Part 4 out of 15
we prepared to depart on the 15th of January, 1853. Several dogs,
in better condition by far than any of the people, had taken up
their residence at the water. No one would own them; there they had remained,
and, coming on the trail of the people, long after their departure
from the scene of conflict, it was plain they had
"Held o'er the dead their carnival."
Hence the disgust with which they were viewed.
On our way from Khopong, along the ancient river-bed which forms the pathway
to Boatlanama, I found a species of cactus, being the third I have seen
in the country, namely, one in the colony with a bright red flower,
one at Lake Ngami, the flower of which was liver-colored, and the present one,
flower unknown. That the plant is uncommon may be inferred from the fact
that the Bakwains find so much difficulty in recognizing the plant again
after having once seen it, that they believe it has the power of changing
On the 21st of January we reached the wells of Boatlanama, and found them
for the first time empty. Lopepe, which I had formerly seen a stream
running from a large reedy pool, was also dry. The hot salt spring
of Serinane, east of Lopepe, being undrinkable, we pushed on to Mashue
for its delicious waters. In traveling through this country,
the olfactory nerves are frequently excited by a strong disagreeable odor.
This is caused by a large jet-black ant named "Leshonya".
It is nearly an inch in length, and emits a pungent smell when alarmed,
in the same manner as the skunk. The scent must be as volatile as ether,
for, on irritating the insect with a stick six feet long,
the odor is instantly perceptible.
Occasionally we lighted upon land tortoises, which, with their unlaid eggs,
make a very agreeable dish. We saw many of their trails
leading to the salt fountain; they must have come great distances
for this health-giving article. In lieu thereof they often devour wood-ashes.
It is wonderful how this reptile holds its place in the country. When seen,
it never escapes. The young are taken for the sake of their shells;
these are made into boxes, which, filled with sweet-smelling roots,
the women hang around their persons. When older it is used as food,
and the shell converted into a rude basin to hold food or water.
It owes its continuance neither to speed nor cunning. Its color,
yellow and dark brown, is well adapted, by its similarity
to the surrounding grass and brushwood, to render it indistinguishable;
and, though it makes an awkward attempt to run on the approach of man,
its trust is in its bony covering, from which even the teeth of a hyaena
glance off foiled. When this long-lived creature is about
to deposit her eggs, she lets herself into the ground by throwing the earth up
round her shell, until only the top is visible; then covering up the eggs,
she leaves them until the rains begin to fall and the fresh herbage appears;
the young ones then come out, their shells still quite soft,
and, unattended by their dam, begin the world for themselves.
Their food is tender grass and a plant named thotona, and they frequently
resort to heaps of ashes and places containing efflorescence of the nitrates
for the salts these contain.
Inquiries among the Bushmen and Bakalahari, who are intimately acquainted
with the habits of the game, lead to the belief that many diseases prevail
among wild animals. I have seen the kokong or gnu, kama or hartebeest,
the tsessebe, kukama, and the giraffe, so mangy as to be uneatable
even by the natives. Reference has already been made to the peripneumonia
which cuts off horses, tolos or koodoos. Great numbers also of zebras
are found dead with masses of foam at the nostrils, exactly as occurs
in the common "horse-sickness". The production of the malignant carbuncle
called kuatsi, or selonda, by the flesh when eaten, is another proof
of the disease of the tame and wild being identical. I once found a buffalo
blind from ophthalmia standing by the fountain Otse; when he attempted to run
he lifted up his feet in the manner peculiar to blind animals.
The rhinoceros has often worms on the conjunction of his eyes;
but these are not the cause of the dimness of vision which will make him
charge past a man who has wounded him, if he stands perfectly still,
in the belief that his enemy is a tree. It probably arises from the horn
being in the line of vision, for the variety named kuabaoba,
which has a straight horn directed downward away from that line,
possesses acute eyesight, and is much more wary.
All the wild animals are subject to intestinal worms besides. I have observed
bunches of a tape-like thread and short worms of enlarged sizes
in the rhinoceros. The zebra and elephants are seldom without them,
and a thread-worm may often be seen under the peritoneum of these animals.
Short red larvae, which convey a stinging sensation to the hand,
are seen clustering round the orifice of the windpipe (trachea) of this animal
at the back of the throat; others are seen in the frontal sinus of antelopes;
and curious flat, leech-like worms, with black eyes, are found
in the stomachs of leches. The zebra, giraffe, eland, and kukama
have been seen mere skeletons from decay of their teeth
as well as from disease.
The carnivora, too, become diseased and mangy; lions become lean
and perish miserably by reason of the decay of the teeth.
When a lion becomes too old to catch game, he frequently takes to killing
goats in the villages; a woman or child happening to go out at night
falls a prey too; and as this is his only source of subsistence now,
he continues it. From this circumstance has arisen the idea that the lion,
when he has once tasted human flesh, loves it better than any other.
A man-eater is invariably an old lion; and when he overcomes his fear of man
so far as to come to villages for goats, the people remark,
"His teeth are worn, he will soon kill men." They at once acknowledge
the necessity of instant action, and turn out to kill him.
When living far away from population, or when, as is the case in some parts,
he entertains a wholesome dread of the Bushmen and Bakalahari,
as soon as either disease or old age overtakes him, he begins
to catch mice and other small rodents, and even to eat grass;
the natives, observing undigested vegetable matter in his droppings,
follow up his trail in the certainty of finding him scarcely able to move
under some tree, and dispatch him without difficulty. The grass may have been
eaten as medicine, as is observed in dogs.
That the fear of man often remains excessively strong in the carnivora
is proved from well-authenticated cases in which the lioness,
in the vicinity of towns where the large game had been unexpectedly
driven away by fire-arms, has been known to assuage the paroxysms of hunger
by devouring her own young. It must be added, that, though the effluvium
which is left by the footsteps of man is in general sufficient
to induce lions to avoid a village, there are exceptions; so many came about
our half-deserted houses at Chonuane while we were in the act of removing
to Kolobeng, that the natives who remained with Mrs. Livingstone
were terrified to stir out of doors in the evenings. Bitches, also,
have been known to be guilty of the horridly unnatural act of eating
their own young, probably from the great desire for animal food,
which is experienced by the inhabitants as well.
When a lion is met in the daytime, a circumstance by no means unfrequent
to travelers in these parts, if preconceived notions do not lead them
to expect something very "noble" or "majestic", they will see merely
an animal somewhat larger than the biggest dog they ever saw,
and partaking very strongly of the canine features; the face is not much like
the usual drawings of a lion, the nose being prolonged like a dog's;
not exactly such as our painters make it -- though they might learn better
at the Zoological Gardens -- their ideas of majesty being usually shown
by making their lions' faces like old women in nightcaps.
When encountered in the daytime, the lion stands a second or two, gazing,
then turns slowly round, and walks as slowly away for a dozen paces,
looking over his shoulder; then begins to trot, and, when he thinks himself
out of sight, bounds off like a greyhound. By day there is not, as a rule,
the smallest danger of lions which are not molested attacking man,
nor even on a clear moonlight night, except when they possess
the breeding storgh* (natural affection); this makes them brave
almost any danger; and if a man happens to cross to the windward of them,
both lion and lioness will rush at him, in the manner of a bitch with whelps.
This does not often happen, as I only became aware of two or three
instances of it. In one case a man, passing where the wind blew
from him to the animals, was bitten before he could climb a tree;
and occasionally a man on horseback has been caught by the leg
under the same circumstances. So general, however, is the sense of security
on moonlight nights, that we seldom tied up our oxen, but let them lie loose
by the wagons; while on a dark, rainy night, if a lion is in the neighborhood,
he is almost sure to venture to kill an ox. His approach is always stealthy,
except when wounded; and any appearance of a trap is enough
to cause him to refrain from making the last spring. This seems
characteristic of the feline species; when a goat is picketed in India
for the purpose of enabling the huntsmen to shoot a tiger by night,
if on a plain, he would whip off the animal so quickly by a stroke of the paw
that no one could take aim; to obviate this, a small pit is dug,
and the goat is picketed to a stake in the bottom; a small stone is tied
in the ear of the goat, which makes him cry the whole night. When the tiger
sees the appearance of a trap, he walks round and round the pit,
and allows the hunter, who is lying in wait, to have a fair shot.
* (Greek) sigma-tau-omicron-rho-gamma-eta.
When a lion is very hungry, and lying in wait, the sight of an animal
may make him commence stalking it. In one case a man,
while stealthily crawling towards a rhinoceros, happened to glance behind him,
and found to his horror a lion STALKING HIM; he only escaped
by springing up a tree like a cat. At Lopepe a lioness sprang
on the after quarter of Mr. Oswell's horse, and when we came up to him
we found the marks of the claws on the horse, and a scratch on Mr. O.'s hand.
The horse, on feeling the lion on him, sprang away, and the rider, caught by
a wait-a-bit thorn, was brought to the ground and rendered insensible.
His dogs saved him. Another English gentleman (Captain Codrington)
was surprised in the same way, though not hunting the lion at the time,
but turning round he shot him dead in the neck. By accident
a horse belonging to Codrington ran away, but was stopped by the bridle
catching a stump; there he remained a prisoner two days,
and when found the whole space around was marked by the footprints of lions.
They had evidently been afraid to attack the haltered horse
from fear that it was a trap. Two lions came up by night
to within three yards of oxen tied to a wagon, and a sheep tied to a tree,
and stood roaring, but afraid to make a spring. On another occasion
one of our party was lying sound asleep and unconscious of danger
between two natives behind a bush at Mashue; the fire was nearly out
at their feet in consequence of all being completely tired out
by the fatigues of the previous day; a lion came up to within three yards
of the fire, and there commenced roaring instead of making a spring:
the fact of their riding-ox being tied to the bush was the only reason
the lion had for not following his instinct, and making a meal of flesh.
He then stood on a knoll three hundred yards distant, and roared all night,
and continued his growling as the party moved off by daylight next morning.
Nothing that I ever learned of the lion would lead me to attribute to it
either the ferocious or noble character ascribed to it elsewhere.
It possesses none of the nobility of the Newfoundland or St. Bernard dogs.
With respect to its great strength there can be no doubt.
The immense masses of muscle around its jaws, shoulders, and forearms
proclaim tremendous force. They would seem, however, to be inferior in power
to those of the Indian tiger. Most of those feats of strength
that I have seen performed by lions, such as the taking away of an ox,
were not carrying, but dragging or trailing the carcass along the ground:
they have sprung on some occasions on to the hind-quarters of a horse,
but no one has ever seen them on the withers of a giraffe.
They do not mount on the hind-quarters of an eland even,
but try to tear him down with their claws. Messrs. Oswell and Vardon
once saw three lions endeavoring to drag down a buffalo,
and they were unable to do so for a time, though he was then mortally wounded
by a two-ounce ball.*
* This singular encounter, in the words of an eye-witness,
happened as follows:
"My South African Journal is now before me, and I have got hold
of the account of the lion and buffalo affair; here it is:
`15th September, 1846. Oswell and I were riding this afternoon
along the banks of the Limpopo, when a waterbuck started in front of us.
I dismounted, and was following it through the jungle,
when three buffaloes got up, and, after going a little distance,
stood still, and the nearest bull turned round and looked at me.
A ball from the two-ouncer crashed into his shoulder, and they all three
made off. Oswell and I followed as soon as I had reloaded,
and when we were in sight of the buffalo, and gaining on him
at every stride, three lions leaped on the unfortunate brute;
he bellowed most lustily as he kept up a kind of running fight,
but he was, of course, soon overpowered and pulled down.
We had a fine view of the struggle, and saw the lions on their hind legs
tearing away with teeth and claws in most ferocious style. We crept up
within thirty yards, and, kneeling down, blazed away at the lions.
My rifle was a single barrel, and I had no spare gun.
One lion fell dead almost ON the buffalo; he had merely time
to turn toward us, seize a bush with his teeth, and drop dead
with the stick in his jaws. The second made off immediately;
and the third raised his head, coolly looked round for a moment,
then went on tearing and biting at the carcass as hard as ever.
We retired a short distance to load, then again advanced and fired.
The lion made off, but a ball that he received OUGHT to have stopped him,
as it went clean through his shoulder-blade. He was followed up and killed,
after having charged several times. Both lions were males.
It is not often that one BAGS a brace of lions and a bull buffalo
in about ten minutes. It was an exciting adventure,
and I shall never forget it.'
"Such, my dear Livingstone, is the plain unvarnished account.
The buffalo had, of course, gone close to where the lions
were lying down for the day; and they, seeing him lame and bleeding,
thought the opportunity too good a one to be lost.
In general the lion seizes the animal he is attacking by the flank
near the hind leg, or by the throat below the jaw. It is questionable
whether he ever attempts to seize an animal by the withers.
The flank is the most common point of attack, and that is the part
he begins to feast on first. The natives and lions are very similar
in their tastes in the selection of tit-bits: an eland may be seen
disemboweled by a lion so completely that he scarcely seems cut up at all.
The bowels and fatty parts form a full meal for even the largest lion.
The jackal comes sniffing about, and sometimes suffers for his temerity
by a stroke from the lion's paw laying him dead. When gorged,
the lion falls fast asleep, and is then easily dispatched.
Hunting a lion with dogs involves very little danger as compared
with hunting the Indian tiger, because the dogs bring him out of cover
and make him stand at bay, giving the hunter plenty of time
for a good deliberate shot.
Where game is abundant, there you may expect lions in proportionately
large numbers. They are never seen in herds, but six or eight,
probably one family, occasionally hunt together. One is in
much more danger of being run over when walking in the streets of London,
than he is of being devoured by lions in Africa, unless engaged
in hunting the animal. Indeed, nothing that I have seen or heard about lions
would constitute a barrier in the way of men of ordinary
courage and enterprise.
The same feeling which has induced the modern painter to caricature the lion,
has led the sentimentalist to consider the lion's roar the most terrific
of all earthly sounds. We hear of the "majestic roar of the king of beasts."
It is, indeed, well calculated to inspire fear if you hear it
in combination with the tremendously loud thunder of that country,
on a night so pitchy dark that every flash of the intensely vivid lightning
leaves you with the impression of stone-blindness, while the rain
pours down so fast that your fire goes out, leaving you without
the protection of even a tree, or the chance of your gun going off.
But when you are in a comfortable house or wagon, the case is very different,
and you hear the roar of the lion without any awe or alarm.
The silly ostrich makes a noise as loud, yet he never was feared by man.
To talk of the majestic roar of the lion is mere majestic twaddle.
On my mentioning this fact some years ago, the assertion was doubted,
so I have been careful ever since to inquire the opinions of Europeans,
who have heard both, if they could detect any difference between
the roar of a lion and that of an ostrich; the invariable answer was,
that they could not when the animal was at any distance.
The natives assert that they can detect a variation between
the commencement of the noise of each. There is, it must be admitted,
considerable difference between the singing noise of a lion when full,
and his deep, gruff growl when hungry. In general the lion's voice
seems to come deeper from the chest than that of the ostrich,
but to this day I can distinguish between them with certainty
only by knowing that the ostrich roars by day and the lion by night.
The African lion is of a tawny color, like that of some mastiffs.
The mane in the male is large, and gives the idea of great power.
In some lions the ends of the hair of the mane are black;
these go by the name of black-maned lions, though as a whole
all look of the yellow tawny color. At the time of the discovery of the lake,
Messrs. Oswell and Wilson shot two specimens of another variety.
One was an old lion, whose teeth were mere stumps, and his claws worn
quite blunt; the other was full grown, in the prime of life,
with white, perfect teeth; both were entirely destitute of mane.
The lions in the country near the lake give tongue less than those
further south. We scarcely ever heard them roar at all.
The lion has other checks on inordinate increase besides man.
He seldom attacks full-grown animals; but frequently, when a buffalo calf
is caught by him, the cow rushes to the rescue, and a toss from her
often kills him. One we found was killed thus; and on the Leeambye another,
which died near Sesheke, had all the appearance of having received
his death-blow from a buffalo. It is questionable if a single lion
ever attacks a full-grown buffalo. The amount of roaring heard at night,
on occasions when a buffalo is killed, seems to indicate there are always
more than one lion engaged in the onslaught.
On the plain, south of Sebituane's ford, a herd of buffaloes
kept a number of lions from their young by the males turning their heads
to the enemy. The young and the cows were in the rear. One toss from a bull
would kill the strongest lion that ever breathed. I have been informed
that in one part of India even the tame buffaloes feel their superiority
to some wild animals, for they have been seen to chase a tiger up the hills,
bellowing as if they enjoyed the sport. Lions never go near any elephants
except the calves, which, when young, are sometimes torn by them;
every living thing retires before the lordly elephant, yet a full-grown one
would be an easier prey than the rhinoceros; the lion rushes off
at the mere sight of this latter beast.
In the country adjacent to Mashue great numbers of different
kinds of mice exist. The ground is often so undermined with their burrows
that the foot sinks in at every step. Little haycocks, about two feet high,
and rather more than that in breadth, are made by one variety
of these little creatures. The same thing is done in regions
annually covered with snow for obvious purposes, but it is difficult here
to divine the reason of the haymaking in the climate of Africa.*
* `Euryotis unisulcatus' (F. Cuvier), `Mus pumelio' (Spar.),
and `Mus lehocla' (Smith), all possess this habit
in a greater or less degree. The first-named may be seen escaping danger
with its young hanging to the after-part of its body.
Wherever mice abound, serpents may be expected, for the one preys
on the other. A cat in a house is therefore a good preventive
against the entrance of these noxious reptiles. Occasionally, however,
notwithstanding every precaution, they do find their way in,
but even the most venomous sorts bite only when put in bodily fear themselves,
or when trodden upon, or when the sexes come together. I once found
a coil of serpents' skins, made by a number of them twisting together
in the manner described by the Druids of old. When in the country,
one feels nothing of that alarm and loathing which we may experience
when sitting in a comfortable English room reading about them;
yet they are nasty things, and we seem to have an instinctive feeling
against them. In making the door for our Mabotsa house, I happened to leave
a small hole at the corner below. Early one morning a man came to call
for some article I had promised. I at once went to the door,
and, it being dark, trod on a serpent. The moment I felt the cold scaly skin
twine round a part of my leg, my latent instinct was roused,
and I jumped up higher than I ever did before or hope to do again,
shaking the reptile off in the leap. I probably trod on it near the head,
and so prevented it biting me, but did not stop to examine.
Some of the serpents are particularly venomous. One was killed at Kolobeng
of a dark brown, nearly black color, 8 feet 3 inches long.
This species (picakholu) is so copiously supplied with poison that,
when a number of dogs attack it, the first bitten dies almost instantaneously,
the second in about five minutes, the third in an hour or so,
while the fourth may live several hours. In a cattle-pen
it produces great mischief in the same way. The one we killed at Kolobeng
continued to distill clear poison from the fangs for hours
after its head was cut off. This was probably that which passes
by the name of the "spitting serpent", which is believed
to be able to eject its poison into the eyes when the wind favors
its forcible expiration. They all require water, and come long distances
to the Zouga, and other rivers and pools, in search of it.
We have another dangerous serpent, the puff adder, and several vipers.
One, named by the inhabitants "Noga-put-sane", or serpent of a kid,
utters a cry by night exactly like the bleating of that animal.
I heard one at a spot where no kid could possibly have been.
It is supposed by the natives to lure travelers to itself by this bleating.
Several varieties, when alarmed, emit a peculiar odor,
by which the people become aware of their presence in a house.
We have also the cobra (`Naia haje', Smith) of several colors or varieties.
When annoyed, they raise their heads up about a foot from the ground,
and flatten the neck in a threatening manner, darting out the tongue
and retracting it with great velocity, while their fixed glassy eyes glare
as if in anger. There are also various species of the genus `Dendrophis',
as the `Bucephalus viridis', or green tree-climber. They climb trees
in search of birds and eggs, and are soon discovered by
all the birds in the neighborhood collecting and sounding an alarm.*
Their fangs are formed not so much for injecting poison on external objects
as for keeping in any animal or bird of which they have got hold.
In the case of the `Dasypeltis inornatus' (Smith), the teeth are small,
and favorable for the passage of thin-shelled eggs without breaking.
The egg is taken in unbroken till it is within the gullet,
or about two inches behind the head. The gular teeth placed there
break the shell without spilling the contents, as would be the case
if the front teeth were large. The shell is then ejected.
Others appear to be harmless, and even edible. Of the latter sort
is the large python, metse pallah, or tari. The largest specimens of this
are about 15 or 20 feet in length. They are perfectly harmless, and live on
small animals, chiefly the rodentia; occasionally the steinbuck and pallah
fall victims, and are sucked into its comparatively small mouth
in boa-constrictor fashion. One we shot was 11 feet 10 inches long,
and as thick as a man's leg. When shot through the spine,
it was capable of lifting itself up about five feet high,
and opened its mouth in a threatening manner, but the poor thing
was more inclined to crawl away. The flesh is much relished
by the Bakalahari and Bushmen. They carry away each his portion,
like logs of wood, over their shoulders.
* "As this snake, `Bucephalus Capensis', in our opinion, is not provided
with a poisonous fluid to instill into wounds which these fangs may inflict,
they must consequently be intended for a purpose different to those
which exist in poisonous reptiles. Their use seems to be to offer obstacles
to the retrogression of animals, such as birds, etc., while they are
only partially within the mouth; and from the circumstance of these fangs
being directed backward, and not admitting of being raised so as to form
an angle with the edge of the jaw, they are well fitted to act
as powerful holders when once they penetrate the skin and soft parts
of the prey which their possessors may be in the act of swallowing.
Without such fangs escapes would be common; with such they are rare.
"The natives of South Africa regard the `Bucephalus Capensis' as poisonous;
but in their opinion we can not concur, as we have not been able
to discover the existence of any glands manifestly organized for
the secretion of poison. The fangs are inclosed in a soft, pulpy sheath,
the inner surface of which is commonly coated with a thin glairy secretion.
This secretion possibly may have something acrid and irritating
in its qualities, which may, when it enters a wound,
cause pain and even swelling, but nothing of greater importance.
"The `Bucephalus Capensis' is generally found on trees, to which it resorts
for the purpose of catching birds, upon which it delights to feed.
The presence of a specimen in a tree is generally soon discovered
by the birds of the neighborhood, who collect around it and fly to and fro,
uttering the most piercing cries, until some one, more terror-struck
than the rest, actually scans its lips, and, almost without resistance,
becomes a meal for its enemy. During such a proceeding the snake
is generally observed with its head raised about ten or twelve inches
above the branch round which its body and tail are entwined,
with its mouth open and its neck inflated, as if anxiously endeavoring
to increase the terror which it would almost appear it was aware would
sooner or later bring within its grasp some one of the feathered group.
"Whatever may be said in ridicule of fascination, it is nevertheless true
that birds, and even quadrupeds, are, under certain circumstances,
unable to retire from the presence of certain of their enemies;
and, what is even more extraordinary, unable to resist
the propensity to advance from a situation of actual safety
into one of the most imminent danger. This I have often seen exemplified
in the case of birds and snakes; and I have heard of instances
equally curious, in which antelopes and other quadrupeds
have been so bewildered by the sudden appearance of crocodiles,
and by the grimaces and contortions they practiced, as to be unable
to fly or even move from the spot toward which they were approaching
to seize them." -- Dr. Andrew Smith's "Reptilia".
In addition to these interesting statements of the most able naturalist
from whom I have taken this note, it may be added that fire exercises
a fascinating effect on some kinds of toads. They may be seen
rushing into it in the evenings without ever starting back on feeling pain.
Contact with the hot embers rather increases the energy with which
they strive to gain the hottest parts, and they never cease
their struggles for the centre even when their juices are coagulating
and their limbs stiffening in the roasting heat. Various insects, also,
are thus fascinated; but the scorpions may be seen coming away from the fire
in fierce disgust, and they are so irritated as to inflict at that time
their most painful stings.
Some of the Bayeiye we met at Sebituane's Ford pretended to be unaffected
by the bite of serpents, and showed the feat of lacerating their arms
with the teeth of such as are unfurnished with the poison-fangs.
They also swallow the poison, by way of gaining notoriety;
but Dr. Andrew Smith put the sincerity of such persons to the test
by offering them the fangs of a really poisonous variety,
and found they shrank from the experiment.
When we reached the Bamangwato, the chief, Sekomi, was particularly friendly,
collected all his people to the religious services we held,
and explained his reasons for compelling some Englishmen to pay him a horse.
"They would not sell him any powder, though they had plenty;
so he compelled them to give it and the horse for nothing. He would not deny
the extortion to me; that would be `boherehere' (swindling)."
He thus thought extortion better than swindling. I could not detect
any difference in the morality of the two transactions,
but Sekomi's ideas of honesty are the lowest I have met with
in any Bechuana chief, and this instance is mentioned as the only approach
to demanding payment for leave to pass that I have met with in the south.
In all other cases the difficulty has been to get a chief to give us men
to show the way, and the payment has only been for guides.
Englishmen have always very properly avoided giving that idea
to the native mind which we shall hereafter find prove troublesome,
that payment ought to be made for passage through a country.
All the Bechuana and Caffre tribes south of the Zambesi
practice circumcision (`boguera'), but the rites observed
are carefully concealed. The initiated alone can approach, but in this town
I was once a spectator of the second part of the ceremony of the circumcision,
called "sechu". Just at the dawn of day, a row of boys of nearly
fourteen years of age stood naked in the kotla, each having a pair of sandals
as a shield on his hands. Facing them stood the men of the town
in a similar state of nudity, all armed with long thin wands,
of a tough, strong, supple bush called moretloa (`Grewia flava'),
and engaged in a dance named "koha", in which questions are put to the boys,
as "Will you guard the chief well?" "Will you herd the cattle well?" and,
while the latter give an affirmative response, the men rush forward to them,
and each aims a full-weight blow at the back of one of the boys.
Shielding himself with the sandals above his head, he causes the supple wand
to descend and bend into his back, and every stroke inflicted thus
makes the blood squirt out of a wound a foot or eighteen inches long.
At the end of the dance, the boys' backs are seamed with wounds and weals,
the scars of which remain through life. This is intended
to harden the young soldiers, and prepare them for the rank of men.
After this ceremony, and after killing a rhinoceros, they may marry a wife.
In the "koha" the same respect is shown to age as in many other
of their customs. A younger man, rushing from the ranks
to exercise his wand on the backs of the youths, may be himself
the object of chastisement by the older, and, on the occasion referred to,
Sekomi received a severe cut on the leg from one of his gray-haired people.
On my joking with some of the young men on their want of courage,
notwithstanding all the beatings of which they bore marks,
and hinting that our soldiers were brave without suffering so much,
one rose up and said, "Ask him if, when he and I were compelled by a lion
to stop and make a fire, I did not lie down and sleep as well as himself."
In other parts a challenge to try a race would have been given,
and you may frequently see grown men adopting that means
of testing superiority, like so many children.
The sechu is practiced by three tribes only. Boguera is observed
by all the Bechuanas and Caffres, but not by the negro tribes
beyond 20 Deg. south. The "boguera" is a civil rather than a religious rite.
All the boys of an age between ten and fourteen or fifteen
are selected to be the companions for life of one of the sons of the chief.
They are taken out to some retired spot in the forest,
and huts are erected for their accommodation; the old men go out
and teach them to dance, initiating them, at the same time,
into all the mysteries of African politics and government.
Each one is expected to compose an oration in praise of himself,
called a "leina" or name, and to be able to repeat it
with sufficient fluency. A good deal of beating is required to bring them up
to the required excellency in different matters, so that, when they return
from the close seclusion in which they are kept, they have generally
a number of scars to show on their backs. These bands or regiments,
named mepato in the plural and mopato in the singular,
receive particular appellations; as, the Matsatsi -- the suns;
the Mabusa -- the rulers; equivalent to our Coldstreams or Enniskillens;
and, though living in different parts of the town, they turn out at the call,
and act under the chief's son as their commander. They recognize a sort
of equality and partial communism ever afterward, and address each other
by the title of molekane or comrade. In cases of offence against their rules,
as eating alone when any of their comrades are within call,
or in cases of cowardice or dereliction of duty, they may strike one another,
or any member of a younger mopato, but never any one of an older band;
and when three or four companies have been made, the oldest
no longer takes the field in time of war, but remains as a guard
over the women and children. When a fugitive comes to a tribe, he is directed
to the mopato analogous to that to which in his own tribe he belongs,
and does duty as a member. No one of the natives knows how old he is.
If asked his age, he answers by putting another question,
"Does a man remember when he was born?" Age is reckoned by
the number of mepato they have seen pass through the formulae of admission.
When they see four or five mepato younger than themselves,
they are no longer obliged to bear arms. The oldest individual I ever met
boasted he had seen eleven sets of boys submit to the boguera.
Supposing him to have been fifteen when he saw his own, and fresh bands
were added every six or seven years, he must have been about forty
when he saw the fifth, and may have attained seventy-five or eighty years,
which is no great age; but it seemed so to them, for he had now doubled
the age for superannuation among them. It is an ingenious plan
for attaching the members of the tribe to the chief's family,
and for imparting a discipline which renders the tribe easy of command.
On their return to the town from attendance on the ceremonies of initiation,
a prize is given to the lad who can run fastest, the article being placed
where all may see the winner run up to snatch it. They are then
considered men (banona, viri), and can sit among the elders in the kotla.
Formerly they were only boys (basimane, pueri). The first missionaries
set their faces against the boguera, on account of its connection
with heathenism, and the fact that the youths learned much evil,
and became disobedient to their parents. From the general success
of these men, it is perhaps better that younger missionaries
should tread in their footsteps; for so much evil may result
from breaking down the authority on which, to those who can not read,
the whole system of our influence appears to rest, that innovators
ought to be made to propose their new measures as the Locrians did new laws --
with ropes around their necks.
Probably the "boguera" was only a sanitary and political measure;
and there being no continuous chain of tribes practicing the rite
between the Arabs and the Bechuanas, or Caffres, and as it is not
a religious ceremony, it can scarcely be traced, as is often done,
to a Mohammedan source.
A somewhat analogous ceremony (boyale) takes place for young women,
and the protegees appear abroad drilled under the surveillance
of an old lady to the carrying of water. They are clad during the whole time
in a dress composed of ropes made of alternate pumpkin-seeds and bits of reed
strung together, and wound round the body in a figure-of-eight fashion.
They are inured in this way to bear fatigue, and carry large pots of water
under the guidance of the stern old hag. They have often scars
from bits of burning charcoal having been applied to the forearm,
which must have been done to test their power of bearing pain.
The Bamangwato hills are part of the range called Bakaa. The Bakaa tribe,
however, removed to Kolobeng, and is now joined to that of Sechele.
The range stands about 700 or 800 feet above the plains,
and is composed of great masses of black basalt. It is probably
part of the latest series of volcanic rocks in South Africa.
At the eastern end these hills have curious fungoid or cup-shaped hollows,
of a size which suggests the idea of craters. Within these
are masses of the rock crystallized in the columnar form of this formation.
The tops of the columns are quite distinct, of the hexagonal form,
like the bottom of the cells of a honeycomb, but they are not parted
from each other as in the Cave of Fingal. In many parts the lava-streams
may be recognized, for there the rock is rent and split in every direction,
but no soil is yet found in the interstices. When we were sitting
in the evening, after a hot day, it was quite common to hear
these masses of basalt split and fall among each other
with the peculiar ringing sound which makes people believe
that this rock contains much iron. Several large masses, in splitting thus
by the cold acting suddenly on parts expanded by the heat of the day,
have slipped down the sides of the hills, and, impinging against each other,
have formed cavities in which the Bakaa took refuge against their enemies.
The numerous chinks and crannies left by these huge fragments
made it quite impossible for their enemies to smoke them out,
as was done by the Boers to the people of Mankopane.
This mass of basalt, about six miles long, has tilted up the rocks on both
the east and west; these upheaved rocks are the ancient silurian schists
which formed the bottom of the great primaeval valley,
and, like all the recent volcanic rocks of this country,
have a hot fountain in their vicinity, namely, that of Serinane.
In passing through these hills on our way north we enter a pass
named Manakalongwe, or Unicorn's Pass. The unicorn here
is a large edible caterpillar, with an erect, horn-like tail.
The pass was also called Porapora (or gurgling of water),
from a stream having run through it. The scene must have been very different
in former times from what it is now. This is part of the River Mahalapi,
which so-called river scarcely merits the name, any more than
the meadows of Edinburgh deserve the title of North Loch.
These hills are the last we shall see for months. The country beyond
consisted of large patches of trap-covered tufa, having little
soil or vegetation except tufts of grass and wait-a-bit thorns,
in the midst of extensive sandy, grass-covered plains.
These yellow-colored, grassy plains, with moretloa and mahatla bushes,
form quite a characteristic feature of the country. The yellow or dun-color
prevails during a great part of the year. The Bakwain hills are an exception
to the usual flat surface, for they are covered with green trees
to their tops, and the valleys are often of the most lovely green.
The trees are larger too, and even the plains of the Bakwain country
contain trees instead of bushes. If you look north from the hills
we are now leaving, the country partakes of this latter character.
It appears as if it were a flat covered with a forest of ordinary-sized trees
from 20 to 30 feet high, but when you travel over it
they are not so closely planted but that a wagon with care may be
guided among them. The grass grows in tufts of the size of one's hat,
with bare soft sand between. Nowhere here have we an approach
to English lawns, or the pleasing appearance of English greensward.
In no part of this country could European grain be cultivated
without irrigation. The natives all cultivate the dourrha or holcus sorghum,
maize, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, and different kinds of beans;
and they are entirely dependent for the growth of these on rains.
Their instrument of culture is the hoe, and the chief labor falls
on the female portion of the community. In this respect
the Bechuanas closely resemble the Caffres. The men engage in hunting,
milk the cows, and have the entire control of the cattle;
they prepare the skins, make the clothing, and in many respects
may be considered a nation of tailors.
When at Sekomi's we generally have heard his praises sounded
by a man who rises at break of day, and utters at the top of his voice
the oration which that ruler is said to have composed at his boguera.
This repetition of his "leina", or oration, is so pleasing to a chief,
that he generally sends a handsome present to the man who does it.
JANUARY 28TH. Passing on to Letloche, about twenty miles
beyond the Bamangwato, we found a fine supply of water.
This is a point of so much interest in that country that the first question
we ask of passers by is, "Have you had water?" the first inquiry
a native puts to a fellow-countryman is, "Where is the rain?" and,
though they are by no means an untruthful nation, the answer generally is,
"I don't know -- there is none -- we are killed with hunger and by the sun."
If news is asked for, they commence with, "There is no news:
I heard some lies only," and then tell all they know.
This spot was Mr. Gordon Cumming's furthest station north.
Our house at Kolobeng having been quite in the hunting-country,
rhinoceros and buffaloes several times rushed past, and I was able
to shoot the latter twice from our own door. We were favored
by visits from this famous hunter during each of the five years
of his warfare with wild animals. Many English gentlemen
following the same pursuits paid their guides and assistants so punctually
that in making arrangements for them we had to be careful that four did not go
where two only were wanted: they knew so well that an Englishman would pay
that they depended implicitly on his word of honor, and not only
would they go and hunt for five or six months in the north,
enduring all the hardships of that trying mode of life,
with little else but meat of game to subsist on, but they willingly went
seven hundred or eight hundred miles to Graham's Town,
receiving for wages only a musket worth fifteen shillings.
No one ever deceived them except one man; and as I believed
that he was afflicted with a slight degree of the insanity of greediness,
I upheld the honor of the English name by paying his debts.
As the guides of Mr. Cumming were furnished through my influence,
and usually got some strict charges as to their behavior before parting,
looking upon me in the light of a father, they always came to give me
an account of their service, and told most of those hunting adventures
which have since been given to the world, before we had
the pleasure of hearing our friend relate them himself by our own fireside.
I had thus a tolerably good opportunity of testing their accuracy,
and I have no hesitation in saying that for those who love that sort of thing
Mr. Cumming's book conveys a truthful idea of South African hunting.
Some things in it require explanation, but the numbers of animals
said to have been met with and killed are by no means improbable,
considering the amount of large game then in the country.
Two other gentlemen hunting in the same region destroyed in one season
no fewer than seventy-eight rhinoceroses alone. Sportsmen, however,
would not now find an equal number, for as guns are introduced
among the tribes all these fine animals melt away like snow in spring.
In the more remote districts, where fire-arms have not yet been introduced,
with the single exception of the rhinoceros, the game is to be found
in numbers much greater than Mr. Cumming ever saw. The tsetse is, however,
an insuperable barrier to hunting with horses there, and Europeans
can do nothing on foot. The step of the elephant when charging the hunter,
though apparently not quick, is so long that the pace equals
the speed of a good horse at a canter. A young sportsman, no matter how great
among pheasants, foxes, and hounds, would do well to pause before resolving
to brave fever for the excitement of risking such a terrific charge;
the scream or trumpeting of this enormous brute when infuriated
is more like what the shriek of a French steam-whistle would be to a man
standing on the dangerous part of a rail-road than any other earthly sound:
a horse unused to it will sometimes stand shivering instead of taking
his rider out of danger. It has happened often that the poor animal's legs
do their duty so badly that he falls and causes his rider
to be trodden into a mummy; or, losing his presence of mind,
the rider may allow the horse to dash under a tree and crack his cranium
against a branch. As one charge from an elephant has made embryo Nimrods
bid a final adieu to the chase, incipient Gordon Cummings
might try their nerves by standing on railways till the engines were within
a few yards of them. Hunting elephants on foot would be not less dangerous,*
unless the Ceylon mode of killing them by one shot could be followed:
it has never been tried in Africa.
* Since writing the above statement, it has received confirmation
in the reported death of Mr. Wahlberg while hunting elephants on foot
at Lake Ngami.
Advancing to some wells beyond Letloche, at a spot named Kanne,
we found them carefully hedged round by the people of a Bakalahari village
situated near the spot. We had then sixty miles of country in front
without water, and very distressing for the oxen, as it is generally
deep soft sand. There is one sucking-place, around which were congregated
great numbers of Bushwomen with their egg-shells and reeds.
Mathuluane now contained no water, and Motlatsa only a small supply,
so we sent the oxen across the country to the deep well Nkauane,
and half were lost on the way. When found at last they had been
five whole days without water. Very large numbers of elands
were met with as usual, though they seldom can get a sip of drink.
Many of the plains here have large expanses of grass without trees,
but you seldom see a treeless horizon. The ostrich is generally seen
quietly feeding on some spot where no one can approach him
without being detected by his wary eye. As the wagon moves along
far to the windward he thinks it is intending to circumvent him,
so he rushes up a mile or so from the leeward, and so near to the front oxen
that one sometimes gets a shot at the silly bird. When he begins to run
all the game in sight follow his example. I have seen this folly
taken advantage of when he was feeding quietly in a valley open at both ends.
A number of men would commence running, as if to cut off his retreat
from the end through which the wind came; and although he had
the whole country hundreds of miles before him by going to the other end,
on he madly rushed to get past the men, and so was speared. He never swerves
from the course he once adopts, but only increases his speed.
When the ostrich is feeding his pace is from twenty to twenty-two inches;
when walking, but not feeding, it is twenty-six inches;
and when terrified, as in the case noticed, it is from eleven and a half
to thirteen and even fourteen feet in length. Only in one case
was I at all satisfied of being able to count the rate of speed
by a stop-watch, and, if I am not mistaken, there were thirty in ten seconds;
generally one's eye can no more follow the legs than it can
the spokes of a carriage-wheel in rapid motion. If we take the above number,
and twelve feet stride as the average pace, we have a speed
of twenty-six miles an hour. It can not be very much above that,
and is therefore slower than a railway locomotive. They are sometimes shot
by the horseman making a cross cut to their undeviating course,
but few Englishmen ever succeed in killing them.
The ostrich begins to lay her eggs before she has fixed on a spot for a nest,
which is only a hollow a few inches deep in the sand, and about a yard
in diameter. Solitary eggs, named by the Bechuanas "lesetla", are thus found
lying forsaken all over the country, and become a prey to the jackal.
She seems averse to risking a spot for a nest, and often lays her eggs
in that of another ostrich, so that as many as forty-five have been found
in one nest. Some eggs contain small concretions of the matter
which forms the shell, as occurs also in the egg of the common fowl:
this has given rise to the idea of stones in the eggs. Both male and female
assist in the incubations; but the numbers of females being always greatest,
it is probable that cases occur in which the females have the entire charge.
Several eggs lie out of the nest, and are thought to be intended
as food for the first of the newly-hatched brood till the rest come out
and enable the whole to start in quest of food. I have several times seen
newly-hatched young in charge of the cock, who made a very good attempt
at appearing lame in the plover fashion, in order to draw off
the attention of pursuers. The young squat down and remain immovable
when too small to run far, but attain a wonderful degree of speed
when about the size of common fowls. It can not be asserted
that ostriches are polygamous, though they often appear to be so.
When caught they are easily tamed, but are of no use
in their domesticated state.
The egg is possessed of very great vital power. One kept in a room
during more than three months, in a temperature about 60 Deg.,
when broken was found to have a partially-developed live chick in it.
The Bushmen carefully avoid touching the eggs, or leaving marks of human feet
near them, when they find a nest. They go up the wind to the spot,
and with a long stick remove some of them occasionally,
and, by preventing any suspicion, keep the hen laying on for months,
as we do with fowls. The eggs have a strong, disagreeable flavor,
which only the keen appetite of the Desert can reconcile one to.
The Hottentots use their trowsers to carry home the twenty or twenty-five eggs
usually found in a nest; and it has happened that an Englishman,
intending to imitate this knowing dodge, comes to the wagons
with blistered legs, and, after great toil, finds all the eggs uneatable,
from having been some time sat upon. Our countrymen invariably do best
when they continue to think, speak, and act in their own proper character.
The food of the ostrich consists of pods and seeds of different kinds
of leguminous plants, with leaves of various plants;
and, as these are often hard and dry, he picks up a great quantity of pebbles,
many of which are as large as marbles. He picks up also some small bulbs,
and occasionally a wild melon to afford moisture, for one was found
with a melon which had choked him by sticking in his throat. It requires
the utmost address of the Bushmen, crawling for miles on their stomachs,
to stalk them successfully; yet the quantity of feathers collected annually
shows that the numbers slain must be considerable, as each bird has only a few
in the wings and tail. The male bird is of a jet black glossy color,
with the single exception of the white feathers, which are objects of trade.
Nothing can be finer than the adaptation of those flossy feathers
for the climate of the Kalahari, where these birds abound;
for they afford a perfect shade to the body, with free ventilation
beneath them. The hen ostrich is of a dark brownish-gray color,
and so are the half-grown cocks.
The organs of vision in this bird are placed so high that he can
detect an enemy at a great distance, but the lion sometimes kills him.
The flesh is white and coarse, though, when in good condition, it resembles
in some degree that of a tough turkey. It seeks safety in flight;
but when pursued by dogs it may be seen to turn upon them and inflict a kick,
which is vigorously applied, and sometimes breaks the dog's back.
Effects of Missionary Efforts -- Belief in the Deity --
Ideas of the Bakwains on Religion -- Departure from their Country --
Salt-pans -- Sour Curd -- Nchokotsa -- Bitter Waters --
Thirst suffered by the wild Animals -- Wanton Cruelty in Hunting --
Ntwetwe -- Mowana-trees -- Their extraordinary Vitality --
The Mopane-tree -- The Morala -- The Bushmen -- Their Superstitions --
Elephant-hunting -- Superiority of civilized over barbarous Sportsmen --
The Chief Kaisa -- His Fear of Responsibility -- Beauty of the Country
at Unku -- The Mohonono Bush -- Severe Labor in cutting our Way --
Party seized with Fever -- Escape of our Cattle --
Bakwain Mode of recapturing them -- Vagaries of sick Servants --
Discovery of grape-bearing Vines -- An Ant-eater --
Difficulty of passing through the Forest -- Sickness of my Companion --
The Bushmen -- Their Mode of destroying Lions -- Poisons --
The solitary Hill -- A picturesque Valley -- Beauty of the Country --
Arrive at the Sanshureh River -- The flooded Prairies --
A pontooning Expedition -- A night Bivouac -- The Chobe --
Arrive at the Village of Moremi -- Surprise of the Makololo
at our sudden Appearance -- Cross the Chobe on our way to Linyanti.
The Bakalahari, who live at Motlatsa wells, have always been
very friendly to us, and listen attentively to instruction conveyed to them
in their own tongue. It is, however, difficult to give an idea to a European
of the little effect teaching produces, because no one can realize
the degradation to which their minds have been sunk
by centuries of barbarism and hard struggling for the necessaries of life:
like most others, they listen with respect and attention,
but, when we kneel down and address an unseen Being, the position and the act
often appear to them so ridiculous that they can not refrain
from bursting into uncontrollable laughter. After a few services
they get over this tendency. I was once present when a missionary
attempted to sing among a wild heathen tribe of Bechuanas, who had no music
in their composition; the effect on the risible faculties of the audience
was such that the tears actually ran down their cheeks.
Nearly all their thoughts are directed to the supply of their bodily wants,
and this has been the case with the race for ages. If asked, then,
what effect the preaching of the Gospel has at the commencement
on such individuals, I am unable to tell, except that some
have confessed long afterward that they then first began to pray in secret.
Of the effects of a long-continued course of instruction
there can be no reasonable doubt, as mere nominal belief has never been
considered sufficient proof of conversion by any body of missionaries;
and, after the change which has been brought about by this agency,
we have good reason to hope well for the future -- those I have myself
witnessed behaving in the manner described, when kindly treated in sickness
often utter imploring words to Jesus, and I believe sometimes really do
pray to him in their afflictions. As that great Redeemer of the guilty
seeks to save all he can, we may hope that they find mercy through His blood,
though little able to appreciate the sacrifice He made.
The indirect and scarcely appreciable blessings of Christian missionaries
going about doing good are thus probably not so despicable
as some might imagine; there is no necessity for beginning to tell
even the most degraded of these people of the existence of a God
or of a future state, the facts being universally admitted.
Every thing that can not be accounted for by common causes
is ascribed to the Deity, as creation, sudden death, etc.
"How curiously God made these things!" is a common expression;
as is also, "He was not killed by disease, he was killed by God."
And, when speaking of the departed -- though there is naught
in the physical appearance of the dead to justify the expression --
they say, "He has gone to the gods," the phrase being identical with
"abiit ad plures".
On questioning intelligent men among the Bakwains as to their
former knowledge of good and evil, of God and the future state,
they have scouted the idea of any of them ever having been
without a tolerably clear conception on all these subjects.
Respecting their sense of right and wrong, they profess that
nothing we indicate as sin ever appeared to them as otherwise,
except the statement that it was wrong to have more wives than one;
and they declare that they spoke in the same way of the direct influence
exercised by God in giving rain in answer to prayers of the rain-makers,
and in granting deliverances in times of danger, as they do now,
before they ever heard of white men. The want, however,
of any form of public worship, or of idols, or of formal prayers or sacrifice,
make both Caffres and Bechuanas appear as among the most godless
races of mortals known any where. But, though they all possess
a distinct knowledge of a deity and of a future state,
they show so little reverence, and feel so little connection with either,
that it is not surprising that some have supposed them
entirely ignorant on the subject. At Lotlakani we met an old Bushman
who at first seemed to have no conception of morality whatever;
when his heart was warmed by our presents of meat, he sat by the fire
relating his early adventures: among these was killing five other Bushmen.
"Two," said he, counting on his fingers, "were females, one a male,
and the other two calves." "What a villain you are, to boast of killing
women and children of your own nation! what will God say when you appear
before him?" "He will say," replied he, "that I was a very clever fellow."
This man now appeared to me as without any conscience,
and, of course, responsibility; but, on trying to enlighten him
by further conversation, I discovered that, though he was employing
the word that is used among the Bakwains when speaking of the Deity,
he had only the idea of a chief, and was all the while referring to Sekomi,
while his victims were a party of rebel Bushmen against whom he had been sent.
If I had known the name of God in the Bushman tongue the mistake
could scarcely have occurred. It must, however, be recollected,
while reflecting on the degradation of the natives of South Africa,
that the farther north, the more distinct do the native ideas
on religious subjects become, and I have not had any intercourse
with either Caffres or Bushmen in their own tongues.
Leaving Motlatsa on the 8th of February, 1853, we passed down the Mokoko,
which, in the memory of persons now living, was a flowing stream.
We ourselves once saw a heavy thunder-shower make it assume its
ancient appearance of running to the north. Between Lotlakani and Nchokotsa
we passed the small well named Orapa; and another called Thutsa
lay a little to our right -- its water is salt and purgative;
the salt-pan Chuantsa, having a cake of salt one inch and a half in thickness,
is about ten miles to the northeast of Orapa. This deposit
contains a bitter salt in addition, probably the nitrate of lime;
the natives, in order to render it palatable and wholesome, mix the salt
with the juice of a gummy plant, then place it in the sand and bake it
by making a fire over it; the lime then becomes insoluble and tasteless.
The Bamangwato keep large flocks of sheep and goats at various spots
on this side of the Desert. They thrive wonderfully well
wherever salt and bushes are to be found. The milk of goats
does not coagulate with facility, like that of cows,
on account of its richness; but the natives have discovered
that the infusion of the fruit of a solanaceous plant, Toluane,
quickly produces the effect. The Bechuanas put their milk into sacks
made of untanned hide, with the hair taken off. Hung in the sun,
it soon coagulates; the whey is then drawn off by a plug at the bottom,
and fresh milk added, until the sack is full of a thick, sour curd, which,
when one becomes used to it, is delicious. The rich mix this in the porridge
into which they convert their meal, and, as it is thus rendered
nutritious and strength-giving, an expression of scorn is sometimes heard
respecting the poor or weak, to the effect that "they are water-porridge men."
It occupies the place of our roast beef.
At Nchokotsa, the rainy season having this year been delayed
beyond the usual time, we found during the day the thermometer stand
at 96 Deg. in the coolest possible shade. This height at Kolobeng
always portended rain at hand. At Kuruman, when it rises above 84 Deg.,
the same phenomenon may be considered near; while farther north it rises
above 100 Deg. before the cooling influence of the evaporation from rain
may be expected. Here the bulb of the thermometer, placed two inches
beneath the soil, stood at 128 Deg. All around Nchokotsa
the country looked parched, and the glare from the white efflorescence
which covers the extensive pans on all sides was most distressing to the eyes.
The water of Nchokotsa was bitter, and presented indications
not to be mistaken of having passed through animal systems before.
All these waters contain nitrates, which stimulate the kidneys and increase
the thirst. The fresh additions of water required in cooking meat,
each imparting its own portion of salt, make one grumble at the cook
for putting too much seasoning in, while in fact he has put in none at all,
except that contained in the water. Of bitter, bad, disgusting waters
I have drunk not a few nauseous draughts; you may try alum, vitriol, boiling,
etc., etc., to convince yourself that you are not more stupid than travelers
you will meet at home, but the ammonia and other salts are there still;
and the only remedy is to get away as quickly as possible to the north.
We dug out several wells; and as we had on each occasion to wait
till the water flowed in again, and then allow our cattle
to feed a day or two and slake their thirst thoroughly,
as far as that could be done, before starting, our progress was but slow.
At Koobe there was such a mass of mud in the pond, worked up
by the wallowing rhinoceros to the consistency of mortar,
that only by great labor could we get a space cleared at one side
for the water to ooze through and collect in for the oxen.
Should the rhinoceros come back, a single roll in the great mass
we had thrown on one side would have rendered all our labor vain.
It was therefore necessary for us to guard the spot at night.
On these great flats all around we saw in the white sultry glare
herds of zebras, gnus, and occasionally buffaloes, standing for days,
looking wistfully toward the wells for a share of the nasty water.
It is mere wanton cruelty to take advantage of the necessities of these
poor animals, and shoot them down one after another, without intending
to make the smallest use of either the flesh, skins, or horns.
In shooting by night, animals are more frequently wounded than killed;
the flowing life-stream increases the thirst, so that in desperation they
come slowly up to drink in spite of the danger, "I must drink, though I die."
The ostrich, even when not wounded, can not, with all his wariness,
resist the excessive desire to slake his burning thirst.
It is Bushman-like practice to take advantage of its piteous necessities,
for most of the feathers they obtain are procured in this way;
but they eat the flesh, and are so far justifiable.
I could not order my men to do what I would not do myself,
but, though I tried to justify myself on the plea of necessity,
I could not adopt this mode of hunting. If your object is to secure
the best specimens for a museum, it may be allowable, and even
deserving of commendation, as evincing a desire to kill only those
really wanted; but if, as has been practiced by some Griquas and others
who came into the country after Mr. Cumming, and fired away indiscriminately,
great numbers of animals are wounded and allowed to perish miserably,
or are killed on the spot and left to be preyed on by vultures and hyenas,
and all for the sole purpose of making a "bag", then I take it to be evident
that such sportsmen are pretty far gone in the hunting form of insanity.
My men shot a black rhinoceros in this way, and I felt glad to get away
from the only place in which I ever had any share in night-hunting.
We passed over the immense pan Ntwetwe, on which the latitude could be taken
as at sea. Great tracts of this part of the country are of calcareous tufa,
with only a thin coating of soil; numbers of "baobab" and "mopane" trees
abound all over this hard, smooth surface. About two miles beyond
the northern bank of the pan we unyoked under a fine specimen of the baobab,
here called, in the language of Bechuanas, Mowana; it consisted of
six branches united into one trunk. At three feet from the ground
it was eighty-five feet in circumference.
These mowana-trees are the most wonderful examples of vitality in the country;
it was therefore with surprise that we came upon a dead one at Tlomtla,
a few miles beyond this spot. It is the same as those
which Adamson and others believed, from specimens seen in Western Africa,
to have been alive before the flood. Arguing with a peculiar
mental idiosyncracy resembling color-blindness, common among
the French of the time, these savans came to the conclusion that
"therefore there never was any flood at all." I would back a true mowana
against a dozen floods, provided you do not boil it in hot sea-water;
but I can not believe that any of those now alive had a chance
of being subjected to the experiment of even the Noachian deluge.
The natives make a strong cord from the fibres contained in the pounded bark.
The whole of the trunk, as high as they can reach, is consequently often
quite denuded of its covering, which in the case of almost any other tree
would cause its death, but this has no effect on the mowana except to make it
throw out a new bark, which is done in the way of granulation.
This stripping of the bark is repeated frequently, so that it is common
to see the lower five or six feet an inch or two less in diameter
than the parts above; even portions of the bark which have broken
in the process of being taken off, but remain separated from the parts below,
though still connected with the tree above, continue to grow,
and resemble closely marks made in the necks of the cattle
of the island of Mull and of Caffre oxen, where a piece of skin is detached
and allowed to hang down. No external injury, not even a fire,
can destroy this tree from without; nor can any injury be done from within,
as it is quite common to find it hollow; and I have seen one
in which twenty or thirty men could lie down and sleep as in a hut.
Nor does cutting down exterminate it, for I saw instances in Angola
in which it continued to grow in length after it was lying on the ground.
Those trees called exogenous grow by means of successive layers
on the outside. The inside may be dead, or even removed altogether,
without affecting the life of the tree. This is the case
with most of the trees of our climate. The other class is called endogenous,
and increases by layers applied to the inside; and when the hollow there
is full, the growth is stopped -- the tree must die. Any injury
is felt most severely by the first class on the bark; by the second
on the inside; while the inside of the exogenous may be removed,
and the outside of the endogenous may be cut, without stopping the growth
in the least. The mowana possesses the powers of both. The reason is that
each of the laminae possesses its own independent vitality;
in fact, the baobab is rather a gigantic bulb run up to seed than a tree.
Each of eighty-four concentric rings had, in the case mentioned,
grown an inch after the tree had been blown over. The roots,
which may often be observed extending along the surface of the ground
forty or fifty yards from the trunk, also retain their vitality
after the tree is laid low; and the Portuguese now know that the best way
to treat them is to let them alone, for they occupy much more room
when cut down than when growing.
The wood is so spongy and soft that an axe can be struck in so far
with a good blow that there is great difficulty in pulling it out again.
In the dead mowana mentioned the concentric rings were well seen. The average
for a foot at three different places was eighty-one and a half of these rings.
Each of the laminae can be seen to be composed of two, three, or four
layers of ligneous tubes; but supposing each ring the growth of one year,
and the semidiameter of a mowana of one hundred feet in circumference
about seventeen feet, if the central point were in the centre of the tree,
then its age would lack some centuries of being as old
as the Christian era (1400). Though it possesses amazing vitality,
it is difficult to believe that this great baby-looking bulb or tree
is as old as the Pyramids.
The mopane-tree (`bauhinia') is remarkable for the little shade
its leaves afford. They fold together and stand nearly perpendicular
during the heat of the day, so that only the shadow of their edges
comes to the ground. On these leaves the small larvae of a winged insect
appear covered over with a sweet, gummy substance. The people collect this
in great quantities, and use it as food;* and the lopane --
large caterpillars three inches long, which feed on the leaves,
and are seen strung together -- share the same fate.
* I am favored with Mr. Westwood's remarks on this insect as follows:
"Taylor Institution, Oxford, July 9, 1857.
"The insect (and its secretion) on the leaves of the bauhinia,
and which is eaten by the Africans, proves to be a species of Psylla,
a genus of small, very active Homoptera, of which we have
one very common species in the box; but our species, Psylla buxi,
emits its secretion in the shape of very long, white, cotton-like filaments.
But there is a species in New Holland, found on the leaves
of the Eucalyptus, which emits a secretion very similar
to that of Dr. Livingstone's species. This Australian secretion
(and its insect originator) is known by the name of wo-me-la,
and, like Dr. Livingstone's, it is scraped off the leaves
and eaten by the aborigines as a saccharine dainty. The insects found
beneath the secretion, brought home by Dr. Livingstone,
are in the pupa state, being flattened, with large scales
at the sides of the body, inclosing the future wings of the insect.
The body is pale yellowish-colored, with dark-brown spots.
It will be impossible to describe the species technically until we receive
the perfect insect. The secretion itself is flat and circular,
apparently deposited in concentric rings, gradually increasing in size
till the patches are about a quarter or a third of an inch in diameter.
Jno. O. Westwood."
In passing along we see every where the power of vegetation in breaking up
the outer crust of tufa. A mopane-tree, growing in a small chink,
as it increases in size rends and lifts up large fragments of the rock
all around it, subjecting them to the disintegrating influence
of the atmosphere. The wood is hard, and of a fine red color,
and is named iron-wood by the Portuguese. The inhabitants,
observing that the mopane is more frequently struck by lightning
than other trees, caution travelers never to seek its shade
when a thunder-storm is near -- "Lightning hates it;" while another tree,
the "Morala", which has three spines opposite each other on the branches,
and has never been known to be touched by lightning, is esteemed,
even as far as Angola, a protection against the electric fluid.
Branches of it may be seen placed on the houses of the Portuguese
for the same purpose. The natives, moreover, believe that a man
is thoroughly protected from an enraged elephant if he can get
into the shade of this tree. There may not be much in this,
but there is frequently some foundation of truth in their observations.
At Rapesh we came among our old friends the Bushmen, under Horoye.
This man, Horoye, a good specimen of that tribe, and his son Mokantsa
and others, were at least six feet high, and of a darker color
than the Bushmen of the south. They have always plenty of food and water;
and as they frequent the Zouga as often as the game in company with which
they live, their life is very different from that of the inhabitants
of the thirsty plains of the Kalahari. The animal they refrain from eating
is the goat, which fact, taken in connection with the superstitious dread
which exists in every tribe toward a particular animal, is significant of
their feelings to the only animals they could have domesticated
in their desert home. They are a merry laughing set,
and do not tell lies wantonly. They have in their superstitious rites
more appearance of worship than the Bechuanas; and at a Bushman's grave
we once came to on the Zouga, the observances showed distinctly
that they regarded the dead as still in another state of being;
for they addressed him, and requested him not to be offended
even though they wished still to remain a little while longer in this world.
Those among whom we now were kill many elephants, and when the moon is full
choose that time for the chase, on account of its coolness.
Hunting this animal is the best test of courage this country affords.
The Bushmen choose the moment succeeding a charge, when the elephant
is out of breath, to run in and give him a stab with their long-bladed spears.
In this case the uncivilized have the advantage over us,
but I believe that with half their training Englishmen would beat the Bushmen.
Our present form of civilization does not necessarily produce effeminacy,
though it unquestionably increases the beauty, courage,
and physical powers of the race. When at Kolobeng I took notes
of the different numbers of elephants killed in the course of the season
by the various parties which went past our dwelling, in order to form
an idea of the probable annual destruction of this noble animal.
There were parties of Griquas, Bechuanas, Boers, and Englishmen.
All were eager to distinguish themselves, and success depended mainly
on the courage which leads the huntsman to go close to the animal,
and not waste the force of his shot on the air. It was noticeable
that the average for the natives was under one per man, for the Griquas
one per man, for the Boers two, and for the English officers twenty each.
This was the more remarkable, as the Griquas, Boers, and Bechuanas
employed both dogs and natives to assist them, while the English hunters
generally had no assistance from either. They approached
to within thirty yards of the animal, while the others stood
at a distance of a hundred yards, or even more, and of course
spent all the force of their bullets on the air. One elephant
was found by Mr. Oswell with quite a crowd of bullets in his side,
all evidently fired in this style, and they had not gone near the vital parts.
It would thus appear that our more barbarous neighbors do not possess
half the courage of the civilized sportsman. And it is probable
that in this respect, as well as in physical development, we are superior
to our ancestors. The coats of mail and greaves of the Knights of Malta,
and the armor from the Tower exhibited at the Eglinton tournament,
may be considered decisive as to the greater size attained
by modern civilized men.
At Maila we spent a Sunday with Kaisa, the head man of a village of Mashona,
who had fled from the iron sway of Mosilikatse, whose country lies
east of this. I wished him to take charge of a packet of letters for England,
to be forwarded when, as is the custom of the Bamangwato,
the Bechuanas come hither in search of skins and food among the Bushmen;
but he could not be made to comprehend that there was no danger
in the consignment. He feared the responsibility and guilt if any thing
should happen to them; so I had to bid adieu to all hope of letting my family
hear of my welfare till I should reach the west coast.
At Unku we came into a tract of country which had been visited
by refreshing showers long before, and every spot was covered with grass
run up to seed, and the flowers of the forest were in full bloom.
Instead of the dreary prospect around Koobe and Nchokotsa,
we had here a delightful scene, all the ponds full of water, and the birds
twittering joyfully. As the game can now obtain water every where,
they become very shy, and can not be found in their accustomed haunts.
1ST MARCH. The thermometer in the shade generally stood at 98 Degrees
from 1 to 3 P.M., but it sank as low as 65 Deg. by night, so that the heat
was by no means exhausting. At the surface of the ground, in the sun,
the thermometer marked 125 Deg., and three inches below it 138 Deg.
The hand can not be held on the ground, and even the horny soles
of the feet of the natives must be protected by sandals of hide;
yet the ants were busy working on it. The water in the ponds
was as high as 100 Deg.; but as water does not conduct heat readily downward,
deliciously cool water may be obtained by any one walking into the middle
and lifting up the water from the bottom to the surface with his hands.
Proceeding to the north, from Kama-kama, we entered into dense Mohonono bush,
which required the constant application of the axe by three of our party
for two days. This bush has fine silvery leaves, and the bark
has a sweet taste. The elephant, with his usual delicacy of taste,
feeds much on it. On emerging into the plains beyond,
we found a number of Bushmen, who afterward proved very serviceable.
The rains had been copious, but now great numbers of pools were drying up.
Lotus-plants abounded in them, and a low, sweet-scented plant
covered their banks. Breezes came occasionally to us
from these drying-up pools, but the pleasant odor they carried
caused sneezing in both myself and people; and on the 10th of March
(when in lat. 19d 16' 11" S., long. 24d 24' E.) we were brought to a stand
by four of the party being seized with fever. I had seen this disease before,
but did not at once recognize it as the African fever;
I imagined it was only a bilious attack, arising from full feeding on flesh,
for, the large game having been very abundant, we always had a good supply;
but instead of the first sufferers recovering soon, every man of our party
was in a few days laid low, except a Bakwain and myself.
He managed the oxen, while I attended to the wants of the patients,
and went out occasionally with the Bushmen to get a zebra or buffalo,
so as to induce them to remain with us.
Here for the first time I had leisure to follow the instructions
of my kind teacher, Mr. Maclear, and calculated several longitudes
from lunar distances. The hearty manner in which that eminent astronomer
and frank, friendly man had promised to aid me in calculating and verifying
my work, conduced more than any thing else to inspire me with perseverance
in making astronomical observations throughout the journey.
The grass here was so tall that the oxen became uneasy, and one night
the sight of a hyaena made them rush away into the forest to the east of us.
On rising on the morning of the 19th, I found that my Bakwain lad
had run away with them. This I have often seen with persons of this tribe,
even when the cattle are startled by a lion. Away go the young men
in company with them, and dash through bush and brake for miles,
till they think the panic is a little subsided; they then commence
whistling to the cattle in the manner they do when milking the cows:
having calmed them, they remain as a guard till the morning.
The men generally return with their shins well peeled by the thorns.
Each comrade of the Mopato would expect his fellow to act thus,
without looking for any other reward than the brief praise of the chief.
Our lad, Kibopechoe, had gone after the oxen, but had lost them in the rush
through the flat, trackless forest. He remained on their trail
all the next day and all the next night. On Sunday morning,
as I was setting off in search of him, I found him near the wagon.
He had found the oxen late in the afternoon of Saturday, and had been obliged
to stand by them all night. It was wonderful how he managed
without a compass, and in such a country, to find his way home at all,
bringing about forty oxen with him.
The Bechuanas will keep on the sick-list as long as they feel any weakness;
so I at last began to be anxious that they should make a little exertion
to get forward on our way. One of them, however, happening to move
a hundred yards from the wagon, fell down, and, being unobserved,
remained the whole night in the pouring rain totally insensible;
another was subjected to frequent swooning; but, making beds in the wagons
for these our worst cases, with the help of the Bakwain and the Bushmen,
we moved slowly on. We had to nurse the sick like children;
and, like children recovering from illness, the better they became
the more impudent they grew. This was seen in the peremptory orders
they would give with their now piping voices. Nothing that we did
pleased them; and the laughter with which I received their ebullitions,
though it was only the real expression of gladness at their recovery,
and amusement at the ridiculous part they acted, only increased their chagrin.
The want of power in the man who guided the two front oxen,
or, as he was called, the "leader", caused us to be entangled with trees,
both standing and fallen, and the labor of cutting them down was even
more severe than ordinary; but, notwithstanding an immense amount of toil,
my health continued good.
We wished to avoid the tsetse of our former path, so kept a course
on the magnetic meridian from Lurilopepe. The necessity of making a new path
much increased our toil. We were, however, rewarded in lat. 18 Degrees
with a sight we had not enjoyed the year before, namely,
large patches of grape-bearing vines. There they stood before my eyes;
but the sight was so entirely unexpected that I stood some time
gazing at the clusters of grapes with which they were loaded,
with no more thought of plucking than if I had been beholding them in a dream.
The Bushmen know and eat them; but they are not well flavored
on account of the great astringency of the seeds, which are in shape and size
like split peas. The elephants are fond of the fruit, plant, and root alike.
I here found an insect which preys on ants; it is about
an inch and a quarter long, as thick as a crow-quill, and covered
with black hair. It puts its head into a little hole in the ground,
and quivers its tail rapidly; the ants come near to see it,
and it snaps up each as he comes within the range of the forceps on its tail.
As its head is beneath the ground, it becomes a question
how it can guide its tail to the ants. It is probably
a new species of ant-lion (`Myrmeleon formicaleo'), great numbers of which,
both in the larvae and complete state, are met with.
The ground under every tree is dotted over with their ingenious pitfalls,
and the perfect insect, the form of which most persons are familiar with
in the dragon-fly, may be seen using its tail in the same active manner
as this insect did. Two may be often seen joined in their flight,
the one holding on by the tail-forceps to the neck of the other.
On first observing this imperfect insect, I imagined the forceps
were on its head; but when the insect moved, their true position was seen.
The forest, through which we were slowly toiling, daily became more dense,
and we were kept almost constantly at work with the axe;
there was much more leafiness in the trees here than farther south.
The leaves are chiefly of the pinnate and bi-pinnate forms,
and are exceedingly beautiful when seen against the sky;
a great variety of the papilionaceous family grow in this part of the country.
Fleming had until this time always assisted to drive his own wagon,
but about the end of March he knocked up, as well as his people.
As I could not drive two wagons, I shared with him the remaining water,
half a caskful, and went on, with the intention of coming back for him
as soon as we should reach the next pool. Heavy rain now commenced;
I was employed the whole day in cutting down trees,
and every stroke of the axe brought down a thick shower on my back,
which in the hard work was very refreshing, as the water found its way
down into my shoes. In the evening we met some Bushmen, who volunteered
to show us a pool; and having unyoked, I walked some miles in search of it.
As it became dark they showed their politeness -- a quality which
is by no means confined entirely to the civilized -- by walking in front,
breaking the branches which hung across the path, and pointing out
the fallen trees. On returning to the wagon, we found that being left alone
had brought out some of Fleming's energy, for he had managed to come up.
As the water in this pond dried up, we were soon obliged to move again.
One of the Bushmen took out his dice, and, after throwing them, said that God
told him to go home. He threw again in order to show me the command,
but the opposite result followed; so he remained and was useful,
for we lost the oxen again by a lion driving them off
to a very great distance. The lions here are not often heard.
They seem to have a wholesome dread of the Bushmen, who, when they observe
evidence of a lion's having made a full meal, follow up his spoor so quietly
that his slumbers are not disturbed. One discharges a poisoned arrow
from a distance of only a few feet, while his companion simultaneously
throws his skin cloak on the beast's head. The sudden surprise
makes the lion lose his presence of mind, and he bounds away
in the greatest confusion and terror. Our friends here showed me the poison
which they use on these occasions. It is the entrails of a caterpillar
called N'gwa, half an inch long. They squeeze out these,
and place them all around the bottom of the barb, and allow the poison
to dry in the sun. They are very careful in cleaning their nails
after working with it, as a small portion introduced into a scratch
acts like morbid matter in dissection wounds. The agony is so great
that the person cuts himself, calls for his mother's breast
as if he were returned in idea to his childhood again,
or flies from human habitations a raging maniac. The effects on the lion
are equally terrible. He is heard moaning in distress, and becomes furious,
biting the trees and ground in rage.
As the Bushmen have the reputation of curing the wounds of this poison,
I asked how this was effected. They said that they administer
the caterpillar itself in combination with fat; they also rub fat into
the wound, saying that "the N'gwa wants fat, and, when it does not find it
in the body, kills the man: we give it what it wants, and it is content:"
a reason which will commend itself to the enlightened among ourselves.
The poison more generally employed is the milky juice
of the tree Euphorbia (`E. arborescens'). This is particularly obnoxious
to the equine race. When a quantity is mixed with the water of a pond
a whole herd of zebras will fall dead from the effects of the poison
before they have moved away two miles. It does not, however,
kill oxen or men. On them it acts as a drastic purgative only.
This substance is used all over the country, though in some places
the venom of serpents and a certain bulb, `Amaryllis toxicaria', are added,
in order to increase the virulence.
Father Pedro, a Jesuit, who lived at Zumbo, made a balsam,
containing a number of plants and CASTOR OIL, as a remedy
for poisoned arrow-wounds. It is probable that he derived his knowledge
from the natives as I did, and that the reputed efficacy of the balsam
is owing to its fatty constituent.
In cases of the bites of serpents a small key ought to be pressed down firmly
on the wound, the orifice of the key being applied to the puncture,
until a cupping-glass can be got from one of the natives.
A watch-key pressed firmly on the point stung by a scorpion
extracts the poison, and a mixture of fat or oil and ipecacuanha
relieves the pain.
The Bushmen of these districts are generally fine, well-made men,
and are nearly independent of every one. We observed them
to be fond of a root somewhat like a kidney potato, and the kernel of a nut,
which Fleming thought was a kind of betel; the tree is a fine,
large-spreading one, and the leaves palmate. From the quantities of berries
and the abundance of game in these parts, the Bushmen can scarcely ever
be badly off for food. As I could, without much difficulty,
keep them well supplied with meat, and wished them to remain,
I proposed that they should bring their wives to get a share,
but they remarked that the women could always take care of themselves.
None of the men of our party had died, but two seemed unlikely to recover;
and Kibopechoe, my willing Mokwain, at last became troubled with boils,
and then got all the symptoms of fever. As he lay down,
the others began to move about, and complained of weakness only.
Believing that frequent change of place was conducive to their recovery,
we moved along as much as we could, and came to the hill N'gwa
(lat. 18d 27' 20" S., long. 24d 13' 36" E.). This being the only hill we had
seen since leaving Bamangwato, we felt inclined to take off our hats to it.
It is three or four hundred feet high, and covered with trees.
Its geographical position is pretty accurately laid down
from occultation and other observations. I may mention that the valley
on its northern side, named Kandehy or Kandehai, is as picturesque a spot
as is to be seen in this part of Africa. The open glade, surrounded by
forest trees of various hues, had a little stream meandering in the centre.
A herd of reddish-colored antelopes (pallahs) stood on one side,
near a large baobab, looking at us, and ready to run up the hill;
while gnus, tsessebes, and zebras gazed in astonishment at the intruders.
Some fed carelessly, and others put on the peculiar air of displeasure
which these animals sometimes assume before they resolve on flight.
A large white rhinoceros came along the bottom of the valley
with his slow sauntering gait without noticing us; he looked as if he meant
to indulge in a mud bath. Several buffaloes, with their dark visages,
stood under the trees on the side opposite to the pallahs. It being Sunday,
all was peace, and, from the circumstances in which our party was placed,
we could not but reflect on that second stage of our existence
which we hope will lead us into scenes of perfect beauty.
If pardoned in that free way the Bible promises, death will be
a glorious thing; but to be consigned to wait for the Judgment-day,
with nothing else to ponder on but sins we would rather forget,
is a cheerless prospect.
Our Bushmen wished to leave us, and, as there was no use in trying to thwart
these independent gentlemen, I paid them, and allowed them to go.
The payment, however, acted as a charm on some strangers
who happened to be present, and induced them to volunteer their aid.
The game hereabouts is very tame. Koodoos and giraffes stood gazing at me
as a strange apparition when I went out with the Bushmen.
On one occasion a lion came at daybreak, and went round and round the oxen.
I could only get a glimpse of him occasionally from the wagon-box;
but, though barely thirty yards off, I could not get a shot. He then began
to roar at the top of his voice; but the oxen continuing to stand still,
he was so disgusted that he went off, and continued to use his voice
for a long time in the distance. I could not see that he had a mane;
if he had not, then even the maneless variety can use their tongues.
We heard others also roar; and, when they found they could not
frighten the oxen, they became equally angry. This we could observe
in their tones.
As we went north the country became very lovely; many new trees appeared;
the grass was green, and often higher than the wagons; the vines
festooned the trees, among which appeared the real banian (`Ficus Indica'),
with its drop-shoots, and the wild date and palmyra, and several other trees
which were new to me; the hollows contained large patches of water.
Next came water-courses, now resembling small rivers,
twenty yards broad and four feet deep. The further we went,
the broader and deeper these became; their bottoms contained
great numbers of deep holes, made by elephants wading in them;
in these the oxen floundered desperately, so that our wagon-pole broke,
compelling us to work up to the breast in water for three hours and a half;
yet I suffered no harm.
We at last came to the Sanshureh, which presented an impassable barrier,
so we drew up under a magnificent baobab-tree, (lat. 18d 4' 27" S.,
long. 24d 6' 20" E.), and resolved to explore the river for a ford.
The great quantity of water we had passed through was part of the annual
inundation of the Chobe; and this, which appeared a large, deep river,
filled in many parts with reeds, and having hippopotami in it,
is only one of the branches by which it sends its superabundant water
to the southeast. From the hill N'gwa a ridge of higher land runs
to the northeast, and bounds its course in that direction.
We, being ignorant of this, were in the valley, and the only gap
in the whole country destitute of tsetse. In company with the Bushmen
I explored all the banks of the Sanshureh to the west till we came into tsetse
on that side. We waded a long way among the reeds in water breast deep,
but always found a broad, deep space free from vegetation and unfordable.
A peculiar kind of lichen, which grows on the surface of the soil,
becomes detached and floats on the water, giving out a very disagreeable odor,
like sulphureted hydrogen, in some of these stagnant waters.
We made so many attempts to get over the Sanshureh, both to the west and east
of the wagon, in the hope of reaching some of the Makololo on the Chobe,
that my Bushmen friends became quite tired of the work. By means of presents
I got them to remain some days; but at last they slipped away by night,
and I was fain to take one of the strongest of my still weak companions
and cross the river in a pontoon, the gift of Captains Codrington and Webb.
We each carried some provisions and a blanket, and penetrated
about twenty miles to the westward, in the hope of striking the Chobe.
It was much nearer to us in a northerly direction, but this
we did not then know. The plain, over which we splashed
the whole of the first day, was covered with water ankle deep,
and thick grass which reached above the knees. In the evening
we came to an immense wall of reeds, six or eight feet high,
without any opening admitting of a passage. When we tried to enter,
the water always became so deep that we were fain to desist.
We concluded that we had come to the banks of the river we were in search of,
so we directed our course to some trees which appeared in the south,
in order to get a bed and a view of the adjacent locality.
Having shot a leche, and made a glorious fire, we got a good cup of tea
and had a comfortable night. While collecting wood that evening,
I found a bird's nest consisting of live leaves sewn together
with threads of the spider's web. Nothing could exceed
the airiness of this pretty contrivance; the threads had been
pushed through small punctures and thickened to resemble a knot.
I unfortunately lost it. This was the second nest I had seen
resembling that of the tailor-bird of India.
Next morning, by climbing the highest trees, we could see
a fine large sheet of water, but surrounded on all sides by the same
impenetrable belt of reeds. This is the broad part of the River Chobe,
and is called Zabesa. Two tree-covered islands seemed to be
much nearer to the water than the shore on which we were,
so we made an attempt to get to them first. It was not the reeds alone
we had to pass through; a peculiar serrated grass, which at certain angles
cut the hands like a razor, was mingled with the reed,
and the climbing convolvulus, with stalks which felt as strong as whipcord,
bound the mass together. We felt like pigmies in it, and often
the only way we could get on was by both of us leaning against a part
and bending it down till we could stand upon it. The perspiration
streamed off our bodies, and as the sun rose high, there being
no ventilation among the reeds, the heat was stifling, and the water,
which was up to the knees, felt agreeably refreshing. After some hours' toil
we reached one of the islands. Here we met an old friend, the bramble-bush.
My strong moleskins were quite worn through at the knees,
and the leather trowsers of my companion were torn and his legs bleeding.
Tearing my handkerchief in two, I tied the pieces round my knees,
and then encountered another difficulty. We were still forty or fifty yards
from the clear water, but now we were opposed by great masses of papyrus,
which are like palms in miniature, eight or ten feet high,
and an inch and a half in diameter. These were laced together
by twining convolvulus, so strongly that the weight of both of us
could not make way into the clear water. At last we fortunately found
a passage prepared by a hippopotamus. Eager as soon as we reached the island
to look along the vista to clear water, I stepped in and found
it took me at once up to the neck.
Returning nearly worn out, we proceeded up the bank of the Chobe
till we came to the point of departure of the branch Sanshureh; we then went
in the opposite direction, or down the Chobe, though from the highest trees
we could see nothing but one vast expanse of reed, with here and there
a tree on the islands. This was a hard day's work; and when we came
to a deserted Bayeiye hut on an ant-hill, not a bit of wood or any thing else
could be got for a fire except the grass and sticks of the dwelling itself.
I dreaded the "Tampans", so common in all old huts; but outside of it
we had thousands of mosquitoes, and cold dew began to be deposited,
so we were fain to crawl beneath its shelter.
We were close to the reeds, and could listen to the strange sounds
which are often heard there. By day I had seen water-snakes
putting up their heads and swimming about. There were great
numbers of otters (`Lutra inunguis', F. Cuvier), which have made
little spoors all over the plains in search of the fishes,
among the tall grass of these flooded prairies; curious birds, too,
jerked and wriggled among these reedy masses, and we heard
human-like voices and unearthly sounds, with splash, guggle, jupp,
as if rare fun were going on in their uncouth haunts. At one time something
came near us, making a splashing like that of a canoe or hippopotamus;
thinking it to be the Makololo, we got up, listened, and shouted;
then discharged a gun several times; but the noise continued
without intermission for an hour. After a damp, cold night we set to,
early in the morning, at our work of exploring again, but left the pontoon
in order to lighten our labor. The ant-hills are here very high,
some thirty feet, and of a base so broad that trees grow on them;
while the lands, annually flooded, bear nothing but grass.
From one of these ant-hills we discovered an inlet to the Chobe;
and, having gone back for the pontoon, we launched ourselves on a deep river,
here from eighty to one hundred yards wide. I gave my companion
strict injunctions to stick by the pontoon in case a hippopotamus
should look at us; nor was this caution unnecessary,
for one came up at our side and made a desperate plunge off.
We had passed over him. The wave he made caused the pontoon to glide
quickly away from him.
We paddled on from midday till sunset. There was nothing but a wall of reed
on each bank, and we saw every prospect of spending a supperless night
in our float; but just as the short twilight of these parts was commencing,
we perceived on the north bank the village of Moremi, one of the Makololo,
whose acquaintance I had made on our former visit, and who was now located
on the island Mahonta (lat. 17d 58' S., long. 24d 6' E.).
The villagers looked as we may suppose people do who see a ghost,
and in their figurative way of speaking said, "He has dropped among us
from the clouds, yet came riding on the back of a hippopotamus!
We Makololo thought no one could cross the Chobe without our knowledge,
but here he drops among us like a bird."
Next day we returned in canoes across the flooded lands, and found that,
in our absence, the men had allowed the cattle to wander
into a very small patch of wood to the west containing the tsetse;
this carelessness cost me ten fine large oxen. After remaining a few days,
some of the head men of the Makololo came down from Linyanti,
with a large party of Barotse, to take us across the river.
This they did in fine style, swimming and diving among the oxen
more like alligators than men, and taking the wagons to pieces
and carrying them across on a number of canoes lashed together.
We were now among friends; so going about thirty miles to the north,
in order to avoid the still flooded lands on the north of the Chobe,
we turned westward toward Linyanti (lat. 18d 17' 20" S., long. 23d 50' 9" E.),
where we arrived on the 23d of May, 1853. This is the capital town
of the Makololo, and only a short distance from our wagon-stand of 1851
(lat. 18d 20' S., long. 23d 50' E.).
Reception at Linyanti -- The court Herald -- Sekeletu obtains
the Chieftainship from his Sister -- Mpepe's Plot -- Slave-trading Mambari
-- Their sudden Flight -- Sekeletu narrowly escapes Assassination --
Execution of Mpepe -- The Courts of Law -- Mode of trying Offenses --
Sekeletu's Reason for not learning to read the Bible --
The Disposition made of the Wives of a deceased Chief --
Makololo Women -- They work but little -- Employ Serfs --
Their Drink, Dress, and Ornaments -- Public Religious Services in the Kotla
-- Unfavorable Associations of the place -- Native Doctors --
Proposals to teach the Makololo to read -- Sekeletu's Present --
Reason for accepting it -- Trading in Ivory -- Accidental Fire --
Presents for Sekeletu -- Two Breeds of native Cattle --
Ornamenting the Cattle -- The Women and the Looking-glass --
Mode of preparing the Skins of Oxen for Mantles and for Shields --
Throwing the Spear.
The whole population of Linyanti, numbering between six and seven
thousand souls, turned out en masse to see the wagons in motion.
They had never witnessed the phenomenon before, we having
on the former occasion departed by night. Sekeletu, now in power,
received us in what is considered royal style, setting before us
a great number of pots of boyaloa, the beer of the country.
These were brought by women, and each bearer takes a good draught of the beer
when she sets it down, by way of "tasting", to show that there is no poison.
The court herald, an old man who occupied the post also in Sebituane's time,
stood up, and after some antics, such as leaping, and shouting
at the top of his voice, roared out some adulatory sentences,
as, "Don't I see the white man? Don't I see the comrade of Sebituane?
Don't I see the father of Sekeletu?" -- "We want sleep." --
"Give your son sleep, my lord," etc., etc. The perquisites of this man
are the heads of all the cattle slaughtered by the chief, and he even takes
a share of the tribute before it is distributed and taken out of the kotla.
He is expected to utter all the proclamations, call assemblies,
keep the kotla clean, and the fire burning every evening,
and when a person is executed in public he drags away the body.
I found Sekeletu a young man of eighteen years of age, of that
dark yellow or coffee-and-milk color, of which the Makololo are so proud,
because it distinguishes them considerably from the black tribes
on the rivers. He is about five feet seven in height,
and neither so good looking nor of so much ability as his father was,
but is equally friendly to the English. Sebituane installed
his daughter Mamochisane into the chieftainship long before his death,
but, with all his acuteness, the idea of her having a husband
who should not be her lord did not seem to enter his mind. He wished
to make her his successor, probably in imitation of some of the negro tribes
with whom he had come into contact; but, being of the Bechuana race,
he could not look upon the husband except as the woman's lord;
so he told her all the men were hers -- she might take any one,
but ought to keep none. In fact, he thought she might do with the men
what he could do with the women; but these men had other wives;
and, according to a saying in the country, "the tongues of women
can not be governed," they made her miserable by their remarks.
One man whom she chose was even called her wife, and her son
the child of Mamochisane's wife; but the arrangement was so distasteful
to Mamochisane herself that, as soon as Sebituane died, she said
she never would consent to govern the Makololo so long as she had
a brother living. Sekeletu, being afraid of another member of the family,
Mpepe, who had pretensions to the chieftainship, urged his sister strongly
to remain as she had always been, and allow him to support her authority
by leading the Makololo when they went forth to war. Three days were spent
in public discussion on the point. Mpepe insinuated that Sekeletu
was not the lawful son of Sebituane, on account of his mother
having been the wife of another chief before her marriage with Sebituane;
Mamochisane, however, upheld Sekeletu's claims, and at last
stood up in the assembly and addressed him with a womanly gush of tears:
"I have been a chief only because my father wished it. I always
would have preferred to be married and have a family like other women.
You, Sekeletu, must be chief, and build up your father's house."
This was a death-blow to the hopes of Mpepe.
As it will enable the reader to understand the social and political relations
of these people, I will add a few more particulars respecting Mpepe.
Sebituane, having no son to take the leadership of the "Mopato"
of the age of his daughter, chose him, as the nearest male relative,
to occupy that post; and presuming from Mpepe's connection with his family
that he would attend to his interests and relieve him from care,
he handed his cattle over to his custody. Mpepe removed to the chief town,
"Naliele", and took such effectual charge of all the cattle
that Sebituane saw he could only set matters on their former footing
by the severe measure of Mpepe's execution. Being unwilling to do this,
and fearing the enchantments which, by means of a number of Barotse doctors,
Mpepe now used in a hut built for the purpose, and longing
for peaceful retirement after thirty years' fighting, he heard with pleasure
of our arrival at the lake, and came down as far as Sesheke to meet us.
He had an idea, picked up from some of the numerous strangers who visited him,
that white men had a "pot (a cannon) in their towns which would burn up
any attacking party;" and he thought if he could only get this
he would be able to "sleep" the remainder of his days in peace.
This he hoped to obtain from the white men. Hence the cry of the herald,
"Give us sleep." It is remarkable how anxious for peace
those who have been fighting all their lives appear to be.
When Sekeletu was installed in the chieftainship, he felt his position
rather insecure, for it was believed that the incantations of Mpepe
had an intimate connection with Sebituane's death. Indeed, the latter
had said to his son, "That hut of incantation will prove fatal
to either you or me."
When the Mambari, in 1850, took home a favorable report of this new market
to the west, a number of half-caste Portuguese slave-traders were induced
to come in 1853; and one, who resembled closely a real Portuguese,
came to Linyanti while I was there. This man had no merchandise,
and pretended to have come in order to inquire "what sort of goods
were necessary for the market." He seemed much disconcerted by
my presence there. Sekeletu presented him with an elephant's tusk and an ox;
and when he had departed about fifty miles to the westward,
he carried off an entire village of the Bakalahari belonging to the Makololo.
He had a number of armed slaves with him; and as all the villagers
-- men, women, and children -- were removed, and the fact was unknown
until a considerable time afterward, it is not certain whether his object
was obtained by violence or by fair promises. In either case,
slavery must have been the portion of these poor people. He was carried
in a hammock, slung between two poles, which appearing to be a bag,
the Makololo named him "Father of the Bag".
Mpepe favored these slave-traders, and they, as is usual with them,
founded all their hopes of influence on his successful rebellion.
My arrival on the scene was felt to be so much weight in the scale
against their interests. A large party of Mambari had come to Linyanti
when I was floundering on the prairies south of the Chobe.
As the news of my being in the neighborhood reached them
their countenances fell; and when some Makololo, who had assisted us
to cross the river, returned with hats which I had given them,
the Mambari betook themselves to precipitate flight. It is usual for visitors
to ask formal permission before attempting to leave a chief,
but the sight of the hats made the Mambari pack up at once.
The Makololo inquired the cause of the hurry, and were told that,
if I found them there, I should take all their slaves and goods from them;
and, though assured by Sekeletu that I was not a robber,
but a man of peace, they fled by night, while I was still sixty miles off.
They went to the north, where, under the protection of Mpepe, they had erected
a stockade of considerable size. There, several half-caste slave-traders,
under the leadership of a native Portuguese, carried on their traffic,
without reference to the chief into whose country they had unceremoniously
introduced themselves; while Mpepe, feeding them with the cattle of Sekeletu,
formed a plan of raising himself, by means of their fire-arms, to be
the head of the Makololo. The usual course which the slave-traders adopt
is to take a part in the political affairs of each tribe,
and, siding with the strongest, get well paid by captures made
from the weaker party. Long secret conferences were held
by the slave-traders and Mpepe, and it was deemed advisable for him
to strike the first blow; so he provided himself with a small battle-axe,
with the intention of cutting Sekeletu down the first time they met.
My object being first of all to examine the country for a healthy locality,
before attempting to make a path to either the East or West Coast,
I proposed to Sekeletu the plan of ascending the great river
which we had discovered in 1851. He volunteered to accompany me,
and, when we got about sixty miles away, on the road to Sesheke,
we encountered Mpepe. The Makololo, though possessing abundance of cattle,
had never attempted to ride oxen until I advised it in 1851. The Bechuanas
generally were in the same condition, until Europeans came among them
and imparted the idea of riding. All their journeys previously
were performed on foot. Sekeletu and his companions were mounted on oxen,
though, having neither saddle nor bridle, they were perpetually falling off.
Mpepe, armed with his little axe, came along a path parallel to,
but a quarter of a mile distant from, that of our party,
and, when he saw Sekeletu, he ran with all his might toward us;
but Sekeletu, being on his guard, galloped off to an adjacent village.
He then withdrew somewhere till all our party came up. Mpepe had given
his own party to understand that he would cut down Sekeletu, either on
their first meeting, or at the breaking up of their first conference.
The former intention having been thus frustrated, he then determined
to effect his purpose after their first interview. I happened to sit down
between the two in the hut where they met. Being tired with riding all day
in the sun, I soon asked Sekeletu where I should sleep, and he replied,
"Come, I will show you." As we rose together, I unconsciously covered
Sekeletu's body with mine, and saved him from the blow of the assassin.
I knew nothing of the plot, but remarked that all Mpepe's men
kept hold of their arms, even after we had sat down -- a thing quite unusual
in the presence of a chief; and when Sekeletu showed me the hut in which
I was to spend the night, he said to me, "That man wishes to kill me."
I afterward learned that some of Mpepe's attendants had divulged the secret;
and, bearing in mind his father's instructions, Sekeletu put Mpepe to death
that night. It was managed so quietly, that, although I was sleeping
within a few yards of the scene, I knew nothing of it till the next day.
Nokuane went to the fire, at which Mpepe sat, with a handful of snuff,
as if he were about to sit down and regale himself therewith.
Mpepe said to him, "Nsepisa" (cause me to take a pinch);
and, as he held out his hand, Nokuane caught hold of it,
while another man seized the other hand, and, leading him out a mile,
speared him. This is the common mode of executing criminals.
They are not allowed to speak; though on one occasion a man, feeling his wrist
held too tightly, said, "Hold me gently, can't you? you will soon be led out
in the same way yourselves." Mpepe's men fled to the Barotse,
and, it being unadvisable for us to go thither during the commotion
which followed on Mpepe's death, we returned to Linyanti.
The foregoing may be considered as a characteristic specimen
of their mode of dealing with grave political offenses. In common cases
there is a greater show of deliberation. The complainant asks the man
against whom he means to lodge his complaint to come with him to the chief.
This is never refused. When both are in the kotla, the complainant
stands up and states the whole case before the chief and the people
usually assembled there. He stands a few seconds after he has done this,
to recollect if he has forgotten any thing. The witnesses to whom
he has referred then rise up and tell all they themselves have seen or heard,
but not any thing that they have heard from others. The defendant,
after allowing some minutes to elapse so that he may not interrupt
any of the opposite party, slowly rises, folds his cloak around him,
and, in the most quiet, deliberate way he can assume --
yawning, blowing his nose, etc. -- begins to explain the affair,
denying the charge, or admitting it, as the case may be.
Sometimes, when galled by his remarks, the complainant utters
a sentence of dissent; the accused turns quietly to him, and says,
"Be silent: I sat still while you were speaking; can't you do the same?
Do you want to have it all to yourself?" And as the audience acquiesce
in this bantering, and enforce silence, he goes on till he has finished
all he wishes to say in his defense. If he has any witnesses
to the truth of the facts of his defense, they give their evidence.
No oath is administered; but occasionally, when a statement is questioned,
a man will say, "By my father," or "By the chief, it is so."
Their truthfulness among each other is quite remarkable;
but their system of government is such that Europeans are not in a position
to realize it readily. A poor man will say, in his defense
against a rich one, "I am astonished to hear a man so great as he
make a false accusation;" as if the offense of falsehood
were felt to be one against the society which the individual referred to
had the greatest interest in upholding.
If the case is one of no importance, the chief decides it at once;
if frivolous, he may give the complainant a scolding,
and put a stop to the case in the middle of the complaint,
or he may allow it to go on without paying any attention to it whatever.
Family quarrels are often treated in this way, and then a man may be seen
stating his case with great fluency, and not a soul listening to him.
But if it is a case between influential men, or brought on by under-chiefs,
then the greatest decorum prevails. If the chief does not see his way clearly
to a decision, he remains silent; the elders then rise one by one
and give their opinions, often in the way of advice rather than as decisions;
and when the chief finds the general sentiment agreeing in one view,
he delivers his judgment accordingly. He alone speaks sitting;
all others stand.
No one refuses to acquiesce in the decision of the chief,
as he has the power of life and death in his hands, and can enforce the law
to that extent if he chooses; but grumbling is allowed,
and, when marked favoritism is shown to any relative of the chief,
the people generally are not so astonished at the partiality
as we would be in England.
This system was found as well developed among the Makololo
as among the Bakwains, or even better, and is no foreign importation.
When at Cassange, my men had a slight quarrel among themselves,
and came to me, as to their chief, for judgment. This had occurred
several times before, so without a thought I went out of
the Portuguese merchant's house in which I was a guest,
sat down, and heard the complaint and defense in the usual way.
When I had given my decision in the common admonitory form,
they went off apparently satisfied. Several Portuguese,
who had been viewing the proceedings with great interest,
complimented me on the success of my teaching them how to act in litigation;
but I could not take any credit to myself for the system which I had found
ready-made to my hands.
Soon after our arrival at Linyanti, Sekeletu took me aside,
and pressed me to mention those things I liked best and hoped to get from him.
Any thing, either in or out of his town, should be freely given
if I would only mention it. I explained to him that my object
was to elevate him and his people to be Christians; but he replied
he did not wish to learn to read the Book, for he was afraid
"it might change his heart, and make him content with only one wife,
like Sechele." It was of little use to urge that the change of heart implied
a contentment with one wife equal to his present complacency in polygamy.
Such a preference after the change of mind could not now be understood by him
any more than the real, unmistakable pleasure of religious services can
by those who have not experienced what is known by the term the "new heart".
I assured him that nothing was expected but by his own voluntary decision.
"No, no; he wanted always to have five wives at least."
I liked the frankness of Sekeletu, for nothing is so wearying to the spirit
as talking to those who agree with every thing advanced.
Sekeletu, according to the system of the Bechuanas,
became possessor of his father's wives, and adopted two of them;
the children by these women are, however, in these cases, termed brothers.
When an elder brother dies, the same thing occurs in respect of his wives;
the brother next in age takes them, as among the Jews,
and the children that may be born of those women he calls brothers also.
He thus raises up seed to his departed relative. An uncle of Sekeletu,
being a younger brother of Sebituane, got that chieftain's head-wife or queen:
there is always one who enjoys this title. Her hut is called the great house,
and her children inherit the chieftainship. If she dies,
a new wife is selected for the same position, and enjoys the same privileges,
though she may happen to be a much younger woman than the rest.
The majority of the wives of Sebituane were given to influential under-chiefs;
and, in reference to their early casting off the widow's weeds,
a song was sung, the tenor of which was that the men alone felt the loss
of their father Sebituane, the women were so soon supplied with new husbands
that their hearts had not time to become sore with grief.
The women complain because the proportions between the sexes
are so changed now that they are not valued as they deserve.
The majority of the real Makololo have been cut off by fever.
Those who remain are a mere fragment of the people who came to the north
with Sebituane. Migrating from a very healthy climate in the south,
they were more subject to the febrile diseases of the valley
in which we found them than the black tribes they conquered.
In comparison with the Barotse, Batoka, and Banyeti, the Makololo have
a sickly hue. They are of a light brownish-yellow color,
while the tribes referred to are very dark, with a slight tinge of olive.
The whole of the colored tribes consider that beauty and fairness
are associated, and women long for children of light color so much,
that they sometimes chew the bark of a certain tree in hopes of producing
that effect. To my eye the dark color is much more agreeable
than the tawny hue of the half-caste, which that of the Makololo ladies
closely resembles. The women generally escaped the fever, but they are
less fruitful than formerly, and, to their complaint of being undervalued
on account of the disproportion of the sexes, they now add their regrets
at the want of children, of whom they are all excessively fond.
The Makololo women work but little. Indeed, the families of that nation
are spread over the country, one or two only in each village, as the lords
of the land. They all have lordship over great numbers of subjected tribes,
who pass by the general name Makalaka, and who are forced to render
certain services, and to aid in tilling the soil; but each has his own land
under cultivation, and otherwise lives nearly independent.
They are proud to be called Makololo, but the other term is often used
in reproach, as betokening inferiority. This species of servitude
may be termed serfdom, as it has to be rendered in consequence of subjection
by force of arms, but it is necessarily very mild. It is so easy
for any one who is unkindly treated to make his escape to other tribes,
that the Makololo are compelled to treat them, to a great extent,
rather as children than slaves. Some masters, who fail from defect
of temper or disposition to secure the affections of the conquered people,
frequently find themselves left without a single servant, in consequence of
the absence and impossibility of enforcing a fugitive-slave law,
and the readiness with which those who are themselves subjected