The Discovery of the Source of the Nile
John Hanning Speke

Part 5 out of 11

these, would call them Wakidi, Wagani, and Wamadi, but among
themselves the syllable was is not prefixed, as in the southern
dialects, to signify people. Rumanika, who appeared immensely
delighted as he assisted me in putting the questions I wanted,
and saw me note them down in my book, was more confirmed than
ever in the truth of my stories that I came from the north, and
thought as the beads came to Amara, so should I be able to open
the road and bring him more visitors. This he knew was his only
chance of ever seeing me more, for I swore I would never go back
through Usui, so greatly did I feel the indignities imposed on me
by Suwarora.

18th.--To keep the king in good-humour, I now took a table-knife,
spoon, and fork to the palace, which, after their several uses
were explained, were consigned to his curiosity-box. Still
Rumanika could not understand how it was I spent so much and
travelled so far, or how it happened such a great country as ours
could be ruled by a woman. He asked the Queen's name, how many
children she had, and the mode of succession; then, when fully
satisfied, led the way to show me what his father Dagara had done
when wishing to know of what the centre of the earth was
composed. At the back of the palace a deep ditch was cut,
several yards long, the end of which was carried by a
subterranean passage into the palace, where it was ended off with
a cavern led into by a very small aperture. It then appeared
that Dagara, having failed, in his own opinion, to arrive any
nearer to the object in view, gave the excavating up as a bad
job, and turned the cave into a mysterious abode, where it was
confidently asserted he spent many days without eating or
drinking, and turned sometimes into a young man, and then an old
one, alternately, as the humour seized him.

19th to 22d.--On the 19th I went fishing, but without success,
for they said the fish would not take in the lake; and on the
following day, as Grant's recovery seemed hopeless, for a long
time at least, I went with all the young princes to se what I
could do with the hippopotami in the lake, said to inhabit the
small island of Conty. The part was an exceedingly merry one.
We went off to the island in several canoes, and at once found an
immense number of crocodiles basking in the sun, but not a single
hippopotamus was in sight. The princes then, thinking me "green"
at this kind of sport, said the place was enchanted, but I need
not fear, for they would bring them out to my feet by simply
calling out certain names, and this was no sooner done than four
old and one young one came immediately in font of us. It seemed
quite a sin to touch them, they looked all so innocent; but as
the king wanted to try me again, I gave one a ball on the head
which sent him under, never again to be seen, for on the 22nd, by
which time I supposed he ought to have risen inflated with gases,
the king sent out his men to look out for him; but they returned
to say, that whilst all the rest were in the old place, that one,
in particular, could not be found.

On this K'yengo, who happened to be present whilst our interview
lasted, explained that the demons of the deep were annoyed with
me for intruding on their preserves, without having the courtesy
to commemorate the event by the sacrifice of a goat or a cow.
Rumanika then, at my suggestions, gave Nnanaji the revolving
pistol I first gave him, but not without a sharp rebuke for his
having had the audacity to beg a gun of me in consideration of
his being a sportsman. We then went into a discourse on
astrology, when the intelligent Rumanika asked me if the same sun
we saw one day appeared again, or whether fresh suns came every
day, and whether or not the moon made different faces, to laugh
at us mortals on earth.

23d and 24th.--This day was spent by the king introducing me to
his five fat wives, to show with what esteem he was held by all
the different kings of the countries surrounding. From Mpororo--
which, by the by, is a republic--he was wedded to Kaogez, the
daughter of Kahaya, who is the greatest chief in the country;
from Unyoro he received Kauyangi, Kamrasi's daughter; from Nkole,
Kambiri, the late Kasiyonga's daughter; from Utumbi, Kirangu, the
late Kiteimbua's daughter; and lastly, the daughter of
Chiuarungi, his head cook.

After presenting Rumanika with an india-rubber band--which, as
usual, amused him immensely--for the honour he had done me in
showing me his wives, a party of Waziwa, who had brought some
ivory from Kidi, came to pay their respects to him. On being
questioned by me, they said that they once saw some men like my
Wanguana there; they had come from the north to trade, but,
though they carried firearms, they were all killed by the people
of Kidi. This was famous; it corroborated what I knew, but could
not convince others of,--that traders could find their way up to
Kidi by the Nile. It in a manner explained also how it was that
Kamrasi, some years before, had obtained some pink beads, of a
variety the Zanzibar merchants had never thought of bringing into
the country. Bombay was now quite convinced, and we all became
transported with joy, until Rumanika, reflecting on the sad state
of Grant's leg, turned that joy into grief by saying that the
rules of Uganda are so strict, that no one who is sick could
enter the country. "To show," he said, "how absurd they are,
your donkey would not be permitted because he has no trousers;
and you even will have to put on a gown, as your unmentionables
will be considered indecorous." I now asked Rumanika if he would
assist me in replenishing my fast-ebbing store of beads, by
selling tusks to the Arabs at Kufro, when for every 35lb. weight
I would give him 50 dollars by orders on Zanzibar, and would
insure him from being cheated, by sending a letter of advice to
our Consul residing there. At first he demurred, on the high-
toned principle that he could not have any commercial dealings
with myself; but, at the instigation of Bombay and Baraka, who
viewed it in its true character, as tending merely to assist my
journey in the best manner he could, without any sacrifice to
dignity, he eventually yielded, and, to prove his earnestness,
sent me a large tusk, with a notice that his ivory was not kept
in the palace, but with his officers, and as soon as they could
collect it, so soon I should get it.

Rumanika, on hearing that it was our custom to celebrate the
birth of our Saviour with a good feast of beef, sent us an ox. I
immediately paid him a visit to offer the compliments of the
season, and at the same time regretted, much to his amusement,
that he, as one of the old stock of Abyssinians, who are the
oldest Christians on record, should have forgotten this rite; but
I hoped the time would come when, by making it known that his
tribe had lapsed into a state of heathenism, white teachers would
be induced to set it all to rights again. At this time some
Wahaiya traders (who had been invited at my request by Rumanika)
arrived. Like the Waziwa, they had traded with Kidi, and they
not only confirmed what the Waziwa had said, but added that, when
trading in those distant parts, they heard of Wanguana coming in
vessels to trade to the north of Unyoro; but the natives there
were so savage, they only fought with these foreign traders. A
man of Ruanda now informed us that the cowrie-shells, so
plentiful in that country, come there from the other or western
side, but he could not tell whence they were originally obtained.
Rumanika then told me Suwarora had been so frightened by the
Watuta, and their boastful threats to demolish Usui bit by bit,
reserving him only as a tit-bit for the end, that he wanted a
plot of ground in Karague to preserve his property in.

26th, 27th, and 28th.--Some other travellers from the north again
informed us that they had heard of Wanguana who attempted to
trade in Gani and Chopi, but were killed by the natives. I now
assured Rumanika that in two or three years he would have a
greater trade with Egypt than he ever could have with Zanzibar;
for when I opened the road, all those men he heard of would swarm
up here to visit him. He, however, only laughed at my folly in
proposing to go to a place of which all I heard was merely that
every stranger who went there was killed. He began to show a
disinclination to allow my going there, and though from the most
friendly intention, this view was alarming, for one word from him
could have ruined my projects. As it was, I feared my followers
might take fright and refuse to advance with me. I thought it
good policy to talk of there being many roads leading through
Africa, so that Rumanika might see he had not got, as he thought,
the sole key to the interior. I told him again of certain views
I once held of coming to see him from the north up the Nile, and
from the east through the Masai. He observed that, "To open
either of those routes, you would require at least two hundred
guns." He would, however, do something when we returned from
Uganda; for as Mtesa followed his advice in everything, so did
Kamrasi, for both held the highest opinion of him.

The conversation then turning on London, and the way men and
carriages moved up the streets like strings of ants on their
migrations, Rumanika said the villages in Ruanda were of enormous
extent, and the people great sportsmen, for they turned out in
multitudes, with small dogs on whose necks were tied bells, and
blowing horns themselves, to hunt leopards. They were, however,
highly superstitious, and would not allow any strangers to enter
their country; for some years ago, when Arabs went there, a great
drought and famine set in, which they attributed to evil
influences brought by them, and, turning them out of their
country, said they would never admit any of their like amongst
them again. I said, in return, I thought his Wanyambo just as
superstitious, for I observed, whilst walking one day, that they
had placed a gourd on the path, and on inquiry found they had
done so to gain the sympathy of all passers-by to their crop
close at hand, which was blighted, imagining that the voice of
the sympathiser heard by the spirits would induce them to relent,
and restore a healthy tone to the crop.

During this time an interesting case was brought before us for
judgment. Two men having married one woman, laid claim to her
child, which, as it was a male one, belonged to the father.
Baraka was appointed the umpire, and immediately comparing the
infant's face with those of its claimants, gave a decision which
all approved of but the loser. It was pronounced amidst peals of
laughter from my men; for whenever any little excitement is going
forward, the Wanguana all rush to the scene of action to give
their opinions, and joke over it afterwards.

29th and 30th.--On telling Rumanika this story next morning, he
said, "Many funny things happen in Karague"; and related some
domestic incidents, concluding with the moral that "Marriage in
Karague was a mere matter of money." Cows, sheep, and slaves
have to be given to the father for the value of his daughter; but
if she finds she has made a mistake, she can return the dowry-
money, and gain her release. The Wahuma, although they keep
slaves and marry with pure negroes, do not allow their daughters
to taint their blood by marrying out of their clan. In warfare
it is the rule that the Wahinda, or princes, head their own
soldiers, and set them the example of courage, when, after firing
a few arrows, they throw their bows away, and close at once with
their spears and assages. Life is never taken in Karague, either
for murder or cowardice, as they value so much their Wahuma
breed; but, for all offences, fines of cows are exacted according
to the extent of the crime.

31st.--Ever proud of his history since I had traced his descent
from Abyssinia and King David, whose hair was as straight as my
own, Rumanika dwelt on my theological disclosures with the
greatest delight, and wished to know what difference existed
between the Arabs and ourselves; to which Baraka replied, as the
best means of making him understand, that whilst the Arabs had
only one Book, we had two; to which I added, Yes, that is true in
a sense; but the real merits lie in the fact that we have got the
better BOOK, as may be inferred from the obvious fact that we are
more prosperous, and their superiors in all things, as I would
prove to him if he would allow me to take one of his sons home to
learn that BOOK; for then he would find his tribe, after a while,
better off than the Arabs are. Much delighted, he said he would
be very glad to give me two boys for that purpose.

Then, changing the subject, I pressed Rumanika, as he said he had
no idea of a God or future state, to tell me what advantage he
expected from sacrificing a cow yearly at his father's grave. He
laughingly replied he did not know, but he hoped he might be
favoured with better crops if he did so. He also place pombe and
grain, he said, for the same reason, before a large stone on the
hillside, although it could not eat, or make any use of it; but
the coast-men were of the same belief as himself, and so were all
the natives. No one in Africa, as far as he knew, doubted the
power of magic and spells; and if a fox barked when he was
leading an army to battle, he would retire at once, knowing that
this prognosticated evil. There were many other animals, and
lucky and unlucky birds, which all believed in.

I then told him it was fortunate he had no disbelievers like us
to contend with in battle, for we, instead of trusting to luck
and such omens, put our faith only in skill and pluck, which
Baraka elucidated from his military experience in the wars in
British India. Lastly, I explained to him how England formerly
was as unenlightened as Africa, and believing in the same sort of
superstitions, and the inhabitants were all as naked as his skin-
wearing Wanyambo; but now, since they had grown wiser, and saw
through such impostures, they were the greatest men in the world.
He said, for the future he would disregard what the Arabs said,
and trust to my doctrines, for without doubt he had never seen
such a wise man as myself; and the Arabs themselves confirmed
this when they told him that all their beads and cloths came from
the land of the Wazungu, or white men.

1st, 2d, and 3d.--The new year was ushered in by the most
exciting intelligence, which drove us half wild with delight, for
we fully believed Mr Petherick was indeed on his road up the
Nile, endeavouring to meet us. It was this:--An officer of
Rumanika's, who had been sent four years before on a mission to
Kamrasi, had just then returned with a party of Kamrasi's who
brought ivory for sale to the Arabs at Kufro, along with a
vaunting commission to inform Rumanika that Kamrasi had foreign
visitors as well as himself. They had not actually come into
Unyoro, but were in his dependency, the country of Gani, coming
up the Nile in vessels. They had been attacked by the Gani
people, and driven back with considerable loss both of men and
property, although they were in sailing vessels, and fired guns
which even broke down the trees on the banks. Some of their
property had been brought to him, and he in return had ordered
his subjects not to molest them, but allow them to come on to
him. Rumanika enjoyed this news as much as myself, especially
when I told him of Petherick's promise to meet us, just as these
men said he was trying to do; and more especially so, when I told
him that if he would assist me in trying to communicate with
Petherick, the latter would either come here himself, or send one
of his men, conveying a suitable present, whilst I was away in
Uganda; and then in the end we would all go off to Kamrasi's

4th.--Entering warmly into the spirit of this important
intelligence, Rumanika inquired into its truth; and, finding no
reason to doubt it, said he would send some men back with
Kamrasi's men, if I could have patience until they were ready to
go. There would be no danger, as Kamrasi was his brother-in-law,
and would do all that he told him.

I now proposed to send Baraka, who, ashamed to cry off, said he
would go with Rumanika's officers if I allowed him a companion of
his own choosing, who would take care of him if he got sick on
the way, otherwise he should be afraid they would leave him to
die, like a dog, in the jungles. We consoled him by assenting to
the companion he wished, and making Rumanika responsible that no
harm should come to him from any of the risks which his
imagination conjured up. Rumanika then gave him and Uledi, his
selected companion, some sheets of mbugu, in order that they
might disguise themselves as his officers whilst crossing the
territories of the king of Uganda. On inquiring as to the reason
of this, it transpired that, to reach Unyoro, the party would
have to cross a portion of Uddu, which the late king Sunna, on
annexing that country to Uganda, had divided, not in halves, but
by alternate bands running transversely from Nkole to the
Victoria N'yanza.

5th and 6th.--To keep Rumanika up to the mark, I introduced to
him Saidi, one of my men, who was formerly a slave, captured in
Walamo, on the borders of Abyssinia, to show him, by his
similarity to the Wahuma, how it was I had come to the conclusion
that he was of the same race. Saidi told him his tribe kept
cattle with the same stupendous horns as those of the Wahuma; and
also that, in the same manner, they all mixed blood and milk for
their dinners, which, to his mind, confirmed my statement. At
night, as there was a partial eclipse of the moon, all the
Wanguana marched up and down from Rumanika's to Nnanaji's huts,
singing and beating our tin cooking-pots to frighten off the
spirit of the sun from consuming entirely the chief object of
reverence, the moon.

7th.--Our spirits were now further raised by the arrival of a
semi-Hindu-Suahili, named Juma, who had just returned from a
visit to the king of Uganda, bringing back with him a large
present of ivory and slaves; for he said he had heard from the
king of our intention to visit him, and that he had despatched
officers to call us immediately. This intelligence delighted
Rumanika as much as it did us, and he no sooner heard it than he
said, with ecstasies, "I will open Africa, since the white men
desire it; for did not Dagara command us to show deference to
strangers?" Then, turning to me, he added, "My only regret is,
you will not take something as a return for the great expenses
you have been put to in coming to visit me." The expense was
admitted, for I had now been obliged to purchase from the Arabs
upwards of 400 worth of beads, to keep such a store in reserve
for my return from Uganda as would enable me to push on to
Gondokoro. I thought this necessary, as every report that
arrived from Unyamuezi only told us of further disasters with the
merchants in that country. Sheikh Said was there even then, with
my poor Hottentots, unable to convey my post to the coast.

8th to 10th.--At last we heard the familiar sound of the Uganda
drum. Maula, a royal officer, with a large escort of smartly-
dressed men, women, and boys, leading their dogs and playing
their reeds, announced to our straining ears the welcome
intelligence that their king had sent them to call us.
N'yamgundu, who had seen us in Usui, had marched on to inform the
king of our advance and desire to see him; and he, intensely
delighted at the prospect of having white men for his guests,
desired no time should be lost in our coming on. Maula told us
that his officers had orders to supply us with everything we
wanted whilst passing through his country, and that there would
be nothing to pay.

One thing only now embarrassed me--Grant was worse, without hope
of recovery for at least one or two months. This large body of
Waganda could not be kept waiting. To get on as fast as possible
was the only chance of ever bringing the journey to a successful
issue; so, unable to help myself, with great remorse at another
separation, on the following day I consigned my companion, with
several Wanguana, to the care of my friend Rumanika. I then
separated ten loads of beads and thirty copper wires for my
expenses in Uganda; wrote a letter to Petherick, which I gave to
Baraka; and gave him and his companion beads to last as money for
six months, and also a present both for Kamrasi and the Gani
chief. To Nsangez I gave charge of my collections in natural
history, and the reports of my progress, addressed to the
Geographical Society, which he was to convey to Sheikh Said at
Kaze, for conveyance as far as Zanzibar.

This business concluded in camp, I started my men and went to the
palace to bid adieu to Rumanika, who appointed Rozaro, one of his
officers, to accompany me wherever I went in Uganda, and to bring
me back safely again. At Rumanika's request I then gave Mtesa's
pages some ammunition to hurry on with to the great king of
Uganda, as his majesty had ordered them to bring him, as quickly
as possible, some strengthening powder, and also some powder for
his gun. Then, finally, to Maula, also under Rumanika's
instructions, I gave two copper wires and five bundles of beads;
and, when all was completed, set out on the march, perfectly sure
in my mind that before very long I should settle the great Nile
problem for ever; and, with this consciousness, only hoping that
Grant would be able to join me before I should have to return
again, for it was never supposed for a moment that it was
possible I ever could go north from Uganda. Rumanika was the most
resolute in this belief, as the kings of Uganda, ever since that
country was detached from Unyoro, had been making constant raids,
seizing cattle and slaves from the surrounding communities.

Chapter IX

History of the Wahuma

The Abyssinians and Gallas--Theory of Conquest of Inferior by
Superior Races--The Wahuma and the Kingdom of Kittara--Legendary
History of the Kingdom of Uganda--Its Constitution, and the
Ceremonials of the Court.

The reader has now had my experience of several of the minor
states, and has presently to be introduced to Uganda, the most
powerful state in the ancient but now divided great kingdom of
Kittara. I shall have to record a residence of considerable
duration at the court there; and, before entering on it, I
propose to state my theory of the ethnology of that part of
Africa inhabited by the people collectively styled Wahuma--
otherwise Gallas or Abyssinians. My theory is founded on the
traditions of the several nations, as checked by my own
observations of what I saw when passing through them. It appears
impossible to believe, judging from the physical appearance of
the Wahuma, that they can be of any other race than the semi-
Shem-Hamitic of Ethiopia. The traditions of the imperial
government of Abyssinia go as far back as the scriptural age of
King David, from whom the late reigning king of Abyssinia, Sahela
Selassie, traced his descent.

Most people appear to regard the Abyssinians as a different race
from the Gallas, but, I believe, without foundation. Both alike
are Christians of the greatest antiquity. It is true that,
whilst the aboriginal Abyssinians in Abyssinia proper are more
commonly agriculturists, the Gallas are chiefly a pastoral
people; but I conceive that the two may have had the same
relations with each other which I found the Wahuma kings and
Wahuma herdsmen holding with the agricultural Wazinza in Uzinza,
the Wanyambo in Karague, the Waganda in Uganda, and the Wanyoro
in Unyoro.

In these countries the government is in the hands of foreigners,
who had invaded and taken possession of them, leaving the
agricultural aborigines to till the ground, whilst the junior
members of the usurping clans herded cattle--just as in
Abyssinia, or wherever the Abyssinians or Gallas have shown
themselves. There a pastoral clan from the Asiatic side took the
government of Abyssinia from its people and have ruled over them
ever since, changing, by intermarriage with the Africans, the
texture of their hair and colour to a certain extent, but still
maintaining a high stamp of Asiatic feature, of which a market
characteristic is a bridged instead of bridgeless nose.

It may be presumed that there once existed a foreign but compact
government in Abyssinia, which, becoming great and powerful, sent
out armies on all sides of it, especially to the south, south-
east, and west, slave-hunting and devastating wherever they went,
and in process of time becoming too great for one ruler to
control. Junior members of the royal family then, pushing their
fortunes, dismembered themselves from the parent stock, created
separate governments, and, for reasons which cannot be traced,
changed their names. In this manner we may suppose that the
Gallas separated from the Abyssinians, and located themselves to
the south of their native land.

Other Abyssinians, or possibly Gallas--it matters not which they
were or what we call them--likewise detaching themselves, fought
in the Somali country, subjugated that land, were defeated to a
certain extent by the Arabs from the opposite continent, and
tried their hands south as far as the Jub river, where they also
left many of their numbers behind. Again they attacked Omwita
(the present Mombas), were repulsed, were lost sight of in the
interior of the continent, and, crossing the Nile close to its
source, discovered the rich pasture-lands of Unyoro, and founded
the great kingdom of Kittara, where they lost their religion,
forgot their language, extracted their lower incisors like the
natives, changed their national name to Wahuma, and no longer
remembered the names of Hubshi or Galla--though even the present
reigning kings retain a singular traditional account of their
having once been half white and half black, with hair on the
white side straight, and on the black side frizzly. It was a
curious indication of the prevailing idea still entertained by
them of their foreign extraction, that it was surmised in Unyoro
that the approach of us white men into their country from both
sides at once, augured an intention on our part to take back the
country from them. Believing, as they do, that Africa formerly
belonged to Europeans, from whom it was taken by negroes with
whom they had allied themselves, the Wahuma make themselves a
small residue of the original European stock driven from the
land-- an idea which seems natural enough when we consider that
the Wahuma are, in numbers, quite insignificant compared with the

Again, the princes of Unyoro are called Wawitu, and point to the
north when asked where their country Uwitu is situated,
doubtfully saying, when questioned about its distance, "How can
we tell circumstances which took place in our forefathers' times?
we only think it is somewhere near your country." Although,
however, this very interesting people, the Wahuma, delight in
supposing themselves to be of European origin, they are forced to
confess, on closer examination, that although they came in the
first instance from the doubtful north, they came latterly from
the east, as part of a powerful Wahuma tribe, beyond Kidi, who
excel in arms, and are so fierce no Kidi people, terrible in war
as these too are described to be, can stand against them. This
points, if our maps are true, to the Gallas--for all pastorals in
these people's minds are Wahuma; and if we could only reconcile
ourselves to the belief that the Wawitu derived their name from
Omwita, the last place they attacked on the east coast of Africa,
then all would be clear: for it must be noticed the Wakama, or
kings, when asked to what race they owe their origin, invariably
reply, in the first place, from princes--giving, for instance,
the titles Wawitu in Unyoro, and Wahinda in Karague-- which is
most likely caused by their never having been asked such a close
question before, whilst the idiom of the language generally
induces them to call themselves after the name applied to their

So much for ethnological conjecture. Let us now deal with the
Wahuma since they crossed the Nile and founded the kingdom of
Kittara, a large tract of land bounded by the Victoria N'yanza
and Kitangule Kagera or River on the south, the Nile on the east,
the Little Luta-Nzige Lake[FN#15] on the north, and the kingdoms
of Utubi and Nkole on the west.

The general name Kittara is gradually becoming extinct, and is
seldom applied to any but the western portions; whilst the north-
eastern, in which the capital is situated, is called Unyoro, and
the other, Uddu apart from Uganda, as we shall presently see.

Nobody has been able to inform us how many generations old the
Wahuma government of Unyoro is. The last three kings are
Chiawambi, N'yawongo, and the present king Kamrasi. In very
early times dissensions amongst the royal family, probably
contending for the crown, such as we presume must have occurred
in Abyssinia, separated the parent stock, and drove the weaker to
find refuge in Nkole, where a second and independent government
of Wahuma was established. Since then, twenty generations ago,
it is said the Wahuma government of Karague was established in
the same manner. The conspirator Rohinda fled from Kittara to
Karague with a large party of Wahuma; sought the protection of
Nono, who, a Myambo, was king over the Wanyambo of that country;
ingratiated himself and his followers with the Wanyambo; and,
finally, designing a crown for himself, gave a feast,
treacherously killed King Nono in his cups, and set himself on
the throne, the first mkama or king who ruled in Karague.
Rohinda was succeeded by Ntare, then Rohinda II., then Ntare II.,
which order only changed with the eleventh reign, when Rusatira
ascended the throne, and was succeeded by Mehinga, then Kalimera,
then Ntare VII., then Rohinda VI., then Dagara, and now Rumanika.
During this time the Wahuma were well south of the equator, and
still destined to spread. Brothers again contended for the crown
of their father, and the weaker took refuge in Uzinza, where the
fourth Wahuma government was created, and so remained under one
king until the last generation, when King Ruma died, and his two
sons, Rohinda, the eldest, and Suwarora, contended for the crown,
but divided the country between them, Rohinda taking the eastern
half, and Suwarora the western, at the instigation of the late
King Dagara of Karague.

This is the most southerly kingdom of the Wahuma, though not the
farthest spread of its people, for we find the Watusi, who are
emigrants from Karague of the same stock, overlooking the
Tanganyika Lake from the hills of Uhha, and tending their cattle
all over Unyamuezi under the protection of the native negro
chiefs; and we also hear that the Wapoka of Fipa, south of the
Rukwa Lake are the same. How or when their name became changed
from Wahuma to Watusi no one is able to explain; but, again
deducing the past from the present, we cannot help suspecting
that, in the same way as this change has taken place, the name
Galla may have been changed from Hubshi, and Wahuma from Gallas.
But though in these southern regions the name of the clan has
been changed, the princes still retain the title of Wahinda as in
Karague, instead of Wawitu as in Unyoro, and are considered of
such noble breed that many of the pure negro chiefs delight in
saying, I am a Mhinda, or prince, to the confusion of travellers,
which confusion is increased by the Wahuma habits of conforming
to the regulations of the different countries they adopt. For
instance, the Wahuma of Uganda and Karague, though so close to
Unyoro, do not extract their lower incisors; and though the
Wanyoro only use the spear in war, the Wahuma in Karague are the
most expert archers in Africa. We are thus left only the one
very distinguishing mark, the physical appearance of this
remarkable race, partaking even more of the phlegmatic nature of
the Shemitic father than the nervous boisterous temperament of
the Hamitic mother, as a certain clue to their Shem-Hamitic

It remains to speak of the separation of Uddu from Unyoro, the
present kingdom of Uganda--which, to say the least of it, is
extremely interesting, inasmuch as the government there is as
different from the other surrounding countries as those of Europe
are compared to Asia.

In the earliest times the Wahuma of Unyoro regarded all their
lands bordering on the Victoria Lake as their garden, owing to
its exceeding fertility, and imposed the epithet of Wiru, or
slaves, upon its people, because they had to supply the imperial
government with food and clothing. Coffee was conveyed to the
capital by the Wiru, also mbugu (bark-cloaks), from an
inexhaustible fig-tree; in short, the lands of the Wiru were
famous for their rich productions.

Now Wiru in the northern dialect changes to Waddu in the
southern; hence Uddu, the land of the slaves, which remained in
one connected line from the Nile to the Kitangule Kagera until
eight generations back, when, according to tradition, a sportsman
from Unyoro, by name Uganda, came with a pack of dogs, a woman, a
spear, and a shield, hunting on the left bank of Katonga valley,
not far from the lake. He was but a poor man, though so
successful in hunting that vast numbers of the Wiru flocked to
him for flesh, and became so fond of him as to invite him to be
their king, saying, "Of what avail to us is our present king,
living so far away that when we sent him a cow as a tributary
offering, that cow on the journey gave a calf, and the calf
became a cow and gave another calf, and so on, and yet the
present has not reached its destination?"

At first Uganda hesitated, on the plea that they had a king
already, but on being farther pressed consented; when the people
hearing his name said, "Well, let it be so; and for the future
let this country between the Nile and Katonga be called Uganda,
and let your name be Kimera, the first king of Uganda."

The same night Kimera stood upon a stone with a spear in his
hand, and a woman and dog sitting by his side; and to this day
people assert that his footprints and the mark left by his spear-
end, as well as the seats of the woman and dog, are visible. The
report of these circumstances soon reached the great king of
Unyoro, who, in his magnificence, merely said, "The poor creature
must be starving; allow him to feed there if he likes." The
kings who have succeeded Kimera are: 1. Mahanda; 2. Katereza; 3.
Chabago; 4. Simakokiro; 5. Kamanya; 6. Sunna; 7. Mtesa, not yet

These kings have all carried on the same system of government as
that commenced by Kimera, and proved themselves a perfect terror
to Unyoro, as we shall see in the sequel. Kimera, suddenly risen
to eminence, grew proud and headstrong--formed a strong clan
around him, whom he appointed to be his Wakunga, or officers--
rewarded well, punished severely, and soon became magnificent.
Nothing short of the grandest palace, a throne to sit upon, the
largest harem, the smartest officers, the best dressed people,
even a menagerie for pleasure--in fact, only the best of
everything--would content him. Fleets of boats, not canoes, were
built for war, and armies formed, that the glory of the king
might never decrease. In short, the system of government,
according to barbarous ideas was perfect. Highways were cut from
one extremity of the country to the other, and all rivers
bridged. No house could be built without its necessary
appendages for cleanliness; no person, however poor, could expose
his person; and to disobey these laws was death.

After the death of Kimera, the prosperity of Uganda never
decreased, but rather improved. The clan of officers formed by
him were as proud of their emancipation from slavery, as the king
they had created was of his dominion over them. They buried
Kimera with state honours, giving charge of the body to the late
king's most favourite consort, whose duty it was to dry the
corpse by placing it on a board resting on the mouth of an
earthen open pot heated by fire from below. When this drying
process was completed, at the expiration of three months, the
lower jaw was cut out and neatly worked over with beads; the
umbilical cord, which had been preserved from birth, was also
worked with beads. These were kept apart, but the body was
consigned to a tomb, and guarded ever after by this officer and a
certain number of the king's next most favourite women, all of
whom planted gardens for their maintenance, and were restricted
from seeing the succeeding king.

By his large establishment of wives, Kimera left a number of
princes or Warangira, and as many princesses. From the Warangira
the Wakunga now chose as their king the one whom they thought
best suited for the government of the country--not of too high
rank by the mother's side, lest their selection in his pride
should kill them all, but one of low birth. The rest were placed
with wives in a suite of huts, under charge of a keeper, to
prevent any chance of intrigues and dissensions. They were to
enjoy life until the prince-elect should arrive at the age of
discretion and be crowned, when all but two of the princes would
be burnt to death, the two being reserved in case of accident as
long as the king wanted brother companions, when one would be
banished to Unyoro, and the other pensioned with suitable
possessions in Uganda. The mother of the king by this measure
became queen-dowager, or N'yamasore. She halved with her son all
the wives of the deceased king not stationed at his grave, taking
second choice; kept up a palace only little inferior to her son's
with large estates, guided the prince-elect in the government of
the country, and remained until the end of his minority the
virtual ruler of the land; at any rate, no radical political
changes could take place without her sanction. The princesses
became the wives of the king; no one else could marry them.

Both mother and son had their Ktikiros or commander-in-chief,
also titled Kamraviona, as well as other officers of high rank.
Amongst them in due order of gradation are the Ilmas, a woman who
had the good fortune to have cut the umbilical cord at the king's
birth; the Sawaganzi, queen's sister and king's barber; Kaggao,
Polino, Sakibobo, Kitunzi, and others, governors of provinces;
Jumab, admiral of the fleet; Kasugu, guardian of the king's
sister; Mkuenda, factor; Kunsa and Usungu, first and second class
executioners; Mgemma, commissioner in charge of tombs; Seruti,
brewer; Mfumbiro, cook; numerous pages to run messages and look
after the women, and minor Wakungu in hundreds. One Mkungu is
always over the palace, in command of the Wanagalali, or guards
which are changed monthly; another is ever in attendance as
seizer of refractory persons. There are also in the palace
almost constantly the Wanangalavi, or drummers; Nsase, pea-gourd
rattlers; Milele, flute-players; Mukonderi, clarionet-players;
also players on wooden harmonicons and lap-harps, to which the
players sing accompaniments; and, lastly, men who whistle on
their fingers--for music is half the amusement of these courts.
Everybody in Uganda is expected to keep spears, shields and dogs,
the Uganda arms and cognisance; whilst the Wakungu are entitled
to drums. There is also a Neptune Mgussa, or spirit, who lives
in the depths of the N'yanza, communicates through the medium of
his temporal Mkungu, and guides to a certain extent the naval
destiny of the king.

It is the duty of all officers, generally speaking, to attend at
court as constantly as possible; should they fail, they forfeit
their lands, wives, and all belongings. These will be seized and
given to others more worthy of them; as it is presumed that
either insolence or disaffection can be the only motive which
would induce any person to absent himself for any length of time
from the pleasure of seeing his sovereign. Tidiness in dress is
imperatively necessary, and for any neglect of this rule the head
may be the forfeit. The punishment for such offences, however,
may be commuted by fines of cattle, goats, fowls, or brass wire.
All acts of the king are counted benefits, for which he must be
thanked; and so every deed done to his subjects is a gift
received by them, though it should assume the shape of flogging
or fine; for are not these, which make better men of them, as
necessary as anything? The thanks are rendered by gravelling on
the ground, floundering about and whining after the manner of
happy dogs, after which they rise up suddenly, take up sticks--
spears are not allowed to be carried in court--make as if
charging the king, jabbering as fast as tongues can rattle, and
so they swear fidelity for all their lives.

This is the greater salutation; the lesser one is performed
kneeling in an attitude of prayer, continually throwing open the
hands, and repeating sundry words. Among them the word
"n'yanzig" is the most frequent and conspicuous; and hence these
gesticulations receive the general designation n'yanzig--a term
which will be frequently met with, and which I have found it
necessary to use like an English verb. In consequence of these
salutations, there is more ceremony in court than business,
though the king, ever having an eye to his treasury, continually
finds some trifling fault, condemns the head of the culprit,
takes his liquidation-present, if he has anything to pay, and
thus keeps up his revenue.

No one dare stand before the king whilst he is either standing
still or sitting, but must approach him with downcast eyes and
bended knees, and kneel or sit when arrived. To touch the king's
throne or clothes, even by accident, or to look upon his women is
certain death. When sitting in court holding a levee, the king
invariably has in attendance several women, Wabandwa, evil-eye
averters or sorcerers. They talk in feigned voices raised to a
shrillness almost amounting to a scream. They wear dried lizards
on their heads, small goat-skin aprons trimmed with little bells,
diminutive shields and spears set off with cock-hackles--their
functions in attendance being to administer cups of marwa
(plantain wine). To complete the picture of the court, one must
imagine a crowd of pages to run royal messages; they dare not
walk for such deficiency in zeal to their master might cost their
life. A further feature of the court consists in the national
symbols already referred to-- a dog, two spears, and shield.

With the company squatting in large half-circle or three sides of
a square many deep before him, in the hollow of which are
drummers and other musicians, the king, sitting on his throne in
high dignity, issues his orders for the day much to the following
effect:-- "Cattle, women, and children are short in Uganda; an
army must be formed of one to two thousand strong, to plunder
Unyoro. The Wasoga have been insulting his subjects, and must be
reduced to subjection: for this emergency another army must be
formed, of equal strength, to act by land in conjunction with the
fleet. The Wahaiya have paid no tribute to his greatness lately
and must be taxed." For all these matters the commander-in-chief
tells off the divisional officers, who are approved by the king,
and the matter is ended in court. The divisional officers then
find subordinate officers, who find men, and the army proceeds
with its march. Should any fail with their mission,
reinforcements are sent, and the runaways, called women, are
drilled with a red-hot iron until they are men no longer, and die
for their cowardice., All heroism, however, ensures promotion.
The king receives his army of officers with great ceremony,
listens to their exploits, and gives as rewards, women, cattle,
and command over men--the greatest elements of wealth in Uganda--
with a liberal hand.

As to the minor business transacted in court, culprits are
brought in bound by officers, and reported. At once the sentence
is given, perhaps awarding the most torturous, lingering death--
probably without trial or investigation, and, for all the king
knows, at the instigation of some one influenced by wicked spite.
If the accused endeavour to plead his defence, his voice is at
once drowned, and the miserable victim dragged off in the
roughest manner possible by those officers who love their king,
and delight in promptly carrying out his orders. Young virgins,
the daughters of Wakungu, stark naked, and smeared with grease,
but holding, for decency's sake, a small square of mbugu at the
upper corners in both hands before them, are presented by their
fathers in propitiation for some offence, and to fill the harem.
Seizing-officers receive orders to hunt down Wakungu who have
committed some indiscretions, and to confiscate their lands,
wives, children, and property. An officer observed to salute
informally is ordered for execution, when everybody near him
rises in an instant, the drums beat, drowning his cries, and the
victim of carelessness is dragged off, bound by cords, by a dozen
men at once. Another man, perhaps, exposes an inch of naked leg
whilst squatting, or has his mbugu tied contrary to regulations,
and is condemned to the same fate.

Fines of cows, goats, and fowls are brought in and presented;
they are smoothed down by the offender's hands, and then applied
to his face, to show there is no evil spirit lurking in the gift;
then thanks are proferred for the leniency of the king in letting
the presenter off so cheaply, and the pardoned man retires, full
of smiles, to the ranks of the squatters. Thousands of cattle,
and strings of women and children, sometimes the result of a
victorious plundering hunt, or else the accumulated seizures from
refractory Wakungu, are brought in; for there is no more common
or acceptable offering to appease the king's wrath towards any
refractory or blundering officer than a present of a few young
beauties, who may perhaps be afterwards given as the reward of
good service to other officers.

Stick-charms, being pieces of wood of all shapes, supposed to
have supernatural virtues, and coloured earths, endowed with
similar qualities, are produced by the royal magicians. The
master of the hunt exposes his spoils--such as antelopes, cats,
porcupines, curious rats, etc., all caught in nets, and placed in
baskets-- zebra, lion, and buffalo skins being added. The
fishermen bring their spoils; also the gardeners. The cutlers
show knives and forks made of iron inlaid with brass and copper;
the furriers, most beautifully-sewn patchwork of antelopes'
skins; the habit-maker, sheets of mbugu barkcloth; the
blacksmith, spears; the maker of shields, his productions;--and
so forth; but nothing is ever given without rubbing it down, then
rubbing the face, and going through a long form of salutation for
the gracious favour the king has shown in accepting it.

When tired of business, the king rises, spear in hand, and,
leading his dog, walked off without word or comment leaving his
company, like dogs, to take care of themselves.

Strict as the discipline of the exterior court is, that of the
interior is not less severe. The pages all wear turbans of cord
made from aloe fibres. Should a wife commit any trifling
indiscretion, either by word or deed, she is condemned to
execution on the spot, bound by the pages and dragged out.
Notwithstanding the stringent laws for the preservation of
decorum by all male attendants, stark-naked full-grown women are
the valets.

On the first appearance of the new moon every month, the king
shuts himself up, contemplating and arranging his magic horns--
the horns of wild animals stuffed with charm-powder--for two or
three days. These may be counted his Sundays or church festivals,
which he dedicates to devotion. On other days he takes his
women, some hundreds, to bathe or sport in ponds; or, when tired
of that, takes long walks, his women running after him, when all
the musicians fall in, take precedence of the party, followed by
the Wakungu and pages, with the king in the centre of the
procession, separating the male company from the fair sex. On
these excursions no common man dare look upon the royal
procession. Should anybody by chance happen to be seen, he is at
once hunted down by the pages, robbed of everything he possessed,
and may count himself very lucky if nothing worse happens.
Pilgrimages are not uncommon, and sometimes the king spends a
fortnight yachting; but whatever he does, or wherever he goes,
the same ceremonies prevail--his musicians, Wakungu, pages, and
the wives take part in all.

But the greatest of all ceremonies takes place at the time of the
coronation. The prince-elect then first seeks favour from the
kings of all the surrounding countries, demanding in his might
and power one of each of their daughters in marriage, or else
recognition in some other way, when the Ilmas makes a pilgrimage
to the deceased king's tomb, to observe, by the growth an other
signs of certain trees, and plants, what destiny awaits the king.
According to the prognostics, they report that he will either
have to live a life of peace, or after coronation take the field
at the head of an army to fight either east, west, or both ways,
when usually the first march is on Kittara, and the second on
Usoga. The Mgussa's voice is also heard, but in what manner I do
not know, as all communication on state matters is forbidden in
Uganda. These preliminaries being arranged, the actual
coronation takes place, when the king ceases to hold any farther
communion with his mother. The brothers are burnt to death, and
the king, we shall suppose, takes the field at the head of his

It is as the result of these expeditions that one-half Usogo and
the remaining half of Uddu have been annexed to Uganda.

Chapter X

Karague and Uganda

Escape from Protectors--Cross the Kitangule, the First Affluent
of the Nile--Enter Uddu--Uganda--A Rich Country--Driving away the
Devil--A Conflict in the Camp--A Pretending Prince--Three Pages
with a Diplomatic Message from the King of Uganda--Crime in

Crossing back over the Weranhanje spur, I put up with the Arabs
at Kufro. Here, for the first time in this part of the world, I
found good English peas growing. Next day (11th), crossing over
a succession of forks, supporters to the main spur, we encamped
at Luandalo. Here we were overtaken by Rozaro, who had remained
behind, as I now found, to collect a large number of Wanyambo,
whom he called his children, to share with him the gratuitous
living these creatures always look out for on a march of this

After working round the end of the great spur whilst following
down the crest of a fork, we found Karague separated by a deep
valley from the hilly country of Uhaiya, famous for its ivory and
coffee productions. On entering the rich plantain gardens of
Kisaho, I was informed we must halt there a day for Maula to join
us, as he had been detained by Rumanika, who, wishing to give him
a present, had summoned Rozaro's sister to his palace for that
purpose. She was married to another, and had two children by
him, but that did not signify, as it was found in time her
husband had committed a fault, on account of which it was thought
necessary to confiscate all his property.

At this place all the people were in a constant state of
inebriety, drinking pombe all day and all night. I shot a
montana antelope, and sent its head and skin back to Grant,
accompanied with my daily report to Rumanika.

Maula having joined me, we marched down to near the end of the
fork overlooking the plain of Kitangule--the Waganada drums
beating, and whistles playing all the way we went along.

We next descended from the Mountains of the Moon, and spanned a
long alluvial plain to the settlement of the so-long-heard-of
Kitangule, where Rumanika keeps his thousands and thousands of
cows. In former days the dense green forests peculiar to the
tropics, which grow in swampy places about this plain, were said
to have been stocked by vast herds of elephants; but, since the
ivory trade had increased, these animals had all been driven off
to the hills of Kisiwa and Uhaiya, or into Uddu beyond the river,
and all the way down to the N'yanza.

To-day we reached the Kitangule Kagera, or river, which, as I
ascertained in the year 1858, falls into the Victoria N'yanza on
the west side. Most unfortunately, as we led off to cross it,
rain began to pour, so that everybody and everything was thrown
into confusion. I could not get a sketch of it, though Grant was
more fortunate afterwards; neither could I measure or fathom it;
and it was only after a long contest with the superstitious
boatmen that they allowed me to cross in their canoe with my
shoes on, as they thought the vessel would either upset, or else
the river would dry up, in consequence of their Neptune taking
offence at me. Once over, I looked down on the noble stream with
considerable pride. About eight yards broad, it was sunk down a
considerable depth below the surface of the land, like a huge
canal, and is so deep, it could not be poled by the canoemen;
while it runs at a velocity of from three to four knots an hour.

I say I viewed it with pride, because I had formed my judgment of
its being fed from high-seated springs in the Mountains of the
Moon solely on scientific geographical reasonings; and, from the
bulk of the stream, I also believed those mountains must obtain
an altitude of 8000 feet[FN#16] or more, just as we find they do
in Ruanda. I thought then to myself, as I did at Rumanika's, when
I first viewed the Mfumbiro cones, and gathered all my distant
geographical information there, that these highly saturated
Mountains of the Moon give birth to the Congo as well as to the
Nile, and also to the Shire branch of the Zambeze.

I came, at the same time, to the conclusion that all our previous
information concerning the hydrography of these regions, as well
as the Mountains of the Moon, originated with the ancient Hindus,
who told it to the priests of the Nile; and that all those busy
Egyptian geographers, who disseminated their knowledge with a
view to be famous for their long-sightedness, in solving the
deep-seated mystery with enshrouded the source of their holy
river, were so many hypothetical humbugs. Reasoning thus, the
Hindu traders alone, in those days, I believed, had a firm basis
to stand upon, from their intercourse with the Abyssinians--
through whom they must have heard of the country of Amara, which
they applied to the N'yanza-- and with the Wanyamuezi or men of
the Moon, from whom they heard of the Tanganyika and Karague
mountains. I was all the more impressed with this belief, by
knowing that the two church missionaries, Rebmann and Erhardt,
without the smallest knowledge of the Hindus' map, constructed a
map of their own, deduced from the Zanzibar traders, something on
the same scale, by blending the Victoria N'yanza, Tanganyida, and
N'yazza into one; whilst to their triuned lake they gave the name
Moon, because the men of the Moon happened to live in front of
the central lake. And later still, Mr Leon, another missionary,
heard of the N'yanza and the country Amara, near which he heard
the Nile made its escape.

Going on with the march we next came to Ndongo, a perfect garden
of plantains. The whole country was rich--most surprisingly so.
The same streaky argillaceous sandstones prevailed as in Karague.
There was nothing, in fact, that would not have grown here, if it
liked moisture and a temperate heat. It was a perfect paradise
for negroes: as fast as they sowed they were sure of a crop
without much trouble; though, I must say, they kept their huts
and their gardens in excellent order.

As Maula would stop here, I had to halt also. The whole country
along the banks of the river, and near some impenetrable forests,
was alive with antelopes, principally hartebeests, but I would
not fire at them until it was time to return, as the villagers
led me to expect buffaloes. The consequence was, as no buffaloes
were to be found, I got no sport, though I wounded a hartebeest,
and followed him almost into camp, when I gave up the chase to
some negroes, and amused myself by writing to Rumanika, to say if
Grant did not reach me by a certain date, I would try to navigate
the N'yanza, and return to him in boats up the Kitangule river.

We crossed over a low spur of hill extending from the mountainous
kingdom of Nkole, on our left, towards the N'yanza. Here I was
shown by Nasib a village called Ngandu, which was the farthest
trading depot of the Zanzibar ivory-merchants. It was
established by Musa Mzuri, by the permission of Rumanika; for, as
I shall have presently to mention, Sunna, after annexing this
part of Uddu to Uganda, gave Rumanika certain bands of territory
in it as a means of security against the possibility of its being
wrested out of his hands again by the future kings of Unyoro.
Following on Musa's wake, many Arabs also came here to trade; but
they were so oppressive to the Waganda that they were recalled by
Rumanika, and obliged to locate themselves at Kufro. To the
right, at the end of the spur, stretching as far as the eye could
reach towards the N'yanza, was a rich, well-wooded, swampy plain,
containing large open patches of water, which not many years
since, I was assured, were navigable for miles, but now, like the
Urigi lake, were gradually drying up. indeed, it appeared to me
as if the N'yanza must have once washed the foot of these hills,
but had since shrunk away from its original margin.

On arrival at Ngambezi, I was immensely struck with the neatness
and good arrangement of the place, as well as its excessive
beauty and richness. No part of Bengal or Zanzibar could excel
it in either respect; and my men, with one voice, exclaimed, "Ah,
what people these Waganda are!" and passed other remarks, which
may be abridged as follows:--"They build their huts and keep
their gardens just as well as we do at Unguja, with screens and
enclosures for privacy, a clearance in front of their
establishments, and a baraza or reception-hut facing the
buildings. Then, too, what a beautiful prospect it has!--rich
marshy plains studded with mounds, on each of which grow the
umbrella cactus, or some other evergreen tree; and beyond, again,
another hill-spur such as the one we have crossed over." One of
king Mtesa's uncles, who had not been burnt to death by the order
of the late king Sunna on his ascension to the throne, was the
proprietor of this place, but unfortunately he was from home.
However, his substitute gave me his baraza to live in, and
brought many presents of goats, fowls, sweet potatoes, yams,
plantains, sugarcane, and Indian corn, and apologised in the end
for deficiency in hospitality. I, of course, gave him beads in

Continuing over the same kind of ground in the next succeeding
spurs of the streaky red-clay sandstone hills, we put up at the
residence of Isamgevi, a Mkungu or district officer of
Rumanika's. His residence was as well kept as Mtesa's uncle's;
but instead of a baraza fronting his house, he had a small
enclosure, with three small huts in it, kept apart for devotional
purposes, or to propitiate the evil spirits--in short, according
to the notions of the place, a church. This officer gave me a
cow and some plantains, and I in return gave him a wire and some
beads. Many mendicant women, called by some Wichwezi, by others
Mabandwa, all wearing the most fantastic dresses of mbugu,
covered with beads, shells, and sticks, danced before us, singing
a comic song, the chorus of which was a long shrill rolling Coo-
roo-coo-roo, coo-roo-coo-roo, delivered as they came to a
standstill. Their true functions were just as obscure as the
religion of the negroes generally; some called them devil-
drivers, other evil-eye averters; but, whatever it was for, they
imposed a tax on the people, whose minds being governed by a
necessity for making some self-sacrifice to propitiate something,
they could not tell what, for their welfare in the world, they
always gave them a trifle in the same way as the East Indians do
their fakirs.

After crossing another low swampy flat, we reached a much larger
group, or rather ramification, of hill-spurs pointing to the
N'yanza, called Kisuere, and commanded by M'yombo, Rumanika's
frontier officer. Immediately behind this, to the northward,
commenced the kingdom of Unyoro; and here it was, they said,
Baraka would branch off my line on his way to Kamrasi. Maula's
home was one march distant from this, so the scoundrel now left
me to enjoy himself there, giving as his pretext for doing so,
that Mtesa required him, as soon as I arrived here, to send on a
messenger that order might be taken for my proper protection on
the line of march; for the Waganda were a turbulent set of
people, who could only be kept in order by the executioner; and
doubtless many, as was customary on such occasions, would be
beheaded, as soon as Mtesa heard of my coming, to put the rest in
a fright. I knew this was all humbug, of course, and I told him
so; but it was of no use, and I was compelled to halt.

On the 23d another officer, named Maribu, came to me and said,
Mtesa, having heard that Grant was left sick behind at Karague,
had given him orders to go there and fetch him, whether sick or
well, for Mtesa was most anxious to see white men. Hearing this
I at once wrote to Grant, begging him to come on if he could do
so, and to bring with him all the best of my property, or as much
as he could of it, as I now saw there was more cunning humbug
than honesty in what Rumanika had told me about the impossibility
of our going north from Uganda, as well as in his saying sick men
could not go into Uganda, and donkeys without trousers would not
be admitted there, because they were considered indecent. If he
was not well enough to move, I advised him to wait there until I
reached Mtesa's, when I would either go up the lake and Kitangule
to fetch him away, or would make the king send boats for him,
which I more expressly wished, as it would tend to give us a much
better knowledge of the lake.

Maula now came again, after receiving repeated and angry
messages, and I forced him to make a move. He led me straight up
to his home, a very nice place, in which he gave me a very large,
clean, and comfortable hut--had no end of plantains brought for
me and my men--and said, "Now you have really entered the kingdom
of Uganda, for the future you must buy no more food. At every
place that you stop for the day, the officer in charge will bring
you plantains, otherwise your men can help themselves in the
gardens, for such are the laws of the land when a king's guest
travels in it. Any one found selling anything to either yourself
or your men would be punished." Accordingly, I stopped the daily
issue of beads; but no sooner had I done so, than all my men
declared they could not eat plantains. It was all very well,
they said, for the Waganda to do so, because they were used to
it, but it did not satisfy their hunger.

Maula, all smirks and smiles, on seeing me order the things out
for the march, begged I would have patience, and wait till the
messenger returned from the king; it would not take more than ten
days at the most. Much annoyed at this nonsense, I ordered my
tent to be pitched. I refused all Maula's plantains, and gave my
men beads to buy grain with; and, finding it necessary to get up
some indignation, said I would not stand being chained like a
dog; if he would not go on ahead, I should go without him. Maula
then said he would go to a friend's and come back again. I said,
if he did not, I should go off; and so the conversation ended.

26th.--Drumming, singing, screaming, yelling, and dancing had
been going on these last two days and two nights to drive the
Phepo or devil out of a village. The whole of the ceremonies
were most ludicrous. An old man and woman, smeared with white
mud, and holding pots of pombe in their laps, sat in front of a
hut, whilst other people kept constantly bringing them baskets
full of plantain-squash, and more pots of pombe. In the
courtyard fronting them, were hundreds of men and women dressed
in smart mbugus-- the males wearing for turbans, strings of
abrus-seeds wound round their heads, with polished boars' tusks
stuck in in a jaunty manner. These were the people who, drunk as
fifers, were keeping up such a continual row to frighten the
devil away. In the midst of this assembly I now found Kachuchu,
Rumanika's representative, who went on ahead from Karague palace
to tell Mtesa that I wished to see him. With him, he said, were
two other Wakungu of Mtesa's, who had orders to bring on my party
and Dr K'yengo's. Mtesa, he said, was so mad to see us, that the
instant he arrived at the palace and told him we wished to visit
him, the king caused "fifty big men and four hundred small ones"
to be executed, because, he said, his subjects were so bumptious
they would not allow any visitors to come near him, else he would
have had white men before.

27th.--N'yamgundu, my old friend at Usui, then came to me, and
said he was the first man to tell Mtesa of our arrival in Usui,
and wish to visit him. The handkerchief I had given Irungu at
Usui to present as a letter to Mtesa he had snatched away from
him, and given, himself, to his king, who no sooner received it
than he bound it round his head, and said, in ecstasies of
delight, "Oh, the Mzungu, the Mzungu! he does indeed want to see
me." Then giving him four cows as a return letter to take to me,
he said, "Hurry off as quickly as possible and bring him here."
"The cows," said N'yamgundu, "have gone on to Kisuere by another
route, but I will bring them here; and then, as Maula is taking
you, I will go and fetch Grant." I then told him not to be in
such a hurry. I had turned off Maula for treating me like a dog,
and I would not be escorted by him again. He replied that his
orders would not be fully accomplished as long as any part of my
establishment was behind; so he would, if I wished it, leave part
of his "children" to guide me on to Mtesa's, whilst he went to
fetch Grant. An officer, I assured him, had just gone on to fetch
Grant, so he need not trouble his head on that score; at any
rate, he might reverse his plan, and send his children for Grant,
whilst he went on with me, by which means he would fully
accomplish his mission. Long arguments ensued, and I at length
turned the tables by asking who was the greatest--myself or my
children; when he said, "As I see you are the greatest, I will do
as you wish; and after fetching the cows from Kisuere, we will
march to-morrow at sunrise."

The sun rose, but N'yamgundu did not appear. I was greatly
annoyed lest Maula should come and try to drive him away. I
waited, restraining my impatience until noon, when, as I could
stand it no longer, I ordered Bombay to strike my tent, and
commence the march. A scene followed, which brought out my
commander-in-chief's temper in a rather surprising shape. "How
can we go in?" said Bombay. "Strike the tent," said I. "Who will
guide us?" said Bombay. "Strike the tent," I said again. "But
Rumanika's men have all gone away, and there is no one to show us
the way." "Never mind; obey my orders, and strike the tent."
Then, as Bombay would not do it, I commenced myself, assisted by
some of my other men, and pulled it down over his head, all the
women who were assembled under it, and all the property. On
this, Bombay flew into a passion, abusing the men who were
helping me, as there were fires and powder-boxes under the tent.
I of course had to fly into a passion and abuse Bombay. He, in a
still greater rage, said he would pitch into the men, for the
whole place would be blown up. "That is no reason why you should
abuse my men," I said, "who are better than you by obeying my
orders. If I choose to blow up my property, that is my look-out;
and if you don't do your duty, I will blow you up also." Foaming
and roaring with rage, Bombay said he would not stand being thus
insulted. I then gave him a dig on the head with my fist. He
squared up, and pouted like an enraged chameleon, looking
savagely at me. I gave him another dig, which sent him
staggering. He squared again: I gave him another; till at last,
as the claret was flowing, he sulked off, and said he would not
serve me any more. I then gave Nasib orders to take Bombay's
post, and commence the march; but the good old man made Bombay
give in, and off we went, amidst crowds of Waganda, who had
collected to witness with comedy, and were all digging at one
another's heads, showing off in pantomime the strange ways of the
white man. N'yamgundu then jointed us, and begged us to halt
only one more day, as some of his women were still at Kisuere;
but Bombay, showing his nozzle rather flatter than usual, said,
"No; I got this on account of your lies. I won't tell Bana any
more of your excuses for stopping; you may tell him yourself if
you like." N'yamgundu, however, did not think this advisable,
and so we went on as we were doing. It was the first and last
time I had ever occasion to lose my dignity by striking a blow
with my own hands; but I could not help it on this occasion
without losing command and respect; for although I often had
occasion to award 100 and even 150 lashes to my men for stealing,
I could not, for the sake of due subordination, allow any
inferior officer to strike Bombay, and therefore had to do the
work myself.

Skirting the hills on the left, with a large low plain to the
right we soon came on one of those numerous rush-drains that
appear to me to be the last waters left of the old bed of the
N'yanza. This one in particular was rather large, being 150
yards wide. It was sunk where I crossed it, like a canal, 14
feet below the plain; and what with mire and water combined, so
deep, I was obliged to take off my trousers whilst fording it.
Once across, we sought for and put up in a village beneath a
small hill, from the top of which I saw the Victoria N'yanza for
the first time on this march. N'yamgundu delighted me much:
treating me as king, he always fell down on his knees to address
me, and made all his "children" look after my comfort in camp.

We marched on again over the same kind of ground, alternately
crossing rush-drains of minor importance, though provokingly
frequent, and rich gardens, from which, as we passed, all the
inhabitants bolted at the sound of our drums, knowing well that
they would be seized and punished if found gazing at the king's
visitors. Even on our arrival at Ukara not one soul was visible.
The huts of the villagers were shown to myself and my men without
any ceremony. The Wanyambo escort stole what they liked out of
them, and I got into no end of troubles trying to stop the
practice; for they said the Waganda served them the same way when
they went to Karague, and they had a right to retaliate now. To
obviate this distressing sort of plundering, I still served out
beads to my men, and so kept them in hand a little; but they were
fearfully unruly, and did not like my interference with what by
the laws of the country they considered their right.

Here I had to stop a day for some of N'yamgundu's women, who, in
my hurry at leaving Maula's, were left behind. A letter from
Grant was now brought to me by a very nice-looking young man, who
had the skin of a leopard-cat (F. Serval) tied round his neck--a
badge which royal personages only were entitled to wear.
N'yamgundu seeing this, as he knew the young man was not entitled
to wear it, immediately ordered his "children" to wrench it from
him. Two ruffianly fellows then seized him by his hands, and
twisted his arms round and round until I thought they would come
out of their sockets. Without uttering a sound the young man
resisted, until N'yamgundu told them to be quiet, for he would
hold a court on the subject, and see if the young man could
defend himself. The ruffians then sat on the ground, but still
holding on to him; whilst N'yamgundu took up a long stick, and
breaking it into sundry bits of equal length, placed one by one
in front of him, each of which was supposed to represent one
number in line of succession to his forefathers. By this it was
proved he did not branch in any way from the royal stock.
N'yamgundu then turning to the company, said, What would he do
now to expiate his folly? If the matter was taken before Mtesa
he would lose his head; was it not better he should pay one
hundred cows All agreeing to this, the young man said he would
do so, and quietly allowed the skin to be untied and taken off by
the ruffians.

Next day, after crossing more of those abominable rush-drains,
whilst in sight of the Victoria N'yanza, we ascended the most
beautiful hills, covered with verdure of all descriptions. At
Meruka, where I put up, there resided some grandees, the chief of
whom was the king's aunt. She sent me a goat, a hen, a basket of
eggs, and some plantains, in return for which I sent her a wire
and some beads. I felt inclined to stop here a month, everything
was so very pleasant. The temperature was perfect. The roads,
as indeed they were everywhere, were as broad as our coach-roads,
cut through the long grasses, straight over the hills and down
through the woods in the dells--a strange contrast to the
wretched tracks in all the adjacent countries. The huts were
kept so clean and so neat, not a fault could be found with them--
the gardens the same. Wherever I strolled I saw nothing but
richness, and what ought to be wealth. The whole land was a
picture of quiescent beauty, with a boundless sea in the
background. Looking over the hills, it struck the fancy at once
that at one period the whole land must have been at a uniform
level with their present tops, but that by the constant
denudation it was subjected to by frequent rains, it had been cut
down and sloped into those beautiful hills and dales which now so
much pleased the eye; for there were none of those quartz dykes I
had seen protruding through the same kink of aqueous formations
in Usui and Karague; nor were there any other sorts of volcanic
disturbance to distort the calm quiet aspect of the scene.

From this, the country being all hill and dale, with miry rush-
drains in the bottoms, I walked, carrying my shoes and stockings
in my hands, nearly all the way. Rozaro's "children" became more
and more troublesome, stealing everything they could lay their
hands upon out of the village huts we passed on the way. On
arrival at Sangua, I found many of them had been seized by some
men who, bolder than the rest, had overtaken them whilst gutting
their huts, and made them prisoners, demanding of me two slaves
and one load of beads for their restitution. I sent my men back
to see what had happened, and ordered them to bring all the men
on to me, that I might see fair play. They, however, took the
law into their own hands, drove off the Waganda villagers by
firing their muskets, and relieved the thieves. A complaint was
then laid against Nyamgundu by the chief officer of the village,
and I was requested to halt. That I would not do, leaving the
matter in the hands of the governor-general, Mr Pokino, whom I
heard we should find at the next station, Masaka.

On arrival there at the government establishment--a large
collection of grass huts, separated one from the other within
large enclosures, which overspread the whole top of a low hill--I
was requested to withdraw and put up in some huts a short
distance off, and wait until his excellency, who was from home,
could come and see me; which the next day he did, coming in state
with a large number of officers, who brought with them a cow,
sundry pots of pombe, enormous sticks of sugar-cane, and a large
bundle of country coffee. This grows in great profusion all over
this land in large bushy trees, the berries sticking on the
branches like clusters of hollyberries.

I was then introduced, and told that his excellency was the
appointed governor of all the land lying between the Katonga and
the Kitangule rivers. After the first formalities were over, the
complaint about the officers at Sangua was preferred for
decision, on which Pokino at once gave it against the villagers,
as they had no right, by the laws of the land, to lay hands on a
king's guest. Just then Maula arrived, and began to abuse
N'yamgundu. Of course I would not stand this; and, after telling
all the facts of the case, I begged Pokino to send Maula away out
of my camp. Pokino said he could not do this, as it was by the
king's order he was appointed; but he put Maula in the
background, laughing at the way he had "let the bird fly out of
his hands," and settled that N'yamgundu should be my guide. I
then gave him a wire, and he gave me three large sheets of mbugu,
which he said I should require, as there were so many water-
courses to cross on the road I was going. A second day's halt
was necessitated by many of my men catching fever, probably owing
to the constant crossing of those abominable rush-drains. There
was no want of food here, for I never saw such a profusion of
plantains anywhere. They were literally lying in heaps on the
ground, though the people were brewing pombe all day, and cooking
them for dinner every evening.

After crossing many more hills and miry bottoms, constantly
coming in view of the lake, we reached Ugonzi, and after another
march of the same description, came to Kituntu, the last
officer's residence in Uddu. Formerly it was the property of a
Beluch named Eseau, who came to this country with merchandise,
trading on account of Said Said, late Sultan of Zanzibar; but
having lost it all on his way here, paying mahongo, or taxes, and
so forth he feared returning, and instead made great friends with
the late king Sunna, who took an especial fancy to him because he
had a very large beard, and raised him to the rank of Mkungu. A
few years ago, however, Eseau died, and left all his family and
property to a slave named Uledi, who now, in consequence, is the
border officer.

I became now quite puzzled whilst thinking which was the finest
spot I had seen in Uddu, so many were exceedingly beautiful; but
I think I gave the preference to this, both for its own immediate
neighbourhood and the long range of view it afforded of Uganda
proper, the lake, and the large island, or group of islands,
called Sese where the king of Uganda keeps one of his fleets of

Some little boys came here who had all their hair shaved off
excepting two round tufts on either side of the head. They were
the king's pages; and, producing three sticks, said they had
brought them to me from their king, who wanted three charms or
medicines. Then placing one stick on the ground before me, they
said, "This one is a head which, being affected by dreams of a
deceased relative, requires relief"; the second symbolised the
king's desire for the accomplishment of a phenomenon to which the
old phalic worship was devoted; "and this third one," they said,
"is a sign that the king wants a charm to keep all his subjects
in awe of him." I then promised I would do what I could when I
reached the palace, but feared to do anything in the distance. I
wished to go on with the march, but was dissuaded by N'yamgundu,
who said he had received orders to find me some cows here, as his
king was most anxious I should be well fed. Next day, however,
we descended into the Katonga valley, where, instead of finding a
magnificent broad sheet of water, as I had been led to expect by
the Arabs' account of it, I found I had to wade through a
succession of rush-drains divided one from the other by islands.
It took me two hours, with my clothes tucked up under my arms, to
get through them all; and many of them were so matted with weeds,
that my feet sank down as though I trod in a bog.

The Waganda all said that at certain times in the year no one
could ford these drains, as they all flooded; but, strangely
enough, they were always lowest when most rain fell in Uganda.
No one, however, could account for this singular fact. No one
knew of a lake to supply the waters, nor where they came from.
That they flowed into the lake there was no doubt--as I could see
by the trickling waters in some few places--and they lay exactly
on the equator. Rising out of the valley, I found all the
country just as hilly as before, but many of the rush-drains
going to northward; and in the dells were such magnificent trees,
they quite took me by surprise. Clean-trunked, they towered up
just as so many great pillars, and then spread out their high
branches like a canopy over us. I thought of the blue gums of
Australia, and believed these would beat them. At the village of
Mbule we were gracefully received by the local officer, who
brought a small present, and assured me that the king was in a
nervous state of excitement, always asking after me. Whilst
speaking he trembled, and he was so restless he could never sit

Up and down we went on again through this wonderful country,
surprisingly rich in grass, cultivation, and trees. Watercourses
were as frequent as ever, though not quite so troublesome to the
traveller, as they were more frequently bridged with poles or
palm-tree trunks.

This, the next place we arrived at, was N'yamgundu's own
residence, where I stopped a day to try and shoot buffaloes.
Maula here had the coolness to tell me he must inspect all the
things I had brought for presentation to the king, as he said it
was the custom; after which he would hurry on and inform his
majesty. Of course I refused, saying it was uncourteous to both
the king and myself. Still he persisted, until, finding it
hopeless, he spitefully told N'yamgundu to keep me here at least
two days. N'yamgundu, however, very prudently told him he should
obey his orders, which were to take me on as fast as he could. I
then gave N'yamgundu wires and beads for himself and all his
family round, which made Maula slink further away from me than

The buffaloes were very numerous in the tall grasses that lined
the sides and bottoms of the hills; but although I saw some, I
could not get a shot, for the grasses being double the height of
myself, afforded them means of dashing out of view as soon as
seen, and the rustling noise made whilst I followed them kept
them on the alert. At night a hyena came into my hut, and carried
off one of my goats that was tied to a log between two of my
sleeping men.

During the next march, after passing some of the most
beautifully- wooded dells, in which lay small rush-lakes on the
right of the road, draining, as I fancied, into the Victoria
Lake, I met with a party of the king's gamekeepers, staking their
nets all along the side of a hill, hoping to catch antelopes by
driving the covers with dogs and men. Farther on, also, I came
on a party driving one hundred cows, as a present from Mtesa to
Rumanika, which the officers in charge said was their king's
return for the favour Rumanika had done him in sending me on to
him. It was in this way that great kings sent "letters" to one

Next day, after going a short distance, we came on the Mwarango
river, a broad rush-drain of three hundred yards' span, two-
thirds of which was bridged over. Until now I did not feel sure
where the various rush-drains I had been crossing since leaving
the Katonga valley all went to, but here my mind was made up, for
I found a large volume of water going to the northwards. I took
off my clothes at the end of the bridge and jumped into the
stream, which I found was twelve yards or so broad, and deeper
than my height. I was delighted beyond measure at this very
surprising fact, that I was indeed on the northern slopes of the
continent, and had, to all appearance, found one of the branches
of the Nile's exit from the N'yanza. I drew Bombay's attention
to the current; and, collecting all the men of the country,
inquired of them where the river sprang from. Some of them said,
in the hills to the southward; but most of them said, from the
lake. I argued the point with them; for I felt quite sure so
large a body of flowing water could not be collected together in
any place but the lake. They then all agreed to this view, and
further assured me it went to Kamrasi's palace in Unyoro, where
it joined the N'yanza, meaning the Nile.

Pushing on again we arrived at N'yama Goma, where I found Irungu-
- the great ambassador I had first met in Usui, with all his
"children"--my enemy Makinga, and Suwarora's deputation with
wire,-- altogether, a collection of one hundred souls. They had
been here a month waiting for leave to approach the king's
palace. Not a villager was to be seen for miles round; not a
plantain remained on the trees, nor was there even a sweet potato
to be found in the ground. The whole of the provisions of this
beautiful place had been devoured by the king's guests, simply
because he had been too proud to see them in a hurry. This was
alarming, for I feared I should be served the same trick,
especially as all the people said this kind of treatment was a
mere matter of custom which those great kings demanded as a
respect due to their dignity; and Bombay added, with laughter,
they make all manner of fuss to entice one to come when in the
distance, but when they have got you in their power they become
haughty about it, and think only of how they can best impose on
your mind the great consequence which they affect before their
own people.

Here I was also brought to a standstill, for N'yamgundu said I
must wait for leave to approach the palace. He wished to have a
look at the presents I had brought for Mtesa. I declined to
gratify it, taking my stand on my dignity; there was no occasion
for any distrust on such a trifling matter as that, for I was not
a merchant who sought for gain, but had come, at great expense,
to see the king of this region. I begged, however, he would go
as fast as possible to announce my arrival, explain my motive for
coming here, and ask for an early interview, as I had left my
brother Grant behind at Karague, and found my position, for want
of a friend to talk to, almost intolerable. It was not the
custom of my country for great men to consort with servants, and
until I saw him, and made friends, I should not be happy. I had
a great deal to tell him about, as he was the father of the Nile,
which river drained the N'yanza down to my country to the
northward. With this message N'yamgundu hurried off as fast as

Next day (15th) I gave each of my men a fez cap, and a piece of
red blanket to make up military jackets. I then instructed them
how to form a guard of honour when I went to the palace, and
taught Bombay the way Nazirs was presented at courts in India.
Altogether we made a good show. When this was concluded I went
with Nasib up a hill, from which we could see the lake on one
side, and on the other a large range of huts said to belong to
the king's uncle, the second of the late king Sunna's brothers,
who was not burnt to death when he ascended the throne.

I then (16th) very much wished to go and see the escape of the
Mwerango river, as I still felt a little sceptical as to its
origin, whether or not it came off those smaller lakes I had seen
on the road the day before I crossed the river; but no one would
listen to my project. They all said I must have the king's
sanction first, else people, from not knowing my object, would
accuse me of practising witchcraft, and would tell their king so.
They still all maintained that the river did come out of the
lake, and said, if I liked to ask the king's leave to visit the
spot, then they would go and show it me. I gave way, thinking it
prudent to do so, but resolved in my mind I would get Grant to
see it in boats on his voyage from Karague. There were not
guinea-fowls to be found here, nor a fowl, in any of the huts, so
I requested Rozaro to hurry off to Mtesa, and ask him to send me
something to eat. He simply laughed at my request, and said I
did not know what I was doing. It would be as much as his life
was worth to go one yard in advance of this until the king's
leave was obtained. I said, rather than be starved to death in
this ignominious manner, I would return to Karague; to which he
replied, laughing, "Whose leave have you got to do that? Do you
suppose you can do as you like in this country?"

Next day (17th), in the evening, N'yamgundu returned full of
smirks and smiles, dropped on his knees at my feet, and, in
company with his "children," set to n'yanzigging, according to
the form of that state ceremonial already described.[FN#17] In
his excitement he was hardly able to say all he had to
communicate. Bit by bit, however, I learned that he first went
to the palace, and, finding the king had gone off yachting to the
Murchison Creek, he followed him there. The king for a long
while would not believe his tale that I had come, but, being
assured, he danced with delight, and swore he would not taste
food until he had seen me. "Oh," he said, over and over again
and again, according to my informer, "can this be true? Can the
white man have come all this way to see me? What a strong man he
must be too, to come so quickly! Here are seven cows, four of
them milch ones, as you say he likes milk, which you will give
him; and there are three for yourself for having brought him so
quickly. Now, hurry off as fast as you can, and tell him I am
more delighted at the prospect of seeing him than he can be to
see me. There is no place here fit for his reception. I was on
a pilgrimage which would have kept me here seven days longer but
as I am so impatient to see him, I will go off to my palace at
once, and will send word for him to advance as soon as I arrive

About noon the succeeding day, some pages ran in to say we were
to come along without a moment's delay, as their king had ordered
it. He would not taste food until he saw me, so that everybody
might know what great respect he felt for me. In the meanwhile,
however, he wished for some gunpowder. I packed the pages off as
fast as I could with some, and tried myself to follow, but my men
were all either sick or out foraging, and therefore we could not
get under way until the evening. After going a certain distance,
we came on a rush-drain, of much greater breadth even than the
Mwerango, called the Moga (or river) Myanza, which was so deep I
had to take off my trousers and tuck my clothes under my arms.
It flowed into the Mwerango, but with scarcely any current at
all. This rush-drain, all the natives assured me, rose in the
hills to the southward-- not in the lake, as the Mwerango did--
and it was never bridged over like that river, because it was
always fordable. This account seemed to me reasonable; for
though so much broader in its bed than the Mwerango, it had no
central, deep-flowing current.

Chapter XI

Palace, Uganda

Preparations for the Reception at the Court of Mtesa, King of
Uganda--The Ceremonial--African Diplomacy and Dignity--Feats with
the Rifle--Cruelty, and Wastefulness of Life--The Pages--The
Queen- Dowager of Uganda--Her Court Reception--I negotiate for a
Palace-- Conversations with the King and Queen--The Queen's grand
Entertainment--Royal Dissipation.

To-day the king sent his pages to announce his intention of
holding a levee in my honour. I prepared for my first
presentation at court, attired in my best, though in it I cut a
poor figure in comparison with the display of the dressy Waganda.
They wore neat bark cloaks resembling the best yellow corduroy
cloth, crimp and well set, as if stiffened with starch, and over
that, as upper-cloaks, a patchwork of small antelope skins, which
I observed were sewn together as well as any English glovers
could have pieced them; whilst their head-dresses, generally,
were abrus turbans, set off with highly-polished boar-tusks,
stick-charms, seeds, beads, or shells; and on their necks, arms,
and ankles they wore other charms of wood, or small horns stuffed
with magic powder, and fastened on by strings generally covered
with snake-skin. N'yamgundu and Maula demanded, as their official
privilege, a first peep; and this being refused, they tried to
persuade me that the articles comprising the present required to
be covered with chintz, for it was considered indecorous to offer
anything to his majesty in a naked state. This little
interruption over, the articles enumerated below[FN#18] were
conveyed to the palace in solemn procession thus:--With
N'yamgundu, Maula, the pages, and myself on the flanks, the
Union-Jack carried by the kirangozi guide led the way, followed
by twelve men as a guard of honour, dressed in red flannel
cloaks, and carrying their arms sloped, with fixed bayonets;
whilst in their rear were the rest of my men, each carrying some
article as a present.

On the march towards the palace, the admiring courtiers, wonder-
struck at such an unusual display, exclaimed, in raptures of
astonishment, some with both hands at their mouths, and others
clasping their heads with their hands, "Irungi! irungi!" which
may be translated "Beautiful! beautiful!" I thought myself
everything was going on as well as could be wished; but before
entering the royal enclosures, I found, to my disagreeable
surprise, that the men with Suwarora's hongo or offering, which
consisted of more than a hundred coils of wire, were ordered to
lead the procession, and take precedence of me. There was
something specially aggravating in this precedence; for it will
be remembered that these very brass wires which they saw, I had
myself intended for Mtesa, that they were taken from me by
Suwarora as far back as Usui, and it would never do, without
remonstrance, to have them boastfully paraded before my eyes in
this fashion. My protests, however, had no effect upon the
escorting Wakungu. Resolving to make them catch it, I walked
along as if ruminating in anger up the broad high road into a
cleared square, which divides Mtesa's domain on the south from
his Kamraviona's, or commander-in-chief, on the north, and then
turned into the court. The palace or entrance quite surprised me
by its extraordinary dimensions, and the neatness with which it
was kept. The whole brow and sides of the hill on which we stood
were covered with gigantic grass huts, thatched as neatly as so
many heads dressed by a London barber, and fenced all round with
the tall yellow reeds of the common Uganda tiger-grass; whilst
within the enclosure, the lines of huts were joined together, or
partitioned off into courts, with walls of the same grass. It is
here most of Mtesa's three or four hundred women are kept, the
rest being quartered chiefly with his mother, known by the title
of N'yamasore, or queen-dowager. They stood in little groups at
the doors, looking at us, and evidently passing their own
remarks, and enjoying their own jokes, on the triumphal
procession. At each gate as we passed, officers on duty opened
and shut it for us, jingling the big bells which are hung upon
them, as they sometimes are at shop-doors, to prevent silent,
stealthy entrance.

The first court passed, I was even more surprised to find the
unusual ceremonies that awaited me. There courtiers of high
dignity stepped forward to greet me, dressed in the most
scrupulously neat fashions. Men, women, bulls, dogs, and goats,
were led about by strings; cocks and hens were carried in men's
arms; and little pages, with rope-turbans, rushed about,
conveying messages, as if their lives depended on their
swiftness, every one holding his skin-cloak tightly round him
lest his naked legs might by accident be shown.

This, then, was the ante-reception court; and I might have taken
possession of the hut, in which musicians were playing and
singing on large nine-stringed harps, like the Nubian tambira,
accompanied by harmonicons. By the chief officers in waiting,
however, who thought fit to treat us like Arab merchants, I was
requested to sit on the ground outside in the sun with my
servants. Now, I had made up my mind never to sit upon the
ground as the natives and Arabs are obliged to do, nor to make my
obeisance in any other manner than is customary in England,
though the Arabs had told me that from fear they had always
complied with the manners of the court. I felt that if I did not
stand up for my social position at once, I should be treated with
contempt during the remainder of my visit, and thus lose the
vantage-ground I had assumed of appearing rather as a prince than
a trader, for the purpose of better gaining the confidence of the
king. To avert over-hastiness, however--for my servants began to
be alarmed as I demurred against doing as I was bid--I allowed
five minutes to the court to give me a proper reception, saying,
if it were not conceded I would then walk away.

Nothing, however, was done. My own men, knowing me, feared for
me, as they did not know what a "savage" king would do in case I
carried out my threat; whilst the Waganda, lost in amazement at
what seemed little less than blasphemy, stood still as posts.
The affair ended by my walking straight away home, giving Bombay
orders to leave the present on the ground, and to follow me.

Although the king is said to be unapproachable, excepting when he
chooses to attend court--a ceremony which rarely happens--
intelligence of my hot wrath and hasty departure reached him in
an instant. He first, it seems, thought of leaving his toilet-
room to follow me, but, finding I was walking fast, and had gone
far, changed his mind, and sent Wakungu running after me. Poor
creatures! they caught me up, fell upon their knees, and implored
I would return at once, for the king had not tasted food, and
would not until he saw me. I felt grieved at their touching
appeals; but, as I did not understand all they said, I simply
replied by patting my heart and shaking my head, walking if
anything all the faster.

On my arrival at my hut, Bombay and others came in, wet through
with perspiration, saying the king had heard of all my
grievances. Suwarora's hongo was turned out of court, and, if I
desired it, I might bring my own chair with me, for he was very
anxious to show me great respect--although such a seat was
exclusively the attribute of the king, no one else in Uganda
daring to sit on an artificial seat.

My point was gained, so I cooled myself with coffee and a pipe,
and returned rejoicing in my victory, especially over Suwarora.
After returning to the second tier of huts from which I had
retired, everybody appeared to be in a hurried, confused state of
excitement, not knowing what to make out of so unprecedented an
exhibition of temper. In the most polite manner, the officers in
waiting begged me to be seated on my iron stool, which I had
brought with me, whilst others hurried in to announce my arrival.
But for a few minutes only I was kept in suspense, when a band of
music, the musicians wearing on their backs long-haired goat-
skins, passed me, dancing as they went along, like bears in a
fair, and playing on reed instruments worked over with pretty
beads in various patters, from which depended leopard-cat skins--
the time being regulated by the beating of long hand-drums.

The mighty king was now reported to be sitting on his throne in
the statehut of the third tier. I advanced, hat in hand, with my
guard of honour following, formed in "open ranks," who in their
turn were followed by the bearers carrying the present. I did
not walk straight up to him as if to shake hands, but went
outside the ranks of a three-sided square of squatting Wakungu,
all inhabited in skins, mostly cow-skins; some few of whom had,
in addition, leopard-cat skins girt round the waist, the sign of
royal blood. Here I was desired to halt and sit in the glaring
sun; so I donned my hat, mounted my umbrella, a phenomenon which
set them all a-wondering and laughing, ordered the guard to close
ranks, and sat gazing at the novel spectacle! A more theatrical
sight I never saw. The king, a good-looking, well-figured, tall
young man of twenty-five, was sitting on a red blanket spread
upon a square platform of royal grass, encased in tiger-grass
reeds, scrupulously well dressed in a new mbugu. The hair of his
head was cut short, excepting on the top, where it was combed up
into a high ridge, running from stem to stern like a cockscomb.
On his neck was a very neat ornament--a large ring, of
beautifully-worked small beads, forming elegant patterns by their
various colours. On one arm was another bead ornament, prettily
devised; and on the other a wooden charm, tied by a string
covered with snakeskin. On every finger and every toe, he had
alternate brass and copper rings; and above the ankles, halfway
up to the calf, a stocking of very pretty beads. Everything was
light, neat, and elegant in its way; not a fault could be found
with the taste of his "getting up." For a handkerchief he held a
well-folded piece of bark, and a piece of gold-embroidered silk,
which he constantly employed to hide his large mouth when
laughing, or to wipe it after a drink of plantain-wine, of which
he took constant and copious draughts from neat little gourd-
cups, administered by his ladies-in-waiting, who were at once his
sisters and wives. A white dog, spear, shield, and woman--the
Uganda cognisance--were by his side, as also a knot of staff
officers, with whom he kept up a brisk conversation on one side;
and on the other was a band of Wichezi, or lady-sorcerers, such
as I have already described.

I was now asked to draw nearer within the hollow square of
squatters, where leopard-skins were strewed upon the ground, and
a large copper kettledrum, surmounted with brass bells on arching
wires, along with two other smaller drums covered with cowrie-
shells, and beads of colour worked into patterns, were placed. I
now longed to open conversation, but knew not the language, and
no one near me dared speak, or even lift his head from fear of
being accused of eyeing the women; so the king and myself sat
staring at one another for full an hour--I mute, but he pointing
and remarking with those around him on the novelty of my guard
and general appearance, and even requiring to see my hat lifted,
the umbrella shut and opened, and the guards face about and show
off their red cloaks--for such wonders had never been seen in

Then, finding the day waning, he sent Maula on an embassy to ask
me if I had seen him; and on receiving my reply, "Yes, for full
one hour," I was glad to find him rise, spear in hand, lead his
dog, and walk unceremoniously away through the enclosure into the
fourth tier of huts; for this being a pure levee day, no business
was transacted. The king's gait in retiring was intended to be
very majestic, but did not succeed in conveying to me that
impression. It was the traditional walk of his race, founded on
the step of the lion; but the outward sweep of the legs, intended
to represent the stride of the noble beast, appeared to me only
to realise a very ludicrous kind of waddle, which made me ask
Bombay if anything serious was the matter with the royal person.

I had now to wait for some time, almost as an act of humanity;
for I was told the state secret, that the king had retired to
break his fast and eat for the first time since hearing of my
arrival; but the repast was no sooner over than he prepared for
the second act, to show off his splendour, and I was invited in,
with all my men, to the exclusion of all his own officers save my
two guides. Entering as before, I found him standing on a red
blanket, leaning against the right portal of the hut, talking and
laughing, handkerchief in hand, to a hundred or more of his
admiring wives, who, all squatting on the ground outside, in two
groups, were dressed in mew mbugus. My men dared not advance
upright, nor look upon the women, but, stooping, with lowered
heads and averted eyes, came cringing after me. Unconscious
myself, I gave loud and impatient orders to my guard, rebuking
them for moving like frightened geese, and, with hat in hand,
stood gazing on the fair sex till directed to sit and cap.

Mtesa then inquired what messages were brought from Rumanika; to
which Maula, delighted with the favour of speaking to royalty,
replied by saying, Rumanika had gained intelligence of Englishmen
coming up the Nile to Gani and Kidi. The king acknowledged the
truthfulness of their story, saying he had heard the same
himself; and both Wakungu, as is the custom in Uganda, thanked
their lord in a very enthusiastic manner, kneeling on the ground-
-for no one can stand in the presence of his majesty--in an
attitude of prayer, and throwing out their hands as they repeated
the words N'yanzig, N'yanzig, ai N'yanzig Mkahma wangi, etc.,
etc., for a considerable time; when, thinking they had done
enough of this, and heated with the exertion, they threw
themselves flat upon their stomachs, and, floundering about like
fish on land, repeated the same words over again and again, and
rose doing the same, with their faces covered with earth; for
majesty in Uganda is never satisfied till subjects have grovelled
before it like the most abject worms. This conversation over,
after gazing at me, and chatting with his women for a
considerable time, the second scene ended. The third scene was
more easily arranged, for the day was fast declining. He simply
moved his train of women to another hut, where, after seating
himself upon his throne, with his women around him, he invited me
to approach the nearest limits of propriety, and to sit as
before. Again he asked me if I had seen him--evidently desirous
of indulging in his regal pride; so I made the most of the
opportunity thus afforded me of opening a conversation by telling
him of those grand reports I had formerly heard about him, which
induced me to come all his way to see him, and the trouble it had
cost me to reach the object of my desire; at the same time taking
a gold ring from off my finger, and presenting it to him, I said,
"This is a small token of friendship; if you will inspect it, it
is made after the fashion of a dog-collar, and, being the king of
metals, gold, is in every respect appropriate to your illustrious

He said, in return, "If friendship is your desire, what would you
say if I showed you a road by which you might reach your home in
one month?" Now everything had to be told to Bombay, then to
Nasib, my Kiganda interpreter, and then to either Maula or
N'yamgundu, before it was delivered to the king, for it was
considered indecorous to transmit any message to his majesty
excepting through the medium of one of his officers. Hence I
could not get an answer put in; for as all Waganda are rapid and
impetuous in their conversation, the king, probably forgetting he
had put a question, hastily changed the conversation and said,
"What guns have you got? Let me see the one you shoot with." I
wished still to answer the first question first, as I knew he
referred to the direct line to Zanzibar across the Masai, and was
anxious, without delay, to open the subject of Petherick and
Grant; but no one dared to deliver my statement. Much
disappointed, I then said, "I had brought the best shooting-gun
in the world--Whitworth's rifle--which I begged he would accept,
with a few other trifles; and, with his permission, I would lay
them upon a carpet at his feet, as is the custom of my country
when visiting sultans." He assented, sent all his women away,
and had an mbugu spread for the purpose, on which Bombay, obeying
my order, first spread a red blanket, and then opened each
article one after the other, when Nasib, according to the usage
already mentioned, smoothed them down with his dirty hands, or
rubbed them against his sooty face, and handed them to the king
to show there was no poison or witchcraft in them. Mtesa
appeared quite confused with the various wonders as he handled
them, made silly remarks, and pondered over them like a perfect
child, until it was quite dark. Torches were then lit, and guns,
pistols, powder, boxes, tools, beads--the whole collection, in
short--were tossed together topsy-turvy, bundled into mbugus, and
carried away by the pages. Mtesa now said, "It is late, and time
to break up; what provisions would you wish to have?" I said, "A
little of everything, but no one thing constantly." "And would
you like to see me to-morrow?" "Yes, every day." "Then you
can't to-morrow, for I have business; but the next day come if
you like. You can now go away, and here are six pots of
plantain-wine for you; my men will search for food to-morrow."

21st.--In the morning, whilst it rained, some pages drove in
twenty cows and ten goats, with a polite metaphorical message
from their king, to the effect that I had pleased him much, and
he hoped I would accept these few "chickens" until he could send
more, --when both Maula and N'yamgundu, charmed with their
success in having brought a welcome guest to Uganda, never ceased
showering eulogiums on me for my fortune in having gained the
countenance of their king. The rain falling was considered at
court a good omen, and everybody declared the king mad with
delight. Wishing to have a talk with him about Petherick and
Grant, I at once started off the Wakungu to thank him for the
present, and to beg pardon for my apparent rudeness of yesterday,
at the same time requesting I might have an early interview with
his majesty, as I had much of importance to communicate; but the
solemn court formalities which these African kings affect as much
as Oriental emperors, precluded my message from reaching the
king. I heard, however, that he had spent the day receiving
Suwarora's hongo of wire, and that the officer who brought them
was made to sit in an empty court, whilst the king sat behind a
screen, never deigning to show his majestic person. I was told,
too, that he opened conversation by demanding to know how it
happened that Suwarora became possessed of the wires, for they
were made by the white men to be given to himself, and Suwarora
must therefore have robbed me of them; and it was by such
practices he, Mtesa, never could see any visitors. The officer's
reply was, Suwarora would not show the white men any respect,
because they were wizards would did not sleep in houses at night,
but flew up to the tops of hills, and practised sorcery of every
abominable kind. The king to this retorted, in a truly African
fashion, "That's a lie; I can see no harm in this white man; and
if he had been a bad man, Rumanika would not have sent him on to
me." At night, when in bed, the king sent his pages to say, if I
desired his friendship I would lend him one musket to make up six
with what I had given him, for he intended visiting his relations
the following morning. I sent three, feeling that nothing would
be lost by being "open-handed."

22d.--To-day the king went the round of his relations, showing
the beautiful things given him by the white man--a clear proof
that he was much favoured by the "spirits," for neither his
father nor any of his forefathers had been so recognised and
distinguished by any "sign" as a rightful inheritor to the Uganda
throne: an anti-Christian interpretation of omens, as rife in
these dark regions now as it was in the time of King
Nebuchadnezzar. At midnight the three muskets were returned, and
I was so pleased with the young king's promptitude and honesty, I
begged he would accept them.

23d.--At noon Mtesa sent his pages to invite me to his palace. I
went, with my guard of honour and my stool, but found I had to
sit waiting in an ante-hut three hours with his commander-in-
chief and other high officers before he was ready to see me.
During this time Wasoga minstrels, playing on tambira, and
accompanied by boys playing on a harmonicon, kept us amused; and
a small page, with a large bundle of grass, came to me and said,
"The king hopes you won't be offended if required to sit on it
before him; for no person in Uganda, however high in office, is
ever allowed to sit upon anything raised above the ground, nor
can anybody but himself sit upon such grass as this; it is all
that his throne is made of. The first day he only allowed you to
sit on your stool to appease your wrath."

On consenting to do in "Rome as the Romans do," when my position
was so handsomely acknowledged, I was called in, and found the
court sitting much as it was on the first day's interview, only
that the number of squatting Wakungu was much diminished; and the
king, instead of wearing his ten brass and copper rings, had my
gold one on his third finger. This day, however, was cut out for
business, as, in addition to the assemblage of officers, there
were women, cows, goats, fowls, confiscations, baskets of fish,
baskets of small antelopes, porcupines, and curious rats caught
by his gamekeepers, bundles of mbugu, etc., etc., made by his
linen-drapers, coloured earths and sticks by his magician, all
ready for presentation; but, as rain fell, the court broke up,
and I had nothing for it but to walk about under my umbrella,
indulging in angry reflections against the haughty king for not
inviting me into his hut.

When the rain had ceased, and we were again called in, he was
found sitting in state as before, but this time with the head of
a black bull placed before him, one horn of which, knocked off,
was placed alongside, whilst four living cows walked about the

I was now requested to shoot the four cows as quickly as
possible; but having no bullets for my gun, I borrowed the
revolving pistol I had given him, and shot all four in a second
of time; but as the last one, only wounded, turned sharply upon
me, I gave him the fifth and settled him. Great applause


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