The Discovery of the Source of the Nile
John Hanning Speke

Part 6 out of 11

followed this wonderful feat, and the cows were given to my men.
The king now loaded one of the carbines I had given him with his
own hands, and giving it full-cock to a page, told him to go out
and shoot a man in the outer court; which was no sooner
accomplished than the little urchin returned to announce his
success, with a look of glee such as one would see in the face of
a boy who had robbed a bird's nest, caught a trout, or done any
other boyish trick. The king said to him, "And did you do it
well?" "Oh, yes, capitally." He spoke the truth, no doubt, for
he dared not have trifled with the king; but the affair created
hardly any interest. I never heard, and there appeared no
curiosity to know, what individual human being the urchin had
deprived of life.

The Wakungu were not dismissed, and I asked to draw near, when
the king showed me a book I had given to Rumanika, and begged for
the inspiring medicine which he had before applied for through
the mystic stick. The day was now gone, so torches were lit, and
we were ordered to go, though as yet I had not been able to speak
one word I wished to impart about Petherick and Grant; for my
interpreters were so afraid of the king they dared not open their
mouths until they were spoken to. The king was now rising to go,
when, in great fear and anxiety that the day would be lost, I
said, in Kisuahili, "I wish you would send a letter by post to
Grant, and also send a boat up the Kitangule, as far as
Rumanika's palace, for him, for he is totally unable to walk." I
thus attracted his notice, though he did not understand one word
I uttered. The result was, that he waited for the
interpretation, and replied that a post would be no use, for no
one would be responsible for the safe delivery of the message; he
would send N'yamgundu to fetch him, but he thought Rumanika would
not consent to his sending boats up the Kitangule as far as the
Little Windermere; and then, turning round with true Mganda
impetuosity, he walked away without taking a word from me in

24th.--Early this morning the pages came to say Mtesa desired I
would send him three of my Wanguaga to shoot cows before him.
This was just what I wanted. It had struck me that personal
conferences with me so roused the excitable king, that there was
no bringing plain matters of business home to him; so, detaching
seven men with Bombay, I told him, before shooting, to be sure
and elicit the matter I wanted--which was, to excite the king's
cupidity by telling him I had a boat full of stores with two
white men at Gani, whom I wished to call to me if he would
furnish some guides to accompany my men; and further, as Grant
could not walk, I wished boats sent for him, at least as far as
the ferry on the Kitangule, to which place Rumanika, at any rate,
would slip him down in canoes. At once, on arriving, Mtesa
admitted the men, and ordered them to shoot at some cows; but
Bombay, obeying my orders to first have his talk out, said, No--
before he could shoot he must obey master and deliver his
message; which no sooner was told than the king, in a hurry,
excited by the prospects of sport, impatiently said, "Very good;
I will send men either by water or overland through Kidi,[FN#19]
just as your master likes; only some of his men had better go
with mine: but now shoot cows, shoot cows; for I want to see how
the Waguana shoot." They shot seven, and all were given to them
when they were dismissed. In the evening the pages came to ask
me if I would like to shoot kites in the palace with their king;
but I declined shooting anything less than elephants, rhinoceros,
or buffaloes; and even for these I would not go out unless the
king went with me; --a dodge I conceived would tend more than any
other to bring us together, and so break through those ceremonial
restraints of the court, which at present were stopping all pans
of progression.

25th.--The king invited me to shoot with him--really buffaloes--
close to the palace; but as the pages had been sent off in a
hurry, without being fully instructed, I declined, on the plea
that I had always been gulled and kept waiting or treated with
incivility, for hours before I obtained an interview; and as I
did not wish to have any more ruptures in the palace, I proposed
Bombay should go to make proper arrangements for my reception on
the morrow--as anyhow, at present I felt indisposed. The pages
dreaded their master's wrath, departed for a while, and then sent
another lad to tell me he was sorry to hear I felt unwell, but he
hoped I would come if only for a minute, bringing my medicines
with me, for he himself felt pain. That this second message was
a forged one I had no doubt, for the boys had not been long
enough gone; still, I packed up my medicines and went, leaving
the onus, should any accident happen, upon the mischievous story-

As I anticipated, on arrival at the palace I found the king was
not ready to receive me, and the pages desired me to sit with the
officers in waiting until he might appear. I found it necessary
to fly at once into a rage, called the pages a set of deceiving
young blackguards, turned upon my heel, and walked straight back
through the courts, intending to leave the palace. Everybody was
alarmed; information of my retreat at once reached the king, and
he sent his Wakungu to prevent my egress. These officers passed
me, as I was walking hurriedly along under my umbrella, in the
last court, and shut the entrance-gate in front of me. This was
too much, so I stamped, and, pointing my finger, swore in every
language I knew, that if they did not open the gate again, as
they had shut it at once, and that, too, before my face, I would
never leave the spot I stood upon alive. Terror-stricken, the
Wakungu fell on their knees before me, doing as they were bid;
and, to please them, I returned at once, and went up to the king,
who, now sitting on his throne, asked the officers how they had
managed to entice me back; to which they all replied in a breath,
n'yanzigging heartily, "Oh, we were so afraid--he was so
terrible! but he turned at once as soon as we opened the gate."
"How? what gate? tell us all about it." And when the whole story
was fully narrated, the matter was thought a good joke. After
pausing a little, I asked the king what ailed him, for I was
sorry to hear he had been sick; but instead of replying, he shook
his head, as much as to say, I had put a very uncouth question to
his majesty--and ordered some men to shoot cows.

Instead of admiring this childish pastime, which in Uganda is
considered royal sport, I rather looked disdainful, until,
apparently disappointed at my indifference, he asked what the box
I had brought contained. On being told it was the medicine he
desired, he asked me to draw near, and sent his courtiers away.
When only the interpreters and one confidential officer were
left, besides myself, he wished to know if I could apply the
medicine without its touching the afflicted part. To give him
confidence in my surgical skill, I moved my finger, and asked him
if he knew what gave it action; and on his replying in the
negative, I have him an anatomical lecture, which so pleased him,
he at once consented to be operated on, and I applied a blister
accordingly. The whole operation was rather ridiculous; for the
blister, after being applied, had to be rubbed in turn on the
hands and faces of both Bombay and Nasib, to show there was no
evil spirit in the "doctor." Now, thought I to myself, is the
right time for business; for I had the king all to myself, then
considered a most fortunate occurrence in Uganda, where every man
courts the favour of a word with his king, and adores him as a
deity, and he in turn makes himself as distance as he can, to
give greater effect to his exalted position. The matter, however,
was merely deferred: for I no sooner told him my plans for
communicating quickly with Petherick and Grant, than, after
saying he desired their coming even more than myself, he promised
to arrange everything on the morrow.

26th.--In the morning, as agreed, I called on the king, and found
the blister had drawn nicely; so I let off the water, which
Bombay called the malady, and so delighted the king amazingly. A
basket of fruit, like Indian loquots, was then ordered in, and we
ate them together, holding a discussion about Grant and
Petherick, which ended by the king promising to send an officer
by water to Kitangule, and another with two of my men, via Usoga
and Kidi, to Gani; but as it was necessary my men should go in
disguise, I asked the king to send me four mbugu and two spears;
when, with the liberality of a great king, he sent me twenty
sheets of the former, four spears, and a load of sun-dried fish
strung on a stick in shape of a shield.

27th.--At last something was done. One Uganda officer and one
Kidi guide were sent to my hut by the king, as agreed upon
yesterday, when I detached Mabruki and Bilal from my men, gave
them letters and maps addressed to Petherick; and giving the
officers a load of Mtende to pay their hotel bills on the way, I
gave them, at the same time, strict orders to keep by the Nile;
then, having dismissed them, I called on the king to make
arrangements for Grant, and to complain that my residence in
Uganda was anything but cheerful, as my hut was a mile from the
palace, in an unhealthy place, where he kept his Arab visitors.
It did not become my dignity to live in houses appropriated to
persons in the rank of servants, which I considered the ivory
merchants to be; and as I had come only to see him and the high
officers of Uganda, not seeking for ivory or slaves, I begged he
would change my place of residence to the west end, when I also
trusted his officers would not be ashamed to visit me, as
appeared to be the case at present. Silence being the provoking
resort of the king, when he did not know exactly what to say, he
made no answer to my appeal, but instead, he began a discourse on
geography, and then desired me to call upon his mother,
N'yamasore, at her palace Masorisori, vulgarly called Soli Soli,
for she also required medicine; and, moreover, I was cautioned
that for the future the Uganda court etiquette required I should
attend on the king two days in succession, and every third day on
his mother the queen-dowager, as such were their respective

Till now, owing to the strict laws of the country, I had not been
able to call upon anybody but the king himself. I had not been
able to send presents or bribes to any one, nor had any one,
except the cockaded pages, by the king's order, visited me;
neither was anybody permitted to sell me provisions, so that my
men had to feed themselves by taking anything they chose from
certain gardens pointed out by the king's officers, or by seizing
pombe or plantains which they might find Waganda carrying towards
the palace. This non-interventive order was part of the royal
policy, in order that the king might have the full fleecing of
his visitors.

To call upon the queen-mother respectfully, as it was the opening
visit, I too, besides the medicine-chest, a present of eight
brass and copper wire, thirty blue-egg beads, one bundle of
diminutive beads, and sixteen cubits of chintz, a small guard,
and my throne of royal grass. The palace to be visited lay half
a mile beyond the king's, but the highroad to it was forbidden
me, as it is considered uncourteous to pass the king's gate
without going in. So after winding through back-gardens, the
slums of Bandowaroga, I struck upon the highroad close to her
majesty's, where everything looked like the royal palace on a
miniature scale. A large cleared space divided the queen's
residence from her Kamraviona's. The outer enclosures and courts
were fenced with tiger-grass; and the huts, though neither so
numerous nor so large, were constructed after the same fashion as
the king's. Guards also kept the doors, on which large bells
were hung to give alarm, and officers in waiting watched the
throne-rooms. All the huts were full of women, save those kept
as waiting-rooms; where drums and harmonicons were played for
amusement. On first entering, I was required to sit in a
waiting-hut till my arrival was announced; but that did not take
long, as the queen was prepared to receive me; and being of a
more affable disposition than her son, she held rather a levee of
amusement than a stiff court of show. I entered the throne-hut
as the gate of that court was thrown open, with my hat off, but
umbrella held over my head, and walked straight towards her till
ordered to sit upon my bundle of grass.

Her majesty--fat, fair, and forty-five--was sitting, plainly
garbed in mbugu, upon a carpet spread upon the ground within a
curtain of mbugu, her elbow resting on a pillow of the same bark
material; the only ornaments on her person being an abrus
necklace, and a piece of mbugu tied round her head, whilst a
folding looking-glass, much the worse for wear, stood open by her
side. An iron rod like a spit, with a cup on the top, charged
with magic powder, and other magic wands, were placed before the
entrance; and within the room, four Mabandwa sorceresses or
devil-drivers, fantastically dressed, as before described, and a
mass of other women, formed the company. For a short while we sat
at a distance, exchanging inquiring glances at one another, when
the women were dismissed, and a band of music, with a court full
of Wakungu, was ordered in to change the scene. I also got orders
to draw near and sit fronting her within the hut. Pombe, the best
in Uganda, was then drunk by the queen, and handed to me and to
all the high officers about her, when she smoked her pipe, and
bade me smoke mine. The musicians, dressed in long-haired Usoga
goat-skins, were now ordered to strike up, which they did, with
their bodies swaying or dancing like bears in a fair. Different
drums were then beat, and I was asked if I could distinguish
their different tones.

The queen, full of mirth, now suddenly rose, leaving me sitting,
whilst she went to another hut, changed her mbugu for a deole,
and came back again for us to admire her, which was no sooner
done to her heart's content, than a second time, by her order,
the court was cleared, and, when only three or four confidential
Wakungu were left, she took up a small faggot of well-trimmed
sticks, and, selecting three, told me she had three complains.
"This stick," she says, "represents my stomach, which gives me
much uneasiness; this second stick my liver, which causes
shooting pains all over my body; and this third one my heart, for
I get constant dreams at night about Sunna, my late husband, and
they are not pleasant." The dreams and sleeplessness I told her
was a common widow's complaint, and could only be cured by her
majesty making up her mind to marry a second time; but before I
could advise for the bodily complaints, it would be necessary for
me to see her tongue, feel her pulse, and perhaps, also, her
sides. Hearing this, the Wakungu said, "Oh, that can never be
allowed without the sanction of the king"; but the queen, rising
in her seat, expressed her scorn at the idea to taking advice
from a mere stripling, and submitted herself for examination.

I then took out two pills, the powder of which was tasted by the
Wakungu to prove that there was no devilry in "the doctor," and
gave orders for them to be eaten at night, restricting her pombe
and food until I saw her again. My game was now advancing, for I
found through her I should get the key to an influence that might
bear on the king, and was much pleased to hear her express
herself delighted with me for everything I had done except
stopping her grog, which, naturally enough in this great pombe-
drinking country, she said would be a very trying abstinence.

The doctoring over, her majesty expressed herself ready to
inspect the honorarium I had brought for her, and the articles
were no sooner presented by Bombay and Nasib, with the usual
formalities of stroking to insure their purity, than she, boiling
with pleasure, showed them all to her officers, who declared,
with a voice of most exquisite triumph, that she was indeed the
most favoured of queens. Then, in excellent good taste, after
saying that nobody had ever given her such treasures, she gave
me, in return, a beautifully- worked pombe sucking-pipe, which
was acknowledged by every one to be the greatest honour she could
pay me.

Not satisfied with this, she made me select, though against my
desire, a number of sambo, called here gundu, rings of giraffe
hair wound round with thin iron or copper wire, and worn as
anklets; and crowned with all sundry pots of pombe, a cow, and a
bundle of dried fish, of the description given in the woodcut,
called by my men Samaki Kambari. This business over, she begged
me to show her my picture-books, and was so amused with them that
she ordered her sorceresses and all the other women in again to
inspect them with her. Then began a warm and complimentary
conversation, which ended by an inspection of my rings and al the
contents of my pockets, as well as of my watch, which she called
Lubari--a term equivalent to a place of worship, the object of
worship itself, or the iron horn or magic pan. Still she said I
had not yet satisfied her; I must return again two days hence,
for she like me much-- excessively--she could not say how much;
but now the day was gone, I might go. With this queer kind of
adieu she rose and walked away, leaving me with my servants to
carry the royal present home.

28th.--My whole thoughts were now occupied in devising some
scheme to obtain a hut in the palace, not only the better to
maintain my dignity, and so gain superior influence in the court,
but also that I might have a better insight into the manners and
customs of these strange people. I was not sorry to find the
king attempting to draw me to court, daily to sit in attendance
on him as his officers were obliged to do all day long, in order
that he might always have a full court or escort whenever by
chance he might emerge from his palace, for it gave me an opening
for asserting my proper position.

Instead, therefore, of going at the call of his pages this
morning I sent Bombay with some men to say that although I was
desirous of seeing him daily, I could not so expose myself to the
sun. In all other countries I received, as my right, a palace to
live in when I called on the king of my country, and unless he
gave one now I should feel slighted; moreover, I should like a
hut in the same enclosure as himself, when I could sit and
converse with him constantly, and teach him the use of the things
I had given him. By Bombay's account, the king was much struck
with the force of my humble request, and replied that he should
like to have Bana, meaning myself, ever by his side, but his huts
were all full of women, and therefore it could not be managed;
if, however, Bana would but have patience for a while, a hut
should be built for him in the environs, which would be a mark of
distinction he had never paid to any visitor before. Then
changing the subject by inspecting my men, he fell so much in
love with their little red "fez" caps, that he sent off his pages
to beg me for a specimen, and, on finding them sent by the boys,
he remarked, with warm approbation, how generous I was in
supplying his wishes, and then, turning to Bombay, wished to know
what sort of return-presents would please me best. Bombay,
already primed, instantly said, "Oh, Bana, being a great man in
his own country, and not thirsting for gain in ivory or slaves,
would only accept such things as a spear, shield, or drum, which
he could take to his own country as a specimen of the
manufactures of Uganda, and a pleasing recollection of his visit
to the king."

"Ah," says Mtesa, "if that is all he wants, then indeed will I
satisfy him, for I will give him the two spears with which I took
all this country, and, when engaged in so doing, pierced three
men with one stab.

"But, for the present, is it true what I have heard, that Bana
would like to go out with me shooting?" "Oh yes, he is a most
wonderful sportsman--shoots elephants and buffaloes, and birds on
the wing. He would like to go out on a shooting excursion and
teach you the way."

Then turning the subject, in the highest good-humour the king
made centurions of N'yamgundu and Maula, my two Wakungu, for
their good service, he said, in bringing him such a valuable
guest. This delighted them so much that as soon as they could
they came back to my camp, threw themselves at my feet, and
n'yanzigging incessantly, narrated their fortunes, and begged, as
a great man, I would lend them some cows to present to the king
as an acknowledgement for the favour he had shown them. The
cows, I then told them, had come from the king, and could not go
back again, for it was not the habit of white men to part with
their presents; but as I felt their promotion redounded on
myself, and was certainly the highest compliment their king could
have paid me, I would give them each a wire to make their salaam

This was enough; both officers got drunk, and, beating their
drums, serenaded the camp until the evening set in, when, to my
utter surprise, an elderly Mganda woman was brought into camp
with the commander-in-chief's metaphorical compliments, hoping I
would accept her "to carry my water"; with this trifling
addition, that in case I did not think her pretty enough, he
hoped I would not hesitate to select which I liked from ten
others, of "all colours," Wahuma included, who, for that purpose,
were then waiting in his palace.

Unprepared for this social addition in my camp, I must now
confess I felt in a fix, knowing full well that nothing so
offends as rejecting an offer at once, so I kept her for the time
being, intending in the morning to send her back with a string of
blue beads on her neck; but during the night she relieved me of
my anxieties by running away, which Bombay said was no wonder,
for she had obviously been seized as part of some confiscated
estate, and without doubt knew where to find some of her friends.

To-day, for the first time since I have been here, I received a
quantity of plantains. This was in consequence of my complaining
that the king's orders to my men to feed themselves at others'
expense was virtually making them a pack of thieves.

1st.--I received a letter from Grant, dated 10th February,
reporting Baraka's departure for Unyoro on the 30th January,
escorted by Kamrasi's men on their return, and a large party of
Rumanika's bearing presents as a letter from their king; whilst
Grant himself hoped to leave Karague before the end of the month.
I then sent Bombay to see the queen, to ask after her health, beg
for a hut in the palace enclosures, and say I should have gone
myself, only I feared her gate might be shut, and I cannot go
backwards and forwards so far in the sun without a horse or an
elephant to ride upon. She begged I would come next morning. A
wonderful report came that the king put two tops of powder into
his Whitworth rifle to shoot a cow, and the bullet not only
passed through the cow, but through the court fence, then through
the centre of a woman, and, after passing the outer fence, flew
whizzing along no one knew where.

2d.--Calling on the queen early, she admitted me at once,
scolding me severely for not having come or sent my men to see
her after she had taken the pills. She said they did her no
good, and prevailed on me to give her another prescription. Then
sending her servant for a bag full of drinking-gourds, she made
me select six of the best, and begged for my watch. That, of
course, I could not part with; but I took the opportunity of
telling her I did not like my residence; it was not only far away
from everybody, but it was unworthy of my dignity. I came to
Uganda to see the king and queen, because the Arabs said they
were always treated with great respect; but now I could perceive
those Arabs did not know what true respect means. Being poor
men, they thought much of a cow or goat given gratis, and were
content to live in any hovels. Such, I must inform her, was not
my case. I could neither sit in the sun nor live in a poor man's
hut. When I rose to leave for breakfast, she requested me to
stop, but I declined, and walked away. I saw, however, there was
something wrong; for Maula, always ordered to be in attendance
when anybody visits, was retained by her order to answer why I
would not stay with her longer. If I wanted food or pombe, there
was plenty of it in her palace, and her cooks were the cleverest
in the world; she hoped I would return to see her in the morning.

3d.--Our cross purposes seemed to increase; for, while I could
not get a satisfactory interview, the king sent for N'yamgundu to
ascertain why I had given him good guns and many pretty things
which he did not know the use of, and yet I would not visit him
to explain their several uses. N'yamgundu told him I lived too
far off, and wanted a palace. After this I walked off to see
N'yamasore, taking my blankets, a pillow, and some cooking-pots
to make a day of it, and try to win the affections of the queen
with sixteen cubits bindera, three pints peke, and three pints
mtende beads, which, as Waganda are all fond of figurative
language, I called a trifle for her servants.

I was shown in at once, and found her majesty sitting on an
Indian carpet, dressed in a red linen wrapper with a gold border,
and a box, in shape of a lady's work-box, prettily coloured in
divers patters with minute beads, by her side. Her councillors
were in attendance; and in the yard a band of music, with many
minor Wakungu squatting in a semicircle, completed her levee.
Maula on my behalf opened conversation, in allusion to her
yesterday's question, by saying I had applied to Mtesa for a
palace, that I might be near enough both their majesties to pay
them constant visits. She replied, in a good hearty manner, that
indeed was a very proper request, which showed my good sense, and
ought to have been complied with at once; but Mtesa was only a
Kijana or stripling, and as she influenced all the government of
the country, she would have it carried into effect. Compliments
were now passed, my presents given and approved of; and the
queen, thinking I must be hungry, for she wanted to eat herself,
requested me to refresh myself in another hut. I complied,
spread my bedding, and ordered in my breakfast; but as the hut
was full of men, I suspended a Scotch plain, and quite eclipsed
her mbugu curtain.

Reports of this magnificence at once flew to the queen, who sent
to know how many more blankets I had in my possession, and
whether, if she asked for one, she would get it. She also
desired to see my spoons, fork, and pipe--an English meerschaum,
mounted with silver; so, after breakfast, I returned to see her,
showed her the spoons and forks, and smoked my pipe, but told her
I had no blankets left but what formed my bed. She appeared very
happy and very well, did not say another word about the blankets,
but ordered a pipe for herself, and sat chatting, laughing, and
smoking in concert with me.

I told her I had visited all the four quarters of the globe, and
had seen all colours of people, but wondered where she got her
pipe from, for it was much after the Rumish (Turkish) fashion,
with a long stick. Greatly tickled at the flattery, she said,
"We hear men like yourself come to Amara from the other side, and
drive cattle away." "The Gallas, or Abyssinians, who are tall
and fair, like Rumanika," I said, "might do so, for they live not
far off on the other side of Amara, but we never fight for such
paltry objects. If cows fall into our hands when fighting, we
allow our soldiers to eat them, while we take the government of
the country into our hands." She then said, "We hear you don't
like the Unyamuezi route, we will open the Ukori one for you."
"Thank your majesty," said I, in a figurative kind of speech to
please Waganda ears; and turning the advantage of the project on
her side, "You have indeed hit the right nail on the head. I do
not like the Unyamuezi route, as you may imagine when I tell you
I have lost so much property there by mere robbery of the people
and their kings. The Waganda do not see me in a true light; but
if they have patience for a year or two, until the Ukori road is
open, and trade between our respective countries shall commence,
they will then see the fruits of my advent; so much so, that
every Mganda will say the first Uganda year dates from the
arrival of the first Mzundu (white) visitor. As one coffee-seed
sown brings forth fruit in plenty, so my coming here may be
considered." All appreciated this speech, saying, "The white
man, he even speaks beautifully! beautifully! beautifully!
beautifully!" and, putting their hands to their mouths, they
looked askance at me, nodding their admiring approval.

The queen and her ministers then plunged into pombe and became
uproarious, laughing with all their might and main. Small bugu
cups were not enough to keep up the excitement of the time, so a
large wooden trough was placed before the queen and filled with
liquor. If any was spilt, the Wakungu instantly fought over it,
dabbing their noses on the ground, or grabbing it with their
hands, that not one atom of the queen's favour might be lost; for
everything must be adored that comes from royalty, whether by
design or accident. The queen put her head to the trough and
drank like a pig from it, and was followed by her ministers. The
band, by order, then struck up a tune called the Milele, playing
on a dozen reeds, ornamented with beads and cow-tips, and five
drums, of various tones and sizes, keeping time. The musicians
dancing with zest, were led by four bandmasters, also dancing,
but with their backs turned to the company to show off their
long, shaggy, goat-skin jackets, sometimes upright, at other
times bending and on their heels, like the hornpipe-dancers or
western countries.

It was a merry scene, but soon became tiresome; when Bombay, by
way of flattery, and wishing to see what the queen's wardrobe
embraced, told her, Any woman, however ugly, would assume a
goodly appearance if prettily dressed; upon which her gracious
majesty immediately rose, retired to her toilet-hut, and soon
returned attired in a common check cloth, and abrus tiara, a bead
necklace, and with a folding looking-glass, when she sat, as
before, and was handed a blown-glass cup of pombe, with a cork
floating on the liquor, and a napkin mbugu covering the top, by a
naked virgin. For her kind condescension in assuming plain
raiment, everybody, of course, n'yanzigged. Next she ordered her
slave girls to bring a large number of sambo (anklets), and
begged me to select the best, for she liked me much. In vain I
tried to refuse them: she had given more than enough for a
keepsake before, and I was not hungry for property; still I had
to choose some, or I would give offence. She then gave me a
basket of tobacco, and a nest of hen eggs for her "son's"
breakfast. When this was over, the Mukonderi, another dancing-
tune, with instruments something like clarionets, was ordered;
but it had scarcely been struck up, before a drenching rain, with
strong wind, set in and spoilt the music, though not the playing-
-for none dared stop without an order; and the queen, instead of
taking pity, laughed most boisterously over the exercise of her
savage power as the unfortunate musicians were nearly beaten down
by the violence of the weather.

When the rain ceased, her majesty retired a second time to her
toilet-hut, and changed her dress for a puce-coloured wrapper,
when I, ashamed of having robbed her of so many sambo, asked her
if she would allow me to present her with a little English "wool"
to hang up instead of her mbugu curtain on cold days like this.
Of course she could not decline, and a large double scarlet
blanket was placed before her. "Oh, wonder of wonders!"
exclaimed all the spectators, holding their mouths in both hands
at a time--such a "pattern" had never been seen here before. It
stretched across the hut, was higher than the men could reach--
indeed it was a perfect marvel; and the man must be a good one
who brought such a treasure as this to Uddu. "And why not say
Uganda?" I asked. "Because all this country is called Uddu.
Uganda is personified by Mtesa; and no one can say he has seen
Uganda until he has been presented to the king."

As I had them all in a good humour now, I complained I did not
see enough of the Waganda--and as every one dressed so remarkably
well, I could not discern the big men from the small; could she
not issue some order by which they might call on me, as they did
not dare do so without instruction, and then I, in turn, would
call on them? Hearing this, she introduced me to her prime
minister, chancellor of exchequer, women-keepers, hangmen, and
cooks, as the first nobles in the land, that I might recognise
them again if I met them on the road. All n'yanzigged for this
great condescension, and said they were delighted with their
guest; then producing a strip of common joho to compare it with
my blanket, they asked if I could recognise it. Of course, said
I, it is made in my country, of the same material, only of
coarser quality, and everything of the same sort is made in
Uzungu. Then, indeed, said the whole company, in one voice, we
do like you, and your cloth too--but you most. I modestly bowed
my head, and said their friendship was my chief desire.

This speech also created great hilarity; the queen and
councillors all became uproarious. The queen began to sing, and
the councillors to join in chorus; then all sang and all drank,
and drank and sang, till, in their heated excitement, they turned
the palace into a pandemonium; still there was not noise enough,
so the band and drums were called again, and tomfool--for Uganda,
like the old European monarchies, always keeps a jester--was made
to sing in the gruff, hoarse, unnatural voice which he ever
affects to maintain his character, and furnished with pombe when
his throat was dry.

Now all of a sudden, as if a devil had taken possession of the
company, the prime minister with all the courtiers jumped upon
their legs, seized their sticks, for nobody can carry a spear
when visiting, swore the queen had lost her heart to me, and
running into the yard, returned, charging and jabbering at the
queen; retreated and returned again, as if they were going to put
an end to her for the guilt of loving me, but really to show
their devotion and true love to her. The queen professed to take
this ceremony with calm indifference, but her face showed that
she enjoyed it. I was not getting very tired of sitting on my
low stool, and begged for leave to depart, but N'yamasore would
not hear of it; she loved me a great deal too much to let me go
away at this time of day, and forthwith ordered in more pombe.
The same roystering scene was repeated; cups were too small, so
the trough was employed; and the queen graced it by drinking,
pig-fashion, first, and then handing it round to the company.

Now, hoping to produce gravity and then to slip away, I asked if
my medicines had given her any relief, that I might give her more
to strengthen her. She said she could not answer that question
just yet; for though the medicine had moved her copiously, as yet
she had seen no snake depart from her. I told her I would give
her some strengthening medicine in the morning: for the present,
however, I would take my leave, as the day was far gone, and the
distance home very great; but though I dragged my body away, my
heart would still remain here, for I loved her much.

This announcement took all by surprise; they looked at me and
then at her, and looked again and laughed, whilst I rose, waved
my hat, and said, "Kua heri, Bibi" (good-bye, madam). On
reaching home I found Maribu, a Mkungu, with a gang of men sent
by Mtesa to fetch Grant from Kitangule by water. He would not
take any of my men with him to fetch the kit from Karague, as
Mtesa, he said, had given him orders to find all the means of
transport; so I gave him a letter to Grant, and told him to look
sharp, else Grant would have passed the Kitangule before he
arrived there. "Never mind," says Maribu, "I shall walk to the
mouth of the Katonga, boat it to Sese island, where Mtesa keeps
all his large vessels, and I shall be at Kitangule in a very
short time."

4th.--I sent Bombay off to administer quinine to the queen; but
the king's pages, who watched him making for her gateway, hurried
up to him, and turned him back by force. He pleaded earnestly
that I would flog him if he disobeyed my orders, but they would
take all the responsibility--the king had ordered it; and then
they, forging a lie, bade him run back as fast as he could,
saying I wanted to see the king, but could not till his return.
In this way poor Bombay returned to me half-drowned in
perspiration. Just then another page hurried in with orders to
bring me to the palace at once, for I had not been there these
four days; and while I was preparing to express the proper amount
of indignation at this unceremonious message, the last impudent
page began rolling like a pig upon my mbugued or carpeted floor,
till I stormed and swore I would turn him out unless he chose to
behave more respectfully before my majesty, for I was no peddling
merchant, as he had been accustomed to see, and would not stand
it; moreover, I would not leave my hut at the summons of the king
or anybody else, until I chose to do so.

This expression of becoming wrath brought every one to a sense of
his duty; and I then told them all I was excessively angry with
Mtesa for turning back my messenger; nobody had ever dared do
such a thing before, and I would never forgive the king until my
medicines had been given to the queen. As for my going to the
palace, it was out of the question, as I had been repeatedly
before told the king, unless it pleased him to give me a fitting
residence near himself. In order now that full weight should be
given to my expressions, I sent Bombay with the quinine to the
king, in company with the boys, to give an account of all that
had happened; and further, to say I felt exceedingly distressed I
could not go to see him constantly--that I was ashamed of my
domicile--the sun was hot to walk in; and when I went to the
palace, his officers in waiting always kept me waiting like a
servant--a matter hurtful to my honour and dignity. It now
rested with himself to remove these obstacles. Everybody
concerned in this matter left for the palace but Maula, who said
he must stop in camp to look after Bana. Bombay no sooner
arrived in the palace, and saw the king upon his throne, than
Mtesa asked him why he came? "By the instructions of Bana," was
his reply--"for Bana cannot walk in the sun; no white man of the
sultan's breed can do so."

Hearing this, the king rose in a huff, without deigning to reply,
and busied himself in another court. Bombay, still sitting,
waited for hours till quite tired, when he sent a boy in to say
he had not delivered half my message; he had brought medicine for
the queen, and as yet he had no reply for Bana. Either with
haughty indifference, or else with injured pride at his not being
able to command me at his pleasure, the king sent word, if
medicine is brought for the queen, then let it be taken to her;
and so Bombay walked off to the queen's palace. Arrived there,
he sent in to say he had brought medicine, and waited without a
reply till nightfall, when, tired of his charge, he gave the
quinine into N'yamgundu's hands for delivery, and returned h
home. Soon after, however, N'yamgundu also returned to say the
queen would not take the dose to-day, but hoped I would
administer it personally in the morning.

Whilst all this vexations business had been going on in court--
evidently dictated by extreme jealousy because I showed, as they
all thought, a preference for the queen--Maula, more than tipsy,
brought a Mkungu of some standing at court before me, contrary to
all law-- for as yet no Mganda, save the king's pages, had ever
dared enter even the precincts of my camp. With a scowling,
determined, hang-dog-looking countenance, he walked impudently
into my hut, and taking down the pombe-suckers the queen had
given me, showed them with many queer gesticulations, intended to
insinuate there was something between the queen and me. Among
his jokes were, that I must never drink pombe excepting with
these sticks; if I wanted any when I leave Uganda, to show my
friends, she would give me twenty more sticks of that sort if I
liked them; and, turning from verbal to practical jocularity, the
dirty fellow took my common sucker out of the pot, inserted one
of the queen's, and sucked at it himself, when I snatched and
threw it away.

Maula's friend, who, I imagined, was a spy, then asked me whom I
liked most--the mother or the son; but, without waiting to hear
me, Maula hastily said, "The mother, the mother of course! he
does not care for Mtesa, and won't go to see him." The friend
coaxingly responded, "Oh no; he likes Mtesa, and will go and see
him too; won't you?" I declined, however, to answer from fear of
mistake, as both interpreters were away. Still the two went on
talking to themselves, Maula swearing that I loved the mother
most, whilst the friend said, No, he loves the son, and asking me
with anxious looks, till they found I was not to be caught by
chaff, and then, both tired, walked away--the friend advising me,
next time I went to court, to put on an Arab's gown, as trousers
are indecent in the estimation of every Mganda.

5th.--Alarmed at having got involved in something that looked
like court intrigues, I called up N'yamgundu; told him all that
happened yesterday, both at the two courts and with Maula at
home; and begged him to apply to the king for a meeting of five
elders, that a proper understanding might be arrived at; but
instead of doing as I desired, he got into a terrible fright,
calling Maula, and told me if I pressed the matter in this way
men would lose their lives. Meanwhile the cunning blackguard
Maula begged for pardon; said I quite misunderstood his meaning;
all he had said was that I was very fortunate, being in such
favour at court, for the king and queen both equally loved me.

N'yamgundu now got orders to go to Karague overland for Dr
K'yengo; but, dreading to tell me of it, as I had been so kind to
him, he forged a falsehood, said he had leave to visit his home
for six days, and begged for a wire to sacrifice to his church.
I gave him what he wanted, and away he went. I then heard his
servants had received orders to go overland for Grant and
K'yengo; so I wrote another note to Grant, telling him to come
sharp, and bring all the property by boat that he could carry,
leaving what he could not behind in charge of Rumanika.

At noon, the plaguy little imps of pages hurried in to order the
attendance of all my men fully armed before the king, as he
wished to seize some refractory officer. I declined this abuse
of my arms, and said I should first go and speak to the king on
the subject myself, ordering the men on no account to go on such
an errand; and saying this, I proceeded towards the palace,
leaving instructions for those men who were not ready to follow.
As the court messengers, however, objected to our going in
detachments, I told Bombay to wait for the rest, and hurry on to
overtake me. Whilst lingering on the way, every minute expecting
to see my men, the Wazinza, who had also received orders to seize
the same officer, passed me, going to the place of attack, and,
at the same time, I heard my men firing in a direction exactly
opposite to the palace. I now saw I had been duped, and returned
to my hut to see the issue. The boys had deceived us all.
Bombay, tricked on the plea of their taking him by a short cut to
the palace, suddenly found himself with all the men opposite the
fenced gardens that had to be taken-- the establishment of the
recusant officer,--and the boys, knowing how eager all blacks are
to loot, said, "Now, then, at the houses; seize all you can,
sparing nothing--men, women, or children, mbugus or cowries, all
alike--for it is the order of the king;" and in an instant my men
surrounded the place, fired their guns, and rushed upon the
inmates. One was speared forcing his way through the fence, but
the rest were taken and brought triumphantly into my camp. It
formed a strange sight in the establishment of an English
gentleman, to see my men flushed with the excitement of their
spoils, staggering under loads of mbugu, or leading children,
mothers, goats, and dogs off in triumph to their respective huts.
Bombay alone, of all my men, obeyed my orders, touching nothing;
and when remonstrated with for having lead the men, he said he
could not help it--the boys had deceived him in the same way as
they had tricked me.

It was now necessary that I should take some critical step in
African diplomacy; so, after ordering all the seizures to be
given up to Maula on behalf of the king, and threatening to
discharge any of my men who dared retain one item of the
property, I shut the door of my hut to do penance for two days,
giving orders that nobody but my cook Ilmas, not even Bombay,
should come near me; for the king had caused my men to sin--had
disgraced their red cloth--and had inflicted on me a greater
insult than I could bear. I was ashamed to show my face. Just
as the door was closed, other pages from the king brought the
Whitworth rifle to be cleaned, and demanded an admittance; but no
one dared approach me, and they went on their way again.

6th.--I still continued to do penance. Bombay, by my orders,
issued from within, prepared for a visit to the king, to tell him
all that had happened yesterday, and also to ascertain if the
orders for sending my men on a plundering mission had really
emanated from himself, when the bothering pages came again,
bringing a gun and knife to be mended. My door was found shut,
so they went to Bombay, asked him to do it, and told him the king
desired to know if I would go shooting with him in the morning.
The reply was, "No; Bana is praying to-day that Mtesa's sins
might be forgiven him for having committed such an injury to him,
sending his soldiers on a mission that did not become them, and
without his sanction too. He is very angry about it, and wished
to know if it was done by the king's orders." The boys said,
"Nothing can be done without the king's orders." After further
discussion, Bombay intimated that I wished the king to send me a
party of five elderly officers to counsel with, and set all
disagreeables to rights, or I would not go to the palace again;
but the boys said there were no elderly gentlemen at court, only
boys such as themselves. Bombay now wished to go with them
before the king, to explain matters to him, and to give him all
the red cloths of my men, which I took from them, because they
defiled their uniform when plundering women and children; but the
boys said the king was unapproachable just them, being engaged
shooting cows before his women. He then wished the boys to carry
the cloth; but they declined, saying it was contrary to orders
for anybody to handle cloth, and they could not do it.

Chapter XII

Palace, Uganda--Continued

Continued Diplomatic Difficulties--Negro Chaffing--The King in a
New Costume--Adjutant and Heron Shooting at Court--My Residence
Changed --Scenes at Court--The Kamraviona, or Commander-in-Chief-
-Quarrels-- Confidential Communications with the King--Court
Executions and Executioners--Another Day with the Queen.

7th.--The farce continued, and how to manage these haughty
capricious blacks puzzled my brains considerably; but I felt that
if I did not stand up now, no one would ever be treated better
hereafter. I sent Nasib to the queen, to explain why I had not
been to see her. I desired to do so, because I admired her
wisdom; but before I went I must first see the king, to provide
against any insult being offered to me, such as befell Bombay
when I sent him with medicine. Having despatched him, I repaired
again to the palace. In the antechamber I found a number of
Wakungu, as usual, lounging about on the ground, smoking,
chatting, and drinking pombe, whilst Wasoga amused them singing
and playing on lap-harps, and little boys kept time on the

These Wakungu are naturally patient attendants, being well
trained to the duty; but their very lives depend upon their
presenting themselves at court a certain number of months every
year, no matter from what distant part of the country they have
to come. If they failed, their estates would be confiscated, and
their lives taken unless they could escape. I found a messenger
who consented to tell the king of my desire to see him. He
returned to say that the king was sleeping--a palpable falsehood.
In a huff, I walked home to breakfast, leaving my attendants,
Maula and Uledi, behind to make explanations. They saw the king,
who simply asked, "Where is Bana?" And on being told that I came,
but went off again, he said, as I was informed, "That is a lie,
for had he come here to see me he would not have returned"; then
rising, he walked away and left the men to follow me.

I continued ruminating on these absurd entanglements, and the
best way of dealing with them, when lo! to perplex me still more,
in ran a bevy of the royal pages to ask for mtende beads--a whole
sack of them; for the king wished to go with his women on a
pilgrimage to the N'yanza. Thinking myself very lucky to buy the
king's ear so cheaply, I sent Maula as before, adding that I
considered my luck very bad, as nobody here knew my position in
society, else they would not treat me as they did. My proper
sphere was the palace, and unless I got a hut there, I wished to
leave the country. My first desire had always been to see the
king; and if he went to the N'yanza, I trusted he would allow me
to go there also. The boys replied, "How can you go with his
women? No one ever is permitted to see them." "Well," said I,
"if I cannot go to the N'yanza with him" (thinking only of the
great lake, whereas they probably meant a pond in the palace
enclosures, where Mtesa constantly frolics with his women), "I
wish to go to Usoga and Amara, as far as the Masai; for I have no
companions here but crows and vultures." They promised to take
the message, but its delivery was quite another thing; for no one
can speak at this court till he is spoken to, and a word put in
out of season is a life lost.

On Maula's return, I was told the king would not believe so
generous a man as Bana could have sent him so few beads; he
believed most of my store must have been stolen on the road, and
would ask me about that to-morrow. He intimated that for the
future I must fire a gun at the waiting-hut whenever I entered
the palace, so that he might hear of my arrival, for he had been
up that morning, and would have been glad to see me, only the
boys, from fear of entering his cabinet, had forged a lie, and
deprived him of any interview with me, which he had long wished
to get. This ready cordiality was as perplexing as all the rest.
Could it be possible, I thought, I had been fighting with a
phantom all this while, and yet the king had not been able to
perceive it? At all events, now, as the key to his door had been
given, I would make good use of it and watch the result.
Meanwhile Nasib returned from the queen-dowager's palace without
having seen her majesty, though he had waited there patiently the
whole day long, for she was engaged in festivities, incessantly
drumming and playing, in consequence of the birth of twins
(Mabassa), which had just taken place in her palace; but he was
advised to return on the morrow.

8th.--After breakfast I walked to the palace, thinking I had
gained all I wanted; entered, and fired guns, expecting an
instant admittance; but, as usual, I was required to sit and
wait; the king was expected immediately. All the Wagungu talked
in whispers, and nothing was heard but the never-ceasing harps
and harmonicons. In a little while I felt tired of the monotony,
and wished to hang up a curtain, that I might lie down in privacy
and sleep till the king was ready; but the officers in waiting
forbade this, as contrary to law, and left me the only
alternative of walking up and down the court to kill time,
spreading my umbrella against the powerful rays of the sun. A
very little of that made me fidgety and impetuous, which the
Waganda noticed, and, from fear of the consequences, they began
to close the gate to prevent my walking away. I flew out on
them, told Bombay to notice the disrespect, and shamed them into
opening it again. The king immediately, on hearing of this, sent
me pombe to keep me quiet; but as I would not touch it, saying I
was sick at heart, another page rushed out to say the king was
ready to receive me; and, opening a side gate leading into a
small open court without a hut in it, there, to be sure, was his
majesty, sitting on an Arab's donkey run, propped against one
page, and encompassed by four others.

On confronting him, he motioned me to sit, which I did upon my
bundle of grass, and, finding it warm, asked leave to open my
umbrella. He was much struck at the facility with which I could
make shade, but wondered still more at my requiring it. I
explained to him that my skin was white because I lived in a
colder country than his, and therefore was much more sensitive to
the heat of the sun than his black skin; adding, at the same
time, if it gave no offence, I would prefer sitting in the shade
of the court fence. He had no objection, and opened conversation
by asking who it was that gave me such offence in taking my guard
from me to seize his Wakungu. The boy who had provoked me was
then dragged in, tied by his neck and hands, when the king asked
him by whose orders he had acted in such a manner, knowing that I
objected to it, and wished to speak to him on the subject first.
The poor boy, in a dreadful fright, said he had acted under the
instructions of the Kamraviona: there was no harm done, for
Bana's men were not hurt. "Well, then," said the king, "if they
were not injured, and you only did as you were ordered, no fault
rests with you; but begone out of my sight, for I cannot bear to
see you, and the Kamraviona shall be taught a lesson not to
meddle with my guests again until I give him authority to do so."

I now hoped, as I had got the king all by himself, and apparently
in a good humour with me, that I might give him a wholesome
lesson on the manners and customs of the English nation, to show
how much I felt the slights I had received since my residence in
Uganda; but he never lost his dignity and fussiness as an Uganda
king. My words must pass through his Mkungu, as well as my
interpreter's, before they reached him; and, as he had no
patience, everything was lost till he suddenly asked Maula,
pretending not to know, where my hut was; why everybody said I
lived so far away; and when told, he said, "Oh! that is very far,
he must come nearer." Still I could not say a word, his
fussiness and self-importance overcoming his inquisitiveness.

Rain now fell, and the king retired by one gate, whilst I was
shown out of another, until the shower was over. As soon as the
sky was clear again, we returned to the little court, and this
time became more confidential, as he asked many questions about
England-- such as, Whether the Queen knew anything about
medicines? Whether she kept a number of women as he did? and what
her palace was like? --which gave me an opportunity of saying I
would like to see his ships, for I heard they were very numerous-
-and also his menagerie, said to be full of wonderful animals.
He said the vessels were far off, but he would send for them; and
although he once kept a large number of animals, he killed them
all in practising with his guns. The Whitworth rifle was then
brought in for me to take to pieces and teach him the use of; and
then the chronometer. He then inquired if I would like to go
shooting? I said, "Yes, if he would accompany me--not
otherwise." "Hippopotami?" "Yes; there is great fun in that,
for they knock the boats over when they charge from below." "Can
you swim?" "Yes." "So can I. And would you like to shoot
buffalo?" "Yes, if you will go." "At night, then, I will send
my keepers to look out for them. Here is a leopard-car, with
white behind its ears, and a Ndezi porcupine of the short-quilled
kind, which my people eat with great relish; and if you are fond
of animals, I will give you any number of specimens, for my
keepers net and bring in live animals of every kind daily; for
the present, you can take this basket of porcupines home for your
dinner." My men n'yanzigged--the king walked away, giving orders
for another officer to follow up the first who went to Ukori, and
bring Petherick quickly--and I went home.

This was to be a day of varied success. When I arrived at my hut
I found a messenger sent by the queen, with a present of a goat,
called "fowls for Bana, my son," and a load of plantains, called
potatoes, waiting for me; so I gave the bearer fundo of mtende
beads, and told again the reasons why I had not been able to call
upon the queen, but I hoped to do so shortly, as the king had
promised me a house near at hand. I doubt, however, whether one
word of my message ever reached her. That she wanted me at her
palace was evident by the present, though she was either too
proud or too cautious to say so.

At night I overheard a chat between Sangizo, a Myamuezi, and
Ntalo, a freed man of Zanzibar, very characteristic of their way
of chaffing. Sangizo opened the battle by saying, "Ntalo, who
are you?" N. "A Mguana" (freed man). S. "A Mguana, indeed! then
where is your mother?" N. "She died at Anguja." S. "Your mother
died at Anguja! then where is your father?" N. "He died at
Anguja likewise." S. "Well, that is strange; and where are your
brothers and sister?" N. "They all died at Anguja." S. (then
changing the word Anguja for Anguza, says to Ntalo) "I think you
said your mother and father both died at Anguza, did you not?"
N. "Yes, at Anguza." S. "Then you had two mothers and two
fathers--one set died at Anguja, and the other set at Anguza; you
are a humbug; I don't believe you; you are no Mguana, but a slave
who has been snatched from his family, and does not know where
any of his family are. Ah! ah! ah!" And all the men of the camp
laugh together at the wretched Ntalo's defeat; but Ntalo won't be
done, so retorts by saying, "Sangizo, you may laugh at me because
I am an orphan, but what are you? you are a savage--a Mshezi; you
come from the Mashenzi, and you wear skins, not cloths, as men
do; so hold your impudent tongue";--and the camp pealed with
merry boisterous laughter again.

9th.--Early in the morning, and whilst I was in bed, the king
sent his pages to request me to visit his royal mother, with some
specific for the itch, with which her majesty was then afflicted.
I said I could not go so far in the sun; I would wait till I
received the promised palace near her. In the meanwhile I
prepared to call on him. I observed, in fact, that I was an
object of jealousy between the two courts, and that, if I acted
skilfully and decidedly, I might become master of the situation,
and secure my darling object of a passage northwards. The boys
returned, bringing a pistol to be cleaned, and a message to say
it was no use my thinking of calling on the king--that I must go
to the queen immediately, for she was very ill. So far the queen
won the day, but I did not obtain my new residence, which I
considered the first step to accomplishing the greater object; I
therefore put the iron farther in the fire by saying I was no
man's slave, and I should not go until I got a house in the
palace--Bombay could teach the boys the way to clean the pistol.
The perk monkeys, however, turned up their noses at such menial
service, and Uledi was instructed in their stead.

10th.--To surprise the queen, and try another dodge, I called on
her with all my dining things and bedding, to make a day of it,
and sleep the night. She admitted me at once, when I gave her
quinine, on the proviso that I should stop there all day and
night to repeat the dose, and tell her the reason why I did not
come before. She affected great anger at Mtesa having interfered
with my servants when coming to see her--sympathised with me on
the distance I had to travel--ordered a hut to be cleared for me
ere night--told me to eat my breakfast in the next court--and,
rising abruptly, walked away. At noon we heard the king
approaching with his drums and rattle-traps, but I still waited
on till 5 p.m., when, on summons, I repaired to the throne-hut.
Here I heard, in an adjoining court, the boisterous, explosive
laughs of both mother and son--royal shouts loud enough to be
heard a mile off, and inform the community that their sovereigns
were pleased to indulge in hilarity. Immediately afterwards, the
gate between us being thrown open, the king, like a very child,
stood before us, dressed for the first time, in public, in what
Europeans would call clothes. For a cap he wore a Muscat alfia,
on his neck a silk Arab turban, fastened with a ring. Then for a
coat he had an Indian kizbow, and for trousers a yellow woollen
doti; whilst in his hand, in imitation of myself, he kept running
his ramrod backwards and forwards through his fingers. As I
advanced and doffed my hat, the king, smiling, entered the court,
followed by a budding damsel dressed in red bindera, who carried
the chair I had presented to him, and two new spears.

He now took his seat for the first time upon the chair, for I had
told him, at my last interview, that all kings were expected to
bring out some new fashion, or else the world would never make
progress; and I was directed to sit before him on my grass
throne. Talking, though I longed to enter into conversation, was
out of the question; for no one dared speak for me, and I could
not talk myself; so we sat and grinned, till in a few minutes the
queen, full of smirks and smiles, joined us, and sat on a mbugu.
I offered the medicine-chest as a seat, but she dared not take
it; in fact, by the constitution of Uganda, no one, however high
in rank, not even his mother, can sit before the king. After
sundry jokes, whilst we were all bursting with laughter at the
theatrical phenomenon, the Wakungu who were present, some twenty
in number, threw themselves in line upon their bellies, and
wriggling like fish, n'yanzigged, n'goned, and demaned, and
uttered other wonderful words of rejoining--as, for instance,
"Hai Minange! Hai Mkama wangi!" (O my chief! O my king!)--
whilst they continued floundering, kicking about their legs,
rubbing their faces, and patting their hands upon the ground, as
if the king had performed some act of extraordinary munificence
by showing himself to them in that strange and new position--a
thing quite enough to date a new Uganda era from.

The king, without deigning to look upon his grovelling subjects,
said, "Now, mother, take your medicine"; for he had been called
solemnly to witness the medical treatment she was undergoing at
my hands. When she had swallowed her quinine with a wry face,
two very black virgins appeared on the stage holding up the
double red blanket I had given the queen; for nothing, however
trifling, can be kept secret from the king. The whole court was
in raptures. The king signified his approval by holding his
mouth, putting his head on one side, and looking askance at it.
The queen looked at me, then at the blanket and her son in turn;
whilst my men hung down their heads, fearful lest they should be
accused of looking at the ladies of the court; and the Wakungu
n'yanzigged again, as if they could not contain the gratification
they felt at the favour shown them. Nobody had ever brought such
wonderful things to Uganda before, and all loved Bana.

Till now I had expected to vent my wrath on both together for all
past grievances, but this childish, merry, homely scene--the
mother holding up her pride, her son, before the state officers--
melted my heart at once. I laughed as well as they did, and said
it pleased me excessively to see them both so happy together. It
was well the king had broken through the old-fashioned laws of
Uganda, by sitting on an iron chair, and adopting European
dresses; for now he was opening a road to cement his own
dominions with my country. I should know what things to send that
would please him. The king listened, but without replying; and
said, at the conclusion, "It is late, now let us move"; and
walked away, preserving famously the lion's gait. The mother
also vanished, and I was led away to a hut outside, prepared for
my night's residence. It was a small, newly-built hut, just
large enough for my bed, with a corner for one servant; so I
turned all my men away, save one--ate my dinner, and hoped to
have a quiet cool night of it, when suddenly Maula flounced in
with all his boys, lighting a fire, and they spread their mbugus
for the night. In vain I pleaded I could not stand the
suffocation of so many men, especially of Waganda, who eat raw
plantains; and unless they turned out, I should do so, to benefit
by the pure air. Maula said he had the queen's orders to sleep
with Bana, and sleep there he would; so rather than kick him out,
which I felt inclined to do, I smoked my pipe and drank pombe all
night, turning the people out and myself in, in the morning, to
prepare for a small house-fight with the queen.

11th.--Early in the morning, as I expected, she demanded my
immediate attendance; and so the little diplomatic affair I had
anticipated came on. I began the affair by intimating that I am
in bed, and have not breakfasted. So at 10 a.m. another
messenger arrives, to say her majesty is much surprised at my not
coming. What can such conduct mean, when she arranged everything
so nicely for me after my own desire, that she might drink her
medicine properly? Still I am not up; but nobody will let me
rest for fear of the queen; so, to while away the time, I order
Bombay to call upon her, give the quinine, and tell her all that
has happened; at which she flies into a towering rage, says she
will never touch medicine administered by any other hands but
mine, and will not believe in one word Bombay says, either about
Maula or the hut; for Maula, whose duty necessarily obliged him
to take my servants before her majesty, had primed her with a lot
of falsehoods on the subject; and she had a fondness for Maula,
because he was a clever humbug and exceeding rogue--and sent
Bombay back to fetch me, for nobody had ever dared disobey her
mandates before.

It had now turned noon, and being ready for the visit, I went to
see the queen. Determined to have her turn, she kept me waiting
for a long time before she would show herself; and at last, when
she came, she flounced up to her curtain, lay down in a huff, and
vented her wrath, holding her head very high, and wishing to know
how I could expect officers, with large establishments, to be
turned out of their homes merely to give me room for one night; I
ought to have been content with my fare; it was no fault of
Maula's. I tried to explain through Nasib, but she called Nasib
a liar, and listened to Maula who told the lies; then asked for
her medicine; drank it, saying it was a small dose; and walked
off in ill humour as she had come. I now made up my mind to sit
till 3 p.m., hoping to see the queen again, whilst talking with
some Kidi officers, who, contrary to the general law of the
country, indulged me with some discourses on geography, from
which I gathered, though their stories were rather confused, that
beyond the Asua river, in the Galla country, there was another
lake which was navigated by the inhabitants in very large
vessels; and somewhere in the same neighbourhood there was an
exceedingly high mountain covered with yellow dust, which the
natives collected, etc., etc.

Time was drawing on, and as the queen would not appear of her own
accord, I sent to request a friendly conversation with her before
I left, endeavouring, as well as I could, to persuade her that
the want of cordiality between us was owing to the mistakes of
interpreters, who had not conveyed to her my profound sentiments
of devotion. This brought her gracious corpulence out all smirks
and smiles, preceded by a basket of potatoes for "Bana, my son."
I began conversation with a speech of courtesy, explaining how I
had left my brother Grant and my great friend Rumanika at Karague
--hastening, in compliance with the invitation of the king, to
visit him and herself, with the full hope of making friends in
Uganda; but now I had come, I was greatly disappointed; for I
neither saw half enough of their majesties, nor did any of their
officers ever call upon me to converse and pass away the dreary
hours. All seemed highly pleased, and complimented my speech;
while the queen, turning to her officers, said, "If that is the
case, I will send these men to you"; whereupon the officers,
highly delighted at the prospect of coming to see me, and its
consequence a present, n'yanzigged until I thought their hands
would drop off. Then her majesty to my thorough annoyance, and
before I had finished half I had to say, rose from her seat, and,
showing her broad stern to the company, walked straight away.
The officers then drew near me, and begged I would sleep there
another night; but as they had nothing better to offer than the
hut of last night, I declined and went my way, begging them to
call and make friends with me.

12th.--Immediately after breakfast the king sent his pages in a
great hurry to say he was waiting on the hill for me, and begged
I would bring all my guns immediately. I prepared, thinking,
naturally enough, that some buffaloes had been marked down; for
the boys, as usual, were perfectly ignorant of his designs. To
my surprise, however, when I mounted the hill half-way to the
palace, I found the king standing, dressed in a rich filagreed
waistcoat, trimmed with gold embroidery, tweedling the loading-
rod in his fingers, and an alfia cap on his head, whilst his
pages held his chair and guns, and a number of officers, with
dogs and goats for offerings, squatted before him.

When I arrived, hat in hand, he smiled, examined my firearms, and
proceeded for sport, leading the way to a high tree, on which
some adjutant birds were nesting, and numerous vultures resting.
This was the sport; Bana must shoot a nundo (adjutant) for the
king's gratification. I begged him to take a shot himself, as I
really could not demean myself by firing at birds sitting on a
tree; but it was all of no use--no one could shoot as I could,
and they must be shot. I proposed frightening them out with
stones, but no stone could reach so high; so, to cut the matter
short, I killed an adjutant on the nest, and, as the vultures
flew away, brought one down on the wing, which fell in a garden

The Waganda were for a minute all spell-bound with astonishment,
when the king jumped frantically in the air, clapping his hands
above his head, and singing out, "Woh, woh, woh! what wonders!
Oh, Bana, Bana! what miracles he performs!"--and all the Wakungu
followed in chorus. "Now load, Bana--load, and let us see you do
it," cried the excited king; but before I was half loaded, he
said, "Come along, come along, and let us see the bird." Then
directing the officers which way to go--for, by the etiquette of
the court of Uganda, every one must precede the king--he sent
them through a court where his women, afraid of the gun, had been
concealed. Here the rush onward was stopped by newly made fences,
but the king roared to the officers to knock them down. This was
no sooner said than done, by the attendants in a body shoving on
and trampling them under, as an elephant would crush small trees
to keep his course. So pushing, floundering through plaintain and
shrub, pell-mell one upon the other, that the king's pace might
not be checked, or any one come in for a royal kick or blow, they
came upon the prostrate bird. "Woh, woh, woh!" cried the king
again, "there he is, sure enough; come here, women--come and look
what wonders!" And all the women, in the highest excitement,
"woh-wohed" as loud as any of the men. But that was not enough.
"Come along, Bana," said the king, "we must have some more
sport;" and, saying this he directed the way towards the queen's
palace, the attendants leading, followed by the pages, then the
king, next myself--for I never would walk before him--and finally
the women, some forty or fifty, who constantly attended him.

To make the most of the king's good-humour, while I wanted to
screen myself from the blazing sun, I asked him if he would like
to enjoy the pleasures of an umbrella; and before he had time to
answer, held mine over him as we walked side by side. The
Wakungu were astonished, and the women prattled in great delight;
whilst the king, hardly able to control himself, sidled and spoke
to his flatterers as if he were doubly created monarch of all he
surveyed. He then, growing more familiar, said, "Now, Bana, do
tell me-- did you not shoot that bird with something more than
common ammunition? I am sure you did, now; there was magic in
it." And all I said to the contrary would not convince him. "But
we will see again." "At buffaloes?" I said. "No, the buffaloes
are too far off now; we will wait to go after then until I have
given you a hut close by." Presently, as some herons were flying
overhead, he said, "Now, shoot, shoot!" and I brought a couple
down right and left. He stared, and everybody stared, believing
me to be a magician, when the king said he would like to have
pictures of the birds drawn and hung up in the palace; "but let
us go and shoot some more, for it is truly wonderful." Similar
results followed, for the herons were continually whirling round,
as they had their nests upon a neighbouring tree; and then the
king ordered his pages to carry all the birds, save the vulture--
which, for some reason, they did not touch--and show them to the

He then gave the order to move on, and we all repaired to the
palace. Arrived at the usual throne-room, he took his seat,
dismissed the party of wives who had been following him, as well
as the Wakungu, received pombe from his female evil-eye averters,
and ordered me, with my men, to sit in the sun facing him, till I
complained of the heat, and was allowed to sit by his side.
Kites, crows, and sparrows were flying about in all directions,
and as they came within shot, nothing would satisfy the excited
boy-king but I must shoot them, and his pages take them to the
queen, till my ammunition was totally expended. He then wanted
me to send for more shot; and as I told him he must wait for more
until my brothers come, he contented himself with taking two or
three sample grains and ordering his iron-smiths to make some
like them.

Cows were now driven in for me to kill two with one bullet; but
as the off one jumped away when the gun fired, the bullet passed
through the near one, then through all the courts and fences, and
away no one knew where. The king was delighted, and said he must
keep the rifle to look at for the night. I now asked permission
to speak with him on some important matters, when he sent his
women away and listened. I said I felt anxious about the road on
which Mabruki was travelling, to which I added that I had ordered
him to tell Petherick to come here or else to send property to
the value of one thousand dollars; and I felt anxious because
some of the queen's officers felt doubtful about Waganda being
able to penetrate Kidi. He said I need not concern myself on
that score; he was much more anxious for the white men to come
here than even I was, and he would not send my men into any
danger; but it was highly improper for any of his people to speak
about such subjects. Then, assembling the women again, he asked
me to load Whitworth for him, when he shot the remaining cow,
holding the rifle in both hands close to his thigh. The feat, of
course, brought forth great and uproarious congratulations from
his women. The day thus ended, and I was dismissed.

13th.--Mabriki and Bilal come into camp: they returned last
night; but the Waganda escort, afraid of my obtaining information
of them before the king received it, kept them concealed. They
had been defeated in Usoga, two marches each of Kira, at the
residence of Nagozigombi, Mtesa's border officer, who gave them
two bullocks, but advised their returning at once to inform the
king that the independent Wasoga had been fighting with his
dependent Wasoga subjects for some time, and the battle would not
be over for two months or more, unless he sent an army to their

I now sent Bombay to the king to request an interview, as I had
much of importance to tell him; but the could not be seen, as he
was deep in the interior of the palace enjoying the society of
his wives. The Kamraviona, however, was found there waiting, as
usual, on the mere chance of his majesty taking it into his head
to come out. He asked Bombay if it was true the woman he gave me
ran away; and when Bombay told him, he said, "Oh, he should have
chained her for two or three days, until she became accustomed to
her residence; for women often take fright and run away in that
way, believing strangers to be cannibals." But Bombay replied,
"She was not good enough for Bana; he let her go off like a dog;
he wants a young and beautiful Mhuma, or none at all." "Ah,
well, then, if he is so particular, he must wait a bit, for we
have none on hand. What I gave him is the sort of creature we
give all our guests." A Msoga was sent by the king to take the
dead adjutant of yesterday out of the nest--for all Wasoga are
expert climbers, which is not the case with the Waganda; but the
man was attacked half-way up the tree by a swarm of bees, and
driven down again.

14th.--After all the vexatious haggling for a house, I gained my
object to-day by a judicious piece of bribery which I had
intended to accomplish whenever I could. I now succeeded in
sending--for I could not, under the jealous eyes in Uganda, get
it done earlier-- a present of fifteen pints mixed beads, twenty
blue eggs, and five copper bracelets, to the commander-in-chief,
as a mark of friendship. At the same time I hinted that I should
like him to use his influence in obtaining for me a near and
respectable residence, where I hoped he, as well as all the
Waganda nobility, would call upon me; for my life in Uganda was
utterly miserable, being shut up like a hermit by myself every
day. The result was, that a number of huts in a large plantain
garden were at once assigned to me, on the face of a hill,
immediately overlooking and close to the main road. It was
considered the "West End." It had never before been occupied by
any visitors excepting Wahinda ambassadors; and being near, and
in full view of the palace, was pleasant and advantageous, as I
could both hear the constant music, and see the throngs of people
ever wending their way to and from the royal abodes. I lost no
time in moving all my property, turning out the original
occupants--in selecting the best hut for myself, giving the rest
to my three officers--and ordering my men to build barracks for
themselves, in street form, from my hut to the main road. There
was one thing only left to be done; the sanitary orders of Uganda
required every man to build himself a house of parliament, such
being the neat and cleanly nature of the Waganda--a pattern to
all other negro tribes.

15th.--As nobody could obtain an interview with the king
yesterday, I went to the palace to-day, and fired three shots--a
signal which was at once answered from within by a double
discharge of a gun I had just lent him on his returning my rifle.
In a little while, as soon as he had time to dress, the king,
walking like a lion, sallied forth, leading his white dog, and
beckoned me to follow him to the state hut, the court of which
was filled with squatting men as usual, well dressed, and keeping
perfect order. He planted himself on his throne, and begged me
to sit by his side. Then took place the usual scene of a court
levee, as described in Chapter X., with the specialty, in this
instance, that the son of the chief executioner--one of the
highest officers of state--was led off for execution, for some
omission or informality in his n'yanzigs, or salutes.

At this levee sundry Wakungu of rank complained that the Wanyambo
plundered their houses at night, and rough-handled their women,
without any respect for their greatness, and, when caught, said
they were Bana's men. Bombay, who was present, heard the
complaint, and declared these were Suwarora's men, who made use
of the proximity of my camp to cover their own transgressions.
Then Suwarora's deputation, who were also present, cringed
forward, n'yanzigging like Waganda, and denied the accusation,
when the king gave all warning that he would find out the truth
by placing guards on the look-out at night.

Till this time the king had not heard one word about the defeat
of the party sent for Petherick. His kingdom might have been
lost, and he would have been no wiser; when the officer who led
Mabruki came forward and told him all that had happened, stating,
in addition to what I heard before, that they took eighty men
with them, and went into battle three times successfully.
Dismissing business, however, the king turned to me, and said he
never saw anything so wonderful as my shooting in his life; he
was sure it was done by magic, as my gun never missed, and he
wished I would instruct him in the art. When I denied there was
any art in shooting, further than holding the gun straight, he
shook his head, and getting me to load his revolving pistol for
him, he fired all five barrels into two cows before the
multitude. He then thought of adjutant-shooting with ball, left
the court sitting, desired me to follow him, and leading the way,
went into the interior of the palace, where only a few select
officers were permitted to follow us. The birds were wild, and
as nothing was done, I instructed him in the way to fire from his
shoulder, placing the gun in position. He was shy at first, and
all the people laughed at my handling royalty like a schoolboy;
but he soon took to it very good-naturedly, when I gave him my
silk necktie and gold crest-ring, explaining their value, which
he could not comprehend, and telling him we gentlemen prided
ourselves on never wearing brass or copper.

He now begged hard for shot; but I told him again his only chance
of getting any lay in opening the road onwards; it was on this
account, I said, I had come to see him to-day. He answered, "I
am going to send an army to Usoga to force the way from where
your men were turned back." But this, I said, would not do for
me, as I saw his people travelled like geese, not knowing the
direction of Gani, or where they were going to when sent. I
proposed that if he would call all his travelling men of
experience together, I would explain matters to them by a map I
had brought; for I should never be content till I saw Petherick.

The map was then produced. He seemed to comprehend it
immediately, and assembled the desired Wakungu; but, to my
mortification, he kept all the conversation to himself, Waganda
fashion; spoke a lot of nonsense; and then asked his men what
they thought had better be done. The sages replied, "Oh, make
friends, and do the matter gently." But the king proudly raised
his head, laughed them to scorn, and said, "Make friends with men
who have crossed their spears with us already! Nonsense! they
would only laugh at us; the Uganda spear alone shall do it."
Hearing this bravado, the Kamraviona, the pages, and the elders,
all rose to a man, with their sticks, and came charging at their
king, swearing they would carry out his wished with their lives.
The meeting now broke up in the usual unsatisfactory, unfinished
manner, by the king rising and walking away, whilst I returned
with the Kamraviona, who begged for ten more blue eggs in
addition to my present to make a full necklace, and told my men
to call upon him in the morning, when he would give me anything I
wished to eat. Bombay was then ordered to describe what sort of
food I lived on usually; when, Mganda fashion, he broke a stick
into ten bits, each representing a differing article, and said,
"Bana eat mixed food always"; and explained that stick No. 1
represented beef; No. 2, mutton; No. 3, fowl; No. 4, eggs; No. 5,
fish; No. 6, potatoes; No. 7, plantains; No. 8, pombe; No. 9,
butter; No. 10, flour.

16th.--To-day the king was amusing himself among his women again,
and not to be seen. I sent Bombay with ten blue eggs as a
present for the Kamraviona, intimating my desire to call upon
him. He sent me a goat and ten fowls' eggs, saying he was not
visible to strangers on business to-day. I inferred that he
required the king's permission to receive me. This double
failure was a more serious affair then a mere slight; for my cows
were eaten up, and my men clamouring incessantly for food; and
though they might by orders help themselves "ku n'yangania"--by
seizing--from the Waganda, it hurt my feelings so much to witness
this, that I tried from the first to dispense with it, telling
the king I had always flogged my men for stealing, and now he
turned them into a pack of thieves. I urged that he should either
allow me to purchase rations, or else feed them from the palace
as Rumanika did; but he always turned a deaf ear, or said that
what Sunna his father had introduced it ill became him to
subvert; and unless my men helped themselves they would die of

On the present emergency I resolved to call upon the queen. On
reaching the palace, I sent an officer in to announce my arrival,
and sat waiting for the reply fully half an hour, smoking my
pipe, and listening to her in the adjoining court, where music
was playing, and her voice occasionally rent the air with merry
boisterous laughing.

The messenger returned to say no one could approach her sanctuary
or disturb her pleasure at this hour; I must wait and bide my
time, as the Uganda officers do. Whew! Here was another
diplomatic crisis, which had to be dealt with in the usual way.
"I bide my time!" I said, rising in a towering passion, and
thrashing the air with my ramrod walking-stick, before all the
visiting Wakungu, "when the queen has assured me her door would
always be open to me! I shall leave this court at once, and I
solemnly swear I shall never set foot in it again, unless some
apology be made for treating me like a dog." Then, returning
home, I tied up all the presents her majesty had given me in a
bundle, and calling Maula and my men together, told them to take
them where they came from; for it ill became me to keep tokens of
friendship when no friendship existed between us. I came to make
friends with the queen, not to trade or take things from her--and
so forth. The blackguard Maula, laughing, said, "Bana does not
know what he is doing; it is a heinous offence in Uganda sending
presents back; nobody for their lives dare do so to the queen;
her wrath would know no bounds. She will say, "I took a few
trifles from Bana as specimens of his country, but they shall all
go back, and the things the king has received shall go back also,
for we are all of one family'; and then won't Bana be very sorry?
Moreover, Wakungu will be killed by dozens, and lamentations will
reign throughout the court to propitiate the devils who brought
such disasters on them." Bombay, also in a fright, said, "Pray
don't do so; you don't know these savages as we do; there is no
knowing what will happen; it may defeat our journey altogether.
Further, we have had no food these four days, because row
succeeds row. If we steal, you flog us; and if we ask the
Waganda for food, they beat us. We don't know what to do." I
was imperative, however, and said, "Maula must take back these
things in the morning, or stand the consequences." In fact, I
found that, like the organ-grinders in London, to get myself
moved on I must make myself troublesome.

17th.--The queen's presents were taken back by Maula and Nasib,
whilst I went to see the Kamraviona. Even this gentleman kept me
waiting for some time to show his own importance, and then
admitted me into one of his interior courts, where I found him
sitting on the ground with several elders; whilst Wasoga
minstrels played on their lap-harps, and sang songs in praise of
their king, and the noble stranger who wore fine clothes and
eclipsed all previous visitors. At first, on my approach, the
haughty young chief, very handsome, and twenty years of age, did
not raise his head; then he begged me to be seated, and even
enquired after my health, in a listless, condescending kind of
manner, as if the exertion of talking was too much for his
constitution or his rank; but he soon gave up this nonsense as I
began to talk, inquired, amongst other things, why I did not see
the Waganda at my house, when I said I should so much like to
make acquaintance with them, and begged to be introduced to the
company who were present.

I was now enabled to enlarge the list of topics on which it is
prohibited to the Waganda to speak or act under pain of death. No
one even dare ever talk about the royal pedigree of the countries
that have been conquered, or even of any neighbouring countries;
no one dare visit the king's guests, or be visited by them,
without leave, else the king, fearing sharers in his plunder,
would say, What are you plucking our goose for? Neither can any
one cast his eye for a moment on the women of the palace, whether
out walking or at home, lest he should be accused of amorous
intentions. Beads and brass wire, exchanged for ivory or slaves,
are the only articles of foreign manufacture any Mganda can hold
in his possession. Should anything else be seen in his house--for
instance, cloth-- his property would be confiscated and his life

I was now introduced to the company present, of whom one Mgema,
an elderly gentleman of great dignity, had the honour to carry
Sunna the late king; Mpungu, who cooked for Sunna, also ranks
high in court; then Usungu and Kunza, executioners, rank very
high, enjoying the greatest confidence with the king; and,
finally, Jumba and Natigo, who traced their pedigree to the age
of the first Uganda king. As I took down a note of their several
names, each seemed delighted at finding his name written down by
me; and Kunza, the executioner, begged as a great favour that I
would plead to the king to spare his son's life, who, as I have
mentioned, was ordered out to execution on the last levee day.
At first I thought it necessary, for the sake of maintaining my
dignity, to raise objections, and said it would ill become one of
my rank to make any request that might possibly be rejected; but
as the Kamraviona assured me there would be no chance of failure,
and everybody else agreed with him, I said it would give me
intense satisfaction to serve him; and the old man squeezed my
hand as if overpowered with joy.

This meeting, as might be imagined, was a very dull one, because
the company, being tongue-tied as regards everything of external
interest, occupied themselves solely on matters of home business,
or indulged their busy tongues, Waganda fashion, in gross
flattery of their "illustrious visitor." In imitation of the
king, the Kamraviona now went from one hut to another, requesting
us to follow that we might see all his greatness, and then took
me alone into a separate court, to show me his women, some five-
and-twenty of the ugliest in Uganda. This, he added, was a mark
of respect he had never conferred on any person before; but,
fearing lest I should misunderstand his meaning and covet any of
them, he said, "Mind they are only to be looked at."

As we retired to the other visitors, the Kamraviona, in return
for some courteous remarks of mine, said all the Waganda were
immensely pleased with my having come to visit them; and as he
heard my country is governed by a woman, what would I say if he
made the Waganda dethrone her, and create me king instead?
Without specially replying, I showed him a map, marking off the
comparative sizes of British and Waganda possessions, and shut
him up. The great Kamraviona, or commander-in-chief, with all
his wives, has no children, and was eager to know if my skill
could avail to remove this cloud in his fortunes. He generously
gave me a goat and eggs, telling my men they might help
themselves to plantains from any gardens they liked beyond
certain limits, provided they did not enter houses or take
anything else. He then said he was tired and walked away without
another word.

On returning home I found Nasib and Maula waiting for me, with
all the articles that had been returned to the queen very neatly
tied together. They had seen her majesty, who, on receiving my
message, pretended excessive anger with her doorkeeper for not
announcing my arrival yesterday--flogged him severely--inspected
all the things returned--folded them up again very neatly with
her own hands-- said she felt much hurt at the mistake which had
arisen, and hoped I would forgive and forget it, as her doors
would always be open to me.

I now had a laugh at my friends Maula and Bombay for their
misgivings of yesterday, telling them I knew more of human nature
than they did; but they shook their heads, and said it was all
very well Bana having done it, but if Arabs or any other person
had tried the same trick, it would have been another affair.
"Just so," said I; "but then, don't you see, I know my value
here, which makes all the difference you speak of."

18th.--Whilst walking towards the palace to pay the king a
friendly visit, I met two of my men speared on the head, and
streaming with blood; they had been trying to help themselves to
plantains carried on the heads of Waganda; but the latter proving
too strong, my people seized a boy and woman from their party as
witnesses, according to Uganda law, and ran away with them, tied
hand and neck together. With this addition to my attendance I
first called in at the Kamraviona's for justice; but as he was
too proud to appear at once, I went on to the king's fired three
shots as usual, and obtained admittance at once, when I found him
standing in a yard dressed in cloth, with his iron chair behind
him, and my double-gun loaded with half charges of powder and a
few grains of iron shot, looking eagerly about for kites to fly
over. His quick eye, however, readily detected my wounded men
and prisoners, as also some Wazinza prisoners led in by Waganda
police, who had been taken in the act of entering Waganda houses
and assailing their women. Thus my men were cleared of a false
stigma; and the king, whilst praising them, ordered all the
Wazinza to leave his dominions on the morrow.

The other case was easily settled by my wounded men receiving
orders to keep their prisoners till claimed, when, should any
people come forward, they would be punished, otherwise their loss
in human stock would be enough. The Wanguana had done quite
right to seize on the highway, else they would have starved; such
was the old law, and such is the present one. It was no use our
applying for a change of system. At this stage of the business,
the birds he was watching having appeared, the king, in a great
state of excitement, said, "Shoot that kite," and then "Shoot
that other"; but the charges were too light; and the birds flew
away, kicking with their claws as if merely stung a little.

Whilst this was going on, the Kamraviona, taking advantage of my
having opened the door with the gun, walked in to make his
salutations. A blacksmith produced two very handsome spears, and
a fisherman a basket of fish, from which two fish were taken out
and given to me. The king then sat on his iron chair, and I on a
wooden box which I had contrived to stuff with the royal grass he
gave me, and so made a complete miniature imitation of his
throne. The folly in now allowing me to sit upon my portable
iron stool, as an ingenious device for carrying out my
determination to sit before him like an Englishman. I wished to
be communicative, and, giving him a purse of money, told him the
use and value of the several coins; but he paid little regard to
them, and soon put them down. The small-talk of Uganda had much
more attractions to his mind than the wonders of the outer world,
and he kept it up with his Kamraviona until rain fell and
dispersed the company.

19th.--As the queen, to avoid future difficulties, desired my
officers to acquaint her beforehand whenever I wished to call
upon her, I sent Nasib early to say I would call in the
afternoon; but he had to wait till the evening before he could
deliver the message, though she had been drumming and playing all
the day. She then complained against my men for robbing her
gardeners on the highway, wished to know why I didn't call upon
her oftener, appointed the following morning for an interview,
and begged I would bring her some liver medicines, as she
suffered from constant twinges in her right side, sealing her
"letter" with a present of a nest of eggs and one fowl.

Whilst Nasib was away, I went to the Kamraviona to treat him as I
had the king. He appeared a little more affable to-day, yet
still delighted in nothing but what was frivolous. My beard, for
instance, engrossed the major part of the conversation; all the
Waganda would come out in future with hairy faces; but when I
told them that, to produce such a growth, they must wash their
faces with milk, and allow a cat to lick it off, they turned up
their noses in utter contempt.

20th.--I became dead tired of living all alone, with nothing else
to occupy my time save making these notes every day in my office
letter-book, as my store of stationery was left at Karague. I
had no chance of seeing any visitors, save the tiresome pages,
who asked me to give or to do something for the king every day;
and my prospect was cheerless, as I had been flatly refused a
visit to Usoga until Grant should come. For want of better
amusement, I made a page of Lugoi, a sharp little lad, son of the
late Beluch, but adopted by Uledi, and treated him as a son,
which he declared he wished to be, for he liked me better than
Uledi as a father. He said he disliked Uganda, where people's
lives are taken like those of fowls; and wished to live at the
coast, the only place he ever heard of, where all the Wanguana
come from--great swells in Lugoi's estimation. Now, with Lugoi
dressed in a new white pillow-case, with holes trimmed with black
tape for his head and arms to go through, a dagger tied with red
bindera round his waist, and a square of red blanket rolled on
his shoulder as a napkin, for my gun to rest on, or in place of a
goat-skin run when he wished to sit down, I walked off to inquire
how the Kamraviona was, and took my pictures with me.

Lugoi's dress, however, absorbed all their thoughts, and he was
made to take it off and put it on again as often as any fresh
visitor came to call. Hardly a word was said about anything
else; even the pictures, which generally are in such demand,
attracted but little notice. I asked the Kamraviona to allow me
to draw his pet dog; when the king's sister Miengo came in and
sat down, laughing and joking with me immoderately.

At first there was a demur about my drawing the dog--whether from
fear of bewitching the animal or not, I cannot say; but instead
of producing the pet--a beautifully-formed cream-coloured dog--a
common black one was brought in, which I tied in front of Miengo,
and then drew both woman and dog together. After this unlawful
act was discovered, of drawing the king's sister without his
consent, the whole company roared with laughter, and pretended
nervous excitement lest I should book them likewise. One of my
men, Sangoro, did not return to camp last night from foraging;
and as my men suspect the Waganda must have murdered him, I told
the Kamraviona, requesting him to find out; but he coolly said,
"Look for him yourselves two days more, for Wanguana often make
friends with our people, and so slip away from their masters; but
as they are also often murdered, provided you cannot find him in
that time, we will have the Mganga out."

21st.--Last night I was turned out of my bed by a terrible hue
and cry from the quarter allotted to Rozaro and his Wanyambo
companions; for the Waganda had threatened to demolish my men,
one by one, for seizing their pombe and plaintains, though done
according to the orders of the king; and now, finding the
Wanyambo nearest to the road, they set on them by moonlight, with
spear and club, maltreating them severely, till, with
reinforcements, the Wanyambo gained the ascendancy, seized two
spears and one shield as a trophy, and drove their enemies off.
In the morning, I sent the Wakungu off with the trophies to the
king, again complaining that he had turned my men into a pack of
highwaymen, and, as I foresaw, had thus created enmity between
the Waganda and them, much to my annoyance. I therefore begged he
would institute some means to prevent any further occurrence of
such scenes, otherwise I would use firearms in self-defence.

Whilst these men were on this mission, I went on a like errand to
the queen, taking my page Lugoi with the liver medicine. The
first object of remark was Lugoi, as indeed it was everywhere;
for, as I walked along, crowds ran after the little phenomenon.
Then came the liver questions; and, finally what I wanted--her
complaint against my men for robbing on the road, as it gave me
the opportunity of telling her the king was doing what I had been
trying to undo with my stick ever since I left the coast; and I
begged she would use influence to correct these disagreeables.
She told me for the future to send my men to her palace for food,
and rob no more; in the meanwhile, here were some plantains for
them. She then rose and walked away, leaving me extremely
disappointed that I could not make some more tangible arrangement
with her--such as, if my men came and found the gate shut, what
were they to do then? there were forty-five of them; how much
would she allow; etc. etc. But this was a true specimen of the
method of transacting business among the royal family of Uganda.
They gave orders without knowing how they are to be carried out,
and treat all practical arrangements as trifling details not
worth attending to.

After this unsatisfactory interview, I repaired to the king's,
knowing the power of my gun to obtain an interview, whilst
doubting the ability of the Wakungu to gain an audience for me.
Such was the case. These men had been sitting all day without
seeing the king, and three shots opened his gate immediately to
me. He was sitting on the iron chair in the shade of the court,
attended by some eighty women, tweedling the loading rod in his
fingers; but as my rod appeared a better one than his, they were
exchanged. I then gave him a tortoise-shell comb to comb his
hair straight with, as he invariably remarked on the beautiful
manner in which I dressed my hair, making my uncap to show it to
his women, and afterwards asked my men to bring on the affair of
last night. They feared, they said, to speak on such subjects
whilst the women were present. I begged for a private audience;
still they would not speak until encouraged and urged beyond all
patience. I said, in Kisuahili, "Kbakka" (king), "my men are
afraid to tell you what I want to say"; when Maula, taking
advantage of my having engaged his attention, though the king did
not understand one word I said, said of himself, by way of
currying favour, "I saw a wonderful gun in Rumankika's hands,
with six barrells; not a short one like your fiver" (meaning the
revolving pistol) "but a long one, as long as my arm." "Indeed,"
says the king, "we must have that." A page was then sent for by
Maula, who, giving him a bit of stick representing the gun
required, told him to fetch it immediately.

The king then said to me, "What is powder made of?" I began with
sulphur (kibriti), intending to explain everything; but the word
kibriti was enough for him, and a second stick was sent for
kibriti, the bearer being told to hurry for his life and fetch
it. The king now ordered some high officers who were in waiting
to approach. They come, almost crouching to their knees, with
eyes averted from the women, and n'yanzigged for the favour of
being called, till they streamed with perspiration. Four young
women, virgins, the daughters of these high officers, nicely
dressed, were shown in as brides, and ordered to sit with the
other women. A gamekeeper brought in baskets small antelopes,
called mpeo--with straight horns resembling those of the
saltiana, but with coats like the hog-deer of India--intended for
the royal kitchen. Elderly gentlemen led in goats as commutation
for offences, and went through the ceremonies due for the favour
of being relieved of so much property. Ten cows were then driven
in, plundered from Unyoro, and outside, the voices of the brave
army who captured them were heard n'yanzigging vehemently.
Lastly, some beautifully made shields were presented, and,
because extolled, n'yanzigged over; when the king rose abruptly
and walked straight away, leaving my fools of men no better off
for food, no reparation for their broken heads, than if I had
never gone there.

22d.--I called on the queen to inquire after her health, and to
know how my men were to be fed; but, without giving me time to
speak, she flew at me again about my men plundering. The old
story was repeated; I had forty-five hungry men, who must have
food, and unless either she or the king would make some proper
provision for them, I could not help it. Again she promised to
feed them, but she objected to them bearing swords, "for of what
use are swords? If the Waganda don't like the Wanguana, can
swords prevail in our country?" And, saying this, she walked
away. I thought to myself that she must have directed the attack
upon my camp last night and is angry at the Wanguana swords
driving her men away. At 3 p.m. I visited the king, to have a
private chat, and state my grievances; but the three shots fired
brought him out to levee, when animals and sundry other things
were presented; and appointments of Wakungu were made for the
late gallant services of some of the men in plundering Unyoro.

The old executioner, Kunza, being present, I asked the king to
pardon his son. Surprised, at first Mtesa said, "Can it be
possible Bana has asked for this?" And when assured, in great
glee he ordered the lad's release, amidst shouts of laughter from
everybody but the agitated father, who n'yanzigged, cried, and
fell at my feet, making a host of powerful signs as a token of
his gratitude; for his heart was too full of emotion to give
utterance to his feelings. The king them, in high good-humour,
said, "You have called on me many times without broaching the
subject of Usoga, and perhaps you may fancy we are not exerting
ourselves in the matter; but my army is only now returning from
war" (meaning plundering in Unyoro), "and I am collecting another
one, which will open Usoga effectually." Before I could say
anything, the king started up in his usual manner, inviting a
select few to follow him to another court, when my medicine-chest
was inspected, and I was asked to operate for fistula on one of
the royal executioners. I had no opportunity of incurring this
responsibility; for while professing to prepare for the
operation, the king went off it a fling.

When I got home I found Sangoro, whom we thought lost or
murdered, quietly ensconced in camp. He had been foraging by
himself a long way from camp, in a neighbourhood where many of
the king's women are kept; and it being forbidden ground, he was
taken up by the keepers, placed in the stocks, and fed, until to-
day, when he extricated his legs by means of his sword, and ran
away. My ever-grumbling men mobbed me again, clamouring for
food, saying, as they eyed my goats, I lived at ease and
overlooked their wants. In vain I told them they had fared more
abundantly than I had since we entered Uganda; whilst I spared my
goats to have a little flesh of their cows as rapidly as
possible, selling the skins for pombe, which I seldom tasted;
they robbed me as long as I had cloth or beads, and now they had
all become as fat as hogs by lifting food off the Waganda lands.
As I could not quiet them, I directed that, early next morning,
Maula should go to the king and Nasib to the queen, while I
proposed going to Kamraviona's to work them all three about this
affair of food.

23d.--According to the plan of last night, I called early on the
Kamraviona. He promised me assistance, but with an air which
seemed to say, What are the sufferings of other men to me? So I
went home to breakfast, doubting if anything ever would be done.
As Kaggo, however, the second officer of importance, had
expressed a wish to see me, I sent Bombay to him for food, and
waited the upshot. Presently the king sent to say he wished to
see me with my compass; for the blackguard Maula had told him I
possessed a wonderful instrument, by looking at which I could
find my way all over the world. I went as requested, and found
the king sitting outside the palace on my chair dressed in
cloths, with my silk neckerchief and crest-ring, playing his
flute in concert with his brothers, some thirty-odd young men and
boys, one half of them manacled, the other half free, with an
officer watching over them to see that they committed no

We then both sat side by side in the shade of the courtwalls,
conversed and had music by turns; for the king had invited his
brothers here to please me, the first step towards winning the
coveted compass. My hair must now be shown and admired, then my
shoes taken off and inspected, and my trousers tucked up to show
that I am white all over. Just at this time Bombay, who had been
in great request, came before us laden with plantains. This was
most opportune; for the king asked what he had been about, and
then the true state of the case as regards my difficulties in
obtaining food were, I fancy, for the first time, made known to
him. In a great fit of indignation he said, "I once killed a
hundred Wakungu in a single day, and now, if they won't feed my
guests, I will kill a hundred more; for I know the physic for
bumptiousness." Then, sending his brothers away, he asked me to
follow him into the back part of the palace, as he loved me so
much he must show me everything. We walked along under the
umbrella, first looking down one street of huts, then up another,
and, finally, passing the sleeping-chamber, stopped at one
adjoining it. "That hut," said the king, "is the one I sleep in;
no one of my wives dare venture within it unless I call her." He
let me feel immediately that for the distinction conferred on me
in showing me this sacred hut a return was expected. Could I
after that refuse him such a mere trifle as a compass? I told
him he might as well put my eyes out and ask me to walk home, as
take away that little instrument, which could be of no use to
him, as he could not read or understand it. But this only
excited his cupidity; he watched it twirling round and pointing
to the north, and looked and begged again, until, tired of his
importunities, I told him I must wait until the Usoga road was
open before I could part with it, and then the compass would be
nothing to what I would give him. Hearing this, "That is all on
my shoulders; as sure as I live it shall be done; for that
country has no king, and I have long been desirous of taking it."
I declined, however, to give him the instrument on the security
of his promise, and he went to breakfast.

I walked off to Usungu to see what I could do for him in his
misery. I found that he had a complication of evils entirely
beyond my healing power, and among them inveterate forms of the
diseases which are generally associated with civilisation and its
social evils. I could do nothing to cure him, but promised to do
whatever was in my power to alleviate his sufferings.

24th.--Before breakfast I called on poor Usungu, prescribing hot
coffee to be drunk with milk every morning, which astonished him
not a little, as the negroes only use coffee for chewing. He
gave my men pombe and plantains. On my return I met a page sent
to invite me to the palace. I found the king sitting with a
number of women. He was dressed in European clothes, part of them
being a pair of trousers he begged for yesterday, that he might
appear like Bana. This was his first appearance in trousers, and
his whole attire, contrasting strangely with his native
habiliments, was in his opinion very becoming, though to me a
little ridiculous; for the legs of the trousers, as well as the
sleeves of the waistcoat, were much too short, so that his black
feet and hands stuck out at the extremities as an organ-player's
monkey's do, whilst the cockscomb on his head prevented a fez
cap, which was part of his special costume for the occasion, from
sitting properly. This display over, the women were sent away,
and I saw shown into a court, where a large number of plantains
were placed in a line upon the ground for my men to take away,
and we were promised the same treat every day. From this we
proceeded to another court, where we sat in the shade together,
when the women returned again, but were all dumb, because my
interpreters dared not for their lives say anything, even on my
account, to the king's women. Getting tired, I took out my
sketch-book and drew Lubuga, the pet, which amused the king
immensely as he recognised her cockscomb.

Then twenty naked virgins, the daughters of Wakungu, all smeared
and shining with grease, each holding a small square of mbugu for
a fig-leaf, marched in a line before us, as a fresh addition to
the harem, whilst the happy fathers floundered n'yanzigging on
the ground, delighted to find their darlings appreciated by the
king. Seeing this done in such a quiet mild way before all my
men, who dared not lift their heads to see it, made me burst into
a roar of laughter, and the king, catching the infection from me,
laughed as well: but the laughing did not end there--for the
pages, for once giving way to nature, kept bursting--my men
chuckled in sudden gusts--while even the women, holding their
mouths for fear of detection, responded--and we all laughed
together. Then a sedate old dame rose from the squatting mass,
ordered the virgins to right-about, and marched them off, showing
their still more naked reverses. I now obtained permission for
the Wakungu to call upon me, and fancied I only required my
interpreters to speak out like men when I had anything to say, to
make my residence in Uganda both amusing and instructive; but
though the king, carried off by the prevailing good-humour of the
scene we had both witnessed, supported me, I found that he had
counter-ordered what he had said as soon as I had gone, and, in
fact, no Mkungu ever dared come near me.

25th.--To-day I visited Usungu again, and found him better. He
gave pombe and plantains for my people, but would not talk to me,
though I told him he had permission to call on me.

I have now been for some time within the court precincts, and
have consequently had an opportunity of witnessing court customs.


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