Part 12 out of 15
his height at the withers, 8 feet 4 inches; circumference of the fore foot,
44 inches * 2 = 7 feet 4 inches. The female was full grown,
and measured in height 8 feet 8 inches; circumference of the fore foot,
48 inches * 2 = 8 feet (96 inches). We afterward found that
full-grown male elephants of this region ranged in height at the withers
from 9 feet 9 inches to 9 feet 10 inches, and the circumference
of the fore foot to be 4 feet 9-1/2 inches * 2 = 9 feet 7 inches.
These details are given because the general rule has been observed
that twice the circumference of the impression made by the fore foot
on the ground is the height of the animal. The print on the ground,
being a little larger than the foot itself, would thus seem to be
an accurate mode of measuring the size of any elephant that has passed;
but the above measurements show that it is applicable only
to full-grown animals. The greater size of the African elephant in the south
would at once distinguish it from the Indian one; but here they approach
more nearly to each other in bulk, a female being about as large
as a common Indian male. But the ear of the African is an external mark
which no one will mistake even in a picture. That of the female now killed
was 4 feet 5 inches in depth, and 4 feet in horizontal breadth.
I have seen a native creep under one so as to be quite covered from the rain.
The ear of the Indian variety is not more than a third of this size.
The representation of elephants on ancient coins shows
that this important characteristic was distinctly recognized of old.
Indeed, Cuvier remarked that it was better known by Aristotle than by Buffon.
Having been anxious to learn whether the African elephant
is capable of being tamed, through the kindness of my friend Admiral Smythe
I am enabled to give the reader conclusive evidence on this point.
In the two medals furnished from his work, "A descriptive Catalogue of
his Cabinet of Roman and Imperial large brass Medals", the size of the ears
will be at once noted as those of the true African elephant.*
They were even more docile than the Asiatic, and were taught various feats,
as walking on ropes, dancing, etc. One of the coins is of Faustina senior,
the other of Severus the Seventh, and struck A.D. 197. These elephants
were brought from Africa to Rome. The attempt to tame this most useful animal
has never been made at the Cape, nor has one ever been exhibited in England.
There is only one very young calf of the species in the British Museum.
* Unfortunately these illustrations can not be presented in this ASCII text.
-- A. L., 1997.
The abundance of food in this country, as compared with the south,
would lead one to suppose that animals here must attain a much greater size;
but actual measurement now confirms the impression made on my mind
by the mere sight of the animals, that those in the districts north of 20 Deg.
were smaller than the same races existing southward of that latitude.
The first time that Mr. Oswell and myself saw full-grown male elephants
on the River Zouga, they seemed no larger than the females (which are always
smaller than males) we had met on the Limpopo. There they attain
a height of upward of 12 feet. At the Zouga the height of one I measured
was 11 feet 4 inches, and in this district 9 feet 10 inches. There is,
however, an increase in the size of the tusks as we approach the equator.
Unfortunately, I never made measurements of other animals in the south;
but the appearance of the animals themselves in the north at once produced
the impression on my mind referred to as to their decrease in size.
When we first saw koodoos, they were so much smaller than those
we had been accustomed to in the south that we doubted whether they were not
a new kind of antelope; and the leche, seen nowhere south of 20 Deg.,
is succeeded by the poku as we go north. This is, in fact,
only a smaller species of that antelope, with a more reddish color.
A great difference in size prevails also among domestic animals;
but the influence of locality on them is not so well marked.
The cattle of the Batoka, for instance, are exceedingly small
and very beautiful, possessing generally great breadth between the eyes
and a very playful disposition. They are much smaller
than the aboriginal cattle in the south; but it must be added
that those of the Barotse valley, in the same latitudes as the Batoka,
are large. The breed may have come from the west, as the cattle
within the influence of the sea air, as at Little Fish Bay, Benguela, Ambriz,
and along that coast, are very large. Those found at Lake Ngami,
with large horns and standing six feet high, probably come
from the same quarter. The goats are also small, and domestic fowls
throughout this country are of a very small size, and even dogs,
except where the inhabitants have had an opportunity of improving the breed
by importation from the Portuguese. As the Barotse cattle
are an exception to this general rule, so are the Barotse dogs,
for they are large, savage-looking animals, though in reality very cowardly.
It is a little remarkable that a decrease in size should occur
where food is the most abundant; but tropical climates seem unfavorable for
the full development of either animals or man. It is not from want of care
in the breeding, for the natives always choose the larger and stronger males
for stock, and the same arrangement prevails in nature,
for it is only by overcoming their weaker rivals that the wild males
obtain possession of the herd. Invariably they show the scars
received in battle. The elephant we killed yesterday had an umbilical hernia
as large as a child's head, probably caused by the charge of a rival.
The cow showed scars received from men; two of the wounds in her side
were still unhealed, and there was an orifice six inches long, and open,
in her proboscis, and, as it was about a foot from the point,
it must have interfered with her power of lifting water.
In estimating the amount of food necessary for these and other large animals,
sufficient attention has not been paid to the kinds chosen. The elephant,
for instance, is a most dainty feeder, and particularly fond of certain
sweet-tasted trees and fruits. He chooses the mohonono, the mimosa,
and other trees which contain much saccharine matter, mucilage, and gum.
He may be seen putting his head to a lofty palmyra, and swaying it to and fro
to shake off the seeds; he then picks them up singly and eats them.
Or he may be seen standing by the masuka and other fruit-trees
patiently picking off the sweet fruits one by one. He also digs up
bulbs and tubers, but none of these are thoroughly digested.
Bruce remarked upon the undigested bits of wood seen in their droppings,
and he must have observed, too, that neither leaves nor seeds are changed by
passing through the alimentary canal. The woody fibre of roots and branches
is dropped in the state of tow, the nutritious matter alone
having been extracted. This capability of removing all the nourishment,
and the selection of those kinds of food which contain great quantities
of mucilage and gum, accounts for the fact that herds of elephants
produce but small effect upon the vegetation of a country --
quality being more requisite than quantity. The amount of internal fat
found in them makes them much prized by the inhabitants,
who are all very fond of it, both for food and ointment.
After leaving the elephant valley we passed through a very beautiful country,
but thinly inhabited by man. The underlying rock is trap,
and dikes of talcose gneiss. The trap is often seen tilted on its edge,
or dipping a little either to the north or south. The strike is generally
to the northeast, the direction we are going. About Losito we found
the trap had given place to hornblende schist, mica schist,
and various schorly rocks. We had now come into the region in which
the appearance of the rocks conveys the impression of a great force
having acted along the bed of the Zambesi. Indeed, I was led to the belief
from seeing the manner in which the rocks have been thrust away on both sides
from its bed, that the power which formed the crack of the falls
had given direction to the river below, and opened a bed for it
all the way from the falls to beyond the gorge of Lupata.
Passing the rivulet Losito, and through the ranges of hills,
we reached the residence of Semalembue on the 18th. His village is situated
at the bottom of ranges through which the Kafue finds a passage,
and close to the bank of that river. The Kafue, sometimes called
Kahowhe or Bashukulompo River, is upward of two hundred yards wide here,
and full of hippopotami, the young of which may be seen
perched on the necks of their dams. At this point we had reached
about the same level as Linyanti.
Semalembue paid us a visit soon after our arrival, and said that
he had often heard of me, and now that he had the pleasure of seeing me,
he feared that I should sleep the first night at his village hungry.
This was considered the handsome way of introducing a present,
for he then handed five or six baskets of meal and maize,
and an enormous one of ground-nuts. Next morning he gave me
about twenty baskets more of meal. I could make but a poor return
for his kindness, but he accepted my apologies politely,
saying that he knew there were no goods in the country from which I had come,
and, in professing great joy at the words of peace I spoke, he said,
"Now I shall cultivate largely, in the hope of eating and sleeping in peace."
It is noticeable that all whom we have yet met eagerly caught up
the idea of living in peace as the probable effect of the Gospel.
They require no explanation of the existence of the Deity.
Sekwebu makes use of the term "Reza", and they appear to understand at once.
Like negroes in general, they have a strong tendency to worship, and I heard
that Semalembue gets a good deal of ivory from the surrounding tribes
on pretense of having some supernatural power. He transmits this
to some other chiefs on the Zambesi, and receives in return
English cotton goods which come from Mozambique by Babisa traders.
My men here began to sell their beads and other ornaments for cotton cloth.
Semalembue was accompanied by about forty people, all large men.
They have much wool on their heads, which is sometimes drawn all together
up to the crown, and tied there in a large tapering bunch.
The forehead and round by the ears is shaven close to the base of this tuft.
Others draw out the hair on one side, and twist it into little strings.
The rest is taken over, and hangs above the ear, which gives the appearance
of having a cap cocked jauntily on the side of the head.
The mode of salutation is by clapping the hands. Various parties of women
came from the surrounding villages to see the white man,
but all seemed very much afraid. Their fear, which I seldom could allay,
made them, when addressed, clap their hands with increasing vigor.
Sekwebu was the only one of the Makololo who knew this part of the country;
and this was the region which to his mind was best adapted
for the residence of a tribe. The natives generally have
a good idea of the nature of the soil and pasturage, and Sekwebu
expatiated with great eloquence on the capabilities of this part for supplying
the wants of the Makololo. There is certainly abundance of room at present
in the country for thousands and thousands more of population.
We passed near the Losito, a former encampment of the Matebele,
with whom Sekwebu had lived. At the sight of the bones of the oxen
they had devoured, and the spot where savage dances had taken place,
though all deserted now, the poor fellow burst out into a wild Matebele song.
He pointed out also a district, about two days and a half west of Semalembue,
where Sebituane had formerly dwelt. There is a hot fountain
on the hills there named "Nakalombo", which may be seen at a distance
emitting steam. "There," said Sekwebu, "had your Molekane (Sebituane)
been alive, he would have brought you to live with him. You would be
on the bank of the river, and, by taking canoes, you would at once sail down
to the Zambesi, and visit the white people at the sea."
This part is a favorite one with the Makololo, and probably it would be
a good one in which to form a centre of civilization. There is a large,
flat district of country to the north, said to be peopled by
the Bashukulompo and other tribes, who cultivate the ground to a great extent,
and raise vast quantities of grain, ground-nuts, sweet potatoes, etc.
They also grow sugar-cane. If they were certain of a market,
I believe they would not be unwilling to cultivate cotton too,
but they have not been accustomed to the peaceful pursuits of commerce.
All are fond of trade, but they have been taught none save that
in ivory and slaves.
The Kafue enters a narrow gorge close by the village of Semalembue;
as the hill on the north is called Bolengwe, I apply that name
to the gorge (lat. 15d 48' 19" S., long. 28d 22' E.). Semalembue said
that he ought to see us over the river, so he accompanied us to a pass
about a mile south of his village, and when we entered among the hills
we found the ford of the Kafue. On parting with Semalembue
I put on him a shirt, and he went away with it apparently much delighted.
The ford was at least 250 yards broad, but rocky and shallow.
After crossing it in a canoe, we went along the left bank,
and were completely shut in by high hills. Every available spot
between the river and the hills is under cultivation;
and the residence of the people here is intended to secure safety
for themselves and their gardens from their enemies; there is
plenty of garden-ground outside the hills; here they are obliged
to make pitfalls to protect the grain against the hippopotami.
As these animals had not been disturbed by guns, they were remarkably tame,
and took no notice of our passing. We again saw numbers of young ones,
not much larger than terrier dogs, sitting on the necks of their dams,
the little saucy-looking heads cocking up between the old one's ears;
as they become a little older they sit on the withers. Needing meat,
we shot a full-grown cow, and found, as we had often done before,
the flesh to be very much like pork. The height of this animal
was 4 feet 10 inches, and from the point of the nose to the root of the tail
10 feet 6. They seem quarrelsome, for both males and females are found
covered with scars, and young males are often killed by the elder ones:
we met an instance of this near the falls.
We came to a great many little villages among the hills, as if the inhabitants
had reason to hide themselves from the observation of their enemies.
While detained cutting up the hippopotamus, I ascended a hill
called Mabue asula (stones smell badly), and, though not the highest in sight,
it was certainly not 100 feet lower than the most elevated.
The boiling-point of water showed it to be about 900 feet above the river,
which was of the level of Linyanti. These hills seemed to my men
of prodigious altitude, for they had been accustomed to ant-hills only.
The mention of mountains that pierced the clouds made them
draw in their breath and hold their hands to their mouths.
And when I told them that their previous description of Taba cheu
had led me to expect something of the sort, I found that
the idea of a cloud-capped mountain had never entered into their heads.
The mountains certainly look high, from having abrupt sides;
but I had recognized the fact by the point of ebullition of water,
that they are of a considerably lower altitude than the top of the ridge
we had left. They constitute, in fact, a sort of low fringe on the outside
of the eastern ridge, exactly as the (apparently) high mountains of Angola
(Golungo Alto) form an outer low fringe to the western ridge.
I was much struck by the similarity of conformation and nature of the rocks
on both sides of the continent; but there is a difference
in the structure of the subtending ridges, as may be understood
by the annexed ideal geological section.
[The ASCII edition cannot include the drawing of the cross-section,
but the comments are included in full. -- A. L., 1997.]
IDEAL SECTION ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL AFRICA,
INTENDED TO SHOW THE ELEVATED VALLEY FORM OF THAT PORTION OF THE CONTINENT.
Sea. CALCAREOUS TUFA.
TRAP. With modern shells, and similar to those now found
in the sea adjacent, with strongly magnetic iron ore.
MICA SCHIST. Dipping East.
SANDSTONE (like that of East Africa). The rocks
Pungo Andongo. of Pungo Andongo are a conglomerate of rounded shingle in
Rocks 4000 feet. a matrix of sandstone, and stand on horizontal sandstone,
on which fossil palms appear.
RED SHALES CAPPED BY FERRUGINOUS CONGLOMERATE.
Soft red shale or "keele".
G| 5000 feet.
R| Water boils
E| at 202 Deg.
A| On top, ferruginous conglomerate; below that, red shale,
T| 4500 feet. with banks of gravel.
| Lake Dilolo.
C| TUFA AND TRAP. In Londa, the bottom of the valley
E| 2500 feet. is formed of ferruginous conglomerate on the surface;
N| Lake Ngami. hardened sandstone, with madrepore holes,
T| banks of gravel, and occasionally trap;
R| south of 12 Degrees, large patches of soft
A| TUFA. calcareous tufa, with pebbles of jasper,
L| agates, &c., lie on various horizontal traps,
| amygdaloids with analami and mesotype, which is
P| burst through by basaltic rocks forming hills,
L| and showing that the bottom of the valley
A| RADIATED ZEOLITE. consists of old silurian schists;
T| there are also various granitic rocks
E| cropping through the trap.
U| BASALTIC ROCKS. Augitic porphyry and basalt,
.| with tufa over it.
Place of Great Cataract.
MICA SCHIST. White mica schist dipping west, and gneiss.
5000 feet. Kalomo.
Water boils GRANITE. With black mica.
at 202 Deg.
MICA SCHIST. White mica schist and white marble.
Hill tops TRAP. Hot fountain; conical hills of igneous rocks,
4000 feet. containing much mica.
Bottoms 3500 feet.
MICA SCHIST. Pink marble dolomite,
on hills of mica schist, of various colours, with trap,
schorl in gneiss, kyanite or disthene gneissose mica
in the schist.
1500 ft. COAL IN SANDSTONE. Specular and magnetic iron
on various igneous rocks; finely laminated porphyry;
granite; hot fountain.
Sandstone overlying coal; trap dykes;
syenitic porphyry dykes; black vesicular trap,
penetrating in thin veins the clay shale of the country,
converting it into porcellanite, and partially
crystallizing the coal. On this sandstone
lie fossil palms, and coniferous trees
converted into silica, as on a similar rock in Angola.
COMPACT SILICEOUS SCHIST.
IGNEOUS ROCKS. Trappean rocks, with hot fountain.
CALCAREOUS TUFA. Arkose, or granitic grit,
with modern shells covered by calcareous tufa.
The heights are given as an approximation obtained from observing
the boiling point of water, they are drawn on a scale of 1/10 of an inch
per 1000 feet in altitude. The section is necessarily exaggerated
in longitude, as it was traversed in different latitudes,
the western side being in 8d-12d, the eastern 15d-18d S.
We can see from this hill five distinct ranges, of which
Bolengo is the most westerly, and Komanga is the most easterly.
The second is named Sekonkamena, and the third Funze.
Very many conical hills appear among them, and they are generally
covered with trees. On their tops we have beautiful white quartz rocks,
and some have a capping of dolomite. On the west of the second range we have
great masses of kyanite or disthene, and on the flanks of the third and fourth
a great deal of specular iron ore which is magnetic, and containing
a very large percentage of the metal. The sides of these ranges
are generally very precipitous, and there are rivulets between
which are not perennial. Many of the hills have been raised by granite,
exactly like that of the Kalomo. Dikes of this granite may be seen
thrusting up immense masses of mica schist and quartz or sandstone schist,
and making the strata fold over them on each side, as clothes hung
upon a line. The uppermost stratum is always dolomite or bright white quartz.
Semalembue intended that we should go a little to the northeast,
and pass through the people called Babimpe, and we saw some of that people,
who invited us to come that way on account of its being smoother;
but, feeling anxious to get back to the Zambesi again,
we decided to cross the hills toward its confluence with the Kafue.
The distance, which in a straight line is but small, occupied three days.
The precipitous nature of the sides of this mass of hills
knocked up the oxen and forced us to slaughter two, one of which,
a very large one, and ornamented with upward of thirty pieces of its own skin
detached and hanging down, Sekeletu had wished us to take to the white people
as a specimen of his cattle. We saw many elephants among the hills,
and my men ran off and killed three. When we came to the top
of the outer range of the hills we had a glorious view.
At a short distance below us we saw the Kafue, wending away over
a forest-clad plain to the confluence, and on the other side of the Zambesi,
beyond that, lay a long range of dark hills. A line of fleecy clouds appeared
lying along the course of that river at their base. The plain below us,
at the left of the Kafue, had more large game on it than any where else
I had seen in Africa. Hundreds of buffaloes and zebras grazed
on the open spaces, and there stood lordly elephants feeding majestically,
nothing moving apparently but the proboscis. I wished that I had been able
to take a photograph of a scene so seldom beheld, and which is destined,
as guns increase, to pass away from earth. When we descended we found
all the animals remarkably tame. The elephants stood beneath the trees,
fanning themselves with their large ears, as if they did not see us
at 200 or 300 yards distance. The number of animals was quite astonishing,
and made me think that here I could realize an image of that time
when Megatheria fed undisturbed in the primeval forests.
We saw great numbers of red-colored pigs (`Potamochoerus')
standing gazing at us in wonder. The people live on the hills,
and, having no guns, seldom disturb the game. They have never been visited,
even by half-castes; but Babisa traders have come occasionally.
Continuous rains kept us for some time on the banks of the Chiponga,
and here we were unfortunate enough to come among the tsetse.
Mr. J. N. Gray, of the British Museum, has kindly obliged me with
a drawing of the insect, with the ravages of which I have unfortunately been
too familiar. (For description, see p. 94-96 [Chapter 4 Paragraphs 16-20].)
No. 1 is the insect somewhat smaller than life, from the specimen having
contracted in drying; they are a little larger than the common house-fly.
No. 2 is the insect magnified; and No. 3 shows the magnified proboscis
and poison-bulb at the root.*
* Unfortunately, these illustrations can not be presented in this ASCII text.
Fortunately, information on the Tsetse is no longer difficult to find.
The "somewhat smaller than life" drawing is about 1 cm from head to tail,
not including wings or proboscis. -- A. L., 1997.
We tried to leave one morning, but the rain coming on afresh
brought us to a stand, and after waiting an hour, wet to the skin,
we were fain to retrace our steps to our sheds. These rains
were from the east, and the clouds might be seen on the hills exactly as
the "Table-cloth" on Table Mountain. This was the first wetting we had got
since we left Sesheke, for I had gained some experience in traveling.
In Londa we braved the rain, and, as I despised being carried in our
frequent passage through running water, I was pretty constantly drenched;
but now, when we saw a storm coming, we invariably halted.
The men soon pulled grass sufficient to make a little shelter for themselves
by placing it on a bush, and, having got my camp-stool and umbrella,
with a little grass under my feet, I kept myself perfectly dry.
We also lighted large fires, and the men were not chilled
by streams of water running down their persons, and abstracting the heat,
as they would have been had they been exposed to the rain.
When it was over they warmed themselves by the fires,
and we traveled on comfortably. The effect of this care was,
that we had much less sickness than with a smaller party
in journeying to Loanda. Another improvement made from my experience
was avoiding an entire change of diet. In going to Loanda
I took little or no European food, in order not to burden my men
and make them lose spirit, but trusted entirely to what might be got
by the gun and the liberality of the Balonda; but on this journey I took
some flour which had been left in the wagon, with some got on the island,
and baked my own bread all the way in an extemporaneous oven
made by an inverted pot. With these precautions, aided, no doubt,
by the greater healthiness of the district over which we passed,
I enjoyed perfect health.
When we left the Chipongo on the 30th we passed among the range of hills
on our left, which are composed of mica and clay slate.
At the bottom we found a forest of large silicified trees,
all lying as if the elevation of the range had made them fall away from it,
and toward the river. An ordinary-sized tree standing on end,
measured 22 inches in diameter: there were 12 laminae to the inch.
These are easily counted, because there is usually a scale of pure silica
between each, which has not been so much affected by the weather
as the rest of the ring itself: the edges of the rings
thus stand out plainly. Mr. Quekett, having kindly examined some specimens,
finds that it is "silicified CONIFEROUS WOOD of the ARAUCARIAN type;
and the nearest allied wood that he knows of is that found,
also in a fossil state, in New South Wales." The numbers of large game
were quite astonishing. I never saw elephants so tame as those near
the Chiponga: they stood close to our path without being the least afraid.
This is different from their conduct where they have been accustomed to guns,
for there they take alarm at the distance of a mile, and begin to run
if a shot is fired even at a longer distance. My men killed another here,
and rewarded the villagers of the Chiponga for their liberality in meal
by loading them with flesh. We spent a night at a baobab, which was hollow,
and would hold twenty men inside. It had been used as a lodging-house
by the Babisa.
As we approached nearer the Zambesi, the country became covered
with broad-leaved bushes, pretty thickly planted, and we had several times
to shout to elephants to get out of our way. At an open space,
a herd of buffaloes came trotting up to look at our oxen,
and it was only by shooting one that I made them retreat.
The meat is very much like that of an ox, and this one was very fine.
The only danger we actually encountered was from a female elephant,
with three young ones of different sizes. Charging through
the centre of our extended line, and causing the men to throw down
their burdens in a great hurry, she received a spear for her temerity.
I never saw an elephant with more than one calf before.
We knew that we were near our Zambesi again, even before the great river
burst upon our sight, by the numbers of water-fowl we met.
I killed four geese with two shots, and, had I followed the wishes of my men,
could have secured a meal of water-fowl for the whole party.
I never saw a river with so much animal life around and in it,
and, as the Barotse say, "Its fish and fowl are always fat."
When our eyes were gladdened by a view of its goodly broad waters,
we found it very much larger than it is even above the falls. One might try
to make his voice heard across it in vain. Its flow was more rapid
than near Sesheke, being often four and a half miles an hour, and,
what I never saw before, the water was discolored and of a deep brownish-red.
In the great valley the Leeambye never becomes of this color.
The adjacent country, so far north as is known, is all level,
and the soil, being generally covered with dense herbage, is not abraded;
but on the eastern ridge the case is different; the grass is short,
and, the elevation being great, the soil is washed down by the streams,
and hence the discoloration which we now view. The same thing was observed
on the western ridge. We never saw discoloration till we reached the Quango;
that obtained its matter from the western slope of the western ridge,
just as this part of the Zambesi receives its soil from
the eastern slope of the eastern ridge. It carried a considerable quantity
of wreck of reeds, sticks, and trees. We struck upon the river
about eight miles east of the confluence with the Kafue, and thereby missed
a sight of that interesting point. The cloudiness of the weather was such
that but few observations could be made for determining our position;
so, pursuing our course, we went down the left bank,
and came opposite the island of Menye makaba. The Zambesi contains
numerous islands; this was about a mile and a half or two miles long,
and upward of a quarter of a mile broad. Besides human population,
it has a herd of buffaloes that never leave it. In the distance
they seemed to be upward of sixty. The human and brute inhabitants
understand each other; for when the former think they ought to avenge
the liberties committed on their gardens, the leaders of the latter
come out boldly to give battle. They told us that the only time in which
they can thin them is when the river is full and part of the island flooded.
They then attack them from their canoes. The comparatively small space
to which they have confined themselves shows how luxuriant
the vegetation of this region is; for were they in want of more pasture,
as buffaloes can swim well, and the distance from this bank to the island
is not much more than 200 yards, they might easily remove hither.
The opposite bank is much more distant.
Ranges of hills appear now to run parallel with the Zambesi, and are about
fifteen miles apart. Those on the north approach nearest to the river.
The inhabitants on that side are the Batonga, those on the south bank
are the Banyai. The hills abound in buffaloes, and elephants are numerous,
and many are killed by the people on both banks. They erect stages
on high trees overhanging the paths by which the elephants come,
and then use a large spear with a handle nearly as thick as a man's wrist,
and four or five feet long. When the animal comes beneath
they throw the spear, and if it enters between the ribs above,
as the blade is at least twenty inches long by two broad,
the motion of the handle, as it is aided by knocking against the trees,
makes frightful gashes within, and soon causes death. They kill them also
by means of a spear inserted in a beam of wood, which being suspended
on the branch of a tree by a cord attached to a latch fastened in the path,
and intended to be struck by the animal's foot, leads to the fall of the beam,
and, the spear being poisoned, causes death in a few hours.
We were detained by continuous rains several days at this island.
The clouds rested upon the tops of the hills as they came from the eastward,
and then poured down plenteous showers on the valleys below.
As soon as we could move, Tomba Nyama, the head man of the island,
volunteered the loan of a canoe to cross a small river, called the Chongwe,
which we found to be about fifty or sixty yards broad and flooded.
All this part of the country was well known to Sekwebu,
and he informed us that, when he passed through it as a boy,
the inhabitants possessed abundance of cattle, and there were no tsetse.
The existence of the insect now shows that it may return
in company with the larger game. The vegetation along the bank
was exceedingly rank, and the bushes so tangled that it was difficult
to get on. The paths had been made by the wild animals alone,
for the general pathway of the people is the river, in their canoes.
We usually followed the footpaths of the game, and of these there was no lack.
Buffaloes, zebras, pallahs, and waterbucks abound, and there is also
a great abundance of wild pigs, koodoos, and the black antelope.
We got one buffalo as he was rolling himself in a pool of mud.
He had a large piece of skin torn off his flank, it was believed
by an alligator.
We were struck by the fact that, as soon as we came between
the ranges of hills which flank the Zambesi, the rains felt warm.
At sunrise the thermometer stood at from 82 Deg. to 86 Deg.;
at midday, in the coolest shade, namely, in my little tent,
under a shady tree, at 96 Deg. to 98 Deg.; and at sunset it was 86 Deg.
This is different from any thing we experienced in the interior,
for these rains always bring down the mercury to 72 Deg. or even 68 Deg.
There, too, we found a small black coleopterous insect,
which stung like the mosquito, but injected less poison;
it puts us in mind of that insect, which does not exist
in the high lands we had left.
JANUARY 6TH, 1856. Each village we passed furnished us with
a couple of men to take us on to the next. They were useful in showing us
the parts least covered with jungle. When we came near a village,
we saw men, women, and children employed in weeding their gardens,
they being great agriculturists. Most of the men are muscular,
and have large plowman hands. Their color is the same admixture,
from very dark to light olive, that we saw in Londa. Though all have
thick lips and flat noses, only the more degraded of the population
possess the ugly negro physiognomy. They mark themselves by a line
of little raised cicatrices, each of which is a quarter of an inch long;
they extend from the tip of the nose to the root of the hair on the forehead.
It is remarkable that I never met with an Albino in crossing Africa,
though, from accounts published by the Portuguese, I was led to expect
that they were held in favor as doctors by certain chiefs.
I saw several in the south: one at Kuruman is a full-grown woman,
and a man having this peculiarity of skin was met with in the colony.
Their bodies are always blistered on exposure to the sun,
as the skin is more tender than that of the blacks. The Kuruman woman
lived some time at Kolobeng, and generally had on her bosom and shoulders
the remains of large blisters. She was most anxious to be made black,
but nitrate of silver, taken internally, did not produce its usual effect.
During the time I resided at Mabotsa, a woman came to the station
with a fine boy, an Albino. The father had ordered her to throw him away,
but she clung to her offspring for many years. He was remarkably intelligent
for his age. The pupil of the eye was of a pink color, and the eye itself
was unsteady in vision. The hair, or rather wool, was yellow,
and the features were those common among the Bechuanas.
After I left the place the mother is said to have become tired of living apart
from the father, who refused to have her while she retained the son.
She took him out one day, and killed him close to the village of Mabotsa,
and nothing was done to her by the authorities. From having met with
no Albinos in Londa, I suspect they are there also put to death.
We saw one dwarf only in Londa, and brands on him showed
he had once been a slave; and there is one dwarf woman at Linyanti.
The general absence of deformed persons is partly owing to their destruction
in infancy, and partly to the mode of life being a natural one,
so far as ventilation and food are concerned. They use but few
unwholesome mixtures as condiments, and, though their undress exposes them
to the vicissitudes of the temperature, it does not harbor vomites.
It was observed that, when smallpox and measles visited the country,
they were most severe on the half-castes who were clothed. In several tribes,
a child which is said to "tlola", transgress, is put to death.
"Tlolo", or transgression, is ascribed to several curious cases.
A child who cut the upper front teeth before the under was always put to death
among the Bakaa, and, I believe, also among the Bakwains. In some tribes,
a case of twins renders one of them liable to death; and an ox, which,
while lying in the pen, beats the ground with its tail, is treated
in the same way. It is thought to be calling death to visit the tribe.
When I was coming through Londa, my men carried a great number of fowls,
of a larger breed than any they had at home. If one crowed before midnight,
it had been guilty of "tlolo", and was killed. The men often carried them
sitting on their guns, and, if one began to crow in a forest, the owner
would give it a beating, by way of teaching it not to be guilty of crowing
at unseasonable hours.
The women here are in the habit of piercing the upper lip,
and gradually enlarging the orifice until they can insert a shell.
The lip then appears drawn out beyond the perpendicular of the nose,
and gives them a most ungainly aspect. Sekwebu remarked,
"These women want to make their mouths like those of ducks;"
and, indeed, it does appear as if they had the idea that female beauty of lip
had been attained by the `Ornithorhynchus paradoxus' alone.
This custom prevails throughout the country of the Maravi,
and no one could see it without confessing that fashion had never led women
to a freak more mad. We had rains now every day, and considerable cloudiness,
but the sun often burst through with scorching intensity.
All call out against it then, saying, "O the sun! that is rain again."
It was worth noticing that my companions never complained of the heat
while on the highlands, but when we descended into the lowlands of Angola,
and here also, they began to fret on account of it. I myself felt
an oppressive steaminess in the atmosphere which I had not experienced
on the higher lands.
As the game was abundant and my party very large, I had still
to supply their wants with the gun. We slaughtered the oxen
only when unsuccessful in hunting. We always entered into friendly relations
with the head men of the different villages, and they presented grain
and other food freely. One man gave a basinful of rice, the first we met with
in the country. It is never seen in the interior. He said he knew
it was "white man's corn", and when I wished to buy some more, he asked me
to give him a slave. This was the first symptom of the slave-trade
on this side of the country. The last of these friendly head men
was named Mobala; and having passed him in peace, we had no anticipation
of any thing else; but, after a few hours, we reached Selole or Chilole,
and found that he not only considered us enemies, but had actually
sent an express to raise the tribe of Mburuma against us.
All the women of Selole had fled, and the few people we met
exhibited symptoms of terror. An armed party had come from Mburuma
in obedience to the call; but the head man of the company,
being Mburuma's brother, suspecting that it was a hoax,
came to our encampment and told us the whole. When we explained our objects,
he told us that Mburuma, he had no doubt, would receive us well. The reason
why Selole acted in this foolish manner we afterward found to be this:
an Italian named Simoens, and nicknamed Siriatomba (don't eat tobacco),
had married the daughter of a chief called Sekokole, living north of Tete.
He armed a party of fifty slaves with guns, and, ascending the river in canoes
some distance beyond the island Meya makaba, attacked several
inhabited islands beyond, securing a large number of prisoners,
and much ivory. On his return, the different chiefs,
at the instigation of his father-in-law, who also did not wish him
to set up as a chief, united, attacked and dispersed the party of Simoens,
and killed him while trying to escape on foot. Selole imagined
that I was another Italian, or, as he expressed it, "Siriatomba risen
from the dead." In his message to Mburuma he even said that Mobala,
and all the villages beyond, were utterly destroyed by our fire-arms,
but the sight of Mobala himself, who had come to the village of Selole,
led the brother of Mburuma to see at once that it was all a hoax.
But for this, the foolish fellow Selole might have given us trouble.
We saw many of the liberated captives of this Italian among the villages here,
and Sekwebu found them to be Matebele. The brother of Mburuma had a gun,
which was the first we had seen in coming eastward. Before we reached Mburuma
my men went to attack a troop of elephants, as they were much in need of meat.
When the troop began to run, one of them fell into a hole,
and before he could extricate himself an opportunity was afforded for
all the men to throw their spears. When he rose he was like a huge porcupine,
for each of the seventy or eighty men had discharged more than one spear
at him. As they had no more, they sent for me to finish him.
In order to put him at once out of pain, I went to within twenty yards,
there being a bank between us which he could not readily climb.
I rested the gun upon an ant-hill so as to take a steady aim;
but, though I fired twelve two-ounce bullets, all I had, into different parts,
I could not kill him. As it was becoming dark, I advised my men
to let him stand, being sure of finding him dead in the morning;
but, though we searched all the next day, and went more than ten miles,
we never saw him again. I mention this to young men who may think
that they will be able to hunt elephants on foot by adopting
the Ceylon practice of killing them by one ball in the brain.
I believe that in Africa the practice of standing before an elephant,
expecting to kill him with one shot, would be certain death to the hunter;
and I would add, for the information of those who may think that,
because I met with a great abundance of game here, they also might find
rare sport, that the tsetse exists all along both banks of the Zambesi,
and there can be no hunting by means of horses. Hunting on foot
in this climate is such excessively hard work, that I feel certain
the keenest sportsman would very soon turn away from it in disgust.
I myself was rather glad, when furnished with the excuse
that I had no longer any balls, to hand over all the hunting to my men,
who had no more love for the sport than myself, as they never engaged in it
except when forced by hunger.
Some of them gave me a hint to melt down my plate by asking
if it were not lead. I had two pewter plates and a piece of zinc which
I now melted into bullets. I also spent the remainder of my handkerchiefs
in buying spears for them. My men frequently surrounded herds of buffaloes
and killed numbers of the calves. I, too, exerted myself greatly;
but, as I am now obliged to shoot with the left arm, I am a bad shot,
and this, with the lightness of the bullets, made me very unsuccessful.
The more the hunger, the less my success, invariably.
I may here add an adventure with an elephant of one who has had
more narrow escapes than any man living, but whose modesty
has always prevented him from publishing any thing about himself.
When we were on the banks of the Zouga in 1850, Mr. Oswell
pursued one of these animals into the dense, thick, thorny bushes
met with on the margin of that river, and to which the elephant
usually flees for safety. He followed through a narrow pathway
by lifting up some of the branches and forcing his way through the rest;
but, when he had just got over this difficulty, he saw the elephant,
whose tail he had but got glimpses of before, now rushing toward him.
There was then no time to lift up branches, so he tried to force the horse
through them. He could not effect a passage; and, as there was but an instant
between the attempt and failure, the hunter tried to dismount,
but in doing this one foot was caught by a branch, and the spur drawn
along the animal's flank; this made him spring away and throw the rider
on the ground with his face to the elephant, which, being in full chase,
still went on. Mr. Oswell saw the huge fore foot about to descend
on his legs, parted them, and drew in his breath as if to resist
the pressure of the other foot, which he expected would next descend
on his body. He saw the whole length of the under part of the enormous brute
pass over him; the horse got away safely. I have heard of but one other
authentic instance in which an elephant went over a man without injury,
and, for any one who knows the nature of the bush in which this occurred,
the very thought of an encounter in it with such a foe is appalling.
As the thorns are placed in pairs on opposite sides of the branches,
and these turn round on being pressed against, one pair brings the other
exactly into the position in which it must pierce the intruder.
They cut like knives. Horses dread this bush extremely;
indeed, most of them refuse to face its thorns.
On reaching Mburuma's village, his brother came to meet us. We explained
the reason of our delay, and he told us that we were looked upon with alarm.
He said that Siriatomba had been killed near the village of Selole, and hence
that man's fears. He added that the Italian had come talking of peace,
as we did, but had kidnapped children and bought ivory with them,
and that we were supposed to be following the same calling.
I pointed to my men, and asked if any of these were slaves,
and if we had any children among them, and I think we satisfied him
that we were true men. Referring to our ill success in hunting
the day before, he said, "The man at whose village you remained was in fault
in allowing you to want meat, for he had only to run across to Mburuma;
he would have given him a little meal, and, having sprinkled that
on the ground as an offering to the gods, you would have found your elephant."
The chiefs in these parts take upon themselves an office somewhat like
the priesthood, and the people imagine that they can propitiate the Deity
through them. In illustration of their ideas, it may be mentioned that,
when we were among the tribes west of Semalembue, several of the people
came forward and introduced themselves -- one as a hunter of elephants,
another as a hunter of hippopotami, a third as a digger of pitfalls --
apparently wishing me to give them medicine for success in their avocations,
as well as to cure the diseases of those to whom I was administering
the drugs. I thought they attributed supernatural power to them,
for, like all Africans, they have unbounded faith in the efficacy of charms;
but I took pains to let them know that they must pray and trust
to another power than mine for aid. We never saw Mburuma himself,
and the conduct of his people indicated very strong suspicions,
though he gave us presents of meal, maize, and native corn.
His people never came near us except in large bodies and fully armed.
We had to order them to place their bows, arrows, and spears at a distance
before entering our encampment. We did not, however, care much
for a little trouble now, as we hoped that, if we could pass this time
without much molestation, we might yet be able to return with ease,
and without meeting sour, suspicious looks.
The soil, glancing every where with mica, is very fertile, and all the valleys
are cultivated, the maize being now in ear and eatable. Ranges of hills,
which line both banks of the river above this, now come close up to each bank,
and form a narrow gorge, which, like all others of the same nature,
is called Mpata. There is a narrow pathway by the side of the river,
but we preferred a more open one in a pass among the hills to the east,
which is called Mohango. The hills rise to a height of 800 or 1000 feet,
and are all covered with trees. The rocks were of various colored
mica schist; and parallel with the Zambesi lay a broad band of gneiss
with garnets in it. It stood on edge, and several dikes of basalt,
with dolerite, had cut through it.
Mburuma sent two men as guides to the Loangwa. These men tried
to bring us to a stand, at a distance of about six miles from the village,
by the notice, "Mburuma says you are to sleep under that tree."
On declining to do this, we were told that we must wait at a certain village
for a supply of corn. As none appeared in an hour, I proceeded on the march.
It is not quite certain that their intentions were hostile,
but this seemed to disarrange their plans, and one of them
was soon observed running back to Mburuma. They had first of all
tried to separate our party by volunteering the loan of a canoe
to convey Sekwebu and me, together with our luggage, by way of the river,
and, as it was pressed upon us, I thought that this was their design.
The next attempt was to detain us in the pass; but, betraying no suspicion,
we civilly declined to place ourselves in their power in an
unfavorable position. We afterward heard that a party of Babisa traders,
who came from the northeast, bringing English goods from Mozambique,
had been plundered by this same people.
Elephants were still abundant, but more wild, as they fled with great speed
as soon as we made our appearance. The country between
Mburuma's and his mother's village was all hilly and very difficult,
and prevented us from traveling more than ten miles a day.
At the village of Ma Mburuma (mother of Mburuma), the guides,
who had again joined us, gave a favorable report, and the women and children
did not flee. Here we found that traders, called Bazunga, have been
in the habit of coming in canoes, and that I was named as one of them.
These I supposed to be half-caste Portuguese, for they said
that the hair of their heads and the skin beneath their clothing
were different from mine. Ma Mburuma promised us canoes
to cross the Loangwa in our front. It was pleasant to see
great numbers of men, women, and boys come, without suspicion,
to look at the books, watch, looking-glass, revolver, etc.
They are a strong, muscular race, and both men and women are seen
cultivating the ground. The soil contains so much comminuted talc and mica
from the adjacent hills that it seems as if mixed with spermaceti.
They generally eat their corn only after it has begun to sprout
from steeping it in water. The deformed lips of the women
make them look very ugly; I never saw one smile. The people in this part
seem to understand readily what is spoken about God, for they listen
with great attention, and tell in return their own ideas of departed spirits.
The position of the village of Mburuma's mother was one of great beauty,
quite inclosed by high, steep hills; and the valleys are all occupied
by gardens of native corn and maize, which grow luxuriantly.
We were obliged to hurry along, for the oxen were bitten daily by the tsetse,
which, as I have before remarked, now inhabits extensive tracts
which once supported herds of cattle that were swept off
by Mpakane and other marauders, whose devastations were well known to Sekwebu,
for he himself had been an actor in the scenes. When he told me of them
he always lowered his voice, in order that the guides might not hear
that he had been one of their enemies. But that we were looked upon
with suspicion, on account of having come in the footsteps of invaders,
was evident from our guides remarking to men in the gardens
through which we passed, "They have words of peace -- all very fine;
but lies only, as the Bazunga are great liars." They thought
we did not understand them; but Sekwebu knew every word perfectly;
and, without paying any ostensible attention to these complimentary remarks,
we always took care to explain ever afterward that we were not Bazunga,
but Makoa (English).
Confluence of Loangwa and Zambesi -- Hostile Appearances --
Ruins of a Church -- Turmoil of Spirit -- Cross the River --
Friendly Parting -- Ruins of stone Houses -- The Situation of Zumbo
for Commerce -- Pleasant Gardens -- Dr. Lacerda's Visit to Cazembe --
Pereira's Statement -- Unsuccessful Attempt to establish Trade
with the People of Cazembe -- One of my Men tossed by a Buffalo --
Meet a Man with Jacket and Hat on -- Hear of the Portuguese and native War
-- Holms and Terraces on the Banks of a River -- Dancing for Corn --
Beautiful Country -- Mpende's Hostility -- Incantations --
A Fight anticipated -- Courage and Remarks of my Men --
Visit from two old Councilors of Mpende -- Their Opinion of the English --
Mpende concludes not to fight us -- His subsequent Friendship --
Aids us to cross the River -- The Country -- Sweet Potatoes --
Bakwain Theory of Rain confirmed -- Thunder without Clouds --
Desertion of one of my Men -- Other Natives' Ideas of the English --
Dalama (gold) -- Inhabitants dislike Slave-buyers --
Meet native Traders with American Calico -- Game-laws --
Elephant Medicine -- Salt from the Sand -- Fertility of Soil --
Spotted Hyaena -- Liberality and Politeness of the People --
Presents -- A stingy white Trader -- Natives' Remarks about him --
Effect on their Minds -- Rain and Wind now from an opposite Direction --
Scarcity of Fuel -- Trees for Boat-building -- Boroma --
Freshets -- Leave the River -- Chicova, its Geological Features --
Small Rapid near Tete -- Loquacious Guide -- Nyampungo, the Rain-charmer --
An old Man -- No Silver -- Gold-washing -- No Cattle.
14TH. We reached the confluence of the Loangwa and the Zambesi,
most thankful to God for his great mercies in helping us thus far.
Mburuma's people had behaved so suspiciously, that, though we had
guides from him, we were by no means sure that we should not be attacked
in crossing the Loangwa. We saw them here collecting in large numbers,
and, though professing friendship, they kept at a distance from our camp.
They refused to lend us more canoes than two, though they have many.
They have no intercourse with Europeans except through the Babisa.
They tell us that this was formerly the residence of the Bazunga,
and maintain silence as to the cause of their leaving it. I walked about
some ruins I discovered, built of stone, and found the remains of a church,
and on one side lay a broken bell, with the letters I. H. S. and a cross,
but no date. There were no inscriptions on stone, and the people
could not tell what the Bazunga called their place. We found afterward
it was Zumbo.
I felt some turmoil of spirit in the evening at the prospect of having
all my efforts for the welfare of this great region and its teeming population
knocked on the head by savages to-morrow, who might be said
to "know not what they do." It seemed such a pity that
the important fact of the existence of the two healthy ridges
which I had discovered should not become known in Christendom,
for a confirmation would thereby have been given to the idea
that Africa is not open to the Gospel. But I read that Jesus said,
"All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth; go ye, therefore,
and teach all nations . . . and lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, EVEN UNTO
THE END OF THE WORLD." I took this as His word of honor, and then went out
to take observations for latitude and longitude, which, I think,
were very successful. (The church: lat. 15d 37' 22" S., long. 30d 32' E.)
15TH. The natives of the surrounding country collected around us
this morning, all armed. The women and children were sent away,
and one of Mburuma's wives, who lives in the vicinity, was not allowed
to approach, though she had come from her village to pay me a visit.
Only one canoe was lent to us, though we saw two others tied to the bank.
The part we crossed was about a mile from the confluence,
and, as it was now flooded, it seemed upward of half a mile in breadth.
We passed all our goods first on to an island in the middle,
then the remaining cattle and men; occupying the post of honor, I, as usual,
was the last to enter the canoe. A number of the inhabitants stood armed
all the time we were embarking. I showed them my watch, lens,
and other things to keep them amused, until there only remained those
who were to enter the canoe with me. I thanked them for their kindness,
and wished them peace. After all, they may have been influenced
only by the intention to be ready in case I should play them some false trick,
for they have reason to be distrustful of the whites. The guides came over
to bid us adieu, and we sat under a mango-tree fifteen feet in circumference.
We found them more communicative now. They said that the land
on both sides belonged to the Bazunga, and that they had left of old,
on the approach of Changamera, Ngaba, and Mpakane. Sekwebu was with
the last named, but he maintained that they never came to the confluence,
though they carried off all the cattle of Mburuma. The guides confirmed this
by saying that the Bazunga were not attacked, but fled in alarm
on the approach of the enemy. This mango-tree he knew by its proper name,
and we found seven others and several tamarinds, and were informed
that the chief Mburuma sends men annually to gather the fruit,
but, like many Africans whom I have known, has not had patience
to propagate more trees. I gave them some little presents for themselves,
a handkerchief and a few beads, and they were highly pleased
with a cloth of red baize for Mburuma, which Sekeletu had given me
to purchase a canoe. We were thankful to part good friends.
Next morning we passed along the bottom of the range, called Mazanzwe,
and found the ruins of eight or ten stone houses. They all faced the river,
and were high enough up the flanks of the hill Mazanzwe to command
a pleasant view of the broad Zambesi. These establishments had all been built
on one plan -- a house on one side of a large court, surrounded by a wall;
both houses and walls had been built of soft gray sandstone cemented together
with mud. The work had been performed by slaves ignorant of building,
for the stones were not often placed so as to cover the seams below.
Hence you frequently find the joinings forming one seam from the top
to the bottom. Much mortar or clay had been used to cover defects,
and now trees of the fig family grow upon the walls, and clasp them
with their roots. When the clay is moistened, masses of the walls
come down by wholesale. Some of the rafters and beams had fallen in,
but were entire, and there were some trees in the middle of the houses
as large as a man's body. On the opposite or south bank of the Zambesi
we saw the remains of a wall on a height which was probably a fort,
and the church stood at a central point, formed by the right bank
of the Loangwa and the left of the Zambesi.
The situation of Zumbo was admirably well chosen as a site for commerce.
Looking backward we see a mass of high, dark mountains, covered with trees;
behind us rises the fine high hill Mazanzwe, which stretches away northward
along the left bank of the Loangwa; to the S.E. lies an open country,
with a small round hill in the distance called Tofulo. The merchants,
as they sat beneath the verandahs in front of their houses,
had a magnificent view of the two rivers at their confluence;
of their church at the angle; and of all the gardens which they had
on both sides of the rivers. In these they cultivated wheat
without irrigation, and, as the Portuguese assert, of a grain
twice the size of that at Tete. From the guides we learned
that the inhabitants had not imbibed much idea of Christianity,
for they used the same term for the church bell which they did
for a diviner's drum. From this point the merchants had water communication
in three directions beyond, namely, from the Loangwa to the N.N.W.,
by the Kafue to the W., and by the Zambesi to the S.W.
Their attention, however, was chiefly attracted to the N. or Londa;
and the principal articles of trade were ivory and slaves.
Private enterprise was always restrained, for the colonies of the Portuguese
being strictly military, and the pay of the commandants being very small,
the officers have always been obliged to engage in trade;
and had they not employed their power to draw the trade to themselves
by preventing private traders from making bargains beyond the villages,
and only at regulated prices, they would have had no trade, as they themselves
were obliged to remain always at their posts.
Several expeditions went to the north as far as to Cazembe,
and Dr. Lacerda, himself commandant of Tete, went to that chief's residence.
Unfortunately, he was cut off while there, and his papers,
taken possession of by a Jesuit who accompanied him, were lost to the world.
This Jesuit probably intended to act fairly and have them published;
but soon after his return he was called away by death himself,
and the papers were lost sight of. Dr. Lacerda had a strong desire to open up
communication with Angola, which would have been of importance then,
as affording a speedier mode of communication with Portugal
than by the way of the Cape; but since the opening of the overland passage
to India, a quicker transit is effected from Eastern Africa to Lisbon
by way of the Red Sea. Besides Lacerda, Cazembe was visited by Pereira,
who gave a glowing account of that chief's power, which none of my inquiries
have confirmed. The people of Matiamvo stated to me that Cazembe
was a vassal of their chief: and, from all the native visitors
whom I have seen, he appears to be exactly like Shinte and Katema,
only a little more powerful. The term "Emperor", which has been
applied to him, seems totally inappropriate. The statement of Pereira that
twenty negroes were slaughtered in a day, was not confirmed by any one else,
though numbers may have been killed on some particular occasion
during the time of his visit, for we find throughout all the country
north of 20 Deg., which I consider to be real negro, the custom of
slaughtering victims to accompany the departed soul of a chief,
and human sacrifices are occasionally offered, and certain parts of the bodies
are used as charms. It is on account of the existence of such rites,
with the similarity of the language, and the fact that the names of rivers
are repeated again and again from north to south through all that region,
that I consider them to have been originally one family.
The last expedition to Cazembe was somewhat of the same nature as the others,
and failed in establishing a commerce, because the people of Cazembe,
who had come to Tete to invite the Portuguese to visit them, had not been
allowed to trade with whom they might. As it had not been free-trade there,
Cazembe did not see why it should be free-trade at his town;
he accordingly would not allow his people to furnish the party with food
except at his price; and the expedition, being half starved in consequence,
came away voting unanimously that Cazembe was a great bore.
When we left the Loangwa we thought we had got rid of the hills;
but there are some behind Mazanzwe, though five or six miles off
from the river. Tsetse and the hills had destroyed two riding oxen,
and when the little one that I now rode knocked up, I was forced
to march on foot. The bush being very dense and high,
we were going along among the trees, when three buffaloes,
which we had unconsciously passed above the wind, thought that they were
surrounded by men, and dashed through our line. My ox set off at a gallop,
and when I could manage to glance back, I saw one of the men up in the air
about five feet above a buffalo, which was tearing along with
a stream of blood running down his flank. When I got back to the poor fellow,
I found that he had lighted on his face, and, though he had been carried
on the horns of the buffalo about twenty yards before getting the final toss,
the skin was not pierced nor was a bone broken. When the beasts appeared,
he had thrown down his load and stabbed one in the side.
It turned suddenly upon him, and, before he could use a tree for defense,
carried him off. We shampooed him well, and then went on,
and in about a week he was able to engage in the hunt again.
At Zumbo we had entered upon old gray sandstone, with shingle in it,
dipping generally toward the south, and forming the bed of the river.
The Zambesi is very broad here, but contains many inhabited islands.
We slept opposite one on the 16th called Shibanga. The nights are warm,
the temperature never falling below 80 Deg.; it was 91 Deg. even at sunset.
One can not cool the water by a wet towel round the vessel,
and we feel no pleasure in drinking warm water, though the heat makes us
imbibe large quantities. We often noticed lumps of a froth-like substance
on the bushes as large as cricket-balls, which we could not explain.
On the morning of the 17th we were pleased to see a person coming
from the island of Shibanga with jacket and hat on. He was quite black,
but had come from the Portuguese settlement at Tete or Nyungwe;
and now, for the first time, we understood that the Portuguese settlement
was on the other bank of the river, and that they had been fighting
with the natives for the last two years. We had thus got into
the midst of a Caffre war, without any particular wish to be on either side.
He advised us to cross the river at once, as Mpende lived on this side.
We had been warned by the guides of Mburuma against him,
for they said that if we could get past Mpende we might reach the white men,
but that he was determined that no white man should pass him.
Wishing to follow this man's advice, we proposed to borrow his canoes;
but, being afraid to offend the lords of the river, he declined.
The consequence was, we were obliged to remain on the enemy's side.
The next island belonged to a man named Zungo, a fine, frank fellow,
who brought us at once a present of corn, bound in a peculiar way in grass.
He freely accepted our apology for having no present to give in return,
as he knew that there were no goods in the interior, and, besides,
sent forward a recommendation to his brother-in-law Pangola. The country
adjacent to the river is covered with dense bush, thorny and tangled,
making one stoop or wait till the men broke or held the branches on one side.
There is much rank grass, but it is not so high or rank as that of Angola.
The maize, however, which is grown here is equal in size to that
which the Americans sell for seed at the Cape. There is usually a holm
adjacent to the river, studded with villages and gardens. The holms are
but partially cultivated, and on the other parts grows rank and weedy grass.
There is then a second terrace, on which trees and bushes abound;
and I thought I could detect a third and higher steppe.
But I never could discover terraces on the adjacent country,
such as in other countries show ancient sea-beaches. The path runs
sometimes on the one and sometimes on the other of these river terraces.
Canoes are essentially necessary; but I find that they here cost too much
for my means, and higher up, where my hoes might have secured one,
I was unwilling to enter into a canoe and part with my men
while there was danger of their being attacked.
18TH. Yesterday we rested under a broad-spreading fig-tree.
Large numbers of buffaloes and water-antelopes were feeding quietly
in the meadows; the people have either no guns or no ammunition,
or they would not be so tame. Pangola visited us, and presented us with food.
In few other countries would one hundred and fourteen sturdy vagabonds
be supported by the generosity of the head men and villagers,
and whatever they gave be presented with politeness. My men got pretty well
supplied individually, for they went into the villages and commenced dancing.
The young women were especially pleased with the new steps they had to show,
though I suspect many of them were invented for the occasion,
and would say, "Dance for me, and I will grind corn for you."
At every fresh instance of liberality, Sekwebu said, "Did not I tell you
that these people had hearts, while we were still at Linyanti?"
All agreed that the character he had given was true, and some remarked,
"Look! although we have been so long away from home, not one of us
has become lean." It was a fact that we had been all well supplied
either with meat by my gun or their own spears, or food from
the great generosity of the inhabitants. Pangola promised
to ferry us across the Zambesi, but failed to fulfill his promise.
He seemed to wish to avoid offending his neighbor Mpende
by aiding us to escape from his hands, so we proceeded along the bank.
Although we were in doubt as to our reception by Mpende,
I could not help admiring the beautiful country as we passed along.
There is, indeed, only a small part under cultivation in this fertile valley,
but my mind naturally turned to the comparison of it with Kolobeng,
where we waited anxiously during months for rain, and only
a mere thunder-shower followed. I shall never forget
the dry, hot east winds of that region; the yellowish, sultry, cloudless sky;
the grass and all the plants drooping from drought, the cattle lean,
the people dispirited, and our own hearts sick from hope deferred.
There we often heard in the dead of the night the shrill whistle
of the rain-doctor calling for rain that would not come,
while here we listened to the rolling thunder by night,
and beheld the swelling valleys adorned with plenty by day.
We have rain almost daily, and every thing is beautifully fresh and green.
I felt somewhat as people do on coming ashore after a long voyage --
inclined to look upon the landscape in the most favorable light.
The hills are covered with forests, and there is often
a long line of fleecy cloud lying on them about midway up;
they are very beautiful. Finding no one willing to aid us
in crossing the river, we proceeded to the village of the chief Mpende.
A fine large conical hill now appeared to the N.N.E.;
it is the highest I have seen in these parts, and at some points
it appears to be two cones joined together, the northern one being
a little lower than the southern. Another high hill stands on the same side
to the N.E., and, from its similarity in shape to an axe at the top,
is called Motemwa. Beyond it, eastward, lies the country of Kaimbwa,
a chief who has been engaged in actual conflict with the Bazunga,
and beat them too, according to the version of things here.
The hills on the north bank are named Kamoenja. When we came
to Mpende's village, he immediately sent to inquire who we were,
and then ordered the guides who had come with us from the last village
to go back and call their masters. He sent no message to us whatever.
We had traveled very slowly up to this point, the tsetse-stricken oxen
being now unable to go two miles an hour. We were also delayed
by being obliged to stop at every village, and send notice of our approach
to the head man, who came and received a little information,
and gave some food. If we had passed on without taking any notice of them,
they would have considered it impolite, and we should have appeared
more as enemies than friends. I consoled myself for the loss of time
by the thought that these conversations tended to the opening
of our future path.
23D. This morning, at sunrise, a party of Mpende's people came close
to our encampment, uttering strange cries and waving some bright red substance
toward us. They then lighted a fire with charms in it, and departed,
uttering the same hideous screams as before. This was intended
to render us powerless, and probably also to frighten us. Ever since dawn,
parties of armed men have been seen collecting from all quarters, and numbers
passed us while it was yet dark. Had we moved down the river at once,
it would have been considered an indication of fear or defiance,
and so would a retreat. I therefore resolved to wait,
trusting in Him who has the hearts of all men in His hands.
They evidently intended to attack us, for no friendly message was sent;
and when three of the Batoka the night before entered the village to beg food,
a man went round about each of them, making a noise like a lion.
The villagers then called upon them to do homage, and, when they complied,
the chief ordered some chaff to be given them, as if it had been food.
Other things also showed unmistakable hostility. As we were now
pretty certain of a skirmish, I ordered an ox to be slaughtered,
as this is a means which Sebituane employed for inspiring courage.
I have no doubt that we should have been victorious; indeed, my men,
who were far better acquainted with fighting than any of the people
on the Zambesi, were rejoicing in the prospect of securing captives
to carry the tusks for them. "We shall now," said they,
"get both corn and clothes in plenty." They were in a sad state,
poor fellows; for the rains we had encountered had made their skin-clothing
drop off piecemeal, and they were looked upon with disgust
by the well-fed and well-clothed Zambesians. They were, however,
veterans in marauding, and the head men, instead of being depressed by fear,
as the people of Mpende intended should be the case in using their charms,
hinted broadly to me that I ought to allow them to keep Mpende's wives.
The roasting of meat went on fast and furious, and some of the young men
said to me, "You have seen us with elephants, but you don't know yet
what we can do with men." I believe that, had Mpende struck the first blow,
he would soon have found out that he never made a greater mistake in his life.
His whole tribe was assembled at about the distance of half a mile.
As the country is covered with trees, we did not see them;
but every now and then a few came about us as spies, and would answer
no questions. I handed a leg of the ox to two of these, and desired them
to take it to Mpende. After waiting a considerable time in suspense,
two old men made their appearance, and said they had come to inquire
who I was. I replied, "I am a Lekoa" (an Englishman). They said,
"We don't know that tribe. We suppose you are a Mozunga, the tribe with which
we have been fighting." As I was not yet aware that the term Mozunga
was applied to a Portuguese, and thought they meant half-castes,
I showed them my hair and the skin of my bosom, and asked if the Bazunga
had hair and skin like mine. As the Portuguese have the custom
of cutting the hair close, and are also somewhat darker than we are,
they answered, "No; we never saw skin so white as that;" and added,
"Ah! you must be one of that tribe that loves (literally, `has heart to')
the black men." I, of course, gladly responded in the affirmative.
They returned to the village, and we afterward heard that there had been
a long discussion between Mpende and his councilors, and that one of the men
with whom we had remained to talk the day before had been our advocate.
He was named Sindese Oalea. When we were passing his village,
after some conversation, he said to his people, "Is that the man
whom they wish to stop after he has passed so many tribes?
What can Mpende say to refusing him a passage?" It was owing to this man,
and the fact that I belonged to the "friendly white tribe",
that Mpende was persuaded to allow us to pass. When we knew
the favorable decision of the council, I sent Sekwebu to speak about
the purchase of a canoe, as one of my men had become very ill,
and I wished to relieve his companions by taking him in a canoe.
Before Sekwebu could finish his story, Mpende remarked, "That white man
is truly one of our friends. See how he lets me know his afflictions!"
Sekwebu adroitly took advantage of this turn in the conversation,
and said, "Ah! if you only knew him as well as we do who have
lived with him, you would understand that he highly values
your friendship and that of Mburuma, and, as he is a stranger,
he trusts in you to direct him." He replied, "Well, he ought to cross
to the other side of the river, for this bank is hilly and rough,
and the way to Tete is longer on this than on the opposite bank."
"But who will take us across, if you do not?" "Truly!" replied Mpende;
"I only wish you had come sooner to tell me about him; but you shall cross."
Mpende said frequently he was sorry he had not known me sooner,
but that he had been prevented by his enchanter from coming near me;
and he lamented that the same person had kept him from eating the meat
which I had presented. He did every thing he could afterward
to aid us on our course, and our departure was as different as possible
from our approach to his village. I was very much pleased
to find the English name spoken of with such great respect
so far from the coast, and most thankful that no collision occurred
to damage its influence.
24TH. Mpende sent two of his principal men to order the people
of a large island below to ferry us across. The river is very broad,
and, though my men were well acquainted with the management of canoes,
we could not all cross over before dark. It is 1200 yards from bank to bank,
and between 700 and 800 of deep water, flowing at the rate of 3-3/4 miles
per hour. We landed first on an island; then, to prevent our friends
playing false with us, hauled the canoes up to our bivouac, and slept in them.
Next morning we all reached the opposite bank in safety. We observed,
as we came along the Zambesi, that it had fallen two feet below the height
at which we first found it, and the water, though still muddy enough
to deposit a film at the bottom of vessels in a few hours,
is not nearly so red as it was, nor is there so much wreck on its surface.
It is therefore not yet the period of the central Zambesi inundation,
as we were aware also from our knowledge of the interior.
The present height of the water has been caused by rains
outside the eastern ridge. The people here seem abundantly supplied
with English cotton goods. The Babisa are the medium of trade,
for we were informed that the Bazunga, who formerly visited these parts,
have been prevented by the war from coming for the last two years.
The Babisa are said to be so fond of a tusk that they will even sell
a newly-married wife for one. As we were now not far from
the latitude of Mozambique, I was somewhat tempted to strike away
from the river to that port, instead of going to the S.E.,
in the direction the river flows; but, the great object of my journey being
to secure water-carriage, I resolved to continue along the Zambesi,
though it did lead me among the enemies of the Portuguese.
The region to the north of the ranges of hills on our left is called Senga,
from being the country of the Basenga, who are said to be
great workers in iron, and to possess abundance of fine iron ore,
which, when broken, shows veins of the pure metal in its substance.
It has been well roasted in the operations of nature.
Beyond Senga lies a range of mountains called Mashinga,
to which the Portuguese in former times went to wash for gold,
and beyond that are great numbers of tribes which pass under
the general term Maravi. To the northeast there are extensive plains
destitute of trees, but covered with grass, and in some places it is marshy.
The whole of the country to the north of the Zambesi
is asserted to be very much more fertile than that to the south.
The Maravi, for instance, raise sweet potatoes of immense size,
but when these are planted on the southern bank they soon degenerate.
The root of this plant (`Convolvulus batata') does not keep more than
two or three days, unless it is cut into thin slices and dried in the sun,
but the Maravi manage to preserve them for months by digging a pit
and burying them therein inclosed in wood-ashes. Unfortunately,
the Maravi, and all the tribes on that side of the country,
are at enmity with the Portuguese, and, as they practice night attacks
in their warfare, it is dangerous to travel among them.
29TH. I was most sincerely thankful to find myself
on the south bank of the Zambesi, and, having nothing else,
I sent back one of my two spoons and a shirt as a thank-offering to Mpende.
The different head men along this river act very much in concert,
and if one refuses passage they all do, uttering the sage remark,
"If so-and-so did not lend his canoes, he must have had some good reason."
The next island we came to was that of a man named Mozinkwa.
Here we were detained some days by continuous rains, and thought
we observed the confirmation of the Bakwain theory of rains.
A double tier of clouds floated quickly away to the west, and as soon
as they began to come in an opposite direction the rains poured down.
The inhabitants who live in a dry region like that of Kolobeng
are nearly all as weather-wise as the rain-makers, and any one
living among them for any length of time becomes as much interested
in the motions of the clouds as they are themselves. Mr. Moffat,
who was as sorely tried by droughts as we were, and had his attention
directed in the same way, has noted the curious phenomenon of thunder
without clouds. Mrs. L. heard it once, but I never had that good fortune.
It is worth the attention of the observant. Humboldt has seen rain
without clouds, a phenomenon quite as singular. I have been in the vicinity
of the fall of three aerolites, none of which I could afterward discover.
One fell into the lake Kumadau with a report somewhat like
a sharp peal of thunder. The women of the Bakurutse villages there
all uttered a scream on hearing it. This happened at midday,
and so did another at what is called the Great Chuai, which was visible
in its descent, and was also accompanied with a thundering noise.
The third fell near Kuruman, and at night, and was seen as a falling star
by people at Motito and at Daniel's Kuil, places distant forty miles on
opposite sides of the spot. It sounded to me like the report of a great gun,
and a few seconds after, a lesser sound, as if striking the earth
after a rebound. Does the passage of a few such aerolites
through the atmosphere to the earth by day cause thunder without clouds?
We were detained here so long that my tent became again quite rotten.
One of my men, after long sickness, which I did not understand, died here.
He was one of the Batoka, and when unable to walk I had some difficulty
in making his companions carry him. They wished to leave him to die
when his case became hopeless. Another of them deserted to Mozinkwa.
He said that his motive for doing so was that the Makololo had killed
both his father and mother, and, as he had neither wife nor child,
there was no reason why he should continue longer with them.
I did not object to his statements, but said if he should change his mind
he would be welcome to rejoin us, and intimated to Mozinkwa
that he must not be sold as a slave. We are now among people
inured to slave-dealing. We were visited by men who had been as far
as Tete or Nyungwe, and were told that we were but ten days from that fort.
One of them, a Mashona man, who had come from a great distance
to the southwest, was anxious to accompany us to the country of the white men;
he had traveled far, and I found that he had also knowledge
of the English tribe, and of their hatred to the trade in slaves.
He told Sekwebu that the "English were men", an emphasis being put
upon the term MEN, which leaves the impression that others are,
as they express it in speaking scornfully, "only THINGS".
Several spoke in the same manner, and I found that from Mpende's downward
I rose higher every day in the estimation of my own people.
Even the slaves gave a very high character to the English,
and I found out afterward that, when I was first reported at Tete,
the servants of my friend the commandant said to him in joke,
"Ah! this is our brother who is coming; we shall all leave you
and go with him." We had still, however, some difficulties in store for us
before reaching that point.
The man who wished to accompany us came and told us before our departure
that his wife would not allow him to go, and she herself came
to confirm the decision. Here the women have only a small puncture
in the upper lip, in which they insert a little button of tin.
The perforation is made by degrees, a ring with an opening in it
being attached to the lip, and the ends squeezed gradually together.
The pressure on the flesh between the ends of the ring causes its absorption,
and a hole is the result. Children may be seen with the ring on the lip,
but not yet punctured. The tin they purchase from the Portuguese,
and, although silver is reported to have been found in former times
in this district, no one could distinguish it from tin.
But they had a knowledge of gold, and for the first time
I heard the word "dalama" (gold) in the native language.
The word is quite unknown in the interior, and so is the metal itself.
In conversing with the different people, we found the idea prevalent
that those who had purchased slaves from them had done them an injury.
"All the slaves of Nyungwe," said one, "are our children;
the Bazunga have made a town at our expense." When I asked
if they had not taken the prices offered them, they at once admitted it,
but still thought that they had been injured by being so far tempted.
From the way in which the lands of Zumbo were spoken of as still belonging
to the Portuguese (and they are said to have been obtained by purchase),
I was inclined to conclude that the purchase of land is not looked upon
by the inhabitants in the same light as the purchase of slaves.
FEBRUARY 1ST. We met some native traders, and, as many of my men
were now in a state of nudity, I bought some American calico
marked "Lawrence Mills, Lowell", with two small tusks, and distributed it
among the most needy. After leaving Mozinkwa's we came to the Zingesi,
a sand-rivulet in flood (lat. 15d 38' 34" S., long. 31d 1' E.). It was
sixty or seventy yards wide, and waist-deep. Like all these sand-rivers,
it is for the most part dry; but by digging down a few feet,
water is to be found, which is percolating along the bed
on a stratum of clay. This is the phenomenon which is dignified
by the name of "a river flowing under ground." In trying to ford this
I felt thousands of particles of coarse sand striking my legs,
and the slight disturbance of our footsteps caused deep holes to be made
in the bed. The water, which is almost always very rapid in them,
dug out the sand beneath our feet in a second or two,
and we were all sinking by that means so deep that we were glad
to relinquish the attempt to ford it before we got half way over;
the oxen were carried away down into the Zambesi. These sand-rivers remove
vast masses of disintegrated rock before it is fine enough to form soil.
The man who preceded me was only thigh-deep, but the disturbance caused
by his feet made it breast-deep for me. The shower of particles and gravel
which struck against my legs gave me the idea that the amount of matter
removed by every freshet must be very great. In most rivers
where much wearing is going on, a person diving to the bottom
may hear literally thousands of stones knocking against each other.
This attrition, being carried on for hundreds of miles in different rivers,
must have an effect greater than if all the pestles and mortars
and mills of the world were grinding and wearing away the rocks.
The pounding to which I refer may be heard most distinctly in the Vaal River,
when that is slightly in flood. It was there I first heard it.
In the Leeambye, in the middle of the country, where there is
no discoloration, and little carried along but sand, it is not to be heard.
While opposite the village of a head man called Mosusa, a number of elephants
took refuge on an island in the river. There were two males,
and a third not full grown; indeed, scarcely the size of a female.
This was the first instance I had ever seen of a comparatively young one
with the males, for they usually remain with the female herd
till as large as their dams. The inhabitants were very anxious
that my men should attack them, as they go into the gardens on the islands,
and do much damage. The men went, but the elephants ran about half a mile
to the opposite end of the island, and swam to the main land
with their probosces above the water, and, no canoe being near, they escaped.
They swim strongly, with the proboscis erect in the air.
I was not very desirous to have one of these animals killed,
for we understood that when we passed Mpende we came into a country
where the game-laws are strictly enforced. The lands of each chief
are very well defined, the boundaries being usually marked by rivulets,
great numbers of which flow into the Zambesi from both banks,
and, if an elephant is wounded on one man's land and dies on that of another,
the under half of the carcass is claimed by the lord of the soil;
and so stringent is the law, that the hunter can not begin at once
to cut up his own elephant, but must send notice to the lord of the soil
on which it lies, and wait until that personage sends one authorized
to see a fair partition made. If the hunter should begin to cut up
before the agent of the landowner arrives, he is liable to lose
both the tusks and all the flesh. The hind leg of a buffalo
must also be given to the man on whose land the animal was grazing,
and a still larger quantity of the eland, which here and every where else
in the country is esteemed right royal food. In the country above Zumbo
we did not find a vestige of this law; and but for the fact
that it existed in the country of the Bamapela, far to the south of this,
I should have been disposed to regard it in the same light as I do
the payment for leave to pass -- an imposition levied on him
who is seen to be weak because in the hands of his slaves. The only game-laws
in the interior are, that the man who first wounds an animal,
though he has inflicted but a mere scratch, is considered the killer of it;
the second is entitled to a hind quarter, and the third to a fore leg.
The chiefs are generally entitled to a share as tribute; in some parts
it is the breast, in others the whole of the ribs and one fore leg.
I generally respected this law, although exceptions are sometimes made
when animals are killed by guns. The knowledge that he who succeeds
in reaching the wounded beast first is entitled to a share
stimulates the whole party to greater exertions in dispatching it.
One of my men, having a knowledge of elephant medicine, was considered
the leader in the hunt; he went before the others, examined the animals,
and on his decision all depended. If he decided to attack a herd,
the rest went boldly on; but if he declined, none of them would engage.
A certain part of the elephant belonged to him by right of the office he held,
and such was the faith in medicine held by the slaves of the Portuguese
whom we met hunting, that they offered to pay this man handsomely
if he would show them the elephant medicine.
When near Mosusa's village we passed a rivulet called Chowe, now running
with rain-water. The inhabitants there extract a little salt from the sand
when it is dry, and all the people of the adjacent country
come to purchase it from them. This was the first salt we had met with
since leaving Angola, for none is to be found in either
the country of the Balonda or Barotse; but we heard of salt-pans
about a fortnight west of Naliele, and I got a small supply from Mpololo
while there. That had long since been finished, and I had again
lived two months without salt, suffering no inconvenience except
an occasional longing for animal food or milk.
In marching along, the rich reddish-brown soil was so clammy
that it was very difficult to walk. It is, however, extremely fertile,
and the people cultivate amazing quantities of corn, maize, millet,
ground-nuts, pumpkins, and cucumbers. We observed that, when plants failed
in one spot, they were in the habit of transplanting them into another,
and they had also grown large numbers of young plants on the islands,
where they are favored by moisture from the river, and were now removing them
to the main land. The fact of their being obliged to do this shows
that there is less rain here than in Londa, for there we observed the grain
in all stages of its growth at the same time.
The people here build their huts in gardens on high stages.
This is necessary on account of danger from the spotted hyaena,
which is said to be very fierce, and also as a protection against
lions and elephants. The hyaena is a very cowardly animal,
but frequently approaches persons lying asleep, and makes an ugly gash
on the face. Mozinkwa had lost his upper lip in this way,
and I have heard of men being killed by them; children, too,
are sometimes carried off; for, though he is so cowardly that the human voice
will make him run away at once, yet, when his teeth are in the flesh,
he holds on, and shows amazing power of jaw. Leg-bones of oxen,
from which the natives have extracted the marrow and every thing eatable,
are by this animal crunched up with the greatest ease,
which he apparently effects by turning them round in his teeth
till they are in a suitable position for being split.
We had now come among people who had plenty, and were really very liberal.
My men never returned from a village without some corn or maize
in their hands. The real politeness with which food is given
by nearly all the interior tribes, who have not had much intercourse
with Europeans, makes it a pleasure to accept. Again and again
I have heard an apology made for the smallness of the present,
or regret expressed that they had not received notice of my approach
in time to grind more, and generally they readily accepted our excuse
at having nothing to give in return by saying that they were quite aware that
there are no white men's goods in the interior. When I had it in my power,
I always gave something really useful. To Katema, Shinte, and others,
I gave presents which cost me about 2 Pounds each, and I could return to them
at any time without having a character for stinginess. How some men
can offer three buttons, or some other equally contemptible gift,
while they have abundance in their possession, is to me unaccountable.
They surely do not know, when they write it in their books,
that they are declaring they have compromised the honor of Englishmen.
The people receive the offering with a degree of shame, and ladies may be seen
to hand it quickly to the attendants, and, when they retire,
laugh until the tears stand in their eyes, saying to those about them,
"Is that a white man? then there are niggards among them too.
Some of them are born without hearts!" One white trader,
having presented an OLD GUN to a chief, became a standing joke in the tribe:
"The white man who made a present of a gun that was new
when his grandfather was sucking his great-grandmother."
When these tricks are repeated, the natives come to the conclusion
that people who show such a want of sense must be told their duty;
they therefore let them know what they ought to give,
and travelers then complain of being pestered with their "shameless begging".
I was troubled by importunity on the confines of civilization only,
and when I first came to Africa.
FEBRUARY 4TH. We were much detained by rains, a heavy shower without wind
falling every morning about daybreak; it often cleared up after that,
admitting of our moving on a few miles. A continuous rain of several hours
then set in. The wind up to this point was always from the east,
but both rain and wind now came so generally from the west,
or opposite direction to what we had been accustomed to in the interior,
that we were obliged to make our encampment face the east,
in order to have them in our backs. The country adjacent to the river
abounds in large trees; but the population is so numerous that,
those left being all green, it is difficult to get dry firewood.
On coming to some places, too, we were warned by the villagers
not to cut the trees growing in certain spots, as they contained
the graves of their ancestors. There are many tamarind-trees,
and another very similar, which yields a fruit as large as a small walnut,
of which the elephants are very fond. It is called Motondo,
and the Portuguese extol its timber as excellent for building boats,
as it does not soon rot in water.
On the 6th we came to the village of Boroma, which is situated among
a number of others, each surrounded by extensive patches of cultivation.
On the opposite side of the river we have a great cluster of conical hills
called Chorichori. Boroma did not make his appearance,
but sent a substitute who acted civilly. I sent Sekwebu in the morning
to state that we intended to move on; his mother replied that,
as she had expected that we should remain, no food was ready, but she sent
a basket of corn and a fowl. As an excuse why Boroma did not present himself,
she said that he was seized that morning by the Barimo, which probably meant
that his lordship was drunk.
We marched along the river to a point opposite the hill Pinkwe
(lat. 15d 39' 11" S., long. 32d 5' E.), but the late abundant rains
now flooded the Zambesi again, and great quantities of wreck
appeared upon the stream. It is probable that frequent freshets,
caused by the rains on this side of the ridge, have prevented the Portuguese
near the coast from recognizing the one peculiar flood of inundation
observed in the interior, and caused the belief that it is flooded
soon after the commencement of the rains. The course of the Nile
being in the opposite direction to this, it does not receive
these subsidiary waters, and hence its inundation is recognized
all the way along its course. If the Leeambye were prolonged southward
into the Cape Colony, its flood would be identical with that of the Nile.
It would not be influenced by any streams in the Kalahari, for there,
as in a corresponding part of the Nile, there would be no feeders.
It is to be remembered that the great ancient river which flowed
to the lake at Boochap took this course exactly, and probably flowed thither
until the fissure of the falls was made.
This flood having filled the river, we found the numerous rivulets
which flow into it filled also, and when going along the Zambesi,
we lost so much time in passing up each little stream
till we could find a ford about waist deep, and then returning to the bank,
that I resolved to leave the river altogether, and strike away
to the southeast. We accordingly struck off when opposite the hill Pinkwe,
and came into a hard Mopane country. In a hole of one of the mopane-trees
I noticed that a squirrel (`Sciurus cepapi') had placed
a great number of fresh leaves over a store of seed. It is not against
the cold of winter that they thus lay up food, but it is a provision
against the hot season, when the trees have generally no seed.
A great many silicified trees are met with lying on the ground
all over this part of the country; some are broken off horizontally,
and stand upright; others are lying prone, and broken across
into a number of pieces. One was 4 feet 8 inches in diameter,
and the wood must have been soft like that of the baobab,
for there were only six concentric rings to the inch. As the semidiameter
was only 28 inches, this large tree could have been but 168 years old.
I found also a piece of palm-tree transformed into oxide of iron,
and the pores filled with pure silica. These fossil trees
lie upon soft gray sandstone containing banks of shingle, which forms
the underlying rock of the country all the way from Zumbo to near Lupata.
It is met with at Litubaruba and in Angola, with similar banks of shingle
imbedded exactly like those now seen on the sea-beach, but I never could
find a shell. There are many nodules and mounds of hardened clay upon it,
which seem to have been deposited in eddies made round the roots of these
ancient trees, for they appear of different colors in wavy and twisted lines.
Above this we have small quantities of calcareous marl.
As we were now in the district of Chicova, I examined
the geological structure of the country with interest, because here,
it has been stated, there once existed silver mines. The general rock
is the gray soft sandstone I have mentioned, but at the rivulet Bangue
we come upon a dike of basalt six yards wide, running north and south.
When we cross this, we come upon several others, some of which
run more to the eastward. The sandstone is then found to have been disturbed,
and at the rivulet called Nake we found it tilted up and exhibiting a section,
which was coarse sandstone above, sandstone-flag, shale, and, lastly,
a thin seam of coal. The section was only shown for a short distance,
and then became lost by a fault made by a dike of basalt,
which ran to the E.N.E. in the direction of Chicova.
This Chicova is not a kingdom, as has been stated, but a level tract,
a part of which is annually overflowed by the Zambesi,
and is well adapted for the cultivation of corn. It is said to be
below the northern end of the hill Bungwe. I was very much pleased
in discovering this small specimen of such a precious mineral as coal.
I saw no indication of silver, and, if it ever was worked by the natives,
it is remarkable that they have entirely lost the knowledge of it,
and can not distinguish between silver and tin. In connection with
these basaltic dikes, it may be mentioned that when I reached Tete
I was informed of the existence of a small rapid in the river near Chicova;
had I known this previously, I certainly would not have left the river
without examining it. It is called Kebrabasa, and is described
as a number of rocks which jut out across the stream. I have no doubt
but that it is formed by some of the basaltic dikes which we now saw,
for they generally ran toward that point. I was partly influenced
in leaving the river by a wish to avoid several chiefs in that direction,
who levy a heavy tribute on those who pass up or down. Our path lay along
the bed of the Nake for some distance, the banks being covered
with impenetrable thickets. The villages are not numerous,
but we went from one to the other, and were treated kindly.
Here they call themselves Bambiri, though the general name of the whole nation
is Banyai. One of our guides was an inveterate talker,
always stopping and asking for pay, that he might go on with a merry heart.
I thought that he led us in the most difficult paths in order to make us
feel his value, for, after passing through one thicket after another,
we always came into the bed of the Nake again, and as that
was full of coarse sand, and the water only ankle deep,
and as hot as a foot-bath from the powerful rays of the sun,
we were all completely tired out. He likewise gave us a bad character
at every village we passed, calling to them that they were to allow him
to lead us astray, as we were a bad set. Sekwebu knew every word he said,
and, as he became intolerable, I dismissed him, giving him six feet of calico
I had bought from native traders, and telling him that his tongue
was a nuisance. It is in general best, when a scolding is necessary,
to give it in combination with a present, and then end it by good wishes.
This fellow went off smiling, and my men remarked, "His tongue is cured now."
The country around the Nake is hilly, and the valleys covered
with tangled jungle. The people who live in this district have reclaimed
their gardens from the forest, and the soil is extremely fertile.
The Nake flows northerly, and then to the east. It is 50 or 60 yards wide,
but during most of the year is dry, affording water only by digging
in the sand. We found in its bed masses of volcanic rock,
identical with those I subsequently recognized as such at Aden.
13TH. The head man of these parts is named Nyampungo.
I sent the last fragment of cloth we had, with a request
that we should be furnished with a guide to the next chief.
After a long conference with his council, the cloth was returned
with a promise of compliance, and a request for some beads only.
This man is supposed to possess the charm for rain, and other tribes
send to him to beg it. This shows that what we inferred before was correct,
that less rain falls in this country than in Londa. Nyampungo behaved
in quite a gentlemanly manner, presented me with some rice,
and told my people to go among all the villages and beg for themselves.
An old man, father-in-law of the chief, told me that he had seen books before,
but never knew what they meant. They pray to departed chiefs and relatives,
but the idea of praying to God seemed new, and they heard it with reverence.
As this was an intelligent old man, I asked him about the silver,
but he was as ignorant of it as the rest, and said, "We never dug silver,
but we have washed for gold in the sands of the rivers Mazoe and Luia,
which unite in the Luenya." I think that this is quite conclusive
on the question of no silver having been dug by the natives of this district.
Nyampungo is afflicted with a kind of disease called Sesenda,
which I imagine to be a species of leprosy common in this quarter,
though they are a cleanly people. They never had cattle.
The chief's father had always lived in their present position,
and, when I asked him why he did not possess these useful animals,
he said, "Who would give us the medicine to enable us to keep them?"
I found out the reason afterward in the prevalence of tsetse,
but of this he was ignorant, having supposed that he could not keep cattle
because he had no medicine.
An Elephant-hunt -- Offering and Prayers to the Barimo for Success --
Native Mode of Expression -- Working of Game-laws -- A Feast --
Laughing Hyaenas -- Numerous Insects -- Curious Notes of Birds of Song --
Caterpillars -- Butterflies -- Silica -- The Fruit Makoronga and Elephants
-- Rhinoceros Adventure -- Korwe Bird -- Its Nest -- A real Confinement --
Honey and Beeswax -- Superstitious Reverence for the Lion --
Slow Traveling -- Grapes -- The Ue -- Monina's Village --
Native Names -- Government of the Banyai -- Electing a Chief --
Youths instructed in "Bonyai" -- Suspected of Falsehood --
War-dance -- Insanity and Disappearance of Monahin -- Fruitless Search --
Monina's Sympathy -- The Sand-river Tangwe -- The Ordeal Muavi:
its Victims -- An unreasonable Man -- "Woman's Rights" --
Presents -- Temperance -- A winding Course to shun Villages --
Banyai Complexion and Hair -- Mushrooms -- The Tubers, Mokuri --
The Tree Shekabakadzi -- Face of the Country -- Pot-holes --
Pursued by a Party of Natives -- Unpleasant Threat --
Aroused by a Company of Soldiers -- A civilized Breakfast --
Arrival at Tete.
14TH. We left Nyampungo this morning. The path wound up the Molinge,
another sand-river which flows into the Nake. When we got clear
of the tangled jungle which covers the banks of these rivulets,
we entered the Mopane country, where we could walk with comfort.
When we had gone on a few hours, my men espied an elephant,
and were soon in full pursuit. They were in want of meat,
having tasted nothing but grain for several days. The desire for animal food
made them all eager to slay him, and, though an old bull, he was soon killed.
The people of Nyampungo had never seen such desperadoes before.
One rushed up and hamstrung the beast, while still standing,
by a blow with an axe. Some Banyai elephant-hunters happened to be present
when my men were fighting with him. One of them took out his snuff-box,
and poured out all its contents at the root of a tree
as an offering to the Barimo for success. As soon as the animal fell,
the whole of my party engaged in a wild, savage dance round the body,
which quite frightened the Banyai, and he who made the offering said to me,
"I see you are traveling with people who don't know how to pray:
I therefore offered the only thing I had in their behalf,
and the elephant soon fell." One of Nyampungo's men, who remained with me,
ran a little forward, when an opening in the trees gave us
a view of the chase, and uttered loud prayers for success in the combat.
I admired the devout belief they all possessed in the actual existence
of unseen beings, and prayed that they might yet know that benignant One
who views us all as his own. My own people, who are rather a degraded lot,
remarked to me as I came up, "God gave it to us. He said to the old beast,
`Go up there; men are come who will kill and eat you.'" These remarks
are quoted to give the reader an idea of the native mode of expression.
As we were now in the country of stringent game-laws, we were obliged
to send all the way back to Nyampungo, to give information to a certain person
who had been left there by the real owner of this district
to watch over his property, the owner himself living near the Zambesi.
The side upon which the elephant fell had a short, broken tusk;
the upper one, which was ours, was large and thick. The Banyai remarked
on our good luck. The men sent to give notice came back
late in the afternoon of the following day. They brought a basket of corn,
a fowl, and a few strings of handsome beads, as a sort of thank-offering
for our having killed it on their land, and said they had thanked
the Barimo besides for our success, adding, "There it is; eat it and be glad."
Had we begun to cut it up before we got this permission,
we should have lost the whole. They had brought a large party
to eat their half, and they divided it with us in a friendly way.
My men were delighted with the feast, though, by lying unopened a whole day,
the carcass was pretty far gone. An astonishing number of hyaenas
collected round, and kept up a loud laughter for two whole nights.
Some of them do make a very good imitation of a laugh. I asked my men
what the hyaenas were laughing at, as they usually give animals credit
for a share of intelligence. They said that they were laughing
because we could not take the whole, and that they would have plenty to eat
as well as we.
On coming to the part where the elephant was slain, we passed through grass
so tall that it reminded me of that in the valley of Cassange.
Insects are very numerous after the rains commence. While waiting
by the elephant, I observed a great number of insects,
like grains of fine sand, moving on my boxes. On examination with a glass,
four species were apparent; one of green and gold preening its wings,
which glanced in the sun with metallic lustre; another clear as crystal;
a third of the color of vermilion; and a fourth black. These are probably
some of those which consume the seeds of every plant that grows.
Almost every kind has its own peculiar insect, and when the rains are over
very few seeds remain untouched. The rankest poisons,
as the Kongwhane and Euphorbia, are soon devoured; the former
has a scarlet insect; and even the fiery bird's-eye pepper,
which will keep off many others from their own seeds, is itself devoured
by a maggot. I observed here, what I had often seen before,
that certain districts abound in centipedes. Here they have
light reddish bodies and blue legs; great myriapedes are seen
crawling every where. Although they do no harm, they excite in man
a feeling of loathing. Perhaps our appearance produces a similar feeling
in the elephant and other large animals. Where they have been much disturbed,
they certainly look upon us with great distrust, as the horrid biped
that ruins their peace. In the quietest parts of the forest
there is heard a faint but distinct hum, which tells of insect joy.
One may see many whisking about in the clear sunshine in patches
among the green glancing leaves; but there are invisible myriads
working with never-tiring mandibles on leaves, and stalks,
and beneath the soil. They are all brimful of enjoyment. Indeed,
the universality of organic life may be called a mantle of happy existence
encircling the world, and imparts the idea of its being caused
by the consciousness of our benignant Father's smile
on all the works of His hands.
The birds of the tropics have been described as generally wanting
in power of song. I was decidedly of opinion that this was not applicable
to many parts in Londa, though birds there are remarkably scarce.
Here the chorus, or body of song, was not much smaller in volume
than it is in England. It was not so harmonious, and sounded always
as if the birds were singing in a foreign tongue. Some resemble the lark,
and, indeed, there are several of that family; two have notes not unlike
those of the thrush. One brought the chaffinch to my mind, and another
the robin; but their songs are intermixed with several curious abrupt notes
unlike any thing English. One utters deliberately "peek, pak, pok";
another has a single note like a stroke on a violin-string.
The mokwa reza gives forth a screaming set of notes like our blackbird
when disturbed, then concludes with what the natives say
is "pula, pula" (rain, rain), but more like "weep, weep, weep". Then we have
the loud cry of francolins, the "pumpuru, pumpuru" of turtle-doves,
and the "chiken, chiken, chik, churr, churr" of the honey-guide.
Occasionally, near villages, we have a kind of mocking-bird,
imitating the calls of domestic fowls. These African birds have not been
wanting in song; they have only lacked poets to sing their praises,
which ours have had from the time of Aristophanes downward.
Ours have both a classic and a modern interest to enhance their fame.
In hot, dry weather, or at midday when the sun is fierce, all are still:
let, however, a good shower fall, and all burst forth at once into
merry lays and loving courtship. The early mornings and the cool evenings
are their favorite times for singing. There are comparatively few
with gaudy plumage, being totally unlike, in this respect,
the birds of the Brazils. The majority have decidedly a sober dress,
though collectors, having generally selected the gaudiest
as the most valuable, have conveyed the idea that the birds of the tropics
for the most part possess gorgeous plumage.
15TH. Several of my men have been bitten by spiders and other insects,
but no effect except pain has followed. A large caterpillar
is frequently seen, called lezuntabuea. It is covered with long gray hairs,
and, the body being dark, it resembles a porcupine in miniature.
If one touches it, the hairs run into the pores of the skin, and remain there,
giving sharp pricks. There are others which have a similar means of defense;
and when the hand is drawn across them, as in passing a bush
on which they happen to be, the contact resembles the stinging of nettles.
From the great number of caterpillars seen, we have a considerable
variety of butterflies. One particular kind flies more like a swallow
than a butterfly. They are not remarkable for the gaudiness of their colors.
In passing along we crossed the hills Vungue or Mvungwe,
which we found to be composed of various eruptive rocks.
At one part we have breccia of altered marl or slate in quartz,
and various amygdaloids. It is curious to observe the different forms
which silica assumes. We have it in claystone porphyry here,
in minute round globules, no larger than turnip-seed, dotted thickly
over the matrix; or crystallized round the walls of cavities, once filled
with air or other elastic fluid; or it may appear in similar cavities
as tufts of yellow asbestos, or as red, yellow, or green crystals,
or in laminae so arranged as to appear like fossil wood.
Vungue forms the watershed between those sand rivulets which run to the N.E.,
and others which flow southward, as the Kapopo, Ue, and Due,
which run into the Luia.
We found that many elephants had been feeding on the fruit called Mokoronga.
This is a black-colored plum, having purple juice. We all ate it
in large quantities, as we found it delicious. The only defect it has
is the great size of the seed in comparison with the pulp.
This is the chief fault of all uncultivated wild fruits.
The Mokoronga exists throughout this part of the country most abundantly,
and the natives eagerly devour it, as it is said to be perfectly wholesome,
or, as they express it, "It is pure fat," and fat is by them considered
the best of food. Though only a little larger than a cherry, we found that
the elephants had stood picking them off patiently by the hour. We observed
the footprints of a black rhinoceros (`Rhinoceros bicornis', Linn.)
and her calf. We saw other footprints among the hills of Semalembue,
but the black rhinoceros is remarkably scarce in all the country
north of the Zambesi. The white rhinoceros (`Rhinoceros simus' of Burchell),
or Mohohu of the Bechuanas, is quite extinct here, and will soon become
unknown in the country to the south. It feeds almost entirely on grasses,
and is of a timid, unsuspecting disposition: this renders it an easy prey,
and they are slaughtered without mercy on the introduction of fire-arms.
The black possesses a more savage nature, and, like the ill-natured
in general, is never found with an ounce of fat in its body.
From its greater fierceness and wariness, it holds its place in a district
much longer than its more timid and better-conditioned neighbor.
Mr. Oswell was once stalking two of these beasts, and, as they came
slowly to him, he, knowing that there is but little chance of hitting
the small brain of this animal by a shot in the head, lay expecting
one of them to give his shoulder till he was within a few yards.
The hunter then thought that by making a rush to his side he might succeed
in escaping, but the rhinoceros, too quick for that, turned upon him,
and, though he discharged his gun close to the animal's head,
he was tossed in the air. My friend was insensible for some time,
and, on recovering, found large wounds on the thigh and body:
I saw that on the former part still open, and five inches long.
The white, however, is not always quite safe, for one,
even after it was mortally wounded, attacked Mr. Oswell's horse,
and thrust the horn through to the saddle, tossing at the time
both horse and rider. I once saw a white rhinoceros give a buffalo,
which was gazing intently at myself, a poke in the chest,
but it did not wound it, and seemed only a hint to get out of the way.
Four varieties of the rhinoceros are enumerated by naturalists,
but my observation led me to conclude that there are but two,
and that the extra species have been formed from differences
in their sizes, ages, and the direction of the horns,
as if we should reckon the short-horned cattle a different species
from the Alderneys or the Highland breed. I was led to this
from having once seen a black rhinoceros with a horn bent downward like
that of the kuabaoba, and also because the animals of the two great varieties
differ very much in appearance at different stages of their growth.
I find, however, that Dr. Smith, the best judge in these matters,
is quite decided as to the propriety of the subdivision
into three or four species. For common readers, it is sufficient to remember
that there are two well-defined species, that differ entirely
in appearance and food. The absence of both these rhinoceroses
among the reticulated rivers in the central valley may easily
be accounted for, they would be such an easy prey to the natives
in their canoes at the periods of inundation; but one can not so readily
account for the total absence of the giraffe and ostrich
on the high open lands of the Batoka, north of the Zambesi,
unless we give credence to the native report which bounds the country
still farther north by another network of waters near Lake Shuia,
and suppose that it also prevented their progress southward.
The Batoka have no name for the giraffe or the ostrich in their language;
yet, as the former exists in considerable numbers in the angle formed
by the Leeambye and Chobe, they may have come from the north
along the western ridge. The Chobe would seem to have been too narrow to act
as an obstacle to the giraffe, supposing it to have come into that district
from the south; but the broad river into which that stream flows
seems always to have presented an impassable barrier to both
the giraffe and the ostrich, though they abound on its southern border,
both in the Kalahari Desert and the country of Mashona.
We passed through large tracts of Mopane country, and my men caught
a great many of the birds called Korwe (`Tockus erythrorhynchus')
in their breeding-places, which were in holes in the mopane-trees.
On the 19th we passed the nest of a korwe just ready for the female to enter;
the orifice was plastered on both sides, but a space was left
of a heart shape, and exactly the size of the bird's body.
The hole in the tree was in every case found to be prolonged
some distance upward above the opening, and thither the korwe always fled
to escape being caught. In another nest we found that one white egg,
much like that of a pigeon, was laid, and the bird dropped another
when captured. She had four besides in the ovarium. The first time
that I saw this bird was at Kolobeng, where I had gone to the forest
for some timber. Standing by a tree, a native looked behind me
and exclaimed, "There is the nest of a korwe." I saw a slit only,
about half an inch wide and three or four inches long,
in a slight hollow of the tree. Thinking the word korwe denoted
some small animal, I waited with interest to see what he would extract;
he broke the clay which surrounded the slit, put his arm into the hole,
and brought out a `Tockus', or `red-beaked hornbill', which he killed.
He informed me that, when the female enters her nest, she submits
to a real confinement. The male plasters up the entrance,
leaving only a narrow slit by which to feed his mate, and which exactly suits
the form of his beak. The female makes a nest of her own feathers,
lays her eggs, hatches them, and remains with the young
till they are fully fledged. During all this time, which is stated to be
two or three months, the male continues to feed her and the young family.
The prisoner generally becomes quite fat, and is esteemed a very dainty morsel
by the natives, while the poor slave of a husband gets so lean that,
on the sudden lowering of the temperature which sometimes happens
after a fall of rain, he is benumbed, falls down, and dies. I never had
an opportunity of ascertaining the actual length of the confinement,
but on passing the same tree at Kolobeng about eight days afterward
the hole was plastered up again, as if, in the short time that had elapsed,
the disconsolate husband had secured another wife. We did not disturb her,
and my duties prevented me from returning to the spot. This is the month
in which the female enters the nest. We had seen one of these,
as before mentioned, with the plastering not quite finished;
we saw many completed; and we received the very same account here
that we did at Kolobeng, that the bird comes forth when the young
are fully fledged, at the period when the corn is ripe;
indeed, her appearance abroad with her young is one of the signs they have
for knowing when it ought to be so. As that is about the end of April,
the time is between two and three months. She is said sometimes
to hatch two eggs, and, when the young of these are full-fledged,
other two are just out of the egg-shells: she then leaves the nest with
the two elder, the orifice is again plastered up, and both male and female
attend to the wants of the young which are left. On several occasions
I observed a branch bearing the marks of the male having often sat upon it
when feeding his mate, and the excreta had been expelled a full yard
from the orifice, and often proved a means of discovering the retreat.
The honey-guides were very assiduous in their friendly offices,
and enabled my men to get a large quantity of honey. But, though bees abound,
the wax of these parts forms no article of trade. In Londa it may be said
to be fully cared for, as you find hives placed upon trees
in the most lonesome forests. We often met strings of carriers
laden with large blocks of this substance, each 80 or 100 lbs. in weight,
and pieces were offered to us for sale at every village;
but here we never saw a single artificial hive. The bees were always found
in the natural cavities of mopane-trees. It is probable that
the good market for wax afforded to Angola by the churches of Brazil
led to the gradual development of that branch of commerce there.
I saw even on the banks of the Quango as much as sixpence paid for a pound.
In many parts of the Batoka country bees exist in vast numbers,
and the tribute due to Sekeletu is often paid in large jars of honey;
but, having no market nor use for the wax, it is thrown away. This was
the case also with ivory at the Lake Ngami, at the period of its discovery.
The reports brought by my other party from Loanda of the value of wax
had induced some of my present companions to bring small quantities of it
to Tete, but, not knowing the proper mode of preparing it,