In the Heart of Africa
Sir Samuel White Baker

Part 4 out of 5

The wet herbage disagreed with my baggage animals.

Innumerable flies appeared, including the tsetse, and in a few weeks the
donkeys had no hair left, either on their ears or legs. They drooped and
died one by one. It was in vain that I erected sheds and lighted fires;
nothing would protect them from the flies. The moment the fires were lit
the animals would rush wildly into the smoke, from which nothing would
drive them; and in the clouds of imaginary protection they would remain
all day, refusing food. On the 16th of July my last horse, Mouse, died.
He had a very long tail, for which I obtained A COW IN EXCHANGE. Nothing
was prized so highly as horses' tails, the hairs being used for
stringing beads and also for making tufts as ornaments, to be suspended
from the elbows. It was highly fashionable in Obbo for the men to wear
such tufts formed of the bushy ends of cows' tails. It was also "the
thing" to wear six or eight polished rings of iron, fastened so tightly
round the throat as almost to choke the wearer, and somewhat resembling

For months we dragged on a miserable existence at Obbo, wrecked by
fever. The quinine was exhausted; thus the disease worried me almost to
death, returning at intervals of a few days. Fortunately my wife did not
suffer so much as I did. I had nevertheless prepared for the journey
south, and as travelling on foot would have been impossible in our weak
state, I had purchased and trained three oxen in lieu of horses. They
were named "Beef," "Steaks," and "Suet." "Beef" was a magnificent
animal, but having been bitten by the flies he so lost his condition
that I changed his name to "Bones." We were ready to start, and the
natives reported that early in January the Asua would be fordable. I had
arranged with Ibrahim that he should supply me with porters for payment
in copper bracelets, and that he should accompany me with one hundred
men to Kamrasi's country (Unyoro) on condition that he would restrain
his people from all misdemeanors, and that they should be entirely
subservient to me.

It was the month of December, and during the nine, months that I had
been in correspondence with his party I had succeeded in acquiring an
extraordinary influence. Although my camp was nearly three quarters of a
mile from their zareeba, I had been besieged daily for many months for
everything that was wanted. My camp was a kind of general store that
appeared to be inexhaustible. I gave all that I had with a good grace,
and thereby gained the good-will of the robbers, especially as my large
medicine chest contained a supply of drugs that rendered me in their
eyes a physician of the first importance. I had been very successful
with my patients, and the medicines that I generally used being those
which produced a very decided effect, both the Turks and natives
considered them with perfect faith. There was seldom any difficulty in
prognosticating the effect of tartar emetic, and this became the
favorite drug that was almost daily applied for, a dose of three grains
enchanting the patient, who always advertised my fame by saying "He told
me I should be sick, and, by Allah! there was no mistake about it."
Accordingly there was a great run upon the tartar emetic.

Many people in Debono's camp had died, including several of my deserters
who had joined them. News was brought that in three separate fights with
the natives my deserters had been killed on every occasion, and my men
and those of Ibrahim unhesitatingly declared it was the "hand of God."
None of Ibrahim's men had died since we left Latooka. One man, who had
been badly wounded by a lance thrust through his abdomen, I had
successfully treated; and the trading party, who would at one time
gladly have exterminated me, now exclaimed, "What shall we do when the
Sowar (traveller) leaves the country?" Mrs. Baker had been exceedingly
kind to the women and children of both the traders and natives, and
together we had created so favorable an impression that we were always
referred to as umpires in every dispute. My own men, although indolent,
were so completely disciplined that they would not have dared to disobey
an order, and they looked back upon their former mutinous conduct with
surprise at their own audacity, and declared that they feared to return
to Khartoum, as they were sure that I would not forgive them.

One day, hearing a great noise of voices and blowing of horns in the
direction of Katchiba's residence, I sent to inquire the cause. The old
chief himself appeared very angry and excited. He said that his people
were very bad, that they had been making a great noise and finding fault
with him because he had not supplied them with a few showers, as they
wanted to sow their crop of tullaboon. There had been no rain for about
a fortnight.

Well," I replied, "you are the rain-maker; why don't you give your
people rain?" "Give my people rain!" said Katchiba. "I give them rain if
they don't give me goats? You don't know my people. If I am fool enough
to give them rain before they give me the goats, they would let me
starve! No, no! let them wait. If they don't bring me supplies of corn,
goats, fowls, yams, merissa, and all that I require, not one drop of
rain shall ever fall again in Obbo! Impudent brutes are my people! Do
yon know, they have positively threatened to kill me unless I bring the

They shan't have a drop. I will wither the crops and bring a plague upon
their flocks. I'll teach these rascals to insult me!"

With all this bluster, I saw that old Katchiba was in a great dilemma,
and that he would give anything for a shower, but that lie did not know
how to get out of the scrape. It was a common freak of the tribes to
sacrifice the rain-maker should he be unsuccessful. He suddenly altered
his tone, and asked, "Have you any rain in your country?" I replied that
we had, every now and then. "How do you bring it? Are you a rain-maker?"
I told him that no one believed in rain- makers in our country, but that
we understood how to bottle lightning (meaning electricity). "I don't
keep mine in bottles, but I have a houseful of thunder and lightning,"
he most coolly replied; "but if you can bottle lightning, you must
understand rain-making. What do you think of the weather to-day?" I
immediately saw the drift of the cunning old Katchiba; he wanted
professional advice. I replied that he must know all about it, as he was
a regular rain- maker. "Of course I do," he answered, "but I want to
know what YOU think of it." "Well," I said, "I don't think we shall have
any steady rain, but I think we may have a heavy shower in about four
days." I said this as I had observed fleecy clouds gathering daily in
the afternoon. "Just my opinion!" said Katchiba, delighted. "In four or
perhaps in five days I intend to give then one shower-- just one shower.
Yes, I'll just step down to them now and tell the rascals that if they
will bring me some goats by this evening and some corn to-morrow morning
I will give them in four or five days just one shower." To give effect
to his declaration he gave several toots upon his magic whistle. "Do you
use whistles in your country?" inquired Katchiba. I only replied by
giving so shrill and deafening a whistle on my fingers that Katchiba
stopped his ears, and relapsing into a smile of admiration he took a
glance at the sky from the doorway to see if any sudden effect had been
produced. "Whistle again," he said, and once more I performed like the
whistle of a locomotive. "That will do; we shall have it," said the
cunning old rain-maker, and proud of having so knowingly obtained
"counsel's opinion" on his case, he toddled off to his impatient

In a few days a sudden storm of rain and violent thunder added to
Katchiba's renown, and after the shower horns were blowing and nogaras
were beating in honor of their chief. Entre nous, my whistle was
considered infallible.

A bad attack of fever laid me up until the 31st of December. On the
first day of January, 1864, I was hardly able to stand, and was nearly
worn out at the very time that I required my strength, as we were to
start south in a few days. Although my quinine had been long since
exhausted, I had reserved ten grains to enable me to start in case the
fever should attack me at the time of departure. I now swallowed my last

It was difficult to procure porters; therefore I left all my effects at
my camp in charge of two of my men, and I determined to travel light,
without the tent, and to take little beyond ammunition and cooking
utensils. Ibrahim left forty- five men in his zareeba, and on the 5th of
January we started.

In four days' march we reached the Asua River, and on January 13th
arrived at Shooa, in latitude 3 degrees 4'.

Two days after our arrival at Shooa all of our Obbo porters absconded.
They had heard that we were bound for Kamrasi's country, and having
received exaggerated accounts of his power from the Shooa people, they
had determined upon retreat; thus we were at once unable to proceed,
unless we could procure porters from Shooa. This was exceedingly
difficult, as Kamrasi was well known here, and was not loved. His
country was known as "Quanda," and I at once recognized the corruption
of Speke's "Uganda." The slave woman "Bacheeta," who had formerly given
me in Obbo so much information concerning Kamrasi's country, was to be
our interpreter; but we also had the luck to discover a lad who had
formerly been employed by Mahommed in Faloro, who also spoke the
language of Quanda, and had learned a little Arabic.

I now discovered that the slave woman Bacheeta had formerly been in the
service of a chief named Sali, who had been killed by Kamrasi. Sali was
a friend of Rionga (Kamrasi's greatest enemy), and I had been warned by
Speke not to set foot upon Rionga's territory, or all travelling in
Unyoro would be cut off. I plainly saw that Bacheeta was in favor of
Rionga, as a friend of the murdered Sali, by whom she had had two
children, and that she would most likely tamper with the guide, and that
we should be led to Rionga instead of to Kamrasi. There were "wheels
within wheels."

It was now reported that in the last year, immediately after the
departure of Speke and Grant from Gondokoro, Debono's people had marched
directly to Rionga, allied themselves to him, crossed the Nile with his
people, and had attacked Kamrasi's country, killing about three hundred
of his men, and capturing many slaves. I now understood why they had
deceived me at Gondokoro: they had obtained information of the country
from Speke's people, and had made use of it by immediately attacking
Kamrasi in conjunction with Rionga.

This would be a pleasant introduction for me on entering Unyoro, as
almost immediately after the departure of Speke and Grant, Kamrasi had
been invaded by the very people into whose hands his messengers had
delivered them, when they were guided from Unyoro to the Turks' station
at Faloro. He would naturally have considered that the Turks had been
sent by Speke to attack him; thus the road appeared closed to all
exploration, through the atrocities of Debono's people.

Many of Ibrahim's men, at hearing this intelligence, refused to proceed
to Unyoro. Fortunately for me, Ibrahim had been extremely unlucky in
procuring ivory. The year had almost passed away, and he had a mere
nothing with which to return to Gondokoro. I impressed upon him how
enraged Koorshid would be should he return with such a trifle. Already
his own men declared that he was neglecting razzias because he was to
receive a present from me if we reached Unyoro. This they would report
to his master (Koorshid), and it would be believed should he fail in
securing ivory. I guaranteed him 100 cantars (10,000 pounds) if he would
push on at all hazards with me to Kamrasi and secure me porters from
Shooa. Ibrahim behaved remarkably well. For some time past I had
acquired a great influence over him, and he depended so thoroughly upon
my opinion that he declared himself ready to do all that I suggested.
Accordingly I desired him to call his men together, and to leave in
Shooa all those who were disinclined to follow us.

At once I arranged for a start, lest some fresh idea should enter the
ever- suspicious brains of our followers and mar the expedition. It was
difficult to procure porters, and I abandoned all that was not
indispensable--our last few pounds of rice and coffee, and even the
great sponging-bath, that emblem of civilization that had been clung to
even when the tent had been left behind.

On the 18th of January, 1864, we left Shooa. The pure air of that
country had invigorated us, and I was so improved in strength that I
enjoyed the excitement of the launch into unknown lands. The Turks knew
nothing of the route south, and I accordingly took the lead of the
entire party. I had come to a distinct understanding with Ibrahim that
Kamrasi's country should belong to ME; not an act of felony would be
permitted; all were to be under my government, and I would insure him at
least 100 cantars of tusks.

Eight miles of agreeable march through the usual park-like country
brought us to the village of Fatiko, situated upon a splendid plateau of
rock upon elevated ground with beautiful granite cliffs, bordering a
level table-land of fine grass that would have formed a race-course. The
high rocks were covered with natives, perched upon the outline like a
flock of ravens.

We halted to rest under some fine trees growing among large isolated
blocks of granite and gneiss. In a short time the natives assembled
around us. They were wonderfully friendly, and insisted upon a personal
introduction to both myself and Mrs. Baker. We were thus compelled to
hold a levee--not the passive and cold ceremony of Europe, but a most
active undertaking, as each native that was introduced performed the
salaam of his country by seizing both my hands and raising my arms three
times to their full stretch above my head. After about one hundred
Fatikos had been thus gratified by our submission to this infliction,
and our arms had been subjected to at least three hundred stretches
each, I gave the order to saddle the oxen immediately, and we escaped a
further proof of Fatiko affection that was already preparing, as masses
of natives were streaming down the rocks hurrying to be introduced.
Notwithstanding the fatigue of the ceremony, I took a great fancy to
these poor people. They had prepared a quantity of merissa and a sheep
for our lunch, which they begged us to remain and enjoy before we
started; but the pumping action of half a village not yet gratified by a
presentation was too much, and mounting our oxen with aching shoulders
we bade adieu to Fatiko.

On the following day our guide lost the road; a large herd of elephants
had obscured it by trampling hundreds of paths in all directions. The
wind was strong from the north, and I proposed to clear the country to
the south by firing the prairies. There were numerous deep swamps in the
bottoms between the undulations, and upon arrival at one of these green
dells we fired the grass on the opposite side. In a few minutes it
roared before us, and we enjoyed the grand sight of the boundless
prairies blazing like infernal regions, and rapidly clearing a path
south. Flocks of buzzards and the beautiful varieties of fly- catchers
thronged to the dense smoke to prey upon the innumerable insects that
endeavored to escape from the approaching fire.


Greeting from Kamrasi's people--Suffering for the sins of others--Alone
among savages--The free-masonry of Unyoro--Pottery and civilization.

After an exceedingly fatiguing march we reached the Somerset River, or
Victoria White Nile, January 22d. I went to the river to see if the
other side was inhabited. There were two villages on an island, and the
natives came across in a canoe, bringing the BROTHER OF RIONGA. The
guide, as I had feared during the journey, had deceived us, and
following the secret instructions of the slave woman Bacheeta, had
brought us directly to Rionga's country.

The natives at first had taken us for Mahomet Wat-el-Mek's people; but,
finding their mistake, they would give us no information. We could
obtain no supplies from them; but they returned to the island and
shouted out that we might go to Kamrasi if we wished, but we should
receive no assistance from them.

After a most enjoyable march through the exciting scenery of the
glorious river crashing over innumerable falls, and in many places
ornamented with rocky islands, upon which were villages and plantain
groves, we at length approached the Karuma Falls, close to the village
of Atada above the ferry. The heights were crowded with natives, and a
canoe was sent across to within parleying distance of our side, as the
roar of the rapids prevented our voices from being heard except at a
short distance. Bacheeta now explained that "SPEKE'S BROTHER had arrived
from his country to pay Kamrasi a visit, and had brought him valuable

"Why has he brought so many men with him?" inquired the people from the

"There are so many presents for the M'Kamma (king) that he has many men
to carry them," shouted Bacheeta.

"Let us look at him!" cried the headman in the boat. Having prepared for
the introduction by changing my clothes in a grove of plantains for my
dressing- room, and altering my costume to a tweed suit, something
similar to that worn by Speke, I climbed up a high and almost
perpendicular rock that formed a natural pinnacle on the face of the
cliff, and waving my cap to the crowd on the opposite side, I looked
almost as imposing as Nelson in Trafalgar Square.

I instructed Bacheeta, who climbed up the giddy height after me, to
shout to the people that an English lady, my wife, had also arrived, and
that we wished immediately to be presented to the king and his family,
as we had come to thank him for his kind treatment of Speke and Grant,
who had arrived safe in their own country. Upon this being explained and
repeated several times the canoe approached the shore.

I ordered all our people to retire and to conceal themselves among the
plantains, that the natives might not be startled by so imposing a
force, while Mrs. Baker and I advanced alone to meet Kamrasi's people,
who were men of some importance. Upon landing through the high reeds,
they immediately recognized the similarity of my beard and general
complexion to those of Speke, and their welcome was at once displayed by
the most extravagant dancing and gesticulating with lances and shields,
as though intending to attack, rushing at me with the points of their
lances thrust close to my face, and shouting and singing in great

I made each of them a present of a bead necklace, and explained to them
my wish that there should be no delay in my presentation to Kamrasi, as
Speke had complained that he had been kept waiting fifteen days before
the king had condescended to see him; that if this occurred no
Englishman would ever visit him, as such a reception would be considered
an insult. The headman replied that he felt sure I was not an impostor;
but that very shortly after the departure of Speke and Grant in the
previous year a number of people had arrived in their name, introducing
themselves as their greatest friends. They had been ferried across the
river, and well received by Kamrasi's orders, and had been presented
with ivory, slaves, and leopard-skins, as tokens of friendship; but they
had departed, and suddenly returned with Rionga's people, and attacked
the village in which they had been so well received; and upon the
country being assembled to resist them, about three hundred of Kamrasi's
men had been killed in the fight. The king had therefore given orders
that upon pain of death no stranger should cross the river.

He continued, "that when he saw our people marching along the bank of
the river they imagined us to be the same party that had attacked them
formerly, and they were prepared to resist us, and had sent on a
messenger to Kamrasi, who was three days' march from Karuma, at his
capital, M'rooli; until they received a reply it would be impossible to
allow us to enter the country. He promised to despatch another messenger
immediately to inform the king who we were, but that we must certainly
wait until his return. I explained that we had nothing to eat, and that
it would be very inconvenient to remain in such a spot; that I
considered the suspicion displayed was exceedingly unfair, as they must
see that my wife and I were white people like Speke and Grant, whereas
those who had deceived them were of a totally different race, all being
either black or brown.

I told him that it did not much matter; that I had very beautiful
presents intended for Kamrasi, but that another great king would be only
too glad to accept them, without throwing obstacles in my way. I should
accordingly return with my presents.

At the same time I ordered a handsome Persian carpet, about fifteen feet
square, to be displayed as one of the presents intended for the king.
The gorgeous colors, as the carpet was unfolded, produced a general
exclamation. Before the effect of astonishment wore off I had a basket
unpacked, and displayed upon a cloth a heap of superb necklaces, that we
had prepared while at Obbo, of the choicest beads, many as large as
marbles, and glittering with every color of the rainbow. The garden of
jewels of Aladdin's wonderful lamp could not have produced more enticing
fruit. Beads were extremely rare in Kamrasi's land; the few that existed
had arrived from Zanzibar, and all that I exhibited were entirely new
varieties. I explained that I had many other presents, but that it was
not necessary to unpack them, as we were about to return with them to
visit another king, who lived some days' journey distant. "Don't go;
don't go away," said the headman and his companions. "Kamrasi will -"
Here an unmistakable pantomimic action explained their meaning better
than words; throwing their heads well back, they sawed across their
throats with their forefingers, making horrible grimaces, indicative of
the cutting of throats. I could not resist laughing at the terror that
my threat of returning with the presents had created. They explained
that Kamrasi would not only kill them, but would destroy the entire
village of Atada should we return without visiting him; but that he
would perhaps punish them in precisely the same manner should they ferry
us across without special orders. "Please yourselves," I replied; "if my
party is not ferried across by the time the sun reaches that spot on the
heavens (pointing to the position it would occupy at about 3 P.M.) I
shall return." In a state of great excitement they promised to hold a
conference on the other side, and to see what arrangements could be
made. They returned to Atada, leaving the whole party, including
Ibrahim, exceedingly disconcerted, having nothing to eat, an impassable
river before us, and five days' march of uninhabited wilderness in our

The whole day passed in shouting and gesticulating our peaceful
intentions to the crowd assembled on the heights on the opposite side of
the river; but the boat did not return until long after the time
appointed. Even then the natives would only approach sufficiently near
to be heard, but nothing would induce them to land. They explained that
there was a division of opinion among the people on the other side: some
were in favor of receiving us, but the greater number were of opinion
that we intended hostilities; therefore we must wait until orders could
be sent from the king.

To assure the people of our peaceful intentions, I begged them to take
Mrs. Baker and myself alone, and to leave the armed party on this side
of the river until a reply should be received from Kamrasi. At this
suggestion the boat immediately returned to the other side.

The day passed away, and as the sun set we perceived the canoe again
paddling across the river. This time it approached directly, and the
same people landed that had received the necklaces in the morning. They
said that they had held a conference with the headman, and that they had
agreed to receive my wife and myself, but no other person. I replied
that my servants must accompany us, as we were quite as great personages
as Kamrasi, and could not possibly travel without attendants. To this
they demurred; therefore I dropped the subject, and proposed to load the
canoe with all the presents intended for Kamrasi. There was no objection
to this, and I ordered Richarn, Saat, and Ibrahim to get into the canoe
to stow away the luggage as it should be handed to them, but on no
account to leave the boat. I had already prepared everything in
readiness, and a bundle of rifles tied up in a large blanket and 500
rounds of ball cartridge were unconsciously received on board as
PRESENTS. I had instructed Ibrahim to accompany us as my servant, as he
was better than most of the men in the event of a row; and I had given
orders that, in case of a preconcerted signal being given, the whole
force should swim the river, supporting themselves and guns upon bundles
of papyrus rush. The men thought us perfectly mad, and declared that we
should be murdered immediately when on the other side; however, they
prepared for crossing the river in case of treachery.

At the last moment, when the boat was about to leave the shore, two of
the best men jumped in with their guns. However, the natives positively
refused to start; therefore, to avoid suspicion, I ordered them to
retire, but I left word that on the morrow I would send the canoe across
with supplies, and that one or two men should endeavor to accompany the
boat to our side on every trip.

It was quite dark when we started. The canoe was formed of a large
hollow tree, capable of holding twenty people, and the natives paddled
us across the rapid current just below the falls. A large fire was
blazing upon the opposite shore, on a level with the river, to guide us
to the landing-place. Gliding through a narrow passage in the reeds, we
touched the shore and landed upon a slippery rock, close to the fire,
amid a crowd of people, who immediately struck up a deafening welcome
with horns and flageolets, and marched us up the steep face of the rocky
cliff through a dark grove of bananas. Torches led the way, followed by
a long file of spearmen; then came the noisy band and ourselves, I
towing my wife up the precipitous path, while my few attendants followed
behind with a number of natives who had volunteered to carry the

On arrival at the top of the cliff, we were about 180 feet above the
river; and after a walk of about a quarter of a mile, we were
triumphantly led into the heart of the village, and halted in a small
courtyard in front of the headman's residence.

Keedja waited to receive us by a blazing fire. Not having had anything
to eat, we were uncommonly hungry, and to our great delight a basketful
of ripe plantains was presented to us. These were the first that I had
seen for many years. A gourd bottle of plantain wine was offered and
immediately emptied; it resembled extremely poor cider. We were now
surrounded by a mass of natives, no longer the naked savages to whom we
had been accustomed, but well-dressed men, wearing robes of bark cloth,
arranged in various fashions, generally like the Arab "tope" or the
Roman toga. Several of the headmen now explained to us the atrocious
treachery of Debono's men, who had been welcomed as friends of Speke and
Grant, but who had repaid the hospitality by plundering and massacring
their hosts. I assured them that no one would be more wroth than Speke
when I should make him aware of the manner in which his name had been
used, and that I should make a point of reporting the circumstance to
the British Government. At the same time I advised them not to trust any
but white people should others arrive in my name or in the names of
Speke and Grant. I upheld their character as that of Englishmen, and I
begged them to state if ever they had deceived them. They replied that
"there could not be better men." I answered, "You MUST trust me, as I
trust entirely in you, and have placed myself in your hands; but if you
have ever had cause to mistrust a white man, kill me at once!--either
kill me or trust in me; but let there be no suspicions."

They seemed much pleased with the conversation, and a man stepped
forward and showed me a small string of blue beads that Speke bad given
him for ferrying him across the river. This little souvenir of my old
friend was most interesting. After a year's wandering and many
difficulties, this was the first time that I had actually come upon his
track. Many people told me that they had known Speke and Grant; the
former bore the name of "Mollegge" (the bearded one), while Grant had
been named "Masanga" (the elephant's tusk), owing to his height. The
latter had been wounded at Lucknow during the Indian mutiny, and I spoke
to the people of the loss of his finger. This crowned my success, as
they knew without doubt that I had seen him. It was late, therefore I
begged the crowd to depart, but to send a messenger the first thing in
the morning to inform Kamrasi who we were, and to beg him to permit us
to visit him without loss of time.

A bundle of straw was laid on the ground for Mrs. Baker and myself, and,
in lieu of other beds, the ground was our resting-place. We were
bitterly cold that night, as the guns were packed up in the large
blanket, and, not wishing to expose them, we were contented with a
Scotch plaid each. Ibrahim, Saat, and Richarn watched by turns.

On the following morning an immense crowd of natives thronged to see us.
There was a very beautiful tree about a hundred yards from the village,
capable of shading upward of a thousand men, and I proposed that we
should sit beneath this protection and hold a conference. The headman of
the village gave us a large hut with a grand doorway about seven feet
high, of which my wife took possession, while I joined the crowd at the
tree. There were about six hundred men seated respectfully on the ground
around me, while I sat with my back to the huge knotty trunk, with
Ibrahim and Richarn at a few paces distant.

The subject of conversation was merely a repetition of that of the
preceding night, with the simple addition of some questions respecting
the lake. Not a man would give the slightest information; the only
reply, upon my forcing the question, was the pantomime already
described, passing the forefinger across the throat, and exclaiming
"Kamrasi!" The entire population was tongue-locked. I tried the children
to no purpose: they were all dumb. White-headed old men I questioned, as
to the distance of the lake from this point. They replied, "We are
children; ask the old people who know the country." Never was
freemasonry more secret than in the land of Unyoro. It was useless to
persevere. I therefore changed the subject by saying that our people
were starving on the other side, and that provisions must be sent
immediately. In all savage countries the most trifling demand requires
much talking. They said that provisions were scarce, and that until
Kamrasi should give the order, they could give no supplies.
Understanding most thoroughly the natural instincts of the natives, I
told them that I must send the canoe across to fetch three oxen that I
wished to slaughter. The bait took at once, and several men ran for the
canoe, and we sent one of our black women across with a message to the
people that three men, with their guns and ammunition, were to accompany
the canoe and guide three oxen across by swimming them with ropes tied
to their horns. These were the riding oxen of some of the men that it
was necessary to slaughter, to exchange the flesh for flour and other

Hardly had the few boatmen departed than some one shouted suddenly, and
the entire crowd sprang to their feet and rushed toward the hut where I
had left Mrs. Baker. For the moment I thought that the hut was on fire,
and I joined the crowd and arrived at the doorway, where I found a
tremendous press to see some extraordinary sight. Every one was
squeezing for the best place, and, driving them on one side, I found the
wonder that had excited their curiosity. The hut being very dark, my
wife had employed her solitude during my conference with the natives, in
dressing her hair at the doorway, which, being very long and blonde, was
suddenly noticed by some natives; a shout was given, the rush described
had taken place, and the hut was literally mobbed by the crowd of
savages eager to see the extraordinary novelty. The gorilla would not
make a greater stir in London streets than we appeared to create at

The oxen shortly arrived; one was immediately killed, and the flesh
divided into numerous small portions arranged upon the hide. Blonde hair
and white people immediately lost their attractions, and the crowd
turned their attention to beef. We gave them to understand that we
required flour, beans, and sweet potatoes in exchange.

The market soon went briskly, and the canoe was laden with provisions
and sent across to our hungry people on the other side the river.

The difference between the Unyoro people and the tribes we had hitherto
seen was most striking. On the north side of the river the natives were
either stark naked or wore a mere apology for clothing in the shape of a
skin slung across their shoulders. The river appeared to be the limit of
utter savagedom, and the people of Unyoro considered the indecency of
nakedness precisely in the same light as Europeans.

Nearly all savages have some idea of earthenware; but the scale of
advancement of a country between savagedom and civilization may
generally be determined by the style of its pottery. The Chinese, who
were as civilized as they are at the present day at a period when the
English were barbarians, were ever celebrated for the manufacture of
porcelain, and the difference between savage and civilized countries is
always thus exemplified; the savage makes earthenware, but the civilized
make porcelain; thus the gradations from the rudest earthenware will
mark the improvement in the scale of civilization. The prime utensil of
the African savage is a gourd, the shell of which is the bowl presented
to him by nature as the first idea from which he is to model. Nature,
adapting herself to the requirements of animals and man, appears in
these savage countries to yield abundantly much that savage man can
want. Gourds with exceedingly strong shells not only grow wild, which if
divided in halves afford bowls, but great and quaint varieties form
natural bottles of all sizes, from the tiny vial to the demijohn
containing five gallons.

The most savage tribes content themselves with the productions of
nature, confining their manufacture to a coarse and half-baked jar for
carrying water; but the semi-savage, like those of Unyoro, afford an
example of the first step toward manufacturing art, by their COPYING
FROM NATURE. The utter savage makes use of nature--the gourd is his
utensil; and the more advanced natives of Unyoro adopt it as the model
for their pottery. They make a fine quality of jet-black earthenware,
producing excellent tobacco-pipes most finely worked in imitation of the
small egg-shaped gourd. Of the same earthenware they make extremely
pretty bowls, and also bottles copied from the varieties of the bottle
gourds; thus, in this humble art, we see the first effort of the human
mind in manufactures, in taking nature for a model, precisely as the
beautiful Corinthian capital originated in a design from a basket of

In two days reports were brought that Kamrasi had sent a large force,
including several of Speke's deserters, to inspect me and see if I was
really Speke's brother. I received them standing, and after thorough
inspection I was pronounced to be "Speke's own brother," and all were
satisfied. However, the business was not yet over; plenty of talk, and
another delay of four days was declared necessary until the king should
reply to the satisfactory message about to be sent. Losing all patience,
I stormed, declaring Kamrasi to be mere dust, while a white man was a
king in comparison. I ordered all my luggage to be conveyed immediately
to the canoe, and declared that I would return immediately to my own
country; that I did not wish to see any one so utterly devoid of manners
as Kamrasi, and that no other white man would ever visit his kingdom.

The effect was magical! I rose hastily to depart. The chiefs implored,
declaring that Kamrasi would kill them all if I retreated, to prevent
which misfortune they secretly instructed the canoe to be removed. I was
in a great rage, and about 400 natives, who were present, scattered in
all quarters, thinking that there would be a serious quarrel. I told the
chiefs that nothing should stop me, and that I would seize the canoe by
force unless my whole party should be brought over from the opposite
side that instant. This was agreed upon. One of Ibrahim's men exchanged
and drank blood from the arm of Speke's deserter, who was Kamrasi's
representative; and peace thus firmly established, several canoes were
at once employed, and sixty of our men were brought across the river
before sunset. The natives had nevertheless taken the precaution to send
all their women away from the village.


Kamrasi's cowardice--Interview with the king--The exchange of blood--The
royal beggar's last chance--An astounded sovereign.

On January 31st throngs of natives arrived to carry our luggage gratis,
by the king's orders. On the following day my wife became very ill, and
had to be carried on a litter during the following days. On February 4th
I also fell ill upon the road, and having been held on my ox by two men
for some time, I at length fell into their arms and was laid under a
tree for five hours. Becoming better, I rode on for two hours.

On the route we were delayed in every possible way. I never saw such
cowardice as the redoubtable Kamrasi exhibited. He left his residence
and retreated to the opposite side of the river, from which point he
sent us false messages to delay our advance as much as possible. He had
not the courage either to repel us or to receive us. On February 9th he
sent word that I was to come on ALONE. I at once turned back, stating
that I no longer wished to see Kamrasi, as he must be a mere fool, and I
should return to my own country. This created a great stir, and
messengers were at once despatched to the king, who returned an answer
that I might bring all my men, but that only five of the Turks could be
allowed with Ibrahim.

After a quick march of three hours through immense woods we reached the
capital--a large village of grass huts situated on a barren slope. We
were ferried across a river in large canoes, capable of carrying fifty
men, but formed of a single tree upward of four feet wide. Kamrasi was
reported to be in his residence on the opposite side; but upon our
arrival at the south bank we found ourselves thoroughly deceived. We
were upon a miserable flat, level with the river, and in the wet season
forming a marsh at the junction of the Kafoor River with the Somerset.
The latter river bounded the flat on the east, very wide and sluggish,
and much overgrown with papyrus and lotus. The river we had just crossed
was the Kafoor. It was perfectly dead water and about eighty yards wide,
including the beds of papyrus on either side. We were shown some filthy
huts that were to form our camp. The spot was swarming with mosquitoes,
and we had nothing to eat except a few fowls that I had brought with me.
Kamrasi was on the OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER; they had cunningly separated
us from him, and had returned with the canoes. Thus we were prisoners
upon the swamp. This was our welcome from the King of Unyoro! I now
heard that Speke and Grant had been lodged in this same spot.

Ibrahim was extremely nervous, as were also my men. They declared that
treachery was intended, as the boats had been withdrawn, and they
proposed that we should swim the river and march back to our main party,
who had been left three hours in the rear. I was ill with fever, as was
also my wife, and the unwholesome air of the marsh aggravated the
disease. Our luggage had been left at our last station, as this was a
condition stipulated by Kamrasi; thus we had to sleep upon the damp
ground of the marsh in the filthy hut, as the heavy dew at night
necessitated shelter. With great difficulty I accompanied Ibrahim and a
few men to the bank of the river where we had landed the day before,
and, climbing upon a white ant hill to obtain a view over the high
reeds, I scanned the village with a telescope. The scene was rather
exciting; crowds of people were rushing about in all directions and
gathering from all quarters toward the river; the slope from the river
to the town M'rooli was black with natives, and I saw about a dozen
large canoes preparing to transport them to our side. I returned from my
elevated observatory to Ibrahim, who, on the low ground only a few yards
distant, could not see the opposite side of the river owing to the high
grass and reeds. Without saying more, I merely begged him to mount upon
the ant hill and look toward M'rooli. Hardly had he cast a glance at the
scene described, than he jumped down from his stand and cried, "They arc
going to attack us!" "Let us retreat to the camp and prepare for a
fight!" "Let us fire at them from here as they cross in the canoes,"
cried others; "the buckshot will clear them off when packed in the
boats." This my panic-stricken followers would have done had I not been

"Fools!" I said, "do you not see that the natives have no SHIELDS with
them, but merely lances? Would they commence an attack without their
shields? Kamrasi is coming in state to visit us." This idea was by no
means accepted by my people, and we reached our little camp, and, for
the sake of precaution, stationed the men in position behind a hedge of
thorns. Ibrahim had managed to bring twelve picked men instead of five
as stipulated; thus we were a party of twenty-four. I was of very little
use, as the fever was so strong upon me that I lay helpless on the

In a short time the canoes arrived, and for about an hour they were
employed in crossing and recrossing, and landing great numbers of men,
until they at length advanced and took possession of some huts about 200
yards from our camp. They now hallooed that Kamrasi had arrived, and,
seeing some oxen with the party, I felt sure they had no evil
intentions. I ordered my men to carry me in their arms to the king, and
to accompany me with the presents, as I was determined to have a
personal interview, although only fit for a hospital.

Upon my approach, the crowd gave way, and I was shortly laid on a mat at
the king's feet. He was a fine- looking man, but with a peculiar
expression of countenance, owing to his extremely prominent eyes; he was
about six feet high, beautifully clean, and was dressed in a long robe
of bark cloth most gracefully folded. The nails of his hands and feet
were carefully attended to, and his complexion was about as dark brown
as that of an Abyssinian. He sat upon a copper stool placed upon a
carpet of leopard-skins, and he was surrounded by about ten of his
principal chiefs.

Our interpreter, Bacheeta, now informed him who I was, and what were my
intentions. He said that he was sorry I had been so long on the road,
but that he had been obliged to be cautious, having been deceived by
Debono's people. I replied that I was an Englishman, a friend of Speke
and Grant, that they had described the reception they had met with from
him, and that I had come to thank him, and to offer him a few presents
in return for his kindness, and to request him to give me a guide to the
Lake Luta N'zige. He laughed at the name, and repeated it several times
with his chiefs. He then said it was not LUTA, but M-WOOTAN N'zige; but
that it was SIX MONTHS' journey from M'rooli, and that in my weak
condition I could not possibly reach it; that I should die upon the
road, and that the king of my country would perhaps imagine that I had
been murdered, and might invade his territory. I replied that I was weak
with the toil of years in the hot countries of Africa, but that I was in
search of the great lake, and should not return until I had succeeded;
that I had no king, but a powerful Queen who watched over all her
subjects, and that no Englishman could be murdered with impunity;
therefore he should send me to the lake without delay, and there would
be the less chance of my dying in his country.

I explained that the river Nile flowed for a distance of two years'
journey through wonderful countries, and reached the sea, from which
many valuable articles would be sent to him in exchange for ivory, could
I only discover the great lake. As a proof of this, I had brought him a
few curiosities that I trusted he would accept, and I regretted that the
impossibility of procuring porters had necessitated the abandonment of
others that had been intended for him.

I ordered the men to unpack the Persian carpet, which was spread upon
the ground before him. I then gave him an Abba (large white Cashmere
mantle), a red silk netted sash, a pair of scarlet Turkish shoes,
several pairs of socks, a double-barrelled gun and ammunition, and a
great heap of first-class beads made up into gorgeous necklaces and
girdles. He took very little notice of the presents, but requested that
the gun might be fired off. This was done, to the utter confusion of the
crowd, who rushed away in such haste that they tumbled over each other
like so many rabbits. This delighted the king, who, although himself
startled, now roared with laughter. He told me that I must be hungry and
thirsty; therefore he hoped I would accept something to eat and drink.
Accordingly he presented me with seventeen cows, twenty pots of sour
plantain cider, and many loads of unripe plantains. I inquired whether
Speke had left a medicine-chest with him. He replied that it was a very
feverish country, and that he and his people had used all the medicine.
Thus my last hope of quinine was cut off. I had always trusted to obtain
a supply from the king, as Speke had told me that he had left a bottle
with him. It was quite impossible to obtain any information from him,
and I was carried back to my hut, where I found Mrs. Baker lying down
with fever, and neither of us could render assistance to the other.

On the following morning the king again appeared. I was better, and had
a long interview. He did not appear to heed my questions, but he at once
requested that I would ally myself with him, and attack his enemy,
Rionga. I told him that I could not embroil myself in such quarrels, but
that I had only one object, which was the lake. I requested that he
would give Ibrahim a large quantity of ivory, and that on his return
from Gondokoro he would bring him most valuable articles in exchange. He
said that he was not sure whether my belly was black or white; by this
he intended to express evil or good intentions; but that if it were
white I should, of course, have no objection to exchange blood with him,
as a proof of friendship and sincerity. This was rather too strong a
dose! I replied that it would be impossible, as in my country the
shedding of blood was considered a proof of hostility; therefore he must
accept Ibrahim as my substitute. Accordingly the arms were bared and
pricked. As the blood flowed it was licked by either party, and an
alliance was concluded. Ibrahim agreed to act with him against all his
enemies. It was arranged that Ibrahim now belonged to Kamrasi, and that
henceforth our parties should be entirely separate.

On February 21st Kamrasi was civil enough to allow us to quit the marsh.
My porters had by this time all deserted, and on the following day
Kamrasi promised to send us porters and to allow us to start at once.
There were no preparations made, however, and after some delay we were
honored by a visit from Kamrasi, who promised we should start on the
following day.

He concluded, as usual, by asking for my watch and for a number of
beads; the latter I gave him, together with a quantity of ammunition for
his guns. He showed me a beautiful double-barrelled rifle that Speke had
given him. I wished to secure this to give to Speke on my return to
England, as he had told me, when at Gondokoro, how he had been obliged
to part with that and many other articles sorely against his will. I
therefore offered to give him three common double-barrelled guns in
exchange for the rifle. This he declined, as he was quite aware of the
difference in quality. He then produced a large silver chronometer that
he had received from Speke. "It was DEAD," he said, "and he wished me to
repair it." This I declared to be impossible. He then confessed to
having explained its construction and the cause of the "ticking" to his
people, by the aid of a needle, and that it had never ticked since that
occasion. I regretted to see such "pearls cast before swine." Thus he
had plundered Speke and Grant of all they possessed before he would
allow them to proceed.

It is the rapacity of the chiefs of the various tribes that renders
African exploration so difficult. Each tribe wishes to monopolize your
entire stock of valuables, without which the traveller would be utterly
helpless. The difficulty of procuring porters limits the amount of
baggage; thus a given supply must carry you through a certain period of
time. If your supply should fail, the expedition terminates with your
power of giving. It is thus extremely difficult to arrange the
expenditure so as to satisfy all parties and still to retain a
sufficient balance. Being utterly cut off from all communication with
the world, there is no possibility of receiving assistance. The
traveller depends entirely upon himself, under Providence, and must
adapt himself and his means to circumstances.

The day of starting at length arrived. The chief and guide appeared, and
we were led to the Kafoor River, where canoes were in readiness to
transport us to the south side. This was to our old quarters on the
marsh. The direct course to the lake was west, and I fully expected some
deception, as it was impossible to trust Kamrasi. I complained to the
guide, and insisted upon his pointing out the direction of the lake,
which he did, in its real position, west; but he explained that we must
follow the south bank of the Kafoor River for some days, as there was an
impassable morass that precluded a direct course. This did not appear
satisfactory, and the whole affair looked suspicious, as we had formerly
been deceived by being led across the river to the same spot, and not
allowed to return. We were now led along the banks of the Kafoor for
about a mile, until we arrived at a cluster of huts; here we were to
wait for Kamrasi, who had promised to take leave of us. The sun was
overpowering, and we dismounted from our oxen and took shelter in a
blacksmith's shed. In about an hour Kamrasi arrived, attended by a
considerable number of men, and took his seat in our shed. I felt
convinced that his visit was simply intended to peel the last skin from
the onion. I had already given him nearly all that I had, but he hoped
to extract the whole before I should depart.

He almost immediately commenced the conversation by asking for a pretty
yellow muslin Turkish handkerchief fringed with silver drops that Mrs.
Baker wore upon her head. One of these had already been given to him,
and I explained that this was the last remaining, and that she required
it.... He "must" have it.... It was given. He then demanded other
handkerchiefs. We had literally nothing but a few most ragged towels. He
would accept no excuse, and insisted upon a portmanteau being unpacked,
that he might satisfy himself by actual inspection. The luggage, all
ready for the journey, had to be unstrapped and examined, and the rags
were displayed in succession, but so wretched and uninviting was the
exhibition of the family linen that he simply returned them, and said
they did not suit him. Beads he must have, or I was "his enemy." A
selection of the best opal beads was immediately given him. I rose from
the stone upon which I was sitting and declared that we must start
immediately. "Don't be in a hurry," he replied; "you have plenty of
time; but you have not given me that watch you promised me." ... This
was my only watch that he had begged for, and had been refused, every
day during my stay at M'rooli. So pertinacious a beggar I had never
seen. I explained to him that without the watch my journey would be
useless, but that I would give him all that I had except the watch when
the exploration should be completed, as I should require nothing on my
direct return to Gondokoro. At the same time I repeated to him the
arrangement for the journey that he had promised, begging him not to
deceive me, as my wife and I should both die if we were compelled to
remain another year in this country by losing the annual boats at

The understanding was this: he was to give me porters to the lake, where
I was to be furnished with canoes to take me to Magungo, which was
situated at the junction of the Somerset. From Magungo he told me that I
should see the Nile issuing from the lake close to the spot where the
Somerset entered, and that the canoes should take me down the river, and
porters should carry my effects from the nearest point to Shooa, and
deliver me at my old station without delay. Should he be faithful to
this engagement, I trusted to procure porters from Shooa, and to reach
Gondokoro in time for the annual boats. I had arranged that a boat
should be sent from Khartoum to await me at Gondokoro early in this
year, 1864; but I felt sure that should I be long delayed, the boat
would return without me, as the people would be afraid to remain alone
at Gondokoro after the other boats had quitted.

In our present weak state another year of Central Africa without quinine
appeared to warrant death. It was a race against time; all was untrodden
ground before us, and the distance quite uncertain. I trembled for my
wife, and weighed the risk of another year in this horrible country
should we lose the boats. With the self-sacrificing devotion that she
had shown in every trial, she implored me not to think of any risks on
her account, but to push forward and discover the lake--that she had
determined not to return until she had herself reached the "M'wootan

I now requested Kamrasi to allow us to take leave, as we had not an hour
to lose. In the coolest manner he replied, "I will send you to the lake
and to Shooa, as I have promised, but YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR WIFE WITH ME!"

At that moment we were surrounded by a great number of natives, and my
suspicions of treachery at having been led across the Kafoor River
appeared confirmed by this insolent demand. If this were to be the end
of the expedition, I resolved that it should also be the end of Kamrasi,
and drawing my revolver quickly, I held it within two feet of his chest,
and looking at him with undisguised contempt, I told him that if I
touched the trigger, not all his men could save him; and that if he
dared to repeat the insult I would shoot him on the spot. At the same
time I explained to him that in my country such insolence would entail
bloodshed, and that I looked upon him as an ignorant ox who knew no
better, and that this excuse alone could save him. My wife, naturally
indignant, had risen from her seat, and maddened with the excitement of
the moment she made him a little speech in Arabic (not a word of which
he understood), with a countenance almost as amiable as the head of
Medusa. Altogether the *mine en scene utterly astonished him. The woman
Bacheeta, although savage, had appropriated the insult to her mistress,
and she also fearlessly let fly at Kamrasi, translating as nearly as she
could the complimentary address that "Medusa" had just delivered.

Whether this little coup be theatre had so impressed Kamrasi with
British female independence that he wished to be quit of his proposed
bargain, I cannot say; but with an air of complete astonishment he said,
"Don't be angry! I had no intention of offending you by asking for your
wife. I will give your a wife, if you want one, and I thought you might
have no objection to give me yours; it is my custom to give my visitors
pretty wives, and I thought you might exchange. Don't make a fuss about
it; if you don't like it, there's an end of it; I will never mention it
again." This very practical apology I received very sternly, and merely
insisted upon starting. He seemed rather confused at having committed
himself, and to make amends he called his people and ordered them to
carry our loads. His men ordered a number of women, who had assembled
out of curiosity, to shoulder the luggage and carry it to the next
village, where they would be relieved. I assisted my wife upon her ox,
and with a very cold adieu to Kamrasi I turned my back most gladly on


A satanic escort--Prostrated by sun-stroke--Days and nights of sorrow
- The reward for all our labor.

The country was a vast flat of grass land interspersed with small
villages and patches of sweet potatoes. These were very inferior, owing
to the want of drainage. For about two miles we continued on the banks
of the Kafoor River. The women who carried the luggage were straggling
in disorder, and my few men were much scattered in their endeavors to
collect them. We approached a considerable village; but just as we were
nearing it, out rushed about six hundred men with lances and shields,
screaming and yelling like so many demons. For the moment I thought it
was an attack, but almost immediately I noticed that women and children
were mingled with the men. My men had not taken so cool a view of the
excited throng that was now approaching us at full speed, brandishing
their spears, and engaging with each other in mock combat. "There's a
fight! there's a fight!" my men exclaimed; "we are attacked! fire at
them, Ilawaga." However, in a few seconds I persuaded them that it was a
mere parade, and that there was no danger.

With a rush like a cloud of locusts the natives closed around us,
dancing, gesticulating, and yelling before my ox, feigning to attack us
with spears and shields, then engaging in sham fights with each other,
and behaving like so many madmen. A very tall chief accompanied them;
and one of their men was suddenly knocked down and attacked by the crowd
with sticks and lances, and lay on the ground covered with blood. What
his offence had been I did not hear. The entire crowd were most
grotesquely got up, being dressed in either leopard or white monkey
skins, with cows' tails strapped on behind and antelopes' horns fitted
upon their heads, while their chins were ornamented with false beards
made of the bushy ends of cows' tails sewed together. Altogether I never
saw a more unearthly set of creatures; they were perfect illustrations
of my childish ideas of devils- horns, tails, and all, excepting the
hoofs. They were our escort, furnished by Kamrasi to accompany us to the
lake! Fortunately for all parties, the Turks were not with us on that
occasion, or the Satanic escort would certainly have been received with
a volley when they so rashly advanced to compliment us by their absurd

We marched till 7 P.m. over flat, uninteresting country, and then halted
at a miserable village which the people had deserted, as they expected
our arrival. The following morning I found much difficulty in getting
our escort together, as they had been foraging throughout the
neighborhood; these "devil's own" were a portion of Kamrasi's troops,
who considered themselves entitled to plunder ad libitum throughout the
march; however, after some delay they collected, and their tall chief
approached me and begged that a gun might be fired as a curiosity. The
escort had crowded around us, and as the boy Saat was close to me I
ordered him to fire his gun. This was Saat's greatest delight, and bang
went one barrel unexpectedly, close to the tall chief's ear. The effect
was charming. The tall chief, thinking himself injured, clasped his head
with both hands, and bolted through the crowd, which, struck with a
sudden panic, rushed away in all directions, the "devil's own" tumbling
over each other and utterly scattered by the second barrel which Saat
exultingly fired in derision, as Kamrasi's warlike regiment dissolved
before a sound. I felt quite sure that, in the event of a fight, one
scream from the "Baby," with its charge of forty small bullets, would
win the battle if well delivered into a crowd of Kamrasi's troops.

On the morning of the second day we had difficulty in collecting
porters, those of the preceding day having absconded; and others were
recruited from distant villages by the native escort, who enjoyed the
excuse of hunting for porters, as it gave them an opportunity of
foraging throughout the neighborhood. During this time we had to wait
until the sun was high; we thus lost the cool hours of morning, and it
increased our fatigue. Having at length started, we arrived in the
afternoon at the Kafoor River, at a bend from the south where it was
necessary to cross over in our westerly course. The stream was in the
centre of a marsh, and although deep, it was so covered with
thickly-matted water-grass and other aquatic plants, that a natural
floating bridge was established by a carpet of weeds about two feet
thick. Upon this waving and unsteady surface the men ran quickly across,
sinking merely to the ankles, although beneath the tough vegetation
there was deep water.

It was equally impossible to ride or to be carried over this treacherous
surface; thus I led the way, and begged Mrs. Baker to follow me on foot
as quickly as possible, precisely in my track. The river was about
eighty yards wide, and I had scarcely completed a fourth of the distance
and looked back to see if my wife followed close to me, when I was
horrified to see her standing in one spot and sinking gradually through
the weeds, while her face was distorted and perfectly purple. Almost as
soon as I perceived her she fell as though shot dead. In an instant I
was by her side, and with the assistance of eight or ten of my men, who
were fortunately close to me, I dragged her like a corpse through the
yielding vegetation; and up to our waists we scrambled across to the
other side, just keeping her head above the water. To have carried her
would have been impossible, as we should all have sunk together through
the weeds. I laid her under a tree and bathed her head and face with
water, as for the moment I thought she had fainted; but she lay
perfectly insensible, as though dead, with teeth and hands firmly
clinched, and her eyes open but fixed. It was a coup de soleil--a

Many of the porters had gone on ahead with the baggage, and I started
off a man in haste to recall an angarep upon which to carry her and also
for a bag with a change of clothes, as we had dragged her through the
river. It was in vain that I rubbed her heart and the black women rubbed
her feet to restore animation. At length the litter came, and after
changing her clothes she was carried mournfully forward as a corpse.
Constantly we had to halt and support her head, as a painful rattling in
the throat betokened suffocation. At length we reached a village, and
halted for the night.

I laid her carefully in a miserable hut, and watched beside her. I
opened her clinched teeth with a small wooden wedge and inserted a wet
rag, upon which I dropped water to moisten her tongue, which was dry as
fur. The unfeeling brutes that composed the native escort were yelling
and dancing as though all were well, and I ordered their chief at once
to return with them to Kamrasi, as I would travel with them no longer.
At first they refused to return, until at length I vowed that I would
fire into them should they accompany us on the following morning. Day
broke, and it was a relief to have got rid of the brutal escort. They
had departed, and I had now my own men and the guides supplied by

There was nothing to eat in this spot. My wife had never stirred since
she fell by the coup de soleil, and merely respired about five times in
a minute. It was impossible to remain; the people would have starved.
She was laid gently upon her litter, and we started forward on our
funereal course. I was ill and broken- hearted, and I followed by her
side through the long day's march over wild park lands and streams, with
thick forest and deep marshy bottoms, over undulating hills and through
valleys of tall papyrus rushes, which, as we brushed through them on our
melancholy way, waved over the litter like the black plumes of a hearse.

We halted at a village, and again the night was passed in watching. I
was wet and coated with mud from the swampy marsh, and shivered with
ague; but the cold within was greater than all. No change had taken
place; she had never moved. I had plenty of fat, and I made four balls
of about half a pound, each of which would burn for three hours. A piece
of a broken water-jar formed a lamp, several pieces of rag serving for
wicks. So in solitude the still calm night passed away as I sat by her
side and watched. In the drawn and distorted features that lay before me
I could hardly trace the same face that for years had been my comfort
through all the difficulties and dangers of my path. Was she to die? Was
so terrible a sacrifice to be the result of my selfish exile?

Again the night passed away. Once more the march. Though weak and ill,
and for two nights without a moment's sleep, I felt no fatigue, but
mechanically followed by the side of the litter as though in a dream.
The same wild country diversified with marsh and forest! Again we
halted. The night came, and I sat by her side in a miserable hut, with
the feeble lamp flickering while she lay as in death. She had never
moved a muscle since she fell. My people slept. I was alone, and no
sound broke the stillness of the night. The ears ached at the utter
silence, till the sudden wild cry of a hyena made me shudder as the
horrible thought rushed through my brain that, should she be buried in
this lonely spot, the hyena--would disturb her rest.

The morning was not far distant; it was past four o'clock. I had passed
the night in replacing wet cloths upon her head and moistening her lips,
as she lay apparently lifeless on her litter. I could do nothing more;
in solitude and abject misery in that dark hour, in a country of savage
heathen, thousands of miles away from a Christian land, I beseeched an
aid above all human, trusting alone to Him.

The morning broke; my lamp had just burned out, and cramped with the
night's watching I rose from my low seat and seeing that she lay in the
same unaltered state I went to the door of the hut to breathe one gasp
of the fresh morning air. I was watching the first red streak that
heralded the rising sun, when I was startled by the words, "Thank God,"
faintly uttered behind me. Suddenly she had awoke from her torpor, and
with a heart overflowing I went to her bedside. Her eyes were full of
madness! She spoke, but the brain was gone!

I will not inflict a description of the terrible trial of seven days of
brain fever, with its attendant horrors. The rain poured in torrents,
and day after day we were forced to travel for want of provisions, not
being able to remain in one position. Every now and then we shot a few
guinea-fowl, but rarely; there was no game, although the country was
most favorable. In the forests we procured wild honey, but the deserted
villages contained no supplies, as we were on the frontier of Uganda,
and M'tese's people had plundered the district. For seven nights I had
not slept, and although as weak as a reed, I had marched by the side of
her litter. Nature could resist no longer. We reached a village one
evening. She had been in violent convulsions successively; it was all
but over. I laid her down on her litter within a hat, covered her with a
Scotch plaid, and fell upon my mat insensible, worn out with sorrow and
fatigue. My men put a new handle to the pickaxe that evening, and sought
for a dry spot to dig her grave!

The sun had risen when I woke. I had slept, and horrified as the idea
flashed upon me that she must be dead and that I had not been with her,
I started up. She lay upon her bed, pale as marble, and with that calm
serenity that the features assume when the cares of life no longer act
upon the mind and the body rests in death. The dreadful thought bowed me
down; but as I gazed upon her in fear her chest gently heaved, not with
the convulsive throbs of fever, but naturally. She was asleep; and when
at a sudden noise she opened her eyes, they were calm and clear. She was
saved! When not a ray of hope remained, God alone knows what helped us.
The gratitude of that moment I will not attempt to describe.

Fortunately there were many fowls in this village. We found several
nests of fresh eggs in the straw which littered the hut; these were most
acceptable after our hard fare, and produced a good supply of soup.
Having rested for two days we again moved forward, Mrs. Baker being
carried on a litter.

The next day we reached the village of Parkani. For several days past
our guides had told us that we were very near to the lake, and we were
now assured that we should reach it on the morrow. I had noticed a lofty
range of mountains at an immense distance west, and I had imagined that
the lake lay on the other side of this chain; but I was now informed
that those mountains formed the western frontier of the M'wootan N'zige,
and that the lake was actually within a day's march of Parkani. I could
not believe it possible that we were so near the object of our search.
The guide Rabonga now appeared, and declared that if we started early on
the following morning we should be able to wash in the lake by noon!

That night I hardly slept. For years I had striven to reach the "sources
of the Nile." In my nightly dreams during that arduous voyage I had
always failed, but after so much hard work and perseverance the cup was
at my very lips, and I was to DRINK at the mysterious fountain before
another sun should set--at that great reservoir of nature that ever
since creation had baffled all discovery.

I had hoped, and prayed, and striven through all kinds of difficulties,
in sickness, starvation, and fatigue, to reach that hidden source; and
when it had appeared impossible we had both determined to die upon the
road rather than return defeated. Was it possible that it was so near,
and that to-morrow we could say, "The work is accomplished"?

The sun had not risen when I was spurring my ox after the guide, who,
having been promised a double handful of beads on arrival at the lake,
had caught the enthusiasm of the moment. The day broke beautifully
clear, and having crossed a deep valley between the hills, we toiled up
the opposite slope. I hurried to the summit. The glory of our prize
burst suddenly upon me! There, like a sea of quicksilver, lay far
beneath the grand expanse of water--a boundless sea horizon on the south
and south-west, glittering in the noonday sun; and in the west, at fifty
or sixty miles' distance, blue mountains rose from the bosom of the lake
to a height of about 7000 feet above its level.

It is impossible to describe the triumph of that moment. Here was the
reward for all our labor--for the years of tenacity with which we had
toiled through Africa. England had won the sources of the Nile! Long
before I reached this spot I had arranged to give three cheers with all
our men in English style in honor of the discovery; but now that I
looked down upon the great inland sea lying nestled in the very heart of
Africa, and thought how vainly mankind had sought these sources
throughout so many ages, and reflected that I had been the humble
instrument permitted to unravel this portion of the great mystery when
so many greater than I had failed, I felt too serious to vent my
feelings in vain cheers for victory, and I sincerely thanked God for
having guided and supported us through all dangers to the good end. I
was about 1500 feet above the lake, and I looked down from the steep
granite cliff upon those welcome waters--upon that vast reservoir which
nourished Egypt and brought fertility where all was wilderness--upon
that great source so long hidden from mankind, that source of bounty and
of blessings to millions of human beings; and as one of the greatest
objects in nature, I determined to honor it with a great name. As an
imperishable memorial of one loved and mourned by our gracious Queen and
deplored by every Englishman, I called this great lake "the Albert
N'yanza." The Victoria and the Albert lakes are the two Sources of the

The zigzag path to descend to the lake was so steep and dangerous that
we were forced to leave our oxen with a guide, who was to take them to
Magungo and wait for our arrival. We commenced the descent of the steep
pass on foot. I led the way, grasping a stout bamboo. My wife in extreme
weakness tottered down the pass, supporting herself upon my shoulder,
and stopping to rest every twenty paces. After a toilsome descent of
about two hours, weak with years of fever, but for the moment
strengthened by success, we gained the level plain below the cliff. A
walk of about a mile through flat sandy meadows of fine turf
interspersed with trees and bushes brought us to the water's edge. The
waves were rolling upon a white pebbly beach; I rushed into the lake,
and thirsty with heat and fatigue, with a heart full of gratitude, I
drank deeply from the Sources of the Nile.


The cradle of the Nile--Arrival at Magungo--The blind leading the
blind--Murchison Falls.

The beach was perfectly clean sand, upon which the waves rolled like
those of the sea, throwing up weeds precisely as seaweed may be seen
upon the English shore. It was a grand sight to look upon this vast
reservoir of the mighty Nile and to watch the heavy swell tumbling upon
the beach, while far to the south-west the eye searched as vainly for a
bound as though upon the Atlantic. It was with extreme emotion that I
enjoyed this glorious scene. My wife, who had followed me so devotedly,
stood by my side pale and exhausted--a wreck upon the shores of the
great Albert Lake that we had so long striven to reach. No European foot
had ever trod upon its sand, nor had the eyes of a white man ever
scanned its vast expanse of water. We were the first; and this was the
key to the great secret that even Julius Caesar yearned to unravel, but
in vain. Here was the great basin of the Nile that received EVERY DROP
OF WATER, even from the passing shower to the roaring mountain torrent
that drained from Central Africa toward the north. This was the great
reservoir of the Nile!

The first coup d'oeil from the summit of the cliff 1500 feet above the
level had suggested what a closer examination confirmed. The lake was a
vast depression far below the general level of the country, surrounded
by precipitous cliffs, and bounded on the west and south-west by great
ranges of mountains from five to seven thousand feet above the level of
its waters--thus it was the one great reservoir into which everything
MUST drain; and from this vast rocky cistern the Nile made its exit, a
giant in its birth. It was a grand arrangement of nature for the birth
of so mighty and important a stream as the river Nile. The Victoria
N'yanza of Speke formed a reservoir at a high altitude, receiving a
drainage from the west by the Kitangule River; and Speke had seen the
M'fumbiro Mountain at a great distance as a peak among other mountains
from which the streams descended, which by uniting formed the main river
Kitangule, the principal feeder of the Victoria Lake from the west, in
about 2 degrees S. latitude. Thus the same chain of mountains that fed
the Victoria on the east must have a watershed to the west and north
that would flow into the Albert Lake. The general drainage of the Nile
basin tending from south to north, and the Albert Lake extending much
farther north than the Victoria, it receives the river from the latter
lake, and thus monopolizes the entire head-waters of the Nile. The
Albert is the grand reservoir, while the Victoria is the eastern source.
The parent streams that form these lakes are from the same origin, and
the Kitangule sheds its waters to the Victoria to be received EVENTUALLY
by the Albert, precisely as the highlands of M'fumbiro and the Blue
Mountains pour their northern drainage DIRECTLY into the Albert Lake.

That many considerable affluents flow into the Albert Lake there is no
doubt. The two waterfalls seen by telescope upon the western shore
descending from the Blue Mountains must be most important streams, or
they could not have been distinguished at so great a distance as fifty
or sixty miles. The natives assured me that very many streams, varying
in size, descended the mountains upon all sides into the general

It was most important that we should hurry forward on our journey, as
our return to England depended entirely upon the possibility of reaching
Gondokoro before the end of April, otherwise the boats would have
departed. I started off Rabonga, to Magungo, where he was to meet us
with riding oxen.

We were encamped at a small village on the shore of the lake, called
Vacovia. On the following morning not one of our party could rise from
the ground. Thirteen men, the boy Saat, four women, besides my wife and
me, were all down with fever. The natives assured us that all strangers
suffered in a like manner. The delay in supplying boats was most
annoying, as every hour was precious. The lying natives deceived us in
every possible manner, delaying us purposely in hope of extorting beads.

The latitude of Vacovia was 1"degree" 15' N.; longitude 30 "degrees" 50'
E. My farthest southern point on the road from M'rooli was latitude 1
"degree" 13'. We were now to turn our faces toward the north, and every
day's journey would bring us nearer home. But where was home? As I
looked at the map of the world, and at the little red spot that
represented old England far, far away, and then gazed on the wasted form
and haggard face of my wife and at my own attenuated frame, I hardly
dared hope for home again. We had now been three years ever toiling
onward, and having completed the exploration of all the Abyssinian
affluents of the Nile, in itself an arduous undertaking, we were now
actually at the Nile head. We had neither health nor supplies, and the
great journey lay all before us.

Eight days were passed at Vacovia before we could obtain boats, which,
when they did come, proved to be mere trees neatly hollowed out in the
shape of canoes. At last we were under way, and day after day we
journeyed along the shore of the lake, stopping occasionally at small
villages, and being delayed now and then by deserting boatmen.

The discomforts of this lake voyage were great; in the day we were
cramped in our small cabin like two tortoises in one shell, and at night
it almost invariably rained. We were accustomed to the wet, but no
acclimatization can render the European body mosquito-proof; thus we had
little rest. It was hard work for me; but for my unfortunate wife, who
had hardly recovered from her attack of coup de soleil, such hardships
were most distressing.

On the thirteenth day from Vacovia we found ourselves at the end of our
lake voyage. The lake at this point was between fifteen and twenty miles
across, and the appearance of the country to the north was that of a
delta. The shores upon either side were choked with vast banks of reeds,
and as the canoe skirted the edge of that upon the east coast we could
find no bottom with a bamboo of twenty-five feet in length, although the
floating mass appeared like terra firma. We were in a perfect wilderness
of vegetation. On the west were mountains about 4000 feet above the lake
level, a continuation of the chain that formed the western shore from
the south. These mountains decreased in height toward the north, in
which direction the lake terminated in a broad valley of reeds.

We were informed that we had arrived at Magungo, and after skirting the
floating reeds for about a mile we entered a broad channel, which we
were told was the embouchure of the Somerset River from Victoria
N'yanza. In a short time we landed at Magungo, where we were welcomed by
the chief and by our guide Rabonga, who had been sent in advance to
procure oxen.

The exit of the Nile from the lake was plain enough, and if the broad
channel of dead water were indeed the entrance of the Victoria Nile
(Somerset), the information obtained by Speke would be remarkably
confirmed. But although the chief of Magungo and all the natives assured
me that the broad channel of dead water at my feet was positively the
brawling river that I had crossed below the Karuma Falls, I could not
understand how so fine a body of water as that had appeared could
possibly enter the Albert Lake as dead water. The guide and natives
laughed at my unbelief, and declared that it was dead water for a
considerable distance from the junction with the lake, but that a great
waterfall rushed down from a mountain, and that beyond that fall the
river was merely a succession of cataracts throughout the entire
distance of about six days' march to Karuma Falls. My real wish was to
descend the Nile in canoes from its exit from the lake with my own men
as boatmen, and thus in a short time to reach the cataracts in the Madi
country; there to forsake the canoes and all my baggage, and to march
direct to Gondokoro with only our guns and ammunition. I knew from
native report that the Nile was navigable as far as the Madi country to
about Miani's tree, which Speke had laid down by astronomical
observation in lat. 3 "degrees" 34'. This would be only seven days'
march from Gondokoro, and by such a direct course I should be sure to
arrive in time for the boats to Khartoum.

I had promised Speke that I would explore most thoroughly the doubtful
portion of the river that he had been forced to neglect from Karuma
Falls to the lake. I was myself confused at the dead-water junction; and
although I knew that the natives must be right--as it was their own
river, and they had no inducement to mislead me--I was determined to
sacrifice every other wish in order to fulfil my promise, and thus to
settle the Nile question most absolutely. That the Nile flowed out of
the lake I had heard, and I had also confirmed by actual inspection;
from Magungo I looked upon the two countries, Koshi and Madi, through
which it flowed, and these countries I must actually pass through and
again meet the Nile before I could reach Gondokoro. Thus the only point
necessary to settle was the river between the lake and the Karuma Falls.

The boats being ready, we took leave of the chief of Magungo, leaving
him an acceptable present of beads, and descended the hill to the river,
thankful at having so far successfully terminated the expedition as to
have traced the lake to that important point, Magungo, which had been
our clew to the discovery even so far away in time and place as the
distant country of Latooka. We were both very weak and ill, and my knees
trembled beneath me as we walked down the easy descent. I, in my
enervated state, endeavoring to assist my wife, we were the "blind
leading the blind;" but had life closed on that day we could have died
most happily, for the hard fight through sickness and misery had ended
in victory; and although I looked to home as a paradise never to be
regained, I could have lain down to sleep in contentment on this spot,
with the consolation that, if the body had been vanquished, we died with
the prize in our grasp.

On arrival at the canoes we found everything in readiness, and the
boatmen already in their places. Once in the broad channel of dead water
we steered due east, and made rapid way until the evening. The river as
it now appeared, although devoid of current, was on an average about 500
yards in width. Before we halted for the night I was subjected to a most
severe attack of fever, and upon the boat reaching a certain spot I was
carried on a litter, perfectly unconscious, to a village, attended
carefully by my poor sick wife, who, herself half dead, followed me on
foot through the marches in pitch darkness, and watched over me until
the morning. At daybreak I was too weak to stand, and we were both
carried down to the canoes, and crawling helplessly within our grass
awning we lay down like logs while the canoes continued their voyage.
Many of our men were also suffering from fever. The malaria of the dense
masses of floating vegetation was most poisonous, and upon looking back
to the canoe that followed in our wake I observed all my men sitting
crouched together sick and dispirited, looking like departed spirits
being ferried across the melancholy Styx.

The woman Bacheeta knew the country, as she had formerly been to Magungo
when in the service of Sali, who had been subsequently murdered by
Kamrasi. She informed me on the second day that we should terminate our
canoe voyage on that day, as we should arrive at the great waterfall of
which she had often spoken. As we proceeded the river gradually narrowed
to about 180 yards, and when the paddles ceased working we could
distinctly hear the roar of water. I had heard this on waking in the
morning, but at the time I had imagined it to proceed from distant
thunder. By ten o'clock the current had so increased as we proceeded
that it was distinctly perceptible, although weak. The roar of the
waterfall was extremely loud, and after sharp pulling for a couple of
hours, during which time the stream increased, we arrived at a few
deserted fishing-huts, at a point where the river made a slight turn. I
never saw such an extraordinary show of crocodiles as were exposed on
every sandbank on the sides of the river. They lay like logs of timber
close together, and upon one bank we counted twenty-seven of large size.
Every basking place was crowded in a similar manner. From the time we
had fairly entered the river it had been confined by heights somewhat
precipitous on either side, rising to about 180 feet. At this point the
cliffs were still higher and exceedingly abrupt. From the roar of the
water I was sure that the fall would be in sight if we turned the corner
at the bend of the river; accordingly I ordered the boatmen to row as
far as they could. To this they at first objected, as they wished to
stop at the deserted fishing village, which they explained was to be the
limit of the journey, further progress being impossible.

However, I explained that I merely wished to see the falls, and they
rowed immediately up the stream, which was now strong against us. Upon
rounding the corner a magnificent sight burst suddenly upon us. On
either side the river were beautifully wooded cliffs rising abruptly to
a height of about 300 feet; rocks were jutting out from the intensely
green foliage; and rushing through a gap that cleft the rock exactly
before us, the river, contracted from a grand stream, was pent up in a
narrow gorge of scarcely fifty yards in width. Roaring furiously through
the rock-bound pass, it plunged in one leap of about 120 feet
perpendicular into a dark abyss below.

The fall of water was snow-white, which had a superb effect as it
contrasted with the dark cliffs that walled the river, while the
graceful palms of the tropics and wild plantains perfected the beauty of
the view. This was the greatest waterfall of the Nile, and in honor of
the distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society I named it
the Murchison Falls, as the most important object throughout the entire
course of the river.

At this point we had ordered our oxen to he sent, as we could go no
farther in the canoes. We found the oxen ready for us; but if we looked
wretched, the animals were a match. They had been bitten by the flies,
thousands of which were at this spot. Their coats were staring, ears
drooping, noses running, and heads hanging down--all the symptoms of
fly-bite, together with extreme looseness of the bowels. I saw that it
was all up with our animals. Weak as I was myself, I was obliged to
walk, as my ox could not carry me up the steep inclination. I toiled
languidly to the summit of the cliff, and we were soon above the falls,
and arrived at a small village a little before evening.

On the following morning we started, the route as before being parallel
to the river, and so close that the roar of the rapids was extremely
loud. The river flowed in a deep ravine upon our left. We continued for
a day's march along the Somerset, crossing many ravines and torrents,
until we turned suddenly down to the left, and arriving at the bank we
were to be transported to an island called Patooan, that was the
residence of a chief. It was about an hour after sunset, and, being
dark, my riding ox, which was being driven as too weak to carry me, fell
into an elephant pitfall. After much hallooing, a canoe was brought from
the island, which was not more than fifty yards from the mainland, and
we were ferried across. We were both very ill with a sudden attack of
fever; and my wife, not being able to stand, was, on arrival at the
island, carried on a litter I knew not whither, escorted by some of my
men, while I lay down on the wet ground quite exhausted with the
annihilating disease. At length the rest of my men crossed over, and
those who had carried my wife to the village returning with firebrands,
I managed to creep after them with the aid of a long stick, upon which I
rested with both hands. After a walk through a forest of high trees for
about a quarter of a mile, I arrived at a village where I was shown a
wretched hut, the stars being visible through the roof. In this my wife
lay dreadfully ill upon her angarep, and I fell down upon some straw.
About an hour later a violent thunderstorm broke over us, and our hut
was perfectly flooded. Being far too ill and helpless to move from our
positions, we remained dripping wet and shivering with fever until the
morning. Our servants and people had, like all native, made themselves
much more comfortable than their employers; nor did they attempt to
interfere with our misery in any way until summoned to appear at

The island of Patooan was about half a mile long by 150 yards wide, and
was one of the numerous masses of rocks that choke the river between
Karuma Falls and the great Murchison cataract. My headman now informed
me that war was raging between Kamrasi and his rivals, Fowooka and
Rionga, and it would be impossible to proceed along the bank of the
river to Karuma. My exploration was finished, however, as it was by no
means necessary to continue the route from Patooan to Karuma.


Prisoners on the island--Left to starve--Months of helplessness-- We
rejoin the Turks--The real Kamrasi--In the presence of royalty.

We were prisoners on the island of Patooan as we could not procure
porters at any price to remove our effects. We had lost all our riding
oxen within a few days. They had succumbed to the flies, and the only
animal alive was already half dead; this was the little bull that had
always carried the boy Saat. It was the 8th of April, and within a few
days the boats upon which we depended for our return to civilization
would assuredly quit Gondokoro. I offered the natives all the beads that
I had (about 50 lbs.) and the whole of my baggage, if they would carry
us to Shooa directly from this spot. We were in perfect despair, as we
were both completely worn out with fever and fatigue, and certain death
seemed to stare us in the face should we remain in this unhealthy spot.
Worse than death was the idea of losing the boats and becoming prisoners
for another year in this dreadful land, which must inevitably happen
should we not hurry directly to Gondokoro without delay. The natives
with their usual cunning at length offered to convey us to Shooa,
provided that I paid them the beads in advance. The boats were prepared
to ferry us across the river; but I fortunately discovered through the
woman Bacheeta their treacherous intention of placing us on the
uninhabited wilderness on the north side, and leaving us to die of
hunger. They had conspired together to land us, but to return
immediately with the boats after having thus got rid of the incubus of
their guests.

We were in a great dilemma. Had we been in good health, I would have
forsaken everything but the guns and ammunition, and have marched
directly to Gondokoro on foot; but this was utterly impossible. Neither
my wife nor I could walk a quarter of a mile without fainting. There was
no guide, and the country was now overgrown with impenetrable grass and
tangled vegetation eight feet high. We were in the midst of the rainy
season-- not a day passed without a few hours of deluge. Altogether it
was a most heart-breaking position. Added to the distress of mind at
being thus thwarted, there was also a great scarcity of provision. Many
of my men were weak, the whole party having suffered much from fever; in
fact, we were completely helpless.

Our guide, Rabonga, who had accompanied us from M'rooli, had absconded,
and we were left to shift for ourselves. I was determined not to remain
on the island, as I suspected that the boats might be taken away, and
that we should be kept prisoners; I therefore ordered my men to take the
canoes, and to ferry us to the main land, from whence we had come. The
headman, upon hearing this order, offered to carry us to a village, and
then to await orders from Kamrasi as to whether we were to be forwarded
to Shooa or not. The district in which the island of Patooan was
situated was called Shooa Moru, although having no connection with the
Shooa in the Madi country to which we were bound.

We were ferried across to the main shore, and my wife and I, in our
respective angareps, were carried by the natives for about three miles.
Arriving at a deserted village, half of which was in ashes, having been
burned and plundered by the enemy, we were deposited on the ground in
front of an old hut in the pouring rain, and were informed that we
should remain there that night, but that on the following morning we
should proceed to our destination.

Not trusting the natives, I ordered my men to disarm them, and to retain
their spears and shields as security for their appearance on the
following day. This effected, we were carried into a filthy hut about
six inches deep in mud, as the roof was much out of repair, and the
heavy rain had flooded it daily for some weeks. I had a canal cut
through the muddy floor, and in misery and low spirits we took

On the following morning not a native was present! We had been entirely
deserted; although I held the spears and shields, every man had
absconded. There were neither inhabitants nor provisions. The whole
country was a wilderness of rank grass that hemmed us in on all sides.
Not an animal, nor even a bird, was to be seen; it was a miserable,
damp, lifeless country. We were on elevated ground, and the valley of
the Somerset was about two miles to our north, the river roaring
sullenly in its obstructed passage, its course marked by the double belt
of huge dark trees that grew upon its banks.

My men naturally felt outraged and proposed that we should return to
Patooan, seize the canoes, and take provisions by force, as we had been
disgracefully deceived. The natives had merely deposited us here to get
us out of the way, and in this spot we might starve. Of course I would
not countenance the proposal of seizing provisions, but I directed my
men to search among the ruined villages for buried corn, in company with
the woman Bacheeta, who, being a native of this country, would be up to
the ways of the people, and might assist in the discovery.

After some hours passed in rambling over the black ashes of several
villages that had been burned, they discovered a hollow place, by
sounding the earth with a stick, and, upon digging, arrived at a granary
of the seed known as "tullaboon;" this was a great prize, as, although
mouldy and bitter, it would keep us from starving. The women of the
party were soon hard at work grinding, as many of the necessary stones
had been found among the ruins.

Fortunately there were three varieties of plants growing wild in great
profusion, that, when boiled, were a good substitute for spinach; thus
we were rich in vegetables, although without a morsel of fat or animal
food. Our dinner consisted daily of a mess of black porridge of bitter
mouldy flour that no English pig would condescend to notice, and a large
dish of spinach. "Better a dinner of herbs where love is," etc. often
occurred to me; but I am not sure that I was quite of that opinion after
a fortnight's grazing upon spinach.

Tea and coffee were things of the past, the very idea of which made our
months water; but I found a species of wild thyme growing in the
jungles, and this when boiled formed a tolerable substitute for tea.
Sometimes our men procured a little wild honey, which added to the thyme
tea we considered a great luxury.

This wretched fare, in our exhausted state from fever and general
effects of climate, so completely disabled us that for nearly two months
my wife lay helpless on one angarep, and I upon the other. Neither of us
could walk. The hut was like all in Kamrasi's country, with a perfect
forest of thick poles to support the roof (I counted thirty-two); thus,
although it was tolerably large, there was but little accommodation.
These poles we now found very convenient, as we were so weak that we
could not rise from bed without lifting ourselves up by one of the

We were very nearly dead, and our amusement was a childish conversation
about the good things in England, and my idea of perfect happiness was
an English beefsteak and a bottle of pale ale; for such a luxury I would
most willingly have sold my birthright at that hungry moment. We were
perfect skeletons, and it was annoying to see how we suffered upon the
bad fare, while our men apparently throve. There were plenty of wild red
peppers, and the men seemed to enjoy a mixture of porridge and legumes a
la sauce piquante. They were astonished at my falling away on this food,
but they yielded to my argument when I suggested that a "lion would
starve where a donkey grew fat." I must confess that this state of
existence did not improve my temper, which, I fear, became nearly as
bitter as the porridge. My people had a windfall of luck, as Saat's ox,
that had lingered for a long time, lay down to die, and stretching
himself out, commenced kicking his last kick. The men immediately
assisted him by cutting his throat, and this supply of beef was a luxury
which, even in my hungry state, was not the English beefsteak for which
I sighed, and I declined the diseased bull.

The men made several long excursions through the country to purchase
provisions, but in two months they procured only two kids; the entire
country was deserted, owing to the war between Kamrasi and Fowooka.
Every day the boy Saat and the woman Bacheeta sallied out and conversed
with the inhabitants of the different islands on the river. Sometimes,
but very rarely, they returned with a fowl; such an event caused great

We gave up all hope of Gondokoro, and were resigned to our fate. This,
we felt sure, was to be buried in Chopi, the name of our village. I
wrote instructions in my journal, in case of death, and told my headman
to be sure to deliver my maps, observations, and papers to the English
Consul at Khartoum. This was my only care, as I feared that all my labor
might be lost should I die. I had no fear for my wife, as she was quite
as bad as I, and if one should die the other would certainly follow; in
fact, this had been agreed upon, lest she should fall into the hands of
Kamrasi at my death. We had struggled to win, and I thanked God that we
had won. If death were to be the price, at all events we were at the
goal, and we both looked upon death rather as a pleasure, as affording
REST. There would be no more suffering, no fever, no long journey before
us, that in our weak state was an infliction. The only wish was to lay
down the burden. Curious is the warfare between the animal instincts and
the mind! Death would have been a release that I would have courted; but
I should have liked that one "English beefsteak and pale ale" before I

During our misery of constant fever and starvation at Shooa Moru, insult
had been added to injury. There was no doubt that we had been thus
deserted by Kamrasi's orders, as every seven or eight days one of his
chiefs arrived and told me that the king was with his army only four
days' march from me, and that he was preparing to attack Fowooka, but
that he wished me to join him, as with my fourteen guns, we should win a
great victory. This treacherous conduct, after his promise to forward me
without delay to Shooa, enraged me exceedingly. We had lost the boats at
Gondokoro, and we were now nailed to the country for another year,
should we live, which was not likely. Not only had the brutal king thus
deceived us, but he was deliberately starving us into conditions, his
aim being that my men should assist him against his enemy. At one time
the old enemy tempted me sorely to join Fowooka against Kamrasi; but,
discarding the idea, generated in a moment of passion, I determined to
resist his proposals to the last. It was perfectly true that the king
was within thirty miles of us, that he was aware of our misery, and made
use of our extremity to force us to become his allies.

After more than two months passed in this distress it became evident
that something must be done. I sent my headman, or vakeel, and one man,
with a native as a guide (that Saat and Bacheeta had procured from an
island), with instructions to go direct to Kamrasi, to abuse him
thoroughly in my name for having thus treated us, and tell him that I
was much insulted at his treating with me through a third party in
proposing an alliance. My vakeel was to explain that I was a much more
powerful chief than Kamrasi, and that if he required my alliance, he
must treat with me in person, and immediately send fifty men to
transport my wife, myself, and effects to his camp, where we might, in a
personal interview, come to terms.

I told my vakeel to return to me with the fifty men, and to be sure to
bring from Kamrasi some token by which I should know that he had
actually seen him. The vakeel and Yaseen started.

After some days the absconded guide, Rabonga, appeared with a number of
men, but without either my vakeel or Yaseen. He carried with him a small
gourd bottle, carefully stopped; this he broke, and extracted from the
inside two pieces of printed paper that Kamrasi had sent to me in reply.

On examining the papers, I found them to be portions of the English
Church Service translated into (I think) the "Kisuabili" language, by Dr
Krapf! There were many notes in pencil on the margin, written in
English, as translations of words in the text. It quickly occurred to me
that Speke must have given this book to Kamrasi on his arrival from
Zanzibar, and that he now extracted the leaves and sent them to me as a
token I had demanded to show that my message had been delivered to him.

Rabonga made a lame excuse for his previous desertion. He delivered a
thin ox that Kamrasi had sent me, and he declared that his orders were
that he should take my whole party immediately to Kamrasi, as he was
anxious that we should attack Fowooka without loss of time. We were
positively to start on the following morning! My bait had taken, and we
should escape from this frightful spot, Shooa Moru.

After winding through dense jungles of bamboos and interminable groves
of destroyed plantains, we perceived the tops of a number of grass hats
appearing among the trees. My men now begged to be allowed to fire a
salute, as it was reported that the ten men of Ibrahim's party who had
been left as hostages were quartered at this village with Kamrasi.
Hardly had the firing commenced when it was immediately replied to by
the Turks from their camp, who, upon our approach, came out to meet us
with great manifestations of delight and wonder at our having
accomplished our long and difficult voyage.

My vakeel and Yaseen were the first to meet us, with an apology that
severe fever had compelled them to remain in camp instead of returning
to Shooa Moru according to my orders; but they had delivered my message
to Kamrasi, who had, as I had supposed, sent two leaves out of a book
Speke had given him, as a reply. An immense amount of news had to be
exchanged between my men and those of Ibrahim. They had quite given us
up for lost, until they heard that we were at Shooa Moru. A report had
reached them that my wife was dead, and that I had died a few days
later. A great amount of kissing and embracing took place, Arab fashion,
between the two parties; and they all came to kiss my hand and that of
my wife, with the exclamation, that "By Allah, no woman in the world had
a heart so tough as to dare to face what she had gone through." "El hamd
el Illah! El hamd el Illah bel salaam!" ("Thank God--be grateful to
God") was exclaimed on all sides by the swarthy throng of brigands who
pressed round us, really glad to welcome us back again; and I could not
help thinking of the difference in their manner now and fourteen months
before, when they had attempted to drive us back from Gondokoro.

Hardly were we seated in our hut when my vakeel announced that Kamrasi
had arrived to pay me a visit. In a few minutes he was ushered into the
hut. Far from being abashed, he entered with a loud laugh, totally
different from his former dignified manner. "Well, here you are at
last!" he exclaimed. Apparently highly amused with our wretched
appearance, he continued, "So you have been to the M'wootan N'zige!
Well, you don't look much the better for it; why, I should not have
known you! ha, ha, ha!" I was not in a humor to enjoy his attempts at
facetiousness; I therefore told him that he had behaved disgracefully
and meanly, and that I should publish his character among the adjoining
tribes as below that of the most petty chief that I had ever seen.

"Never mind," he replied, "it's all over now." You really are thin, both
of you. It was your own fault; why did you not agree to fight Fowooka?
You should have been supplied with fat cows and milk and butter, had you
behaved well. I will have my men ready to attack Fowooka to-morrow. The
Turks have ten men, you have thirteen; thirteen and ten make
twenty-three. You shall be carried if you can't walk, and we will give
Fowooka no chance. He must be killed--only kill him, and MY BROTHER will
give you half of his kingdom."

He continued, "You shall have supplies to-morrow; I will go to my
BROTHER, who is the great M'Kamma Kamrasi, and he will send you all you
require. I am a little man; he is a big one. I have nothing; he has
everything, and he longs to see you. You must go to him directly; he
lives close by."

I hardly knew whether he was drunk or sober. "My bother the great
M'Kamma Kamrasi!" I felt bewildered with astonishment. Then, "If you are
not Kamrasi, pray who are you?" I asked. "Who am I?" he replied. "Ha,
ha, ha! that's very good; who am I?-- I am M'Gambi, the brother of
Kamrasi; I am the younger brother, but HE IS THE KING."

The deceit of this country was incredible. I had positively never seen
the real Kamrasi up to this moment, and this man M'Gambi now confessed
to having impersonated the king, his brother, as Kamrasi was afraid that
I might be in league with Debono's people to murder him, and therefore
he had ordered his brother M'Gambi to act the king.

I told M'Gambi that I did not wish to see his brother, the king, as I
should perhaps be again deceived and be introduced to some impostor like
himself; and that as I did not choose to be made a fool of, I should
decline the introduction. This distressed him exceedingly. He said that
the king was really so great a man that he, his own brother, dared not
sit on a stool in his presence, and that he had only kept in retirement
as a matter of precaution, as Debono's people had allied themselves with
his enemy Rionga in the preceding year, and he dreaded treachery. I
laughed contemptuously at M'Gambi, telling him that if a woman like my
wife dared to trust herself far from her own country among such savages
as Kamrasi's people, their king must be weaker than a woman if he dared
not show himself in his own territory. I concluded by saying that I
should not go to see Kamrasi, but that he should come to visit me.

On the following morning, after my arrival at Kisoona, M'Gambi appeared,
beseeching me to go and visit the king. I replied that "I was hungry and
weak from want of food, and that I wanted to see meat, and not the man
who had starved me." In the afternoon a beautiful cow appeared with her
young calf, also a fat sheep and two pots of plantain cider, as a
present from Kamrasi. That evening we revelled in milk, a luxury that we
had not tasted for some months. The cow gave such a quantity that we
looked forward to the establishment of a dairy, and already contemplated
cheese-making. I sent the king a present of a pound of powder in
canister, a box of caps, and a variety of trifles, explaining that I was
quite out of stores and presents, as I had been kept so long in his
country that I was reduced to beggary, as I had expected to return to my
own country long before this.

In the evening M'Gambi appeared with a message from the king, saying
that I was his greatest friend, and that he would not think of taking
anything from me as he was sure that I must be hard up; that he desired
nothing, but would be much obliged if I would give him the "little
double rifle that I always carried, and my watch and compass!" He wanted
"NOTHING," only my Fletcher rifle, that I would as soon have parted with
as the bone of my arm; and these three articles were the same for which
I had been so pertinaciously bored before my departure from M'rooli. It
was of no use to be wroth, I therefore quietly replied that I should not
give them, as Kamrasi had failed in his promise to forward me to Shooa;
but that I required no presents from him, as he always expected a
thousandfold in return. M'Gambi said that all would be right if I would
only agree to pay the king a visit. I objected to this, as I told him
the king, his brother, did not want to see me, but only to observe what
I had, in order to beg for all that he saw. He appeared much hurt, and
assured me that he would be himself responsible that nothing of the kind
should happen, and that he merely begged as a favor that I would visit
the king on the following morning, and that people should be ready to
carry me if I were unable to walk. Accordingly I arranged to be carried
to Kamrasi's camp at about 8 A.M.

At the hour appointed M'Gambi appeared, with a great crowd of natives.
My clothes were in rags, and as personal appearance has a certain
effect, even in Central Africa, I determined to present myself to the
king in as favorable a light as possible. I happened to possess a
full-dress Highland suit that I had worn when I lived in Perthshire many
years before. This I had treasured as serviceable upon an occasion like
the present: accordingly I was quickly attired in kilt, sporran, and
Glengarry bonnet, and to the utter amazement of the crowd, the
ragged-looking object that had arrived in Kisoona now issued from the
obscure hut with plaid and kilt of Athole tartan. A general shout of
exclamation arose from the assembled crowd, and taking my seat upon an
angarep, I was immediately shouldered by a number of men, and, attended
by ten of my people as escort, I was carried toward the camp of the
great Kamrasi.

In about half an hour we arrived. The camp, composed of grass huts,
extended over a large extent of ground, and the approach was perfectly
black with the throng that crowded to meet me. Women, children, dogs,
and men all thronged at the entrance of the street that led to Kamrasi's
residence. Pushing our way through this inquisitive multitude, we
continued through the camp until at length we reached the dwelling of
the king. Halting for the moment, a message was immediately received
that we should proceed; we accordingly entered through a narrow passage
between high reed fences, and I found myself in the presence of the
actual king of Unyoro, Kamrasi. He was sitting in a kind of porch in
front of a hut, and upon seeing me he hardly condescended to look at me
for more than a moment; he then turned to his attendants and made some
remark that appeared to amuse them, as they all grinned as little men
are wont to do when a great man makes a bad joke.

I had ordered one of my men to carry my stool; I was determined not to
sit upon the earth, as the king would glory in my humiliation. M'Gambi,
his brother, who had formerly played the part of king, now sat upon the
ground a few feet from Kamrasi, who was seated upon the same stool of
copper that M'Gambi had used when I first saw him at M'rooli. Several of
his chiefs also sat upon the straw with which the porch was littered. I
made a "salaam" and took my seat upon my stool.

Not a word passed between us for about five minutes, during which time
the king eyed me most attentively, and made various remarks to the
chiefs who were present. At length he asked me why I had not been to see
him before. I replied, because I had been starved in his country, and I
was too weak to walk. He said I should soon be strong, as he would now
give me a good supply of food; but that he could not send provisions to
Shooa Moru, as Fowooka held that country. Without replying to this
wretched excuse for his neglect, I merely told him that I was happy to
have seen him before my departure, as I was not aware until recently
that I had been duped by M'Gambi. He answered me very coolly, saying
that although I had not seen him, he had nevertheless seen me, as he was
among the crowd of native escort on the day that we left M'rooli. Thus
he had watched our start at the very place where his brother M'Gambi had
impersonated the king.

Kamrasi was a remarkably fine man, tall and well proportioned, with a
handsome face of a dark brown color, but a peculiarly sinister
expression. He was beautifully clean, and instead of wearing the bark
cloth common among the people, he was dressed in a fine mantle of black
and white goatskins, as soft as chamois leather. His people sat on the
ground at some distance from his throne; when they approached to address
him on any subject they crawled upon their hands and knees to his feet,
and touched the ground with their foreheads.

True to his natural instincts, the king commenced begging, and being
much struck with the Highland costume, he demanded it as a proof of
friendship, saying that if I refused I could not be his friend. The
watch, compass, and double Fletcher rifle were asked for in their turn,
all of which I refused to give him. He appeared much annoyed, therefore
I presented him with a pound canister of powder, a box of caps, and a
few bullets. He asked, "What's the use of the ammunition if you won't
give me your rifle?" I explained that I had already given him a gun, and
that he had a rifle of Speke's. Disgusted with his importunity I rose to
depart, telling him that I should not return to visit him, as I did not
believe he was the real Kamrasi I had heard that Kamrasi was a great
king, but he was a mere beggar, and was doubtless an impostor, like
M'Gambi. At this he seemed highly amused, and begged me not to leave so
suddenly, as he could not permit me to depart empty-handed. He then gave
certain orders to his people, and after a little delay two loads of
flour arrived, together with a goat and two jars of sour plantain cider.
These presents he ordered to be forwarded to Kisoona. I rose to take
leave; but the crowd, eager to see what was going forward, pressed
closely upon the entrance of the approach, seeing which, the king gave
certain orders, and immediately four or five men with long heavy
bludgeons rushed at the mob and belabored them right and left, putting
the mass to flight pell-mell through the narrow lanes of the camp.

I was then carried back to my camp at Kisoona, where I was received by a
great crowd of people.


The hour of deliverance--Triumphal entry into Gondokoro--Home-bound--
The plague breaks out--Our welcome at Khartoum to civilization.

The hour of deliverance from our long sojourn in Central Africa was at
hand. It was the month of February, and the boats would be at Gondokoro.
The Turks had packed their ivory; the large tusks were fastened to poles
to be carried by two men, and the camp was a perfect mass of this
valuable material. I counted 609 loads of upward of 50 lbs. each;
thirty-one loads were lying at an out-station; therefore the total
results of the ivory campaign during the last twelve months were about
32,000 lbs., equal to about 9,630 pounds sterling when delivered in
Egypt. This was a perfect fortune for Koorshid.

We were ready to start. My baggage was so unimportant that I was
prepared to forsake everything, and to march straight for Gondokoro
independently with my own men; but this the Turks assured me was
impracticable, as the country was so hostile in advance that we must of
necessity have some fighting on the road; the Bari tribe would dispute
our right to pass through their territory.

The day arrived for our departure; the oxen were saddled, and we were
ready to start. Crowds of people cane to say "good-by;" but, dispensing
with the hand-kissing of the Turks who were to remain in camp, we
prepared for our journey toward HOME. Far away though it was, every step
would bring us nearer. Nevertheless there were ties even in this wild
spot, where all was savage and unfeeling--ties that were painful to
sever, and that caused a sincere regret to both of us when we saw our
little flock of unfortunate slave children crying at the idea of
separation. In this moral desert, where all humanized feelings were
withered and parched like the sands of the Soudan, the guilelessness of
the children had been welcomed like springs of water, as the only
refreshing feature in a land of sin and darkness.

"Where are you going?" cried poor little Abbai in the broken Arabic that
we had taught him. "Take me with you, Sitty!" (lady), and he followed us
down the path, as we regretfully left our proteges, with his fists
tucked into his eyes, weeping from his heart, although for his own
mother he had not shed a tear. We could not take him with us; he
belonged to Ibrahim, and had I purchased the child to rescue him from
his hard lot and to rear him as a civilized being, I might have been
charged with slave-dealing. With heavy hearts we saw hint taken up in
the arms of a woman and carried back to camp, to prevent him from
following our party, that had now started.

I will not detain the reader with the details of our journey home. After
much toil and some fighting with hostile natives, we bivouacked one
sunset three miles from Gondokoro. That night we were full of
speculations. Would a boat be waiting for us with supplies and letters?
The morning anxiously looked forward to at length arrived. We started.
The English flag had been mounted on a fine straight bamboo with a new
lance-head specially arranged for the arrival at Gondokoro. My men felt
proud, as they would march in as conquerors. According to White Nile
ideas, such a journey could not have been accomplished with so small a
party. Long before Ibrahim's men were ready to start, our oxen were
saddled and we were off, longing to hasten into Gondokoro and to find a
comfortable vessel with a few luxuries and the post from England. Never
had the oxen travelled so fast as on that morning; the flag led the way,
and the men, in excellent spirits, followed at double-quick pace.

"I see the masts of the vessels!" exclaimed the boy Saat. "El hambd el
Illah!" (Thank God! ) shouted the men. "Hurrah!" said I; "Three cheers
for Old England and the Sources of the Nile! Hurrah!" and my men joined
me in the wild, and to their ears savage, English yell. "Now for a
salute! Fire away all your powder, if you like, my lads, and let the
people know that we're alive!"

This was all that was required to complete the happiness of my people,
and, loading and firing as fast as possible, we approached near to
Gondokoro. Presently we saw the Turkish flag emerge from Gondokoro at
about a quarter of a mile distant, followed by a number of the traders'
people, who waited to receive us. On our arrival they immediately
approached and fired salutes with ball cartridge, as usual advancing
close to us and discharging their guns into the ground at our feet. One
of my servants, Mahomet, was riding an ox, and an old friend of his in
the crowd happening to recognize him immediately advanced and saluted
him by firing his gun into the earth directly beneath the belly of the
ox he was riding.

The effect produced made the crowd and ourselves explode with laughter.
The nervous ox, terrified at the sudden discharge between his legs, gave


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