I have often remarked this effluvium in sickly spots,
and can not help believing but that it has some connection with fever,
though I am quite aware of Dr. MacWilliams's unsuccessful efforts
to discover sulphureted hydrogen, by the most delicate tests,
in the Niger expedition.
I had plenty of employment, for, besides attending to the severer cases,
I had perpetual calls on my attention. The town contained
at least 7000 inhabitants, and every one thought that he might come,
and at least look at me. In talking with some of the more intelligent
in the evenings, the conversation having turned from inquiries respecting
eclipses of the sun and moon to that other world where Jesus reigns,
they let me know that my attempts to enlighten them had not been
without some small effect. "Many of the children," said they,
"talk about the strange things you bring to their ears, but the old men
show a little opposition by saying, `Do we know what he is talking about?'"
Ntlaria and others complain of treacherous memories, and say,
"When we hear words about other things, we hold them fast;
but when we hear you tell much more wonderful things than any we have
ever heard before, we don't know how it is, they run away from our hearts."
These are the more intelligent of my Makololo friends.
On the majority the teaching produces no appreciable effect;
they assent to the truth with the most perplexing indifference,
adding, "But we don't know," or, "We do not understand."
My medical intercourse with them enabled me to ascertain their moral status
better than a mere religious teacher could do. They do not attempt
to hide the evil, as men often do, from their spiritual instructors;
but I have found it difficult to come to a conclusion on their character.
They sometimes perform actions remarkably good, and sometimes
as strangely the opposite. I have been unable to ascertain the motive
for the good, or account for the callousness of conscience with which
they perpetrate the bad. After long observation, I came to the conclusion
that they are just such a strange mixture of good and evil
as men are every where else. There is not among them an approach
to that constant stream of benevolence flowing from the rich to the poor
which we have in England, nor yet the unostentatious attentions
which we have among our own poor to each other. Yet there are
frequent instances of genuine kindness and liberality, as well as
actions of an opposite character. The rich show kindness to the poor
in expectation of services, and a poor person who has no relatives
will seldom be supplied even with water in illness, and, when dead,
will be dragged out to be devoured by the hyaenas instead of being buried.
Relatives alone will condescend to touch a dead body. It would be easy
to enumerate instances of inhumanity which I have witnessed.
An interesting-looking girl came to my wagon one day in a state of nudity,
and almost a skeleton. She was a captive from another tribe,
and had been neglected by the man who claimed her. Having supplied her wants,
I made inquiry for him, and found that he had been unsuccessful in raising
a crop of corn, and had no food to give her. I volunteered to take her;
but he said he would allow me to feed her and make her fat,
and then take her away. I protested against his heartlessness;
and, as he said he could "not part with his child," I was precluded
from attending to her wants. In a day or two she was lost sight of.
She had gone out a little way from the town, and, being too weak to return,
had been cruelly left to perish. Another day I saw a poor boy
going to the water to drink, apparently in a starving condition.
This case I brought before the chief in council, and found that his emaciation
was ascribed to disease and want combined. He was not one of the Makololo,
but a member of a subdued tribe. I showed them that any one professing
to claim a child, and refusing proper nutriment, would be guilty of his death.
Sekeletu decided that the owner of this boy should give up his alleged right
rather than destroy the child. When I took him he was so far gone
as to be in the cold stage of starvation, but was soon brought round
by a little milk given three or four times a day. On leaving Linyanti
I handed him over to the charge of his chief, Sekeletu, who feeds his servants
very well. On the other hand, I have seen instances in which
both men and women have taken up little orphans and carefully reared them
as their own children. By a selection of cases of either kind,
it would not be difficult to make these people appear
excessively good or uncommonly bad.
I still possessed some of the coffee which I had brought from Angola,
and some of the sugar which I had left in my wagon. So long
as the sugar lasted, Sekeletu favored me with his company at meals;
but the sugar soon came to a close. The Makololo, as formerly mentioned,
were well acquainted with the sugar-cane, as it is cultivated by the Barotse,
but never knew that sugar could be got from it. When I explained the process
by which it was produced, Sekeletu asked if I could not buy him an apparatus
for the purpose of making sugar. He said that he would plant the cane largely
if he only had the means of making the sugar from it. I replied
that I was unable to purchase a mill, when he instantly rejoined,
"Why not take ivory to buy it?" As I had been living at his expense,
I was glad of the opportunity to show my gratitude by serving him;
and when he and his principal men understood that I was willing
to execute a commission, Sekeletu gave me an order for a sugar-mill,
and for all the different varieties of clothing that he had ever seen,
especially a mohair coat, a good rifle, beads, brass-wire, etc., etc.,
and wound up by saying, "And any other beautiful thing you may see
in your own country." As to the quantity of ivory required to execute
the commission, I said I feared that a large amount would be necessary.
Both he and his councilors replied, "The ivory is all your own;
if you leave any in the country it will be your own fault."
He was also anxious for horses. The two I had left with him
when I went to Loanda were still living, and had been of great use to him
in hunting the giraffe and eland, and he was now anxious to have a breed.
This, I thought, might be obtained at the Portuguese settlements.
All were very much delighted with the donkeys we had brought from Loanda.
As we found that they were not affected by the bite of the tsetse,
and there was a prospect of the breed being continued, it was gratifying
to see the experiment of their introduction so far successful.
The donkeys came as frisky as kids all the way from Loanda
until we began to descend the Leeambye. There we came upon
so many interlacing branches of the river, and were obliged to drag them
through such masses of tangled aquatic plants, that we half drowned them,
and were at last obliged to leave them somewhat exhausted at Naliele.
They excited the unbounded admiration of my men by their knowledge
of the different kinds of plants, which, as they remarked,
"the animals had never before seen in their own country;"
and when the donkeys indulged in their music, they startled the inhabitants
more than if they had been lions. We never rode them, nor yet the horse
which had been given by the bishop, for fear of hurting them by any work.
Although the Makololo were so confiding, the reader must not imagine
that they would be so to every individual who might visit them.
Much of my influence depended upon the good name given me by the Bakwains,
and that I secured only through a long course of tolerably good conduct.
No one ever gains much influence in this country without
purity and uprightness. The acts of a stranger are keenly scrutinized
by both young and old, and seldom is the judgment pronounced,
even by the heathen, unfair or uncharitable. I have heard women
speaking in admiration of a white man because he was pure,
and never was guilty of any secret immorality. Had he been,
they would have known it, and, untutored heathen though they be,
would have despised him in consequence. Secret vice becomes known
throughout the tribe; and while one, unacquainted with the language,
may imagine a peccadillo to be hidden, it is as patent to all
as it would be in London had he a placard on his back.
27TH OCTOBER, 1855. The first continuous rain of the season
commenced during the night, the wind being from the N.E., as it always was
on like occasions at Kolobeng. The rainy season was thus begun,
and I made ready to go. The mother of Sekeletu prepared a bag of ground-nuts,
by frying them in cream with a little salt, as a sort of sandwiches
for my journey. This is considered food fit for a chief.
Others ground the maize from my own garden into meal, and Sekeletu pointed out
Sekwebu and Kanyata as the persons who should head the party
intended to form my company. Sekwebu had been captured by the Matebele
when a little boy, and the tribe in which he was a captive had migrated
to the country near Tete; he had traveled along both banks of the Zambesi
several times, and was intimately acquainted with the dialects spoken there.
I found him to be a person of great prudence and sound judgment,
and his subsequent loss at the Mauritius has been, ever since,
a source of sincere regret. He at once recommended our keeping
well away from the river, on account of the tsetse and rocky country,
assigning also as a reason for it that the Leeambye beyond the falls
turns round to the N.N.E. Mamire, who had married the mother of Sekeletu,
on coming to bid me farewell before starting, said, "You are now going
among people who can not be trusted because we have used them badly;
but you go with a different message from any they ever heard before,
and Jesus will be with you and help you, though among enemies;
and if he carries you safely, and brings you and Ma Robert back again,
I shall say he has bestowed a great favor upon me. May we obtain a path
whereby we may visit and be visited by other tribes, and by white men!"
On telling him my fears that he was still inclined to follow
the old marauding system, which prevented intercourse, and that he,
from his influential position, was especially guilty in the late forays,
he acknowledged all rather too freely for my taste, but seemed quite aware
that the old system was far from right. Mentioning my inability
to pay the men who were to accompany me, he replied, "A man wishes,
of course, to appear among his friends, after a long absence,
with something of his own to show; the whole of the ivory in the country
is yours, so you must take as much as you can, and Sekeletu will furnish men
to carry it." These remarks of Mamire are quoted literally,
in order to show the state of mind of the most influential
in the tribe. And as I wish to give the reader a fair idea
of the other side of the question as well, it may be mentioned
that Motibe parried the imputation of the guilt of marauding
by every possible subterfuge. He would not admit that they had done wrong,
and laid the guilt of the wars in which the Makololo had engaged
on the Boers, the Matebele, and every other tribe except his own.
When quite a youth, Motibe's family had been attacked by a party of Boers;
he hid himself in an ant-eater's hole, but was drawn out and thrashed
with a whip of hippopotamus hide. When enjoined to live in peace,
he would reply, "Teach the Boers to lay down their arms first."
Yet Motibe, on other occasions, seemed to feel the difference
between those who are Christians indeed and those who are so only in name.
In all our discussions we parted good friends.
Departure from Linyanti -- A Thunder-storm -- An Act of genuine Kindness --
Fitted out a second time by the Makololo -- Sail down the Leeambye --
Sekote's Kotla and human Skulls; his Grave adorned with Elephants' Tusks --
Victoria Falls -- Native Names -- Columns of Vapor -- Gigantic Crack --
Wear of the Rocks -- Shrines of the Barimo -- "The Pestle of the Gods" --
Second Visit to the Falls -- Island Garden -- Store-house Island --
Native Diviners -- A European Diviner -- Makololo Foray --
Marauder to be fined -- Mambari -- Makololo wish to stop
Mambari Slave-trading -- Part with Sekeletu -- Night Traveling --
River Lekone -- Ancient fresh-water Lakes -- Formation of Lake Ngami --
Native Traditions -- Drainage of the Great Valley --
Native Reports of the Country to the North -- Maps -- Moyara's Village --
Savage Customs of the Batoka -- A Chain of Trading Stations --
Remedy against Tsetse -- "The Well of Joy" -- First Traces of Trade
with Europeans -- Knocking out the front Teeth -- Facetious Explanation --
Degradation of the Batoka -- Description of the Traveling Party --
Cross the Unguesi -- Geological Formation -- Ruins of a large Town --
Productions of the Soil similar to those in Angola -- Abundance of Fruit.
On the 3d of November we bade adieu to our friends at Linyanti, accompanied by
Sekeletu and about 200 followers. We were all fed at his expense,
and he took cattle for this purpose from every station we came to.
The principal men of the Makololo, Lebeole, Ntlarie, Nkwatlele, etc.,
were also of the party. We passed through the patch of the tsetse,
which exists between Linyanti and Sesheke, by night.
The majority of the company went on by daylight, in order to prepare our beds.
Sekeletu and I, with about forty young men, waited outside the tsetse
till dark. We then went forward, and about ten o'clock it became
so pitchy dark that both horses and men were completely blinded.
The lightning spread over the sky, forming eight or ten branches at a time,
in shape exactly like those of a tree. This, with great volumes
of sheet-lightning, enabled us at times to see the whole country.
The intervals between the flashes were so densely dark as to convey
the idea of stone-blindness. The horses trembled, cried out,
and turned round, as if searching for each other, and every new flash
revealed the men taking different directions, laughing, and stumbling
against each other. The thunder was of that tremendously loud kind
only to be heard in tropical countries, and which friends from India
have assured me is louder in Africa than any they have ever heard elsewhere.
Then came a pelting rain, which completed our confusion.
After the intense heat of the day, we soon felt miserably cold,
and turned aside to a fire we saw in the distance. This had been made
by some people on their march; for this path is seldom without
numbers of strangers passing to and from the capital.
My clothing having gone on, I lay down on the cold ground,
expecting to spend a miserable night; but Sekeletu kindly covered me
with his own blanket, and lay uncovered himself. I was much affected
by this act of genuine kindness. If such men must perish
by the advance of civilization, as certain races of animals do before others,
it is a pity. God grant that ere this time comes they may receive that Gospel
which is a solace for the soul in death!
While at Sesheke, Sekeletu supplied me with twelve oxen -- three of which
were accustomed to being ridden upon -- hoes, and beads to purchase a canoe
when we should strike the Leeambye beyond the falls. He likewise presented
abundance of good fresh butter and honey, and did every thing in his power
to make me comfortable for the journey. I was entirely dependent
on his generosity, for the goods I originally brought from the Cape
were all expended by the time I set off from Linyanti to the west coast.
I there drew 70 Pounds of my salary, paid my men with it, and purchased goods
for the return journey to Linyanti. These being now all expended,
the Makololo again fitted me out, and sent me on to the east coast.
I was thus dependent on their bounty, and that of other Africans,
for the means of going from Linyanti to Loanda, and again from Linyanti
to the east coast, and I feel deeply grateful to them. Coin would have been
of no benefit, for gold and silver are quite unknown. We were here joined
by Moriantsane, uncle of Sekeletu and head man of Sesheke,
and, entering canoes on the 13th, some sailed down the river
to the confluence of the Chobe, while others drove the cattle along the banks,
spending one night at Mparia, the island at the confluence of the Chobe,
which is composed of trap, having crystals of quartz in it
coated with a pellicle of green copper ore. Attempting to proceed
down the river next day, we were detained some hours by a strong east wind
raising waves so large as to threaten to swamp the canoes.
The river here is very large and deep, and contains two considerable islands,
which from either bank seem to be joined to the opposite shore. While waiting
for the wind to moderate, my friends related the traditions of these islands,
and, as usual, praised the wisdom of Sebituane in balking the Batoka,
who formerly enticed wandering tribes to them, and starved them,
by compelling the chiefs to remain by his side till all his cattle and people
were ferried over. The Barotse believe that at certain parts of the river
a tremendous monster lies hid, and that it will catch a canoe, and hold it
fast and motionless, in spite of the utmost exertions of the paddlers.
While near Nameta they even objected to pass a spot supposed to be haunted,
and proceeded along a branch instead of the main stream.
They believe that some of them possess a knowledge of the proper prayer
to lay the monster. It is strange to find fables similar to those
of the more northern nations even in the heart of Africa.
Can they be the vestiges of traditions of animals which no longer exist?
The fossil bones which lie in the calcareous tufa of this region will yet,
we hope, reveal the ancient fauna.
Having descended about ten miles, we came to the island of Nampene,
at the beginning of the rapids, where we were obliged to leave the canoes
and proceed along the banks on foot. The next evening we slept opposite
the island of Chondo, and, then crossing the Lekone or Lekwine,
early the following morning were at the island of Sekote, called Kalai.
This Sekote was the last of the Batoka chiefs whom Sebituane rooted out.
The island is surrounded by a rocky shore and deep channels,
through which the river rushes with great force. Sekote, feeling secure
in his island home, ventured to ferry over the Matebele enemies of Sebituane.
When they had retired, Sebituane made one of those rapid marches
which he always adopted in every enterprise. He came down the Leeambye
from Naliele, sailing by day along the banks, and during the night
in the middle of the stream, to avoid the hippopotami. When he reached Kalai,
Sekote took advantage of the larger canoes they employ in the rapids,
and fled during the night to the opposite bank. Most of his people were slain
or taken captive, and the island has ever since been under the Makololo.
It is large enough to contain a considerable town. On the northern side
I found the kotla of the elder Sekote, garnished with numbers of human skulls
mounted on poles: a large heap of the crania of hippopotami,
the tusks untouched except by time, stood on one side. At a short distance,
under some trees, we saw the grave of Sekote, ornamented with
seventy large elephants' tusks planted round it with the points turned inward,
and there were thirty more placed over the resting-places of his relatives.
These were all decaying from the effects of the sun and weather;
but a few, which had enjoyed the shade, were in a pretty good condition.
I felt inclined to take a specimen of the tusks of the hippopotami,
as they were the largest I had ever seen, but feared that the people
would look upon me as a "resurrectionist" if I did, and regard
any unfavorable event which might afterward occur as a punishment
for the sacrilege. The Batoka believe that Sekote had a pot of medicine
buried here, which, when opened, would cause an epidemic in the country.
These tyrants acted much on the fears of their people.
As this was the point from which we intended to strike off to the northeast,
I resolved on the following day to visit the falls of Victoria,
called by the natives Mosioatunya, or more anciently Shongwe.
Of these we had often heard since we came into the country; indeed,
one of the questions asked by Sebituane was, "Have you smoke that sounds
in your country?" They did not go near enough to examine them,
but, viewing them with awe at a distance, said, in reference to
the vapor and noise, "Mosi oa tunya" (smoke does sound there).
It was previously called Shongwe, the meaning of which I could not ascertain.
The word for a "pot" resembles this, and it may mean a seething caldron,
but I am not certain of it. Being persuaded that Mr. Oswell and myself
were the very first Europeans who ever visited the Zambesi
in the centre of the country, and that this is the connecting link
between the known and unknown portions of that river, I decided to use
the same liberty as the Makololo did, and gave the only English name
I have affixed to any part of the country. No better proof
of previous ignorance of this river could be desired than that
an untraveled gentleman, who had spent a great part of his life
in the study of the geography of Africa, and knew every thing
written on the subject from the time of Ptolemy downward,
actually asserted in the "Athenaeum", while I was coming up the Red Sea,
that this magnificent river, the Leeambye, had "no connection
with the Zambesi, but flowed under the Kalahari Desert, and became lost;"
and "that, as all the old maps asserted, the Zambesi took its rise
in the very hills to which we have now come." This modest assertion
smacks exactly as if a native of Timbuctoo should declare
that the "Thames" and the "Pool" were different rivers, he having seen
neither the one nor the other. Leeambye and Zambesi mean the very same thing,
viz., the RIVER.
Sekeletu intended to accompany me, but, one canoe only having come
instead of the two he had ordered, he resigned it to me.
After twenty minutes' sail from Kalai we came in sight,
for the first time, of the columns of vapor appropriately called "smoke",
rising at a distance of five or six miles, exactly as when
large tracts of grass are burned in Africa. Five columns now arose,
and, bending in the direction of the wind, they seemed placed against
a low ridge covered with trees; the tops of the columns at this distance
appeared to mingle with the clouds. They were white below, and higher up
became dark, so as to simulate smoke very closely. The whole scene
was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river
are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of color and form.
At the period of our visit several trees were spangled over with blossoms.
Trees have each their own physiognomy. There, towering over all,
stands the great burly baobab, each of whose enormous arms
would form the trunk of a large tree, beside groups of graceful palms,
which, with their feathery-shaped leaves depicted on the sky,
lend their beauty to the scene. As a hieroglyphic they always mean
"far from home", for one can never get over their foreign air
in a picture or landscape. The silvery mohonono, which in the tropics
is in form like the cedar of Lebanon, stands in pleasing contrast with
the dark color of the motsouri, whose cypress-form is dotted over at present
with its pleasant scarlet fruit. Some trees resemble the great spreading oak,
others assume the character of our own elms and chestnuts; but no one
can imagine the beauty of the view from any thing witnessed in England.
It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely
must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. The only want felt
is that of mountains in the background. The falls are bounded on three sides
by ridges 300 or 400 feet in height, which are covered with forest,
with the red soil appearing among the trees. When about half a mile
from the falls, I left the canoe by which we had come down thus far,
and embarked in a lighter one, with men well acquainted with the rapids,
who, by passing down the centre of the stream in the eddies and still places
caused by many jutting rocks, brought me to an island situated
in the middle of the river, and on the edge of the lip over which
the water rolls. In coming hither there was danger of being swept down
by the streams which rushed along on each side of the island;
but the river was now low, and we sailed where it is totally impossible to go
when the water is high. But, though we had reached the island,
and were within a few yards of the spot, a view from which would solve
the whole problem, I believe that no one could perceive
where the vast body of water went; it seemed to lose itself in the earth,
the opposite lip of the fissure into which it disappeared
being only 80 feet distant. At least I did not comprehend it until,
creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent
which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambesi,
and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet,
and then became suddenly compressed into a space of fifteen or twenty yards.
The entire falls are simply a crack made in a hard basaltic rock
from the right to the left bank of the Zambesi, and then prolonged
from the left bank away through thirty or forty miles of hills.
If one imagines the Thames filled with low, tree-covered hills
immediately beyond the tunnel, extending as far as Gravesend,
the bed of black basaltic rock instead of London mud, and a fissure
made therein from one end of the tunnel to the other down through
the keystones of the arch, and prolonged from the left end of the tunnel
through thirty miles of hills, the pathway being 100 feet down
from the bed of the river instead of what it is, with the lips of the fissure
from 80 to 100 feet apart, then fancy the Thames leaping bodily into the gulf,
and forced there to change its direction, and flow from the right
to the left bank, and then rush boiling and roaring through the hills,
he may have some idea of what takes place at this, the most wonderful sight
I had witnessed in Africa. In looking down into the fissure
on the right of the island, one sees nothing but a dense white cloud,
which, at the time we visited the spot, had two bright rainbows on it.
(The sun was on the meridian, and the declination about equal
to the latitude of the place.) From this cloud rushed up a great jet of vapor
exactly like steam, and it mounted 200 or 300 feet high; there condensing,
it changed its hue to that of dark smoke, and came back in a constant shower,
which soon wetted us to the skin. This shower falls chiefly
on the opposite side of the fissure, and a few yards back from the lip there
stands a straight hedge of evergreen trees, whose leaves are always wet.
From their roots a number of little rills run back into the gulf,
but, as they flow down the steep wall there, the column of vapor,
in its ascent, licks them up clean off the rock, and away they mount again.
They are constantly running down, but never reach the bottom.
On the left of the island we see the water at the bottom,
a white rolling mass moving away to the prolongation of the fissure,
which branches off near the left bank of the river. A piece of the rock
has fallen off a spot on the left of the island, and juts out
from the water below, and from it I judged the distance which the water falls
to be about 100 feet. The walls of this gigantic crack are perpendicular,
and composed of one homogeneous mass of rock. The edge of that side
over which the water falls is worn off two or three feet, and pieces
have fallen away, so as to give it somewhat of a serrated appearance.
That over which the water does not fall is quite straight,
except at the left corner, where a rent appears, and a piece seems inclined
to fall off. Upon the whole, it is nearly in the state in which it was left
at the period of its formation. The rock is dark brown in color,
except about ten feet from the bottom, which is discolored
by the annual rise of the water to that or a greater height.
On the left side of the island we have a good view of the mass of water
which causes one of the columns of vapor to ascend, as it leaps
quite clear of the rock, and forms a thick unbroken fleece all the way
to the bottom. Its whiteness gave the idea of snow, a sight I had not seen
for many a day. As it broke into (if I may use the term) pieces of water,
all rushing on in the same direction, each gave off several rays of foam,
exactly as bits of steel, when burned in oxygen gas, give off rays of sparks.
The snow-white sheet seemed like myriads of small comets rushing on
in one direction, each of which left behind its nucleus rays of foam.
I never saw the appearance referred to noticed elsewhere. It seemed to be
the effect of the mass of water leaping at once clear of the rock,
and but slowly breaking up into spray.
I have mentioned that we saw five columns of vapor ascending from
this strange abyss. They are evidently formed by the compression suffered
by the force of the water's own fall into an unyielding wedge-shaped space.
Of the five columns, two on the right and one on the left of the island
were the largest, and the streams which formed them seemed each
to exceed in size the falls of the Clyde at Stonebyres when that river
is in flood. This was the period of low water in the Leeambye; but, as far
as I could guess, there was a flow of five or six hundred yards of water,
which, at the edge of the fall, seemed at least three feet deep.
I write in the hope that others, more capable of judging distances
than myself, will visit the scene, and I state simply the impressions
made on my mind at the time. I thought, and do still think,
the river above the falls to be one thousand yards broad;
but I am a poor judge of distances on water, for I showed a naval friend
what I supposed to be four hundred yards in the Bay of Loanda,
and, to my surprise, he pronounced it to be nine hundred.
I tried to measure the Leeambye with a strong thread, the only line I had
in my possession, but, when the men had gone two or three hundred yards,
they got into conversation, and did not hear us shouting
that the line had become entangled. By still going on they broke it,
and, being carried away down the stream, it was lost on a snag.
In vain I tried to bring to my recollection the way I had been taught
to measure a river by taking an angle with the sextant. That I once knew it,
and that it was easy, were all the lost ideas I could recall, and they only
increased my vexation. However, I measured the river farther down
by another plan, and then I discovered that the Portuguese had measured it
at Tete, and found it a little over one thousand yards. At the falls
it is as broad as at Tete, if not more so. Whoever may come after me
will not, I trust, find reason to say I have indulged in exaggeration.*
With respect to the drawing, it must be borne in mind that it was composed
from a rude sketch as viewed from the island, which exhibited
the columns of vapor only, and a ground plan. The artist has given
a good idea of the scene, but, by way of explanation, he has shown
more of the depth of the fissure than is visible except by going
close to the edge. The left-hand column, and that farthest off,
are the smallest, and all ought to have been a little more tapering
at the tops.
* The river is about one mile (1.6 km) wide at the falls, and plunges
over 350 feet at the centre. Livingstone greatly underestimated
both distances. -- A. L., 1997.
The fissure is said by the Makololo to be very much deeper
farther to the eastward; there is one part at which the walls are so sloping
that people accustomed to it can go down by descending in a sitting position.
The Makololo on one occasion, pursuing some fugitive Batoka,
saw them, unable to stop the impetus of their flight at the edge,
literally dashed to pieces at the bottom. They beheld the stream
like a "white cord" at the bottom, and so far down (probably 300 feet)
that they became giddy, and were fain to go away holding on to the ground.
Now, though the edge of the rock over which the river falls does not show
wearing more than three feet, and there is no appearance of the opposite wall
being worn out at the bottom in the parts exposed to view,
yet it is probable that, where it has flowed beyond the walls,
the sides of the fissure may have given way, and the parts out of sight
may be broader than the "white cord" on the surface. There may even be
some ramifications of the fissure, which take a portion of the stream
quite beneath the rocks; but this I did not learn.
If we take the want of much wear on the lip of hard basaltic rock
as of any value, the period when this rock was riven is not geologically
very remote. I regretted the want of proper means of measuring and marking
its width at the falls, in order that, at some future time,
the question whether it is progressive or not might be tested.
It seemed as if a palm-tree could be laid across it from the island.
And if it is progressive, as it would mark a great natural drainage
being effected, it might furnish a hope that Africa will one day become
a healthy continent. It is, at any rate, very much changed
in respect to its lakes within a comparatively recent period.
At three spots near these falls, one of them the island in the middle,
on which we were, three Batoka chiefs offered up prayers and sacrifices
to the Barimo. They chose their places of prayer within the sound
of the roar of the cataract, and in sight of the bright bows in the cloud.
They must have looked upon the scene with awe. Fear may have
induced the selection. The river itself is to them mysterious.
The words of the canoe-song are,
"The Leeambye! Nobody knows
Whence it comes and whither it goes."
The play of colors of the double iris on the cloud, seen by them elsewhere
only as the rainbow, may have led them to the idea that this was
the abode of Deity. Some of the Makololo, who went with me near to Gonye,
looked upon the same sign with awe. When seen in the heavens
it is named "motse oa barimo" -- the pestle of the gods.
Here they could approach the emblem, and see it stand steadily above
the blustering uproar below -- a type of Him who sits supreme --
alone unchangeable, though ruling over all changing things. But, not aware
of His true character, they had no admiration of the beautiful and good
in their bosoms. They did not imitate His benevolence, for they were
a bloody, imperious crew, and Sebituane performed a noble service
in the expulsion from their fastnesses of these cruel "Lords of the Isles".
Having feasted my eyes long on the beautiful sight, I returned to my friends
at Kalai, and saying to Sekeletu that he had nothing else worth showing
in his country, his curiosity was excited to visit it the next day.
I returned with the intention of taking a lunar observation
from the island itself, but the clouds were unfavorable,
consequently all my determinations of position refer to Kalai.
(Lat. 17d 51' 54" S., long. 25d 41' E.) Sekeletu acknowledged to feeling
a little nervous at the probability* of being sucked into the gulf
before reaching the island. His companions amused themselves
by throwing stones down, and wondered to see them diminishing in size,
and even disappearing, before they reached the water at the bottom.
* In modern American English, the word "possibility" is more appropriate here,
and elsewhere in the text where "probability" is used. -- A. L., 1997.
I had another object in view in my return to the island. I observed
that it was covered with trees, the seeds of which had probably
come down with the stream from the distant north, and several of which
I had seen nowhere else, and every now and then the wind wafted
a little of the condensed vapor over it, and kept the soil
in a state of moisture, which caused a sward of grass, growing as green
as on an English lawn. I selected a spot -- not too near the chasm,
for there the constant deposition of the moisture nourished
numbers of polypi of a mushroom shape and fleshy consistence,
but somewhat back -- and made a little garden. I there planted
about a hundred peach and apricot stones, and a quantity of coffee-seeds.
I had attempted fruit-trees before, but, when left in charge
of my Makololo friends, they were always allowed to wither,
after having vegetated, by being forgotten. I bargained for a hedge
with one of the Makololo, and if he is faithful, I have great hopes
of Mosioatunya's abilities as a nursery-man. My only source of fear
is the hippopotami, whose footprints I saw on the island.
When the garden was prepared, I cut my initials on a tree, and the date 1855.
This was the only instance in which I indulged in this piece of vanity.
The garden stands in front, and, were there no hippopotami, I have no doubt
but this will be the parent of all the gardens which may yet be
in this new country. We then went up to Kalai again.
On passing up we had a view of the hut on the island where my goods
had lain so long in safety. It was under a group of palm-trees,
and Sekeletu informed me that, so fully persuaded were most of the Makololo
of the presence of dangerous charms in the packages, that, had I not returned
to tell them the contrary, they never would have been touched.
Some of the diviners had been so positive in their decisions on the point,
that the men who lifted a bag thought they felt a live kid in it.
The diviners always quote their predictions when they happen to tally
with the event. They declared that the whole party which went to Loanda
had perished; and as I always quoted the instances in which they failed,
many of them refused to throw the "bola" (instruments of divination)
when I was near. This was a noted instance of failure.
It would have afforded me equal if not greater pleasure
to have exposed the failure, if such it had been, of the European diviner
whose paper lay a whole year on this island, but I was obliged to confess
that he had been successful with his "bola", and could only comfort myself
with the idea that, though Sir Roderick Murchison's discourse
had lain so long within sight and sound of the magnificent falls,
I had been "cut out" by no one in their discovery.
I saw the falls at low water, and the columns of vapor
when five or six miles distant. When the river is full, or in flood,
the columns, it is said, can be seen ten miles off, and the sound
is quite distinct somewhat below Kalai, or about an equal distance.
No one can then go to the island in the middle. The next visitor
must bear these points in mind in comparing his description with mine.
We here got information of a foray which had been made by a Makololo man
in the direction we were going. This instance of marauding was so much
in accordance with the system which has been pursued in this country
that I did not wonder at it. But the man had used Sekeletu's name as having
sent him, and, the proof being convincing, he would undoubtedly be fined.
As that would be the first instance of a fine being levied for marauding,
I looked upon it as the beginning of a better state of things.
In tribes which have been accustomed to cattle-stealing, the act is not
considered immoral in the way that theft is. Before I knew the language well,
I said to a chief, "You stole the cattle of so and so."
"No, I did not steal them," was the reply, "I only LIFTED them."
The word "gapa" is identical with the Highland term for the same deed.
Another point came to our notice here. Some Mambari had come down thus far,
and induced the Batoka to sell a very large tusk which belonged to Sekeletu
for a few bits of cloth. They had gone among the Batoka who need hoes,
and, having purchased some of these from the people near Sesheke,
induced the others living farther east to sell both ivory and children.
They would not part with children for clothing or beads, but agriculture
with wooden hoes is so laborious, that the sight of the hoes prevailed.
The Makololo proposed to knock the Mambari on the head as the remedy
the next time they came; but on my proposing that they should
send hoes themselves, and thereby secure the ivory in a quiet way,
all approved highly of the idea, and Pitsane and Mohorisi expatiated on
the value of the ivory, their own willingness to go and sell it at Loanda,
and the disgust with which the Mambari whom we met in Angola had looked upon
their attempt to reach the proper market. If nothing untoward happens,
I think there is a fair prospect of the trade in slaves
being abolished in a natural way in this quarter, Pitsane and Mohorisi
having again expressed their willingness to go away back to Loanda
if Sekeletu would give them orders. This was the more remarkable,
as both have plenty of food and leisure at home.
20TH NOVEMBER. Sekeletu and his large party having conveyed me thus far,
and furnished me with a company of 114 men to carry the tusks to the coast,
we bade adieu to the Makololo, and proceeded northward to the Lekone.
The country around is very beautiful, and was once well peopled with Batoka,
who possessed enormous herds of cattle. When Sebituane came in former times,
with his small but warlike party of Makololo, to this spot,
a general rising took place of the Batoka through the whole country,
in order to "eat him up"; but his usual success followed him,
and, dispersing them, the Makololo obtained so many cattle
that they could not take any note of the herds of sheep and goats.
The tsetse has been brought by buffaloes into some districts where formerly
cattle abounded. This obliged us to travel the first few stages by night.
We could not well detect the nature of the country in the dim moonlight;
the path, however, seemed to lead along the high bank of what may have been
the ancient bed of the Zambesi before the fissure was made.
The Lekone now winds in it in an opposite direction to that in which
the ancient river must have flowed.
Both the Lekone and Unguesi flow back toward the centre of the country,
and in an opposite direction to that of the main stream.
It was plain, then, that we were ascending the farther we went eastward.
The level of the lower portion of the Lekone is about two hundred feet
above that of the Zambesi at the falls, and considerably more
than the altitude of Linyanti; consequently, when the river flowed along
this ancient bed instead of through the rent, the whole country between this
and the ridge beyond Libebe westward, Lake Ngami and the Zouga southward,
and eastward beyond Nchokotsa, was one large fresh-water lake.
There is abundant evidence of the existence and extent of this vast lake
in the longitudes indicated, and stretching from 17 Deg. to 21 Deg.
south latitude. The whole of this space is paved with a bed of tufa,
more or less soft, according as it is covered with soil, or left exposed
to atmospheric influences. Wherever ant-eaters make deep holes
in this ancient bottom, fresh-water shells are thrown out,
identical with those now existing in the Lake Ngami and the Zambesi.
The Barotse valley was another lake of a similar nature;
and one existed beyond Masiko, and a fourth near the Orange River.
The whole of these lakes were let out by means of cracks or fissures
made in the subtending sides by the upheaval of the country.
The fissure made at the Victoria Falls let out the water of this great valley,
and left a small patch in what was probably its deepest portion,
and is now called Lake Ngami. The Falls of Gonye furnished an outlet
to the lake of the Barotse valley, and so of the other great lakes
of remote times. The Congo also finds its way to the sea
through a narrow fissure, and so does the Orange River in the west;
while other rents made in the eastern ridge, as the Victoria Falls and those
to the east of Tanganyenka, allowed the central waters to drain eastward.
All the African lakes hitherto discovered are shallow, in consequence of being
the mere `residua' of very much larger ancient bodies of water.
There can be no doubt that this continent was, in former times,
very much more copiously supplied with water than at present,
but a natural process of drainage has been going on for ages.
Deep fissures are made, probably by the elevation of the land,
proofs of which are seen in modern shells imbedded in marly tufa
all round the coast-line. Whether this process of desiccation is as rapid
throughout the continent as, in a letter to the late Dean Buckland,
in 1843, I showed to have been the case in the Bechuana country,
it is not for me to say; but, though there is a slight tradition of the waters
having burst through the low hills south of the Barotse,
there is none of a sudden upheaval accompanied by an earthquake.
The formation of the crack of Mosioatunya is perhaps too ancient for that;
yet, although information of any remarkable event is often transmitted
in the native names, and they even retain a tradition which looks
like the story of Solomon and the harlots, there is not a name
like Tom Earthquake or Sam Shake-the-ground in the whole country.
They have a tradition which may refer to the building of the Tower of Babel,
but it ends in the bold builders getting their crowns cracked
by the fall of the scaffolding; and that they came out of a cave
called "Loey" (Noe?) in company with the beasts, and all point to it
in one direction, viz., the N.N.E. Loey, too, is an exception
in the language, as they use masculine instead of neuter pronouns to it.
If we take a glance back at the great valley, the form the rivers have taken
imparts the idea of a lake slowly drained out, for they have
cut out for themselves beds exactly like what we may see in the soft mud
of a shallow pool of rain-water, when that is let off by a furrow.
This idea would probably not strike a person on coming first into the country,
but more extensive acquaintance with the river system certainly would convey
the impression. None of the rivers in the valley of the Leeambye
have slopes down to their beds. Indeed, many parts are much like the Thames
at the Isle of Dogs, only the Leeambye has to rise twenty or thirty feet
before it can overflow some of its meadows. The rivers have each
a bed of low water -- a simple furrow cut sharply out of the calcareous tufa
which lined the channel of the ancient lake -- and another of inundation.
When the beds of inundation are filled, they assume the appearance
of chains of lakes. When the Clyde fills the holms ("haughs")
above Bothwell Bridge and retires again into its channel,
it resembles the river we are speaking of, only here there are no high lands
sloping down toward the bed of inundation, for the greater part of the region
is not elevated fifty feet above them. Even the rocky banks of the Leeambye
below Gonye, and the ridges bounding the Barotse valley,
are not more than two or three hundred feet in altitude
over the general dead level. Many of the rivers are very tortuous
in their course, the Chobe and Simah particularly so; and, if we may receive
the testimony of the natives, they form what anatomists call `anastamosis',
or a network of rivers. Thus, for instance, they assured me
that if they go up the Simah in a canoe, they can enter the Chobe,
and descend that river to the Leeambye; or they may go up the Kama
and come down the Simah; and so in the case of the Kafue.
It is reputed to be connected in this way with the Leeambye in the north,
and to part with the Loangwa; and the Makololo went from the one
into the other in canoes. And even though the interlacing may not be
quite to the extent believed by the natives, the country is so level
and the rivers so tortuous that I see no improbability in the conclusion
that here is a network of waters of a very peculiar nature.
The reason why I am disposed to place a certain amount of confidence
in the native reports is this: when Mr. Oswell and I discovered the Zambesi
in the centre of the continent in 1851, being unable to ascend it
at the time ourselves, we employed the natives to draw a map
embodying their ideas of that river. We then sent the native map home
with the same view that I now mention their ideas of the river system,
namely, in order to be an aid to others in farther investigations.
When I was able to ascend the Leeambye to 14 Deg. south,
and subsequently descend it, I found, after all the care I could bestow,
that the alterations I was able to make in the original native plan
were very trifling. The general idea their map gave was wonderfully accurate;
and now I give, in the larger map appended, their views of the other rivers,
in the hope that they may prove helpful to any traveler
who may pursue the investigation farther.
24TH. We remained a day at the village of Moyara. Here the valley
in which the Lekone flows trends away to the eastward, while our course
is more to the northeast. The country is rocky and rough,
the soil being red sand, which is covered with beautiful green trees,
yielding abundance of wild fruits. The father of Moyara
was a powerful chief, but the son now sits among the ruins of the town,
with four or five wives and very few people. At his hamlet a number of stakes
are planted in the ground, and I counted fifty-four human skulls
hung on their points. These were Matebele, who, unable to approach Sebituane
on the island of Loyela, had returned sick and famishing. Moyara's father
took advantage of their reduced condition, and after putting them to death,
mounted their heads in the Batoka fashion. The old man
who perpetrated this deed now lies in the middle of his son's huts,
with a lot of rotten ivory over his grave. One can not help feeling thankful
that the reign of such wretches is over. They inhabited
the whole of this side of the country, and were probably the barrier
to the extension of the Portuguese commerce in this direction. When looking
at these skulls, I remarked to Moyara that many of them were those
of mere boys. He assented readily, and pointed them out as such. I asked
why his father had killed boys. "To show his fierceness," was the answer.
"Is it fierceness to kill boys?" "Yes; they had no business here."
When I told him that this probably would insure his own death if the Matebele
came again, he replied, "When I hear of their coming I shall hide the bones."
He was evidently proud of these trophies of his father's ferocity,
and I was assured by other Batoka that few strangers ever returned
from a visit to this quarter. If a man wished to curry favor
with a Batoka chief, he ascertained when a stranger was about to leave,
and waylaid him at a distance from the town, and when he brought his head
back to the chief, it was mounted as a trophy, the different chiefs
vieing with each other as to which should mount the greatest number of skulls
in his village.
If, as has been asserted, the Portuguese ever had a chain of trading stations
across the country from Caconda to Tete, it must have passed
through these people; but the total ignorance of the Zambesi
flowing from north to south in the centre of the country,
and the want of knowledge of the astonishing falls of Victoria,
which excite the wonder of even the natives, together with
the absence of any tradition of such a chain of stations,
compel me to believe that they existed only on paper. This conviction
is strengthened by the fact that when a late attempt was made
to claim the honor of crossing the continent for the Portuguese,
the only proof advanced was the journey of two black traders
formerly mentioned, adorned with the name of "Portuguese".
If a chain of stations had existed, a few hundred names of the same sort
might easily have been brought forward; and such is the love of barter
among all the central Africans, that, had there existed a market for ivory,
its value would have become known, and even that on the graves of the chiefs
would not have been safe.
When about to leave Moyara on the 25th, he brought a root which,
when pounded and sprinkled over the oxen, is believed to disgust the tsetse,
so that it flies off without sucking the blood. He promised to show me
the plant or tree if I would give him an ox; but, as we were traveling,
and could not afford the time required for the experiment,
so as not to be cheated (as I had too often been by my medical friends),
I deferred the investigation till I returned. It is probably
but an evanescent remedy, and capable of rendering the cattle safe
during one night only. Moyara is now quite a dependent of the Makololo,
and my new party, not being thoroughly drilled, forced him to carry
a tusk for them. When I relieved him, he poured forth a shower of thanks
at being allowed to go back to sleep beneath his skulls.
Next day we came to Namilanga, or "The Well of Joy". It is a small well
dug beneath a very large fig-tree, the shade of which renders the water
delightfully cool. The temperature through the day was 104 Deg. in the shade
and 94 Deg. after sunset, but the air was not at all oppressive.
This well received its name from the fact that, in former times,
marauding parties, in returning with cattle, sat down here and were regaled
with boyaloa, music, and the lullilooing of the women from the adjacent towns.
All the surrounding country was formerly densely peopled,
though now desolate and still. The old head man of the place told us
that his father once went to Bambala, where white traders lived,
when our informant was a child, and returned when he had become
a boy of about ten years. He went again, and returned when it was time
to knock out his son's teeth. As that takes place at the age of puberty,
he must have spent at least five years in each journey. He added
that many who went there never returned, because they liked that country
better than this. They had even forsaken their wives and children;
and children had been so enticed and flattered by the finery bestowed
upon them there, that they had disowned their parents and adopted others.
The place to which they had gone, which they named Bambala,
was probably Dambarari, which was situated close to Zumbo.
This was the first intimation we had of intercourse with the whites.
The Barotse, and all the other tribes in the central valley,
have no such tradition as this, nor have either the one or the other
any account of a trader's visit to them in ancient times.
All the Batoka tribes follow the curious custom of knocking out
the upper front teeth at the age of puberty. This is done by both sexes;
and though the under teeth, being relieved from the attrition of the upper,
grow long and somewhat bent out, and thereby cause the under lip to protrude
in a most unsightly way, no young woman thinks herself accomplished
until she has got rid of the upper incisors. This custom gives all the Batoka
an uncouth, old-man-like appearance. Their laugh is hideous,
yet they are so attached to it that even Sebituane was unable
to eradicate the practice. He issued orders that none of the children
living under him should be subjected to the custom by their parents,
and disobedience to his mandates was usually punished with severity;
but, notwithstanding this, the children would appear in the streets
without their incisors, and no one would confess to the deed.
When questioned respecting the origin of this practice, the Batoka reply
that their object is to be like oxen, and those who retain their teeth
they consider to resemble zebras. Whether this is the true reason or not,
it is difficult to say; but it is noticeable that the veneration for oxen
which prevails in many tribes should here be associated with hatred
to the zebra, as among the Bakwains; that this operation
is performed at the same age that circumcision is in other tribes;
and that here that ceremony is unknown. The custom is so universal
that a person who has his teeth is considered ugly, and occasionally,
when the Batoka borrowed my looking-glass, the disparaging remark
would be made respecting boys or girls who still retained their teeth,
"Look at the great teeth!" Some of the Makololo give a more facetious
explanation of the custom: they say that the wife of a chief
having in a quarrel bitten her husband's hand, he, in revenge,
ordered her front teeth to be knocked out, and all the men in the tribe
followed his example; but this does not explain why they afterward
knocked out their own.
The Batoka of the Zambesi are generally very dark in color, and very degraded
and negro-like in appearance, while those who live on the high lands
we are now ascending are frequently of the color of coffee and milk.
We had a large number of the Batoka of Mokwine in our party,
sent by Sekeletu to carry his tusks. Their greater degradation was probably
caused by the treatment of their chiefs -- the barbarians of the islands.
I found them more difficult to manage than any of the rest of my companions,
being much less reasonable and impressible than the others.
My party consisted of the head men aforementioned, Sekwebu, and Kanyata.
We were joined at the falls by another head man of the Makololo,
named Monahin, in command of the Batoka. We had also some of the Banajoa
under Mosisinyane, and, last of all, a small party of Bashubia and Barotse
under Tuba Mokoro, which had been furnished by Sekeletu
because of their ability to swim. They carried their paddles with them,
and, as the Makololo suggested, were able to swim over the rivers by night
and steal canoes, if the inhabitants should be so unreasonable as to refuse
to lend them. These different parties assorted together into messes;
any orders were given through their head man, and when food was obtained
he distributed it to the mess. Each party knew its own spot
in the encampment; and as this was always placed so that our backs
should be to the east, the direction from whence the prevailing winds came,
no time was lost in fixing the sheds of our encampment. They each
took it in turn to pull grass to make my bed, so I lay luxuriously.
NOVEMBER 26TH. As the oxen could only move at night,
in consequence of a fear that the buffaloes in this quarter
might have introduced the tsetse, I usually performed the march by day
on foot, while some of the men brought on the oxen by night.
On coming to the villages under Marimba, an old man, we crossed the Unguesi,
a rivulet which, like the Lekone, runs backward. It falls into the Leeambye
a little above the commencement of the rapids. The stratified gneiss,
which is the underlying rock of much of this part of the country,
dips toward the centre of the continent, but the strata are often
so much elevated as to appear nearly on their edges. Rocks of augitic trap
are found in various positions on it; the general strike is north and south;
but when the gneiss was first seen, near to the basalt of the falls,
it was easterly and westerly, and the dip toward the north,
as if the eruptive force of the basalt had placed it in that position.
We passed the remains of a very large town, which, from the only
evidence of antiquity afforded by ruins in this country, must have been
inhabited for a long period; the millstones of gneiss, trap, and quartz
were worn down two and a half inches perpendicularly. The ivory grave-stones
soon rot away. Those of Moyara's father, who must have died
not more than a dozen years ago, were crumbling into powder;
and we found this to be generally the case all over the Batoka country.
The region around is pretty well covered with forest; but there is
abundance of open pasturage, and, as we are ascending in altitude,
we find the grass to be short, and altogether unlike the tangled herbage
of the Barotse valley.
It is remarkable that we now meet with the same trees we saw in descending
toward the west coast. A kind of sterculia, which is the most common tree
at Loanda, and the baobab, flourish here; and the tree called moshuka,
which we found near Tala Mungongo, was now yielding its fruit, which resembles
small apples. The people brought it to us in large quantities:
it tastes like a pear, but has a harsh rind, and four large seeds within.
We found prodigious quantities of this fruit as we went along.
The tree attains the height of 15 or 20 feet, and has leaves, hard and glossy,
as large as one's hand. The tree itself is never found on the lowlands,
but is mentioned with approbation at the end of the work of Bowditch.
My men almost lived upon the fruit for many days.
The rains had fallen only partially: in many parts the soil was quite dry
and the leaves drooped mournfully, but the fruit-trees are unaffected
by a drought, except when it happens at the time of their blossoming.
The Batoka of my party declared that no one ever dies of hunger here.
We obtained baskets of maneko, a curious fruit, with a horny rind,
split into five pieces: these sections, when chewed, are full of
a fine glutinous matter, and sweet like sugar. The seeds are covered
with a yellow silky down, and are not eaten: the entire fruit is about
the size of a walnut. We got also abundance of the motsouri and mamosho.
We saw the Batoka eating the beans called nju, which are contained
in a large square pod; also the pulp between the seeds of nux vomica,
and the motsintsela. Other fruits become ripe at other seasons,
as the motsikiri, which yields an oil, and is a magnificent tree,
bearing masses of dark evergreen leaves; so that, from the general plenty,
one can readily believe the statement made by the Batoka.
We here saw trees allowed to stand in gardens, and some of the Batoka
even plant them, a practice seen nowhere else among natives.
A species of leucodendron abounds. When we meet with it on a spot
on which no rain has yet fallen, we see that the young ones
twist their leaves round during the heat of the day, so that the edge only
is exposed to the rays of the sun; they have then a half twist on the petiole.
The acacias in the same circumstances, and also the mopane (`Bauhania'),
fold their leaves together, and, by presenting the smallest possible surface
to the sun, simulate the eucalypti of Australia.
Low Hills -- Black Soldier-Ants; their Cannibalism --
The Plasterer and its Chloroform -- White Ants; their Usefulness --
Mutokwane-smoking; its Effects -- Border Territory --
Healthy Table-lands -- Geological Formation -- Cicadae --
Trees -- Flowers -- River Kalomo -- Physical Conformation of Country --
Ridges, sanatoria -- A wounded Buffalo assisted -- Buffalo-bird --
Rhinoceros-bird -- Leaders of Herds -- The Honey-guide --
The White Mountain -- Mozuma River -- Sebituane's old Home --
Hostile Village -- Prophetic Phrensy -- Food of the Elephant --
Ant-hills -- Friendly Batoka -- Clothing despised -- Method of Salutation --
Wild Fruits -- The Captive released -- Longings for Peace --
Pingola's Conquests -- The Village of Monze -- Aspect of the Country --
Visit from the Chief Monze and his Wife -- Central healthy Locations --
Friendly Feelings of the People in reference to a white Resident --
Fertility of the Soil -- Bashukulompo Mode of dressing their Hair --
Gratitude of the Prisoner we released -- Kindness and Remarks
of Monze's Sister -- Dip of the Rocks -- Vegetation --
Generosity of the Inhabitants -- Their Anxiety for Medicine --
Hooping-cough -- Birds and Rain.
NOVEMBER 27TH. Still at Marimba's. In the adjacent country palms abound,
but none of that species which yields the oil; indeed, that is met with
only near the coast. There are numbers of flowers and bulbs just shooting up
from the soil. The surface is rough, and broken into gullies;
and, though the country is parched, it has not that appearance,
so many trees having put forth their fresh green leaves
at the time the rains ought to have come. Among the rest stands the mola,
with its dark brownish-green color and spreading oak-like form.
In the distance there are ranges of low hills. On the north we have one
called Kanjele, and to the east that of Kaonka, to which we proceed to-morrow.
We have made a considerable detour to the north, both on account of our wish
to avoid the tsetse and to visit the people. Those of Kaonka are
the last Batoka we shall meet, in friendship with the Makololo.
Walking down to the forest, after telling these poor people,
for the first time in their lives, that the Son of God
had so loved them as to come down from heaven to save them,
I observed many regiments of black soldier-ants returning from
their marauding expeditions. These I have often noticed before
in different parts of the country; and as we had, even at Kolobeng,
an opportunity of observing their habits, I may give
a short account of them here. They are black, with a slight tinge of gray,
about half an inch in length, and on the line of march appear
three or four abreast; when disturbed, they utter a distinct
hissing or chirping sound. They follow a few leaders who never carry
any thing, and they seem to be guided by a scent left on the path
by the leaders; for, happening once to throw the water from my basin
behind a bush where I was dressing, it lighted on the path
by which a regiment had passed before I began my toilette,
and when they returned they were totally at a loss to find the way home,
though they continued searching for it nearly half an hour.
It was found only by one making a long circuit round the wetted spot.
The scent may have indicated also the propriety of their going
in one direction only. If a handful of earth is thrown on the path
at the middle of the regiment, either on its way home or abroad,
those behind it are completely at a loss as to their farther progress.
Whatever it may be that guides them, they seem only to know
that they are not to return, for they come up to the handful of earth,
but will not cross it, though not a quarter of an inch high.
They wheel round and regain their path again, but never think of retreating
to the nest, or to the place where they have been stealing.
After a quarter of an hour's confusion and hissing, one may make
a circuit of a foot round the earth, and soon all follow in that
roundabout way. When on their way to attack the abode of the white ants,
the latter may be observed rushing about in a state of great perturbation.
The black leaders, distinguished from the rest by their greater size,
especially in the region of the sting, then seize the white ants one by one,
and inflict a sting, which seems to inject a portion of fluid
similar in effect to chloroform, as it renders them insensible, but not dead,
and only able to move one or two front legs. As the leaders toss them
on one side, the rank and file seize them and carry them off.
One morning I saw a party going forth on what has been supposed
to be a slave-hunting expedition. They came to a stick, which, being inclosed
in a white-ant gallery, I knew contained numbers of this insect;
but I was surprised to see the black soldiers passing without touching it.
I lifted up the stick and broke a portion of the gallery,
and then laid it across the path in the middle of the black regiment.
The white ants, when uncovered, scampered about with great celerity,
hiding themselves under the leaves, but attracted little attention
from the black marauders till one of the leaders caught them,
and, applying his sting, laid them in an instant on one side
in a state of coma; the others then promptly seized them and rushed off.
On first observing these marauding insects at Kolobeng, I had the idea,
imbibed from a work of no less authority than Brougham's Paley,
that they seized the white ants in order to make them slaves;
but, having rescued a number of captives, I placed them aside,
and found that they never recovered from the state of insensibility
into which they had been thrown by the leaders. I supposed then
that the insensibility had been caused by the soldiers
holding the necks of the white ants too tightly with their mandibles,
as that is the way they seize them; but even the pupae which I took
from the soldier-ants, though placed in a favorable temperature,
never became developed. In addition to this, if any one examines
the orifice by which the black ant enters his barracks,
he will always find a little heap of hard heads and legs of white ants,
showing that these black ruffians are a grade lower than slave-stealers,
being actually cannibals. Elsewhere I have seen a body of them
removing their eggs from a place in which they were likely
to be flooded by the rains; I calculated their numbers to be 1260;
they carried their eggs a certain distance, then laid them down,
when others took them and carried them farther on. Every ant in the colony
seemed to be employed in this laborious occupation, yet there was not
a white slave-ant among them. One cold morning I observed
a band of another species of black ant returning each with a captive;
there could be no doubt of their cannibal propensities,
for the "brutal soldiery" had already deprived the white ants of their legs.
The fluid in the stings of this species is of an intensely acid taste.
I had often noticed the stupefaction produced by the injection of a fluid
from the sting of certain insects before. It is particularly observable
in a hymenopterous insect called the "plasterer" (`Pelopaeus Eckloni'),
which in his habits resembles somewhat the mason-bee. It is about
an inch and a quarter in length, jet black in color, and may be observed
coming into houses, carrying in its fore legs a pellet of soft plaster
about the size of a pea. When it has fixed upon a convenient spot
for its dwelling, it forms a cell about the same length as its body,
plastering the walls so as to be quite thin and smooth inside.
When this is finished, all except a round hole, it brings seven or eight
caterpillars or spiders, each of which is rendered insensible, but not killed,
by the fluid from its sting. These it deposits in the cell,
and then one of its own larvae, which, as it grows, finds food quite fresh.
The insects are in a state of coma, but the presence of vitality
prevents putridity, or that drying up which would otherwise take place
in this climate. By the time the young insect is full grown and its wings
completely developed, the food is done. It then pierces the wall of its cell
at the former door, or place last filled up by its parent,
flies off, and begins life for itself. The plasterer is a most useful insect,
as it acts as a check on the inordinate increase of caterpillars and spiders.
It may often be seen with a caterpillar or even a cricket much larger
than itself, but they lie perfectly still after the injection of chloroform,
and the plasterer, placing a row of legs on each side of the body,
uses both legs and wings in trailing the victim along.
The fluid in each case is, I suppose, designed to cause insensibility,
and likewise act as an antiseptic, the death of the victims
being without pain.
Without these black soldier-ants the country would be overrun
by the white ants; they are so extremely prolific, and nothing can exceed
the energy with which they work. They perform a most important part
in the economy of nature by burying vegetable matter as quickly
beneath the soil as the ferocious red ant does dead animal substances.
The white ant keeps generally out of sight, and works under galleries
constructed by night to screen them from the observation of birds.
At some given signal, however, I never could ascertain what,
they rush out by hundreds, and the sound of their mandibles
cutting grass into lengths may be heard like a gentle wind
murmuring through the leaves of the trees. They drag these pieces
to the doors of their abodes, and after some hours' toil leave off work,
and many of the bits of grass may be seen collected around the orifice.
They continue out of sight for perhaps a month, but they are never idle.
On one occasion, a good bundle of grass was laid down for my bed
on a spot which was quite smooth and destitute of plants.
The ants at once sounded the call to a good supply of grass.
I heard them incessantly nibbling and carrying away all that night;
and they continued all next day (Sunday), and all that night too,
with unabated energy. They had thus been thirty-six hours at it,
and seemed as fresh as ever. In some situations, if we remained a day,
they devoured the grass beneath my mat, and would have eaten that too
had we not laid down more grass. At some of their operations
they beat time in a curious manner. Hundreds of them are engaged
in building a large tube, and they wish to beat it smooth. At a signal,
they all give three or four energetic beats on the plaster in unison.
It produces a sound like the dropping of rain off a bush when touched.
These insects are the chief agents employed in forming a fertile soil.
But for their labors, the tropical forests, bad as they are now
with fallen trees, would be a thousand times worse. They would be impassable
on account of the heaps of dead vegetation lying on the surface, and emitting
worse effluvia than the comparatively small unburied collections do now.
When one looks at the wonderful adaptations throughout creation,
and the varied operations carried on with such wisdom and skill,
the idea of second causes looks clumsy. We are viewing
the direct handiwork of Him who is the one and only Power in the universe;
wonderful in counsel; in whom we all live, and move, and have our being.
The Batoka of these parts are very degraded in their appearance,
and are not likely to improve, either physically or mentally,
while so much addicted to smoking the mutokwane (`Cannabis sativa').
They like its narcotic effects, though the violent fit of coughing
which follows a couple of puffs of smoke appears distressing, and causes
a feeling of disgust in the spectator. This is not diminished on seeing
the usual practice of taking a mouthful of water, and squirting it out
together with the smoke, then uttering a string of half-incoherent sentences,
usually in self-praise. This pernicious weed is extensively used
in all the tribes of the interior. It causes a species of phrensy,
and Sebituane's soldiers, on coming in sight of their enemies,
sat down and smoked it, in order that they might make an effective onslaught.
I was unable to prevail on Sekeletu and the young Makololo
to forego its use, although they can not point to an old man in the tribe
who has been addicted to this indulgence. I believe it was
the proximate cause of Sebituane's last illness, for it sometimes
occasions pneumonia. Never having tried it, I can not describe
the pleasurable effects it is said to produce, but the hashish
in use among the Turks is simply an extract of the same plant,
and that, like opium, produces different effects on different individuals.
Some view every thing as if looking in through the wide end of a telescope,
and others, in passing over a straw, lift up their feet as if about to cross
the trunk of a tree. The Portuguese in Angola have such a belief
in its deleterious effects that the use of it by a slave
is considered a crime.
NOVEMBER 28TH. The inhabitants of the last of Kaonka's villages
complained of being plundered by the independent Batoka.
The tribes in front of this are regarded by the Makololo
as in a state of rebellion. I promised to speak to the rebels on the subject,
and enjoined on Kaonka the duty of giving them no offense. According to
Sekeletu's order, Kaonka gave us the tribute of maize-corn and ground-nuts,
which would otherwise have gone to Linyanti. This had been done
at every village, and we thereby saved the people the trouble of a journey
to the capital. My own Batoka had brought away such loads of provisions
from their homes that we were in no want of food.
After leaving Kaonka we traveled over an uninhabited, gently undulating,
and most beautiful district, the border territory between
those who accept and those who reject the sway of the Makololo.
The face of the country appears as if in long waves, running north and south.
There are no rivers, though water stands in pools in the hollows.
We were now come into the country which my people all magnify
as a perfect paradise. Sebituane was driven from it by the Matebele.
It suited him exactly for cattle, corn, and health. The soil is dry,
and often a reddish sand; there are few trees, but fine large shady ones
stand dotted here and there over the country where towns formerly stood.
One of the fig family I measured, and found to be forty feet in circumference;
the heart had been burned out, and some one had made a lodging in it,
for we saw the remains of a bed and a fire. The sight of the open country,
with the increased altitude we were attaining, was most refreshing
to the spirits. Large game abound. We see in the distance buffaloes, elands,
hartebeest, gnus, and elephants, all very tame, as no one disturbs them.
Lions, which always accompany other large animals, roared about us,
but, as it was moonlight, there was no danger. In the evening,
while standing on a mass of granite, one began to roar at me,
though it was still light. The temperature was pleasant, as the rains,
though not universal, had fallen in many places. It was very cloudy,
preventing observations. The temperature at 6 A.M. was 70 Deg.,
at midday 90 Deg., in the evening 84 Deg. This is very pleasant
on the high lands, with but little moisture in the air.
The different rocks to the westward of Kaonka's, talcose gneiss
and white mica schist, generally dip toward the west, but at Kaonka's,
large rounded masses of granite, containing black mica, began to appear.
The outer rind of it inclines to peel off, and large crystals project
on the exposed surface.
In passing through some parts where a good shower of rain has fallen,
the stridulous piercing notes of the cicadae are perfectly deafening;
a drab-colored cricket joins the chorus with a sharp sound,
which has as little modulation as the drone of a Scottish bagpipe.
I could not conceive how so small a thing could raise such a sound; it seemed
to make the ground over it thrill. When cicadae, crickets, and frogs unite,
their music may be heard at the distance of a quarter of a mile.
A tree attracted my attention as new, the leaves being like
those of an acacia, but the ends of the branches from which they grew
resembled closely oblong fir-cones. The corn-poppy was abundant,
and many of the trees, flowering bulbs, and plants were identical with those
in Pungo Andongo. A flower as white as the snowdrop now begins to appear,
and farther on it spots the whole sward with its beautiful pure white.
A fresh crop appears every morning, and if the day is cloudy
they do not expand till the afternoon. In an hour or so they droop and die.
They are named by the natives, from their shape, "Tlaku ea pitse",
hoof of zebra. I carried several of the somewhat bulbous roots
of this pretty flower till I reached the Mauritius.
On the 30th we crossed the River Kalomo, which is about 50 yards broad,
and is the only stream that never dries up on this ridge.
The current is rapid, and its course is toward the south,
as it joins the Zambesi at some distance below the falls.
The Unguesi and Lekone, with their feeders, flow westward,
this river to the south, and all those to which we are about to come take
an easterly direction. We were thus at the apex of the ridge, and found that,
as water boiled at 202 Deg., our altitude above the level of the sea
was over 5000 feet. Here the granite crops out again in great rounded masses
which change the dip of the gneiss and mica schist rocks from the westward
to the eastward. In crossing the western ridge I mentioned the clay shale
or keele formation, a section of which we have in the valley of the Quango:
the strata there lie nearly horizontal, but on this ridge
the granite seems to have been the active agent of elevation,
for the rocks, both on its east and west, abut against it.
Both eastern and western ridges are known to be comparatively salubrious,
and in this respect, as well as in the general aspect of the country,
they resemble that most healthy of all healthy climates,
the interior of South Africa, near and adjacent to the Desert.
This ridge has neither fountain nor marsh upon it, and east of the Kalomo
we look upon treeless undulating plains covered with short grass.
From a point somewhat near to the great falls, this ridge or oblong mound
trends away to the northeast, and there treeless elevated plains again appear.
Then again the ridge is said to bend away from the falls to the southeast,
the Mashona country, or rather their mountains, appearing,
according to Mr. Moffat, about four days east of Matlokotloko,
the present residence of Mosilikatse. In reference to this ridge he makes
the interesting remark, "I observed a number of the Angora goat, most of them
being white; and their long soft hair, covering their entire bodies
to the ground, made them look like animals moving along without feet."*
* Moffat's "Visit to Mosilikatse". -- Royal Geographical Society's Journal,
vol. xxvi., p. 96.
It is impossible to say how much farther to the north these subtending ridges
may stretch. There is reason to believe that, though the same
general form of country obtains, they are not flanked by abrupt hills
between the latitude 12 Deg. south and the equator. The inquiry is worthy
the attention of travelers. As they are known to be favorable to health,
the Makololo, who have been nearly all cut off by fevers in the valley,
declaring that here they never had a headache, they may even be recommended
as a sanatorium for those whose enterprise leads them into Africa,
either for the advancement of scientific knowledge, or for the purposes
of trade or benevolence. In the case of the eastern ridge,
we have water carriage, with only one short rapid as an obstruction,
right up to its base; and if a quick passage can be effected during
the healthy part of the year, there would be no danger of loss of health
during a long stay on these high lands afterward. How much farther
do these high ridges extend? The eastern one seems to bend in considerably
toward the great falls; and the strike of the rocks indicating that,
farther to the N.N.E. than my investigations extend, it may not,
at a few degrees of latitude beyond, be more than 300 or 350 miles
from the coast. They at least merit inquiry, for they afford
a prospect to Europeans of situations superior in point of salubrity
to any of those on the coast; and so on the western side of the continent;
for it is a fact that many parts in the interior of Angola, which were
formerly thought to be unhealthy on account of their distance inland,
have been found, as population advanced, to be the most healthy spots
in the country. Did the great Niger expedition turn back
when near such a desirable position for its stricken and prostrate members?
The distances from top to top of the ridges may be about 10 Deg. of longitude,
or 600 geographical miles. I can not hear of a hill ON either ridge,
and there are scarcely any in the space inclosed by them.
The Monakadze is the highest, but that is not more than a thousand feet
above the flat valley. On account of this want of hills
in the part of the country which, by gentle undulations, leads one insensibly
up to an altitude of 5000 feet above the level of the sea, I have adopted
the agricultural term ridges, for they partake very much of the character
of the oblong mounds with which we are all familiar. And we shall yet see
that the mountains which are met with outside these ridges
are only a low fringe, many of which are not of much greater altitude
than even the bottom of the great central valley. If we leave out of view
the greater breadth of the central basin at other parts, and speak only
of the comparatively narrow part formed by the bend to the westward
of the eastern ridge, we might say that the form of this region
is a broad furrow in the middle, with an elevated ridge about 200 miles broad
on either side, the land sloping thence, on both sides, to the sea.
If I am right in believing the granite to be the cause of the elevation
of this ridge, the direction in which the strike of the rocks
trends to the N.N.E. may indicate that the same geological structure
prevails farther north, and two or three lakes which exist in that direction
may be of exactly the same nature with Lake Ngami, having been diminished
to their present size by the same kind of agency as that which formed
the falls of Victoria.
We met an elephant on the Kalomo which had no tusks. This is as rare a thing
in Africa as it is to find them with tusks in Ceylon. As soon as she saw us
she made off. It is remarkable to see the fear of man operating
even on this huge beast. Buffaloes abound, and we see large herds of them
feeding in all directions by day. When much disturbed by man
they retire into the densest parts of the forest, and feed by night only.
We secured a fine large bull by crawling close to a herd.
When shot, he fell down, and the rest, not seeing their enemy, gazed about,
wondering where the danger lay. The others came back to it,
and, when we showed ourselves, much to the amusement of my companions,
they lifted him up with their horns, and, half supporting him in the crowd,
bore him away. All these wild animals usually gore a wounded companion,
and expel him from the herd; even zebras bite and kick
an unfortunate or a diseased one. It is intended by this instinct
that none but the perfect and healthy ones should propagate the species.
In this case they manifested their usual propensity to gore the wounded,
but our appearance at that moment caused them to take flight,
and this, with the goring being continued a little, gave my men the impression
that they were helping away their wounded companion. He was shot between
the fourth and fifth ribs; the ball passed through both lungs and a rib
on the opposite side, and then lodged beneath the skin. But, though it was
eight ounces in weight, yet he ran off some distance, and was secured
only by the people driving him into a pool of water and killing him there
with their spears. The herd ran away in the direction of our camp,
and then came bounding past us again. We took refuge on a large ant-hill,
and as they rushed by us at full gallop I had a good opportunity of seeing
that the leader of a herd of about sixty was an old cow;
all the others allowed her a full half-length in their front. On her withers
sat about twenty buffalo-birds (`Textor erythrorhynchus', Smith),
which act the part of guardian spirits to the animals. When the buffalo
is quietly feeding, this bird may be seen hopping on the ground
picking up food, or sitting on its back ridding it of the insects
with which their skins are sometimes infested. The sight of the bird
being much more acute than that of the buffalo, it is soon alarmed
by the approach of any danger, and, flying up, the buffaloes instantly
raise their heads to discover the cause which has led to the sudden flight
of their guardian. They sometimes accompany the buffaloes in their flight
on the wing, at other times they sit as above described.
Another African bird, namely, the `Buphaga Africana', attends the rhinoceros
for a similar purpose. It is called "kala" in the language of the Bechuanas.
When these people wish to express their dependence upon another,
they address him as "my rhinoceros", as if they were the birds.
The satellites of a chief go by the same name. This bird can not be said
to depend entirely on the insects on that animal, for its hard, hairless skin
is a protection against all except a few spotted ticks; but it seems to be
attached to the beast, somewhat as the domestic dog is to man;
and while the buffalo is alarmed by the sudden flying up of its sentinel,
the rhinoceros, not having keen sight, but an acute ear,
is warned by the cry of its associate, the `Buphaga Africana'.
The rhinoceros feeds by night, and its sentinel is frequently
heard in the morning uttering its well-known call, as it searches for
its bulky companion. One species of this bird, observed in Angola,
possesses a bill of a peculiar scoop or stone forceps form,
as if intended only to tear off insects from the skin; and its claws
are as sharp as needles, enabling it to hang on to an animal's ear
while performing a useful service within it. This sharpness of the claws
allows the bird to cling to the nearly insensible cuticle without irritating
the nerves of pain on the true skin, exactly as a burr does to the human hand;
but in the case of the `Buphaga Africana' and `erythrorhyncha', other food
is partaken of, for we observed flocks of them roosting on the reeds,
in spots where neither tame nor wild animals were to be found.
The most wary animal in a herd is generally the "leader".
When it is shot the others often seem at a loss what to do,
and stop in a state of bewilderment. I have seen them
attempt to follow each other and appear quite confused,
no one knowing for half a minute or more where to direct the flight.
On one occasion I happened to shoot the leader, a young zebra mare,
which at some former time had been bitten on the hind leg
by a carnivorous animal, and, thereby made unusually wary,
had, in consequence, become a leader. If they see either
one of their own herd or any other animal taking to flight,
wild animals invariably flee. The most timid thus naturally leads the rest.
It is not any other peculiarity, but simply this provision,
which is given them for the preservation of the race.
The great increase of wariness which is seen to occur when the females
bring forth their young, causes all the leaders to be at that time females;
and there is a probability that the separation of sexes into distinct herds,
which is annually observed in many antelopes, arises from the simple fact
that the greater caution of the she antelopes is partaken of
only by the young males, and their more frequent flights now have
the effect of leaving the old males behind. I am inclined to believe this,
because, though the antelopes, as the pallahs, etc., are frequently
in separate herds, they are never seen in the act of expelling the males.
There may be some other reason in the case of the elephants;
but the male and female elephants are never seen in one herd.
The young males remain with their dams only until they are full grown;
and so constantly is the separation maintained, that any one
familiar with them, on seeing a picture with the sexes mixed,
would immediately conclude that the artist had made it from his imagination,
and not from sight.
DECEMBER 2, 1855. We remained near a small hill, called Maundo, where we
began to be frequently invited by the honey-guide (`Cuculus indicator').
Wishing to ascertain the truth of the native assertion
that this bird is a deceiver, and by its call sometimes leads
to a wild beast and not to honey, I inquired if any of my men
had ever been led by this friendly little bird to any thing else
than what its name implies. Only one of the 114 could say
he had been led to an elephant instead of a hive, like myself
with the black rhinoceros mentioned before. I am quite convinced
that the majority of people who commit themselves to its guidance
are led to honey, and to it alone.
On the 3d we crossed the River Mozuma, or River of Dila,
having traveled through a beautifully undulating pastoral country.
To the south, and a little east of this, stands the hill Taba Cheu,
or "White Mountain", from a mass of white rock, probably dolomite,
on its top. But none of the hills are of any great altitude.
When I heard this mountain described at Linyanti I thought
the glistening substance might be snow, and my informants were so loud
in their assertions of its exceeding great altitude that I was startled
with the idea; but I had quite forgotten that I was speaking with men
who had been accustomed to plains, and knew nothing of very high mountains.
When I inquired what the white substance was, they at once replied
it was a kind of rock. I expected to have come nearer to it,
and would have ascended it; but we were led to go to the northeast.
Yet I doubt not that the native testimony of its being stone is true.
The distant ranges of hills which line the banks of the Zambesi
on the southeast, and landscapes which permit the eye to range
over twenty or thirty miles at a time, with short grass under our feet,
were especially refreshing sights to those who had traveled
for months together over the confined views of the flat forest,
and among the tangled rank herbage of the great valley.
The Mozuma, or River of Dila, was the first water-course which indicated
that we were now on the slopes toward the eastern coast.
It contained no flowing water, but revealed in its banks
what gave me great pleasure at the time -- pieces of lignite,
possibly indicating the existence of a mineral, namely, coal,
the want of which in the central country I had always deplored.
Again and again we came to the ruins of large towns,
containing the only hieroglyphics of this country, worn mill-stones,
with the round ball of quartz with which the grinding was effected.
Great numbers of these balls were lying about, showing that the depopulation
had been the result of war; for, had the people removed in peace,
they would have taken the balls with them.
At the River of Dila we saw the spot where Sebituane lived,
and Sekwebu pointed out the heaps of bones of cattle which the Makololo
had been obliged to slaughter after performing a march with great herds
captured from the Batoka through a patch of the fatal tsetse.
When Sebituane saw the symptoms of the poison, he gave orders to his people
to eat the cattle. He still had vast numbers; and when the Matebele,
crossing the Zambesi opposite this part, came to attack him,
he invited the Batoka to take repossession of their herds,
he having so many as to be unable to guide them in their flight. The country
was at that time exceedingly rich in cattle, and, besides pasturage,
it is all well adapted for the cultivation of native produce.
Being on the eastern slope of the ridge, it receives more rain
than any part of the westward. Sekwebu had been instructed
to point out to me the advantages of this position for a settlement,
as that which all the Makololo had never ceased to regret. It needed
no eulogy from Sekwebu; I admired it myself, and the enjoyment of good health
in fine open scenery had an exhilarating effect on my spirits. The great want
was population, the Batoka having all taken refuge in the hills.
We were now in the vicinity of those whom the Makololo deem rebels,
and felt some anxiety as to how we should be received.
On the 4th we reached their first village. Remaining at a distance
of a quarter of a mile, we sent two men to inform them who we were,
and that our purposes were peaceful. The head man came and spoke civilly,
but, when nearly dark, the people of another village arrived
and behaved very differently. They began by trying to spear a young man
who had gone for water. Then they approached us, and one came forward
howling at the top of his voice in the most hideous manner; his eyes were
shot out, his lips covered with foam, and every muscle of his frame quivered.
He came near to me, and, having a small battle-axe in his hand,
alarmed my men lest he might do violence; but they were afraid
to disobey my previous orders, and to follow their own inclination
by knocking him on the head. I felt a little alarmed too,
but would not show fear before my own people or strangers,
and kept a sharp look-out on the little battle-axe. It seemed to me
a case of ecstasy or prophetic phrensy, voluntarily produced.
I felt it would be a sorry way to leave the world, to get my head chopped
by a mad savage, though that, perhaps, would be preferable to
hydrophobia or delirium tremens. Sekwebu took a spear in his hand,
as if to pierce a bit of leather, but in reality to plunge it into the man
if he offered violence to me. After my courage had been sufficiently tested,
I beckoned with the head to the civil head man to remove him,
and he did so by drawing him aside. This man pretended not to know
what he was doing. I would fain have felt his pulse, to ascertain
whether the violent trembling were not feigned, but had not much inclination
to go near the battle-axe again. There was, however, a flow of perspiration,
and the excitement continued fully half an hour, then gradually ceased.
This paroxysm is the direct opposite of hypnotism, and it is singular
that it has not been tried in Europe as well as clairvoyance.
This second batch of visitors took no pains to conceal their contempt
for our small party, saying to each other, in a tone of triumph, "They are
quite a Godsend!" literally, "God has apportioned them to us." "They are lost
among the tribes!" "They have wandered in order to be destroyed,
and what can they do without shields among so many?" Some of them asked
if there were no other parties. Sekeletu had ordered my men
not to take their shields, as in the case of my first company.
We were looked upon as unarmed, and an easy prey. We prepared
against a night attack by discharging and reloading our guns,
which were exactly the same in number (five) as on the former occasion,
as I allowed my late companions to retain those which I purchased at Loanda.
We were not molested, but some of the enemy tried to lead us toward
the Bashukulompo, who are considered to be the fiercest race in this quarter.
As we knew our direction to the confluence of the Kafue and Zambesi,
we declined their guidance, and the civil head man of the evening before
then came along with us. Crowds of natives hovered round us in the forest;
but he ran forward and explained, and we were not molested.
That night we slept by a little village under a low range of hills,
which are called Chizamena. The country here is more woody
than on the high lands we had left, but the trees are not in general large.
Great numbers of them have been broken off by elephants a foot or two
from the ground: they thus seem pollarded from that point.
This animal never seriously lessens the number of trees; indeed,
I have often been struck by the very little damage he does in a forest.
His food consists more of bulbs, tubers, roots, and branches,
than any thing else. Where they have been feeding, great numbers of trees,
as thick as a man's body, are seen twisted down or broken off,
in order that they may feed on the tender shoots at the tops.
They are said sometimes to unite in wrenching down large trees.
The natives in the interior believe that the elephant never touches grass,
and I never saw evidence of his having grazed until we came near to Tete,
and then he had fed on grass in seed only; this seed contains
so much farinaceous matter that the natives collect it for their own food.
This part of the country abounds in ant-hills. In the open parts
they are studded over the surface exactly as haycocks are in harvest,
or heaps of manure in spring, rather disfiguring the landscape.
In the woods they are as large as round haystacks, 40 or 50 feet in diameter
at the base, and at least 20 feet high. These are more fertile
than the rest of the land, and here they are the chief garden-ground
for maize, pumpkins, and tobacco.
When we had passed the outskirting villages, which alone consider themselves
in a state of war with the Makololo, we found the Batoka, or Batonga,
as they here call themselves, quite friendly. Great numbers of them came
from all the surrounding villages with presents of maize and masuka,
and expressed great joy at the first appearance of a white man,
and harbinger of peace. The women clothe themselves better than the Balonda,
but the men go `in puris naturalibus'. They walk about without the smallest
sense of shame. They have even lost the tradition of the "fig-leaf".
I asked a fine, large-bodied old man if he did not think it would be better
to adopt a little covering. He looked with a pitying leer,
and laughed with surprise at my thinking him at all indecent;
he evidently considered himself above such weak superstition.
I told them that, on my return, I should have my family with me,
and no one must come near us in that state. "What shall we put on?
we have no clothing." It was considered a good joke when I told them that,
if they had nothing else, they must put on a bunch of grass.
The farther we advanced, the more we found the country swarming
with inhabitants. Great numbers came to see the white man, a sight they had
never beheld before. They always brought presents of maize and masuka.
Their mode of salutation is quite singular. They throw themselves
on their backs on the ground, and, rolling from side to side,
slap the outside of their thighs as expressions of thankfulness and welcome,
uttering the words "Kina bomba." This method of salutation was to me
very disagreeable, and I never could get reconciled to it. I called out,
"Stop, stop; I don't want that;" but they, imagining I was dissatisfied,
only tumbled about more furiously, and slapped their thighs
with greater vigor. The men being totally unclothed, this performance
imparted to my mind a painful sense of their extreme degradation.
My own Batoka were much more degraded than the Barotse, and more reckless.
We had to keep a strict watch, so as not to be involved
by their thieving from the inhabitants, in whose country and power we were.
We had also to watch the use they made of their tongues,
for some within hearing of the villagers would say, "I broke all the pots
of that village," or, "I killed a man there." They were eager to recount
their soldier deeds, when they were in company with the Makololo
in former times as a conquering army. They were thus placing us in danger
by their remarks. I called them together, and spoke to them
about their folly, and gave them a pretty plain intimation
that I meant to insist upon as complete subordination as I had secured
in my former journey, as being necessary for the safety of the party.
Happily, it never was needful to resort to any other measure
for their obedience, as they all believed that I would enforce it.
In connection with the low state of the Batoka, I was led to think
on the people of Kuruman, who were equally degraded and equally depraved.
There a man scorned to shed a tear. It would have been "tlolo",
or transgression. Weeping, such as Dr. Kane describes among the Esquimaux,
is therefore quite unknown in that country. But I have witnessed
instances like this: Baba, a mighty hunter -- the interpreter who accompanied
Captain Harris, and who was ultimately killed by a rhinoceros -- sat listening
to the Gospel in the church at Kuruman, and the gracious words of Christ,
made to touch his heart, evidently by the Holy Spirit, melted him into tears;
I have seen him and others sink down to the ground weeping.
When Baba was lying mangled by the furious beast which tore him off his horse,
he shed no tear, but quietly prayed as long as he was conscious.
I had no hand in his instruction: if these Batoka ever become like him,
and they may, the influence that effects it must be divine.
A very large portion of this quarter is covered with masuka-trees,
and the ground was so strewed with the pleasant fruit
that my men kept eating it constantly as we marched along.
We saw a smaller kind of the same tree, named Molondo,
the fruit of which is about the size of marbles, having a tender skin,
and slight acidity of taste mingled with its sweetness.
Another tree which is said to yield good fruit is named Sombo,
but it was not ripe at this season.
DECEMBER 6TH. We passed the night near a series of villages.
Before we came to a stand under our tree, a man came running to us
with hands and arms firmly bound with cords behind his back,
entreating me to release him. When I had dismounted,
the head man of the village advanced, and I inquired the prisoner's offense.
He stated that he had come from the Bashukulompo as a fugitive,
and he had given him a wife and garden and a supply of seed;
but, on refusing a demand for more, the prisoner had threatened to kill him,
and had been seen the night before skulking about the village,
apparently with that intention. I declined interceding
unless he would confess to his father-in-law, and promise amendment.
He at first refused to promise to abstain from violence, but afterward agreed.
The father-in-law then said that he would take him to the village
and release him, but the prisoner cried out bitterly, "He will kill me there;
don't leave me, white man." I ordered a knife, and one of the villagers
released him on the spot. His arms were cut by the cords,
and he was quite lame from the blows he had received.
These villagers supplied us abundantly with ground-nuts, maize, and corn.
All expressed great satisfaction on hearing my message,
as I directed their attention to Jesus as their Savior,
whose word is "Peace on earth, and good-will to men." They called out,
"We are tired of flight; give us rest and sleep." They of course
did not understand the full import of the message, but it was no wonder
that they eagerly seized the idea of peace. Their country has been visited
by successive scourges during the last half century, and they are now
"a nation scattered and peeled." When Sebituane came,
the cattle were innumerable, and yet these were the remnants only,
left by a chief called Pingola, who came from the northeast.
He swept across the whole territory inhabited by his cattle-loving countrymen,
devouring oxen, cows, and calves, without retaining a single head. He seems
to have been actuated by a simple love of conquest, and is an instance
of what has occurred two or three times in every century in this country,
from time immemorial. A man or more energy or ambition than his fellows
rises up and conquers a large territory, but as soon as he dies
the power he built up is gone, and his reign, having been one of terror,
is not perpetuated. This, and the want of literature, have prevented
the establishment of any great empire in the interior of Africa.
Pingola effected his conquests by carrying numbers of smith's bellows
with him. The arrow-heads were heated before shooting into a town,
and when a wound was inflicted on either man or beast, great confusion ensued.
After Pingola came Sebituane, and after him the Matebele of Mosilikatse;
and these successive inroads have reduced the Batoka to a state in which
they naturally rejoice at the prospect of deliverance and peace.
We spent Sunday, the 10th, at Monze's village, who is considered
the chief of all the Batoka we have seen. He lives near the hill Kisekise,
whence we have a view of at least thirty miles of open undulating country,
covered with short grass, and having but few trees. These open lawns
would in any other land, as well as this, be termed pastoral,
but the people have now no cattle, and only a few goats and fowls.
They are located all over the country in small villages,
and cultivate large gardens. They are said to have adopted this wide-spread
mode of habitation in order to give alarm should any enemy appear.
In former times they lived in large towns. In the distance (southeast)
we see ranges of dark mountains along the banks of the Zambesi,
and are told of the existence there of the rapid named Kansala,
which is said to impede the navigation. The river is reported
to be placid above that as far as the territory of Sinamane, a Batoka chief,
who is said to command it after it emerges smooth again below the falls.
Kansala is the only rapid reported in the river until we come to Kebrabasa,
twenty or thirty miles above Tete. On the north we have mountains appearing
above the horizon, which are said to be on the banks of the Kafue.
The chief Monze came to us on Sunday morning, wrapped in a large cloth,
and rolled himself about in the dust, screaming "Kina bomba," as they all do.
The sight of great naked men wallowing on the ground, though intended
to do me honor, was always very painful; it made me feel thankful
that my lot had been cast in such different circumstances
from that of so many of my fellow-men. One of his wives accompanied him;
she would have been comely if her teeth had been spared;
she had a little battle-axe in her hand, and helped her husband to scream.
She was much excited, for she had never seen a white man before.
We rather liked Monze, for he soon felt at home among us,
and kept up conversation during much of the day. One head man of a village
after another arrived, and each of them supplied us liberally
with maize, ground-nuts, and corn. Monze gave us a goat and a fowl,
and appeared highly satisfied with a present of some handkerchiefs
I had got in my supplies left at the island. Being of printed cotton,
they excited great admiration; and when I put a gaudy-colored one
as a shawl about his child, he said that he would send for all his people
to make a dance about it. In telling them that my object
was to open up a path whereby they might, by getting merchandise for ivory,
avoid the guilt of selling their children, I asked Monze,
with about 150 of his men, if they would like a white man
to live among them and teach them. All expressed high satisfaction
at the prospect of the white man and his path: they would protect
both him and his property. I asked the question, because it would be
of great importance to have stations in this healthy region, whither agents
oppressed by sickness might retire, and which would serve, moreover,
as part of a chain of communication between the interior and the coast.
The answer does not mean much more than what I know, by other means,
to be the case -- that a white man OF GOOD SENSE would be welcome and safe
in all these parts. By uprightness, and laying himself out
for the good of the people, he would be known all over the country
as a BENEFACTOR of the race. None desire Christian instruction,
for of it they have no idea. But the people are now humbled
by the scourgings they have received, and seem to be in a favorable state
for the reception of the Gospel. The gradual restoration of their former
prosperity in cattle, simultaneously with instruction,
would operate beneficially upon their minds. The language is
a dialect of the other negro languages in the great valley;
and as many of the Batoka living under the Makololo understand
both it and the Sichuana, missionaries could soon acquire it
through that medium.
Monze had never been visited by any white man, but had seen
black native traders, who, he said, came for ivory, not for slaves.
He had heard of white men passing far to the east of him to Cazembe,
referring, no doubt, to Pereira, Lacerda, and others,
who have visited that chief.
The streams in this part are not perennial; I did not observe one
suitable for the purpose of irrigation. There is but little wood;
here and there you see large single trees, or small clumps of evergreens,
but the abundance of maize and ground-nuts we met with shows
that more rain falls than in the Bechuana country, for there
they never attempt to raise maize except in damp hollows
on the banks of rivers. The pasturage is very fine for both cattle and sheep.
My own men, who know the land thoroughly, declare that
it is all garden-ground together, and that the more tender grains,
which require richer soil than the native corn, need no care here.
It is seldom stony.
The men of a village came to our encampment, and, as they followed
the Bashukulompo mode of dressing their hair, we had an opportunity
of examining it for the first time. A circle of hair at the top of the head,
eight inches or more in diameter, is woven into a cone
eight or ten inches high, with an obtuse apex, bent, in some cases,
a little forward, giving it somewhat the appearance of a helmet.
Some have only a cone, four or five inches in diameter at the base.
It is said that the hair of animals is added; but the sides of the cone
are woven something like basket-work. The head man of this village,
instead of having his brought to a point, had it prolonged into a wand,
which extended a full yard from the crown of his head.
The hair on the forehead, above the ears, and behind, is all shaven off,
so they appear somewhat as if a cap of liberty were cocked upon
the top of the head. After the weaving is performed it is said to be painful,
as the scalp is drawn tightly up; but they become used to it.
Monze informed me that all his people were formerly ornamented in this way,
but he discouraged it. I wished him to discourage the practice
of knocking out the teeth too, but he smiled, as if in that case the fashion
would be too strong for him, as it was for Sebituane.
Monze came on Monday morning, and, on parting, presented us with
a piece of a buffalo which had been killed the day before by lions.
We crossed the rivulet Makoe, which runs westward into the Kafue,
and went northward in order to visit Semalembue, an influential chief there.
We slept at the village of Monze's sister, who also passes by the same name.
Both he and his sister are feminine in their appearance, but disfigured
by the foolish custom of knocking out the upper front teeth.
It is not often that jail-birds turn out well, but the first person
who appeared to welcome us at the village of Monze's sister was the prisoner
we had released in the way. He came with a handsome present of corn and meal,
and, after praising our kindness to the villagers who had assembled around us,
asked them, "What do you stand gazing at? Don't you know
that they have mouths like other people?" He then set off
and brought large bundles of grass and wood for our comfort,
and a pot to cook our food in.
DECEMBER 12TH. The morning presented the appearance of a continuous rain
from the north, the first time we had seen it set in from that quarter
in such a southern latitude. In the Bechuana country, continuous rains
are always from the northeast or east, while in Londa and Angola
they are from the north. At Pungo Andongo, for instance,
the whitewash is all removed from the north side of the houses.
It cleared up, however, about midday, and Monze's sister conducted us
a mile or two upon the road. On parting, she said that she had
forwarded orders to a distant village to send food to the point where
we should sleep. In expressing her joy at the prospect of living in peace,
she said it would be so pleasant "to sleep without dreaming of any one
pursuing them with a spear."
In our front we had ranges of hills called Chamai, covered with trees.
We crossed the rivulet Nakachinta, flowing westward into the Kafue,
and then passed over ridges of rocks of the same mica schist
which we found so abundant in Golungo Alto; here they were surmounted
by reddish porphyry and finely laminated felspathic grit with trap.
The dip, however, of these rocks is not toward the centre of the continent,
as in Angola, for ever since we passed the masses of granite on the Kalomo,
the rocks, chiefly of mica schist, dip away from them,
taking an easterly direction. A decided change of dip occurs again
when we come near the Zambesi, as will be noticed farther on. The hills
which flank that river now appeared on our right as a high dark range,
while those near the Kafue have the aspect of a low blue range,
with openings between. We crossed two never-failing rivulets
also flowing into the Kafue. The country is very fertile,
but vegetation is nowhere rank. The boiling-point of water being 204 Deg.,
showed that we were not yet as low down as Linyanti; but we had left
the masuka-trees behind us, and many others with which we had become familiar.
A feature common to the forests of Angola and Benguela,
namely, the presence of orchilla-weed and lichens on the trees,
with mosses on the ground, began to appear; but we never,
on any part of the eastern slope, saw the abundant crops of ferns
which are met with every where in Angola. The orchilla-weed and mosses, too,
were in but small quantities.
As we passed along, the people continued to supply us with food
in great abundance. They had by some means or other got a knowledge
that I carried medicine, and, somewhat to the disgust of my men,
who wished to keep it all to themselves, brought their sick children for cure.
Some of them I found had hooping-cough, which is one of the few epidemics
that range through this country.
In passing through the woods I for the first time heard the bird called
Mokwa reza, or "Son-in-law of God" (Micropogon sulphuratus?), utter its cry,
which is supposed by the natives to be "pula, pula" (rain, rain).
It is said to do this only before heavy falls of rain. It may be a cuckoo,
for it is said to throw out the eggs of the white-backed Senegal crow,
and lay its own instead. This, combined with the cry for rain,
causes the bird to be regarded with favor. The crow, on the other hand,
has a bad repute, and, when rain is withheld, its nest is sought for
and destroyed, in order to dissolve the charm by which it is supposed
to seal up the windows of heaven. All the other birds now join in full chorus
in the mornings, and two of them, at least, have fine loud notes.
Beautiful Valley -- Buffalo -- My young Men kill two Elephants --
The Hunt -- Mode of measuring Height of live Elephants --
Wild Animals smaller here than in the South, though their Food
is more abundant -- The Elephant a dainty Feeder -- Semalembue --
His Presents -- Joy in prospect of living in Peace -- Trade --
His People's way of wearing their Hair -- Their Mode of Salutation --
Old Encampment -- Sebituane's former Residence -- Ford of Kafue --
Hippopotami -- Hills and Villages -- Geological Formation --
Prodigious Quantities of large Game -- Their Tameness -- Rains --
Less Sickness than in the Journey to Loanda -- Reason --
Charge from an Elephant -- Vast Amount of animal Life on the Zambesi --
Water of River discolored -- An Island with Buffaloes and Men on it --
Native Devices for killing Game -- Tsetse now in Country --
Agricultural Industry -- An Albino murdered by his Mother --
"Guilty of Tlolo" -- Women who make their Mouths "like those of Ducks" --
First Symptom of the Slave-trade on this side -- Selole's Hostility --
An armed Party hoaxed -- An Italian Marauder slain --
Elephant's Tenacity of Life -- A Word to young Sportsmen --
Mr. Oswell's Adventure with an Elephant; narrow Escape --
Mburuma's Village -- Suspicious Conduct of his People --
Guides attempt to detain us -- The Village and People of Ma Mburuma --
Character our Guides give of us.
13TH. The country is becoming very beautiful, and furrowed by deep valleys;
the underlying rocks, being igneous, have yielded fertile soil.
There is great abundance of large game. The buffaloes select open spots,
and often eminences, as standing-places through the day. We crossed the Mbai,
and found in its bed rocks of pink marble. Some little hills near it
are capped by marble of beautiful whiteness, the underlying rock
being igneous. Violent showers occur frequently on the hills,
and cause such sudden sweeping floods in these rivulets, that five of our men,
who had gone to the other side for firewood, were obliged to swim back.
The temperature of the air is lowered considerably by the daily rains.
Several times the thermometer at sunrise has been as low as 68 Deg.,
and 74 Deg. at sunset. Generally, however, it stood at
from 72 Deg. to 74 Deg. at sunrise, 90 Deg. to 96 Deg. at midday,
and 80 Deg. to 84 Deg. at sunset. The sensation, however, as before remarked,
was not disagreeable.
14TH. We entered a most beautiful valley, abounding in large game.
Finding a buffalo lying down, I went to secure him for our food.
Three balls did not kill him, and, as he turned round as if for a charge,
we ran for the shelter of some rocks. Before we gained them,
we found that three elephants, probably attracted by the strange noise,
had cut off our retreat on that side; they, however, turned short off,
and allowed us to gain the rocks. We then saw that the buffalo was moving off
quite briskly, and, in order not to be entirely balked, I tried a long shot
at the last of the elephants, and, to the great joy of my people,
broke his fore leg. The young men soon brought him to a stand,
and one shot in the brain dispatched him. I was right glad to see
the joy manifested at such an abundant supply of meat.
On the following day, while my men were cutting up the elephant,
great numbers of the villagers came to enjoy the feast.
We were on the side of a fine green valley, studded here and there with trees,
and cut by numerous rivulets. I had retired from the noise,
to take an observation among some rocks of laminated grit,
when I beheld an elephant and her calf at the end of the valley,
about two miles distant. The calf was rolling in the mud,
and the dam was standing fanning herself with her great ears.
As I looked at them through my glass, I saw a long string of my own men
appearing on the other side of them, and Sekwebu came and told me
that these had gone off saying, "Our father will see to-day
what sort of men he has got." I then went higher up the side of the valley,
in order to have a distinct view of their mode of hunting.
The goodly beast, totally unconscious of the approach of an enemy,
stood for some time suckling her young one, which seemed about two years old;
they then went into a pit containing mud, and smeared themselves
all over with it, the little one frisking about his dam,
flapping his ears and tossing his trunk incessantly, in elephantine fashion.
She kept flapping her ears and wagging her tail, as if in
the height of enjoyment. Then began the piping of her enemies,
which was performed by blowing into a tube, or the hands closed together,
as boys do into a key. They call out to attract the animal's attention,
"O chief! chief! we have come to kill you.
O chief! chief! many more will die besides you, etc.
The gods have said it," etc., etc.
Both animals expanded their ears and listened, then left their bath
as the crowd rushed toward them. The little one ran forward
toward the end of the valley, but, seeing the men there, returned to his dam.
She placed herself on the danger side of her calf, and passed her proboscis
over it again and again, as if to assure it of safety. She frequently looked
back to the men, who kept up an incessant shouting, singing, and piping;
then looked at her young one and ran after it, sometimes sideways,
as if her feelings were divided between anxiety to protect her offspring
and desire to revenge the temerity of her persecutors. The men kept
about a hundred yards in her rear, and some that distance from her flanks,
and continued thus until she was obliged to cross a rivulet.
The time spent in descending and getting up the opposite bank
allowed of their coming up to the edge, and discharging their spears
at about twenty yards distance. After the first discharge she appeared
with her sides red with blood, and, beginning to flee for her own life,
seemed to think no more of her young. I had previously sent off Sekwebu
with orders to spare the calf. It ran very fast, but neither young nor old
ever enter into a gallop; their quickest pace is only a sharp walk.
Before Sekwebu could reach them, the calf had taken refuge in the water,
and was killed. The pace of the dam gradually became slower. She turned
with a shriek of rage, and made a furious charge back among the men.
They vanished at right angles to her course, or sideways,
and, as she ran straight on, she went through the whole party,
but came near no one except a man who wore a piece of cloth on his shoulders.
Bright clothing is always dangerous in these cases. She charged
three or four times, and, except in the first instance,
never went farther than 100 yards. She often stood after she had
crossed a rivulet, and faced the men, though she received fresh spears.
It was by this process of spearing and loss of blood that she was killed;
for at last, making a short charge, she staggered round and sank down dead
in a kneeling posture. I did not see the whole hunt, having been
tempted away by both sun and moon appearing unclouded. I turned from
the spectacle of the destruction of noble animals, which might be made
so useful in Africa, with a feeling of sickness, and it was not relieved
by the recollection that the ivory was mine, though that was the case.
I regretted to see them killed, and more especially the young one,
the meat not being at all necessary at that time; but it is right to add
that I did not feel sick when my own blood was up the day before.
We ought, perhaps, to judge those deeds more leniently in which we ourselves
have no temptation to engage. Had I not been previously guilty of doing
the very same thing, I might have prided myself on superior humanity
when I experienced the nausea in viewing my men kill these two.
The elephant first killed was a male, not full grown;