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The Albert N'Yanza, Great Basin of the Nile by Sir Samuel White Baker

Part 3 out of 9

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The curiosity of the crowd was becoming impertinent, when at an
opportune moment the chief appeared. To my astonishment I recognised him
as a man who had often visited me at Gondokoro, to whom I had given many
presents without knowing his position.

In a few moments he drove away the crowd, screaming and gesticulating at
there as though greatly insulted; re serving the humpback as
interpreter, he apologized for the rudeness of his people. Just at this
instant I perceived, in the distance, the English flag leading the
caravan of camels and donkeys from the hillside into the valley, and my
people and baggage shortly arrived. The chief now brought me a large
pumpkin-shell containing about a gallon of merissa, or native beer,
which was most refreshing. He also brought a gourd-bottle full of honey,
and an elephant's tusk; the latter I declined, as ivory was not

We were now within six miles of Ellyria, and by means of the humpback I
explained to Tombe, the chief, that we wished to start the first thing
in the morning, and that I would engage the humpback as interpreter.
This was agreed upon, and I now had hopes of getting through Ellyria
before the arrival of the Turks. My caravan having arrived, the interest
first bestowed upon the horses, as being a new kind of animal, was now
transferred to the camels. The natives crowded round them, exclaiming,
"that they were the giraffes of our country." They were amazed at the
loads that they carried, and many assisted in unloading.

I noticed, however, that they stuck their fingers through the baskets to
investigate the contents; and when they perceived twenty baskets full of
beads, and many of copper bracelets--the jingling of which betrayed
the contents--they became rather too eager in lending a helping hand;
therefore I told the chief to order his men to retire while I opened one
bag of beads to give him a present. I had a bag always in reserve that
contained a variety of beads and bracelets, which obviated the necessity
of opening one of the large baskets on the road. I accordingly made the
chief happy, and also gave a present to the humpback. The crowd now
discovered an object of fresh interest, and a sudden rush was made to
the monkey, which, being one of the red variety from Abyssinia, was
quite unknown to them. The monkey, being far more civilized than these
naked savages, did not at all enjoy their society; and attacking the
utterly unprotected calves of their legs, "Wallady" soon kept his
admirers at a distance, and amused himself by making insulting grimaces,
which kept the crowd in a roar of laughter. I often found this monkey of
great use in diverting the attention of the savages from myself. He was
also a guarantee of my peaceful intentions, as no one intending
hostility would travel about with a monkey as one of the party. He was
so tame and affectionate to both of us that he was quite unhappy if out
of sight of his mistress: but he frequently took rough liberties with
the blacks, for whom he had so great an aversion and contempt that he
would have got into sad trouble at Exeter Hall. "Wallady" had no idea of
a naked savage being "a man and a brother."

That night we slept soundly, both men and beasts being thoroughly
fatigued. The natives seemed to be aware of this, and a man was caught
in the act of stealing copper bracelets from a basket. He had crept like
a cat upon hands and knees to the spot where the luggage was piled, and
the sleepy sentry bad not observed him.

There was no drum-call on the following morning, that useful instrument
having been utterly smashed by the camel; but I woke the men early, and
told them to be most careful in arranging the loads securely, as we had
to thread the rocky pass between Tollogo and Ellyria. I felt sure that
the Turks could not be far behind us, and I looked forward with anxiety
to getting through the pass before them.

The natives of both Tollogo and Ellyria are the same in appearance and
language as the Bari; they are very brutal in manner, and they collected
in large crowds on our departure, with by no means a friendly aspect.
Many of them ran on ahead under the base of the rocks, apparently to
give notice at Ellyria of our arrival. I had three men as an advance
guard,--five or six in the rear,--while the remainder drove the
animals. Mrs. Baker and I rode on horseback at the head of the party. On
arriving at the extremity of the narrow valley we had to thread our way
through the difficult pass. The mountain of Ellyria, between two and
three thousand feet high, rose abruptly on our left, while the base was
entirely choked with enormous fragments of grey granite that, having
fallen from the face of the mountain, had completely blocked the pass.
Even the horses had great difficulty in threading their way through
narrow alleys formed of opposing blocks, and it appeared impossible for
loaded camels to proceed. The path was not only thus obstructed, but was
broken by excessively deep ravines formed by the torrents that during
the rains tore everything before them in their impetuous descent from
the mountains. To increase the difficulties of the pass many trees and
bushes were growing from the interstices of the rocks; thus in places
where the long legs of the camels could have cleared a narrow cleft, the
loads became jammed between the trees. These trees were for the most
part intensely hard wood, a species of lignum vitae, called by the Arabs
"babanoose," and were quite proof against our axes. Had the natives been
really hostile they could have exterminated us in five minutes, as it
was only necessary to hurl rocks from above to insure our immediate
destruction. It was in this spot that a trader's party of 126 men, well
armed, had been massacred to a man the year previous.

Bad as the pass was, we had hope before us, as the Latookas explained
that beyond this spot there was level and unbroken ground the whole way
to Latooka. Could we only clear Ellyria before the Turks I had no fear
for the present; but at the very moment when success depended upon
speed, we were thus baffled by the difficulties of the ground. I
therefore resolved to ride on in advance of my party, leaving them to
overcome the difficulties of the pass by constantly unloading the
animals, while I would reconnoitre in front, as Ellyria was not far
distant. My wife and I accordingly rode on, accompanied only by one of
the Latookas as a guide. After turning a sharp angle of the mountain,
leaving the cliff abruptly rising to the left from the narrow path, we
descended a ravine worse than any place we had previously encountered,
and we were obliged to dismount, in order to lead our horses up the
steep rocks on the opposite side. On arrival on the summit, a lovely
view burst upon us. The valley of Ellyria was about four hundred feet
below, at about a mile distant. Beautiful mountains, some two or three
thousand feet high, of grey granite, walled in the narrow vale; while
the landscape of forest and plain was bounded at about fifty or sixty
miles' distance to the east by the blue mountains of Latooka. The
mountain of Ellyria was the commencement of the fine range that
continued indefinitely to the south. We were now in the very gorge of
that chain. Below us, in the valley, I observed some prodigious trees
growing close to a Hor (ravine), in which was running water, and the
sides of the valley under the mountains being as usual a mass of debris
of huge detached rocks, were thronged with villages, all strongly
fortified with thick bamboo palisades. The whole country was a series of
natural forts, occupied by a large population.

A glance at the scene before me was quite sufficient;--to fight a way
through a valley a quarter of a mile wide, hemmed in by high walls of
rock and bristling with lances and arrows, would be impossible with my
few men, encumbered by transport animals. Should the camels arrive, I
could march into Myria in twenty minutes, make the chief a large
present, and pass on without halting until I cleared the Ellyria valley.
At any rate I was well before the Turks, and the forced march at night,
however distressing, had been successful. The great difficulty now lay
in the ravine that we had just crossed; this would assuredly delay the
caravan for a considerable time.

Tying our horses to a bush, we sat upon a rock beneath the shade of a
small tree within ten paces of the path, and considered the best course
to pursue. I hardly liked to risk an advance into Ellyria alone, before
the arrival of my whole party, as we had been very rudely received by
the Tollogo people on the previous evening;--nevertheless I thought it
might be good policy to ride unattended into Ellyria, and thus to court
an introduction to the chief. However, our consultation ended in a
determination to wait where we then were, until the caravan should have
accomplished the last difficulty by crossing the ravine; when we would
all march into Ellyria in company. For a long time we sat gazing at the
valley before us in which our fate lay hidden, feeling thankful that we
had thus checkmated the brutal Turks. Not a sound was heard of our
approaching camels; the delay was most irksome.

There were many difficult places that we had passed through, and each
would be a source of serious delay to the animals. At length we heard
them in the distance. We could distinctly hear the men's voices; and we
rejoiced that they were approaching the last remaining obstacle;--that
one ravine passed through, and all before would be easy. I heard the
rattling of the stones as they drew nearer; and, looking towards the
ravine, I saw emerge from the dark foliage of the trees within fifty
We were outmarched! One by one, with scowling looks, the insolent
scoundrels filed by us within a few feet, without making the customary
salaam; neither noticing us in any way, except by threatening to shoot
the Latooka, our guide, who had formerly accompanied them.

Their party consisted of a hundred and forty men armed with guns; while
about twice as many Latookas acted as porters, carrying beads,
ammunition, and the general effects of the party. It appeared that we
were hopelessly beaten.

However, I determined to advance, at all hazards, on the arrival of my
party; and should the Turks incite the Ellyria tribe to attack us, I
intended, in the event of a fight, to put the first shot through the

To be thus beaten, at the last moment, was unendurable. Boiling with
indignation as the insolent wretches filed past, treating me with the
contempt of a dog, I longed for the moment of action, no matter what
were the odds against us. At length their leader, Ibrahim, appeared in
the rear of the party. He was riding on a donkey, being the last of the
line, behind the flag that closed the march.

I never saw a more atrocious countenance than that exhibited in this
man. A mixed breed, between a Turk sire and Arab mother, he had the good
features and bad qualities of either race. The fine, sharp, high-arched
nose and large nostril; the pointed and projecting chin; rather high
cheek-bones and prominent brow, overhanging a pair of immense black eyes
full of expression of all evil. As he approached he took no notice of
us, but studiously looked straight before him with the most determined

The fate of the expedition was, at this critical moment, retrieved by
Mrs. Baker. She implored me to call him, to insist upon a personal
explanation, and to offer him some present in the event of establishing
amicable relations. I could not condescend to address the sullen
scoundrel. He was in the act of passing us, and success depended upon
that instant. Mrs. Baker herself called him. For the moment he made no
reply; but, upon my repeating the call in a loud key, he turned his
donkey towards us and dismounted. I ordered him to sit down, as his men
were ahead and we were alone.

The following dialogue passed between us after the usual Arab mode of
greeting. I said, "Ibrahim, why should we be enemies in the midst of
this hostile country? We believe in the same God, why should we quarrel
in this land of heathens, who believe in no God? You have your work to
perform; I have mine. You want ivory; I am a simple traveller; why
should we clash? If I were offered the whole ivory of the country, I
would not accept a single tusk, nor interfere with you in any way.
Transact your business, and don't interfere with me: the country is wide
enough for us both. I have a task before me, to reach a great lake--
the head of the Nile. Reach it I will (Inshallah). No power shall drive
me back. If you are hostile, I will imprison you in Khartoum; if you
assist me, I will reward you far beyond any reward you have ever
received. Should I be killed in this country, you will be suspected; you
know the result; the Government would hang you on the bare suspicion. On
the contrary, if you are friendly, I will use my influence in any
country that I discover, that you may procure its ivory for the sake of
your master Koorshid, who was generous to Captains Speke and Grant, and
kind to me. Should you be hostile, I shall hold your master responsible
as your employer. Should you assist me, I will befriend you both. Choose
your course frankly, like a man--friend or enemy?"

Before he had time to reply, Mrs. Baker addressed him much in the same
strain, telling him that he did not know what Englishmen were; that
nothing would drive them back; that the British Government watched over
them wherever they might be, and that no outrage could be committed with
impunity upon a British subject. That I would not deceive him in any
way; that I was not a trader; and that I should be able to assist him
materially by discovering new countries rich in ivory, and that he would
benefit himself personally by civil conduct.

He seemed confused, and wavered. I immediately promised him a new
double-barrelled gun and some gold, when my party should arrive, as an
earnest of the future.

He replied, "That he did not himself wish to be hostile, but that all
the trading parties, without one exception, were against me, and that
the men were convinced that I was a consul in disguise, who would report
to the authorities at Khartoum all the proceedings of the traders." He
continued, "That he believed me, but that his men would not; that all
people told lies in their country, therefore no one was credited for the
truth. However," said he, "do not associate with my people, or they may
insult you, but go and take possession of that large tree (pointing to
one in the valley of Ellyria) for yourself and people, and I will come
there and speak with you. I will now join my men, as I do not wish them
to know that I have been conversing with you." He then made a salaam,
mounted his donkey, and rode off.

I had won him. I knew the Arab character so thoroughly that I was
convinced that the tree he had pointed out, followed by the words, "I
will come there and speak to you," was to be the rendezvous for the
receipt of the promised gun and money.

I did not wait for the arrival of my men, but mounting our horses, my
wife and I rode down the hillside with lighter spirits than we had
enjoyed for some time past; I gave her the entire credit of the "ruse."
Had I been alone, I should have been too proud to have sought the
friendship of the sullen trader, and the moment on which success
depended would have been lost.

On arrival at the grassy plain at the foot of the mountain, there was a
crowd of the trader's ruffians quarrelling for the shade of a few large
trees that grew on the banks of the stream. We accordingly dismounted,
and turning the horses to graze, we took possession of a tree at some
distance, under which a number of Latookas were already sitting. Not
being very particular as to our society, we sat down and waited for the
arrival of our party. The valley of Ellyria was a lovely spot in the
very bosom of the mountains. Close to where we sat were the great masses
of rock that had fallen from the cliffs, and upon examination I found
them to be the finest quality of grey granite, the feldspar being in
masses several inches square and as hard as a flint. There was no
scaling upon the surface, as is common in granite rocks.

No sooner had the trader's party arrived than crowds of natives issued
from the palisaded villages on the mountain; and descending to the
plain, they mingled with the general confusion. The baggage was piled
beneath a tree, and a sentry placed on guard.

The natives were entirely naked, and precisely the same as the Bari.
Their chief, Legge, was among them, and received a present from Ibrahim
of a long red cotton shirt, and he assumed an air of great importance.
Ibrahim explained to him who I was, and he immediately came to ask for
the tribute he expected to receive as "black mail" for the right of
entree into his country. Of all the villanous countenances that I have
ever seen, that of Legge excelled.

Ferocity, avarice, and sensuality were stamped upon his face, and I
immediately requested him to sit for his portrait, and in about ten
minutes I succeeded in placing within my portfolio an exact likeness of
about the greatest rascal that exists in Central Africa.

I had, now the satisfaction of seeing my caravan slowly winding down the
hillside in good order, having surmounted all their difficulties.

Upon arrival, my men were perfectly astonished at seeing us so near the
trader's party, and still more confounded at my sending for Ibrahim to
summon him to my tree, where I presented him with some English
sovereigns, and a double-barrelled gun. Nothing escapes the
inquisitiveness of these Arabs; and the men of both parties quickly
perceived that I had established an alliance in some unaccountable
manner with Ibrahim. I saw the gun, lately presented to him, being
handed from one to the other for examination; and both my vakeel and men
appeared utterly confused at the sudden change.

The chief of Ellyria now came to inspect my luggage, and demanded
fifteen heavy copper bracelets and a large quantity of beads. The
bracelets most in demand are simple rings of copper five-eighths of an
inch thick, and weighing about a pound; those of smaller size not being
so much valued. I gave him fifteen such rings, and about ten pounds of
beads in varieties, the red coral porcelain (dimiriaf) being the most
acceptable. Legge was by no means satisfied: he said "his belly was very
big and it must be filled," which signified, that his desire was great
and must be gratified. I accordingly gave him a few extra copper rings;
but suddenly he smelt spirits, one of the few bottles that I possessed
of spirits of wine having broken in the medicine chest. Ibrahim begged
me to give him a bottle to put him in a good humour, as he enjoyed
nothing so much as araki; I accordingly gave him a pint bottle of the
strongest spirits of wine. To my amazement he broke off the neck, and
holding his head well back, he deliberately allowed the whole of the
contents to trickle down his throat as innocently as though it had been
simple water. He was thoroughly accustomed to it, as the traders were in
the habit of bringing him presents of araki every season. He declared
this to be excellent, and demanded another bottle. At that moment a
violent storm of thunder and rain burst upon us with a fury well known
in the tropics; the rain fell like a waterspout, and the throng
immediately fled for shelter. So violent was the storm, that not a man
was to be seen: some were sheltering themselves under the neighbouring
rocks; while others ran to their villages that were close by; the
trader's people commenced a fusilade, firing off all their guns lest
they should get wet and miss fire. I could not help thinking how
completely they were at the mercy of the natives at that moment, had
they chosen to attack them; the trader's party were lying under their
untanned ox-hides with their empty guns.

Each of my men was provided with a piece of mackintosh, with which his
gunlocks were secured. We lay upon an angarep covered with a bull's hide
until the storm was over. The thunder was magnificent, exploding on the
peak of the mountain exactly above us, and in the course of a quarter of
an hour torrents were rushing down the ravines among the rocks, the
effects of the violent storm that had passed away as rapidly as it had

No sooner had it ceased than the throng again appeared. Once more the
chief, Legge', was before us begging for all that we had. Although the
natives asked for beads, they would give nothing in exchange, and we
could purchase nothing for any article except molotes. These iron hoes
are made principally in this country: thus it appeared strange that they
should demand them. Legge does a large business with these hoes, sending
them into the Berri and Galla countries to the east, with various beads
and copper bracelets, to purchase ivory. Although there are very few
elephants in the neighbourhood of Ellyria, there is an immense amount of
ivory, as the chief is so great a trader that he accumulates it to
exchange with the Turks for cattle. Although he sells it so dear that he
demands twenty cows for a large tusk, it is a convenient station for the
traders, as, being near to Gondokoro, there is very little trouble in
delivering the ivory on shipboard.

Although I had presented Legge' with what he desired, he would give
nothing in return, neither would he sell either goats or fowls; in fact,
no provision was procurable except honey. I purchased about eight pounds
of this luxury for a hoe. My men were starving, and I was obliged to
serve them out rice from my sacred stock, as I had nothing else to give
them. This they boiled and mixed with honey, and they were shortly
sitting round an immense circular bowl of this rarity, enjoying
themselves thoroughly, but nevertheless grumbling as usual. In the
coolest manner possible the great and greedy chief, Legge, who had
refused to give or even to sell anything to keep us from starving, no
sooner saw the men at their novel repast than he sat down among them and
almost choked himself by cramming handfuls of the hot rice and honey
into his mouth, which yawned like that of an old hippopotamus. The men
did not at all approve of this assistance, but as it is the height of
bad manners in Arab etiquette to repel a self-invited guest from the
general meal, he was not interfered with, and was thus enabled to
swallow the share of about three persons.

Legge, although worse than the rest of his tribe, had a similar
formation of head. The Bari and those Tollogo and Ellyria have generally
bullet-shaped heads, low foreheads, skulls heavy behind the ears and
above the nape of the neck: altogether their appearance is excessively
brutal, and they are armed with bows six feet long and arrows horribly
barbed and poisoned.



ALTHOUGH Ellyria was a rich and powerful country, we had not been able
to procure any provisions--the natives refused to sell, and their
general behaviour was such that assured me of their capability of any
atrocity had they been prompted to attack us by the Turks. Fortunately
we had a good supply of meal that had been prepared for the journey
prior to our departure from Gondokoro: thus we could not starve. I also
had a sack of corn for the animals, a necessary precaution, as at this
season there was not a blade of grass; all in the vicinity of the route
having been burnt.

We started on the 30th March, at 7.30 A.M., and opened from the valley
of Ellyria upon a perfectly flat country interspersed with trees. After
an hour's march we halted at a small stream of bad water. We had kisras
and honey for breakfast; but, for several days not having tasted meat, I
took the rifle for a stroll through the forest in search of game. After
an hour's ramble I returned without having fired a shot. I had come upon
fresh tracks of Tetel (hartebeest) and guinea-fowl, but they had
evidently come down to the stream to drink, and had wandered back into
the interior. If game was scarce, fruit was plentiful--both Richarn
and I were loaded with a species of yellow plum as large as an egg;
these grew in prodigious numbers upon fine forest trees, beneath which
the ground was yellow with the quantities that had fallen from the
boughs; these were remarkably sweet, and yet acid, with much juice, and
a very delicious flavour.

At 11:25 we again started for a long march, our course being east. The
ground was most favourable for the animals, being perfectly flat and
free from ravines. We accordingly stepped along at a brisk pace, and the
intense heat of the sun throughout the hottest hours of the day made the
journey fatiguing for all but the camels. The latter were excellent of
their class, and now far excelled the other transport animals, marching
along with ease under loads of about 600 lbs. each.

My caravan was at the rear of the trader's party; but the ground being
good, we left our people and cantered on to the advanced flag. It was
curious to witness the motley assemblage in single file extending over
about half a mile of ground:--several of the people were mounted on
donkeys; some on oxen: the most were on foot, including all the women to
the number of about sixty, who were the slaves of the trader's people.
These carried heavy loads; and many, in addition to the burdens, carried
children strapped to their backs in leather slings.

After four or five hours' march during the intense heat many of the
overloaded women showed symptoms of distress, and became footsore;--
the grass having been recently burnt had left the sharp charred stumps,
which were very trying to those whose sandals were not in the best
condition. The women were forced along by their brutal owners with sharp
blows of the coorbatch; and one who was far advanced in pregnancy could
at length go no farther. Upon this the savage to whom she belonged
belaboured her with a large stick, and not succeeding in driving her
before him, he knocked her down and jumped upon her. The woman's feet
were swollen and bleeding, but later in the day again saw her hobbling
along in the rear by the aid a bamboo.

The traders march in good form; one flag leads the party, guarded by
eight or ten men, while a native carries a box of five hundred
cartridges for their use in case of an attack. The porters and baggage
follow in single file, soldiers being at intervals to prevent them from
running away; in which case the runner is invariably fired at The supply
of ammunition is in the centre, carried generally by about fifteen
natives, and strongly escorted by guards. The rear of the party is
closed by another flag behind which no straggler is permitted. The rear
flag is also guarded by six or eight men, with a box of spare
ammunition. With these arrangements the party is always ready to support
an attack.

Ibrahim, my new ally, was now riding in front of the line, carrying on
his saddle before him a pretty little girl, his daughter, a child of a
year and a half old; her mother, a remarkably pretty Bari girl, one of
his numerous wives, was riding behind him on an ox. We soon got into
conversation;--a few pieces of sugar given to the child and mother by
Mrs. Baker was a sweet commencement; and Ibrahim then told me to beware
of my own men, as he knew they did not intend to remain with me; that
they were a different tribe from his men, and they would join Chenooda's
people and desert me on our arrival at their station in Latooka. This
was a corroboration of all I had heard previous to leaving Gondokoro,
therefore I had the promised mutiny in perspective. I had noticed that
my men were even more sullen than usual since I had joined Ibrahim;
however, I succeeded in convincing him that he would benefit so
decidedly by an alliance with me, that he now frankly told me that I
should receive no opposition from his party. So far all had prospered
beyond my most sanguine expectations. We were fairly launched upon our
voyage, and now that we were in the wild interior, I determined to crush
the mutiny with an iron hand should the rascals attempt to carry their
murderous threats into execution. Two or three of the men appeared
willing, but the original ringleader, "Bellaal," would literally do
nothing, not even assisting at loading the animals; but swaggering about
with the greatest insolence.

After a fatiguing march of eight hours and ten minutes through a
perfectly flat country interspersed with trees, we halted at a little
well of excessively bad water at 7.35 P.M. The horses were so much in
advance that the main party did not arrive until 11 P.M. completely
fatigued. The night being fine, we slept on a hillock of sand a few
yards from the well, rejoiced to be away from the mosquitoes of

On the following morning we started at sunrise, and in two hours' fast
marching we arrived at the Kanieti river Although there had been no
rain, the stream was very rapid and up to the girths of the horses at
the ford. The banks were very abrupt and about fifteen feet deep, the
bed between forty and fifty yards wide; thus a considerable volume of
water is carried down to the river Sobat by this river during the rains.
The whole drainage of the country, tends to the east, and accordingly
flows into the Sobat.

The range of mountains running south from Ellyria is the watershed
between the east and west drainage; the Sobat receiving it on the one
hand, and the White Nile on the other, while the Nile eventually
receives the entire flow by the Sobat, as previously mentioned, in lat.
9 degrees 22 minutes. Having scrambled up the steep bank of the Kanieti
river, we crossed a large field of dhurra, and arrived at the village of
Wakkala. The village, or town, is composed of about seven hundred
houses, the whole being most strongly protected by a system of palisades
formed of "babanoose," the hard iron wood of the country. Not only is it
thus fortified, but the palisades are also protected by a hedge of
impervious thorns that grow to a height of about twenty feet. The
entrance to this fort is a curious archway, about ten feet deep, formed
of the iron-wood palisades, with a sharp turn to the right and left
forming a zigzag. The whole of the village thus fenced is situated in
the midst of a splendid forest of large timber. The inhabitants of
Wakkala are the same as the Ellyria, but governed by an independent
chief. They are great hunters; and as we arrived I saw several parties
returning from the forest with portions of wild boar and buffalo.

From Gondokoro to this spot I had not seen a single head of game, but
the immediate neighbourhood of Wakkala was literally trodden down by the
feet of elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, rhinoceros, and varieties of
large antelopes.

Having examined the village, I ordered my people to unload the animals
in the forest about a quarter of a mile from the entrance. The soil was
extremely rich, and the ground being shaded from the scorching rays of
the sun by the large trees, there was abundance of fine grass, which
accounted for the presence of the game: good pasturage, extensive
forests, and a plentiful supply of water insuring the supply of wild

In a few minutes my horses and donkeys were luxuriating on the rich
herbage, not having tasted grass for some days; the camels revelled in
the foliage of the dark green mimosas; and the men, having found on the
march a buffalo that had been caught in a trap and there killed by a
lion, obtained some meat, and the whole party were feeding. We had
formed a kind of arbour by hacking out with a sabre a delightful shady
nook in the midst of a dense mass of creepers, and there we feasted upon
a couple of roast fowls that we had procured from the natives for glass
beads. This was the first meat we had tasted since we had quitted

At 5.10 P.M. we left this delightful spot, and marched. Emerging from
the forest we broke upon a beautiful plain of fine low grass, bounded on
our right hand by jungle. This being the cool hour of evening, the plain
was alive with game, including buffaloes, zebras, and many varieties of
large antelopes. It was a most enlivening sight to see them scouring
over the plain as we advanced; but our large party, and three red flags
streaming in the breeze, effectually prevented us from getting
sufficiently near for a shot.

I was sorely tempted to remain in this Elysium for a few days' shooting,
but the importance of an advance was too great to permit of any thoughts
of amusement; thus, I could only indulge a sportsman's feelings by
feasting my eyes upon the beautiful herds before me.

At a quarter past seven we bivouacked in thick jungle. In the middle of
the night, the watch-fires still blazing, I was awoke by a great noise,
and upon arrival at the spot I found a number of the Turks with
firebrands, searching upon the ground, which was literally strewed with
beads and copper bracelets. The Latooka porters had broken open the bags
and baskets containing many hundredweight of these objects, and, loading
themselves, had intended to desert with their stolen prize; but the
sentries having discovered them, they were seized by the soldiers.

There fellows, the Latookas, had exhibited the folly of monkeys in so
rashly breaking open the packages while the sentries were on guard.
Several who had been caught in the act were now pinioned by the Turks,
and were immediately condemned to be shot; while others were held down
upon the ground and well chastised with the coorbatch I begged that the
punishment of death might be commuted for a good flogging; at first I
implored in vain, until I suggested, that if the porters were shot,
there would be no one to carry their loads:--this practical argument
saved them, and after receiving a severe thrashing, their arms were
pinioned, and a guard set over them until the morning.

We marched at 5.25 on the following morning. For several hours the path
led through thick jungle in which we occasionally caught glimpses of
antelopes. At length quitting the jungle we arrived at an open marshy
plain, upon which I discerned at a great distance a number of antelopes.
Having nothing to eat I determined to stalk them, as I heard from the
people that we were not far from our halting-place for the day.

Accordingly I left Mrs. Baker with my horse and a spare rifle to wait,
while the party marched straight on; I intended to make a circuit
through the jungle and to wait for the entrance of the herd, which she
was to drive, by simply riding through the plain and leading my horse;
she was to bring the horse to me should I fire a shot. After walking for
about a mile in the jungle parallel with the plain, I saw the herd of
about two hundred Tetel going at full gallop from the open ground into
the jungle, having been alarmed by the red bags and the Turks, who had
crossed over the marsh. So shy were these antelopes that there was no
possibility of stalking them. I noticed however that there were several
waterbucks in the very centre of the marsh, and that two or three trees
afforded the possibility of a stalk. Having the wind all right, I
succeeded in getting to a tree within about two hundred and fifty yards
of the largest buck, and lying down in a dry trench that in the wet
season formed a brook, I crept along the bottom until I reached a tall
tuft of grass that was to be my last point of cover. Just as I raised
myself slowly from the trench I found the buck watching me most
attentively. A steady shot with my little No. 24 rifle took no effect-it
was too high:-the buck did not even notice the shot, which was, I
suppose, the first he had ever heard;-he was standing exactly facing me;
this is at all tines an unpleasant position for a shot. Seeing that he
did not seem disposed to move, I reloaded without firing my left-hand
barrel. I now allowed for the high range of the last shot; a moment
after the report he sprang into the air, then fell upon his knees and
galloped off on three legs; one of the fore-legs being broken. I had
heard the sharp sound of the bullet, but the shot was not very
satisfactory. Turning to look for my horse, I saw Mrs. Baker galloping
over the plain towards me, leading Filfil, while Richard ran behind at
his best speed.

Upon her arrival I mounted Filfil, who was a fast horse, and with my
little No. 24 rifle in my hand I rode slowly towards the wounded
waterbuck, who was now standing watching us at about a quarter of a mile
distant. However, before I had decreased my distance by a hundred yards
he started off at full gallop. Putting Filfil into a canter I increased
the pace until I found that I must press him at full speed, as the
waterbuck, although on only three legs, had the best of it. The ground
was rough, having been marshy and trodden into ruts by the game, but now
dried by the sun;-bad for both horse and antelope, but especially for
the former: however, after a race of about a mile I found myself gaining
so rapidly that in a few moments I was riding on his left flank within
three yards of him, and holding the rifle with one hand like a pistol I
shot him dead through the shoulder. This little double rifle is an
exceedingly handy weapon;-it was made for me about nine years ago by
Thomas Fletcher, gunmaker of Gloucester, and is of most perfect
workmanship. I have shot with it most kinds of large game; although the
bore is so small as No. 24, I have bagged with it rhinoceros,
hippopotamus, lions, buffaloes, and all the heavy game except elephants
and giraffes; upon the latter I have never happened to try it. Weighing
only eight pounds and three-quarters it is most convenient to carry on
horseback, and although I have had frequent accidents through my horse
falling in full gallop, the stock is perfectly sound to this day. The
best proof of thorough honest workmanship is, that in many years of hard
work it has never been out of order, nor has it ever been in a
gunmaker's hands.

The operation of cutting the waterbuck into four quarters, and then
stringing them on to a strip of its own hide, was quickly performed, and
with Richarn's assistance I slung it across my saddle, and led my horse,
thus heavily laden, towards the path. After some difficulty in crossing
muddy hollows and gullies in the otherwise dried marsh, we at length
succeeded in finding the tracks of the party that had gone on ahead.

We had been steering from Ellyria due east towards the high peak of
"Gebel Lafeet," that rose exactly above one of the principal towns of
Latooka. With this fine beacon now apparently just before us, we had no
difficulty in finding our way. The country was now more open, and the
ground sandy and interspersed with the hegleek trees, which gave it the
appearance of a vast orchard of large pear trees. The "hegleek" is
peculiarly rich in potash; so much so that the ashes of the burnt wood
will blister the tongue. It bears a fruit about the size and shape of a
date;-this is very sweet and aromatic in flavour, and is also so rich in
potash that it is used as a substitute for soap.

After an hour's walk always on the tracks of the party, we saw a large
Latooka town in the distance, and upon a nearer approach we discovered
crowds of people collected under two enormous trees. Presently guns
fired, the drums beat, and as we drew nearer we perceived the Turkish
flags leading a crowd of about a hundred men, who approached us with the
usual salutes, every man firing off ball cartridge as fast as he could
reload. My men were already with this lot of ragamuffins, and this was
the ivory or slave trading party that they had conspired to join. They
were marching towards me to honour me with a salute, which, upon close
approach, ended by their holding their guns, muzzle downwards, and
firing them almost into my feet. I at once saw through their object in
giving me this reception;-they had already heard from the other party
exaggerated accounts of presents that their leader had received, and
they were jealous at the fact of my having established confidence with a
party opposed to them. The vakeel of Chenooda was the man who had from
the first instigated my men to revolt and to join his party, and he at
that moment had two of my deserters with him that had mutinied and
joined him at Gondokoro. It had been agreed that the remainder of my men
were to mutiny at this spot and to join him with MY ARMS AND AMMUNITION.
This was to be the stage for the outbreak. The apparent welcome was only
to throw me off my guard.

I was coldly polite, and begging them not to waste their powder, I went
to the large tree that threw a beautiful shade, and we sat down,
surrounded by a crowd of both natives and trader's people. Mahommed Her
sent me immediately a fat ox for my people: not to be under any
obligation I immediately gave him a double-barrelled gun. The ox was
slaughtered, and the people preferring beef to antelope venison, I gave
the flesh of the waterbuck to the Latooka porters belonging to Ibrahim's
party. Thus all teeth were busy. Ibrahim and his men occupied the shade
of another enormous tree at about a hundred and fifty yards' distance.

The town was Latome, one of the principal places in the Latooka country,
and was strongly palisaded, like the town of Wakkala. I did not go
through the entrance, but contented myself with resting under my tree
and writing up the journal from my note-book. Before we had been there
many hours the two parties of Ibrahim and Mahommed Her were engaged in a
hot contention. Mahommed Her declared that no one had a right of way
through that country, which belonged to him according to the customs of
the White Nile trade; that he would not permit the party of Ibrahim to
proceed, and that, should they persist in their march, he would resist
them by force.

Words grew high;-Ibrahim was not afraid of force, as he had a hundred
and forty men against Mahommed Her's hundred and five;-insults and abuse
were liberally exchanged, while the natives thronged around, enjoying
the fun, until at last Mahommed Her's temper becoming outrageous, he was
seized by the throat by Sulieman, a powerful choush or sergeant of
Ibrahim's party, and hurled away from the select society who claimed the
right of road. Great confusion arose, and both parties prepared for a
fight, which after the usual bluster died away to nothing. However, I
noticed that my men most unmistakeably took the part of Mahommed Her
against Ibrahim; they belonging to his tribe.

The evening arrived, and my vakeel, with his usual cunning, came to ask
me "whether I intended to start to-morrow?" He said there was excellent
shooting in this neighbourhood, and that Ibrahim's camp not being more
than five hours' march beyond, I could at any time join him, should I
think proper. Many of my men were sullenly listening to my reply, which
was, that we should start in company with Ibrahim. The men immediately
turned their backs, and swaggered insolently to the town, muttering
something that I could not distinctly understand. I gave orders
directly, that no man should sleep in the town, but that all should be
at their posts by the luggage under the tree that I occupied. At night
several men were absent, and were with difficulty brought from the town
by the vakeel. The whole of the night was passed by the rival parties
quarrelling and fighting. At 5.30 on the following morning the drum of
Ibrahim's party beat the call, and his men with great alacrity got their
porters together and prepared to march.

My vakeel was not to be found; my men were lying idly in the positions
where they had slept; and not a man obeyed when I gave the order to
prepare to start except Richarn and Sali. I saw that the moment had
arrived. Again I gave the order to the men, to get up and load the
animals; ...not a man would move, except three or four who slowly rose
from the ground, and stood resting on their guns. In the meantime
Richarn and Sali were bringing the camels and making them kneel by the
luggage. The boy Saat was evidently expecting a row, and although
engaged with the black women in packing, he kept his eyes constantly
upon me.

I now observed that Bellaal was standing very near me on my right, in
advance of the men who had risen from the ground, and employed himself
in eyeing me from head to foot with the most determined insolence. The
fellow had his gun in his hand, and he was telegraphing by looks with
those who were standing near him, while not one of the others rose from
the ground, although close to me. Pretending not to notice Bellaal who
was now as I had expected once more the ringleader, for the third time I
ordered the men to rise immediately, and to load the camels. Not a man
moved, but the fellow Bellaal marched up to me, and looking me straight
in the face dashed the butt-end of his gun in defiance on the ground,
and led the mutiny. "Not a man shall go with you!-go where you like with
Ibrahim, but we won't follow you, nor move a step farther. The men shall
not load the camels; you may employ the 'niggers' to do it, but not us."

I looked at this mutinous rascal for a moment; this was the burst of the
conspiracy, and the threats and insolence that I had been forced to pass
over for the sake of the expedition all rushed before me. "Lay down your
gun!" I thundered, "and load the camels!" . . . . . . "I won't"--was his
reply. "Then stop here!" I answered; at the same time lashing out as
quick as lightning with my right hand upon his jaw.

He rolled over in a heap, his gun flying some yards from his hand; and
the late ringleader lay apparently insensible among the luggage, while
several of his friends ran to him, and did the good Samaritan. Following
up on the moment the advantage I had gained by establishing a panic, I
seized my rifle and rushed into the midst of the wavering men, catching
first one by the throat, and then another, and dragging them to the
camels, which I insisted upon their immediately loading. All except
three, who attended to the ruined ringleader, mechanically obeyed.
Richarn and Sali both shouted to them to "burry;" and the vakeel
arriving at this moment and seeing how matters stood, himself assisted,
and urged the men to obey.

Ibrahim's party had started. The animals were soon loaded, and leaving
the vakeel to take them in charge, we cantered on to overtake Ibrahim,
having crushed the mutiny, and given such an example, that in the event
of future conspiracies my men would find it difficult to obtain a
ringleader. So ended the famous conspiracy that had been reported to me
by both Saat and Richarn before we left Gondokoro;-and so much for the
threat of "firing simultaneously at me and deserting my wife in the
jungle." In those savage countries success frequently depends upon one
particular moment; you may lose or win according to your action at that
critical instant. We congratulated ourselves upon the termination of
this affair, which I trusted would be the last of the mutinies.

The country was now lovely; we were at the base of the mountain
"Lafeet," which rose abruptly on our left to the height of about 3,000
feet, the highest peak of the eastern chain that formed the broad valley
of Latooka. The course of the valley was from S.E. to N.W.; about forty
miles long by eighteen miles wide; the flat bottom was diversified by
woods, thick jungles, open plains, and the ever-present hegleek trees,
which in some places gave the appearance of forest. The south side of
the valley was bounded by a high range of mountains, rising to six or
seven thousand feet above the general level of Latooka, while the
extreme end was almost blocked by a noble but isolated mountain of about
5,000 feet.

Our path being at the foot of the Lafeet chain, the ground was sandy but
firm, being composed of disintegrated portions of the granite rocks that
had washed down from the mountains, and we rode quickly along a natural
road, equal to the best highway in England. We soon overtook Ibrahim and
his party, and recounted the affair of mutiny.

The long string of porters now closed together as we were approaching a
rebel town of Latooka that was hostile to both Turks and others.
Suddenly one of the native porters threw down his load and bolted over
the open ground towards the village at full speed. The fellow bounded
along like an antelope, and was immediately pursued by half a dozen
Turks. "Shoot him! shoot him! knock him over!" was shouted from the main
body; and twenty guns were immediately pointed at the fugitive, who
distanced his pursuers as a horse would outstrip an ox.

To save the man I gave chase on Filfil, putting myself in the line
between him and the guns, to prevent them from firing. After a short
course I overtook him, but he still continued running, and upon my
closing with him he threw his spear on the ground, but still ran. Not
being able to speak his language, I made signs that he should hold the
mane of my horse, and that no one should hurt him. He at once clutched
with both hands the horse's mane, and pushed himself almost under my
knee in his efforts to keep close to me for protection. The Turks
arrived breathless, and the native appeared as terrified as a hare at
the moment it is seized by the greyhound. "Shoot him!" they one and all
shouted. "Well done, `Hawaga!' (Sir) you caught him beautifully! We
never could have caught him without your horse. Pull him out! we'll
shoot him as an example to the others!" I explained that he was my man,
and belonged to me as I had caught him, therefore I could not allow him
to be shot. "Then we'll give him five hundred with the coorbatch!" they
cried. Even this generous offer I declined, and I insisted that he
should accompany me direct to Ibrahim, into whose hands I should myself
deliver him. Accordingly, still clutching to my horse's mane, the
captive followed, and was received by the main body on arrival with
shouts of derision.

I told Ibrahim that he must forgive him this time, if he promised to
carry his load to the end of the journey. He immediately picked up his
heavy burden as though it were a feather, and balancing it on his head,
stepped along in the line of porters as though nothing had occurred.

Trifling as this incident may appear, it was of much service to me, as
it served as an introduction to both Turks and natives. I heard the
former conversing together, praising the speed of the horse, and
congratulating themselves on the impossibility of the porters escaping
now that they had seen how quickly they could be overtaken. Another
remarked, "Wah Illahi, I should not like to chase a nigger so closely
while a lance was in his hand. I expected he would turn sharp round and
throw it through the Hawaga." Thus I was now looked upon by the Turks as
an ALLY, and at the same time I was regarded by the Latookas as their
friend for having saved their man; and they grinned their approbation in
the most unmistakeable manner as I rode past their line, shouting, "
Morrte, morrte mattat!" (welcome, welcome, chief!) On arriving at a
large town named Kattaga, we rested under the shade of an immense
tamarind tree. There was no sign of my men and animals, and I began to
think that something had gone wrong. For two hours we waited for their
arrival. Ascending some rising ground, I at length observed my caravan
approaching in the distance, and every one of my men, except Richarn,
mounted upon my donkeys, although the poor animals were already carrying
loads of 150 lbs. each. Upon observing me, the dismount was sudden and
general. On their arrival I found that three of the men had deserted,
including "Bellaal," and had joined the party of Mahommed Her, taking
with them my guns and ammunition. Two had previously joined that party;
thus five of my men were now engaged by those slave-hunters, and I
little doubted that my remaining men would abscond likewise.

On the arrival of my vakeel he told me, in face of the men, that so many
had deserted, and that the others had refused to assist him in taking
the guns from them; thus my arms and ammunition had been forcibly
stolen. I abused both the vakeel and the men most thoroughly; and "as
for the mutineers who have joined the slave-hunters, Inshallah, the
vultures shall pick their bones!" This charitable wish--which, I
believe, I expressed with intense hatred--was never forgotten either by
my own men or by the Turks. Believing firmly in the evil eye, their
superstitious fears were immediately excited. Continuing the march along
the same style of country we shortly came in view of Tarrangolle, the
chief town of Latooka, at which point was the station of Ibrahim. We had
marched thirteen miles from Latome, the station of Mahommed Her, at
which place my men had deserted, and we were now 101 miles from
Gondokoro by dead reckoning.

There were some superb trees situated close to the town, under which we
camped until the natives could prepare a hut for our reception. Crowds
of people now surrounded us, amazed at the two great objects of
interest--the camels, and a white woman. They did not think me very
peculiar, as I was nearly as brown as an Arab.

The Latookas are the finest savages I have ever seen. I measured a
number of them as they happened to enter my tent, and allowing two
inches for the thickness of their felt helmets, the average height was 5
ft. 11 1/2 in. Not only are they tall, but they possess a wonderful
muscular development, having beautifully proportioned legs and arms; and
although extremely powerful, they are never fleshy or corpulent. The
formation of head and general physiognomy is totally different from all
other tribes that I have met with in the neighbourhood of the White
Nile. They have high foreheads, large eyes, rather high cheekbones,
mouths not very large, well-shaped, and the lips rather full. They all
have a remarkably pleasing cast of countenance, and are a great contrast
to the other tribes in civility of manner. Altogether their appearance
denotes a Galla origin, and it is most probable that, at some former
period, an invasion by the Gallas of this country originated the
settlement of the Latookas.

One of the principal channels, if not the main stream of the river
Sobat, is only four days' march or fifty miles east of Latooka, and is
known to the natives as the Chol. The east bank of that stream is
occupied by the Gallas, who have frequently invaded the Latooka country.
There is an interesting circumstance connected with these invasions,
that the Gallas were invariably mounted upon MULES. Neither horse,
camel, nor other beast of burden is known to any of the White Nile
tribes, therefore the existence of mules on the east bank of the Chol is
a distinguishing feature. Both Abyssinia and the Galla being renowned
for a fine breed of mules, affords good circumstantial evidence that the
Akkara tribe of the Chol are true Gallas, and that the Latookas may be
derived from a similar origin by settlements after conquest.

The great chief of the Latookas, "Moy," assured me that his people could
not withstand the cavalry of the Akkara, although they were superior to
all other tribes on foot.

I have heard the traders of Khartoum pretend that they can distinguish
the tribes of the White Nile by their individual type. I must confess my
inability on this point. In vain I have attempted to trace an actual
difference. To me the only distinguishing mark between the tribes
bordering the White River is a peculiarity in either dressing the hair,
or in ornament. The difference of general appearance caused by a variety
of hairdressing is most perplexing, and is apt to mislead a traveller
who is only a superficial observer; but from the commencement of the
negro tribes in N. lat. 12 degrees to Ellyria in lat. 4 degrees 30
minutes I have found no specific difference in the people. The actual
change takes place suddenly on arrival in Latooka, and this is accounted
for by an admixture with the Gallas.

The Latookas are a fine, frank, and warlike race. Far from being the
morose set of savages that I had hitherto seen, they were excessively
merry, and always ready for either a laugh or a fight. The town of
Tarrangolle contained about three thousand houses, and was not only
surrounded by iron-wood palisades, but every house was individually
fortified by a little stockaded courtyard. The cattle were kept in large
kraals in various parts of the town, and were most carefully attended
to, fires being lit every night to protect them from flies; and high
platforms, in three tiers, were erected in many places, upon which
sentinels watched both day and night to give the alarm in case of
danger. The cattle are the wealth of the country, and so rich are the
Latookas in oxen, that ten or twelve thousand head are housed in every
large town; thus the natives are ever on the watch, fearing the attacks
of the adjacent tribes.

The houses of the Latookas are generally bell-shaped, while others are
precisely like huge candle-extinguishers, about twenty-five feet high.
The roofs are neatly thatched, at an angle of about 75 degrees, resting
upon a circular wall about four feet high; thus the roof forms a cap
descending to within two feet and a half of the ground. The doorway is
only two feet and two inches high, thus an entrance must be effected
upon all-fours. The interior is remarkably clean, but dark, as the
architects have no idea of windows. It is a curious fact that the
circular form of but is the only style of architecture adopted among all
the tribes of Central Africa, and also among the Arabs of Upper Egypt;
and that, although these differ more or less in the form of the roof, no
tribe has ever yet sufficiently advanced to construct a window. The town
of Tarrangolle is arranged with several entrances, in the shape of low
archways through the palisades; these are closed at night by large
branches of the hooked thorn of the kittur bush (a species of mimosa).
The main street is broad, but all others are studiously arranged to
admit of only one cow, in single file, between high stockades; thus, in
the event of an attack, these narrow passages could be easily defended,
and it would be impossible to drive off their vast herds of cattle
unless by the main street. The large cattle kraals are accordingly
arranged in various quarters in connexion with the great road, and the
entrance of each kraal is a small archway in the strong iron-wood fence
sufficiently wide to admit one ox at a time.

Suspended from the arch is a bell, formed of the shell of the Dolape
palm-nut, against which every animal must strike either its horns or
back, on entrance.

Every tinkle of the bell announces the passage of an ox into the kraal,
and they are thus counted every evening when brought home from pasture.
I had noticed, during the march from Latome, that the vicinity of every
town was announced by heaps of human remains. Bones and skulls formed a
Golgotha within a quarter of a mile of every village. Some of these were
in earthenware pots, generally broken; others lay strewn here and there;
while a heap in the centre showed that some form had originally been
observed in their disposition. This was explained by an extraordinary
custom most rigidly observed by the Latookas. Should a man be killed in
battle the body is allowed to remain where it fell, and is devoured by
the vultures and hyenas; but should he die a natural death, he or she is
buried in a shallow grave within a few feet of his own door, in the
little courtyard that surrounds each dwelling. Funeral dances are then
kept up in memory of the dead for several weeks; at the expiration of
which time, the body being sufficiently decomposed, is exhumed. The
bones are cleaned, and are deposited in an earthenware jar, and carried
to a spot near the town which is regarded as the cemetery. I observed
that they were not particular in regarding the spot as sacred, as signs
of nuisances were present even upon the bones, that in civilized
countries would have been regarded as an insult.

There is little difficulty in describing the toilette of the native--
that of the men being simplified by the sole covering of the head, the
body being entirely nude. It is curious to observe among these wild
savages the consummate vanity displayed in their head-dresses. Every
tribe has a distinct and unchanging fashion for dressing the hair; and
so elaborate is the coiffure that hair-dressing is reduced to a science.
European ladies would be startled at the fact, that to perfect the
coiffure of a man requires a period of from eight to ten years! However
tedious the operation, the result is extraordinary. The Latookas wear
most exquisite helmets, all of which are formed of their own hair; and
are, of course, fixtures. At first sight it appears incredible, but a
minute examination shows the wonderful perseverance of years in
producing what must be highly inconvenient. The thick, crisp wool is
woven with fine twine, formed from the bark of a tree, until it presents
a thick network of felt. As the hair grows through this matted substance
it is subjected to the same process, until, in the course of years, a
compact substance is formed like a strong felt, about an inch and a half
thick, that has been trained into the shape of a helmet. A strong rim,
of about two inches deep, is formed by sewing it together with thread;
and the front part of the helmet is protected by a piece of polished
copper; while a piece of the same metal, shaped like the half of a
bishop's mitre and about a foot in length, forms the crest. The
framework of the helmet being at length completed, it must be perfected
by an arrangement of beads, should the owner of the head be sufficiently
rich to indulge in the coveted distinction. The beads most in fashion
are the red and the blue porcelain, about the size of small peas. These
are sewn on the surface of the felt, and so beautifully arranged in
sections of blue and red that the entire helmet appears to be formed of
beads; and the handsome crest of polished copper, surmounted by
ostrich-plumes, gives a most dignified and martial appearance to this
elaborate head-dress. No helmet is supposed to be complete without a row
of cowrie-shells stitched around the rim so as to form a solid edge.

The Latookas have neither bows nor arrows, their weapons consisting of
the lance, a powerful iron-headed mace, a long-bladed knife or sword,
and an ugly iron bracelet, armed with knife-blades about four inches
long by half an inch broad: the latter is used to strike with if
disarmed, and to tear with when wrestling with an enemy. Their shields
are either of buffaloes' hide or of giraffes', the latter being highly
prized as excessively tough although light, and thus combining the two
requisite qualities of a good shield; they are usually about four feet
six inches long by two feet wide, and are the largest I have seen.
Altogether, everything in Latooka looks like fighting. Although the men
devote so much attention to their head-dress, the women are extremely
simple. It is a curious fact, that while the men are remarkably
handsome, the women are exceedingly plain;--they are immense creatures,
few being under five feet seven in height, with prodigious limbs. Their
superior strength to that of other tribes may be seen in the size of
their water jars, which are nearly double as large as any I have seen
elsewhere, containing about ten gallons; in these they fetch water from
the stream about a mile distant from the town. They wear exceedingly
long tails, precisely like those of horses, but made of fine twine and
rubbed with red ochre and grease. They are very convenient when they
creep into their huts on bands and knees. In addition to the tails, they
wear a large flap of tanned leather in front. Should I ever visit that
country again, I should take a great number of "Freemasons'" aprons for
the women; these would be highly prized, and would create a perfect
FUROR. The only really pretty women that I saw in Latooka were Bokke,
the wife of the chief, and her daughter; they were fac-similes of each
other, the latter having the advantage of being the second edition. Both
women and men were extremely eager for beads of all kinds, the most
valuable being the red and blue porcelain for helmets, and the large
opalescent bead, the size of a child's marble.

The day after my arrival in Latooka I was accommodated by the chief with
a hut in a neat courtyard, beautifully clean and cemented with clay,
ashes, and cow-dung. Not patronising the architectural advantages of a
doorway of two feet high, I pitched my large tent in the yard and stowed
all my baggage in the hut. All being arranged, I had a large Persian
carpet spread upon the ground, and received the chief of Latooka in
state. He was introduced by Ibrahim, and I had the advantage of his

I commenced the conversation by ordering a present to be laid on the
carpet of several necklaces of valuable beads, copper bars, and coloured
cotton handkerchief. It was most amusing to witness his delight at a
string of fifty little "berrets" (opal beads the size of marbles) which
I had brought into the country for the first time, and were accordingly
extremely valuable. No sooner had he surveyed them with undisguised
delight than he requested me to give him another string of opals for his
wife, or she would be in a bad humour;--accordingly a present for the
lady was added to the already large pile of beads that lay heaped upon
the carpet before him. After surveying his treasures with pride, he
heaved a deep sigh, and turning to the interpreter he said, "What a row
there will be in the family when my other wives see Bokke (his head
wife) dressed up with this finery. Tell the `Mattat' that unless he
gives necklaces for each of my other wives, they will fight!"
Accordingly I asked him the number of ladies that made him anxious. He
deliberately began to count upon his fingers, and having exhausted the
digits of one hand, I compromised immediately, begging him not to go
through the whole of his establishment, and presented him with about
three pounds of various beads, to be divided among them. He appeared
highly delighted, and declared his intention of sending all his wives to
pay Mrs. Baker a visit. This was an awful visitation, as each wife would
expect a present for herself, and would assuredly have either a child or
a friend for whom she would beg an addition. I therefore told him that
the heat was so great that we could not bear too many in the tent, but
that if Bokke, his favourite, would appear, we should be glad to see

Accordingly he departed, and shortly we were honoured by a visit. Bokke
and her daughter were announced, and a prettier pair of savages I never
saw. They were very clean;--their hair was worn short, like all the
women of the country, and plastered with red ochre and fat, so as to
look like vermilion; their faces were slightly tattooed on the cheeks
and temples; and they sat down on the many-coloured carpet with great
surprise, and stared at the first white man and woman they had ever
seen. We gave them both a number of necklaces of red and blue beads, and
I secured Bokke's portrait in my sketch book, obtaining a very correct
likeness. She told us that Mahommed Her's men were very bad people; that
they had burnt and plundered one of her villages; and that one of the
Latookas who had been wounded in the fight by a bullet had just died,
and they were to dance for him to-morrow, if we would like to attend.
She asked many questions; how many wives I had? and was astonished to
hear that I was contented with one. This seemed to amuse her immensely,
and she laughed heartily with her daughter at the idea. She said that my
wife would be much improved if she would extract her four front teeth
from the lower jaw, and wear the red ointment on her hair, according to
the fashion of the country; she also proposed that she should pierce her
under lip, and wear the long pointed polished crystal, about the size of
a drawing pencil, that is the "thing" in the Latooka country. No woman
among the tribe who has any pretensions to be a "swell" would be without
this highly-prized ornament, and one of my thermometers having come to
an end I broke the tube into three pieces, and they were considered as
presents of the highest value, to be worn through the perforated under
lip. Lest the piece should slip through the hole in the lip, a kind of
rivet is formed by twine bound round the inner extremity, and this
protruding into the space left by the extraction of the four front teeth
of the lower jaw, entices the tongue to act upon the extremity, which
gives it a wriggling motion, indescribably ludicrous during

I cannot understand for what reason all the White Nile tribes extract
the four front teeth of the lower jaw. Were the meat of the country
tender, the loss of teeth might be a trifle; but I have usually found
that even a good set of grinders are sometimes puzzled to go through the
operation needful to a Latooka beefsteak. It is difficult to explain
real beauty; a defect in one country is a desideratum in another; scars
upon the face are, in Europe, a blemish; but here and in the Arab
countries no beauty can be perfect until the cheeks or temples have been

The Arabs make three gashes upon each cheek, and rub the wounds with
salt and a kind of porridge (asida) to produce proud flesh; thus every
female slave, captured by the slave-hunters, is marked to prove her
identity, and to improve her charms. Each tribe has its peculiar fashion
as to the position and form of the cicatrix.

The Latookas gash the temples and cheeks of their women, but do not
raise the scar above the surface, as is the custom of the Arabs.

Polygamy is, of course, the general custom; the number of a man's wives
depending entirely upon his wealth, precisely as would the number of his
horses in England. There is no such thing as love in these countries:
the feeling is not understood, nor does it exist in the shape in which
we understand it. Everything is practical, without a particle of
romance. Women are so far appreciated as they are valuable animals. They
grind the corn, fetch the water, gather firewood, cement the floors,
cook the food, and propagate the race; but they are mere servants, and
as such are valuable. The price of a good-looking, strong young wife,
who could carry a heavy jar of water, would be ten cows; thus a man,
rich in cattle, would be rich in domestic bliss, as he could command a
multiplicity of wives. However delightful may be a family of daughters
in England, they nevertheless are costly treasures; but in Latooka, and
throughout savage lands, they are exceedingly profitable. The simple
rule of proportion will suggest that if one daughter is worth ten cows,
ten daughters must be worth a hundred, therefore a large family is the
source of wealth; the girls produce the cows, and the boys milk them.
All being perfectly naked (I mean the girls and the boys), there is no
expense, and the children act as herdsmen to the flocks as in the
patriarchal times. A multiplicity of wives thus increases wealth by the
increase of family. I am afraid this practical state of affairs will be
a strong barrier to missionary enterprise.

A savage holds to his cows, and his women, but especially to his COWS.
In a razzia fight he will seldom stand for the sake of his wives, but
when he does fight it is to save his cattle. I had now a vivid
exemplification of this theory.

One day, at about 3 P.M., the men of Ibrahim started upon some
mysterious errand, but returned equally mysterious at about midnight. On
the following morning I heard that they had intended to attack some
place upon the mountains, but they had heard that it was too powerful;
and as "discretion is the better part of valour," they had returned.

On the day following I heard that there had been some disaster, and that
the whole of Mahommed Her's party had been massacred. The natives seemed
very excited, and messenger succeeded messenger, all confirming the
account that Mahommed Her had attacked a village on the mountains, the
same that Ibrahim had intended to attack, and that the natives had
exterminated their whole party.

On the following morning I sent ten of my men with a party of Ibrahim's
to Latome to make inquiries. They returned on the following afternoon,
bringing with them two wounded men.

It appeared that Mahommed Her had ordered his party of 110 armed men, in
addition to 300 natives, to make a razzia upon a certain village among
the mountains for slaves and cattle. They had succeeded in burning a
village, and in capturing a great number of slaves. Having descended the
pass, a native gave them the route that would lead to the capture of a
large herd of cattle that they had not yet discovered. They once more
ascended the mountain by a different path, and arriving at the kraal,
they commenced driving off the vast herd of cattle. The Latookas, who
had not fought while their wives and children were being carried into
slavery, now fronted bravely against the muskets to defend their herds,
and charging the Turks, they drove them down the pass.

It was in vain that they fought; every bullet aimed at a Latooka struck
a rock, behind which the enemy was hidden. Rocks, stones, and lances
were hurled at them from all sides and from above; they were forced to

The retreat ended in a panic and precipitate flight. Hemmed in on all
sides, amidst a shower of lances and stones thrown from the mountain
above, the Turks fled pele-mele down the rocky and precipitous ravines.
Mistaking their route, they came to a precipice from which there was no
retreat. The screaming and yelling savages closed round them. Fighting
was useless; the natives, under cover of the numerous detached rocks,
offered no mark for an aim; while the crowd of armed savages thrust them
forward with wild yells to the very verge of the great precipice about
five hundred feet below. Down they fell! hurled to utter destruction by
the mass of Latookas pressing onward! A few fought to the last; but one
and all were at length forced, by sheer pressure, over the edge of the
cliff, and met a just reward for their atrocities.

My men looked utterly cast down, and a feeling of horror pervaded the
entire party. No quarter had been given by the Latookas; and upwards of
200 natives who had joined the slave-hunters in the attack, had also
perished with their allies. Mahommed Her had not him self accompanied
his people, both he and Bellaal, my late ringleader, having remained in
camp; the latter having, fortunately for him, been disabled, and placed
hors de combat by the example I had made during the mutiny.

My men were almost green with awe, when I asked them solemnly, "Where
were the men who had deserted from me?" Without answering a word they
brought two of my guns and laid them at my feet. They were covered with
clotted blood mixed with sand, which had hardened like cement over the
locks and various portions of the barrels. My guns were all marked. As I
looked at the numbers upon the stocks, I repeated aloud the names of the
owners. "Are they all dead?" I asked. "All dead," the men replied. "FOOD
FOR THE VULTURES?" I asked. "None of the bodies can be recovered,"
faltered my vakeel. "The two guns were brought from the spot by some
natives who escaped, and who saw the men fall. They are all killed."
"Better for them had they remained with me and done their duty. The hand
of God is heavy," I replied. My men slunk away abashed, leaving the gory
witnesses of defeat and death upon the ground. I called Saat and ordered
him to give the two guns to Richarn to clean.

Not only my own men but the whole of Ibrahim's party were of opinion
that I had some mysterious connexion with the disaster that had befallen
my mutineers. All remembered the bitterness of my prophecy, "The
vultures will pick their bones," and this terrible mishap having
occurred so immediately afterwards took a strong hold upon their
superstitious minds. As I passed through the camp, the men would quietly
exclaim, "Wah Illahi Hawaga!" (My God! Master.) To which I simply
replied, "Robinee fe!" (There is a God.) From that moment I observed an
extraordinary change in the manner of both my people and those of
Ibrahim, all of whom now paid us the greatest respect.

Unfortunately a great change had likewise taken place in the manner of
the Latookas. The whole town was greatly excited, drums were beating and
horns blowing in all quarters, every one rejoicing at the annihilation
of Mahommed Her's party. The natives no longer respected the superior
power of guns; in a hand-to-hand fight they had proved their own
superiority, and they had not the sense to distinguish the difference
between a struggle in a steep mountain pass and a battle on the open
plain. Ibrahim was apprehensive of a general attack on his party by the

This was rather awkward, as it was necessary for him to return to
Gondokoro for a large supply of ammunition which had been left there for
want of porters to convey it, when he had started for the interior. To
march to Gondokoro, and to guard the ammunition, would require a large
force in the present disturbed state of the country; thus we should be a
much-reduced party, which might induce the Latookas to attack us after
his departure. However, it was necessary that he should start. I
accordingly lent him a couple of donkeys to convey his powder, in case
he should not be able to procure porters.

After the departure of Ibrahim, the force of his party remaining at
Tarrangolle was reduced to thirty-five men, under the command of his
lieutenant, Suleiman. This was a weak detachment in the event of an
attack, especially as they had no separate camp, but were living in the
native town, the men quartered in detached huts, and accordingly at the
mercy of the natives if surprised. The brutality of the Turks was so
inseparable from their nature, that they continually insulted the native
women to such an extent that I felt sure they would provoke hostilities
in the present warlike humour of the Latookas. The stream being nearly a
mile distant, there was a difficulty in procuring water. The Turks being
far too lazy to carry it for themselves, seized upon the water-jars when
the women returned from the stream, and beat them severely upon their
refusal to deliver them without payment. I found no difficulty, as I
engaged a woman to bring a regular supply for a daily payment in beads.
Much bartering was going on between the Turks and the natives for
provisions, in which the latter were invariably cheated, and beaten if
they complained. I felt sure that such conduct must end in disagreement,
if not in actual fight, in the event of which I knew that I should be
dragged into the affair, although perfectly innocent, and having nothing
to do with the Turks.

My quarters in the town were near an open quadrangular space about
eighty yards square, inclosed upon all sides, but having a narrow
entrance to the main street. The Turks were scattered about in the
neighbouring lanes, their time passed in drinking merissa, and
quarrelling with the natives and with each other.

The day after Ibrahim's departure, the Turks seized some jars of water
by force from the women on their return from the stream. A row ensued,
and ended by one of the women being shamefully maltreated; and a
Latooka, who came to her assistance, was severely beaten. This I did not
see, but it was reported to me. I called Suleiman, and told him that if
such things were permitted it would entail a fight with the natives, in
which I should not allow my men to join; that I prohibited my men from
taking anything from the Latookas without just payment: thus, should a
fight be caused by the conduct of his people, they must get out of it as
they best could.

A bad feeling already existed between the natives and his people, owing
to the defeat of the party of Mahommed Her. Much good management was
required to avoid a collision, and the reverse was certain to cause an
outbreak. Shortly before dusk the women were again assaulted on their
return with water from the stream. One of Ibrahim's soldiers threatened
a powerful-looking Amazon with his stick because she refused to deliver
up her jar of water that she had carried about a mile for her own
requirements. Upon seeing this my pretty friend, Bokke, the chief's
wife, seized the soldier by the throat, wrested the stick from him,
while another woman disarmed him of his gun. Other women then set upon
him, and gave him a most ignominious shaking; while some gathered up mud
from the gutter and poured it down the barrel of his gun until they
effectually choked it; not content with this, they plastered large
masses of mud over the locks and trigger.

I looked on with enjoyment at the thorough discomfiture of the Turk. The
news quickly spread, and in revenge for his disgrace his comrades
severely beat some women at some distance from the camp. I heard
screams, and shouts, and a confused noise; and upon my arrival outside
the town, I saw large numbers of natives running from all quarters, and
collecting together with lances and shields. I felt sure that we were to
be involved in a general outbreak. However, the Turks beat the drum, and
collected their men, so that in a few minutes no straggler was in the

It was remarkably unpleasant to be dragged into a row by the conduct of
these brutal traders, with whom I had nothing in common, and who, should
a fight actually occur, would be certain to behave as cowards. The
Latookas would make no distinction between me and them, in the event of
an attack, as they would naturally class all strangers and new comers
with the hated Turks.

It was about 5 P.M. one hour before sunset. The woman who usually
brought us water delivered her jar, but disappeared immediately after
without sweeping the courtyard as was her custom. Her children, who
usually played in this inclosure, had vanished. On searching her hut,
which was in one corner of the yard, no one was to be found, and even
the grinding-stone was gone. Suspecting that something was in the wind,
I sent Karka and Gaddum Her, the two black servants, to search in
various huts in the neighbourhood to observe if the owners were present,
and whether the women were in their houses. Not a woman could be found.
Neither woman nor child remained in the large town of Tarrangolle. There
was an extraordinary stillness where usually all was noise and
chattering. All the women and children had been removed to the mountains
about two miles distant, and this so quickly and noiselessly that it
appeared incredible. I immediately sent to the house of the chief, and
requested his attendance. There were two chiefs, brothers; Moy was the
greater in point of rank, but his brother, Commoro, had more actual
authority with the people. I was glad that the latter appeared.

I sent to request an interpreter from the Turks, and upon his arrival I
asked Commoro why the women and children had been removed. He replied,
"That the Turks were so brutal that he could not prevail upon his people
to endure it any longer; their women were robbed and beaten, and they
were all so ill-treated, that he, as their chief, had no longer any
control over them; and that the odium of having introduced the Turks to
Latooka was thrown upon him." I asked him whether any of my men had
misbehaved. I explained that I should flog any one of my men who should
steal the merest trifle from his people, or insult any women. All my men
were in dark-brown uniforms. He said, "That none of the men with the
brown clothes had been complained of, but that his people had taken a
dislike to all strangers, owing to the conduct of the Turks, and that he
could not answer for the consequences."

There was a division among his own people, some wishing to fight and to
serve the Turks as the Latookas had served the party of Mahommed Her,
and others yielding to his advice, and agreeing to remain quiet.

I inquired whether the chief, Moy, intended peace or war. He said, "That
Bokke, his wife, had made him very angry against the Turks by describing
their conduct towards the women."

This was rather an unsatisfactory state of things. Commoro departed,
frankly admitting that the natives were much excited and wished to
attack, but that he would do his best with them.

These rascally TRADERS set every country in a blaze by their brutal
conduct, and rendered exploring, not only most dangerous but next to
impossible, without an exceedingly powerful force.

The sun set; and, as usual in tropical climates, darkness set in within
half an hour. Not a woman had returned to the town, nor was the voice of
a man to be heard. The natives had entirely forsaken the portion of the
town that both I and the Turks occupied. The night was perfectly calm,
and the stars shone so brightly, that I took an observation for the
latitude--4 degrees 30 minutes. There was a death-like stillness in
the air. Even the Turks, who were usually uproarious, were perfectly
quiet, and although my men made no remark, it was plain that we were all
occupied by the same thoughts, and that an attack was expected.

It was about 9 o'clock, and the stillness had become almost painful.
There was no cry of a bird; not even the howl of a hyena: the camels
were sleeping; but every man was wide awake, and the sentries well on
the alert. We were almost listening at the supernatural stillness, if I
may so describe the perfect calm, when, suddenly, every one startled at
the deep and solemn boom of the great war-drum, or nogara! Three
distinct beats, at slow intervals, rang through the apparently deserted
town, and echoed loudly from the neighbouring mountain. It was the
signal! A few minutes elapsed, and like a distant echo from the north
the three mournful tones again distinctly sounded. Was it an echo?
Impossible. Now from the south, far distant, but unmistakeable, the same
three regular beats came booming through the still night air. Again and
again, from every quarter, spreading far and wide, the signal was
responded; and the whole country echoed those three solemn notes so full
of warning. Once more the great nogara of Tarrangolle sounded the
original alarm within a few hundred paces of our quarters. The whole
country was up.

There was no doubt about the matter. The Turks well knew those three
notes were the war-signal of the Latookas. I immediately called
Suleiman. It was necessary to act in unison. I ordered him to beat the
drum loudly for about five minutes to answer the nogara. His men were
all scattered in several small inclosures. I called them all out into
the open quadrangle; in the centre of which I placed the baggage, and
planted the English ensign in the middle, while the Turks fixed their
flag within a few paces. Posting sentries at each corner of the square,
I stationed patrols in the principal street. In the meantime Mrs. Baker
had laid out upon a mat several hundred cartridges of buck-shot,
powder-flasks, wadding, and opened several boxes of caps, all of which
were neatly arranged for a reserve of ammunition; while a long row of
first-class double guns and rifles lay in readiness. The boy Saat was
full of fight, and immediately strapped on his belt and cartouche-box,
and took his stand among the men.

I ordered the men, in the event of an attack, to immediately set fire to
all the huts around the quadrangle; in which case the sudden rush of a
large body of men would be impossible, and the huts being of straw, the
town would be quickly in a blaze.

Everything was in order to resist an attack in five minutes from the
sounding of the nogara.

The patrols shortly reported that large bodies of men were collecting
outside the town. The great nogara again beat, and was answered at
intervals as before from the neighbouring villages; but the Turks' drum
kept up an uninterrupted roll as a challenge whenever the nogara
sounded. Instead of the intense stillness that had formerly been almost
painful, a distinct hum of distant voices betokened the gathering of
large bodies of men. However, we were well fortified; and the Latookas
knew it. We occupied the very stronghold that they had themselves
constructed for the defence of their town; and the square being
surrounded with strong iron-wood palisades with only a narrow entrance,
would be impregnable when held, as now, by fifty men well armed with
guns against a mob whose best weapons were only lances. I sent men up
the watchmen's stations; these were about twenty-five feet high; and the
night being clear, they could distinctly report the movements of a dark
mass of natives that were ever increasing on the outside of the town at
about two hundred yards' distance. The rattle of the Turks' drum
repeatedly sounded in reply to the nogara, and the intended attack
seemed destined to relapse into a noisy but empty battle of the drums.

A few hours passed in uncertainty, when, at about midnight, the chief
Commoro came fearlessly to the patrol, and was admitted to the
quadrangle. He seemed greatly struck with the preparations for defence,
and explained that the nogara had been beaten without his orders, and
accordingly the whole country had risen; but that he had explained to
the people that I had no hostile intentions, and that all would be well
if they only kept the peace. He said they certainly had intended to
attack us, and were surprised that we were prepared, as proved by the
immediate reply of the Turks' drum to their nogara. He assured us that
he would not sleep that night, but would watch that nothing should
happen. I assured him that we should also keep awake, but should the
nogara sound once more I should give orders to my men to set fire to the
town, as I should not allow the natives to make use of such threats with
impunity. I agreed to use what little interest I had to keep the Turks
in order, but that I must not be held responsible by the natives for
their proceedings, as I was not of their country, neither had I anything
to do with them. I explained, that upon Ibrahim's return from Gondokoro
things might improve, as he was the captain of the Turks, and might be
able to hold his men in command. Commoro departed, and about 2 A.M. the
dense crowds of armed men that had accumulated outside the town began to

The morning broke and saw the men still under arms, but the excitement
had passed. The women soon reappeared with their water jars as usual,
but on this occasion they were perfectly unmolested by the Turks, who,
having passed the night in momentary expectation of an attack, were now
upon their best behaviour. However, I heard them muttering among
themselves, "Wait until Ibrahim returns with reinforcements and
ammunition, and we will pay the Latookas for last night."

The town filled; and the Latookas behaved as though nothing out of the
common had occurred; but when questioned, they coolly confessed that
they had intended to surprise us, but that we were too "wide awake.". It
is extraordinary that these fellows are so stupid as to beat the drum or
nogara before the attack, as it naturally gives the alarm, and renders a
surprise impossible; nevertheless, the war-drum is always a preliminary
step to hostilities. I now resolved to camp outside the town, so as not
to be mixed up in any way with the Turks, whose presence was certain to
create enmity. Accordingly I engaged a number of natives to cut thorns,
and to make a zareeba, or camp, about four hundred yards from the main
entrance of the town, on the road to the stream of water. In a few days
it was completed, and I constructed houses for my men, and two good huts
for ourselves. Having a supply of garden seeds, I arranged a few beds,
which I sowed with onions, cabbages, and radishes. My camp was eighty
yards long, and forty wide. My horses were picqueted in two corners,
while the donkeys and camels occupied the opposite extremity. We now
felt perfectly independent. I had masses of supplies, and I resolved to
work round to the south-west whenever it might be possible, and thus to
recover the route that I had originally proposed for my journey south.
My present difficulty was the want of an interpreter. The Turks had
several, and I hoped that on the return of Ibrahim from Gondokoro I
might induce him to lend me a Bari lad for some consideration. For the
present I was obliged to send to the Turks' camp and borrow an
interpreter whenever I required one, which was both troublesome and

Although I was willing to purchase all supplies with either beads or
copper bracelets, I found it was impossible to procure meat. The natives
refused to sell either cattle or goats. This was most tantalizing, as
not less than 10,000 head of cattle filed by my camp every morning as
they were driven from the town to pasturage. All this amount of beef
paraded before me, and did not produce a steak! Milk was cheap and
abundant; fowl were scarce; corn was plentiful; vegetables were unknown;
not even pumpkins were grown by the Latookas.

Fortunately there was an abundance of small game in the shape of wild
ducks, pigeons, doves; and a great variety of birds such as herons,
cranes, spoonbills, &c. Travellers should always take as large a supply
of shot as possible. I had four hundred weight, and prodigious
quantities of powder and caps: thus I could at all times kill sufficient
game for ourselves and people. There were a series of small marshy pools
scattered over the country near the stream that ran through the valley;
these were the resort of numerous ducks, which afforded excellent sport.
The town of Tarrangolle is situated at the foot of the mountain, about a
mile from the stream, which is about eighty yards wide, but shallow. In
the dry weather, water is obtained by wells dug in the sandy bed, but
during the rains it is a simple torrent not exceeding three feet in
depth. The bed being sandy, the numerous banks, left dry by the
fluctuations of the stream, are most inviting spots for ducks; and it
was only necessary to wait under a tree, on the river's bank, to obtain
thirty or forty shots in one morning as the ducks flew down the course
of the stream. I found two varieties: the small brown duck with a grey
head; and a magnificent variety, as large as the Muscovy, having a
copper-and-blue coloured tinselled back and wings, with a white but
speckled head and neck. This duck had a curious peculiarity in a fleshy
protuberance on the beak about as large as a half-crown. This stands
erect, like a cock's comb. Both this, and the smaller variety, were
delicious eating. There were two varieties of geese--the only two that
I have ever seen on the White Nile--the common Egyptian grey goose, and
a large black and white bird with a crimson head and neck, and a red and
yellow horny protuberance on the top of the head. This variety has a
sharp spur upon the wing an inch long, and exceedingly powerful; it is
used as a weapon of defence for striking, like the spurred wing of the

I frequeutly shot ten or twelve ducks, and as many cranes, before
breakfast; among others the beautiful crested crane, called by the Arabs
"garranook." The black velvet head of this crane, surrounded by a golden
crest, was a favourite ornament of the Latookas, and they were
immediately arranged as crests for their helmets. The neighbourhood of
my camp would have made a fortune for a feather-dealer; it was literally
strewn with down and plumes. I was always attended every morning by a
number of Latooka boys, who were eager sportsmen, and returned to camp
daily laden with ducks and geese.

No sooner did we arrive in camp than a number of boys volunteered to
pluck the birds, which they did for the sake of the longest feathers,
with which they immediately decked their woolly heads. Crowds of boys
were to be seen with heads like cauliflowers, all dressed with the
feathers of cranes and wild ducks. It appears to be accepted, both by
the savage and civilized, that birds' feathers are specially intended
for ornamenting the human head.

It was fortunate that Nature had thus stocked Latooka with game. It was
impossible to procure any other meat; and not only were the ducks and
geese to us what the quails were to the Israelites in the desert, but
they enabled me to make presents to the natives that assured them of our
good will.

Although the Latookas were far better than other tribes that I had met,
they were sufficiently annoying; they gave me no credit for real good
will, but they attributed my forbearance to weakness. On one occasion
Adda, one of the chiefs, came to ask me to join him in attacking a
village to procure molotes (iron hoes); he said, "Come along with me,
bring your men and guns, and we will attack a village near here, and
take their molotes and cattle; you keep the cattle, and I will have the
molotes." I asked him whether the village was in an enemy's country. "Oh
no!" he replied, "it is close here; but the people are rather
rebellious, and it will do them good to kill a few, and to take their
molotes. If you are afraid, never mind, I will ask the Turks to do it."
Thus forbearance on my part was supposed to be caused from weakness, and
it was difficult to persuade them that it originated in a feeling of
justice. This Adda most coolly proposed that we should plunder one of
his own villages that was rather too "liberal" in its views. Nothing is
more heartbreaking than to be so thoroughly misunderstood, and the
obtuseness of the savages was such, that I never could make them
understand the existence of good principle;--their one idea was
"power,"--force that could obtain all--the strong hand that could wrest
from the weak. In disgust I frequently noted the feelings of the moment
in my journal--a memorandum from which I copy as illustrative of the
time. "1863, 10th April, Latooka.--I wish the black sympathisers in
England could see Africa's inmost heart as I do, much of their sympathy
would subside. Human nature viewed in its crude state as pictured
amongst African savages is quite on a level with that of the brute, and
not to be compared with the noble character of the dog. There is neither
gratitude, pity, love, nor self-denial; no idea of duty; no religion;
but covetousness, ingratitude, selfishness and cruelty. All are thieves,
idle, envious, and ready to plunder and enslave their weaker



Drums were beating, horns blowing, and people were seen all running in
one direction;--the cause was a funeral dance, and I joined the crowd,
and soon found myself in the midst of the entertainment. The dancers
were most grotesquely got up. About a dozen huge ostrich feathers
adorned their helmets; either leopard or the black and white monkey
skins were suspended from their shoulders, and a leather tied round the
waist covered a large iron bell which was strapped upon the loins of
each dancer, like a woman's old-fashioned bustle: this they rung to the
time of the dance by jerking their posteriors in the most absurd manner.
A large crowd got up in this style created an indescribable hubbub,
heightened by the blowing of horns and the beating of seven nogaras of
various notes. Every dancer wore an antelope's horn suspended round the
neck, which he blew occasionally in the height of his excitement. These
instruments produced a sound partaking of the braying of a donkey and
the screech of an owl. Crowds of men rushed round and round in a sort of
"galop infernel," brandishing their lances and iron-headed maces, and
keeping tolerably in line five or six deep, following the leader who
headed them, dancing backwards. The women kept outside the line, dancing
a slow stupid step, and screaming a wild and most inharmonious chant;
while a long string of young girls and small children, their heads and
necks rubbed with red ochre and grease, and prettily ornamented with
strings of beads around their loins, kept a very good line, beating the
time with their feet, and jingling the numerous iron rings which adorned
their ankles to keep time with the drums. One woman attended upon the
men, running through the crowd with a gourd full of wood-ashes, handfuls
of which she showered over their heads, powdering them like millers; the
object of the operation I could not understand. The "premiere danseuse"
was immensely fat; she had passed the bloom of youth, but, "malgre" her
unwieldy state, she kept up the pace to the last, quite unconscious of
her general appearance, and absorbed with the excitement of the dance.

These festivities were to be continued in honour of the dead; and as
many friends had recently been killed, music and dancing would be in
fashion for some weeks.

There was an excellent interpreter belonging to Ibrahim's party--a Bari
lad of about eighteen. This boy had been in their service for some
years, and had learnt Arabic, which he spoke fluently, although with a
peculiar accent, owing to the extraction of the four front teeth of the
lower jaw, according to the general custom. It was of great importance
to obtain the confidence of Loggo, as my success depended much upon
information that I might obtain from the natives; therefore, whenever I
sent for him to hold any conversation with the people, I invariably gave
him a little present at parting. Accordingly he obeyed any summons from
me with great alacrity, knowing that the interview would terminate with
a "baksheesh" (present). In this manner I succeeded in establishing
confidence, and he would frequently come uncalled to my tent and
converse upon all manner of subjects. The Latooka language is different
to the Bari, and a second interpreter was necessary; this was a sharp
lad about the same age: thus the conversation was somewhat tedious, the
medium being Bari and Latooka.

The chief Commoro (the "Lion") was one of the most clever and
common-sense savages that I had seen in these countries, and the tribe
paid far more deference to his commands than to those of his brother,
"Moy," although the latter was the superior in rank.

One day I sent for Commoro after the usual funeral dance was completed,
and, through my two young interpreters, I had a long conversation with
him on the customs of his country. I wished if possible to fathom the
origin of the extraordinary custom of exhuming the body after burial, as
I imagined that in this act some idea might be traced to a belief in the

Commoro was, like all his people, extremely tall. Upon entering my tent
he took his seat upon the ground, the Latookas not using stools like the
other White Nile tribes. I commenced the conversation by complimenting
him on the perfection of his wives and daughters in the dance, and on
his own agility in the performance; and inquired for whom the ceremony
had been performed.

He replied, that it was for a man who had been recently killed, but no
one of great importance, the same ceremony being observed for every
person without distinction. I asked him why those slain in battle were
allowed to remain unburied. He said, it had always been the custom, but
that he could not explain it.

"But," I replied, "why should you disturb the bones of those whom you
have already buried, and expose them on the outskirts of the town?"

"It was the custom of our forefathers," he answered, "therefore we
continue to observe it."

"Have you no belief in a future existence after death? Is not some idea
expressed in the act of exhuming the bones after the flesh is decayed?"

Commoro (loq.).--"Existence AFTER death! How can that be? Can a dead man
get out of his grave, unless we dig him out?"

"Do you think man is like a beast, that dies and is ended?"

Commoro.--"Certainly; an ox is stronger than a man; but he dies, and his
bones last longer; they are bigger. A man's bones break quickly--he is

"Is not a man superior in sense to an ox? Has he not a mind to direct
his actions?"

Commoro.--"Some men are not so clever as an ox. Men must sow corn to
obtain food, but the ox and wild animals can procure it without sowing."

"Do you not know that there is a spirit within you more than flesh? Do
you not dream and wander in thought to distant places in your sleep?
Nevertheless, your body rests in one spot. How do you account for this?"

Commoro (laughing).--"Well, how do YOU account for it? It is a thing I
cannot understand; it occurs to me every night."

"The mind is independent of the body; the actual body can be fettered,
but the mind is uncontrollable; the body will die and will become dust,
or be eaten by vultures, but the spirit will exist for ever."

Commoro.--"Where will the spirit live?"

"Where does fire live? Cannot you produce a fire (The natives always
produce fire by rubbing two sticks together.) by rubbing two sticks
together, yet you SEE not the fire in the wood. Has not that fire, that
lies harmless and unseen in the sticks, the power to consume the whole
country? Which is the stronger, the small stick that first PRODUCES the
fire, or the fire itself? So is the spirit the element within the body,
as the element of fire exists in the stick; the element being superior
to the substance."

Commoro.--"Ha! Can you explain what we frequently see at night when lost
in the wilderness? I have myself been lost, and wandering in the dark, I
have seen a distant fire; upon approaching, the fire has vanished, and I
have been unable to trace the cause--nor could I find the spot."

"Have you no idea of the existence of spirits superior to either man or
beast? Have you no fear of evil except from bodily causes?"

Commoro.--"I am afraid of elephants and other animals when in the jungle
at night, but of nothing else."

"Then you believe in nothing; neither in a good nor evil spirit! And you
believe that when you die it will be the end of body and spirit; that
you are like other animals; and that there is no distinction between man
and beast; both disappear, and end at death?"

Commoro.--"Of course they do."

"Do you see no difference in good and bad actions?" Commoro.--"Yes,
there are good and bad in men and beasts."

"Do you think that a good man and a bad must share the same fate, and
alike die, and end?"

Commoro.--"Yes; what else can they do? How can they help dying? Good and
bad all die."

"Their bodies perish, but their spirits remain; the good in happiness,
the bad in misery. If you have no belief in a future state, WHY SHOULD A
MAN BE GOOD? Why should he not be bad, if he can prosper by wickedness?"

Commoro.--"Most people are bad; if they are strong they take from the
weak. The good people are all weak; they are good because they are not
strong enough to be bad."

Some corn had been taken out of a sack for the horses, and a few grains
lying scattered on the ground, I tried the beautiful metaphor of St.
Paul as an example of a future state. Making a small hole with my finger
in the ground, I placed a grain within it: "That," I said, "represents
you when you die." Covering it with earth, I continued, "That grain will
decay, but from it will rise the plant that will produce a reappearance
of the original form."

Commoro.--"Exactly so; that I understand. But the ORIGINAL grain does
NOT rise again; it rots like the dead man, and is ended; the fruit
produced is not the same grain that we buried, but the PRODUCTION of
that grain: so it is with man--I die, and decay, and am ended; but my
children grow up like the fruit of the grain. Some men have no children,
and some grains perish without fruit; then all are ended."

I was obliged to change the subject of conversation. In this wild naked
savage there was not even a superstition upon which to found a religious
feeling; there was a belief in matter; and to his understanding
everything was MATERIAL. It was extraordinary to find so much clearness
of perception combined with such complete obtuseness to anything ideal.

Giving up the religious argument as a failure, I resolved upon more
practical inquiries.

The Turks had only arrived in the Latooka country in the preceding year.
They had not introduced the cowrie shell; but I observed that every
helmet was ornamented with this species; it therefore occurred to me
that they must find their way into the country from Zanzibar.

In reply to my inquiries, Commoro pointed to the south, from which he
said they arrived in his country, but he had no idea from whence they
came. The direction was sufficient to prove that they must be sent from
the east coast, as Speke and Grant had followed the Zanzibar traders as
far as Karagwe, the 2 degrees S. lat.

Commoro could not possibly understand my object in visiting the Latooka
country; it was in vain that I attempted to explain the intention of my
journey. He said, "Suppose you get to the great lake; what will you do
with it? What will be the good of it? If you find that the large river
does flow from it, what then? What's the good of it?"

I could only assure him, that in England we had an intimate knowledge of
the whole world, except the interior of Africa, and that our object in
exploring was to benefit the hitherto unknown countries by instituting
legitimate trade, and introducing manufactures from England in exchange
for ivory and other productions. He replied that the Turks would never
trade fairly; that they were extremely bad people, and that they would
not purchase ivory in any other way than by bartering cattle, which they
stole from one tribe to sell to another.

Our conversation was suddenly terminated by one of my men running in to
the tent with the bad news that one of the camels had dropped down and
was dying. The report was too true. He was poisoned by a well-known
plant that he had been caught in the act of eating. In a few hours he
died. There is no more stupid animal than the camel. Nature has
implanted in most animals an instinctive knowledge of the plants
suitable for food, and they generally avoid those that are poisonous:
but the camel will eat indiscriminately anything that is green; and if
in a country where the plant exists that is well known by the Arabs as
the "camel poison," watchers must always accompany the animals while
grazing. The most fatal plant is a creeper, very succulent, and so
beautifully green that its dense foliage is most attractive to the
stupid victim. The stomach of the camel is very subject to inflammation,
which is rapidly fatal. I have frequently seen them, after several days
of sharp desert marching, arrive in good pasture, and die, within a few
hours, of inflammation caused by repletion. It is extraordinary how they
can exist upon the driest and apparently most innutritious food. When
other animals are starving, the camel manages to pick up a subsistence,
eating the ends of barren, leafless twigs, the dried sticks of certain
shrubs, and the tough dry paper-like substance of the dome palm, about
as succulent a breakfast as would be a green umbrella and a Times
newspaper. With intense greediness the camel, although a hermit in
simplicity of fare in hard times, feeds voraciously when in abundant
pasture, always seeking the greenest shrubs. The poison-bush becomes a
fatal bait.

The camel is by no means well understood in Europe. Far from being the
docile and patient animal generally described, it is quite the reverse,
and the males are frequently dangerous. They are exceedingly perverse;
and are, as before described, excessively stupid. For the great deserts
they are wonderfully adapted, and without them it would be impossible to
cross certain tracts of country for want of water.

Exaggerated accounts have been written respecting the length of time
that a camel can travel without drinking. The period that the animal can
subsist without suffering from thirst depends entirely upon the season
and the quality of food. Precisely as in Europe sheep require but little
water when fed upon turnips, so does the camel exist almost without
drinking during the rainy season when pastured upon succulent and dewy
herbage. During the hottest season, when green herbage ceases to exist
in the countries inhabited by camels, they are led to water every
alternate day, thus they are supposed to drink once in forty-eight
hours; but when upon the march across deserts, where no water exists,
they are expected to carry a load of from five to six hundred pounds,
and to march twenty-five miles per day, for three days, without
drinking, but to be watered on the fourth day. Thus a camel should drink
the evening before the start, and he will carry his load one hundred
miles without the necessity of drinking; not, however, without suffering
from thirst. On the third day's march, during the hot simoom, the camel
should drink if possible; but he can endure the fourth day.

This peculiarity of constitution enables the camel to overcome obstacles
of nature that would otherwise be insurmountable. Not only can he travel
over the scorching sand of the withering deserts, but he never seeks the
shade. When released from his burden he kneels by his load in the
burning sand, and luxuriates in the glare of a sun that drives all other
beasts to shelter. The peculiar spongy formation of the foot renders the
camel exceedingly sure, although it is usual to believe that it is only
adapted for flat, sandy plains. I have travelled over mountains so
precipitous that no domestic animal but the camel could have
accomplished the task with a load. This capability is not shared
generally by the race, but by a breed belonging to the Hadendowa Arabs,
between the Red Sea and Taka. There is quite as great a variety in the
breeds of camels as of horses. Those most esteemed in the Soudan are the
Bishareen; they are not so large as others, but are exceedingly strong
and enduring.

The average value of a baggage camel among the Soudan Arabs is fifteen
dollars, but a good "hygeen," or riding dromedary, is worth from fifty
to a hundred and fifty dollars, according to his capabilities. A
thoroughly good hygeen is supposed to travel fifty miles a day, and to
continue this pace for five days, carrying only his rider and a small
water-skin or girba. His action should be so easy that his long ambling
trot should produce that peculiar movement adopted by a nurse when
hushing a child to sleep upon her knee. This movement is delightful, and
the quick elastic step of a first-class animal imparts an invigorating
spirit to the rider; and were it not for the intensity of the sun, he
would willingly ride for ever. The difference of action and of comfort
to the rider between a common camel and a high class hygeen is equal to
that between a thoroughbred and a heavy dray-horse.

However, with all the good qualities of a "Bishareen," my best camel was
dead. This was a sad loss. So long as my animals were well I felt
independent, and the death of this camel was equal to minus five cwt. of
luggage. My men were so idle that they paid no attention to the animals,
and the watcher who had been appointed to look after the four camels had
amused himself by going to the Latooka dance. Thus was the loss of my
best animal occasioned.

So well had all my saddles and pads been arranged at Khartoum, that
although we had marched seven days with exceedingly heavy loads, not one
of the animals had a sore back. The donkeys were exceedingly fresh, but
they had acquired a most disgusting habit. The Latookas are remarkably
clean in their towns, and nothing unclean is permitted within the
stockade or fence. Thus the outside, especially the neighbourhood of the
various entrances, was excessively filthy, and my donkeys actually
fattened as scavengers, like pigs. I remembered that my unfortunate
German Johann Schmidt had formerly told me that he was at one time
shooting in the Base country, where the grass had been burnt, and not a
blade of vegetation was procurable. He had abundance of sport, and he
fed his donkey upon the flesh of antelopes, which he ate with avidity,
and throve exceedingly. It is a curious fact that donkeys should under
certain circumstances become omnivorous, while horses remain clean



The country in the immediate neighbourhood of Latooka was parched, as
there had been no rain for some time. The latitude was 4 degrees 35',
longitude 32 degrees 55' E.; the rains had commenced in February on the
mountains on the south side of the valley, about eighteen miles distant.
Every day there was an appearance of a storm; the dark clouds gathered
ominously around the peak of the Gebel Lafeet above the town, but they
were invariably attracted by the higher range on the opposite and south
side of the valley, where they daily expended themselves at about 3 P.M.
On that side of the valley the mountains rose to about 6,000 feet, and
formed a beautiful object seen from my camp. It was most interesting to
observe the embryo storms travel from Tarrangolle in a circle, and
ultimately crown the higher range before us, while the thunder roared
and echoed from rock to rock across the plain.

The Latookas assured me that at the foot of those mountains there were
elephants and giraffes in abundance; accordingly, I determined to make a
reconnaissance of the country.

On the following morning I started on horseback, with two of my people
mounted, and a native guide, and rode through the beautiful valley of
Latooka to the foot of the range. The first five or six miles were
entirely de-pastured by the enormous herds of the Latookas who were
driven to that distance from the towns daily, all the country in the
immediate vicinity being dried up. The valley was extremely fertile, but
totally unoccupied and in a state of nature, being a wilderness of open
plains, jungles, patches of forest and gullies, that although dry
evidently formed swamps during the wet season. When about eight miles
from the town we came upon tracks of the smaller antelopes, which,
although the weakest, are the most daring in approaching the habitations
of man. A few miles farther on, we saw buffaloes and hartebeest, and
shortly came upon tracks of giraffes. Just at this moment the inky
clouds that as usual had gathered over Tarrangolle came circling around
us, and presently formed so dense a canopy that the darkness was like a
partial eclipse. The thunder warned us with tremendous explosions just
above us, while the lightning flashed almost at our feet with blinding
vividness. A cold wind suddenly rushed through the hitherto calm air;
this is the certain precursor of rain in hot climates, the heavier cold
air of the rain-cloud falling into the stratum of warmer and lighter
atmosphere below.

It DID rain--in such torrents as only the inhabitants of tropical
countries can understand. "Cover up the gun-locks!"--and the pieces of
mackintosh for that purpose were immediately secured in their places.
Well, let it rain!--it is rather pleasant to be wet through in a country
where the thermometer is seldom below 92 degrees Fahr., especially when
there is no doubt of getting wet through--not like the wretched
drizzling rain of England, that chills you with the fear that perhaps
your great-coat is not waterproof, but a regular douche bath that would
beat in the crown of a cheap hat. How delightful to be really cool in
the centre of Africa! I was charmingly wet--the water was running out of
the heels of my shoes, which were overflowing; the wind howled over the
flood that was pouring through the hitherto dry gullies, and in the
course of ten minutes the whole scene had changed. It was no longer the
tropics; the climate was that of old England restored to me: the chilled
air refreshed me, and I felt at home again. "How delightful!" I
exclaimed, as I turned round to see how my followers were enjoying it.

Dear me! I hardly knew my own people. Of all the miserable individuals I
ever saw, they were superlative--they were not enjoying the change of
climate in the least--with heads tucked down and streams of water
running from their nasal extremities, they endeavoured to avoid the
storm. Perfectly thoughtless of all but self in the extremity of their
misery, they had neglected the precaution of lowering the muzzles of
their guns, and my beautiful No. 10 rifles were full of water. "Charming
day!" I exclaimed to my soaked and shivering followers, who looked like
kittens in a pond. They muttered something that might be interpreted
"What's fun to you is death to us." I comforted them with the assurance
that this was an English climate on a midsummer day. If my clothed Arabs
suffered from cold, where was my naked guide? He was the most pitiable
object I ever saw; with teeth chattering and knees knocking together
with cold, he crouched under the imaginary shelter of a large tamarind
tree; he was no longer the clean black that had started as my guide, but
the cold and wet had turned him grey, and being thin, he looked like an
exaggerated slate-pencil. Not wishing to discourage my men, I
unselfishly turned back just as I was beginning to enjoy myself, and my

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