The Discovery of the Source of the Nile
John Hanning Speke

Part 8 out of 11

It will be kept in view that the hanging about at this court, and
all the perplexing and irritating negotiations here described,
had always one end in view--that of reaching the Nile where it
pours out of the N'yanza, as I was long certain that it did.
Without the consent and even the aid of this capricious barbarian
I was now talking to, such a project was hopeless. I naturally
seized every opportunity for putting in a word in the direction
of my great object, and here seemed to be an opportunity. We now
ventured on a plump application for boats that we might feel our
way to Gani by water, supposing the lake and river to be
navigable all the way; and begged Kitunzi might be appointed to
accompany us, in order that whatever was done might be done all
with good effect in opening up a new line of commerce, by which
articles of European manufacture might find a permanent route to
Uganda. It was "no go," however. The appeal, though listened to,
and commented on, showing that it was well understood, got no
direct reply. It was not my policy to make our object appear too
important to ourselves, so I had to appear tolerably indifferent,
and took the opportunity to ask for my paint-box, which he had
borrowed for a day and had kept in his possession for months. I
got no answer to that request either, but was immediately dunned
for the compass, which had been promised on Grant's arrival.
Now, with a promise that the compass would be sent him in the
morning, he said he would see what pombe his women could spare
us; and, bidding good evening, walked away.

29th.--I sent Bombay with the compass, much to the delight of the
king, who no sooner saw it than he jumped and woh-wohed with
intense excitement at the treasure he had gained, said it was the
greatest present Bana had ever given him, for it was the thing by
which he found out all the roads and countries--it was, in fact,
half his knowledge; and the parting with it showed plainly that
Bana entertained an everlasting friendship for him. The king
then called Maula, and said, "Maula, indeed you have spoken the
truth; there is nothing like this instrument," etc., etc.,
repeating what he had already told Bombay. In the evening, the
king, accompanied by all his brothers, with iron chair and box,
came to visit us, and inspected all Grant's recently brought
pictures of the natives, with great acclamation. We did not give
him anything this time, but, instead, dunned him for the paint-
box, and afterwards took a walk to my observatory hill, where I
acted as guide. On the summit of this hill the king instructed
his brothers on the extent of his dominions; and as I asked where
Lubari or God resides, he pointed to the skies.

30th.--The king at last sent the paint-box, with some birds of
his own shooting, which he wished painted. He also wanted
himself drawn, and all Grant's pictures copied. Then, to wind up
these mild requests, a demand was made for more powder, and that
all our guns be sent to the palace for inspection.

31st.--I drew a large white and black hornbill and a green pigeon
sent by himself; but he was not satisfied; he sent more birds,
and wanted to see my shoes. The pages who came with the second
message, however, proving impertinent, got a book flung at their
heads, and a warning to be off, as I intended to see the king
myself, and ask for food to keep my ever-complaining Wanguana
quiet. Proceeding to the palace, as I found Mtesa had gone out
shooting, I called on the Kamraviona, complained that my camp was
starving, and as I had nothing left to give the king said I
wished to leave the country. Ashamed of its being supposed that
his king would not give me any food because I had no more
presents to give him, the Kamraviona, from his own stores, gave
me a goat and pombe, and said he would speak to the king on the

1st.--I drew for the king a picture of a guinea-fowl which he
shot in the early morning, and proceeded on a visit with Grant to
the queen's, accompanied only by seven men, as the rest preferred
foraging for themselves, to the chance of picking up a few
plantains at her majesty's. After an hour's waiting, the queen
received us with smiles, and gave pombe and plantains to her new
visitor, stating pointedly she had none for me. There was deep
Uganda policy in this: it was for the purpose of treating Grant
as a separate, independent person, and so obtaining a fresh hongo
or tax. Laughing at the trick, I thanked her for the beer,
taking it personally on my household, and told her when my
property arrived from Karague, she should have a few more things
as I promised her; but the men sent had neither brought my
brother in a vessel, as they were ordered, not did they bring my
property from Karague.

Still the queen was not content: she certainly expected something
from Grant, if it was ever so little, for she was entitled to it,
and would not listen to our being one house. Turning the
subject, to put in a word for my great object, I asked her to use
her influence in opening the road to Gani, as, after all, that
was the best way to get new things into Uganda. Cunning as a
fox, the queen agreed to this project, provided Grant remained
behind, for she had not seen enough of him yet, and she would
speak to her son about the matter in the morning.

This was really the first gleam of hope, and I set to putting our
future operations into a shape that might lead to practical
results without alarming our capricious host. I thought that
whilst I could be employed in inspecting the river, and in
feeling the route by water to Gani, Grant could return to Karague
by water, bringing up our rear traps, and, in navigating the
lake, obtain the information he had been frustrated in getting by
the machinations of his attendant Maribu. It was agreed to, and
all seemed well; for there was much left to be done in Uganda and
Usoga, if we could only make sure of communicating once with
Petherick. Before going home we had some more polite
conversation, during which the queen played with a toy in the
shape of a cocoa du mer, studded all over with cowries: this was
a sort of doll, or symbol of a baby and her dandling it was held
to indicate that she would ever remain a widow. In the evening
the king returned all our rifles and guns, with a request for one
of them; as also for the iron chair he sat upon when calling on
us, an iron bedstead, and the Union Jack, for he did not honour
us with a visit for nothing; and the head page was sent to
witness the transfer of the goods, and see there was no humbug
about it. It was absolutely necessary to get into a rage, and
tell the head page we did not come to Uganda to be swindled in
that manner, and he might tell the king I would not part with one
of them.

2d.--K'yengo, who came with Grant, now tried to obtain an
interview with the king, but could not get admission. I had some
further trouble about the disposal of the child Meri, who said
she never before had lived in a poor man's house since she was
born. I thought to content her by offering to marry her to one of
Rumanika's sons, a prince of her own breed, but she would not
listen to the proposal.

3d.--For days past, streams of men have been carrying faggots of
firewood, clean-cut timber, into the palaces of the king, queen,
and the Kamraviona; and to-day, on calling on the king, I found
him engaged having these faggots removed by Colonel Mkavia's
regiment from one court into another, this being his way of
ascertaining their quantity, instead of counting them. About
1600 men were engaged on this service, when the king, standing on
a carpet in front of the middle hut of the first court, with two
spears in his hand and his dog by his side, surrounded by his
brothers and a large staff of officers, gave orders for the
regiment to run to and fro in column, that he might see them
well; then turning to his staff, ordered them to run up and down
the regiment, and see what they thought of it. This ridiculous
order set them all flying, and soon they returned, charging at
the king with their sticks, dancing and jabbering that their
numbers were many, he was the greatest king on earth, and their
lives and services were his for ever. The regiment now received
orders to put down their faggots, and, taking up their own sticks
in imitation of spears, followed the antics of their officers in
charging and vociferating. Next, Mkavia presented five hairy
Usoga goats, n'yanzigging and performing the other appropriate
ceremonies. On asking the king if he had any knowledge of the
extent of his army, he merely said, "How can I, when these you
see are a portion of them just ordered here to carry wood?"

The regiment was now dismissed; but the officers were invited to
follow the king into another court, when he complimented them on
assembling so many men; they, instead of leaving well alone,
foolishly replied they were sorry they were not more numerous, as
some of the men lived so far away they shirked the summons;
Maula, then, ever forward in mischief, put a cap on it by saying,
if he could only impress upon the Waganda to listen to his
orders, there would never be a deficiency. Upon which the king
said, "If they fail to obey you, they disobey me; for I have
appointed you as my orderly, and thereby you personify the orders
of the king." Up jumped Maula in a moment as soon as these words
were uttered, charging with his stick, then floundering and
n'yanzigging as if he had been signally rewarded. I expected
some piece of cruel mischief to come of all this, but the king,
in his usual capricious way, suddenly rising, walked off to a
third court, followed only by a select few.

Here, turning to me, he said, "Bana, I love you, because you have
come so far to see me, and have taught me so many things since
you have been here." Rising, with my hand to my heart, and
gracefully bowing at this strange announcement--for at that
moment I was full of hunger and wrath--I intimated I was much
flattered at hearing it, but as my house was in a state of
starvation, I trusted he would consider it. "What!" said he, "do
you want goats?" "Yes, very much." The pages then received
orders to furnish me with ten that moment, as the king's farmyard
was empty, and he would reimburse them as soon as more
confiscations took place. But this, I said, was not enough; the
Wanguana wanted plantains, for they had received none these
fifteen days. "What!" said the king, turning to his pages again,
"have you given these men no plantains, as I ordered? Go and
fetch them this moment, and pombe too, for Bana."

The subject then turned on the plan I had formed of going to Gani
by water, and of sending Grant to Karague by the lake; but the
king's mind was fully occupied with the compass I had given him.
He required me to explain its use, and then broke up the meeting.

4th.--Viarungi, an officer sent by Rumanika to escort Grant to
Uganda, as well as to apply to king Mtesa for a force to fight
his brother Rogero, called on me with Rozaro, and said he had
received instructions from his king to apply to me for forty cows
and two slave-boys, because the Arabs who pass through his
country to Uganda always make him a present of that sort after
receiving them from Mtesa. After telling him we English never
give the presents they have received away to any one, and never
make slaves, but free them, I laid a complaint against Rozaro for
having brought much trouble and disgrace upon my camp, as well as
much trouble on myself, and begged that he might be removed from
my camp. Rozaro then attempted to excuse himself, but without
success, and said he had already detached his residence from my
camp, and taken up a separate residence with Viarungi, his
superior officer.

I called on the king in the afternoon, and found the pages had
already issued plantains for my men and pombe for myself. The
king addressed me with great cordiality, and asked if I wished to
go to Gani. I answered him with all promptitude,--Yes, at once,
with some of his officers competent to judge of the value of all
I point out to them for future purposes in keeping the road
permanently open. His provoking capriciousness, however, again
broke in, and he put me off till his messengers should return
from Unyoro. I told him his men had gone in vain, for Budja left
without my letter or my men; and further, that the river route is
the only one that will ever be of advantage to Uganda, and the
sooner it was opened up the better. I entreated him to listen to
my advice, and send some of my men to Kamrasi direct, to acquaint
him with my intention to go down the river in boats to him; but I
could get no answer to this. Bombay then asked for cows for the
Wanguana, getting laughed at for his audacity, and the king broke
up the court and walked away.

5th.--I started on a visit to the queen, but half-way met Congow,
who informed me he had just escorted her majesty from his house,
where she was visiting, to her palace. By way of a joke and
feeler, I took it in my head to try, by taking a harmless rise
out of Congow, whether the Nile is understood by the natives to
be navigable near its exit from the N'yanza. I told him he had
been appointed by the king to escort us down the river to Gani.
He took the affair very seriously, delivering himself to the
following purport: "Well, then, my days are numbered; for if I
refuse compliance I shall lose my head; and if I attempt to pass
Kamrasi's, which is on the river, I shall lose my life; for I am
a marked man there, having once led an army past his palace and
back again. It would be no use calling it a peaceful mission, as
you propose; for the Wanyoro distrust the Waganda to such an
extent, they would fly to arms at once."

Proceeding to the queen's palace, we met Murondo, who had once
travelled to the Masai frontier. He said it would take a month
to go in boats from Kira, the most easterly district in Uganda,
to Masai, where there is another N'yanza, joined by a strait to
the big N'yanza, which king Mtesa's boats frequent for salt; but
the same distance could be accomplished in four days overland,
and three days afterwards by boat. The queen, after keeping us
all day waiting, sent three bunches of plantains and a pot of
pombe, with a message that she was too tired to receive visitors,
and hoped we would call another day.

6th.--I met Pokino, the governor-general of Uddu, in the
morning's walk, who came here at the same time as Grant to visit
the king, and was invited into his house to drink pombe. His
badge of office is an iron hatchet, inlaid with copper and
handled with ivory. He wished to give us a cow, but put it off
for another day, and was surprised we dared venture into his
premises without permission from the king. After this, we called
at the palace, just as the king was returning from a walk with
his brothers. He saw us, and sent for Bana. We entered, and
presented him with some pictures, which he greatly admired,
looked at close and far, showed to the brothers, and inspected
again. Pokino at this time came in with a number of well-made
shields, and presented them grovelling and n'yanzigging; but
though the governor of an important province, who had not been
seen by the king for years, he was taken no more notice of than
any common Mkungu. A plan of the lake and Nile, which I brought
with me to explain our projects for reaching Karague and Gani,
engaged the king's attention for a while; but still he would not
agree to let anything be done until the messenger returned from
Unyoro. Finding him inflexible, I proposed sending a letter,
arranging that his men should be under the guidance of my men
after they pass Unyoro on the way to Gani; and this was acceded
to, provided I should write a letter to Petherick by the morrow.
I then tried to teach the king the use of the compass. To make a
stand for it, I turned a drum on its head, when all the courtiers
flew at me as if to prevent an outrage, and the king laughed. I
found that, as the instrument was supposed to be a magic charm of
very wonderful powers, my meddling with it and treating it as an
ordinary movable was considered a kind of sacrilege.

7th.--I wrote a letter to Petherick, but the promised Wakungu
never came for it. As K'yengo was ordered to attend court with
Rumanika's hongo, consisting of a few wires, small beads, and a
cloth I gave him, as well as a trifle from Nnanji, I sent Bombay,
in place of going myself, to remind the king of his promises for
the Wakungu to Gani, as well as for boats to Karague, but a grunt
was the only reply which my messenger said he obtained.

8th.--Calling at the palace, I found the king issuing for a walk,
and joined him, when he suddenly turned round in the rudest
manner, re-entered his palace, and left me to go home without
speaking a word. The capricious creature then reissued, and,
finding me gone, inquired after me, presuming I ought to have
waited for him.

9th.--During the night, when sleeping profoundly, some person
stealthily entered my hut and ran off with a box of bullets
towards the palace, but on the way dropped his burden. Maula, on
the way home, happening to see it, and knowing it to be mine,
brought it back again. I stayed at home, not feeling well.

10th.--K'yengo paid his hongo in wire to the king, and received a
return of six cows. Still at home, an invalid, I received a
visit from Meri, who seemed to have quite recovered herself.
Speaking of her present quarters, she said she loved Uledi's wife
very much, thinking birds of a feather ought to live together.
She helped herself to a quarter of mutton, and said she would
come again.

11th.--To-day Viarungi, finding Rozaro's men had stolen thirty
cows, twelve slaves, and a load of mbugu from the Waganda, laid
hands on them himself for Rumanika, instead of giving them to
King Mtesa. Such are the daily incidents among our neighbours.

12th.--At night a box of ammunition and a bag of shot, which were
placed out as a reserve present for the king, to be given on our
departure, were stolen, obviously by the king's boys, and most
likely by the king's orders; for he is the only person who could
have made any use of them, and his boys alone know the way into
the hut; besides which, the previous box of bullets was found on
the direct road to the palace, while it was well known that no
one dared to touch an article of European manufacture without the
consent of the king.

13th.--I sent a message to the king about the theft, requiring
him, if an honest man, to set his detectives to work, and ferret
it out; his boys, at the same time, to show our suspicions, were
peremptorily forbidden ever to enter the hut again. Twice the
king sent down a hasty message to say he was collecting all his
men to make a search, and, if they do not succeed, the Mganga
would be sent; but nothing was done. The Kamraviona was sharply
rebuked by the king for allowing K'yengo to visit him before
permission was given, and thus defrauding the royal exchequer of
many pretty things, which were brought for majesty alone. At
night the rascally boys returned again to plunder, but Kahala,
more wakeful than myself, heard them trying to untie the door-
handle, and frightened them away in endeavouring to awaken me.

14th and 15th.--Grant, doing duty for me, tried a day's penance
at the palace, but though he sat all day in the ante-chamber, and
musicians were ordered into the presence, nobody called for him.
K'yengo was sent with all his men on a Wakungu-seizing
expedition, --a good job for him, as it was his perquisite to
receive the major part of the plunder himself.

16th.--I sent Kahala out of the house, giving her finally over to
Bombay as a wife, because she preferred playing with dirty little
children to behaving like a young lady, and had caught the itch.
This was much against her wish, and the child vowed she would not
leave me until force compelled her; but I had really no other way
of dealing with the remnant of the awkward burden which the
queen's generosity had thrown on me. K'yengo went to the palace
with fifty prisoners; but as the king had taken his women to the
small pond, where he has recently placed a tub canoe for purposes
of amusement, they did no business.

17th.--I took a first convalescent walk. The king, who was out
shooting all day, begged for powder in the evening. Uledi
returned from his expedition against a recusant officer at
Kituntu, bringing with him a spoil of ten women. It appeared
that the officer himself had bolted from his landed possessions,
and as they belonged to "the church," or were in some way or
other sacred from civil execution, they could not be touched, so
that Uledi lost an estate which the king had promised him. We
heard that Ilmas, wife of Majanja, who, as I already mentioned,
had achieved an illustrious position by services at the birth of
the king, had been sent to visit the late king Sunna's tomb,
whence, after observing certain trees which were planted, and
divining by mystic arts what the future state of Uganda required,
she would return at a specific time, to order the king at the
time of his coronation either to take the field with an army, to
make a pilgrimage, or to live a life of ease at home; whichever
of these courses the influence of the ordeal at the grave might
prompt her to order, must be complied with by the king.

18th.--I called at the palace with Grant, taking with us some
pictures of soldiers, horses, elephants, etc. We found the guard
fighting over their beef and plantain dinner. Bombay remarked
that this daily feeding on beef would be the lot of the Wanguana
if they had no religious scruples about the throat-cutting of
animals for food. This, I told him, was all their own fault, for
they have really no religion or opinions of their own; and had
they been brought up in England instead of Africa, it would have
been all the other way with them as a matter of course; but
Bombay replied, "We could no more throw off the Mussulman faith
than you could yours." A man with a maniacal voice sang and
whistled by turns. Katumba, the officer of the guards, saw our
pictures, and being a favourite, acquainted the king, which
gained us an admittance.

We found his majesty sitting on the ground, within a hut, behind
a portal, encompassed by his women, and took our seats outside.
At first all was silence, till one told the king we had some
wonderful pictures to show him; in an instant he grew lively,
crying out, "Oh, let us see them!" and they were shown, Bombay
explaining. Three of the king's wives then came in, and offered
him their two virgin sisters, n'yanzigging incessantly, and
beseeching their acceptance, as by that means they themselves
would become doubly related to him. Nothing, however, seemed to
be done to promote the union, until one old lady, sitting by the
king's side, who was evidently learned in the etiquette and
traditions of the court, said, "Wait and see if he embraces,
otherwise you may know he is not pleased." At this announcement
the girls received a hint to pass on, and the king commenced
bestowing on them a series of huggings, first sitting on the lap
of one, whom he clasped to his bosom, crossing his neck with hers
to the right, then to the left, and, having finished with her,
took post in the second one's lap, then on that of the third,
performing on each of them the same evolutions. He then retired
to his original position, and the marriage ceremony was supposed
to be concluded, and the settlements adjusted, when all went on
as before.

The pictures were again looked at, and again admired, when we
asked for a private interview on business, and drew the king
outside. I then begged he would allow me, whilst his men were
absent at Unyoro, to go to the Masai country, and see the Salt
Lake at the north-east corner of the N'yanza, and to lend me some
of his boats for Grant to fetch powder and beads from Karague.
This important arrangement being conceded by the king more
promptly than we expected, a cow, plantains, and pombe were
requested; but the cow only was given, though our men were said
to be feeding on grass. Taking the king, as it appeared, in a
good humour, to show him the abuses arising from the system of
allowing his guests to help themselves by force upon the
highways, I reported the late seizures made of thirty cows and
twelve slaves by the Wanyambo; but, though surprised to hear the
news, he merely remarked that there were indeed a great number of
visitors in Uganda. During this one day we heard the sad voice
of no less than four women, dragged from the palace to the

19th.--To follow up our success in the marching question and keep
the king to his promise, I called at his palace, but found he had
gone out shooting. To push my object further, I then marched off
to the queen's to bid her good-bye, as if we were certain to
leave the next day; but as no one would dare to approach her
cabinet to apprise her of our arrival, we returned home tired and

20th.--The king sent for us at noon; but when we reached the
palace we found he had started on a shooting tour; so, to make
the best of our time, we called again upon the queen for the same
purpose as yesterday, as also to get my books of birds and
animals, which, taken merely to look at for a day or so, had been
kept for months. After hours of waiting, her majesty appeared
standing in an open gateway; beckoned us to advance, and offered
pombe; then, as two or three drops of rain fell, she said she
could not stand the violence of the weather, and forthwith
retired without one word being obtained. An officer, however,
venturing in for the books, at length I got them.

21st.--To-day I went to the palace, but found no one; the king
was out shooting again.

22d.--We resolved to-day to try on a new political influence at
the court. Grant had taken to the court of Karague a jumping-
jack, to amuse the young princes; but it had a higher destiny,
for it so fascinated the king Rumanika himself that he would not
part with it --unless, indeed, Grant would make him a big one out
of a tree which was handed to him for the purpose. We resolved
to try the influence of such a toy on king Mtesa, and brought
with us, in addition, a mask and some pictures. But although the
king took a visiting card, the gate was never opened to us.
Finding this, and the day closing, we deposited the mask and
pictures on a throne, and walked away. We found that we had thus
committed a serious breach of state etiquette; for the guard, as
soon as they saw what we had done, seized the Wanguana for our
offences in defiling the royal seat, and would have bound them,
had they not offered to return the articles to us.

23d.--Early in the morning, hearing the royal procession marching
off on a shooting excursion, we sent Bombay running after it with
the mask and pictures, to aquaint the king with our desire to see
him, and explain that we had been four days successively foiled
in attempts to find him in his palace, our object being an eager
wish to come to some speedy understanding about the appointed
journeys to the Salt Lake and Karague. The toys produced the
desired effect; for the king stopped and played with them, making
Bombay and the pages don the masks by turns. He appointed the
morrow for an interview, at the same time excusing himself for
not having seen us yesterday on the plea of illness. In the
evening Kahala absconded with another little girl of the camp in
an opposite direction from the one she took last time; but as
both of them wandered about not knowing where to go to, and as
they omitted to take off all their finery, they were soon
recognised as in some way connected with my party, taken up, and
brought into camp, where they were well laughed at for their
folly, and laughed in turn at the absurdity of their futile

24th.--Hoping to keep the king to his promise, I went to the
palace early, but found he had already gone to see his brothers,
so followed him down, and found him engaged playing on a
harmonicon with them. Surprised at my intrusion, he first asked
how I managed to find him out; then went on playing for a while;
but suddenly stopping to talk with me, he gave me an opportunity
of telling him I wished to send Grant off to Karague, and start
myself for Usoga and the Salt Lake in the morning. "What! going
away?" said the king, as if he had never heard a word about it
before; and then, after talking the whole subject over again,
especially dwelling on the quantity of powder I had in store at
Karague, he promised to send the necessary officers for escorting
us on our respective journeys in the morning.

The brothers' wives then wished to see me, and came before us,
when I had to take off my hat and shoes as usual, my ready
compliance inducing the princes to pass various compliments of my
person and disposition. The brothers then showed me a stool made
of wood after the fashion of our sketching-stool, and a gun-cover
of leather, made by themselves, of as good workmanship as is to
be found in India. The king then rose, followed by his brothers,
and we all walked off to the pond. The effect of stimulants was
mooted, as well as other physiological phenomena, when a second
move took us to the palace by torchlight, and the king showed a
number of new huts just finished and beautifully made. Finally,
he settled down to a musical concert, in which he took the lead
himself. At eight o'clock, being tired and hungry, I reminded
the king of his promises, and he appointed the morning to call on
him for the Wakungu, and took leave.

25th.--Makinga, hearing of the intended march through Usoga, was
pleased to say he would like to join my camp and spend his time
in buying slaves and ivory there. I went to the palace for the
promised escort, but was no sooner announced by the pages than
the king walked off into the interior of his harem, and left me
no alternative but to try my luck with the Kamraviona, who,
equally proud with his master, would not answer my call,--and so
another day was lost.

26th.--This morning we had the assuring intelligence from Kaddu
that he had received orders to hold himself in readiness for a
voyage to Karague in twenty boats with Grant, but the date of
departure was not fixed. The passage was expected to be rough,
as the water off the mouth of the Kitangule Kagera (river) always
runs high, so that no boats can go there except at night, when
the winds of day subside, and are replaced by the calms of night.
I called at the palace, but saw nothing of the king, though the
court was full of officials; and there were no less than 150
women, besides girls, goats, and various other things, seizures
from refractory state officers, who, it was said, had been too
proud to present themselves at court for a period exceeding

All these creatures, I was assured, would afterwards be given
away as return-presents for the hongos or presents received from
the king's visitors. No wonder the tribes of Africa are mixed
breeds. Amongst the officers in waiting was my friend Budja, the
ambassador that had been sent to Unyoro with Kidgwiga, Kamrasi's
deputy. He had returned three days before, but had not yet seen
the king. As might have been expected, he said he had been
anything but welcomed in Unyoro. Kamrasi, after keeping him
half-starved and in suspense eight days, sent a message--for he
would not see him--that he did not desire any communication with
blackguard Waganda thieves, and therefore advised him, if he
valued his life, to return by the road by which he came as
speedily as possible. Turning to Congow, I playfully told him
that, as the road through Unyoro was closed, he would have to go
with me through Usoga and Kidi; but the gallant colonel merely
shuddered, and said that would be a terrible undertaking.

27th.--The king would not show, for some reason or other, and we
still feared to fire guns lest he should think our store of
powder inexhaustible, and so keep us here until he had extorted
the last of it. I found that the Waganda have the same absurd
notion here as the Wanyambo have in Karague, of Kamrasi's
supernatural power in being able to divide the waters of the Nile
in the same manner as Moses did the Red Sea.

28th.--The king sent a messenger-boy to inform us that he had
just heard from Unyoro that the white men were still at Gani
inquiring after us; but nothing was said of Budja's defeat. I
sent Bombay immediately off to tell him we had changed our plans,
and now simply required a large escort to accompany us through
Usoga and Kidi to Gani, as further delay in communicating with
Petherick might frustrate all chance of opening the Nile trade
with Uganda. He answered that he would assemble all his officers
in the morning to consult with them on the subject, when he hoped
we would attend, as he wished to further our views. A herd of
cows, about eighty in number, were driven in from Unyoro, showing
that the silly king was actually robbing Kamrasi at the same time
that he was trying to treat with him. K'yengo informed us that
the king, considering the surprising events which had lately
occurred at his court, being very anxious to pry into the future,
had resolved to take a very strong measure for accomplishing that
end. This was the sacrifice of a child by cooking, as described
in the introduction--a ceremony which it fell to K'yengo to carry

29th.--To have two strings to my bow, and press our departure as
hotly as possible, I sent first Frij off with Nasib to the queen,
conveying, as a parting present, a block-tin brush-box, a watch
without a key, two sixpenny pocket-handkerchiefs, and a white
towel, with an intimation that we were going, as the king had
expressed his desire of sending us to Gani. Her majesty accepted
the present, finding fault with the watch for not ticking like
the king's, and would not believe her son Mtesa had been so hasty
in giving us leave to depart, as she had not been consulted on
the subject yet. Setting off to attend the king at his appointed
time, I found the Kamraviona already there, with a large court
attendance, patiently awaiting his majesty's advent. As we were
all waiting on, I took a rise out of the Kamraviona by telling
him I wanted a thousand men to march with me through Kidi to
Gani. Surprised at the extent of my requisition, he wished to
know if my purpose was fighting. I made him a present of the
great principle that power commands respect, and it was to
prevent any chance of fighting that we required so formidable an
escort. His reply was that he would tell the king; and he
immediately rose and walked away home.

K'yengo and the representatives of Usui and Karague now arrived
by order of the king to bid farewell, and received the slaves and
cattle lately captured. As I was very hungry, I set off home to
breakfast. Just as I had gone, the provoking king inquired after
me, and so brought me back again, though I never saw him the
whole day. K'yengo, however, was very communicative. He said he
was present when Sunna, with all the forces he could muster,
tried to take the very countries I now proposed to travel
through; but, though in person exciting his army to victory, he
could make nothing of it. He advised my returning to Karague,
when Rumanika would give me an escort through Nkole to Unyoro;
but finding that did not suit my views, as I swore I would never
retrace one step, he proposed my going by boat to Unyoro,
following down the Nile.

This, of course, was exactly what I wanted; but how could king
Mtesa, after the rebuff he had received from Kamrasi be induced
to consent to it? My intention, I said, was to try the king on
the Usoga and Kidi route first, then on the Masai route to
Zanzibar, affecting perfect indifference about Kamrasi; and all
those failing--which, of course, they would--I would ask for
Unyoro as a last and only resource. Still I could not see the
king to open my heart to him, and therefore felt quite
nonplussed. "Oh," says K'yengo, "the reason why you do not see
him is merely because he is Ashamed to show his face, having made
so many fair promises to you which he knows he can never carry
out: bide your time, and all will be well." At 4 p.m., as no
hope of seeing the king was left, all retired.

30th.--Unexpectedly, and for reasons only known to himself, the
king sent us a cow and load of butter, which had been asked for
many days ago. The new moon seen last night kept the king
engaged at home, paying his devotions with his magic horns or
fetishes in the manner already described. The spirit of this
religion--if such it can be called--is not so much adoration of a
Being supreme and beneficent, as a tax to certain malignant
furies--a propitiation, in fact, to prevent them bringing evil on
the land, and to insure a fruitful harvest. It was rather
ominous that hail fell with violence, and lightning burnt down
one of the palace huts, while the king was in the midst of his
propitiatory devotions.

1st.--As Bombay was ordered to the palace to instruct the king in
the art of casting bullets, I primed him well to plead for the
road, and he reported to me the results, thus: First, he asked
one thousand men to go through Kidi. This the king said was
impracticable, as the Waganda had tried it so often before
without success. Then, as that could not be managed, what would
the king devise himself? Bana only proposed the Usoga and Kidi
route, because he thought it would be to the advantage of Uganda.
"Oh," says the king, cunningly, "if Bana merely wishes to see
Usoga, he can do so, and I will send a suitable escort, but no
more." To this Bombay replied, "Bana never could return; he would
sooner do anything than return--even penetrate the Masai to
Zanzibar, or go through Unyoro"; to which the king, ashamed of
his impotence, hung down his head and walked away.

In the meanwhile, and whilst this was going on at the king's
palace, I went with Grant, by appointment, to see the queen. As
usual, she kept us waiting some time, then appeared sitting by an
open gate, and invited us, together with many Wakungu and
Wasumbua to approach. Very lavish with stale sour pombe, she
gave us all some, saving the Wasumbua, whom she addressed very
angrily, asking what they wanted, as they have been months in the
country. These poor creatures, in a desponding mood, defended
themselves by saying, which was quite true, that they had left
their homes in Sorombo to visit her, and to trade. They had,
since their arrival in the country, been daily in attendance at
her palace, but never had the good fortune to see her excepting
on such lucky occasions as brought the Wazungu (white men) here,
when she opened her gates to them, but otherwise kept them shut.
The queen retorted, "And what have you brought me, pray? where is
it? Until I touch it you will neither see me nor obtain
permission to trade. Uganda is no place for idle vagabonds." We
then asked for a private interview, when, a few drops of rain
falling, the queen walked away, and we had orders to wait a
little. During this time two boys were birched by the queen's
orders, and an officer was sent out to inquire why the watch he
had given her did not go. This was easily explained. It had no
key; and, never losing sight of the main object, we took
advantage of the opportunity to add, that if she did not approve
of it, we could easily exchange it for another on arrival at
Gani, provided she would send an officer with us.

The queen, squatting within her hut, now ordered both Grant and
myself to sit outside and receive a present of five eggs and one
cock each, saying coaxingly, "These are for my children." Then
taking out the presents, she learned the way of wearing her watch
with a tape guard round her neck, reposing the instrument in her
bare bosom, and of opening and shutting it, which so pleased her,
that she declared it quite satisfactory. The key was quite a
minor consideration, for she could show it to her attendants just
as well without one. The towel and handkerchiefs were also very
beautiful, but what use could they be put to? "Oh, your majesty,
to wipe the mouth after drinking pombe." "Of course," is the
reply --"excellent; I won't use a mbugu napkin any more, but have
one of these placed on my cup when it is brought to drink, and
wipe my mouth with it afterwards. But what does Bana want?"
"The road to Gani," says Bombay for me. "The king won't see him
when he goes to The palace, so now he comes here, trusting your
superior influence and good-nature will be more practicable."
"Oh!" says her majesty, "Bana does not know the facts of the
case. My son has tried all the roads without success, and now he
is ashamed to meet Bana face to face." "Then what is to be done,
your majesty?" "Bana must go back to Karague and wait for a
year, until my son is crowned, when he will make friends with the
surrounding chiefs, and the roads will be opened." "But Bana
says he will not retrace one step; he would sooner lose his
life." "Oh, that's nonsense! he must not be headstrong; but
before anything more can be said, I will send a message to my
son, and Bana can then go with Kaddu, K'yengo, and Viarungi, and
tell all they have to say to Mtesa to-morrow, and the following
day return to me, when everything will be concluded." We all now
left but Kaddu and some of the queen's officers, who waited for
the message to her son about us. To judge from Kaddu, it must
have been very different from what she led us to expect, as, on
joining us, he said there was not the smallest chance of our
getting the road we required, for the queen was so decided about
it no further argument would be listened to.

2d.--Three goats were stolen, and suspicion falling on the king's
cooks, who are expert foragers, we sent to the Kamraviona, and
asked him to order out the Mganga; but his only reply was, that
he often loses goats in the same way. He sent us one of his own
for present purposes, and gave thirty baskets of potatoes to my
men. As the king held a court, and broke it up before 8 a.m.,
and no one would go there for fear of his not appearing again, I
waited, till the evening for Bombay, Kaddu, K'yengo, and
Viarungi, when, finding them drunk, I went by myself, fired a
gun, and was admitted to where the king was hunting guinea-fowl.
On seeing me, he took me affectionately by the hand, and, as we
walked along together, he asked me what I wanted, showed me the
house which was burnt down, and promised to settle the road
question in the morning.

3d.--With Kaddu, K'yengo, and Viarungi all in attendance, we went
to the palace, where there was a large assemblage prepared for a
levee, and fired a gun, which brought the king out in state. The
Sakibobo, or provincial governor, arrived with a body of soldiers
armed with sticks, made a speech, and danced at the head of his
men, all pointing sticks upwards, and singing fidelity to their

The king then turned to me, and said, "I have come out to listen
to your request of last night. What is it you do want?" I said,
"To open the country to the north, that an uninterrupted line of
commerce might exist between England and this country by means of
the Nile. I might go round by Nkole" (K'yengo looked daggers at
me); "but that is out of the way, and not suitable to the
purpose." The queen's deputation was now ordered to draw near,
and questioned in a whisper. As K'yengo was supposed to know all
about me, and spoke fluently both in Kiganda and Kisuahili, he
had to speak first; but K'yengo, to everybody's surprise, said,
"One white man wishes to go to Kamrasi's, whilst the other wishes
to return through Unyamuezi." This announcement made the king
reflect; for he had been privately primed by his mother's
attendants, that we both wished to go to Gani, and therefore
shrewdly inquired if Rumanika knew we wished to visit Kamrasi,
and whether he was aware we should attempt the passage north from
Uganda. "Oh yes! of course Bana wrote to Bana Mdogo" (the little
master) "as soon as he arrived in Uganda and told him and
Rumanika all about it." "Wrote! what does that mean?" and I was
called upon to explain. Mtesa, then seeing a flaw in K'yengo's
statements, called him a story-teller; ordered him and his party
away, and bade me draw near.

The moment of triumph had come at last, and suddenly the road was
granted! The king presently let us see the motive by which he
had been influenced. He said he did not like having to send to
Rumanika for everything: he wanted his visitors to come to him
direct; moreover, Rumanika had sent him a message to the effect
that we were not to be shown anything out of Uganda, and when we
had done with it, were to be returned to him. Rumanika, indeed!
who cared about Rumanika? Was not Mtesa the king of the country,
to do as he liked? and we all laughed. Then the king, swelling
with pride, asked me whom I liked best--Rumanika or himself,--an
awkward question, which I disposed of by saying I liked Rumanika
very much because he spoke well, and was very communicative; but
I also liked Mtesa, because his habits were much like my own--
fond of shooting and roaming about; whilst he had learned so many
things from my teaching, I must ever feel a yearning towards him.

With much satisfaction I felt that my business was now done; for
Budja was appointed to escort us to Unyoro, and Jumba to prepare
us boats, that we might go all the way to Kamrasi's by water.
Viarungi made a petition, on Rumanika's behalf, for an army of
Waganda to go to Karague, and fight the refractory brother,
Rogero; but this was refused, on the plea that the whole army was
out fighting at the present moment. The court then broke up and
we went home.

To keep the king up to the mark, and seal our passage, in the
evening I took a Lancaster rifle, with ammunition, and the iron
chair he formerly asked for, as a parting present, to the palace,
but did not find him, as he had gone out shooting with his

4th.--Grant and I now called together on the king to present the
rifle, chair, and ammunition, as we could not thank him in words
sufficiently for the favour he had done us in granting the road
through Unyoro. I said the parting gift was not half as much as
I should like to have been able to give; but we hoped, on
reaching Gani, to send Petherick up to him with everything that
he could desire. We regretted we had no more powder or shot, as
what was intended, and actually placed out expressly to be
presented on this occasion, was stolen. The king looked hard at
his head page, who was once sent to get these very things now
given, and then turning the subject adroitly, asked me how many
cows and women I would like, holding his hand up with spread
fingers, and desiring me to count by hundreds; but the reply was,
Five cows and goats would be enough, for we wished to travel
lightly in boats, starting from the Murchison Creek. Women were
declined on such grounds as would seem rational to him. But if
the king would clothe my naked men with one mbugu (bark cloth)
each, and give a small tusk each to nine Wanyamuezi porters, who
desired to return to their home, the obligation would be great.

Everything was granted without the slightest hesitation; and then
the king, turning to me, said, "Well, Bana, so you really wish to
go?" "Yes, for I have not seen my home for four years and
upwards" --reckoning five months to the year, Uganda fashion.
"And you can give no stimulants?" "No." "Then you will send me
some from Gani-- brandy if you like; it makes people sleep sound,
and gives them strength." Next we went to the queen to bid her
farewell, but did not see her.

On returning home I found half my men in a state of mutiny. They
had been on their own account to beg for the women and cows which
had been refused, saying, If Bana does not want them we do, for
we have been starved here ever since we came, and when we go for
food get broken heads; we will not serve with Bana any longer;
but as he goes north, we will return to Karague and Unyanyembe.
Bombay, however, told them they never had fed so well in all
their lives as they had in Uganda, counting from fifty to sixty
cows killed, and pombe and plantains every day, whenever they
took the trouble to forage; and for their broken heads they
invariably received a compensation in women; so that Bana had
reason to regret every day spent in asking for food for them at
the palace--a favour which none but his men received, but which
they had not, as they might have done, turned to good effect by
changing the system of plundering for food in Uganda.

5th.--By the king's order we attended at the palace early. The
gun obtained us all a speedy admittance, when the king opened
conversation by saying, "Well, Bana, so you really are going?"
"Yes; I have enjoyed your hospitality for a long time, and now
wish to return to my home." "What provision do you want?" I
said, Five cows and five goats, as we shan't be long in Uganda;
and it is not the custom of our country, when we go visiting, to
carry anything away with us. The king then said, "Well, I wish
to give you much, but you won't have it"; when Budja spoke out,
saying, "Bana does not know the country he had to travel through;
there is nothing but jungle and famine on the way, and he must
have cows"; on which the king ordered us sixty cows, fourteen
goats, ten loads of butter, a load of coffee and tobacco, one
hundred sheets of mbugu, as clothes for my men, at a suggestion
of Bombay's, as all my cloth had been expended even before I left

This magnificent order created a pause, which K'yengo took
advantage of by producing a little bundle of peculiarly-shaped
sticks and a lump of earth--all of which have their own
particular magical powers, as K'yengo described to the king's
satisfaction. After this, Viarungi pleaded the cause of my
mutinous followers, till I shook my finger angrily at him before
the king, rebuked him for intermeddling in other people's
affairs, and told my own story, which gained the sympathy of the
king, and induced him to say, "Supposing they desert Bana, what
road do they expect to get?" Maula was now appointed to go with
Rozaro to Karague for the powder and other things promised
yesterday, whilst Viarungi and all his party, though exceedingly
anxious to get away, had orders to remain here prisoners as a
surety for the things arriving. Further, Kaddu and two other
Wakungu received orders to go to Usui with two tusks of ivory to
purchase gunpowder, caps, and flints, failing which they would
proceed to Unyanyembe, and even to Zanzibar, for the king must
not be disappointed, and failure would cost them their lives.

Not another word was said, and away the two parties went, with no
more arrangement than a set of geese--Maula without a letter, and
Kaddu without any provision for the way, as if all the world
belonged to Mtesa, and he could help himself from any man's
garden that he liked, no matter where he was. In the evening my
men made a humble petition for their discharge, even if I did not
pay them, producing a hundred reasons for wishing to leave me,
but none which would stand a moment's argument: the fact was,
they were afraid of the road to Unyoro, thinking I had not
sufficient ammunition.

6th.--I visited the king, and asked leave for boats to go at
once; but the fleet admiral put a veto on this by making out that
dangerous shallows exist between the Murchison Creek and the Kira
district station, so that the boats of one place never visit the
other; and further, if we went to Kira, we should find
impracticable cataracts to the Urondogani boat-station; our
better plan would therefore be, to deposit our property at the
Urondogani station, and walk by land up the river, if a sight of
the falls at the mouth of the lake was of such material
consequence to us.

Of course this man carried everything his own way, for there was
nobody able to contradict him, and we could not afford time to
visit Usoga first, lest by the delay we might lose an opportunity
of communicating with Petherick. Grant now took a portrait of
Mtesa by royal permission, the king sitting as quietly as his
impatient nature would permit. Then at home the Wanyamuezi
porters received their tusks of ivory, weighing from 16 to 50 lb.
each, and took a note besides on Rumanika each for twenty fundo
of beads, barring one Bogue man, who, having lent a cloth to the
expedition some months previously, thought it would not be paid
him, and therefore seized a sword as security; the consequence
was, his tusk was seized until the sword was returned, and he was
dismissed minus his beads, for having so misconducted himself.
The impudent fellow then said, "It will be well for Bana if he
succeeds in getting the road through Unyoro; for, should he fail,
I will stand in his path at Bogue." Kitunzi offered an ivory for
beads, and when told we were not merchants, and advised to try
K'yengo, he said he dared not even approach K'yengo's camp lest
people should tell the king of it, and accuse him of seeking for
magical powers against his sovereign. Old Nasib begged for his
discharge. It was granted, and he took a $50 letter on the
coast, and a letter of emancipation for himself and family,
besides an order, written in Kisuahili, for ten fundo of beads on
Rumanika, which made him very happy.

In the evening we called again at the palace with pictures of the
things the king required from Rumanika, and a letter informing
Rumanika what we wished done with them, in order that there might
be no mistake, requesting the king to forward them after Mula.
Just then Kaddu's men returned to say they wanted provisions for
the way, as the Wazinza, hearing of their mission, asked them if
they knew what they were about, going to a strange country
without any means of paying their way. But the king instead of
listening to reason, impetuously said, "If you do not pack off at
once, and bring me the things I want, every man of you shall lose
his head; and as for the Wazinza, for interfering with my orders,
they shall be kept here prisoners until you return."

On the way home, one of the king's favourite women overtook us,
walking, with her hands clasped at the back of her head, to
execution, crying, "N'uawo!" in the most pitiful manner. A man
was preceding her, but did not touch her; for she loved to obey
the orders of her king voluntarily, and in consequence of
previous attachment, was permitted, as a mark of distinction, to
walk free. Wondrous world! it was not ten minutes since we parted
from the king, yet he had found time to transact this bloody
piece of business.

7th.--Early in the morning the king bade us come to him to say
farewell. Wishing to leave behind a favourable impression, I
instantly complied. On the breast of my coat I suspended the
necklace the queen had given me, as well as his knife, and my
medals. I talked with him in as friendly and flattering a manner
as I could, dwelling on his shooting, the pleasant cruising on
the lake, and our sundry picnics, as well as the grand prospect
there was now of opening the country to trade, by which his guns,
the best in the world, would be fed with powder--and other small
matters of a like nature,--to which he replied with great feeling
and good taste. We then all rose with an English bow, placing the
hand on the heart whilst saying adieu; and there was a complete
uniformity in the ceremonial, for whatever I did, Mtesa, in an
instant, mimicked with the instinct of a monkey.

We had, however, scarcely quitted the palace gate before the king
issued himself, with his attendants and his brothers leading, and
women bringing up the rear; here K'yengo and all the Wazinza
joined in the procession with ourselves, they kneeling and
clapping their hands after the fashion of their own country.
Budja just then made me feel very anxious, by pointing out the
position of Urondogani, as I thought, too far north. I called
the king's attention to it, and in a moment he said he would
speak to Budja in such a manner that would leave no doubts in my
mind, for he liked me much, and desired to please me in all
things. As the procession now drew to our camp, and Mtesa
expressed a wish to have a final look at my men, I ordered them
to turn out with their arms and n'yanzig for the many favours
they had received. Mtesa, much pleased, complimented them on
their goodly appearance, remarking that with such a force I would
have no difficulty in reaching Gani, and exhorted them to follow
me through fire and water; then exchanging adieus again he walked
ahead in gigantic strides up the hill, the pretty favourite of
his harem, Lubuga--beckoning and waving with her little hands,
and crying, "Bana! Bana!"--trotting after him conspicuous amongst
the rest, though all showed a little feeling at the severance.
We saw them no more.

Chapter XV

March Down the Northern Slopes of Africa

Kari--Tragic Incident there--Renewals of Troubles--Quarrels with
the Natives--Reach the Nile--Description of the Scene there--
Sport-- Church Estate--Ascend the River to the Junction with the
Lake--Ripon Falls--General Account of the Source of the Nile--
Descend again to Urondogani--The Truculent Sakibobo.

7th to 11th.--With Budja appointed as the general director, a
lieutenant of the Sakibobo's to furnish us with sixty cows in his
division at the first halting-place, and Kasoro (Mr Cat), a
lieutenant of Jumba's, to provide the boats at Urondogani, we
started at 1 p.m., on the journey northwards. The Wanguana still
grumbled, swearing they would carry no loads, as they got no
rations, and threatening to shoot us if we pressed them,
forgetting that their food had been paid for to the king in
rifles, chronometers, and other articles, costing about 2000
dollars, and, what was more to the point, that all the ammunition
was in our hands. A judicious threat of the stick, however, put
things right, and on we marched five successive days to Kari--as
the place was afterwards named, in consequence of the tragedy
mentioned below-- the whole distance accomplished being thirty
miles from the capital, through a fine hilly country, with
jungles and rich cultivation alternating. The second march,
after crossing the Katawana river with its many branches flowing
north-east into the huge rush-drain of Luajerri, carried us
beyond the influence of the higher hills, and away from the huge
grasses which characterise the southern boundary of Uganda
bordering on the lake.

Each day's march to Kari was directed much in the same manner.
After a certain number of hours' travelling, Budja appointed some
village of residence for the night, avoiding those which belonged
to the queen, lest any rows should take place in them, which
would create disagreeable consequences with the king, and
preferring those the heads of which had been lately seized by the
orders of the king. Nevertheless, wherever we went, all the
villagers forsook their homes, and left their houses, property,
and gardens an easy prey to the thieving propensities of the
escort. To put a stop to this vile practice was now beyond my
power; the king allowed it, and his men were the first in every
house, taking goats, fowls, skins, mbugus, cowries, beads, drums,
spears, tobacco, pombe,--in short, everything they could lay
their hands on--in the most ruthless manner. It was a perfect
marauding campaign for them all, and all alike were soon laden
with as much as they could carry.

A halt of some days had become necessary at Kari to collect the
cows given by the king; and, as it is one of the most extensive
pasture- grounds, I strolled with my rifle (11th) to see what new
animals could be found; but no sooner did I wound a zebra than
messengers came running after me to say Kari, one of my men, had
been murdered by the villagers three miles off; and such was the
fact. He, with others of my men, had been induced to go
plundering, with a few boys of the Waganda escort, to a certain
village of potters, as pots were required by Budja for making
plantain-wine, the first thing ever thought of when a camp is
formed. On nearing the place, however, the women of the village,
who were the only people visible, instead of running away, as our
braves expected, commenced hullalooing, and brought out their
husbands. Flight was now the only thought of our men, and all
would have escaped had Kari not been slow and his musket empty.
The potters overtook him, and, as he pointed his gun, which they
considered a magic-horn, they speared him to death, and then fled
at once. Our survivors were not long in bringing the news into
camp, when a party went out, and in the evening brought in the
man's corpse and everything belonging to him, for nothing had
been taken.

12th.--To enable me at my leisure to trace up the Nile to its
exit from the lake, and then go on with the journey as quickly as
possible, I wished the cattle to be collected and taken by Budja
and some of my men with the heavy baggage overland to Kamrasi's.
Another reason for doing so was, that I thought it advisable
Kamrasi should be forewarned that we were coming by the water
route, lest we should be suspected and stopped as spies by his
officers on the river, or regarded as enemies, which would
provoke a fight. Budja, however, objected to move until a report
of Kari's murder had been forwarded to the king, lest the people,
getting bumptious, should try the same trick again; and Kasoro
said he would not go up the river, as he had received no orders
to do so.

In this fix I ordered a march back to the palace, mentioning the
king's last words, and should have gone, had not Budja ordered
Kasoro to go with me. A page then arrived from the king to ask
after Bana's health, carrying the Whitworth rifle as his master's
card, and begging for a heavy double-barrelled gun to be sent him
from Gani. I called this lad to witness the agreement I had made
with Budja, and told him, if Kasoro satisfied me, I would return
by him, in addition to the heavy gun, a Massey's patent log. I
had taken it for the navigation of the lake, and it was now of no
further use to me, but, being an instrument of complicated
structure, it would be a valuable addition to the king's museum
of magic charms. I added I should like the king to send me the
robes of honour and spears he had once promised me, in order that
I might, on reaching England, be able to show my countrymen a
specimen of the manufactures of his country. The men who were
with Kari were now sent to the palace, under accusation of having
led him into ambush, and a complaint was made against the
villagers, which we waited the reply to. As Budja forbade it, no
men would follow me out shooting, saying the villagers were out
surrounding our camp, and threatening destruction on any one who
dared show his face; for this was not the highroad to Uganda, and
therefore no one had a right to turn them out of their houses and
pillage their gardens.

13th.--Budja lost two cows given to his party last night, and
seeing ours securely tied by their legs to trees, asked by what
spells we had secured them; and would not believe our assurance
that the ropes that bound them were all the medicines we knew of.
One of the Queen's sisters, hearing of Kari's murder, came on a
visit to condole with us, bringing a pot of pombe, for which she
received some beads. On being asked how many sisters the queen
had, for we could not help suspecting some imposition, she
replied she was the only one, till assured ten other ladies had
presented themselves as the queen's sisters before, when she
changed her tone, and said, "That is true, I am not the only one;
but if I had told you the truth I might have lost my head." This
was a significant expression of the danger to telling court

I suspected that there must be a considerable quantity of game in
this district, as stake-nets and other traps were found in all
the huts, as well as numbers of small antelope hoofs spitted on
pipe-sticks--an ornament which is counted the special badge of
the sportsman in this part of Africa. Despite, therefore, of the
warnings of Budja, I strolled again with my rifle, and saw
pallah, small plovers, and green antelopes with straight horns,
called mpeo, the skin of which makes a favourite apron for the

14th.--I met to-day a Mhuma cowherd in my strolls with the rifle,
and asked him if he knew where the game lay. The unmannerly
creature, standing among a thousand of the sleekest cattle,
gruffishly replied, "What can I know of any other animals than
cows?" and went on with his work, as if nothing in the world
could interest him but his cattle-tending. I shot a doe,
leucotis, called here nsunnu, the first one seen upon the

15th.--In the morning, when our men went for water to the
springs, some Waganda in ambush threw a spear at them, and this
time caught a Tartar, for the "horns," as they called their guns,
were loaded, and two of them received shot-wounds. In the
evening, whilst we were returning from shooting, a party of
Waganda, also lying in the bush, called out to know what we were
about; saying, "Is it not enough that you have turned us out of
our homes and plantations, leaving us to live like animals in the
wilderness?" and when told we were only searching for sport,
would not believe that our motive was any other than hostility to

At night one of Budja's men returned from the palace, to say the
king was highly pleased with the measures adopted by his Wakungu,
in prosecution of Kari's affair. He hoped now as we had cows to
eat, there would be no necessity for wandering for food, but all
would keep together "in one garden." At present no notice would
be taken of the murderers, as all the culprits would have fled
far away in their fright to escape chastisement. But when a
little time had elapsed, and all would appear to have been
forgotten, officers would be sent and the miscreants apprehended,
for it was impossible to suppose anybody could be ignorant of the
white men being the guests of the king, considering they had
lived at the palace for so long. The king took this opportunity
again to remind me that he wanted a heavy solid double gun, such
as would last him all his life; and intimated that in a few days
the arms and robes of honour were to be sent.

16th.--Most of the cows for ourselves and the guides--for the
king gave them also a present, ten each--were driven into camp.
We also got 50 lb. of butter, the remainder to be picked up on
the way. I strolled with the gun, and shot two zebras, to be sent
to the king, as, by the constitution of Uganda, he alone can keep
their royal skins.

17th.--We had to halt again, as the guides had lost most of their
cows, so I strolled with my rifle and shot a ndjezza doe, the
first I had ever seen. It is a brown animal, a little smaller
than leucotis, and frequents much the same kind of ground.

18th.--We had still to wait another day for Budja's cows, when,
as it appeared all-important to communicate quickly with
Petherick, and as Grant's leg was considered too weak for
travelling fast, we took counsel together, and altered our plans.
I arranged that Grant should go to Kamrasi's direct with the
property, cattle, and women, taking my letters and a map for
immediate despatch to Petherick at Gani, whilst I should go up
the river to its source or exit from the lake, and come down
again navigating as far as practicable.

At night the Waganda startled us by setting fire to the huts our
men were sleeping in, but providentially did more damage to
themselves than to us, for one sword only was buried in the fire,
whilst their own huts, intended to be vacated in the morning,
were burnt to the ground. To fortify ourselves against another
invasion, we cut down all their plaintains to make a boma or

We started all together on our respective journeys; but, after
the third mile, Grant turned west, to join the highroad to
Kamrasi's, whilst I went east for Urondogani, crossing the
Luajerri, a huge rush-drain three miles broad, fordable nearly to
the right bank, where we had to ferry in boats, and the cows to
be swum over with men holding on to their tails. It was larger
than the Katonga, and more tedious to cross, for it took no less
than four hours mosquitoes in myriads biting our bare backs and
legs all the while. The Luajerri is said to rise in the lake and
fall into the Nile, due south of our crossing-point. On the
right bank wild buffalo are described to be as numerous as cows,
but we did not see any, though the country is covered with a most
inviting jungle for sport, which intermediate lays of fine
grazing grass. Such is the nature of the country all the way to
Urondogani, except in some favoured spots, kept as tidily as in
any part of Uganda, where plantains grow in the utmost
luxuriance. From want of guides, and misguided by the exclusive
ill-natured Wahuma who were here in great numbers tending their
king's cattle, we lost our way continually, so that we did not
reach the boat-station until the morning of the 21st.

Here at last I stood on the brink of the Nile; most beautiful was
the scene, nothing could surpass it! It was the very perfection
of the kind of effect aimed at in a highly kept park; with a
magnificent stream from 600 to 700 yards wide, dotted with islets
and rocks, the former occupied by fishermen's huts, the latter by
sterns and crocodiles basking in the sun,--flowing between the
fine high grassy banks, with rich trees and plantains in the
background, where herds of the nsunnu and hartebeest could be
seen grazing, while the hippopotami were snorting in the water,
and florikan and guinea-fowl rising at our feet. Unfortunately,
the chief district officer, Mlondo, was from home, but we took
possession of his huts-- clean, extensive, and tidily kept--
facing the river, and felt as if a residence here would do one
good. Delays and subterfuges, however, soon came to damp our
spirits. The acting officer was sent for, and asked for the
boats; they were all scattered, and could not be collected for a
day or two; but, even if they were at hand, no boat ever went up
or down the river. The chief was away and would be sent for, as
the king often changed his orders, and, after all, might not mean
what had been said. The district belonged to the Sakibobo, and
no representative of his had come here. These excuses, of course,
would not satisfy us. The boats must be collected, seven, if
there are not ten, for we must try them, and come to some
understanding about them, before we march up stream, when, if the
officer values his life, he will let us have them, and
acknowledge Karoso as the king's representative, otherwise a
complaint will be sent to the palace, for we won't stand

We were now confronting Usoga, a country which may be said to be
the very counterpart of Uganda in its richness and beauty. Here
the people use such huge iron-headed spears with short handles,
that, on seeing one to-day, my people remarked that they were
better fitted for digging potatoes than piercing men. Elephants,
as we had seen by their devastations during the last two marches,
were very numerous in this neighbourhood. Till lately, a party
from Unyoro, ivory-hunting, had driven them away. Lions were
also described as very numerous and destructive to human life.
Antelopes were common in the jungle, and the hippopotami, though
frequenters of the plantain-garden and constantly heard, were
seldom seen on land in consequence of their unsteady habits.

The king's page again came, begging I would not forget the gun
and stimulants, and bringing with him the things I asked for--
two spears, one shield, one dirk, two leopard-cat skins, and two
sheets of small antelope skins. I told my men they ought to
shave their heads and bathe in the holy river, the cradle of
Moses-- the waters of which, sweetened with sugar, men carry all
the way from Egypt to Mecca, and sell to the pilgrims. But
Bombay, who is a philosopher of the Epicurean school, said, "We
don't look on those things in the same fanciful manner that you
do; we are contented with all the common-places of life, and look
for nothing beyond the present. If things don't go well, it is
God's will; and if they do go well, that is His will also."

22d.--The acting chief brought a present of one cow, one goat,
and pombe, with a mob of his courtiers to pay his respects. He
promised that the seven boats, which are all the station he could
muster, would be ready next day, and in the meanwhile a number of
men would conduct me to the shooting-ground. He asked to be
shown the books of birds and animals, and no sooner saw some
specimens of Wolf's handiwork, than, in utter surprise, he
exclaimed, "I know how these are done; a bird was caught and
stamped upon the paper," using action to his words, and showing
what he meant, while all his followers n'yanzigged for the favour
of the exhibition.

In the evening I strolled in the antelope parks, enjoying the
scenery and sport excessively. A noble buck nsunnu, standing by
himself, was the first thing seen on this side, though a herd of
hertebeests were grazing on the Usoga banks. One bullet rolled
my fine friend over, but the rabble looking on no sooner saw the
hit than they rushed upon him and drove him off, for he was only
wounded. A chase ensued, and he was tracked by his blood when a
pongo (bush box) was started and divided the party. It also
brought me to another single buck nsunnu, which was floored at
once, and left to be carried home by some of my men in company
with Waganda, whilst I went on, shot a third nsunnu buck, and
tracked him by his blood till dark, for the bullet had pierced
his lungs and passed out on the other side. Failing to find him
on the way home, I shot, besides florikan and guinea-chicks, a
wonderful goatsucker, remarkable for the exceeding length of some
of its feathers floating out far beyond the rest in both
wings.[FN#21] Returning home, I found the men who had charge of
the dead buck all in a state of excitement; they no sooner
removed his carcass, than two lions came out of the jungle and
lapped his blood. All the Waganda ran away at once; but my
braves feared my answer more than the lions, and came off safely
with the buck on their shoulders.

23d.--Three boats arrived, like those used on the Murchison
Creek, and when I demanded the rest, as well as a decisive answer
about going to Kamrasi's, the acting Mkungu said he was afraid
accidents might happen, and he would not take me. Nothing would
frighten this pig-headed creature into compliance, though I told
him I had arranged with the king to make the Nile the channel of
communication with England. I therefore applied to him for
guides to conduct me up the river, and ordered Bombay and Kasoro
to obtain fresh orders from the king, as all future Wazungu,
coming to Uganda to visit or trade, would prefer the passage by
the river. I shot another buck in the evening, as the Waganda
love their skins, and also a load of guinea-fowl--three, four,
and five at a shot--as Kasoro and his boys prefer them to

24th.--The acting officer absconded, but another man came in his
place, and offered to take us on the way up the river to-morrow,
humbugging Kasoro into the belief that his road to the palace
would branch off from the first state, though in reality it was
here. The Mkungu's women brought pombe, and spent the day gazing
at us, till, in the evening, when I took up my rifle, one ran
after Bana to see him shoot, and followed like a man; but the
only sport she got was on an ant-hill, where she fixed herself
some time, popping into her mouth and devouring the white ants as
fast as they emanated from their cells--for, disdaining does, I
missed the only pongo buck I got a shot at in my anxiety to show
the fair one what she came for.

Reports came to-day of new cruelties at the palace. Kasoro
improved on their off-hand manslaughter by saying that two
Kamravionas and two Sakibobos, as well as all the old Wakungu of
Sunna's time, had been executed by the orders of king Mtesa. He
told us, moreover, that if Mtesa ever has a dream that his father
directs him to kill anybody as being dangerous to his person, the
order is religiously kept. I wished to send a message to Mtesa
by an officer who is starting at once to pay his respects at
court; but although he received it, and promised to deliver it,
Kasoro laughed at me for expecting that one word of it would ever
reach the king; for, however, appropriate or important the matter
might be, it was more than anybody dare do to tell the king, as
it would be an infringement of the rule that no one is to speak
to him unless in answer to a question. My second buck of the
first day was brought in by the natives, but they would not allow
it to approach the hut until it had been skinned; and I found
their reason to be a superstition that otherwise no others would
ever be killed by the inmates of that establishment.

I marched up the left bank of the Nile at a considerable distance
from the water, to the Isamba rapids, passing through rich jungle
and plantain-gardens. Nango, an old friend, and district officer
of the place, first refreshed us with a dish of plantain-squash
and dried fish, with pombe. He told us he is often threatened by
elephants, but he sedulously keeps them off with charms; for if
they ever tasted a plantain they would never leave the garden
until they had cleared it out. He then took us to see the
nearest falls of the Nile--extremely beautiful, but very
confined. The water ran deep between its banks, which were
covered with fine grass, soft cloudy acacias, and festoons of
lilac convolvuli; whilst here and there, where the land had
slipped above the rapids, bared places of red earth could be
seen, like that of Devonshire; there, too, the waters, impeded by
a natural dam, looked like a huge mill-pond, sullen and dark, in
which two crocodiles, laving about, were looking out for prey.
From the high banks we looked down upon a line of sloping wooded
islets lying across the stream, which divide its waters, and, by
interrupting them, cause at once both dam and rapids. The whole
was more fairy-like, wild, and romantic than-- I must confess
that my thoughts took that shape--anything I ever saw outside of
a theatre. It was exactly the sort of place, in fact, where,
bridged across from one side-slip to the other, on a moonlight
night, brigands would assemble to enact some dreadful tragedy.
Even the Wanguana seemed spellbound at the novel beauty of the
sight, and no one thought of moving till hunger warned us night
was setting in, and we had better look out for lodgings.

Start again, and after drinking pombe with Nango, when we heard
that three Wakungu had been seized at Kari, in consequence of the
murder, the march was commenced, but soon after stopped by the
mischievous machinations of our guide, who pretended it was too
late in the day to cross the jungles on ahead, either by the road
to the source or the palace, and therefore would not move till
the morning; then, leaving us, on the pretext of business, he
vanished, and was never seen again. A small black fly, with
thick shoulders and bullet-head, infests the place, and torments
the naked arms and legs of the people with its sharp stings to an
extent that must render life miserable to them.

After a long struggling march, plodding through huge grasses and
jungle, we reached a district which I cannot otherwise describe
than by calling it a "Church Estate." It is dedicated in some
mysterious manner to Lubari (Almighty), and although the king
appeared to have authority over some of the inhabitants of it,
yet others had apparently a sacred character, exempting them from
the civil power, and he had no right to dispose of the land
itself. In this territory there are small villages only at every
fifth mile, for there is no road, and the lands run high again,
whilst, from want of a guide, we often lost the track. It now
transpired that Budja, when he told at the palace that there was
no road down the banks of the Nile, did so in consequence of his
fear that if he sent my whole party here they would rob these
church lands, and so bring him into a scrape with the wizards or
ecclesiastical authorities. Had my party not been under control,
we could not have put up here; but on my being answerable that no
thefts should take place, the people kindly consented to provide
us with board and lodgings, and we found them very obliging. One
elderly man, half-witted-- they said the king had driven his
senses from him by seizing his house and family--came at once on
hearing of our arrival, laughing and singing in a loose jaunty
maniacal manner, carrying odd sticks, shells, and a bundle of
mbugu rags, which he deposited before me, dancing and singing
again, then retreating and bringing some more, with a few
plantains from a garden, when I was to eat, as kings lived upon
flesh, and "poor Tom" wanted some, for he lived with lions and
elephants in a hovel beyond the gardens, and his belly was empty.
He was precisely a black specimen of the English parish idiot.

At last, with a good push for it, crossing hills and threading
huge grasses, as well as extensive village plantations lately
devastated by elephants--they had eaten all that was eatable, and
what would not serve for food they had destroyed with their
trunks, not one plantain or one hut being left entire--we arrived
at the extreme end of the journey, the farthest point ever
visited by the expedition on the same parallel of latitude as
king Mtesa's palace, and just forty miles east of it.

We were well rewarded; for the "stones," as the Waganda call the
falls, was by far the most interesting sight I had seen in
Africa. Everybody ran to see them at once, though the march had
been long and fatiguing, and even my sketch-block was called into
play. Though beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I
expected; for the broad surface of the lake was shut out from
view by a spur of hill, and the falls, about 12 feet deep, and
400 to 500 feet broad, were broken by rocks. Still it was a
sight that attracted one to it for hours--the roar of the waters,
the thousands of passenger-fish, leaping at the falls with all
their might; the Wasoga and Waganda fisherman coming out in boats
and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami
and crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work
above the falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of
the lake,--made, in all, with the pretty nature of the country--
small hills, grassy-topped, with trees in the folds, and gardens
on the lower slopes--as interesting a picture as one could wish
to see.

The expedition had now performed its functions. I saw that old
father Nile without any doubt rises in the Victoria N'yanza, and,
as I had foretold, that lake is the great source of the holy
river which cradled the first expounder of our religious belief.
I mourned, however, when I thought how much I had lost by the
delays in the journey having deprived me of the pleasure of going
to look at the north-east corner of the N'yanza to see what
connection there was, by the strait so often spoken of, with it
and the other lake where the Waganda went to get their salt, and
from which another river flowed to the north, making "Usoga an
island." But I felt I ought to be content with what I had been
spared to accomplish; for I had seen full half of the lake, and
had information given me of the other half, by means of which I
knew all about the lake, as far, at least, as the chief objects
of geographical importance were concerned.

Let us now sum up the whole and see what it is worth.
Comparative information assured me that there was as much water
on the eastern side of the lake as there is on the western--if
anything, rather more. The most remote waters, or top head of
the Nile, is the southern end of the lake, situated close on the
third degree of south latitude, which gives to the Nile the
surprising length, in direct measurement, rolling over thirty-
four degrees of latitude, of above 2300 miles, or more than one-
eleventh of the circumference of our globe. Now from this
southern point, round by the west, to where the great Nile stream
issues, there is only one feeder of any importance, and that is
the Kitangule river; whilst from the southernmost point, round by
the east, to the strait, there are no rivers at all of any
importance; for the travelled Arabs one and all aver, that from
the west of the snow-clad Kilimandjaro to the lake where it is
cut by the second degree, and also the first degree of south
latitude, there are salt lakes and salt plains, and the country
is hilly, not unlike Unyamuezi; but they said there were no great
rivers, and the country was so scantily watered, having only
occasional runnels and rivulets, that they always had to make
long marches in order to find water when they went on their
trading journeys: and further, those Arabs who crossed the strait
when they reached Usoga, as mentioned before, during the late
interregnum, crossed no river either.

There remains to be disposed of the "salt lake," which I believe
is not a salt, but a fresh-water lake; and my reasons are, as
before stated, that the natives call all lakes salt, if they find
salt beds or salt islands in such places. Dr Krapf, when he
obtained a sight of the Kenia mountain, heard from the natives
there that there was a salt lake to its northward, and he also
heard that a river ran from Kenia towards the Nile. If his
information was true on this latter point, then, without doubt,
there must exist some connection between his river and the salt
lake I have heard of, and this in all probability would also
establish a connection between my salt lake and his salt lake
which he heard was called Baringo.[FN#22] In no view that can be
taken of it, however, does this unsettled matter touch the
established fact that the head of the Nile is in 3 south
latitude, where in the year 1858, I discovered the head of the
Victoria N'yanza to be.

I now christened the "stones" Ripon Falls, after the nobleman who
presided over the Royal Geographical Society when my expedition
was got up; and the arm of water from which the Nile issued,
Napoleon Channel, in token of respect to the French Geographical
Society, for the honour they had done me, just before leaving
England, in presenting me with their gold medal for the discovery
of the Victoria N'yanza. One thing seemed at first perplexing--
the volume of water in the Kitangule looked as large as that of
the Nile; but then the one was a slow river and the other swift,
and on this account I could form no adequate judgment of their
relative values.

Not satisfied with my first sketch of the falls, I could not
resist sketching them again; and then, as the cloudy state of the
weather prevented my observing for latitude, and the officer of
the place said a magnificent view of the lake could be obtained
from the hill alluded to as intercepting the view from the falls,
we proposed going there; but Kasoro, who had been indulged with
nsunnu antelope skins, and with guinea-fowl for dinner, resisted
this, on the plea that I never should be satisfied. There were
orders given only to see the "stones," and if he took me to one
hill I should wish to see another and another, and so on. It
made me laugh, for that had been my nature all my life; but,
vexed at heart, and wishing to trick the young tyrant, I asked
for boats to shoot hippopotami, in the hope of reaching the hills
to picnic; but boating had never been ordered, and he would not
listen to it. "Then bring fish," I said, that I might draw them:
no, that was not ordered. "Then go you to the palace, and leave
me to go to Urondogani to-morrow, after I have taken a latitude;"
but the wilful creature would not go until he saw me under way.
And as nobody would do anything for me without Kasoro's orders, I
amused the people by firing at the ferry-boat upon the Usoga
side, which they defied me to hit, the distance being 500 yards;
but nevertheless a bullet went through her, and was afterwards
brought by the Wasoga nicely folded up in a piece of mbugu.
Bombay then shot a sleeping crocodile with his carbine, whilst I
spent the day out watching the falls.

This day also I spent watching the fish flying at the falls, and
felt as if I only wanted a wife and family, garden and yacht,
rifle and rod, to make me happy here for life, so charming was
the place. What a place, I thought to myself, this would be for
missionaries! They never could fear starvation, the land is so
rich; and, if farming were introduced by them, they might have
hundreds of pupils. I need say no more.

In addition to the rod-and-line fishing, a number of men, armed
with long heavy poles with two iron spikes, tied prong-fashion to
one end, rushed to a place over a break in the falls, which tired
fish seemed to use as a baiting-room, dashed in their forks,
holding on by the shaft, and sent men down to disengaged the
pined fish and relieve their spears. The shot they made in this
manner is a blind one--only on the chance of fish being there--
and therefore always doubtful in its result.

Church Estate again. As the clouds and Kasoro's wilfulness were
still against me, and the weather did not give hopes of a change,
I sacrificed the taking of the latitude to gain time. I sent
Bombay with Kasoro to the palace, asking for the Sakibobo himself
to be sent with an order for five boats, five cows, and five
goats, and also for a general order to go where I like, and do
what I like, and have fish supplied me; "for, though I know the
king likes me, his officers do not;" and then on separating I
retraced my steps to the Church Estate.

1st.--To-day, after marching an hour, as there was now no need
for hurrying, and a fine pongo buck, the Ngubbi of Uganda,
offered a tempting shot, I proposed to shoot it for the men, and
breakfast in a neighbouring village. This being agreed to, the
animal was despatched, and we no sooner entered the village than
we heard that nsamma, a magnificent description of antelope,
abound in the long grasses close by, and that a rogue elephant
frequents the plantains every night. This tempting news created
a halt. In the evening I killed a nsamma doe, an animal very
much like the Kobus Ellipsiprymnus, but without the lunated mark
over the rump; and at night, about 1 a.m., turned out to shoot an
elephant, which we distinctly heard feasting on plantains; but
rain was falling, and the night so dark, he was left till the

2d.--I followed up the elephant some way, till a pongo offering
an irresistible shot I sent a bullet through him, but he was lost
after hours' tracking in the interminable large grasses. An
enormous snake, with fearful mouth and fangs, was speared by the
men. In the evening I wounded a buck nsamma, which, after
tracking till dark, was left to stiffen ere the following
morning; and just after this on the way home, we heard the rogue
elephant crunching the branches not far off from the track; but
as no one would dare follow me against the monster at this late
hour, he was reluctantly left to do more injury to the gardens.

3d.--After a warm search in the morning we found the nsamma buck
lying in some water; the men tried to spear him, but he stood at
bay, and took another bullet. This was all we wanted, affording
one good specimen; so, after breakfast, we marched to Kirindi,
where the villagers, hearing of the sport we had had, and excited
with the hopes of getting flesh, begged us to halt a day.

4th.--Not crediting the stories told by the people about the
sport here, we packed to leave, but were no sooner ready than
several men ran hastily in to say some fine bucks were waiting to
be shot close by. This was too powerful a temptation to be
withstood, so, shouldering the rifle, and followed by half the
village, if not more, women included, we went to the place, but,
instead of finding a buck--for the men had stretched a point to
keep me at their village--we found a herd of does, and shot one
at the people's urgent request.

We reached this in one stretch, and put up in our old quarters,
where the women of Mlondo provided pombe, plantains, and
potatoes, as before, with occasional fish, and we lived very
happily till the 10th, shooting buck, guinea-fowl, and florikan,
when, Bombay and Kasoro arriving, my work began again. These two
worthies reached the palace, after crossing twelve considerable
streams, of which one was the Luajerri, rising in the lake. The
evening of the next day after leaving me at Kira, they obtained
an interview with the king immediately; for the thought flashed
across his mind that Bombay had come to report our death, the
Waganda having been too much for the party. He was speedily
undeceived by the announcement that nothing was the matter,
excepting the inability to procure boats, because the officers at
Urondogani denied all authority but the Sakibobo's, and no one
would show Bana anything, however trifling, without an express
order for it.

Irate at this announcement, the king ordered the Sakibobo, who
happened to be present, to be seized and bound at once, and said
warmly, "Pray, who is the king, that the Sakibobo's orders should
be preferred to mine?" and then turning to the Sakibobo himself,
asked what he would pay to be released? The Sakibobo, alive to
his danger, replied at once, and without the slightest
hesitation, Eighty cows, eighty goats, eighty slaves, eighty
mbugu, eighty butter, eighty coffee, eighty tobacco, eighty
jowari, and eighty of all the produce of Uganda. He was then
released. Bombay said Bana wished the Sakibobo to come to
Urondogani, and gave him a start with five boats, five cows, and
five goats; to which the king replied, "Bana shall have all he
wants, nothing shall be denied him, not even fish; but it is not
necessary to send the Sakibobo, as boys carry all my orders to
kings as well as subjects. Kasoro will return again with you,
fully instructed in everything, and, moreover, both he and Budja
will follow Bana to Gani." Four days, however, my men were kept
at the palace ere the king gave them the cattle and leave to join
me, accompanied with one more officer, who had orders to find the
boats at once, see us off, and report the circumstance at court.
Just as at the last interview, the king had four women, lately
seized and condemned to execution, squatting in his court. He
wished to send them to Bana, and when Bombay demurred, saying he
had no authority to take women in that way, the king gave him
one, and asked him if he would like to see some sport, as he
would have the remaining women cut to pieces before him. Bombay,
by his own account, behaved with great propriety, saying Bana
never wished to see sport of that cruel kind, and it would ill
become him to see sights which his master had not. Viarungi sent
me some tobacco, with kind regards, and said he and the Wazina
had just obtained leave to return to their homes, K'yengo alone,
of all the guests, remaining behind as a hostage until Mtesa's
powder-seeking Wakungu returned. Finally, the little boy Lugoi
had been sent to his home. Such was the tenor of Bombay's report.

11th.--The officer sent to procure boats, impudently saying there
were none, was put in the stocks by Kasoro, whilst other men went
to Kirindi for sailors, and down the stream for boats. On
hearing the king's order that I was to be supplied with fish, the
fishermen ran away, and pombe was no longer brewed for fear of

12th.--To-day we slaughtered and cooked two cows for the journey-
- the remaining three and one goat having been lost in the
Luajerri-- and gave the women of the place beads in return for
their hospitality. They are nearly all Wanyoro, having been
captured in that country by king Mtesa and given to Mlondo. They
said their teeth were extracted, four to six lower incisors, when
they were young, because no Myoro would allow a person to drink
from his cup unless he conformed to that custom. The same law
exists in Usoga.

Chapter XVI

Bahr El Abiad

First Voyage on the Nile--The Starting--Description of the River
and the Country--Meet a Hostile Vessel--A Naval Engagement--
Difficulties and Dangers--Judicial Procedure--Messages from the
King of Uganda-- His Efforts to get us back--Desertion--The
Wanyoro Troops--Kamrasi-- Elephant-Stalking--Diabolical

In five boats of five planks each, tied together and caulked with
mbugu rags, I started with twelve Wanguana, Kasoro and his page-
followers, and a small crew, to reach Kamrasi's palace in Unyoro-
-goats, dogs, and kit, besides grain and dried meat, filling up
the complement--but how many days it would take nobody knew.
Paddles propelled these vessels, but the lazy crew were slow in
the use of them, indulging sometimes in racing spurts, then
composedly resting on their paddles whilst the gentle current
drifted us along. The river, very unlike what it was from the
Ripon Falls downward, bore at once the character of river and
lake--clear in the centre, but fringed in most places with tall
rush, above which the green banks sloped back like park lands.
It was all very pretty and very interesting, and would have
continued so, had not Kasoro disgraced the Union Jack, turning it
to piratical purposes in less than one hour.

A party of Wanyoro, in twelve or fifteen canoes, made of single
tree trunks, had come up the river to trade with the Wasoga, and
having stored their vessels with mbugu, dried fish, plantains
cooked and raw, pombe, and other things, were taking their last
meal on shore before they returned to their homes. Kasoro seeing
this, and bent on a boyish spree, quite forgetting we were bound
for the very ports they were bound for, ordered our sailors to
drive in amongst them, landed himself, and sent the Wanyoro
flying before I knew what game was up, and then set to pillaging
and feasting on the property of those very men whom it was our
interest to propitiate, as we expected them shortly to be our

The ground we were on belonged to king Mtesa, being a dependency
of Uganda, and it struck me as singular that Wanyoro should be
found here; but I no sooner discovered the truth than I made our
boatmen disgorge everything they had taken, called back the
Wanyoro to take care of their things, and extracted a promise
from Kasoro that he would not practise such wicked tricks again,
otherwise we could not travel together. Getting to boat again,
after a very little paddling we pulled in to shore, on the Uganda
side, to stop for the night, and thus allowed the injured Wanyoro
to go down the river before us. I was much annoyed by this
interruption, but no argument would prevail on Kasoro to go on.
This was the last village on the Uganda frontier, and before we
could go any farther on boats it would be necessary to ask leave
of Kamrasi's frontier officer, N'yamyonjo, to enter Unyoro. The
Wanguana demanded ammunition in the most imperious manner, whilst
I, in the same tone, refused to issue any lest a row should take
place and they then would desert, alluding to their dastardly
desertion in Msalala, when Grant was attacked. If a fight should
take place, I said they must flock to me at once, and ammunition,
which was always ready, would be served out to them. They
laughed at this, and asked, Who would stop with me when the fight
began? This was making a jest of what I was most afraid of--that
they would all run away.

I held a levee to decide on the best manner of proceeding. The
Waganda wanted us to stop for the day and feel the way gently,
arguing that etiquette demands it. Then, trying to terrify me,
they said, N'yamyonjo had a hundred boats, and would drive us
back to a certainty if we tried to force past them, if he were
not first spoken with, as the Waganda had often tried the passage
and been repulsed. On the other hand, I argued that Grant must
have arrived long ago at Kamrasi's, and removed all these
difficulties for us; but, I said, if they would send men, let
Bombay start at once by land, and we will follow in boats, after
giving him time to say we are coming. This point gained after a
hot debate, Bombay started at 10 a.m., and we not till 5 p.m., it
being but one hour's journey by water. The frontier line was
soon crossed; and then both sides of the river, Usoga as well as
Unyoro, belong to Kamrasi.

I flattered myself all my walking this journey was over, and
there was nothing left but to float quietly down the Nile, for
Kidgwiga had promised boats, on Kamrasi's account, from Unyoro to
Gani, where Petherick's vessels were said to be stationed; but
this hope shared the fate of so many others in Africa. In a
little while an enormous canoe, full of well-dressed and well-
armed men, was seen approaching us. We worked on, and found they
turned, as if afraid. Our men paddled faster, they did the same,
the pages keeping time playfully by beat of drum, until at last
it became an exciting chase, won by the Wanyoro by their superior
numbers. The sun was now setting as we approached N'yamyongo's.
On a rock by the river stood a number of armed men, jumping,
jabbering, and thrusting with their spears, just as the Waganda
do. I thought, indeed, they were Waganda doing this to welcome
us; but a glance at Kasoro's glassy eyes told me such was not the
case, but, on the contrary, their language and gestures were
threats, defying us to land.

The bank of the river, as we advanced, then rose higher, and was
crowned with huts and plantations, before which stood groups and
lines of men, all fully armed. Further, at this juncture, the
canoe we had chased turned broadside on us, and joined in the
threatening demonstrations of the people on shore. I could not
believe them to be serious--thought they had mistaken us--and
stood up in the boat to show myself, hat in hand. I said I was
an Englishman going to Kamrasi's, and did all I could, but
without creating the slightest impression. They had heard a drum
beat, they said, and that was a signal of war, so war it should
be; and Kamrasi's drums rattled up both sides the river,
preparing everybody to arm. This was serious. Further, a second
canoe full of armed men issued out from the rushes behind us, as
if with a view to cut off our retreat, and the one in front
advanced upon us, hemming us in. To retreat together seemed our
only chance, but it was getting dark, and my boats were badly
manned. I gave the order to close together and retire, offering
ammunition as an incentive, and all came to me but one boat,
which seemed so paralysed with fright, it kept spinning round and
round like a crippled duck.

The Wanyoro, as they saw us retreating, were now heard to say,
"They are women, they are running, let us at them;" whilst I kept
roaring to my men, "Keep together--come for powder;" and myself
loaded with small shot, which even made Kasoro laugh and inquire
if it was intended for the Wanyoro. "Yes, to shoot them like
guinea-fowl;" and he laughed again. But confound my men! they
would not keep together, and retreat with me. One of those
served with ammunition went as hard as he could go up stream to
be out of harm's way, and another preferred hugging the dark
shade of the rushes to keeping the clear open, which I desired
for the benefit of our guns. It was not getting painfully dark,
and the Wanyoro were stealing on us, as we could hear, though
nothing could be seen. Presently the shade-seeking boat was
attacked, spears were thrown, fortunately into the river instead
of into our men, and grappling-hooks were used to link the boats
together. My men cried, "Help, Bana! they are killing us;"
whilst I roared to my crew, "Go in, go in, and the victory will
be ours;" but not a soul would--they were spell-bound to the
place; we might have been cut up in detail, it was all the same
to those cowardly Waganda, whose only action consisted in crying,
"N'yawo! n'yawo!"--mother, mother, help us!

Three shots from the hooked boat now finished the action. The
Wanyoro had caught a Tartar. Two of their men fell--one killed,
one wounded. They were heard saying their opponents were not
Waganda, it were better to leave them alone; and retreated,
leaving us, totally uninjured, a clear passage up the river. But
where was Bombay all this while! He did not return till after
us, and then, in considerable excitement, he told his tale. He
reached N'yamyongo's village before noon, asked for the officer,
but was desired to wait in a hut until the chief should arrive,
as he had gone out on business; the villagers inquired, however,
why we had robbed the Wanyoro yesterday, for they had laid a
complaint against us. Bombay replied it was no fault of Bana's,
he did everything he could to prevent it, and returned all that
the boatmen took.

These men then departed, and did not return until evening, when
they asked Bombay, impudently, why he was sitting there, as he
had received no invitation to spend the night; and unless he
walked off soon they would set fire to his hut. Bombay, without
the smallest intention of moving, said he had orders to see
N'yamyonjo, and until he did so he would not budge. "Well," said
the people, "you have got your warning, now look our for
yourselves;" and Bombay, with his Waganda escort, was left again.
Drums then began to beat, and men to hurry to and fro with spears
and shields, until at last our guns were heard, and, guessing the
cause, Bombay with his Waganda escort rushed out of the hut into
the jungle, and, without daring to venture on the beaten track,
through thorns and thicket worked his way back to me, lame, and
scratched all over with thorns.

Crowds of Waganda, all armed as if for war, came to congratulate
us in the morning, jumping, jabbering, and shaking their spears
at us, denoting a victory gained--for we had shot Wanyoro and no
harm had befallen us. "But the road," I cried, "has that been
gained? I am not going to show my back. We must go again, for
there is some mistake; Grant is with Kamrasi, and N'yamyongo
cannot stop us. If you won't go in boats, let us go by land to
N'yamyongo's, and the boats will follow after." Not a soul,
however, would stir. N'yamyongo was described as an independent
chief, who listened to Kamrasi only when he liked. He did not
like strange eyes to see his secret lodges on the N'yanza; and if
he did not wish us to go down the river, Kamrasi's orders would
go for nothing. His men had now been shot; to go within his
reach would be certain death. Argument was useless, boating
slow, to send messages worse; so I gave in, turned my back on the
Nile, and the following day (16th) came on the Luajerri.

Here, to my intense surprise, I heard that Grant's camp was not
far off, on its return from Kamrasi's. I could not, rather would
not, believe it, suspicious as it now appeared after my reverse.
The men, however, were positive, and advised my going to king
Mtesa's--a ridiculous proposition, at once rejected; for I had
yet to receive Kamrasi's answer to our Queen, about opening a
trade with England. I must ascertain why he despised Englishmen
without speaking with them, and I could not believe Kamrasi would
prove less avaricious than either Rumanika or Mtesa, especially
as Rumanika had made himself responsible for our actions. We
slept that night near Kari, the Waganda eating two goats which
had been drowned in the Luajerri; and the messenger-page, having
been a third time to the palace and back again, called to ask
after our welfare, on behalf of his king, and remind us about the
gun and brandy promised.

17th and 18th.--The two following days were spent wandering about
without guides, trying to keep the track Grant had taken after
leaving us, crossing at first a line of small hills, then
traversing grass and jungle, like the dak of India. Plantain-
gardens were frequently met, and the people seemed very
hospitably inclined, though they complained sadly of the pages
rudely rushing into every hut, seizing everything they could lay
their hands on, and even eating the food which they had just
prepared for their own dinners, saying, in a mournful manner, "If
it were not out of respect for you we should fight those little
rascals, for it is not the king's guest nor his men who do us
injury, but the king's own servants, without leave or licence."
I observed that special bomas or fences were erected to protect
these villages against the incursions of lions. Buffaloes were
about, but the villagers cautioned us not to shoot them, holding
them as sacred animals; and, to judge from the appearance of the
country, wild animals should abound, were it not for the fact
that every Mganda seems by instinct to be a sportsman.

At last, after numerous and various reports about Grant, we heard
his drums last night, but we arrived this morning just in time to
be too late. He was on his march back to the capital of Uganda,
as the people had told us, and passed through N'yakinyama just
before I reached it. What had really happened I knew not, and
was puzzled to think. To insist on a treaty, demanding an
answer, to the Queen, seemed the only chance left; so I wrote to
Grant to let me know all about it, and waited the result. He
very obligingly came himself, said he left Unyoro after stopping
there an age asking for the road without effect, and left by the
orders of Kamrasi, thinking obedience the better policy to obtain
our ends. Two great objections had been raised against us; one
was that we were reported to be cannibals, and the other that our
advancing by two roads at once was suspicious, the more
especially so as the Waganda were his enemies; had we come from
Rumanika direct, there would have been no objection to us.

When all was duly considered, it appeared evident to me that the
great king of Unyoro, "the father of all the kings," was merely a
nervous, fidgety creature, half afraid of us because we were
attempting his country by the unusual mode of taking two routes
at once, but wholly so of the Waganda, who had never ceased
plundering his country for years. As it appeared that he would
have accepted us had we come by the friendly route of Kisuere, a
further parley was absolutely necessary, and the more especially
so, as now we were all together and in Uganda, which, in
consequence, must relieve him from the fear of our harbouring
evil designs against him. No one present, however, could be
prevailed on to go to him in the capacity of ambassador, as the
frontier officer had warned the Wageni or guests that, if they
ever attempted to cross the border again, he was bound in duty,
agreeably to the orders of his king, to expel them by force;
therefore, should the Wageni attempt it after this warning, their
first appearance would be considered a casus belli; and so the
matter rested for the day.

To make the best of a bad bargain, and as N'yakinyama was "eaten
up," we repaired to Grant's camp to consult with Budja; but Budja
was found firm and inflexible against sending men up to Unyoro.
His pride had been injured by the rebuffs we had sustained. He
would wait here three or four days as I proposed, to see what
fortune sent us, if I would not be convinced that Kamrasi wished
to reject us, and he would communicate with his king in the
meantime, but nothing more. Here was altogether a staggerer: I
would stop for three or four days, but if Kamrasi would not have
us by that time, what was to be done? Would it be prudent to try
Kisuere now Baraka had been refused the Gani route? or would it
not be better still for me to sell Kamrasi altogether, by
offering Mtesa five hundred loads of ammunition, cloth and beads,
if he would give us a thousand Waganda as a force to pass through
the Masai to Zanzibar, this property to be sent back by the
escort from the coast? Kamrasi would no doubt catch it if we
took this course, but it was expensive.

Thus were we ruminating, when lo, to our delight, as if they had
been listening to us, up came Kidgwiga, my old friend, who, at
Mtesa'a place, had said Kamrasi would be very glad to see me, and
Vittagura, Kamrasi's commander-in-chief, to say their king was
very anxious to see us, and the Waganda might come or not as they
liked. Until now, the deputation said, Kamrasi had doubted
Budja's word about our friendly intentions, but since he saw us
withdrawing from his country, those doubts were removed. The
N'yamswenge, they said--meaning, I thought, Petherick--was still
at Gani; no English or others on the Nile ever expressed a wish
to enter Unyoro, otherwise they might have done so; and Baraka
had left for Karague, carrying off an ivory as a present from

21st.--I ordered the march to Unyoro; Budja, however, kept
brooding over the message sent to the Waganda, to the effect that
they might come or not as they liked, and considering us with
himself to have all been treated "like dogs," begged me to give
him my opinion as to what course he had better pursue; for he
must, in the first instance, report the whole circumstances to
the king, and could not march at once. This was a blight on our
prospects, and appeared very vexatious, in the event of Budja
waiting for an answer, which, considering Mtesa had ordered his
Wakungu to accompany us all the way to Gani, might stop our march


Back to Full Books