We had to ground the vessel on a shallow sandbank every night; she leaked so fast, that in deep water she would have sunk, and the pump had to be worked all day to keep her afloat. Heavy rains fell daily, producing the usual injurious effects in the cabin; and, unable to wait any longer for our associates, who had gone overland from the Shire to Tette, we ran down the Kongone and beached her for repairs. Her Majesty's ship "Lynx," Lieut. Berkeley commanding, called shortly afterwards with supplies; the bar, which had been perfectly smooth for some time before, became rather rough just before her arrival, so that it was two or three days before she could communicate with us. Two of her boats tried to come in on the second day, and one of them, mistaking the passage, capsized in the heavy breakers abreast of the island. Mr. Hunt, gunner, the officer in charge of the second boat, behaved nobly, and by his skilful and gallant conduct succeeded in rescuing every one of the first boat's crew. Of course the things that they were bringing to us were lost, but we were thankful that all the men were saved. The loss of the mail-bags, containing Government despatches and our friends' letters for the past year, was felt severely, as we were on the point of starting on an expedition into the interior, which might require eight or nine months; and twenty months is a weary time to be without news of friends and family. In the repairing of our crazy craft, we received kind and efficient aid from Lieutenant Berkeley, and we were enabled to leave for Tette on December 16th.
We had now frequent rains, and the river rose considerably; our progress up the stream was distressingly slow, and it was not until the 2nd of February, 1860, that we reached Tette. Mr. Thornton returned on the same day from a geological tour, by which some Portuguese expected that a fabulous silver-mine would be rediscovered. The tradition in the country is, that the Jesuits formerly knew and worked a precious lode at Chicova. Mr. Thornton had gone beyond Zumbo, in company with a trader of colour; he soon after this left the Zambesi and, joining the expedition of the Baron van der Decken, explored the snow mountain Kilimanjaro, north-west of Zanzibar. Mr. Thornton's companion, the trader, brought back much ivory, having found it both abundant and cheap. He was obliged, however, to pay heavy fines to the Banyai and other tribes, in the country which is coolly claimed in Europe as Portuguese. During this trip of six mouths 200 pieces of cotton cloth of sixteen yards each, besides beads and brass wire, were paid to the different chiefs, for leave to pass through their country. In addition to these sufficiently weighty exactions, the natives of this dominion have got into the habit of imposing fines for alleged milandos, or crimes, which the traders' men may have unwittingly committed. The merchants, however, submit rather than run the risk of fighting.
The general monotony of existence at Tette is sometimes relieved by an occasional death or wedding. When the deceased is a person of consequence, the quantity of gunpowder his slaves are allowed to expend is enormous. The expense may, in proportion to their means, resemble that incurred by foolishly gaudy funerals in England. When at Tette, we always joined with sympathizing hearts in aiding, by our presence at the last rites, to soothe the sorrows of the surviving relatives. We are sure that they would have done the same to us had we been the mourners. We never had to complain of want of hospitality. Indeed, the great kindness shown by many of whom we have often spoken, will never be effaced from our memory till our dying day. When we speak of their failings it is in sorrow, not in anger. Their trading in slaves is an enormous mistake. Their Government places them in a false position by cutting them off from the rest of the world; and of this they always speak with a bitterness which, were it heard, might alter the tone of the statesmen of Lisbon. But here there is no press, no booksellers' shops, and scarcely a schoolmaster. Had we been born in similar untoward circumstances—we tremble to think of it!
The weddings are celebrated with as much jollity as weddings are anywhere. We witnessed one in the house of our friend the Padre. It being the marriage of his goddaughter, he kindly invited us to be partakers in his joy; and we there became acquainted with old Donna Engenia, who was a married wife and had children, when the slaves came from Cassange, before any of us were born. The whole merry-making was marked by good taste amid propriety.
About the only interesting object in the vicinity of Tette is the coal a few miles to the north. There, in the feeders of the stream Revubue, it crops out in cliff sections. The seams are from four to seven feet in thickness; one measured was found to be twenty-five feet thick.
Learning that it would be difficult for our party to obtain food beyond Kebrabasa before the new crop came in and knowing the difficulty of hunting for so many men in the wet season, we decided on deferring our departure for the interior until May, and in the mean time to run down once more to the Kongone, in the hopes of receiving letters and despatches from the man-of-war that was to call in March. We left Tette on the 10th, and at Senna heard that our lost mail had been picked up on the beach by natives, west of the Milambe; carried to Quillimane, sent thence to Senna, and, passing us somewhere on the river, on to Tette. At Shupanga the governor informed us that it was a very large mail; no great comfort, seeing it was away up the river.
Mosquitoes were excessively troublesome at the harbour, and especially when a light breeze blew from the north over the mangroves. We lived for several weeks in small huts, built by our men. Those who did the hunting for the party always got wet, and were attacked by fever, but generally recovered in time to be out again before the meat was all consumed. No ship appearing, we started off on the 15th of March, and stopped to wood on the Luabo, near an encampment of hippopotamus hunters; our men heard again, through them, of the canoe path from this place to Quillimane, but they declined to point it out.
We found our friend Major Sicard at Mazaro with picks, shovels, hurdles, and slaves, having come to build a fort and custom-house at the Kongone. As we had no good reason to hide the harbour, but many for its being made known, we supplied him with a chart of the tortuous branches, which, running among the mangroves, perplex the search; and with such directions as would enable him to find his way down to the river. He had brought the relics of our fugitive mail, and it was a disappointment to find that all had been lost, with the exception of a bundle of old newspapers, two photographs, and three letters, which had been written before we left England.
The distance from Mazaro, on the Zambesi side, to the Kwakwa at Nterra, is about six miles, over a surprisingly rich dark soil. We passed the night in the long shed, erected at Nterra, on the banks of this river, for the use of travellers, who have often to wait several days for canoes; we tried to sleep, but the mosquitoes and rats were so troublesome as to render sleep impossible. The rats, or rather large mice, closely resembling Mus pumilio (Smith), of this region, are quite facetious, and, having a great deal of fun in them, often laugh heartily. Again and again they woke us up by scampering over our faces, and then bursting into a loud laugh of He! he! he! at having performed the feat. Their sense of the ludicrous appears to be exquisite; they screamed with laughter at the attempts which disturbed and angry human nature made in the dark to bring their ill-timed merriment to a close. Unlike their prudent European cousins, which are said to leave a sinking ship, a party of these took up their quarters in our leaky and sinking vessel. Quiet and invisible by day, they emerged at night, and cut their funny pranks. No sooner were we all asleep, than they made a sudden dash over the lockers and across our faces for the cabin door, where all broke out into a loud He! he! he! he! he! he! showing how keenly they enjoyed the joke. They next went forward with as much delight, and scampered over the men. Every night they went fore and aft, rousing with impartial feet every sleeper, and laughing to scorn the aimless blows, growls, and deadly rushes of outraged humanity. We observed elsewhere a species of large mouse, nearly allied to Euryotis unisulcatus (F. Cuvier), escaping up a rough and not very upright wall, with six young ones firmly attached to the perineum. They were old enough to be well covered with hair, and some were not detached by a blow which disabled the dam. We could not decide whether any involuntary muscles were brought into play in helping the young to adhere. Their weight seemed to require a sort of cataleptic state of the muscles of the jaw, to enable them to hold on.
Scorpions, centipedes, and poisonous spiders also were not unfrequently brought into the ship with the wood, and occasionally found their way into our beds; but in every instance we were fortunate enough to discover and destroy them before they did any harm. Naval officers on this coast report that, when scorpions and centipedes remain a few weeks after being taken on board in a similar manner, their poison loses nearly all its virulence; but this we did not verify. Snakes sometimes came in with the wood, but oftener floated down the river to us, climbing on board with ease by the chain-cable, and some poisonous ones were caught in the cabin. A green snake lived with us several weeks, concealing himself behind the casing of the deckhouse in the daytime. To be aroused in the dark by five feet of cold green snake gliding over one's face is rather unpleasant, however rapid the movement may be. Myriads of two varieties of cockroaches infested the vessel; they not only ate round the roots of our nails, but even devoured and defiled our food, flannels, and boots. Vain were all our efforts to extirpate these destructive pests; if you kill one, say the sailors, a hundred come down to his funeral! In the work of Commodore Owen it is stated that cockroaches, pounded into a paste, form a powerful carminative; this has not been confirmed, but when monkeys are fed on them they are sure to become lean.
On coming to Senna, we found that the Zulus had arrived in force for their annual tribute. These men are under good discipline, and never steal from the people. The tax is claimed on the ground of conquest, the Zulus having formerly completely overcome the Senna people, and chased them on to the islands in the Zambesi. Fifty-four of the Portuguese were slain on the occasion, and, notwithstanding the mud fort, the village has never recovered its former power. Fever was now very prevalent, and most of the Portuguese were down with it.
For a good view of the adjacent scenery, the hill, Baramuana, behind the village, was ascended. A caution was given about the probability of an attack of fever from a plant that grows near the summit. Dr. Kirk discovered it to be the Paedevia foetida, which, when smelt, actually does give headache and fever. It has a nasty fetor, as its name indicates. This is one instance in which fever and a foul smell coincide. In a number of instances offensive effluvia and fever seems to have no connection. Owing to the abundant rains, the crops in the Senna district were plentiful; this was fortunate, after the partial failure of the past two years. It was the 25th of April, 1860, before we reached Tette; here also the crops were luxuriant, and the people said that they had not had such abundance since 1856, the year when Dr. Livingstone came down the river. It is astonishing to any one who has seen the works for irrigation in other countries, as at the Cape and in Egypt, that no attempt has ever been made to lead out the water either of the Zambesi or any of its tributaries; no machinery has ever been used to raise it even from the stream, but droughts and starvations are endured, as if they were inevitable dispensations of Providence, incapable of being mitigated.
Feeling in honour bound to return with those who had been the faithful companions of Dr. Livingstone, in 1856, and to whose guardianship and services was due the accomplishment of a journey which all the Portuguese at Tette had previously pronounced impossible, the requisite steps were taken to convey them to their homes.
We laid the ship alongside of the island Kanyimbe, opposite Tette; and, before starting for the country of the Makololo, obtained a small plot of land, to form a garden for the two English sailors who were to remain in charge during our absence. We furnished them with a supply of seeds, and they set to work with such zeal, that they certainly merited success. Their first attempt at African horticulture met with failure from a most unexpected source; every seed was dug up and the inside of it eaten by mice. "Yes," said an old native, next morning, on seeing the husks, "that is what happens this month; for it is the mouse month, and the seed should have been sown last mouth, when I sowed mine." The sailors, however, sowed more next day; and, being determined to outwit the mice, they this time covered the beds over with grass. The onions, with other seeds of plants cultivated by the Portuguese, are usually planted in the beginning of April, in order to have the advantage of the cold season; the wheat a little later, for the same reason. If sown at the beginning of the rainy season in November, it runs, as before remarked, entirely to straw; but as the rains are nearly over in May, advantage is taken of low- lying patches, which have been flooded by the river. A hole is made in the mud with a hoe, a few seeds dropped in, and the earth shoved back with the foot. If not favoured with certain misty showers, which, lower down the river, are simply fogs, water is borne from the river to the roots of the wheat in earthern pots; and in about four months the crop is ready for the sickle. The wheat of Tette is exported, as the best grown in the country; but a hollow spot at Maruru, close by Mazaro, yielded very good crops, though just at the level of the sea, as a few inches rise of tide shows.
A number of days were spent in busy preparation for our journey; the cloth, beads, and brass wire, for the trip were sewn up in old canvas, and each package had the bearer's name printed on it. The Makololo, who had worked for the Expedition, were paid for their services, and every one who had come down with the Doctor from the interior received a present of cloth and ornaments, in order to protect them from the greater cold of their own country, and to show that they had not come in vain. Though called Makololo by courtesy, as they were proud of the name, Kanyata, the principal headman, was the only real Makololo of the party; and he, in virtue of his birth, had succeeded to the chief place on the death of Sekwebu. The others belonged to the conquered tribes of the Batoka, Bashubia, Ba-Selea, and Barotse. Some of these men had only added to their own vices those of the Tette slaves; others, by toiling during the first two years in navigating canoes, and hunting elephants, had often managed to save a little, to take back to their own country, but had to part with it all for food to support the rest in times of hunger, and, latterly, had fallen into the improvident habits of slaves, and spent their surplus earnings in beer and agua ardiente.
Everything being ready on the 15th of May, we started at 2 p.m. from the village where the Makololo had dwelt. A number of the men did not leave with the goodwill which their talk for months before had led us to anticipate; but some proceeded upon being told that they were not compelled to go unless they liked, though others altogether declined moving. Many had taken up with slave-women, whom they assisted in hoeing, and in consuming the produce of their gardens. Some fourteen children had been born to them; and in consequence of now having no chief to order them, or to claim their services, they thought that they were about as well off as they had been in their own country. They knew and regretted that they could call neither wives nor children their own; the slave-owners claimed the whole; but their natural affections had been so enchained, that they clave to the domestic ties. By a law of Portugal the baptized children of slave women are all free; by the custom of the Zambesi that law is void. When it is referred to, the officers laugh and say, "These Lisbon-born laws are very stringent, but somehow, possibly from the heat of the climate, here they lose all their force." Only one woman joined our party—the wife of a Batoka man: she had been given to him, in consideration of his skilful dancing, by the chief, Chisaka. A merchant sent three of his men along with us, with a present for Sekeletu, and Major Sicard also lent us three more to assist us on our return, and two Portuguese gentleman kindly gave us the loan of a couple of donkeys. We slept four miles above Tette, and hearing that the Banyai, who levy heavy fines on the Portuguese traders, lived chiefly on the right bank, we crossed over to the left, as we could not fully trust our men. If the Banyai had come in a threatening manner, our followers might, perhaps, from having homes behind them, have even put down their bundles and run. Indeed, two of them at this point made up their minds to go no further, and turned back to Tette. Another, Monga, a Batoka, was much perplexed, and could not make out what course to pursue, as he had, three years previously, wounded Kanyata, the headman, with a spear. This is a capital offence among the Makololo, and he was afraid of being put to death for it on his return. He tried, in vain, to console himself with the facts that he had neither father, mother, sisters, nor brothers to mourn for him, and that he could die but once. He was good, and would go up to the stars to Yesu, and therefore did not care for death. In spite, however, of these reflections, he was much cast down, until Kanyata assured him that he would never mention his misdeed to the chief; indeed, he had never even mentioned it to the Doctor, which he would assuredly have done had it lain heavy on his heart. We were right glad of Monga's company, for he was a merry good-tempered fellow, and his lithe manly figure had always been in the front in danger; and, from being left-handed, had been easily recognized in the fight with elephants.
We commenced, for a certain number of days, with short marches, walking gently until broken in to travel. This is of so much importance, that it occurs to us that more might be made out of soldiers if the first few days' marches were easy, and gradually increased in length and quickness. The nights were cold, with heavy dews and occasional showers, and we had several cases of fever. Some of the men deserted every night, and we fully expected that all who had children would prefer to return to Tette, for little ones are well known to prove the strongest ties, even to slaves. It was useless informing them, that if they wanted to return they had only to come and tell us so; we should not be angry with them for preferring Tette to their own country. Contact with slaves had destroyed their sense of honour; they would not go in daylight, but decamped in the night, only in one instance, however, taking our goods, though, in two more, they carried off their comrades' property. By the time we had got well into the Kebrabasa hills thirty men, nearly a third of the party, had turned back, and it became evident that, if many more left us, Sekeletu's goods could not be carried up. At last, when the refuse had fallen away, no more desertions took place.
Stopping one afternoon at a Kebrabasa village, a man, who pretended to be able to change himself into a lion, came to salute us. Smelling the gunpowder from a gun which had been discharged, he went on one side to get out of the wind of the piece, trembling in a most artistic manner, but quite overacting his part. The Makololo explained to us that he was a Pondoro, or a man who can change his form at will, and added that he trembles when he smells gunpowder. "Do you not see how he is trembling now?" We told them to ask him to change himself at once into a lion, and we would give him a cloth for the performance. "Oh no," replied they; "if we tell him so, he may change himself and come when we are asleep and kill us." Having similar superstitions at home, they readily became as firm believers in the Pondoro as the natives of the village. We were told that he assumes the form of a lion and remains in the woods for days, and is sometimes absent for a whole month. His considerate wife had built him a hut or den, in which she places food and beer for her transformed lord, whose metamorphosis does not impair his human appetite. No one ever enters this hut except the Pondoro and his wife, and no stranger is allowed even to rest his gun against the baobab-tree beside it: the Mfumo, or petty chief, of another small village wished to fine our men for placing their muskets against an old tumble-down hut, it being that of the Pondoro. At times the Pondoro employs his acquired powers in hunting for the benefit of the village; and after an absence of a day or two, his wife smells the lion, takes a certain medicine, places it in the forest, and there quickly leaves it, lest the lion should kill even her. This medicine enables the Pondoro to change himself back into a man, return to the village, and say, "Go and get the game that I have killed for you." Advantage is of course taken of what a lion has done, and they go and bring home the buffalo or antelope killed when he was a lion, or rather found when he was patiently pursuing his course of deception in the forest. We saw the Pondoro of another village dressed in a fantastic style, with numerous charms hung round him, and followed by a troop of boys who were honouring him with rounds of shrill cheering.
It is believed also that the souls of departed chiefs enter into lions, and render them sacred. On one occasion, when we had shot a buffalo in the path beyond the Kafue, a hungry lion, attracted probably by the smell of the meat, came close to our camp, and roused up all hands by his roaring. Tuba Mokoro, imbued with the popular belief that the beast was a chief in disguise, scolded him roundly during his brief intervals of silence. "You a chief, eh? You call yourself a chief, do you? What kind of chief are you to come sneaking about in the dark, trying to steal our buffalo meat! Are you not ashamed of yourself? A pretty chief truly; you are like the scavenger beetle, and think of yourself only. You have not the heart of a chief; why don't you kill your own beef? You must have a stone in your chest, and no heart at all, indeed!" Tuba Mokoro producing no impression on the transformed chief, one of the men, the most sedate of the party, who seldom spoke, took up the matter, and tried the lion in another strain. In his slow quiet way he expostulated with him on the impropriety of such conduct to strangers, who had never injured him. "We were travelling peaceably through the country back to our own chief. We never killed people, nor stole anything. The buffalo meat was ours, not his, and it did not become a great chief like him to be prowling round in the dark, trying, like a hyena, to steal the meat of strangers. He might go and hunt for himself, as there was plenty of game in the forest." The Pondoro, being deaf to reason, and only roaring the louder, the men became angry, and threatened to send a ball through him if he did not go away. They snatched up their guns to shoot him, but he prudently kept in the dark, outside the luminous circle made by our camp fires, and there they did not like to venture. A little strychnine was put into a piece of meat, and thrown to him, when he soon departed, and we heard no more of the majestic sneaker.
The Kebrabasa people were now plumper and in better condition than on our former visits; the harvest had been abundant; they had plenty to eat and drink, and they were enjoying life as much as ever they could. At Defwe's village, near where the ship lay on her first ascent, we found two Mfumos or headmen, the son and son-in-law of the former chief. A sister's son has much more chance of succeeding to a chieftainship than the chief's own offspring, it being unquestionable that the sister's child has the family blood. The men are all marked across the nose and up the middle of the forehead with short horizontal bars or cicatrices; and a single brass earring of two or three inches diameter, like the ancient Egyptian, is worn by the men. Some wear the hair long like the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians, and a few have eyes with the downward and inward slant of the Chinese.
After fording the rapid Luia, we left our former path on the banks of the Zambesi, and struck off in a N.W. direction behind one of the hill ranges, the eastern end of which is called Mongwa, the name of an acacia, having a peculiarly strong fetor, found on it. Our route wound up a valley along a small mountain-stream which was nearly dry, and then crossed the rocky spurs of some of the lofty hills. The country was all very dry at the time, and no water was found except in an occasional spring and a few wells dug in the beds of watercourses. The people were poor, and always anxious to convince travellers of the fact. The men, unlike those on the plains, spend a good deal of their time in hunting; this may be because they have but little ground on the hill-sides suitable for gardens, and but little certainty of reaping what may be sown in the valleys. No women came forward in the hamlet, east of Chiperiziwa, where we halted for the night. Two shots had been fired at guinea-fowl a little way off in the valley; the women fled into the woods, and the men came to know if war was meant, and a few of the old folks only returned after hearing that we were for peace. The headman, Kambira, apologized for not having a present ready, and afterwards brought us some meal, a roasted coney (Hyrax capensis), and a pot of beer; he wished to be thought poor. The beer had come to him from a distance; he had none of his own. Like the Manganja, these people salute by clapping their hands. When a man comes to a place where others are seated, before sitting down he claps his hands to each in succession, and they do the same to him. If he has anything to tell, both speaker and hearer clap their hands at the close of every paragraph, and then again vigorously at the end of the speech. The guide, whom the headman gave us, thus saluted each of his comrades before he started off with us. There is so little difference in the language, that all the tribes of this region are virtually of one family.
We proceeded still in the same direction, and passed only two small hamlets during the day. Except the noise our men made on the march, everything was still around us: few birds were seen. The appearance of a whydahbird showed that he had not yet parted with his fine long plumes. We passed immense quantities of ebony and lignum-vitae, and the tree from whose smooth and bitter bark granaries are made for corn. The country generally is clothed with a forest of ordinary-sized trees. We slept in the little village near Sindabwe, where our men contrived to purchase plenty of beer, and were uncommonly boisterous all the evening. We breakfasted next morning under green wild date-palms, beside the fine flowery stream, which runs through the charming valley of Zibah. We now had Mount Chiperiziwa between us, and part of the river near Morumbwa, having in fact come north about in order to avoid the difficulties of our former path. The last of the deserters, a reputed thief, took French leave of us here. He left the bundle of cloth he was carrying in the path a hundred yards in front of where we halted, but made off with the musket and most of the brass rings and beads of his comrade Shirimba, who had unsuspectingly intrusted them to his care.
Proceeding S.W. up this lovely valley, in about an hour's time we reached Sandia's village. The chief was said to be absent hunting, and they did not know when he would return. This is such a common answer to the inquiry after a headman, that one is inclined to think that it only means that they wish to know the stranger's object before exposing their superior to danger. As some of our men were ill, a halt was made here.
As we were unable to march next morning, six of our young men, anxious to try their muskets, went off to hunt elephants. For several hours they saw nothing, and some of them, getting tired, proposed to go to a village and buy food. "No!" said Mantlanyane, "we came to hunt, so let us go on." In a short time they fell in with a herd of cow elephants and calves. As soon as the first cow caught sight of the hunters on the rocks above her, she, with true motherly instinct, placed her young one between her fore-legs for protection. The men were for scattering, and firing into the herd indiscriminately. "That won't do," cried Mantlanyane, "let us all fire at this one." The poor beast received a volley, and ran down into the plain, where another shot killed her; the young one escaped with the herd. The men were wild with excitement, and danced round the fallen queen of the forest, with loud shouts and exultant songs. They returned, bearing as trophies the tail and part of the trunk, and marched into camp as erect as soldiers, and evidently feeling that their stature had increased considerably since the morning.
Sandia's wife was duly informed of their success, as here a law decrees that half the elephant belongs to the chief on whose ground it has been killed. The Portuguese traders always submit to this tax, and, were it of native origin, it could hardly be considered unjust. A chief must have some source of revenue; and, as many chiefs can raise none except from ivory or slaves, this tax is more free from objections than any other that a black Chancellor of the Exchequer could devise. It seems, however, to have originated with the Portuguese themselves, and then to have spread among the adjacent tribes. The Governors look sharply after any elephant that may be slain on the Crown lands, and demand one of the tusks from their vassals. We did not find the law in operation in any tribe beyond the range of Portuguese traders, or further than the sphere of travel of those Arabs who imitated Portuguese customs in trade. At the Kafue in 1855 the chiefs bought the meat we killed, and demanded nothing as their due; and so it was up the Shire during our visits. The slaves of the Portuguese, who are sent by their masters to shoot elephants, probably connive at the extension of this law, for they strive to get the good will of the chiefs to whose country they come, by advising them to make a demand of half of each elephant killed, and for this advice they are well paid in beer. When we found that the Portuguese argued in favour of this law, we told the natives that they might exact tusks from them, but that the English, being different, preferred the pure native custom. It was this which made Sandia, as afterwards mentioned, hesitate; but we did not care to insist on exemption in our favour, where the prevalence of the custom might have been held to justify the exaction.
The cutting up of an elephant is quite a unique spectacle. The men stand remind the animal in dead silence, while the chief of the travelling party declares that, according to ancient law, the head and right hind- leg belong to him who killed the beast, that is, to him who inflicted the first wound; the left leg to bins who delivered the second, or first touched the animal after it fell. The meat around the eye to the English, or chief of the travellers, and different parts to the headmen of the different fires, or groups, of which the camp is composed; not forgetting to enjoin the preservation of the fat and bowels for a second distribution. This oration finished, the natives soon become excited, and scream wildly as they cut away at the carcass with a score of spears, whose long handles quiver in the air above their heads. Their excitement becomes momentarily more and more intense, and reaches the culminating point when, as denoted by a roar of gas, the huge mass is laid fairly open. Some jump inside, and roll about there in their eagerness to seize the precious fat, while others run off, screaming, with pieces of the bloody meat, throw it on the grass, and run back for more: all keep talking and shouting at the utmost pitch of their voices. Sometimes two or three, regardless of all laws, seize the same piece of meat, and have a brief fight of words over it. Occasionally an agonized yell bursts forth, and a native emerges out of the moving mass of dead elephant and wriggling humanity, with his hand badly cut by the spear of his excited friend and neighbour: this requires a rag and some soothing words to prevent bad blood. In an incredibly short time tons of meat are cut up, and placed in separate heaps around.
Sandia arrived soon after the beast was divided: he is an elderly man, and wears a wig made of "ife" fibre (sanseviera) dyed black, and of a fine glossy appearance. This plant is allied to the aloes, and its thick fleshy leaves, in shape somewhat like our sedges, when bruised yield much fine strong fibre, which is made into ropes, nets, and wigs. It takes dyes readily, and the fibre might form a good article of commerce. "Ife" wigs, as we afterwards saw, are not uncommon in this country, though perhaps not so common as hair wigs at home. Sandia's mosamela, or small carved wooden pillow, exactly resembling the ancient Egyptian one, was hung from the back of his neck; this pillow and a sleeping mat are usually carried by natives when on hunting excursions.
We had the elephant's fore-foot cooked for ourselves, in native fashion. A large hole was dug in the ground, in which a fire was made; and, when the inside was thoroughly heated, the entire foot was placed in it, and covered over with the hot ashes and soil; another fire was made above the whole, and kept burning all night. We had the foot thus cooked for breakfast next morning, and found it delicious. It is a whitish mass, slightly gelatinous, and sweet, like marrow. A long march, to prevent biliousness, is a wise precaution after a meal of elephant's foot. Elephant's trunk and tongue are also good, and, after long simmering, much resemble the hump of a buffalo and the tongue of an ox; but all the other meat is tough, and, from its peculiar flavour, only to be eaten by a hungry man. The quantities of meat our men devour is quite astounding. They boil as much as their pots will hold, and eat till it becomes physically impossible for them to stow away any more. An uproarious dance follows, accompanied with stentorian song; and as soon as they have shaken their first course down, and washed off the sweat and dust of the after performance, they go to work to roast more: a short snatch of sleep succeeds, and they are up and at it again; all night long it is boil and eat, roast and devour, with a few brief interludes of sleep. Like other carnivora, these men can endure hunger for a much longer period than the mere porridge-eating tribes. Our men can cook meat as well as any reasonable traveller could desire; and, boiled in earthen pots, like Indian chatties, it tastes much better than when cooked in iron ones.
Magnificent scenery—Method of marching—Hippopotamus killed—Lions and buffalo—Sequasha the ivory-trader.
Sandia gave us two guides; and on the 4th of June we left the Elephant valley, taking a westerly course; and, after crossing a few ridges, entered the Chingerere or Paguruguru valley, through which, in the rainy season, runs the streamlet Pajodze. The mountains on our left, between us and the Zambesi, our guides told us have the same name as the valley, but that at the confluence of the Pajodze is called Morumbwa. We struck the river at less than half a mile to the north of the cataract Morumbwa. On climbing up the base of this mountain at Pajodze, we found that we were distant only the diameter of the mountain from the cataract. In measuring the cataract we formerly stood on its southern flank; now we were perched on its northern flank, and at once recognized the onion-shaped mountain, here called Zakavuma, whose smooth convex surface overlooks the broken water. Its bearing by compass was l80 degrees from the spot to which we had climbed, and 700 or 800 yards distant. We now, from this standing-point, therefore, completed our inspection of all Kebrabasa, and saw what, as a whole, was never before seen by Europeans so far as any records show.
The remainder of the Kebrabasa path, on to Chicova, was close to the compressed and rocky river. Ranges of lofty tree-covered mountains, with deep narrow valleys, in which are dry watercourses, or flowing rivulets, stretch from the north-west, and are prolonged on the opposite side of the river in a south-easterly direction. Looking back, the mountain scenery in Kebrabasa was magnificent; conspicuous from their form and steep sides, are the two gigantic portals of the cataract; the vast forests still wore their many brilliant autumnal-coloured tints of green, yellow, red, purple, and brown, thrown into relief by the grey bark of the trunks in the background. Among these variegated trees were some conspicuous for their new livery of fresh light-green leaves, as though the winter of others was their spring. The bright sunshine in these mountain forests, and the ever-changing forms of the cloud shadows, gliding over portions of the surface, added fresh charms to scenes already surpassingly beautiful.
From what we have seen of the Kebrabasa rocks and rapids, it appears too evident that they must always form a barrier to navigation at the ordinary low water of the river; but the rise of the water in this gorge being as much as eighty feet perpendicularly, it is probable that a steamer might be taken up at high flood, when all the rapids are smoothed over, to run on the Upper Zambesi. The most formidable cataract in it, Morumbwa, has only about twenty feet of fall, in a distance of thirty yards, and it must entirely disappear when the water stands eighty feet higher. Those of the Makololo who worked on board the ship were not sorry at the steamer being left below, as they had become heartily tired of cutting the wood that the insatiable furnace of the "Asthmatic" required. Mbia, who was a bit of a wag, laughingly exclaimed in broken English, "Oh, Kebrabasa good, very good; no let shippee up to Sekeletu, too muchee work, cuttee woodyee, cuttee woodyee: Kebrabasa good." It is currently reported, and commonly believed, that once upon a time a Portuguese named Jose Pedra,—by the natives called Nyamatimbira,—chief, or capitao mor, of Zumbo, a man of large enterprise and small humanity,—being anxious to ascertain if Kebrabasa could be navigated, made two slaves fast to a canoe, and launched it from Chicova into Kebrabasa, in order to see if it would come out at the other end. As neither slaves nor canoe ever appeared again, his Excellency concluded that Kebrabasa was unnavigable. A trader had a large canoe swept away by a sudden rise of the river, and it was found without damage below; but the most satisfactory information was that of old Sandia, who asserted that in flood all Kebrabasa became quite smooth, and he had often seen it so.
We emerged from the thirty-five or forty miles of Kebrabasa hills into the Chicova plains on the 7th of June, 1860, having made short marches all the way. The cold nights caused some of our men to cough badly, and colds in this country almost invariably become fever. The Zambesi suddenly expands at Chicova, and assumes the size and appearance it has at Tette. Near this point we found a large seam of coal exposed in the left bank.
We met with native travellers occasionally. Those on a long journey carry with them a sleeping-mat and wooden pillow, cooking-pot and bag of meal, pipe and tobacco-pouch, a knife, bow, and arrows, and two small sticks, of from two to three feet in length, for making fire, when obliged to sleep away from human habitations. Dry wood is always abundant, and they get fire by the following method. A notch is cut in one of the sticks, which, with a close-grained outside, has a small core of pith, and this notched stick is laid horizontally on a knife-blade on the ground; the operator squatting, places his great toes on each end to keep all steady, and taking the other wand which is of very hard wood cut to a blunt point, fits it into the notch at right angles; the upright wand is made to spin rapidly backwards and forwards between the palms of the hands, drill fashion, and at the same time is pressed downwards; the friction, in the course of a minute or so, ignites portions of the pith of the notched stick, which, rolling over like live charcoal on to the knife-blade, are lifted into a handful of fine dry grass, and carefully blown, by waving backwards and forwards in the air. It is hard work for the hands to procure fire by this process, as the vigorous drilling and downward pressure requisite soon blister soft palms.
Having now entered a country where lions were numerous, our men began to pay greater attention to the arrangements of the camp at night. As they are accustomed to do with their chiefs, they place the white men in the centre; Kanyata, his men, and the two donkeys, camp on our right; Tuba Mokoro's party of Bashubia are in front; Masakasa, and Sininyane's body of Batoka, on the left; and in the rear six Tette men have their fires. In placing their fires they are careful to put them where the smoke will not blow in our faces. Soon after we halt, the spot for the English is selected, and all regulate their places accordingly, and deposit their burdens. The men take it by turns to cut some of the tall dry grass, and spread it for our beds on a spot, either naturally level, or smoothed by the hoe; some, appointed to carry our bedding, then bring our rugs and karosses, and place the three rugs in a row on the grass; Dr. Livingstone's being in the middle, Dr. Kirk's on the right, and Charles Livingstone's on the left. Our bags, rifles, and revolvers are carefully placed at our heads, and a fire made near our feet. We have no tent nor covering of any kind except the branches of the tree under which we may happen to lie; and it is a pretty sight to look up and see every branch, leaf, and twig of the tree stand out, reflected against the clear star- spangled and moonlit sky. The stars of the first magnitude have names which convey the same meaning over very wide tracts of country. Here when Venus comes out in the evenings, she is called Ntanda, the eldest or first-born, and Manjika, the first-born of morning, at other times: she has so much radiance when shining alone, that she casts a shadow. Sirius is named Kuewa usiko, "drawer of night," because supposed to draw the whole night after it. The moon has no evil influence in this country, so far as we know. We have lain and looked up at her, till sweet sleep closed our eyes, unharmed. Four or five of our men were affected with moon-blindness at Tette; though they had not slept out of doors there, they became so blind that their comrades had to guide their hands to the general dish of food; the affection is unknown in their own country. When our posterity shall have discovered what it is which, distinct from foul smells, causes fever, and what, apart from the moon, causes men to be moon-struck, they will pity our dulness of perception.
The men cut a very small quantity of grass for themselves, and sleep in fumbas or sleeping-bags, which are double mats of palm-leaf, six feet long by four wide, and sewn together round three parts of the square, and left open only on one side. They are used as a protection from the cold, wet, and mosquitoes, and are entered as we should get into our beds, were the blankets nailed to the top, bottom, and one side of the bedstead.
A dozen fires are nightly kindled in the camp; and these, being replenished from time to time by the men who are awakened by the cold, are kept burning until daylight. Abundance of dry hard wood is obtained with little trouble; and burns beautifully. After the great business of cooking and eating is over, all sit round the camp-fires, and engage in talking or singing. Every evening one of the Batoka plays his "sansa," and continues at it until far into the night; he accompanies it with an extempore song, in which he rehearses their deeds ever since they left their own country. At times animated political discussions spring up, and the amount of eloquence expended on these occasions is amazing. The whole camp is aroused, and the men shout to one another from the different fires; whilst some, whose tongues are never heard on any other subject, burst forth into impassioned speech.
As a specimen of our mode of marching, we rise about five, or as soon as dawn appears, take a cup of tea and a bit of biscuit; the servants fold up the blankets and stow them away in the bags they carry; the others tie their fumbas and cooking-pots to each end of their carrying-sticks, which are borne on the shoulder; the cook secures the dishes, and all are on the path by sunrise. If a convenient spot can be found we halt for breakfast about nine a.m. To save time, this meal is generally cooked the night before, and has only to be warmed. We continue the march after breakfast, rest a little in the middle of the day, and break off early in the afternoon. We average from two to two-and-a-half miles an hour in a straight line, or as the crow flies, and seldom have more than five or six hours a day of actual travel. This in a hot climate is as much as a man can accomplish without being oppressed; and we always tried to make our progress more a pleasure than a toil. To hurry over the ground, abuse, and look ferocious at one's native companions, merely for the foolish vanity of boasting how quickly a distance was accomplished, is a combination of silliness with absurdity quite odious; while kindly consideration for the feelings of even blacks, the pleasure of observing scenery and everything new as one moves on at an ordinary pace, and the participation in the most delicious rest with our fellows, render travelling delightful. Though not given to over haste, we were a little surprised to find that we could tire our men out; and even the headman, who carried but little more than we did, and never, as we often had to do, hunted in the afternoon, was no better than his comrades. Our experience tends to prove that the European constitution has a power of endurance, even in the tropics, greater than that of the hardiest of the meat-eating Africans.
After pitching our camp, one or two of us usually go off to hunt, more as a matter of necessity than of pleasure, for the men, as well as ourselves, must have meat. We prefer to take a man with us to carry home the game, or lead the others to where it lies; but as they frequently grumble and complain of being tired, we do not particularly object to going alone, except that it involves the extra labour of our making a second trip to show the men where the animal that has been shot is to be found. When it is a couple of miles off it is rather fatiguing to have to go twice; more especially on the days when it is solely to supply their wants that, instead of resting ourselves, we go at all. Like those who perform benevolent deeds at home, the tired hunter, though trying hard to live in charity with all men, is strongly tempted to give it up by bringing only sufficient meat for the three whites and leaving the rest; thus sending the "idle ungrateful poor" supperless to bed. And yet it is only by continuance in well-doing, even to the length of what the worldly-wise call weakness, that the conviction is produced anywhere, that our motives are high enough to secure sincere respect.
A jungle of mimosa, ebony, and "wait-a-bit" thorn lies between the Chicova flats and the cultivated plain, on which stand the villages of the chief, Chitora. He brought us a present of food and drink, because, as he, with the innate politeness of an African, said, he "did not wish us to sleep hungry: he had heard of the Doctor when he passed down, and had a great desire to see and converse with him; but he was a child then, and could not speak in the presence of great men. He was glad that he had seen the English now, and was sorry that his people were away, or he should have made them cook for us." All his subsequent conduct showed him to be sincere.
Many of the African women are particular about the water they use for drinking and cooking, and prefer that which is filtered through sand. To secure this, they scrape holes in the sandbanks beside the stream, and scoop up the water, which slowly filters through, rather than take it from the equally clear and limpid river. This practice is common in the Zambesi, the Rovuma, and Lake Nyassa; and some of the Portuguese at Tette have adopted the native custom, and send canoes to a low island in the middle of the river for water. Chitora's people also obtained their supply from shallow wells in the sandy bed of a small rivulet close to the village. The habit may have arisen from observing the unhealthiness of the main stream at certain seasons. During nearly nine months in the year, ordure is deposited around countless villages along the thousands of miles drained by the Zambesi. When the heavy rains come down, and sweep the vast fetid accumulation into the torrents, the water is polluted with filth; and, but for the precaution mentioned, the natives would prove themselves as little fastidious as those in London who drink the abomination poured into the Thames by Reading and Oxford. It is no wonder that sailors suffered so much from fever after drinking African river water, before the present admirable system of condensing it was adopted in our navy.
The scent of man is excessively terrible to game of all kinds, much more so, probably, than the sight of him. A herd of antelopes, a hundred yards off, gazed at us as we moved along the winding path, and timidly stood their ground until half our line had passed, but darted off the instant they "got the wind," or caught the flavour of those who had gone by. The sport is all up with the hunter who gets to the windward of the African beast, as it cannot stand even the distant aroma of the human race, so much dreaded by all wild animals. Is this the fear and the dread of man, which the Almighty said to Noah was to be upon every beast of the field? A lion may, while lying in wait for his prey, leap on a human being as he would on any other animal, save a rhinoceros or an elephant, that happened to pass; or a lioness, when she has cubs, might attack a man, who, passing "up the wind of her," had unconsciously, by his scent, alarmed her for the safety of her whelps; or buffaloes, amid other animals, might rush at a line of travellers, in apprehension of being surrounded by them; but neither beast nor snake will, as a general rule, turn on man except when wounded, or by mistake. If gorillas, unwounded, advance to do battle with him, and beat their breasts in defiance, they are an exception to all wild beasts known to us. From the way an elephant runs at the first glance of man, it is inferred that this huge brute, though really king of beasts, would run even from a child.
Our two donkeys caused as much admiration as the three white men. Great was the astonishment when one of the donkeys began to bray. The timid jumped more than if a lion had roared beside them. All were startled, and stared in mute amazement at the harsh-voiced one, till the last broken note was uttered; then, on being assured that nothing in particular was meant, they looked at each other, and burst into a loud laugh at their common surprise. When one donkey stimulated the other to try his vocal powers, the interest felt by the startled visitors, must have equalled that of the Londoners, when they first crowded to see the famous hippopotamus.
We were now, when we crossed the boundary rivulet Nyamatarara, out of Chicova and amongst sandstone rocks, similar to those which prevail between Lupata and Kebrabasa. In the latter gorge, as already mentioned, igneous and syenitic masses have been acted on by some great fiery convulsion of nature; the strata are thrown into a huddled heap of confusion. The coal has of course disappeared in Kebrabasa, but is found again in Chicova. Tette grey sandstone is common about Sinjere, and wherever it is seen with fossil wood upon it, coal lies beneath; and here, as at Chicova, some seams crop out on the banks of the Zambesi. Looking southwards, the country is open plain and woodland, with detached hills and mountains in the distance; but the latter are too far off, the natives say, for them to know their names. The principal hills on our right, as we look up stream, are from six to twelve miles away, and occasionally they send down spurs to the river, with brooks flowing through their narrow valleys. The banks of the Zambesi show two well- defined terraces; the first, or lowest, being usually narrow, and of great fertility, while the upper one is a dry grassy plain, a thorny jungle, or a mopane (Bauhinia) forest. One of these plains, near the Kafue, is covered with the large stumps and trunks of a petrified forest. We halted a couple of days by the fine stream Sinjere, which comes from the Chiroby-roby hills, about eight miles to the north. Many lumps of coal, brought down by the rapid current, lie in its channel. The natives never seem to have discovered that coal would burn, and, when informed of the fact, shook their heads, smiled incredulously, and said "Kodi" (really), evidently regarding it as a mere traveller's tale. They were astounded to see it burning freely on our fire of wood. They told us that plenty of it was seen among the hills; but, being long ago aware that we were now in an immense coalfield, we did not care to examine it further.
A dyke of black basaltic rock, called Kakolole, crosses the river near the mouth of the Sinjere; but it has two open gateways in it of from sixty to eighty yards in breadth, and the channel is very deep.
On a shallow sandbank, under the dyke, lay a herd of hippopotami in fancied security. The young ones were playing with each other like young puppies, climbing on the backs of their dams, trying to take hold of one another by the jaws and tumbling over into the water. Mbia, one of the Makololo, waded across to within a dozen yards of the drowsy beasts, and shot the father of the herd; who, being very fat, soon floated, and was secured at the village below. The headman of the village visited us while we were at breakfast. He wore a black "ife" wig and a printed shirt. After a short silence he said to Masakasa, "You are with the white people, so why do you not tell them to give me a cloth?" "We are strangers," answered Masakasa, "why do you not bring us some food?" He took the plain hint, and brought us two fowls, in order that we should not report that in passing him we got nothing to eat; and, as usual, we gave a cloth in return. In reference to the hippopotamus he would make no demand, but said he would take what we chose to give him. The men gorged themselves with meat for two days, and cut large quantities into long narrow strips, which they half-dried and half-roasted on wooden frames over the fire. Much game is taken in this neighbourhood in pitfalls. Sharp-pointed stakes are set in the bottom, on which the game tumbles and gets impaled. The natives are careful to warn strangers of these traps, and also of the poisoned beams suspended on the tall trees for the purpose of killing elephants and hippopotami. It is not difficult to detect the pitfalls after one's attention has been called to them; but in places where they are careful to carry the earth off to a distance, and a person is not thinking of such things, a sudden descent of nine feet is an experience not easily forgotten by the traveller. The sensations of one thus instantaneously swallowed up by the earth are peculiar. A momentary suspension of consciousness is followed by the rustling sound of a shower of sand and dry grass, and the half-bewildered thought of where he is, and how he came into darkness. Reason awakes to assure him that he must have come down through that small opening of daylight overhead, and that he is now where a hippopotamus ought to have been. The descent of a hippopotamus pitfall is easy, but to get out again into the upper air is a work of labour. The sides are smooth and treacherous, and the cross reeds, which support the covering, break in the attempt to get out by clutching them. A cry from the depths is unheard by those around, and it is only by repeated and most desperate efforts that the buried alive can regain the upper world. At Tette we are told of a white hunter, of unusually small stature, who plumped into a pit while stalking a guinea-fowl on a tree. It was the labour of an entire forenoon to get out; and he was congratulating himself on his escape, and brushing off the clay from his clothes, when down he went into a second pit, which happened, as is often the case, to be close beside the first, and it was evening before he could work himself out of that.
Elephants and buffaloes seldom return to the river by the same path on two successive nights, they become so apprehensive of danger from this human art. An old elephant will walk in advance of the herd, and uncover the pits with his trunk, that the others may see the openings and tread on firm ground. Female elephants are generally the victims: more timid by nature than the males, and very motherly in their anxiety for their calves, they carry their trunks up, trying every breeze for fancied danger, which often in reality lies at their feet. The tusker, fearing less, keeps his trunk down, and, warned in time by that exquisitely sensitive organ, takes heed to his ways.
Our camp on the Sinjere stood under a wide-spreading wild fig-tree. From the numbers of this family, of large size, dotted over the country, the fig or banyan species would seem to have been held sacred in Africa from the remotest times. The soil teemed with white ants, whose clay tunnels, formed to screen them from the eyes of birds, thread over the ground, up the trunks of trees, and along the branches, from which the little architects clear away all rotten or dead wood. Very often the exact shape of branches is left in tunnels on the ground and not a bit of the wood inside. The first night we passed here these destructive insects ate through our grass-beds, and attacked our blankets, and certain large red-headed ones even bit our flesh.
On some days not a single white ant is to be seen abroad; and on others, and during certain hours, they appear out of doors in myriads, and work with extraordinary zeal and energy in carrying bits of dried grass down into their nests. During these busy reaping-fits the lizards and birds have a good time of it, and enjoy a rich feast at the expense of thousands of hapless workmen; and when they swarm they are caught in countless numbers by the natives, and their roasted bodies are spoken of in an unctuous manner as resembling grains of soft rice fried in delicious fresh oil.
A strong marauding party of large black ants attacked a nest of white ones near the camp: as the contest took place beneath the surface, we could not see the order of the battle; but it soon became apparent that the blacks had gained the day, and sacked the white town, for they returned in triumph, bearing off the eggs, and choice bits of the bodies of the vanquished. A gift, analogous to that of language, has not been withheld from ants: if part of their building is destroyed, an official is seen coming out to examine the damage; and, after a careful survey of the ruins, he chirrups a few clear and distinct notes, and a crowd of workers begin at once to repair the breach. When the work is completed, another order is given, and the workmen retire, as will appear on removing the soft freshly-built portion. We tried to sleep one rainy might in a native hut, but could not because of attacks by the fighting battalions of a very small species of formica, not more than one-sixteenth of an inch in length. It soon became obvious that they were under regular discipline, and even attempting to carry out the skilful plans and stratagems of some eminent leader. Our hands and necks were the first objects of attack. Large bodies of these little pests were massed in silence round the point to be assaulted. We could hear the sharp shrill word of command two or three times repeated, though until then we had not believed in the vocal power of an ant; the instant after we felt the storming hosts range over head and neck, biting the tender skin, clinging with a death-grip to the hair, and parting with their jaws rather than quit their hold. On our lying down again in the hope of their having been driven off, no sooner was the light out, and all still, than the manoeuvre was repeated. Clear and audible orders were issued, and the assault renewed. It was as hard to sleep in that hut as in the trenches before Sebastopol. The white ant, being a vegetable feeder, devours articles of vegetable origin only, and leather, which, by tanning, is imbued with a vegetable flavour. "A man may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow, from the ravages of white ants," said a Portuguese merchant. "If he gets sick, and unable to look after his goods, his slaves neglect them, and they are soon destroyed by these insects." The reddish ant, in the west called drivers, crossed our path daily, in solid columns an inch wide, and never did the pugnacity of either man or beast exceed theirs. It is a sufficient cause of war if you only approach them, even by accident. Some turn out of the ranks and stand with open mandibles, or, charging with extended jaws, bite with savage ferocity. When hunting, we lighted among them too often; while we were intent on the game, and without a thought of ants, they quietly covered us from head to foot, then all began to bite at the same instant; seizing a piece of the skin with their powerful pincers, they twisted themselves round with it, as if determined to tear it out. Their bites are so terribly sharp that the bravest must run, and then strip to pick off those that still cling with their hooked jaws, as with steel forceps. This kind abounds in damp places, and is usually met with on the banks of streams. We have not heard of their actually killing any animal except the Python, and that only when gorged and quite lethargic, but they soon clear away any dead animal matter; this appears to be their principal food, and their use in the economy of nature is clearly in the scavenger line.
We started from the Sinjere on the 12th of June, our men carrying with them bundles of hippopotamus meat for sale, and for future use. We rested for breakfast opposite the Kakolole dyke, which confines the channel, west of the Manyerere mountain. A rogue monkey, the largest by far that we ever saw, and very fat and tame, walked off leisurely from a garden as we approached. The monkey is a sacred animal in this region, and is never molested or killed, because the people believe devoutly that the souls of their ancestors now occupy these degraded forms, and anticipate that they themselves must, sooner or later, be transformed in like manner; a future as cheerless for the black as the spirit-rapper's heaven is for the whites. The gardens are separated from each other by a single row of small stones, a few handfuls of grass, or a slight furrow made by the hoe. Some are enclosed by a reed fence of the flimsiest construction, yet sufficient to keep out the ever wary hippopotamus, who dreads a trap. His extreme caution is taken advantage of by the women, who hang, as a miniature trap-beam, a kigelia fruit with a bit of stick in the end. This protects the maize, of which he is excessively fond.
The quantity of hippopotamus meat eaten by our men made some of them ill, and our marches were necessarily short. After three hours' travel on the 13th, we spent the remainder of the day at the village of Chasiribera, on a rivulet flowing through a beautiful valley to the north, which is bounded by magnificent mountain-ranges. Pinkwe, or Mbingwe, otherwise Moeu, forms the south-eastern angle of the range. On the 16th June we were at the flourishing village of Senga, under the headman Manyame, which lies at the foot of the mount Motemwa. Nearly all the mountains in this country are covered with open forest and grass, in colour, according to the season, green or yellow. Many are between 2000 and 3000 feet high, with the sky line fringed with trees; the rocks show just sufficiently for one to observe their stratification, or their granitic form, and though not covered with dense masses of climbing plants, like those in moister eastern climates, there is still the idea conveyed that most of the steep sides are fertile, and none give the impression of that barrenness which, in northern mountains, suggests the idea that the bones of the world are sticking through its skin.
The villagers reported that we were on the footsteps of a Portuguese half- caste, who, at Senga, lately tried to purchase ivory, but, in consequence of his having murdered a chief near Zumbo and twenty of his men, the people declined to trade with him. He threatened to take the ivory by force, if they would not sell it; but that same night the ivory and the women were spirited out of the village, and only a large body of armed men remained. The trader, fearing that he might come off second best if it came to blows, immediately departed. Chikwanitsela, or Sekuanangila, is the paramount chief of some fifty miles of the northern bank of the Zambesi in this locality. He lives on the opposite, or southern side, and there his territory is still more extensive. We sent him a present from Senga, and were informed by a messenger next morning that he had a cough and could not come over to see us. "And has his present a cough too," remarked one of our party, "that it does not come to us? Is this the way your chief treats strangers, receives their present, and sends them no food in return?" Our men thought Chikwanitsela an uncommonly stingy fellow; but, as it was possible that some of them might yet wish to return this way, they did not like to scold him more than this, which was sufficiently to the point.
Men and women were busily engaged in preparing the ground for the November planting. Large game was abundant; herds of elephants and buffaloes came down to the river in the night, but were a long way off by daylight. They soon adopt this habit in places where they are hunted.
The plains we travel over are constantly varying in breadth, according as the furrowed and wooded hills approach or recede from the river. On the southern side we see the hill Bungwe, and the long, level, wooded ridge Nyangombe, the first of a series bending from the S.E. to the N.W. past the Zambesi. We shot an old pallah on the 16th, and found that the poor animal had been visited with more than the usual share of animal afflictions. He was stone-blind in both eyes, had several tumours, and a broken leg, which showed no symptoms of ever having begun to heal. Wild animals sometimes suffer a great deal from disease, and wearily drag on a miserable existence before relieved of it by some ravenous beast. Once we drove off a maneless lion and lioness from a dead buffalo, which had been in the last stage of a decline. They had watched him staggering to the river to quench his thirst, and sprang on him as he was crawling up the bank. One had caught him by the throat, and the other by his high projecting backbone, which was broken by the lion's powerful fangs. The struggle, if any, must have been short. They had only eaten the intestines when we frightened them off. It is curious that this is the part that wild animals always begin with, and that it is also the first choice of our men. Were it not a wise arrangement that only the strongest males should continue the breed, one could hardly help pitying the solitary buffalo expelled from the herd for some physical blemish, or on account of the weakness of approaching old age. Banished from female society, he naturally becomes morose and savage; the necessary watchfulness against enemies is now never shared by others; disgusted, he passes into a state of chronic war with all who enjoy life, and the sooner after his expulsion that he fills the lion's or the wild-dog's maw, the better for himself and for the peace of the country.
We encamped on the 20th of June at a spot where Dr. Livingstone, on his journey from the West to the East Coast, was formerly menaced by a chief named Mpende. No offence had been committed against him, but he had firearms, and, with the express object of showing his power, he threatened to attack the strangers. Mpende's counsellors having, however, found out that Dr. Livingstone belonged to a tribe of whom they had heard that "they loved the black man and did not make slaves," his conduct at once changed from enmity to kindness, and, as the place was one well selected for defence, it was perhaps quite as well for Mpende that he decided as he did. Three of his counsellors now visited us, and we gave them a handsome present for their chief, who came himself next morning and made us a present of a goat, a basket of boiled maize, and another of vetches. A few miles above this the headman, Chilondo of Nyamasusa, apologized for not formerly lending us canoes. "He was absent, and his children were to blame for not telling him when the Doctor passed; he did not refuse the canoes." The sight of our men, now armed with muskets, had a great effect. Without any bullying, firearms command respect, and lead men to be reasonable who might otherwise feel disposed to be troublesome. Nothing, however, our fracas with Mpende excepted, could be more peaceful than our passage through this tract of country in 1856. We then had nothing to excite the cupidity of the people, and the men maintained themselves, either by selling elephant's meat, or by exhibiting feats of foreign dancing. Most of the people were very generous and friendly; but the Banyai, nearer to Tette than this, stopped our march with a threatening war-dance. One of our party, terrified at this, ran away, as we thought, insane, and could not, after a painful search of three days, be found. The Banyai, evidently touched by our distress, allowed us to proceed. Through a man we left on an island a little below Mpende's, we subsequently learned that poor Monaheng had fled thither, and had been murdered by the headman for no reason except that he was defenceless. This headman had since become odious to his countrymen, and had been put to death by them.
On the 23rd of June we entered Pangola's principal village, which is upwards of a mile from the river. The ruins of a mud wall showed that a rude attempt had been made to imitate the Portuguese style of building. We established ourselves under a stately wild fig-tree, round whose trunk witchcraft medicine had been tied, to protect from thieves the honey of the wild bees, which had their hive in one of the limbs. This is a common device. The charm, or the medicine, is purchased of the dice doctors, and consists of a strip of palm-leaf smeared with something, and adorned with a few bits of grass, wood, or roots. It is tied round the tree, and is believed to have the power of inflicting disease and death on the thief who climbs over it. Superstition is thus not without its uses in certain states of society; it prevents many crimes and misdemeanours, which would occur but for the salutary fear that it produces.
Pangola arrived, tipsy and talkative.—"We are friends, we are great friends; I have brought you a basket of green maize—here it is!" We thanked him, and handed him two fathoms of cotton cloth, four times the market-value of his present. No, he would not take so small a present; he wanted a double-barrelled rifle—one of Dixon's best. "We are friends, you know; we are all friends together." But although we were willing to admit that, we could not give him our best rifle, so he went off in high dudgeon. Early next morning, as we were commencing Divine service, Pangola returned, sober. We explained to him that we wished to worship God, and invited him to remain; he seemed frightened, and retired: but after service he again importuned us for the rifle. It was of no use telling him that we had a long journey before us, and needed it to kill game for ourselves.—"He too must obtain meat for himself and people, for they sometimes suffered from hunger." He then got sulky, and his people refused to sell food except at extravagant prices. Knowing that we had nothing to eat, they felt sure of starving us into compliance. But two of our young men, having gone off at sunrise, shot a fine waterbuck, and down came the provision market to the lower figure; they even became eager to sell, but our men were angry with them for trying compulsion, and would not buy. Black greed had outwitted itself, as happens often with white cupidity; and not only here did the traits of Africans remind us of Anglo-Saxons elsewhere: the notoriously ready world- wide disposition to take an unfair advantage of a man's necessities shows that the same mean motives are pretty widely diffused among all races. It may not be granted that the same blood flows in all veins, or that all have descended from the same stock; but the traveller has no doubt that, practically, the white rogue and black are men and brothers.
Pangola is the child or vassal of Mpende. Sandia and Mpende are the only independent chiefs from Kebrabasa to Zumbo, and belong to the tribe Manganja. The country north of the mountains here in sight from the Zambesi is called Senga, and its inhabitants Asenga, or Basenga, but all appear to be of the same family as the rest of the Manganja and Maravi. Formerly all the Manganja were united under the government of their great chief, Undi, whose empire extended from Lake Shirwa to the River Loangwa; but after Undi's death it fell to pieces, and a large portion of it on the Zambesi was absorbed by their powerful southern neighbours the Banyai. This has been the inevitable fate of every African empire from time immemorial. A chief of more than ordinary ability arises and, subduing all his less powerful neighbours, founds a kingdom, which he governs more or less wisely till he dies. His successor not having the talents of the conqueror cannot retain the dominion, and some of the abler under-chiefs set up for themselves, and, in a few years, the remembrance only of the empire remains. This, which may be considered as the normal state of African society, gives rise to frequent and desolating wars, and the people long in vain for a power able to make all dwell in peace. In this light, a European colony would be considered by the natives as an inestimable boon to intertropical Africa. Thousands of industrious natives would gladly settle round it, and engage in that peaceful pursuit of agriculture and trade of which they are so fond, and, undistracted by wars or rumours of wars, might listen to the purifying and ennobling truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Manganja on the Zambesi, like their countrymen on the Shire, are fond of agriculture; and, in addition to the usual varieties of food, cultivate tobacco and cotton in quantities more than equal to their wants. To the question, "Would they work for Europeans?" an affirmative answer may be given, if the Europeans belong to the class which can pay a reasonable price for labour, and not to that of adventurers who want employment for themselves. All were particularly well clothed from Sandia's to Pangola's; and it was noticed that all the cloth was of native manufacture, the product of their own looms. In Senga a great deal of iron is obtained from the ore and manufactured very cleverly.
As is customary when a party of armed strangers visits the village, Pangola took the precaution of sleeping in one of the outlying hamlets. No one ever knows, or at any rate will tell, where the chief sleeps. He came not next morning, so we went our way; but in a few moments we saw the rifle-loving chief approaching with some armed men. Before meeting us, he left the path and drew up his "following" under a tree, expecting us to halt, and give him a chance of bothering us again; but, having already had enough of that, we held right on: he seemed dumbfoundered, and could hardly believe his own eyes. For a few seconds he was speechless, but at last recovered so far as to be able to say, "You are passing Pangola. Do you not see Pangola?" Mbia was just going by at the time with the donkey, and, proud of every opportunity of airing his small stock of English, shouted in reply, "All right! then get on." "Click, click, click."
On the 26th June we breakfasted at Zumbo, on the left bank of the Loangwa, near the ruins of some ancient Portuguese houses. The Loangwa was too deep to be forded, and there were no canoes on our side. Seeing two small ones on the opposite shore, near a few recently erected huts of two half-castes from Tette, we halted for the ferry-men to come over. From their movements it was evident that they were in a state of rollicking drunkenness. Having a waterproof cloak, which could be inflated into a tiny boat, we sent Mantlanyane across in it. Three half- intoxicated slaves then brought us the shaky canoes, which we lashed together and manned with our own canoe-men. Five men were all that we could carry over at a time; and after four trips had been made the slaves began to clamour for drink; not receiving any, as we had none to give, they grew more insolent, and declared that not another man should cross that day. Sininyane was remonstrating with them, when a loaded musket was presented at him by one of the trio. In an instant the gun was out of the rascal's hands, a rattling shower of blows fell on his back, and he took an involuntary header into the river. He crawled up the bank a sad and sober man, and all three at once tumbled from the height of saucy swagger to a low depth of slavish abjectness. The musket was found to have an enormous charge, and might have blown our man to pieces, but for the promptitude with which his companions administered justice in a lawless land. We were all ferried safely across by 8 o'clock in the evening.
In illustration of what takes place where no government, or law exists, the two half-castes, to whom these men belonged, left Tette, with four hundred slaves, armed with the old Sepoy Brown Bess, to hunt elephants and trade in ivory. On our way up, we heard from natives of their lawless deeds, and again, on our way down, from several, who had been eyewitnesses of the principal crime, and all reports substantially agreed. The story is a sad one. After the traders reached Zumbo, one of them, called by the natives Sequasha, entered into a plot with the disaffected headman, Namakusuru, to kill his chief, Mpangwe, in order that Namakusuru might seize upon the chieftainship; and for the murder of Mpangwe the trader agreed to receive ten large tusks of ivory. Sequasha, with a picked party of armed slaves, went to visit Mpangwe who received him kindly, and treated him with all the honour and hospitality usually shown to distinguished strangers, and the women busied themselves in cooking the best of their provisions for the repast to be set before him. Of this, and also of the beer, the half-caste partook heartily. Mpangwe was then asked by Sequasha to allow his men to fire their guns in amusement. Innocent of any suspicion of treachery, and anxious to hear the report of firearms, Mpangwe at once gave his consent; and the slaves rose and poured a murderous volley into the merry group of unsuspecting spectators, instantly killing the chief and twenty of his people. The survivors fled in horror. The children and young women were seized as slaves, and the village sacked. Sequasha sent the message to Namakusuru: "I have killed the lion that troubled you; come and let us talk over the matter." He came and brought the ivory. "No," said the half-caste, "let us divide the land:" and he took the larger share for himself, and compelled the would-be usurper to deliver up his bracelets, in token of subjection on becoming the child or vassal of Sequasha. These were sent in triumph to the authorities at Tette. The governor of Quillimane had told us that he had received orders from Lisbon to take advantage of our passing to re-establish Zumbo; and accordingly these traders had built a small stockade on the rich plain of the right bank of Loangwa, a mile above the site of the ancient mission church of Zumbo, as part of the royal policy. The bloodshed was quite unnecessary, because, the land at Zumbo having of old been purchased, the natives would have always of their own accord acknowledged the right thus acquired; they pointed it out to Dr. Livingstone in 1856 that, though they were cultivating it, is was not theirs, but white man's land. Sequasha and his mate had left their ivory in charge of some of their slaves, who, in the absence of their masters, were now having a gay time of it, and getting drunk every day with the produce of the sacked villages. The head slave came and begged for the musket of the delinquent ferryman, which was returned. He thought his master did perfectly right to kill Mpangwe, when asked to do it for the fee of ten tusks, and he even justified it thus: "If a man invites you to eat, will you not partake?"
We continued our journey on the 28th of June. Game was extremely abundant, and there were many lions. Mbia drove one off from his feast on a wild pig, and appropriated what remained of the pork to his own use. Lions are particularly fond of the flesh of wild pigs and zebras, and contrive to kill a large number of these animals. In the afternoon we arrived at the village of the female chief, Ma-mburuma, but she herself was now living on the opposite side of the river. Some of her people called, and said she had been frightened by seeing her son and other children killed by Sequasha, and had fled to the other bank; but when her heart was healed, she would return and live in her own village, and among her own people. She constantly inquired of the black traders, who came up the river, if they had any news of the white man who passed with the oxen. "He has gone down into the sea," was their reply, "but we belong to the same people." "Oh no; you need not tell me that; he takes no slaves, but wishes peace: you are not of his tribe." This antislavery character excites such universal attention, that any missionary who winked at the gigantic evils involved in the slave-trade would certainly fail to produce any good impression on the native mind.
Illness—The Honey-guide—Abundance of game—The Baenda pezi—The Batoka.
We left the river here, and proceeded up the valley which leads to the Mburuma or Mohango pass. The nights were cold, and on the 30th of June the thermometer was as low as 39 degrees at sunrise. We passed through a village of twenty large huts, which Sequasha had attacked on his return from the murder of the chief, Mpangwe. He caught the women and children for slaves, and carried off all the food, except a huge basket of bran, which the natives are wont to save against a time of famine. His slaves had broken all the water-pots and the millstones for grinding meal.