The Discovery of the Source of the Nile
John Hanning Speke

Part 7 out of 11

Among these, nearly every day since I have changed my residence,
incredible as it may appear to be, I have seen one, two, or three
of the wretched palace women led away to execution, tied by the
hand, and dragged along by one of the body-guard, crying out, as
she went to premature death, "Hai Minange!" (O my lord!)
"Kbakka!" (My king!) "Hai N'yawo!" (My mother!) at the top of her
voice, in the utmost despair and lamentation; and yet there was
not a soul who dared lift hand to save any of them, though many
might be heard privately commenting on their beauty.

26th.--To-day, to amuse the king, I drew a picture of himself
holding a levee, and proceeded to visit him. On the way I found
the highroad thronged with cattle captured in Unyoro; and on
arrival at the ante-chamber, amongst the officers in waiting,
Masimbi (Mr Cowries or Shells), the queen's uncle, and Congow, a
young general, who once led an army into Unyoro, past Kamrasi's
palace. They said they had obtained leave for me to visit them,
and were eagerly looking out for the happy event. At once, on
firing, I was admitted to the king's favourite place, which, now
that the king had a movable chair to sit upon, was the shade of
the court screen. We had a chat; the picture was shown to the
women; the king would like to have some more, and gave me leave
to draw in the palace any time I liked. At the same time he
asked for my paint-box, merely to look at it. Though I
repeatedly dunned him for it, I could never get it back from him
until I was preparing to leave Uganda.

27th.--After breakfast I started on a visit to Congow; but
finding he had gone to the king as usual, called at Masimbi's and
he being absent also, I took advantage of my proximity to the
queen's palace to call on her majesty. For hours I was kept
waiting; firstly, because she was at breakfast; secondly, because
she was "putting on medicine"; and, thirdly, because the sun was
too powerful for her complexion; when I became tired of her
nonsense, and said, "If she does not wish to see me, she had
better say so at once, else I shall walk away; for the last time
I came I saw her but for a minute, when she rudely turned her
back upon me, and left me sitting by myself." I was told not to
be in a hurry--she would see me in the evening. This promise
might probably be fulfilled six blessed hours from the time when
it was made; but I thought to myself, every place in Uganda is
alike when there is no company at home, and so I resolved to sit
the time out, like Patience on a monument, hoping something funny
might turn up after all.

At last her majesty stumps out, squats behind my red blanket,
which is converted into a permanent screen, and says hastily, or
rather testily, "Can't Bana perceive the angry state of the
weather?--clouds flying about, and the wind blowing half a gale?
Whenever that is the case, I cannot venture out." Taking her lie
without an answer, I said, I had now been fifty days or so doing
nothing in Uganda--not one single visitor of my own rank ever
came near me, and I could not associated with people far below
her condition and mine--in fact, all I had to amuse me at home
now was watching a hen lay her eggs upon my spare bed. Her
majesty became genial, as she had been before, and promised to
provide me with suitable society. I then told her I had desired
my officers several times to ask the king how marriages were
conducted in this country, as they appeared so different from
ours, but they always said they dared not put such a question to
him, and now I hoped she would explain it to me. To tell her I
could not get anything from the king, I knew would be the surest
way of eliciting what I wanted from her, because of the jealousy
between the two courts; and in this instance it was fully proved,
for she brightened up at once, and, when I got her to understand
something of what I meant by a marriage ceremony, in high good
humour entered on a long explanation, to the following effect:--

There are no such things as marriages in Uganda; there are no
ceremonies attached to it. If any Mkungu possessed of a pretty
daughter committed an offence, he might give her to the king as a
peace-offering; if any neighbouring king had a pretty daughter,
and the king of Uganda wanted her, she might be demanded as a
fitting tribute. The Wakungu in Uganda are supplied with women
by the king, according to their merits, from seizures in battle
abroad, or seizures from refractory officers at home. The women
are not regarded as property according to the Wanyamuezi
practice, though many exchange their daughters; and some women,
for misdemeanours, are sold into slavery; whilst others are
flogged, or are degraded to do all the menial services of the

The Wakungu then changed the subject by asking, if I married a
black woman, would there be any offspring, and what would be
their colour? The company now became jovial, when the queen
improved it by making a significant gesture, and with roars of
laughter asking me if I would like to be her son-in-law, for she
had some beautiful daughters, either of the Wahuma, or Waganda
breed. Rather staggered at first by this awful proposal, I
consulted Bombay what I should do with one if I got her. He,
looking more to number one than my convenience, said, "By all
means accept the offer, for if YOU don't like her, WE should, and
it would be a good means of getting her out of this land of
death, for all black people love Zanzibar." The rest need not be
told; as a matter of course I had to appear very much gratified,
and as the bowl went round, all became uproarious. I must wait a
day or two, however, that a proper selection might be made; and
when the marriage came off, I was to chain the fair one two or
three days, until she became used to me, else, from mere fright,
she might run away.

To keep up the spirits of the queen, though her frequent potions
of pombe had wellnigh done enough, I admired her neck-ring,
composed of copper wire, with a running inlaid twist of iron, and
asked her why she wore such a wreath of vine-leaves, as I had
often seen on some of the Wakungu. On this she produced a number
of rings similar to the one she wore, and taking off her own,
placed it round my neck. Then, pointing to her wreath, she said,
"This is the badge of a kidnapper's office--whoever wears it,
catches little children." I inferred that its possession, as an
insignia of royalty, conferred on the bearer the power of
seizure, as the great seal in this country confers power on
public officers.

The queen's dinner was now announced; and, desiring me to remain
where I was for a short time, she went to it. She sent me
several dishes (plantain-leaves), with well-cooked beef and
mutton, and a variety of vegetables, from her table, as well as a
number of round moist napkins, made in the shape of wafers, from
the freshly-drawn plantain fibres, to wash the hands and face
with. There was no doubt now about her culinary accomplishments.
I told her so when she returned, and that I enjoyed her parties
all the more because they ended with a dinner. "More pombe, more
pombe," cried the queen, full of mirth and glee, helping
everybody round in turn, and shouting and laughing at their
Kiganda witticisms--making, though I knew not a word said, an
amusing scene to behold--till the sun sank; and her majesty
remarking it, turned to her court and said, "If I get up, will
Bana also rise, and not accuse me of deserting him?" With this
speech a general rising took place, and, watching the queen's
retiring, I stood with my hat in hand, whilst all the Wakungu
fell upon their knees, and then all separated.

28th.--I went to the palace, and found, as usual, a large levee
waiting the king's pleasure to appear; amongst whom were the
Kamraviona, Masimbi, and the king's sister Miengo. I fired my
gun, and admitted at once, but none of the others could follow me
save Miengo. The king, sitting on the chair with his women by
his side, ordered twelve cloths, the presents of former Arab
visitors, to be brought before him; and all of these I was
desired to turn into European garments, like my own coats,
trousers, and waistcoats. It was no use saying I had no tailors--
the thing must be done somehow; for he admired my costume
exceedingly, and wished to imitate it now he had cloth enough for
ever to dispense with the mbugu.

As I had often begged the king to induce his men, who are all
wonderfully clever artisans, to imitate the chair and other
things I gave him, I now told him if he would order some of his
sempsters, who are far cleverer with the needle than my men, to
my camp, I would cut up some old clothes, and so teach them how
to work. This was agreed to, and five cows were offered as a
reward; but as his men never came, mine had to do the job.

Maula then engaged the king's attention for fully an hour,
relating what wonderful things Bana kept in his house, if his
majesty would only deign to see them; and for this humbug got
rewarded by a present of three women. Just at this juncture an
adjutant flew overhead, and, by way of fun, I presented my gun,
when the excited king, like a boy from school, jumped up,
forgetting his company, and cried, "Come, Bana, and shoot the
nundo; I know where he has gone--follow me." And away we went,
first through one court, then through another, till we found the
nundo perched on a tree, looking like a sedate old gentleman with
a bald head, and very sharp, long nose. Politeness lost the
bird; for whilst I wished the king to shoot, he wished me to do
so, from fear of missing it himself. He did not care about
vultures--he could practise at them at any time; but he wanted a
nundo above all things. The bird, however, took the hint, and
flew away.

Chapter XIII

Palace, Uganda--Continued

A Visit to a Distinguished Statesman--A Visit from the King--
Royal Sport--The Queen's Present of Wives--The Court Beauties and
their Reverses--Judicial Procedure in Uganda--Buffalo-Hunting--A
Musical Party--My Medical Practice--A Royal Excursion on the
N'yanza-- The Canoes of Uganda--A Regatta--Rifle Practice--
Domestic Difficulties--Interference of a Magician--The King's

29th.--According to appointment I went early this morning to
visit Congow. He kept me some time waiting in his outer hut, and
then called me in to where I found him sitting with his women--a
large group, by no means pretty. His huts are numerous, the
gardens and courts all very neat and well kept. He was much
delighted with my coming, produced pombe, and asked me what I
thought of his women, stripping them to the waist. He assured me
that he had thus paid me such a compliment as nobody else had
ever obtained, since the Waganda are very jealous of one another-
-so much so, that any one would be killed if found starring upon
a woman even in the highways. I asked him what use he had for so
many women? To which he replied, "None whatever; the king gives
them to us to keep up our rank, sometimes as many as one hundred
together, and we either turn them into wives, or make servants of
them, as we please." Just then I heard that Mkuenda, the queen's
woman-keeper, was outside waiting for me, but dared not come in,
because Congow's women were all out; so I asked leave to go home
to breakfast, much to the surprise of Congow, who thought I was
his guest for the whole day. It is considered very indecorous in
Uganda to call upon two persons in one day, though even the king
or the queen should be one of them. Then, as there was no help
for it--Congow could not detain me when hungry--he showed me a
little boy, the only child he had, and said, with much fatherly
pride, "Both the king and queen have called on me to see this
fine little fellow"; and we parted to meet again some other day.
Outside his gate I found Mkuenda, who said the queen had sent him
to invite "her son" to bring her some stomach medicine in the
morning, and come to have a chat with her. With Mkuenda I walked
home; but he was so awed by the splendour of my hut, with its few
blankets and bit of chintz, that he would not even sit upon a
cow-skin, but asked if any Waganda dared venture in there. He
was either too dazzled or too timid to answer any questions, and
in a few minutes walked away again.

After this, I had scarcely swallowed by breakfast before I
received a summons from the king to meet him out shooting, with
all the Wanguana armed, and my guns; and going towards the
palace, found him with a large staff, pages and officers as well
as women, in a plantain garden, looking eagerly out for birds,
whilst his band was playing. In addition to his English dress,
he wore a turban, and pretended that the glare of the sun was
distressing his eyes--for, in fact, he wanted me to give him a
wideawake like my own. Then, as if a sudden freak had seized
him, though I knew it was on account of Maula's having excited
his curiosity, he said, "Where does Bana live? lead away."
Bounding and scrambling, the Wakungu, the women and all, went
pell-mell through everything towards my hut. If the Kamraviona
or any of the boys could not move fast enough, on account of the
crops on the fields, they were piked in the back till half
knocked over; but, instead of minding, they trotted on,
n'yanzigging as if honoured by a kingly poke, though treated like
so many dogs.

Arrived at the hut, the king took off his turban as I took off my
hat, and seated himself on my stool; whilst the Kamraviona, with
much difficulty, was induced to sit upon a cowskin, and the women
at first were ordered to squat outside. Everything that struck
the eye was much admired and begged for, though nothing so much
as my wideawake and mosquito-curtains; then, as the women were
allowed to have a peep in and see Bana in his den, I gave them
two sacks of beads, to make the visit profitable, the only
alternative left me from being forced into inhospitality, for no
one would drink from my cup. Moreover, a present was demanded by
the laws of the country.

The king, excitedly impatient, now led the way again, shooting
hurry-scurry through my men's lines, which were much commented on
as being different from Waganda hutting, on to the tall tree with
the adjutant's nest. One young bird was still living in it.
There was no shot, so bullets must be fired; and the cunning
king, wishing to show off, desired me to fire simultaneously with
himself. We fired, but my bullet struck the bough the nest was
resting on; we fired again, and the bullet passed through the
nest without touching the bird. I then asked the king to allow
me to try his Whitworth, to which a little bit of stick, as a
charm to secure a correct aim, had been tied below the trigger-
guard. This time I broke the bird's leg, and knocked him half
out of the nest; so, running up to the king, I pointed to the
charm, saying, That has done it--hoping to laugh him out of the
folly; but he took my joke in earnest, and he turned to his men,
commenting on the potency of the charm. Whilst thus engaged, I
took another rifle and brought the bird down altogether. "Woh,
woh, woh!" shouted the king; "Bana, Mzungu, Mzungu!" he repeated,
leaping and clapping his hands, as he ran full speed to the
prostrate bird, whilst the drums beat, and the Wakungu followed
him: "Now, is not this a wonder? but we must go and shoot
another." "Where?" I said; "we may walk a long way without
finding, if we have nothing but our eyes to see with. Just send
for your telescope, and then I will show you how to look for
birds." Surprised at this announcement, the king sent his pages
flying for the instrument, and when it came I instructed him how
to use it; when he could see with it, and understand its powers,
his astonishment knew no bounds; and, turning to his Wakungu, he
said, laughing, "Now I do see the use of this thing I have been
shutting up in the palace. On that distant tree I can see three
vultures. To its right there is a hut, with a woman sitting
inside the portal, and many goats are feeding all about the
palace, just as large and distinct as if I was close by them."

The day was now far spent, and all proceeded towards the palace.
On the way a mistletoe was pointed out as a rain-producing tree,
probably because, on a former occasion, I had advised the king to
grow groves of coffee-trees about his palace to improve its
appearance, and supply the court with wholesome food--at the same
time informing him that trees increase the falls of rain in a
country, though very high ones would be dangerous, because they
attract lightning. Next the guns must be fired off; and, as it
would be a pity to waste lead, the king, amidst thunders of
applause, shot five cows, presenting his gun from the shoulder.

So ended the day's work in the field, but not at home; for I had
hardly arrived there before the pages hurried in to beg for
powder and shot, then caps, then cloth, and, everything else
failing, a load of beads. Such are the persecutions of this
negro land-- the host every day must beg something in the most
shameless manner from his guest, on the mere chance of gaining
something gratis, though I generally gave the king some trifle
when he least expected it, and made an excuse that he must wait
for the arrival of fresh stores from Gani when he asked.

30th.--To fulfil my engagement with the queen, I walked off to
her palace with stomach medicine, thinking we were now such warm
friends, all pride and distant ceremonies would be dispensed
with; but, on the contrary, I was kept waiting for hours till I
sent in word to say, if she did not want medicine, I wished to go
home, for I was tired of Uganda and everything belonging to it.
This message brought her to her gate, where she stood laughing
till the Wahuma girls she had promised me, one of twelve and the
other a little older, were brought in and made to squat in front
of us. The elder, who was in the prime of youth and beauty, very
large of limb, dark in colour, cried considerably; whilst the
younger one, though very fair, had a snubby nose and everted
lips, and laughed as if she thought the change in her destiny
very good fun. I had now to make my selection, and took the
smaller one, promising her to Bombay as soon as we arrived on the
coast, where, he said, she would be considered a Hubshi or
Abyssinian. But when the queen saw what I had done, she gave me
the other as well, saying the little one was too young to go
alone, and, if separated, she would take fright and run away.
Then with a gracious bow I walked of with my two fine specimens
of natural history, though I would rather have had princes, that
I might have taken them home to be instructed in England; but the
queen, as soon as we had cleared the palace, sent word to say she
must have another parting look at her son with his wives. Still
laughing, she said, "That will do; you look beautiful; now go
away home"; and off we trotted, the elder sobbing bitterly, the
younger laughing.

As soon as we reached home, my first inquiry was concerning their
histories, of which they appeared to know but very little. The
elder, whom I named Meri (plantains), was obtained by Sunna, the
late king, as a wife, from Nkole; and though she was a mere
Kahala, or girl, when the old king died, he was so attached to
her he gave her twenty cows, in order that she might fatten up on
milk after her native fashion; but on Sunna's death, when the
establishment of women was divided, Meri fell to N'yamasore's
(the queen's) lot. The lesser one, who still retains the name of
Kahala, said she was seized in Unyoro by the Waganda, who took
her to N'yamasore, but what became of her father and mother she
could not say.

It was now dinner-time, and as the usual sweet potatoes and
goat's flesh were put upon my box-table, I asked them to dine
with me, and we became great friends, for they were assured they
would finally get good houses and gardens at Zanzibar; but
nothing would induce either of them to touch food that had been
cooked with butter. A dish of plantains and goat-flesh was then
prepared; but though Kahala wished to eat it, Meri rejected the
goat's flesh, and would not allow Kahala to taste it either; and
thus began a series of domestic difficulties. On inquiring how I
could best deal with my difficult charge, I was told the Wahuma
pride was so great, and their tempers so strong, they were more
difficult to break in than a phunda, or donkey, though when once
tamed, they became the best of wives.

31st.--I wished to call upon the queen and thank her for her
charming present, but my hungry men drove me to the king's palace
in search of food. The gun firing brought Mtesa out, prepared
for a shooting trip, with his Wakungu leading, the pages carrying
his rifle and ammunition, and a train of women behind. The first
thing seen outside the palace gate was a herd of cows, from which
four were selected and shot at fifty paces by the king, firing
from his shoulder, amidst thunders of applause and hand-shakings
of the elders. I never saw them dare touch the king's hand
before. Then Mtesa, turning kindly to me, said, "Pray take a
shot"; but I waived the offer off, saying he could kill better
himself. Ambitious of a cut above cows, the king tried his hand
at some herons perched on a tree, and, after five or six
attempts, hit one in the eye. Hardly able to believe in his own
skill, he stood petrified at first, and then ran madly to the
fallen bird, crying, "Woh, woh, woh! can this be?--is it true?
Woh, woh!" He jumped in the air, and all his men and women
shouted in concert with him. Then he rushes at me, takes both my
hands--shakes, shakes--woh, woh!--then runs to his women, then to
his men; shakes them all, woh-wohing, but yet not shaking or
wohing half enough for his satisfaction, for he is mad with joy
at his own exploit.

The bird is then sent immediately to his mother, whilst he
retires to his palace, woh-wohing, and taking "ten to the dozen"
all the way and boasting of his prowess. "Now, Bana, tell me--do
you not think, if two such shots as you and I were opposed to an
elephant, would he have any chance before us? I know I can
shoot--I am certain of it now. You have often asked me to go
hippopotamus-shooting with you, but I staved it off until I
learnt the way to shoot. Now, however, I can shoot--and that
remarkably well too, I flatter myself. I will have at them, and
both of us will go on the lake together." The palace was now
reached; musicians were ordered to play before the king, and
Wakungu appointments were made to celebrate the feats of the day.
Then the royal cutler brought in dinner-knives made of iron,
inlaid with squares of copper and brass, and goats and vegetables
were presented as usual, when by torchlight we were dismissed, my
men taking with them as many plantains as they could carry.

1st.--I stayed at home all this day, because the king and queen
had set it apart for looking at and arranging their horns--
mapembe, or fetishes, as the learned call such things--to see
that there are no imperfections in the Uganga. This was
something like an inquiry into the ecclesiastical condition of
the country, while, at the same time, it was a religious
ceremony, and, as such, was appropriate to the first day after
the new moon appears. This being the third moon by account, in
pursuance of ancient customs, all the people about court,
including the king, shaved their heads--the king, however,
retaining his cockscomb, the pages their double cockades, and the
other officers their single cockades on the back of the head, or
either side, according to the official rank of each. My men were
occupied making trousers for the king all day; whilst the pages,
and those sent to learn the art of tailoring, instead of doing
their duty, kept continually begging for something to present the

2d.--The queen now taking a sporting fit into her head, sent for
me early in the morning, with all my men, armed, to shoot a
crested crane in her palace; but though we were there as
required, we were kept waiting till late in the afternoon, when,
instead of talking about shooting, as her Wakungu had forbidden
her doing it, she asked after her two daughters--whether they had
run away, or if they liked their new abode? I replied I was
sorry circumstances did not permit my coming to thank her sooner,
for I felt grateful beyond measure to her for having charmed my
house with such beautiful society. I did not follow her advice
to chain either of them with iron, for I found cords of love, the
only instrument white men know the use of, quite strong enough.
Fascinated with this speech, she said she would give me another
of a middle age between the two, expecting, as I thought, that
she would thus induce me to visit her more frequently than I did
her son; but, though I thanked her, it frightened me from
visiting her for ages after.

She then said, with glowing pride, casting a sneer on the king's
hospitality, "In the days of yore, Sunna, whenever visitors came
to see him, immediately presented them with women, and, secondly,
with food; for he was very particular in looking after his
guests' welfare, which is not exactly what you find the case now,
I presume." The rest of the business of the day consisted in
applications for medicine and medical treatment, which it was
difficult satisfactorily to meet.

3d.--To-day Katumba, the king's head page, was sent to me with
deoles to be made into trousers and waistcoats, and a large
sixty-dollar silk I had given him to cover the chair with. The
king likes rich colours, and I was solemnly informed that he will
never wear anything but clothes like Bana.

4th.--By invitation I went to the palace at noon, with guns, and
found the king holding a levee, the first since the new moon,
with all heads shaved in the manner I have mentioned. Soon
rising, he showed the way through the palace to a pond, which is
described as his bathing N'yanza, his women attending, and pages
leading the way with his guns. From this we passed on to a
jungle lying between the palace hill and another situated at the
northern end of the lake, where wild buffaloes frequently lie
concealed in the huge papyrus rushes of a miry drain; but as none
could be seen at that moment, we returned again to the palace.
He showed me large mounds of earth, in the shape of cocked hats,
which are private observatories, from which the surrounding
country can be seen. By the side of these observatories are huts,
smaller than the ordinary ones used for residing in, where the
king, after the exertion of "looking out," takes his repose.
Here he ordered fruit to be brought--the Matunguru, a crimson pod
filled with acid seeds, which has only been observed growing by
the rivers or waters of Uganda--and Kasori, a sort of liquorice-
root. He then commenced eating with us, and begging again,
unsuccessfully, for my compass. I tried again to make him see the
absurdity of tying a charm on Whitworth's rifle, but without the
least effect. In fact he mistook all my answers for admiration,
and asked me, in the simplest manner possible, if I would like to
possess a charm; and even when I said "No, I should be afraid of
provoking Lubari's" (God's) "anger if I did so," he only wondered
at my obstinacy, so thoroughly was he wedded to his belief. He
then called for his wideawake, and walked with us into another
quarter of his palace, when he entered a dressing-hut, followed
by a number of full-grown, stark-naked women, his valets; at the
same time ordering a large body of women to sit on one side the
entrance, whilst I, with Bombay, were directed to sit on the
other, waiting till he was ready to hold another levee. From
this, we repaired to the great throne-hut, where all his Wakungu
at once formed court, and business was commenced. Amongst other
things, an officer, by name Mbogo, or the Buffalo, who had been
sent on a wild-goose chase to look after Mr Petherick, described
a journey he had made, following down the morning sun. After he
had passed the limits of plantain-eating men, he came upon men
who lived upon meat alone, who never wore mbugus, but either
cloth or skins, and instead of the spear they used the double-
edged sime. He called the people Wasewe, and their chief Kisawa;
but the company pronounced them to be Masawa (Masai).

After this, about eighty men were marched into the court, with
their faces blackened, and strips of plantain-bark tied on their
heads, each holding up a stick in his hand in place of a spear,
under the regulation that no person is permitted to carry weapons
of any sort in the palace. They were led by an officer, who,
standing like a captain before his company, ordered them to jump
and praise the king, acting the part of fugleman himself. Then
said the king, turning to me, "Did I not tell you I had sent many
men to fight? These are some of my army returned; the rest are
coming, and will eventually, when all are collected, go in a body
to fight in Usoga." Goats and other peace-offerings were then
presented; and, finally a large body of officers came in with an
old man, with his two ears shorn off for having been too handsome
in his youth, and a young woman who, after four days' search, had
been discovered in his house. They were brought for judgment
before the king.

Nothing was listened to but the plaintiff's statement, who said
he had lost the woman four days, and, after considerable search,
had found her concealed by the old man, who was indeed old enough
to be her grandfather. From all appearances one would have said
the wretched girl had run away from the plaintiff's house in
consequence of ill treatment, and had harboured herself on this
decrepid old man without asking his leave; but their voices in
defence were never heard, for the king instantly sentenced both
to death, to prevent the occurrence of such impropriety again;
and, to make the example more severe, decreed that their lives
should not be taken at once, but, being fed to preserve life as
long as possible, they were to be dismembered bit by bit, as
rations for the vultures, every day, until life was extinct. The
dismayed criminals, struggling to be heard, in utter despair,
were dragged away boisterously in the most barbarous manner, to
the drowning music of the milele and drums.

The king, in total unconcern about the tragedy he had thus
enacted, immediately on their departure said, "Now, then, for
shooting, Bana; let us look at your gun." It happened to be
loaded, but fortunately only with powder, to fire my announcement
at the palace; for he instantly placed caps on the nipples, and
let off one barrel by accident, the contents of which stuck in
the thatch. This created a momentary alarm, for it was supposed
the thatch had taken fire; but it was no sooner suppressed than
the childish king, still sitting on his throne, to astonish his
officers still more, levelled the gun from his shoulder, fired
the contents of the second barrel into the faces of his squatting
Wakungu, and then laughed at his own trick. In the meanwhile
cows were driven in, which the king ordered his Wakungu to shoot
with carbines; and as they missed them, he showed them the way to
shoot with the Whitworth, never missing. The company now broke
up, but I still clung to the king, begging him to allow me to
purchase food with beads, as I wanted it, for my establishment
was always more or less in a starving state; but he only said,
"Let us know what you want and you shall always have it"; which,
in Uganda, I knew from experience only meant, Don't bother me any
more, but give me your spare money, and help yourself from my
spacious gardens--Uganda is before you.

5th--To-day the king went on a visit with his mother, and
therefore neither of them could be seen by visitors. I took a
stroll towards the N'yanza, passing through the plantain-groves
occupied by the king's women, where my man Sangoro had been twice
taken up by the Mgemma and put in the stocks. The plantain
gardens were beautifully kept by numerous women, who all ran away
from fright at seeing me, save one who, taken by surprise, threw
herself flat on the ground, rolled herself up in her mbugu, and,
kicking with her naked heels, roared murder and help, until I
poked her up, and reproached her for her folly. This little
incident made my fairies bolder, and, sidling up to me one by
one, they sat in a knot with me upon the ground; then clasping
their heads with their hands, they woh-wohed in admiration of the
white man; they never in all their lives saw anything so
wonderful; his wife and children must be like him; what would not
Sunna have given for such a treat?--but it was destined to
Mtesa's lot. What is the interpretation of this sign, if it does
not point to the favour in which Mtesa is upheld by the spirits?
I wished to go, but no: "Stop a little more," they said, all in a
breath, or rather out of breath in their excitement; "remove the
hat and show the hair; take off the shoes and tuck up the
trousers; what on earth is kept in the pockets? Oh, wonder of
wonders!--and the iron!" As I put the watch close to the ear of
one of them, "Tick, tick, ticks--woh, woh, woh"--everybody must
hear it; and then the works had to be seen. "Oh, fearful!" said
one, "hide your faces: it is the Lubari. Shut it up, Bana, shut
it up; we have seen enough; but you will come again and bring us
beads." So ended the day's work.

6th.--To-day I sent Bombay to the palace for food. Though rain
fell in torrents, he found the king holding a levee, giving
appointments, plantations, and women, according to merit, to his
officers. As one officer, to whom only one woman was given,
asked for more, the king called him an ingrate, and ordered him
to be cut to pieces on the spot; and the sentence was, as Bombay
told me, carried into effect-- not with knives, for they are
prohibited, but with strips of sharp-edged grass, after the
executioners had first dislocated his neck by a blow delivered
behind the head, with a sharp, heavy-headed club.

No food, however, was given to my men, though the king,
anticipating Bombay's coming, sent me one load of tobacco, one of
butter, and one of coffee. My residence in Uganda became much
more merry now, for all the women of the camp came daily to call
on my two little girls; during which time they smoked my tobacco,
chewed my coffee, drank my pombe, and used to amuse me with queer
stories of their native land. Rozaro's sister also came, and
proposed to marry me, for Maula, she said, was a brutal man; he
killed one of his women because he did not like her, and now he
had clipped one of this poor creature's ears off for trying to
run away from him; and when abused for his brutality, he only
replied, "It was no fault of his, as the king set the example in
the country."

In the evening I took a walk with Kahala, dressed in a red scarf,
and in company with Lugoi, to show my children off in the gardens
to my fair friends of yesterday. Everybody was surprised. The
Mgemma begged us to sit with him and drink pombe, which he
generously supplied to our heart's content; wondered at the
beauty of Kahala, wished I would give him a wife like her, and
lamented that the king would not allow his to wear such pretty
clothes. We passed on a little farther, and were invited to sit
with another man, Lukanikka, to drink pombe and chew coffee--
which we did as before, meeting with the same remarks; for all
Waganda, instructed by the court, know the art of flattery better
than any people in the world, even including the French.

7th.--In the morning, whilst it rained hard, the king sent to say
that he had started buffalo-shooting, and expected me to join
him. After walking a mile beyond the palace, we found him in a
plantain garden, dressed in imitation of myself, wideawake and
all, the perfect picture of a snob. He sent me a pot of pombe,
which I sent home to the women, and walked off for the shooting-
ground, two miles further on, the band playing in the front,
followed by some hundred Wakungu--then the pages, then the king,
next myself, and finally the women--the best in front, the worst
bringing up the rear, with the king's spears and shield, as also
pots of pombe, a luxury the king never moves without. It was
easy to see there would be no sport, still more useless of offer
any remarks, therefore all did as they were bid. The broad road,
like all in Uganda, went straight over hill and dale, the heights
covered with high grass or plantain groves, and the valleys with
dense masses of magnificent forest-trees surrounding swamps
covered with tall rushes half bridged. Proceeding on, as we came
to the first water, I commenced flirtations with Mtesa's women,
much to the surprise of the king and every one. The bridge was
broken, as a matter of course; and the logs which composed it,
lying concealed beneath the water, were toed successively by the
leading men, that those who followed should not be tripped up by
them. This favour the king did for me, and I in return for the
women behind; they had never been favoured in their lives with
such gallantry, and therefore could not refrain from laughing,
which attracted the king's notice and set everybody in a giggle;
for till now no mortal man had ever dared communicate with his

Shortly after this we left the highway, and, turning westwards,
passed through a dense jungle towards the eastern shores of the
Murchison Creek, cut by runnels and rivulets, where on one
occasion I offered, by dumb signs to carry the fair ones pick-a-
back over, and after crossing a second myself by a floating log,
offered my hand. The leading wife first fears to take it, then
grows bold and accepts it; when the prime beauty, Lubuga,
following in her wake, and anxious to feel, I fancy, what the
white man is like, with an imploring face holds out both her
hands in such a captivating manner, that though I feared to draw
attention by waiting any longer, I could not resist compliance.
The king noticed it; but instead of upbraiding me, passed it off
as a joke, and running up to the Kamraviona, gave him a poke in
the ribs, and whispered what he had seen, as if it had been a
secret. "Woh, woh!" says the Kamraviona, "what wonders will
happen next?"

We were now on the buffalo ground; but nothing could be seen save
some old footprints of buffaloes, and a pitfall made for catching
them. By this time the king was tired; and as he saw me
searching for a log to sit upon, he made one of his pages kneel
upon all fours and sat upon his back, acting the monkey in aping
myself; for otherwise he would have sat on a mbugu, in his
customary manner, spread on the ground. We returned, pushing
along, up one way, then another, without a word, in thorough
confusion, for the king delights in boyish tricks, which he has
learned to play successfully. Leaving the road and plunging into
thickets of tall grass, the band and Wakungu must run for their
lives, to maintain the order of march, by heading him at some
distant point of exit from the jungle; whilst the Kamraviona,
leading the pages and my men, must push head first, like a herd
of buffaloes, through the sharp-cutting grass, at a sufficient
rate to prevent the royal walk from being impeded; and the poor
women, ready to sink with exhaustion, can only be kept in their
places by fear of losing their lives.

We had been out the whole day; still he did not tire of these
tricks, and played them incessantly till near sundown, when we
entered the palace. Then the women and Wakungu separating from
us, we--that is, the king, the Kamraviona, pages, and myself--sat
down to a warm feast of sweet potatoes and plantains, ending with
pombe and fruit, whilst moist circular napkins, made in the shape
of magnificent wafers out of plantain fibre, acted at once both
the part of water and towel. This over, as the guns had to be
emptied, and it was thought sinful to waste the bullets, four
cows were ordered in and shot by the king. Thus ended the day,
my men receiving one of the cows.

8th.--As Mtesa was tired with his yesterday's work, and would not
see anybody, I took Lugoi and Kahala, with a bundle of beads, to
give a return to the Mgemma for his late treat of pombe. His
household men and women were immensely delighted with us, but
more so, they said, for the honour of the visit. They gave us
more pombe, and introduced us to one of N'yamasore's numerous
sisters, who was equally charmed with myself and my children. The
Mgemma did not know how he could treat us properly, he said, for
he was only a poor man; but he would order some fowls, that I
might carry them away. When I refused this offer, because we
came to see him, and not to rob him, he thought it the most
beautiful language, and said he would bring them to the house
himself. I added, I hoped he would do so in company with his
wife, which he promised, though he never dared fulfil the
promise; and, on our leaving, set all his servants to escort us
beyond the premises. In the evening, as the king's musicians
passed the camp, I ordered them in to play the milele, and give
my men and children a treat of dancing. The performers received
a bundle of beads and went away happy.

9th.--I called on Congow, but found him absent, waiting on the
king, as usual; and the king sent for my big rifle to shoot birds

10th.--In consequence of my having explained to the king the
effect of the process of distilling, and the way of doing it, he
sent a number of earthen pots and bugus of pombe that I might
produce some spirits for him; but as the pots sent were not made
after the proper fashion, I called at the palace and waited all
day in the hope of seeing him. No one, however, dared enter his
cabinet, where he had been practising "Uganga" all day, and so
the pombe turned sour and useless. Such are the ways of Uganda
all over.

11th.--The king was out shooting; and as nothing else could be
done, I invited Uledi's pretty wife Guriku to eat a mutton
breakfast, and teach my child Meri not to be so proud. In this
we were successful; but whether her head had been turned, as
Bombay thought, or what else, we know not; but she would neither
walk, nor talk, nor do anything but lie at full length all day
long, smoking and lounging in thorough indolence.

12th.--I distilled some fresh pombe for the king; and taking it
to him in the afternoon, fired guns to announce arrival. He was
not visible, while fearful shrieks were heard from within, and
presently a beautiful woman, one of the king's sisters, with
cockscomb erect, was dragged out to execution, bewailing and
calling on her king, the Kamraviona, and Mzungu, by turns, to
save her life. Would to God I could have done it! but I did not
know her crime, if crime she had committed, and therefore had to
hold my tongue, whilst the Kamraviona, and other Wakungu present,
looked on with utter unconcern, not daring to make the slightest
remark. It happened that Irungu was present in the ante-chamber
at this time; and as Maula came with my party, they had a fight
in respect to their merits for having brought welcome guests to
their king. Mtesa, it was argued, had given N'yamgundu more
women and men than he did to Maula, because he was the first to
bring intelligence of our coming, as well as that of K'yengo, and
Suworora's hongo to his king; whilst, finally, he superseded
Maula by taking me out of his charge, and had done a further good
service by sending men on to Karague to fetch both Grant and

Maula, although he had received the second reward, had literally
done nothing, whilst Irungu had been years absent at Usui, and
finally had brought a valuable hongo, yet he got less than Maula.
This, Irungu said, was an injustice he would not stand;
N'yamgundu fairly earned his reward, but Maula must have been
tricking to get more than himself. He would get a suitable
offering of wire, and lay his complaint in court the first
opportunity. "Pooh, pooh! nonsense!" says Maula, laughing; "I
will give him more wires than you, and then let us see who will
win the king's ear." Upon this the two great children began
collecting wire and quarrelling until the sun went down, and I
went home. I did not return to a quiet dinner, as I had hoped,
but to meet the summons of the king. Thinking it policy to obey,
I found him waiting my coming in the palace. He made apologies
for not answering my gun, and tasted some spirits resembling
toddy, which I had succeeded in distilling. He imbibed it with
great surprise; it was wonderful tipple; he must have some more;
and, for the purpose of brewing better, would send the barrel of
an old Brown Bess musket, as well as more pombe and wood in the

13th.--As nothing was done all day, I took the usual promenade in
the Seraglio Park, and was accosted by a very pretty little
woman, Kariana, wife of Dumba, who, very neatly dressed, was
returning from a visit. At first she came trotting after me,
then timidly paused, then advanced, and, as I approached, stood
spellbound at my remarkable appearance. At last recovering
herself, she woh-wohed with all the coquetry of a Mganda woman,
and a flirtation followed; she must see my hair, my watch, the
contents of my pockets-- everything; but that was not enough. I
waved adieu, but still she followed. I offered my arm, showing
her how to take it in European fashion, and we walked along to
the surprise of everybody, as if we had been in Hyde Park rather
than in Central Africa, flirting and coquetting all the way. I
was surprised that no one came to prevent her forwardness; but
not till I almost reached home did any one appear; and then, with
great scolding, she was ordered to return-- not, however, without
her begging I would call in and see her on some future occasion,
when she would like to give me some pombe.

14th.--As conflicting reports came about Grant, the king very
courteously, at my request, forwarded letters to him. I passed
the day in distilling pombe, and the evening in calling on Mrs
Dumba, with Meri, Kahala, Lugoi, and a troop of Wanyamuezi women.
She was very agreeable; but as her husband was attending the
palace, could not give pombe, and instead gave my female escort
sundry baskets of plaintains and potatoes, signifying a dinner,
and walked half-way home, flirting with me as before.

15th--I called on the king with all the spirits I had made, as
well as the saccharine residue. We found him holding a levee,
and receiving his offerings of a batch of girls, cows, goats, and
other things of an ordinary nature. One of the goats presented
gave me an opportunity of hearing one of the strangest stories I
had yet heard in this strange country: it was a fine for
attempted regicide, which happened yesterday, when a boy, finding
the king alone, which is very unusual, walked up to him and
threatened to kill him, because, he said, he took the lives of
men unjustly. The king explained by description and pantomime
how the affair passed. When the youth attacked him he had in his
hand the revolving pistol I had given him, and showed us, holding
the pistol to his cheek, how he had presented the muzzle to the
boy, which, though it was unloaded, so frightened him that he ran
away. All the courtiers n'yanzigged vigorously for the
condescension of the king in telling the story. There must have
been some special reason why, in a court where trifling breaches
of etiquette were punished with a cruel death, so grave a crime
should have been so leniently dealt with; but I could not get at
the bottom of the affair. The culprit, a good-looking young
fellow of sixteen or seventeen, who brought in the goat, made his
n'yanzigs, stroked the goat and his own face with his hands,
n'yanzigged again with prostrations, and retired.

After this scene, officers announced the startling fact that two
white men had been seen at Kamrasi's, one with a beard like
myself, the other smooth-faced. I jumped at this news, and said,
"Of course, they are there; do let me send a letter to them." I
believed it to be Petherick and a companion whom I knew he was to
bring with him. The king, however, damped my ardour by saying
the information was not perfect, and we must wait until certain
Wakungu, whom he sent to search in Unyoro, returned.

16th.--The regions about the palace were all in a state of
commotion to-day, men and women running for their lives in all
directions, followed by Wakungu and their retainers. The cause
of all this commotion was a royal order to seize sundry
refractory Wakungu, with their property, wives, concubines--if
such a distinction can be made in this country--and families all
together. At the palace Mtesa had a musical party, playing the
flute occasionally himself. After this he called me aside, and
said, "Now, Bana, I wish you would instruct me, as you have often
proposed doing, for I wish to learn everything, though I have
little opportunity for doing so." Not knowing what was uppermost
in his mind, I begged him to put whatever questions he liked, and
he should be answered seriatim-- hoping to find him inquisitive
on foreign matters; but nothing was more foreign to his mind:
none of his countrymen ever seemed to think beyond the sphere of

The whole conversation turned on medicines, or the cause and
effects of diseases. Cholera, for instance, very much affected
the land at certain seasons, creating much mortality, and
vanishing again as mysteriously as it came. What brought this
scourge? and what would cure it? Supposing a man had a headache,
what should he take for it? or a leg ache, or a stomach-ache, or
itch; in fact, going the rounds of every disease he knew, until,
exhausting the ordinary complaints, he went into particulars in
which he was personally much interested; but I was unfortunately
unable to prescribe medicines which produce the physical
phenomenon next to his heart.

17th.--I called upon the king by appointment, and found a large
court, where the Wakungu caught yesterday, and sentenced to
execution, received their reprieve on paying fines of cattle and
young damsels--their daughters. A variety of charms, amongst
which were some bits of stick strung on leather and covered with
serpent-skin, were presented and approved of. Kaggao, a large
district officer, considered the second in rank here, received
permission for me to call upon him with my medicines. I pressed
the king again to send men with mine to Kamrasi's to call
Petherick. At first he objected that they would be killed, but
finally he yielded, and appointed Budja, his Unyoro ambassador,
for the service. Then, breaking up the court, he retired with a
select party of Wakungu, headed by the Kamraviona, and opened a
conversation on the subject which is ever uppermost with the king
and his courtiers.

18th.--To-day I visited Kaggao with my medicine-chest. He had a
local disease, which he said came to him by magic, though a
different cause was sufficiently obvious, and wanted medicine
such as I gave Mkuenda, who reported that I gave him a most
wonderful draught. Unfortunately I had nothing suitable to give
my new patient, but cautioned him to have a care lest contagion
should run throughout his immense establishment, and explained
the whole of the circumstances to him. Still he was not
satisfied; he would give me slaves, cows, or ivory, if I would
only cure him. He was a very great man, as I could see, with
numerous houses, numerous wives, and plenty of everything, so
that it was ill-becoming of him to be without his usual habits.
Rejecting his munificent offers, I gave him a cooling dose of
calomel and jalap, which he drank like pombe, and pronounced
beautiful--holding up his hands, and repeating the words
"Beautiful, beautiful! they are all beautiful together! There is
Bana beautiful! his box is beautiful! and his medicine
beautiful!"--and, saying this, led us in to see his women, who at
my request were grouped in war apparel--viz., a dirk fastened to
the waist by many strings of coloured beads. There were from
fifty to sixty women present, all very lady-like, but none of
them pretty. Kaggao then informed me the king had told all his
Wakungu he would keep me as his guest four months longer to see
if Petherick came; and should he not by that time, he would give
me an estate, stocked with men, women, and cattle, in perpetuity,
so that, if I ever wished to leave Uganda, I should always have
something to come back to; so I might now know what my fate was
to be. Before leaving, Kaggao presented us with two cows and ten
baskets of potatoes.

19th.--I sent a return present of two wires and twelve fundo of
beads of sorts to Kaggao, and heard that the king had gone to
show himself off to his mother dressed Bana fashion. In the
evening Katunzi, N'yamasore's brother, just returned from the
Unyoro plunder, called on me whilst I was at dinner. Not knowing
who he was, and surprised at such audacity in Uganda, for he was
the first officer who ever ventured to come near me in this
manner, I offered him a knife and fork, and a share in the
repast, which rather abashed him; for, taking it as a rebuff, he
apologised immediately for the liberty he had taken, contrary to
the etiquette of Uganda society, in coming to a house when the
master was at dinner; and he would have left again had I not
pressed him to remain. Katunzi then told me the whole army had
returned from Unyoro, with immense numbers of cows, women, and
children, but not men, for those who did not run away were killed
fighting. He offered me a present of a woman, and pressed me to
call on him.

20th.--Still I found that the king would not send his Wakungu for
the Unyoro expedition, so I called on him about it. Fortunately
he asked me to speak a sentence in English, that he might hear
how it sounds; and this gave me an opportunity of saying, if he
had kept his promise by sending Budja to me, I should have
despatched letters to Petherick. This was no sooner interpreted
than he said, if I would send my men to him with letters in the
morning he would forward them on, accompanied with an army. On
my asking if the army was intended to fight, he replied, in
short, "First to feel the way." On hearing this, I strongly
advised him, if he wished the road to be kept permanently open,
to try conciliation with Kamrasi, and send him some trifling

Now were brought in some thirty-odd women for punishment and
execution, which the king, who of late had been trying to learn
Kisuahili, in order that we might be able to converse together,
asked me, in that language, if I would like to have some of these
women; and if so, how many? On my replying "One," he begged me
to have my choice, and a very pretty one was selected. God only
knows what became of the rest; but the one I selected, on
reaching home, I gave to Ilmas, my valet, for a wife. He and all
the other household servants were much delighted with this
charming acquisition; but the poor girl, from the time she had
been selected, had flattered herself she was to be Bana's wife,
and became immensely indignant at the supposed transfer, though
from the first I had intended her for Ilmas, not only to favour
him for his past good services, but as an example to my other
men, as I had promised to give them all, provided they behaved
well upon the journey, a "free-man's garden," with one wife each
and a purse of money, to begin a new life upon, as soon as they
reached Zanzibar. The temper of Meri and Kahala was shown in a
very forcible manner: they wanted this maid as an addition to my
family, called her into the hut and chatted till midnight,
instructing her not to wed with Ilmas; and then, instead of
turning into bed as usual, they all three slept upon the ground.
My patience could stand this phase of henpecking no longer, so I
called in Manamaka, the head Myamuezi woman, whom I had selected
for their governess, and directed her to assist Ilmas, and put
them to bed "bundling."

21st.--In the morning, before I had time to write letters, the
king invited me to join him at some new tank he was making
between his palace and the residence of his brothers. I found
him sitting with his brothers, all playing in concert on flutes.
I asked him, in Kisuahili, if he knew where Grant was? On
replying in the negative, I proposed sending a letter, which he
approved of; and Budja was again ordered to go with an army for

22d.--Mabruki and Bilal, with Budja, started to meet Petherick,
and three more men, with another letter to Grant. I called on
the king, who appointed the 24th instant for an excursion of
three days' hippopotamus-shooting on the N'yanza.

23d.--To-day occurred a brilliant instance of the capricious
restlessness and self-willedness of this despotic king. At noon,
pages hurried in to say that he had started for the N'yanza, and
wished me to follow him without delay. N'yanza, as I have
mentioned, merely means a piece of water, whether a pond, river,
or lake; and as no one knew which N'yanza he meant, or what
project was on foot, I started off in a hurry, leaving everything
behind, and walked rapidly through gardens, over hills, and
across rushy swamps, down the west flank of the Murchison Creek,
till 3 p.m., when I found the king dressed in red, with his
Wakungu in front and women behind, travelling along in the
confused manner of a pack of hounds, occasionally firing his
rifle that I might know his whereabouts. He had just, it seems,
mingled a little business with pleasure; for noticing, as he
passed, a woman tied by the hands to be punished for some
offence, the nature of which I did not learn, he took the
executioner's duty on himself, fired at her, and killed her

On this occasion, to test all his followers, and prove their
readiness to serve him, he had started on a sudden freak for the
three days' excursion on the lake one day before the appointed
time, expecting everybody to fall into place by magic, without
the smallest regard to each one's property, feelings, or comfort.
The home must be forsaken without a last adieu, the dinner
untasted, and no provision made for the coming night, in order
that his impetuous majesty should not suffer one moment's
disappointment. The result was natural; many who would have come
were nowhere to be found; my guns, bed, bedding, and note-books,
as well as cooking utensils, were all left behind, and, though
sent for, did not arrive till the following day.

On arriving at the mooring station, not one boat was to be found,
nor did any arrive until after dark, when, on the beating of
drums and firing of guns, some fifty large ones appeared. They
were all painted with red clay, and averaged from ten to thirty
paddles, with long prows standing out like the neck of a syphon
or swan, decorated on the head with the horns of the Nsunnu
(lencotis) antelope, between which was stuck upright a tuft of
feathers exactly like a grenadier's plume. These arrived to
convey us across the mouth of a deep rushy swamp to the royal
yachting establishment, the Cowes of Uganda, distant five hours'
travelling from the palace. We reached the Cowes by torchlight
at 9 p.m., when the king had a picnic dinner with me, turned in
with his women in great comfort, and sent me off to a dreary hut,
where I had to sleep upon a grass-strew floor. I was surprised we
had to walk so far, when, by appearance, we might have boated it
from the head of the creek all the way down; but, on inquiry, was
informed of the swampy nature of the ground at the head of the
creek precluded any approach to the clear water there, and hence
the long overland journey, which, though fatiguing to the
unfortunate women, who had to trot the whole way behind Mtesa's
four-mile-an-hour strides, was very amusing. The whole of the
scenery--hill, dale, and lake--was extremely beautiful. The
Wanguana in my escort compared the view to their own beautiful
Poani (coast); but in my opinion it far surpassed anything I ever
saw, either from the sea or upon the coast of Zanzibar.

The king rose betimes in the morning and called me, unwashed and
very uncomfortable, to picnic with him, during the collection of
the boats. The breakfast, eaten in the open court, consisted of
sundry baskets of roast-beef and plantain-squash, folded in
plantain-leaves. He sometimes ate with a copper knife and
picker, not forked--but more usually like a dog, with both hands.
The bits too tough for his mastication he would take from his
mouth and give as a treat to the pages, who n'yanzigged, and
swallowed them with much seeming relish. Whatever remained over
was then divided by the boys, and the baskets taken to the cooks.
Pombe served as tea, coffee, and beer for the king; but his
guests might think themselves very lucky if they ever got a drop
of it.

Now for the lake. Everybody in a hurry falls into his place the
best way he can--Wakungu leading, and women behind. They rattle
along, through plantains and shrubs, under large trees, seven,
eight, and nine feet in diameter, till the beautiful waters are
reached--a picture of the Rio scenery, barring that of the higher
mountains in the background of that lovely place, which are here
represented by the most beautiful little hills. A band of
fifteen drums of all sizes, called the Mazaguzo, playing with the
regularity of a lot of factory engines at work, announced the
king's arrival, and brought all the boats to the shore--but not
as in England, where Jack, with all the consequence of a lord at
home, invites the ladies to be seated, and enjoys the sight of so
many pretty faces. Here every poor fellow, with his apprehensions
written in his face, leaps over the gunwale into the water--
ducking his head for fear of being accused of gazing on the fair
sex, which is death--and bides patiently his time. They were
dressed in plantain leaves, looking like grotesque Neptunes. The
king, in his red coat and wideawake, conducted the arrangements,
ordering all to their proper places-- the women, in certain
boats, the Wakungu and Wanguana in others, whilst I sat in the
same boat with him at his feet, three women holding mbugus of
pombe behind. The king's Kisuahali now came into play, and he
was prompt in carrying out the directions he got from myself to
approach the hippopotami. But the waters were too large and the
animals too shy, so we toiled all the day without any effect,
going only once ashore to picnic; not for the women to eat-- for
they, poor things, got nothing--but the king, myself, the pages,
and the principal Wakungu. As a wind-up to the day's amusement,
the king led the band of drums, changed the men according to
their powers, put them into concert pitch, and readily detected
every slight irregularity, showing himself a thorough musician.

This day requires no remark, everything done being the
counterpart of yesterday, excepting that the king, growing bolder
with me in consequence of our talking together, became more
playful and familiar--amusing himself, for instance, sometimes by
catching hold of my beard as the rolling of the boat unsteadied

We started early in the usual manner; but after working up and
down the creek, inspecting the inlets for hippopotami, and tiring
from want of sport, the king changed his tactics, and, paddling
and steering himself with a pair of new white paddles, finally
directing the boats to an island occupied by the Mgussa, or
Neptune of the N'yanza, not in person--for Mgussa is a spirit--
but by his familiar or deputy, the great medium who communicates
the secrets of the deep to the king of Uganda. In another sense,
he might be said to be the presiding priest of the source of the
mighty Nile, and as such was, of course, an interesting person
for me to meet. The first operation on shore was picnicking,
when many large bugus of pombe were brought for the king; next,
the whole party took a walk, winking through the trees, and
picking fruit, enjoying themselves amazingly, till, by some
unlucky chance, one of the royal wives, a most charming creature,
and truly one of the best of the lot, plucked a fruit and offered
it to the king, thinking, doubtless, to please him greatly; but
he, like a madman, flew into a towering passion, said it was the
first time a woman ever had the impudence to offer him anything,
and ordered the pages to seize, bind, and lead her off to

These words were no sooner uttered by the king than the whole
bevy of pages slipped their cord turbans from their heads, and
rushed, like a pack of cupid beagles upon the fairy queen, who,
indignant at the little urchins daring to touch her majesty,
remonstrated with the king, and tried to beat them off like
flies, but was soon captured, overcome, and dragged away, crying,
in the names of the Kamraviona and Mzungu (myself), for help and
protection; whilst Lubuga, the pet sister, and all the other
women, clasped the king by his legs, and, kneeling, implored
forgiveness for their sister. The more they craved for mercy, the
more brutal he became, till at last he took a heavy stick and
began to belabour the poor victim on the head.

Hitherto I had been extremely careful not to interfere with any
of the king's acts of arbitrary cruelty, knowing that such
interference, at an early stage, would produce more harm than
good. This last act of barbarism, however, was too much for my
English blood to stand; and as I heard my name, Mzungu,
imploringly pronounced, I rushed at the king, and, staying his
uplifted arm, demanded from him the woman's life. Of course I
ran imminent risk of losing my own in thus thwarting the
capricious tyrant; but his caprice proved the friend of both.
The novelty of interference even made him smile, and the woman
was instantly released.

Proceeding on through the trees of this beautiful island, we next
turned into the hut of the Mgussa's familiar, which at the
farther end was decorated with many mystic symbols amongst others
a paddle, the badge of his high office--and for some time we sat
chatting, when pombe was brought, and the spiritual medium
arrived. He was dressed Wichwezi fashion, with a little white
goat-skin apron, adorned with numerous charms, and used a paddle
for a mace or walking stick. He was not an old man, though he
affected to be so-- walking very slowly and deliberately,
coughing asthmatically, glimmering with his eyes, and mumbling
like a witch. With much affected difficulty he sat at the end of
the hut beside the symbols alluded to, and continued his coughing
full half an hour, when his wife came in in the same manner,
without saying a word, and assumed the same affected style. The
king jokingly looked at me and laughed, and then at these strange
creatures, by turn, as much as to say, What do you think of them?
but no voice was heard save that of the old wife, who croaked
like a frog for water, and, when some was brought, croaked again
because it was not the purest of the lake's produce--had the
first cup changed, wetted her lips with the second, and hobbled
away in the same manner as she came.

At this juncture the Mgussa's familiar motioned the Kamraviona
and several officers to draw around him, when, in a very low
tone, he gave them all the orders of the deep, and walked away.
His revelations seemed unpropitious, for we immediately repaired
to our boats and returned to our quarters. Here we no sooner
arrived than a host of Wakungu, lately returned from the Unyoro
war, came to pay their respects to the king: they had returned
six days or more, but etiquette had forbidden their approaching
majesty sooner. Their successes had been great, their losses,
nil, for not one man had lost his life fighting. To these men
the king narrated all the adventures of the day; dwelling more
particularly on my defending his wife's life, whom he had
destined for execution. This was highly approved of by all; and
they unanimously said Bana knew what he was about, because he
dispenses justice like a king in his own country.

Early in the morning a great hue and cry was made because the
Wanguana had been seen bathing in the N'yanza naked, without the
slightest regard to decency. We went boating as usual all day
long, sometimes after hippopotami, at others racing up and down
the lake, the king and Wakungu paddling and steering by turns,
the only break to this fatigue being when we went ashore to
picnic, or the king took a turn at the drums. During the evening
some of the principal Wakungu were collected to listen to an
intellectual discourse on the peculiarities of the different
women in the royal establishment, and the king in good-honour
described the benefits he had derived from this pleasant tour on
the water.

Whilst I was preparing my Massey's log to show the use of it to
the king, he went off boating without me; and as the few
remaining boats would not take me off because they had received
no orders to do so, I fired guns, but, getting no reply, went
into the country hoping to find game; but, disappointed in that
also, I spent the first half of the day with a hospitable old
lady, who treated us to the last drop of pombe in her house--for
the king's servants had robbed her of nearly everything--smoked
her pipe with me, and chatted incessantly on the honour paid her
by the white king's visit, as well as of the horrors of Uganda
punishment, when my servants told her I saved the life of one
queen. Returning homewards, the afternoon was spent at a
hospitable officer's, who would not allow us to depart until my
men were all fuddled with pombe, and the evening setting in
warned us to wend our way. On arrival at camp, the king, quite
shocked with himself for having deserted me, asked me if I did
not hear his guns fire. He had sent twenty officers to scour the
country, looking for me everywhere. He had been on the lake the
whole day himself, and was now amusing his officers with a little
archery practice, even using the bow himself, and making them
shoot by turns. A lucky shot brought forth immense applause, all
jumping and n'yanzigging with delight, whether it was done by
their own bows or the king's.

A shield was the mark, stuck up at only thirty paces; still they
were such bad shots that they hardly ever hit it. Now tired of
this slow sport, and to show his superior prowess, the king
ordered sixteen shields to be placed before him, one in front of
the other, and with one shot from Whitworth pierced the whole of
them, the bullet passing through the bosses of nearly every one.
"Ah!" says the king, strutting about with gigantic strides, and
brandishing the rifle over his head before all his men, "what is
the use of spears and bows? I shall never fight with anything
but guns in the future." These Wakungu, having only just then
returned from plundering Unyoro, had never before seen their king
in a chair, or anybody sitting, as I was, by his side; and it
being foreign to their notions, as well as, perhaps, unpleasant
to their feelings, to find a stranger sitting higher than
themselves, they complained against this outrage to custom, and
induced the king to order my dethronement. The result was, as my
iron stool was objectionable, I stood for a moment to see that I
thoroughly understood their meaning; and then showing them my
back, walked straightway home to make a grass throne, and dodge
them that way.

There was nothing for dinner last night, nothing again this
morning, yet no one would go in to report this fact, as rain was
falling, and the king was shut up with his women. Presently the
thought struck me that the rifle, which was always infallible in
gaining me admittance at the palace, might be of the same service
now. I therefore shot a dove close to the royal abode, and, as I
expected, roused the king at once, who sent his pages to know
what the firing was about. When told the truth--that I had been
trying to shoot a dish of doves for breakfast, as I could get
neither meat nor drink from his kitchen--the head boy, rather
guessing than understanding what was told him, distorted my
message, and said to the king, as I could not obtain a regular
supply of food from his house, I did not wish to accept anything
further at his hands, but intended foraging for the future in the
jungles. The king, as might be imagined, did not believe the
boy's story, and sent other pages to ascertain the truth of the
case, bidding them listen well, and beware of what they were
about. This second lot of boys conveyed the story rightly, when
the king sent me a cow. As I afterwards heard, he cut off the
ears of the unfortunate little mischief-maker for not making a
proper use of those organs; and then, as the lad was the son of
one of his own officers he was sent home to have the sores
healed. After breakfast the king called me to go boating, when I
used my grass throne, to the annoyance of the attendants. This
induced the king to say before them, laughing, "Bana, you see, is
not to be done; he is accustomed to sit before kings, and sit he
will." Then by way of a change, he ordered all the drums to
embark and play upon the waters; whilst he and his attendants
paddled and steered by turns, first up the creek, and then down
nearly to the broad waters of the lake.

There was a passage this way, it was said, leading up to Usoga,
but very circuitous, on account of reefs or shoals, and on the
way the Kitiri island was passed; but no other Kitiri was known
to the Waganda, though boats went sometimes coasting down the
western side of the lake to Ukerewe. The largest island on the
lake is the Sese,[FN#20] off the mouth of the Katonga river,
where another of the high priests of the Neptune of the N'yanza
resides. The king's largest vessels are kept there, and it is
famous for its supply of mbugu barks. We next went on shore to
picnic, when a young hippopotamus, speared by harpoon, one pig,
and a pongo or bush-boc, were presented to the king. I now
advised boat-racing, which was duly ordered, and afforded much
amusement as the whole fifty boats formed in line, and paddle
furiously to the beat of drum to the goal which I indicated.

The day was done. In great glee the king, ever much attached to
the blackguard Maula, in consequence of his amusing stories,
appointed him to the office of seizer, or chief kidnapper of
Wakungu; observing that, after the return of so many officers
from war, much business in that line would naturally have to be
done, and there was none so trustworthy now at court to carry out
the king's orders. All now went to the camp; but what was my
astonishment on reaching the hut to find every servant gone,
along with the pots, pans, meat, everything; and all in
consequence of the king's having taken the drums on board, which,
being unusual, was regarded as one of his delusive tricks, and a
sign of immediate departure. He had told no one he was going to
the N'yanza, and now it was thought he would return in the same
way. I fired for my supper, but fired in vain. Boys came out,
by the king's order to inquire what I wanted, but left again
without doing anything further.

At my request the king sent off boats to inquire after the one
that left, or was supposed to have left, for Grant on the 3d of
March, and he then ordered the return home, much to my delight;
for, beautiful as the N'yanza was, the want of consideration for
other people's comfort, the tiring, incessant boating, all day
long and every day, in the sun, as well as the king's hurry-
scurry about everything he undertook to do, without the smallest
forethought, preparation, or warning, made me dream of my
children, and look forward with pleasure to rejoining them.
Strange as it may appear to Englishmen, I had a sort of paternal
love for those little blackamoors as if they had been my
offspring; and I enjoyed the simple stories that their sable
visitors told me every day they came over to smoke their pipes,
which they did with the utmost familiarity, helping themselves
from my stores just as they liked.

Without any breakfast, we returned by the same route by which we
had come, at four miles an hour, till half the way was cleared,
when the king said, laughing, "Bana, are you hungry?"--a
ridiculous question after twenty-four hours of starvation, which
he knew full well-- and led the way into a plantain-grove, where
the first hut that was found was turned inside out for the king's
accommodation, and picnic was prepared. As, however, he ordered
my portion to be given outside with the pages', and allowed
neither pombe or water, I gave him the slip, and walked hurriedly
home, where I found Kahala smirking, and apparently glad to see
us, but Meri shamming ill in bed, whilst Manamaka, the governess,
was full of smiles and conversation. She declared Meri had
neither tasted food or slept since my departure, but had been
retching all the time. Dreadfully concerned at the doleful story
I immediately thought of giving relief with medicines, but
neither pulse, tongue, nor anything else indicated the slightest
disorder; and to add to these troubles, Ilmas's woman had tried
during my absence to hang herself, because she would not serve as
servant but wished to be my wife; and Bombay's wife, after taking
a doze of quinine, was delivered of a still-born child.

1st.--I visited the king, at his request, with the medicine-
chest. He had caught a cold. He showed me several of his women
grievously affected with boils, and expected me to cure them at
once. I then went home, and found twenty men who had passed
Grant, coming on a stretcher from Karague, without any of the
rear property. Meri, still persistent, rejected strengthening
medicines, but said, in a confidential manner, if I would give
her a goat to sacrifice to the Uganga she would recover in no
time. There was something in her manner when she said this that
I did not like--it looked suspicious; and I contented myself by
saying, "No, I am a wiser doctor than any in these lands; if
anybody could cure you, that person is myself: and further, if I
gave you a goat to sacrifice, God would be angry with both of us
for our superstitious credulity; you must therefore say no more
about it."

2d.--The whole country around the palace was in a state of
commotion to-day, from Maula and his children hunting down those
officers who had returned from the war, yet had not paid their
respects to the king at the N'yanza, because they thought they
would not be justified in calling on him so quickly after their
arrival. Maula's house, in consequence of this, was full of beef
and pombe; whilst, in his courtyard, men, women, and children,
with feet in stocks, very like the old parish stocks in England,
waited his pleasure, to see what demands he would make upon them
as the price of their release. After anxiously watching, I found
out that Meri was angry with me for not allowing Ilmas's woman to
live in my house; and, to conquer my resolution against it--
although I ordered it with a view to please Ilmas, for he was
desperately in love with her--she made herself sick by putting
her finger down her throat. I scolded her for her obstinacy. She
said she was ill--it was not feigned; and if I would give her a
goat to sacrifice she would be well at once; for she had looked
into the magic horn already, and discovered that if I have her a
goat for that purpose it would prove that I loved her, and her
health would be restored to her at once. Hallo! Here was a
transformation from the paternal position into that of a
henpecked husband! Somebody, I smelt at once, had been tampering
with my household whilst I was away. I commenced investigations,
and after a while found out that Rozaro's sister had brought a
magician belonging to her family into the hut during my absence,
who had put Meri up to this trick of extorting a goat from me, in
order that he might benefit by it himself, for the magician eats
the sacrifice, and keeps the skin.

I immediately ordered him to be seized and bound to the flag-
staff, whilst Maula, Uledi, Rozaro, and Bombay were summoned to
witness the process of investigation. Rozaro flew into a
passion, and tried to release the magician as soon as he saw him,
affecting intense indignation that I should take the law into my
own hands when one of Rumanika's subjects was accused; but only
lost his dignity still more on being told he had acknowledged his
inability to control his men so often when they had misbehaved,
that I scorned to ask his assistance any longer. He took huff at
this, and, as he could not help himself, walked away, leaving us
to do as we liked. The charge was fully proved. The impudent
magician, without leave, and contrary to all the usages of the
country, had entered and set my house against itself during my
absence, and had schemed to rob me of a goat. I therefore
sentenced him to fifty lashes--twenty-five for the injury he had
inflicted on my by working up a rebellion in my house, and the
remaining twenty-five for attempting larceny-- saying, as he had
wanted my goat and its skin, so now in return I wanted his skin.
These words were no sooner pronounced than the wretched Meri
cried out against it, saying all the fault was hers: "Let the
stick skin my back, but spare my doctor; it would kill me to see
him touched."

This appeal let me see that there was something in the whole
matter too deep and intricate to be remedied by my skill. I
therefore dismissed her on the spot, and gave her, as a sister
and free woman, to Uledi and his pretty Mhmula wife, giving
Bombay orders to carry the sentences into execution. After
walking about till after dark, on returning to the empty house, I
had some misgivings as to the apparent cruelty of abandoning one
so helpless to the uncertainties of this wicked world. Ilmas's
woman also ran away, doubtless at the instigation of Rozaro's
sister, for she had been denied any further access to the house
as being at the bottom of all this mischief.

3d.--I was haunted all night by my fancied cruelty, and in the
morning sent its victim, after Uganda fashion, some symbolical
presents, including a goat, in token of esteem; a black blanket,
as a sign of mourning; a bundle of gundu anklets; and a packet of
tobacco, in proof of my forgiveness.

Chapter XIV

Palace, Uganda--Continued

Reception of a Victorious Army at Court--Royal Sport--A Review of
the Troops--Negotiations for the Opening of the Road along the
Nile --Grant's Return--Pillagings--Court Marriages--The King's
Brothers-- Divinations and Sacrifices--The Road granted at last--
The Preparations for continuing the Expedition--The Departure.

I now received a letter from Grant to say he was coming by boat
from Kitangule, and at once went to the palace to give the
welcome news to the king. The road to the palace I found
thronged with people; and in the square outside the entrance
there squatted a multitude of attendants, headed by the king,
sitting on a cloth, dressed in his national costume, with two
spears and a shield by his side. On his right hand the pages sat
waiting for orders, while on his left there was a small squatting
cluster of women, headed by Wichwezis, or attendant sorceresses,
offering pombe. In front of the king, in form of a hollow
square, many ranks deep, sat the victorious officers, lately
returned from the war, variously dressed; the nobles
distinguished by their leopard-cat skins and dirks, the commoners
by coloured mbugu and cow or antelope skin cloaks; but all their
faces and arms were painted red, black, or smoke-colour. Within
the square of men, immediately fronting the king, the war-arms of
Uganda were arranged in three ranks; the great war-drum, covered
with a leopard-skin, and standing on a large carpeting of them,
was placed in advance; behind this, propped or hung on a rack of
iron, were a variety of the implements of war in common use,
offensive and defensive, as spears--of which two were of copper,
the rest iron--and shields of wood and leather; whilst in the
last row or lot were arranged systematically, with great taste
and powerful effect, the supernatural arms, the god of Uganda,
consisting of charms of various descriptions and in great
numbers. Outside the square again, in a line with the king, were
the household arms, a very handsome copper kettledrum, of French
manufacture, surmounted on the outer edge with pretty little
brass bells depending from swan-neck-shaped copper wire, two new
spears, a painted leather shield, and magic wands of various
devices, deposited on a carpet of leopard-skins--the whole scene
giving the effect of true barbarous royalty in its uttermost

Approaching, as usual, to take my seat beside the king, some
slight sensation was perceptible, and I was directed to sit
beyond the women. The whole ceremonies of this grand assemblage
were now obvious. Each regimental commandant in turn narrated
the whole services of his party, distinguishing those subs who
executed his orders well and successfully from those who either
deserted before the enemy or feared to follow up their success.
The king listened attentively, making, let us suppose, very
shrewd remarks concerning them; when to the worthy he awarded
pombe, helped with gourd-cups from large earthen jars, which has
n'yanzigged for vehemently; and to the unworthy execution. When
the fatal sentence was pronounced, a terrible bustle ensued, the
convict wrestling and defying, whilst the other men seized,
pulled and tore the struggling wretch from the crowd, bound him
hands and head together, and led or rather tumbled him away.

After a while, and when all business was over, the king begged me
to follow him into the palace. He asked again for stimulants--a
matter ever uppermost in his mind--and would not be convinced
that such things can do him no possible good, but would in the
end be deleterious. Grant's letter was then read to him before
his women, and I asked for the dismissal of all the Wanyambo, for
they had not only destroyed my peace and home, but were always
getting me into disrepute by plundering the Waganda in the
highways. No answer was given to this; and on walking home, I
found one of the king's women at my hut, imploring protection
against the Wanyambo, who had robbed and bruised her so often,
she could not stand such abuse any longer.

4th.--I sent Maula, early in the morning, with the plundered
woman, and desired him to request that the Wanyambo might be
dismissed. He returned, saying he delivered my message, but no
reply was given. I then searched for the king, and found him at
his brothers' suite of huts playing the flute before them. On
taking my seat, he proudly pointed to two vultures which he had
shot with bullet, saying to his brothers, "There, do you see
these birds? Bana shoots with shot, but I kill with bullets."
To try him, I then asked for leave to go to Usoga, as Grant was
so far off; but he said, "No, wait until he comes, and you shall
both go together then; you fancy he is far off, but I know
better. One of my men saw him coming along carried on a
stretcher." I said, "No; that must be a mistake, for he told me
by letter he would come by water."

Heavy rain now set in, and we got under cover; but the brothers
never moved, some even sitting in the streaming gutter, and
n'yanzigging whenever noticed. The eldest brother offered me his
cup of pombe, thinking I would not drink it; but when he saw its
contents vanishing fast, he cried "lekerow!" (hold fast!) and as
I pretended not to understand him, continuing to drink, he rudely
snatched the cup from my lips. Alternate concerts with the
brothers, and conversation about hunting, in consequence of a
bump caused by a fall with steeple-chasing, which as discovered
on my forehead, ended this day's entertainment.

5th.--As all the Wanguana went foraging, I was compelled to stop
at home. The king, however, sent an officer for Grant, because I
would not believe in his statement yesterday that he was coming
by land; and I also sent a lot of men with a litter to help him
on, and bring me an answer.

6th.--I went to the palace at the king's command. He kept us
waiting an hour, and then passing out by a side gate, beckoned us
to follow. He was dressed in European clothes, with his guns and
tin box of clothes leading the way. His first question was,
"Well, Bana, where are your guns? for I have called you to go
shooting." "The pages never said anything about shooting, and
therefore the guns were left behind." Totally unconcerned, the
king walked on to his brothers, headed by a band and attendants,
who were much lauded for being ready at a moment's notice. A
grand flute concert was then played, one of the younger brothers
keeping time with a long hand-drum; then the band played; and
dancing and duets and singing followed. After the usual
presentations, fines, and n'yanziggings, I asked for leave to go
and meet Grant by water, but was hastily told that two boats had
been sent for him when we returned from the N'yanza, and that two
runners, just returned from Karague, said he was on the way not
far off. The child-king then changed his dress for another suit
of clothes for his brothers to admire, and I retired, much
annoyed, as he would neither give pombe for myself, nor plantains
for my men: and I was further annoyed on my arrival at home, to
find the Wanguana mobbing my hut and clamouring for food, and
calling for an order to plunder if I did not give them beads,
which, as the stock had run short, I could only do by their
returning to Karague for the beads stored there; and, even if
they were obtained, it was questionable if the king would revoke
his order prohibiting the sale of provisions to us.

7th.--To-day I called at the queen's, but had to wait five hours
in company with some attendants, to whom she sent pombe
occasionally; but after waiting for her nearly all day, they were
dismissed, because excess of business prevented her seeing them,
though I was desired to remain. I asked these attendants to sell
me food for beads, but they declared they could not without
obtaining permission. In the evening the queen stumped out of
her chambers and walked to the other end of her palace, where the
head or queen of the Wichwezi women lived, to whom everybody paid
the profoundest respect. On the way I joined her, she saying, in
a state of high anger, "You won't call on me, now I have given
you such a charming damsel: you have quite forgotten us in your
love of home." Of course Meri's misdemeanour had to be explained,
when she said, "As that is the case, I will give you another; but
you must take Meri out of the country, else she will bring
trouble on us; for, you know, I never gave girls who lived in the
palace to any one in my life before, because they would tell
domestic affairs not proper for common people to know." I then
said my reason for not seeing her before was, that the four times
I had sent messengers to make an appointment for the following
day, they had been repulsed from her doors. This she would not
believe, but called me a story-teller in very coarse language,
until the men who had been sent were pointed out to her, and they
corroborated me.

The Wichwezi queen met her majesty with her head held very high,
and instead of permitting me to sit on my box of grass, threw out
a bundle of grass for that purpose. All conversation was kept
between the two queens; but her Wichwezi majesty had a platter of
clay-stone brought, which she ate with great relish, making a
noise of satisfaction like a happy guinea-pig. She threw me a
bit, which to the surprise of everybody, I caught and threw it
into my mouth, thinking it was some confection; but the harsh
taste soon made me spit it out again, to the amusement of the
company. On returning home I found the king had requested me to
call on him as soon as possible with the medicine-chest.

8th.--Without a morsel to eat for dinner last night, or anything
this morning, we proceeded early to the palace, in great
expectation that the medicines in request would bring us
something; but after waiting all day till 4 p.m., as the king did
not appear, leaving Bombay behind, I walked away to shoot a
guinea-fowl within earshot of the palace. The scheme was
successful, for the report of the gun which killed the bird
reached the king's ear, and induced him to say that if Bana was
present he would be glad to see him. This gave Bombay an
opportunity of telling all the facts of the case; which were no
sooner heard than the king gave his starving guests a number of
plantains, and vanished at once, taking my page Lugoi with him,
to instruct him in Kisuahili (Zanzibar language).

9th.--As the fruit of last night's scheme, the king sent us four
goats and two cows. In great good-humour I now called on him,
and found him walking about the palace environs with a carbine,
looking eagerly for sport, whilst his pages dragged about five
half-dead vultures tied in a bundle by their legs to a string.
"These birds," said he, tossing his head proudly, "were all shot
flying, with iron slugs, as the boys will tell you. I like the
carbine very well, but you must give me a double smooth gun."
This I promised to give when Grant arrived, for his good-nature
in sending so many officers to fetch him.

We next tried for guinea-fowl, as I tell him they are the game
the English delight in; but the day was far spent, and none could
be found. A boy then in attendance was pointed out, as having
seen Grant in Uddu ten days ago. If the statement were true, he
must have crossed the Katonga. But though told with great
apparent circumspection, I did not credit it, because my men sent
on the 15th ultimo for a letter to ascertain his whereabouts had
not returned, and they certainly would have done so had he been
so near. To make sure, the king then proposed sending the boy
again with some of my men; but this I objected to as useless,
considering the boy had spoken falsely. Hearing this, the king
looked at the boy and then at the women in turn, to ascertain
what they thought of my opinion, whereupon the boy cried. Late
in the evening the sly little girl Kahala changed her cloth
wrapper for a mbugu, and slipped quietly away. I did not suspect
her intention, because of late she had appeared much more than
ordinary happy, behaving to me in every respect like a dutiful
child to a parent. A search was made, and guns fired, in the
hopes of frightening her back again, but without effect.

10th.--I had promised that this morning I would teach the king
the art of guinea-fowl shooting, and when I reached the palace at
6 a.m., I found him already on the ground. He listened to the
tale of the missing girl, and sent orders for her apprehension at
once; then proceeding with the gun, fired eight shots
successively at guinea-birds sitting on trees, but missed them
all. After this, as the birds were scared away, and both iron
shot and bullets were expended, he took us to his dressing-hut,
went inside himself, attended by full-grown naked women, and
ordered a breakfast of pork, beef, fish, and plantains to be
served me outside on the left of the entrance; whilst a large
batch of his women sat on the right side, silently coquetting,
and amusing themselves by mimicking the white man eating. Poor
little Lugoi joined in the repast, and said he longed to return
to my hut, for he was half starved here, and no one took any
notice of him; but he was destined to be a royal page, for the
king would not part with him. A cold fit then seized me, and as
I asked for leave to go, the king gave orders for one of his
wives to be flogged. The reason for this act of brutality I did
not discover; but the moment the order was issued, the victim
begged the pages to do it quickly, that the king's wrath might be
appeased; and in an instant I saw a dozen boys tear their cord-
turbans from their heads pull her roughly into the middle of the
court, and belabour her with sticks, whilst she lay floundering
about, screeching to me for protection. All I did was to turn my
head away and walk rapidly out of sight, thinking it better not
to interfere again with the discipline of the palace; indeed, I
thought it not improbable that the king did these things
sometimes merely that his guests might see his savage power. On
reaching home I found Kahala standing like a culprit before my
door. She would not admit, what I suspected, that Meri had
induced her to run away; but said she was very happy in my house
until yester-evening, when Rozaro's sister told her she was very
stupid living with the Mzungu all alone, and told her to run
away; which she did, taking the direction of N'yamasore's, until
some officers finding her, and noticing beads on her neck, and
her hair cut, according to the common court fashion, in slopes
from a point in the forehead to the breadth of her ears,
suspected her to be one of the king's women, and kept her in
confinement all night, till Mtesa's men came this morning and
brought her back again. As a punishment, I ordered her to live
with Bombay; but my house was so dull again from want of some one
to eat dinner with me, that I remitted the punishment, to her
great delight.

11th.--To-day I received letters from Grant, dated 22d., 25th,
28th April and 2d May. They were brought by my three men, with
Karague pease, flour, and ammunition. He was at Maula's house,
which proved the king's boy to be correct; for the convoy, afraid
of encountering the voyage on the lake, had deceived my companion
and brought him on by land, like true negroes.

12th.--I sent the three men who had returned from Grant to lay a
complaint against the convoy, who had tricked him out of a
pleasant voyage, and myself out of the long-wished-for survey of
the lake. They carried at the same time a present of a canister
of shot from me to the king. Delighted with this unexpected
prize, he immediately shot fifteen birds flying, and ordered the
men to acquaint me with his prowess.

13th.--To-day the king sent me four cows and a load of butter as
a return-present for the shot, and allowed one of his officers,
at my solicitation, to go with ten of my men to help Grant on.
He also sent a message that he had just shot thirteen birds

14th.--Mabuki and Bilal returned with Budja and his ten children
from Unyoro, attended by a deputation of four men sent by
Kamrasi, who were headed by Kidgwiga. Mtesa, it now transpired,
had followed my advice of making friendship with Kamrasi by
sending two brass wires as a hongo instead of an army, and
Kamrasi in return, sent him two elephant-tusks. Kidgwiga said
Petherick's party was not in Unyoro--they had never reached
there, but were lying at anchor off Gani. Two white men only had
been seen--one, they said, a hairy man, the other smooth-faced;
they were as anxiously inquiring after us as we were after them:
they sat on chairs, dressed like myself, and had guns and
everything precisely like those in my hut. On one occasion they
sent up a necklace of beads to Kamrasi, and he, in return, gave
them a number of women and tusks. If I wished to go that way,
Kamrasi would forward me on to their position in boats; for the
land route, leading through Kidi, was a jungle of ten days,
tenanted by a savage set of people, who hunt everybody, and seize
everything they see.

This tract is sometimes, however, traversed by the Wanyoro and
Gani people, who are traders in cows and tippet monkey-skins,
stealthily travelling at night; but they seldom attempt it from
fear of being murdered. Baraka and Uledi, sent from Karague on
the 30th January, had been at Kamrasi's palace upwards of a
month, applying for the road to Gani, and as they could not get
that, wished to come with Mabruki to me; but this Kamrasi also
refused, on the plea that, as they had come from Karague, so they
must return there. Kamrasi had heard of my shooting with Mtesa,
as also of the attempt made by Mabruki and Uledi to reach Gani
via Usoga. He had received my present of beads from Baraka, and,
in addition, took Uledi's sword, saying, "If you do not wish to
part with it, you must remain a prisoner in my country all your
life, for you have not paid your footing." Mabruki then told me
he was kept waiting at a village, one hour's walk from Kamrasi's
palace, five days before they were allowed to approach his
majesty; but when they were seen, and the presents exchanged,
they were ordered to pack off the following morning, as Kamrasi
said the Waganda were a set of plundering blackguards.

This information, to say the least of it, was very embarrassing--
a mixture of good and bad. Petherick, I now felt certain, was on
the look-out for us; but his men had reached Kamrasi's, and
returned again before Baraka's arrival. Baraka was not allowed
to go on to him and acquaint him of our proximity, and the
Waganda were so much disliked in Unyoro, that there seemed no
hopes of our ever being able to communicate by letter. To add to
my embarrassments, Grant had not been able to survey the lake
from Kitangule, nor had Usoga and the eastern side of the lake
been seen.

15th.--I was still laid up with the cold fit of the 10th, which
turned into a low kind of fever. I sent Bombay to the king to
tell him the news, and ask him what he thought of doing next. He
replied that he would push for Gani direct; and sent back a pot
of pombe for the sick man.

16th.--The king to-day inquired after my health, and, strange to
say, did not accompany his message with a begging request.

17th.--My respite, however, was not long. At the earliest
possible hour in the morning the king sent begging for things one
hundred times refused, supposing, apparently, that I had some
little reserve store which I wished to conceal from him.

18th and 19th.--I sent Bombay to the palace to beg for pombe, as
it was the only thing I had an appetite for, but the king would
see no person but myself. He had broken his rifle washing-rod,
and this must be mended, the pages who brought it saying that no
one dared take it back to him until it was repaired. A guinea-
fowl was sent after dark for me to see, as a proof that the king
was a sportsman complete.

20th.--The king going out shooting borrowed my powder-horn. The
Wanguana mobbed the hut and bullied me for food, merely because
they did not like the trouble of helping themselves from the
king's garden, though they knew I had purchased their privilege
to do so at the price of a gold chronometer and the best guns
England could produce.

21st.--I now, for the first time, saw the way in which the king
collected his army together. The highroads were all thronged
with Waganda warriors, painted in divers colours, with plantain-
leaf bands round their heads, scanty goat-skin fastened to their
loins, and spears and shield in their hands, singing the tambure
or march, ending with a repetition of the word Mkavia, or
Monarch. They surpassed in number, according to Bombay, the
troops and ragamuffins enlisted by Sultain Majid when Sayyid
Sweni threatened to attack Zanzibar; in fact, he never saw such a
large army collected anywhere.

Bombay, on going to the palace, hoping to obtain plantains for
the men, found the king holding a levee, for the purpose of
despatching this said army somewhere, but where no one would
pronounce. The king, then, observing my men who had gone to
Unyoro together with Kamrasi's, questioned them on their mission;
and when told that no white men were there, he waxed wrathful,
and said it was a falsehood, for his men had seen them, and could
not be mistaken. Kamrasi, he said, must have hidden them
somewhere, fearful of the number of guns which now surrounded
him; and, for the same reason, he told lies, yes, lies--but no
man living shall dare tell himself lies; and now, as he could not
obtain his object by fair means, he would use arms and force it
out. Then, turning to Bombay, he said, "What does your master
think of this business?" upon which Bombay replied, according to
his instructions, "Bana wishes nothing done until Grant arrives,
when all will go together." On this the king turned his back and
walked away.

22d.--Kitunzi called on me early, because he heard I was sick. I
asked him why the Waganda objected to my sitting on a chair; but,
to avoid the inconvenience of answering a troublesome question,
without replying, he walked off, saying he heard a noise in the
neighbourhood of the palace which must be caused by the king
ordering some persons to be seized, and his presence was so
necessary he could not wait another moment. My men went for
plantains to the palace and for pombe on my behalf; but the king,
instead of giving them anything, took two fez caps off their
heads, keeping them to himself, and ordered them to tell Bana all
his beer was done.

23d.--Kidgwiga called on me to say Kamrasi so very much wanted
the white men at Gani to visit him, he had sent a hongo of thirty
tusks to the chief of that country in hopes that it would insure
their coming to see him. He also felt sure if I went there his
king would treat me with the greatest respect. This afforded an
opportunity for putting in a word of reconciliation. I said that
it was at my request that Mtesa sent Kamrasi a present; and so
now, if Kamrasi made friends with the Waganda, there would be no
difficulty about the matter.

24th.--The army still thronged the highways, some going, others
coming, like a swarm of ants, the whole day long. Kidgwiga paid
another visit, and I went to the palace without my gun, wishing
the king to fancy all my powder was done, as he had nearly
consumed all my store; but the consequence was that, after
waiting the whole day, I never saw him at all. In the evening
pages informed me that Grant had arrived at N'yama Goma, one
march distant.

25th.--I prepared twenty men, with a quarter of mutton for Grant
to help him on the way, but they could not go without a native
officer, lest they should be seized, and no officer would lead
the way. The king came shooting close to my hut and ordered me
out. I found him marching Rozaro about in custody with four
other Wanyambo, who, detected plundering by Kitunzi, had set upon
and beaten him severely. The king, pointing them out to me,
said, he did not like the system of plundering, and wished to
know if it was the practice in Karague. Of course I took the
opportunity to renew my protest against the plundering system;
but the king, changing the subject, told me the Wazungu were at
Gani inquiring after us, and wishing to come here. To this I
proposed fetching them myself in boats, but he objected, saying
he would send men first, for they were not farther off to the
northward than the place he sent boats to, to bring Grant. He
said he did not like Unyoro, because Kamrasi hides himself like a
Neptune in the Nile, whenever his men go on a visit there, and
instead of treating his guests with respect, he keeps them beyond
the river. For this reason he had himself determined on adopting
the passage by Kidi.

I was anxious, of course, to go on with the subject thus
unexpectedly opened, but, as ill-luck would have it, an adjutant
was espied sitting on a tree, when a terrible fuss and excitement
ensued. The women were ordered one way and the attendants
another, whilst I had to load the gun on the best way I could
with the last charge and a half left in the king's pouch. Ten
grains were all he would have allowed himself, reserving the
residue, without reflecting that a large bird required much shot;
and he was shocked to find me lavishly use the whole, and still
say it was not enough.

The bird was then at a great height, so that the first shot
merely tickled him, and drove him to another tree. "Woh! woh!"
cried the king, "I am sure he is hit; look there, look there;"
and away he rushed after the bird; down with one fence, then with
another, in the utmost confusion, everybody trying to keep his
proper place, till at last the tree to which the bird had flown
was reached, and then, with the last charge of shot, the king
killed his first nundo. The bird, however, did not fall, but lay
like a spread eagle in the upper branches. Wasoga were called to
climb the tree and pull it down; whilst the king, in ecstasies of
joy and excitement, rushed up and down the potato-field like a
mad bull, jumping and plunging, waving and brandishing the gun
above his head; whilst the drums beat, the attendants all woh-
wohed, and the women, joining with their lord, rushed about
lullalooing and dancing like insane creatures. Then began
congratulations and hand-shakings, and, finally, the inspection
of the bird, which, by this time, the Wasoga had thrown down.
Oh! oh! what a wonder! Its wings outspread reached further than
the height of a man; we must go and show it to the brothers.
Even that was not enough--we must show it to the mother; and away
we all rattled as fast as our legs could carry us.

Arrived at the queen's palace, out of respect to his mother, the
king changed his European clothes for a white kid-skin wrapper,
and then walked in to see her, leaving us waiting outside. By
this time Colonel Congow, in his full-dress uniform, had arrived
in the square outside, with his regiment drawn up in review
order. The king, hearing the announcement, at once came out with
spears and shield, preceded by the bird, and took post, standing
armed, by the entrance, encircled by his staff, all squatting,
when the adjutant was placed in the middle of the company.
Before us was a large open square, with the huts of the queen's
Kamraviona or commander-in- chief beyond. The battalion,
consisting of what might be termed three companies, each
containing 200 men, being drawn up on the left extremity of the
parade-ground, received orders to march past in single file from
the right of companies, at a long trot, and re-form again at the
other end of the square.

Nothing conceivable could be more wild or fantastic than the
sight which ensued--the men all nearly naked, with goat or cat
skins depending from their girdles, and smeared with war colours
according to the taste of each individual; one-half of the body
red or black, the other blue, not in regular order--as, for
instance, one stocking would be red, the other black, whilst the
breeches above would be the opposite colours, and so with the
sleeves and waistcoat. Every man carried the same arms--two
spears and one shield--held as if approaching an enemy, and they
thus moved in three lines of single rank and file, at fifteen to
twenty paces asunder, with the same high action and elongated
step, the ground leg only being bent, to give their strides the
greater force. After the men had all started, the captains of
companies followed, even more fantastically dressed; and last of
all came the great Colonel Congow, a perfect Robinson Crusoe,
with his long white-haired goat-skins, a fiddle-shaped leather
shield, tufted with white hair at all six extremities, bands of
long hair tied below the knees, and a magnificent helmet, covered
with rich beads of every colour, in excellent taste, surmounted
with a plume of crimson feathers, from the centre of which rose a
bent stem, tufted with goat-hair. Next they charged in companies
to and fro; and, finally, the senior officers came charging at
their king, making violent professions of faith and honesty, for
which they were applauded. The parade then broke up, and all went

26th.--One of king Mtesa's officers now consenting to go to
N'yama Goma with some of my men, I sent Grant a quarter of goat.
The reply brought to me was, that he was very thankful for it;
that he cooked it and ate it on the spot; and begged I would see
the king, to get him released from that starving place. Rozaro
was given over to the custody of Kitunzi for punishment. At the
same time, the queen, having heard of the outrages committed
against her brother and women, commanded that neither my men nor
any of Rozaro's should get any more food at the palace; for as we
all came to Uganda in one body, so all alike were, by her logic,
answerable for the offence. I called at the palace for
explanation but could not obtain admittance because I would not
fire the gun.

27th.--The king sent to say he wanted medicine to propitiate
lightning. I called and described the effects of a lightning-
rod, and tried to enter into the Unyoro business, wishing to go
there at once myself. He objected, because he had not seen
Grant, but appointed an officer to go through Unyoro on to Gani,
and begged I would also send men with letters. Our talk was
agreeably interrupted by guns in the distance announcing Grant's
arrival, and I took my leave to welcome my friend. How we
enjoyed ourselves after so much anxiety and want of one another's
company, I need not describe. For my part, I was only too
rejoiced to see Grant could limp about a bit, and was able to
laugh over the picturesque and amusing account he gave me of his
own rough travels.

28th.--The king in the morning sent Budja, his ambassador, with
Kamrasi's Kidgwiga, over to me for my men and letters, to go to
Kamrasi's again and ask for the road to Gani. I wished to speak
to the king first, but they said they had no orders to stop for
that, and walked straight away. I sent the king a present of a
double-barrelled gun and ammunition, and received in answer a
request that both Grant and myself would attend a levee, which he
was to hold in state, accompanied by his bodyguard, as when I was
first presented to him. In the afternoon we proceeded to court
accordingly, but found it scantily attended; and after the first
sitting, which was speedily over, retired to another court, and
saw the women. Of this dumb show the king soon got tired; he
therefore called for his iron chair, and entered into
conversation, at first about the ever-engrossing subject of
stimulants, till we changed it by asking him how he liked the
gun? He pronounced it a famous weapon, which he would use
intensely. We then began to talk in a general way about Suwarora
and Rumanika, as well as the road through Unyamuezi, which we
hoped would soon cease to exist, and be superseded by one through


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