The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White et al
Part 4 out of 5
"I understand. I am sorry. To-morrow I place my guard."
"Oh, why cannot you have the sense?" she cried passionately. "I cannot
bear it! That you must be blind! That I must kill you if I can, once
Kingozi smiled quietly to himself at this confession.
"So you would even kill me?" he queried curiously.
"I must! I must! If it is necessary, I must! I have sworn!"
"Don't you suppose I shall take precautions?"
"Oh, I hope so! I do hope so!" she cried.
Her distress was so genuine, her unconsciousness of the anomaly of her
attitude so naive that Kingozi forbore even to smile.
"I must go on," he concluded simply.
THE SECOND MESSENGERS
The return journey began. A remarkable tribute to Kingozi's influence, not
only over his own men, but over those of the new safari, might have been
read from the fact that there was brought for correction not one grumble,
either over the halving of the _potio_ or the apparently endless counter-
marching. As far as the white members were concerned the journey was one
of doggedness and gloom. Kingozi's strong will managed to keep to the
foreground the details of his immediate duty; but to do so he had to sink
all other considerations whatever. The same effort required to submerge
all thought of the darkened years to come carried down also every
recollection of the past. The Leopard Woman ceased to exist, not because
she had lost importance, but because Kingozi's mind was focussed on a
And she. Perhaps she understood this; perhaps the tearing antagonism of
her own purposes, duties, and desires stunned or occupied her--who knows?
The outward result was the same as in the case of her companion. They
walked apart, ate apart, lived each in his superb isolation, going forward
like sleep-walkers to what the future might hold.
Thus they travelled for ten days. In mid-march, then, Cazi Moto came to
tell Kingozi that two more messengers had arrived.
"They are not people of our country," he added. "They are _shenzis_ such
as no man here ever saw before."
"What sort of _shenzis?_"
"Short, square men. Very black. Hair that is long and stands out like a
"What do they say?"
"_Bwana_, they speak a language that no man here understands. And this is
strange: that they do not come from the direction of Nairobi."
"Perhaps they are men from M'tela."
"No, _bwana_, that cannot be, for they carry a _barua_. They came from a
"That is strange, very strange," said Kingozi quickly. "I do not
understand. Is there water near where we stand?"
"There is the water of the place we called _Campi ya Korungu_ when we
"Make camp there."
"The sun is at four hours, _bwana_."
[Footnote 13: 10:00 o'clock.]
"It makes no difference."
When camp had been pitched Kingozi caused the new messengers to be brought
before him. A few moments' questioning elicited two facts: one, that there
existed no medium of communication known to both parties; two, that the
strangers were from some part of the Congo basin. The latter conclusion
Kingozi gained from catching a few words of a language root known to him.
He stretched his hand for the letter.
It was in a long linen envelope, unsealed, and unembossed.
Not from the government. He unfolded the sheets of paper and ran his
fingers over the pages. Written in pencil; he could feel the indentations
where the writer had borne down. Some private individual writing him from
camp on the Congo side. Who could it be? Kingozi's Central African
acquaintance was wide; he knew most of the gentlemen adventurers roaming
through that land of fascination. A good many were not averse to ivory
poaching; and the happy hunting ground of ivory poaching was at that time
the French Congo. It might be any of them. But how could they know of his
whereabouts in this unknown country? And how could they know he was in
this country at all? These last two points seemed to him important.
Suddenly he threw his head back and laughed aloud.
"Self-centred egotist!" he addressed himself. "Cazi Moto, tell Bibi-ya-
chui I wish to see her."
Cazi Moto departed to return immediately with the Leopard Woman who, at
this hour, was still in her marching clothes. If she felt any surprise at
this early abandonment of the day's march she did not show it. Two
_askaris_, confided with the task of guarding her, followed a few paces to
the rear. She glanced curiously at the bushy savages.
"Here," said Kingozi, holding out the letter, "is a _barua_ for you--from
your friend Winkleman in the Congo."
The shock of surprise held her speechless for a moment.
"Your blindness is well! You can see!" she cried then.
Kingozi raised his head sharply, for there was a lilt of relief and
gladness in her voice.
"No," he answered, "just ordinary deduction. Am I right?"
He heard her slowly unfolding the paper.
"Yes, you are right," she said in sober tones, after a moment. She uttered
a happy exclamation, then another; then ran to his side and threw her arms
around his neck in an impulsive hug. Kingozi remembered the waiting men
and motioned them away. She was talking rapidly, almost hysterically, as
people talk when relieved of a pressure.
"Yes, it is from Winkleman. He has come in from the Congo side. When this
letter was written he was only ten days' march from M'tela."
"How do you know that?" interjected Kingozi sharply.
"Native information, he says. Oh, I am so glad! so glad! so glad!"
"That was the plan from the start, was it?" said Kingozi. "I don't know
whether it was a good plan or that I have been thick. My head is in rather
a whirl. It was Winkleman right along, was it?"
She laughed excitedly.
"Oh, such a game! Of course it was Winkleman. Did you think me one to be
sent to savage kings?"
"It didn't seem credible," muttered Kingozi. "It is a humiliating
question, but seems inevitable--were you actually sent out by your
officials merely to delay _me?_"
"So that Winkleman might arrive first--surely."
"I see." Kingozi's accent was getting to be more formally polite. "But why
you? Why did not your most efficient employers dispatch an ordinary
assassin? I do not err in assuming that you all knew that this war was to
be declared at this time."
"That is true." Her voice still sang, her high spirits unsubdued by his
"Then since it is war, why not have me shot and done with it? Why send a
"That was arranged, truly. A man of the Germans was following you. He was
as a sportsman, for it would not do to rouse suspicion. Then he had an
accident. I was in Nairobi. I heard of it. I did not know you, and this
German did not know you. It seemed to us very simple. I was to follow
until I came up with you. Then I was to delay you until I had word that
Winkleman had crossed the _n'yika_."
"All very simple and easy," murmured Kingozi.
"It was not simple! It was not easy!" she cried in a sudden flash of
resentment. "You are a strange man. When you go toward a thing, you see
down a narrow lane. What is either side does not exist." Her voice
gradually raised to vehemence. "I am a woman. I am weak and helpless. Do
you assist me, comfort me, sustain me in dreadful situation? No! You march
on, leaving me to follow! I think to myself that you are a pig, a brute,
that you have no chivalry, that you know not the word gentleman; and I
hate you! Then I see that I am wrong. You have chivalry, you are a true
gentleman; but before you is an object and you cannot turn your eyes away.
And I think so to myself that when this object is removed, is placed one
side for a time, then you will come to yourself. Then will be my chance.
For I study you. I look at your eyes and the fire in them, and the lips,
and the wide, proud nostril; and I see that here is no cold fish creature,
but a strong man. So I wait my time. And the moon rises, and the savage
drums throb, throb like hearts of passion, and the bul-buls sing in the
bush--and I know I am beautiful, and I know men, and almost I think you
look one side, and that I win!"
"So all that was a game!" commented Kingozi.
"A game? But yes--then!"
"For the sake of winning your point--would you--would you----"
"For the sake of winning my point did I not command to kill you--you--my
friend?" she commented, her manner falling from vehemence to sadness. "If
I could do that, what else would matter!" She paused; then went on in a
subdued voice: "But even then your glance but wavered. You are a strong
man; and you are a victim of your strength. When an idea grips hold of
you, you know nothing but that. And so I saw the delaying of you was not
so simple, so easy. It was not as a man to a woman, but as a man to a man.
It was war. I did my best," she concluded wearily.
Kingozi was staring in her direction almost as though he could see.
"Why do you tell me all this?" he asked at length.
"I want you to know. And I am so glad!" The lilt had crept back into her
"I congratulate you," he replied drily.
"Stupid! Oh, stupid!" she cried. "Do you not see why I am glad? It is you!
Now you shall not sit forever in the darkness. You shall go back to your
doctor, who will arrange your eyes."
"Why?" asked Kingozi.
"Why!" she repeated, astonished. "But it is 'why not!' Listen! Have you
thought? Winkleman is now but a week's march from M'tela. And here, where
we stand, it is perhaps twenty days, perhaps more. Winkleman would arrive
nearly two weeks ahead of you. Tell me, how long would it take you to win
M'tela's friendship so it would not be shaken?"
Kingozi's face lit with a grim smile.
"A week," he promised confidently.
"You see! And Herr Winkleman is equal to you; you have said so yourself.
Is not it so?"
"It's so, all right."
"Then we shall go back to the doctor. Oh, do you not see it is for that I
am glad--truly, truly! You must believe me that!"
"I believe you," said Kingozi. "Nevertheless, I do not think I shall go
"But that is madness. You cannot arrive in time. And it is to lose your
eyes all for nothing, for a foolish idea that you do your duty!"
Kingozi shook his head. She wrung her hands in despair.
"Oh, I know that look of you!" she cried. "You see only down your narrow
THE COUNCIL OF WAR
That evening Kingozi called to him Cazi Moto, Simba, and Mali-ya-bwana. He
commanded them to build a little fire, and when the light from the leaping
flames had penetrated his dull vision, he told them to sit down before
him. Thus they knew that a serious council was intended. They squatted on
their heels below the white man in his chair, and looked up at him with
bright, devoted eyes.
"Listen," he said. "The matter is this: the _Inglishee_ are at war with
the _Duyche_. Over from the Congo comes a _Duyche_ known as _Bwana_
Nyele. It is his business to reach this _shenzi_ king, M'tela, and
persuade M'tela to fight on the side of the _Duyche_. It is our business
to reach M'tela and persuade him to fight on the side of the _Inglishee_.
Is that understood?"
[Footnote 14: _Bwana_ Nyele--the master with the mane, i.e., beard or
"It is understood, _bwana_" said they.
"But this _Duyche, Bwana_ Nyele, is only one week's march from M'tela; and
he undoubtedly has many gifts for M'tela and the Kabilagani. And we are
many days' safari distant, and I am blind and cannot hurry." he three
uttered little clucks of sympathy and interest.
"But for all that we may win. You three men are my eyes and my right hand.
I have a plan, and this is what you must do: Cazi Moto must stay with me
to be headman of safari, and to be my eyes when we come to M'tela's land.
You Simba, and you Mali-ya-bwana, must go with six of the best men to
where _Bwana_ Nyele is marching. These two strange _shenzis_ will guide
you. Then when you are near the safari of _Bwana_ Nyele you must arrange
so that these _shenzis_ can have no talk with any of the safari of _Bwana_
Nyele. That is understood?"
"Yes, _bwana_," said Simba. "Do we kill these _shenzis?_"
"No, do not kill them. Tie them fast."
"Yes, _bwana_, and then?"
"This is the most difficult. You must get hold of _Bwana_ Nyele, and you
must tie him fast also, and keep him from his safari. He is a
_m'zungu_, yes--but he is a _Duyche_, and my enemy, and these things
are right, because I command it."
[Footnote 15: _M'zungu_--white man.]
"Then you must keep _Bwana_ Nyele and these two _shenzis_ close in camp,
hidden where their safari cannot find them. And after two weeks you must
send two men to M'tela's to find me, and to tell me where you are hidden.
Now is all that understood? You, Simba, tell me what you are to do."
"Mali-ya-bwana, myself, six men and these _shenzis_ travel to where the
safari of _Bwana_ Nyele marches. When we are near that safari we tie up
the two _shenzis_. Then we get _Bwana_ Nyele and tie him up in a secret
camp. Then after two weeks we send two men to tell the _bwana_ where we
are. But, _bwana_, how do we get _Bwana_ Nyele?"
"That I will tell you soon. One thing you forgot: you must reach the
_Duyche_ before he gets into M'tela's country. This means travel night and
day--fast travel. Can this be done?"
"We shall pick good men, _bwana_, runners of the Wakamba. We shall do our
"Good. Each man four days' _potio_, and what biltong he can use. Simba,
take my small rifle and fifty cartridges. Take some snuff, beads, and
wire--only a little--to trade for _potio_ if you meet with other people.
"Cazi Moto," he directed, "bring me the small box of wood from my
He slid the cover off this box when it was delivered into his hands,
fumbled a moment, and held up an object.
"What is this?" he asked.
"It is a bone, _bwana_."
"Yes, it is a bone; but it is more. It is a magic. With this you will take
He could sense the stir of interest in the three men before him.
"Listen carefully. This is what you must do. When you have come near to
this safari, you must follow it until it has put down its loads and is
just about to make camp. Not a rest period on the road; not after camp is
made--just at the moment when the men begin to untie the loads, when they
begin to pitch the tents. That is the magic time. Understand?"
"Yes, _bwana_," they chorused breathlessly.
"Simba must be ready. He must take off his clothes, and he must oil his
body and paint it, and put on the ornaments of a _shenzi_ of this country.
For that purpose he must take with him the necklace, the armlets, anklets,
and belt that I traded for with the _shenzis_, and which Cazi Moto will
get from my tent. Do you know the style of painting of these _shenzis_ of
the plains, Simba?"
"It is important that you make yourself a _shenzi_. This magic is a bad
magic otherwise. Then at the moment I have named, Simba as a _shenzi_ will
take this magic bone and hold it out to _Bwana_ Nyele saying nothing.
_Bwana_ Nyele will say words, perhaps in Swahili which Simba will
understand; perhaps in some other language which he will not understand.
Simba must point thus; and then must start in that direction. _Bwana_
Nyele will follow a few steps. Then Simba will say: 'Many more, _bwana_,
over there only a little distance.'" Kingozi uttered this last sentence in
atrocious Swahili. "You must say it in just that way, like a _shenzi_. Say
Simba repeated the words and accent.
"Yes, that is it. Then say nothing more, no matter what he asks; and do
not let him touch the magic bone. Point. He will follow you; and when he
has followed out of sight of the safari you will all seize him and tie him
fast. The rest is as I have commanded."
"How does _bwana_ know how these things will happen thus?" breathed Simba
in awestricken tones.
"It is a magic," replied Kingozi gravely.
Over and over he drilled them until the details were thoroughly
understood. Then he dismissed them and leaned back with a sigh. The plan
was simple, but ought to work. At the moment of making camp Winkleman
would be less apt than at any other time to take with him an escort--
especially if his interest or cupidity were aroused--for every one would
be exceedingly busy. And no fear about the interest and cupidity! The
"magic" bone Kingozi had confided to Simba was a fragment of a Pleistocene
fossil. Kingozi himself valued it highly, but he hoped and expected to get
it back. It made excellent bait, which no scientist could resist. Of
course there might be a second white man with Winkleman, but from the
reported size of the latter's safari he thought not. All in all, Kingozi
had great reliance in his magic.
At the end of fifteen minutes Simba came to report.
"All is ready, _bwana_," he said, "and we start now. But if _bwana_ could
let me take a lantern, which I have in my hand, we could travel also at
The lantern, as Kingozi well knew, was not for the purpose of casting
light in the path, but as some slight measure of protection against lions.
"Let me have it," he ordered. It was passed into his hands, and proved to
be one of the two oil lanterns kept for emergencies.
But Kingozi sent the headman for one of the candle lanterns in everyday
use, and a half-dozen short candles.
"These are better," he said; "and _qua heri_, Simba. If you do these
things well, large _backsheeshi_ for you all."
"_Qua heri, bwana_" said Simba, and was gone.
To the bewilderment of the Leopard Woman the pace of the safari now
slackened. Heretofore the marches had been stretched to the limit of
endurance; now the day's journey was as leisurely as that of a sportsman's
caravan. It started at daybreak, to be sure, but it ended at noon, unless
exigencies of water required an hour or two additional. As a matter of
fact, Kingozi knew that he had done everything possible. If Simba & Co.
succeeded, then there was no immediate hurry; if they failed, hurry would
Bibi-ya-chui noticed the absence of two such prominent members of the
safari as Simba and Mali-ya-bwana, of course, but readily accepted
Kingozi's explanation that he had sent them "as messengers."
The little safari for the third time crawled its antlike way across the
immensities of the veldt. Cazi Moto managed to keep them supplied with
meat, but at an excessive expenditure of cartridges. As he used the
Leopard Woman's rifle, this did not so much matter, for she was abundantly
supplied. At last the blue ranges rose before them; each day's journey
defined their outlines better. The foothills began to sketch themselves,
to separate from the ranges, finally to surround the travellers with the
low swells of broken country. Running water replaced the still water-
holes. Cazi Moto reported herds of goats in the distance. One evening
several of the goatherds ventured into camp. They spoke no Swahili, but at
the name M'tela they nodded vigorously, and at the mention of Kabilagani
they pointed at their own breasts.
"I wish I had eyes!" cried Kingozi petulantly. "What kind of people are
The Leopard Woman told him as best she could--tall, well-formed, copper in
hue, of a pleasing expression, clad scantily in goat skins.
"Their ornaments, their arms?" cried Kingozi with impatience.
"They are poor people," replied Bibi-ya-chui. "They have armlets of iron
beaten out, and necklaces of shell fragments or bone. They carry spears
with a short blade, broad like a leaf."
"Their armlets are not of wire? They have no cowrie shells?"
"No, it is beaten iron----"
"Good!" cried Kingozi. "There has been little or no trading here!"
One of the goatherds went with them as guide to M'tela.
"Without doubt," Kingozi surmised, "others have run on to warn M'tela of
Their way led on a gentle, steady up grade without steep climbs. The
hills, at first only scattered, low hummocks, became higher, more
numerous, closed in on them; until, before they knew it, they found
themselves walking up the flat bed of a canon between veritable mountains.
The end of the view, the Leopard Woman said, was shut by a frowning,
unbroken rampart many thousands of feet high.
"Then we are due for a climb," sighed Kingozi. "These native tracks never
hunt for a grade! When they want to go up, why up they go!"
But the head of the canon, instead of stopping against the wall, bent
sharply to the left. A "saddle" was disclosed.
Toward this the hard-beaten track led. Shortly it began to mount steeply,
and shortly after it entered a high forest growing on the abrupt slopes.
Here it was cool and mysterious, with green shadows, and the swing of rope
vines, and the sudden remoteness of glimpsed skies. The earth was soft and
moist under foot; so the dampness of it rose to the nostrils. Vines and
head-high bracken and feather growths covered the ground. In every shallow
ravine were groves of tree ferns forty feet tall. A silence dwelt there, a
different silence from that of the veldt at night; compounded of a few
simple elements, such as the faint, incessant drip of hidden waters and
occasional loud, hollowly echoing noises such as the bark of a colobus or
the scream of a hyrax. There were birds, rare, flashing, brilliant,
furtive birds, but they said nothing.
Through this forest on edge the path led steeply upward. Sometimes it was
almost perpendicular; sometimes it took an angle; sometimes--but rarely--
it paused at a little ledge wide enough to rest nearly the whole safari at
For an hour and a half they climbed, then topped the rim of the escarpment
and emerged from the forest at the same time.
Immediately they were a thousand leagues from the Africa they knew. A
gently rolling country stretched out before them with sweeps of green
grass shoulder high, and compact groves of trees as though planted. For
miles it undulated away until the very multitude of its low, peaceful
hills shut in the horizon. Cattle grazed in the wide-flung hollows, and
little herds of game; goats and sheep dotted the hills. The groves of
trees were very green. Everything breathed of peace and plenty. Almost
would one with proper childhood recollections listen for a church-going
bell, search for spires and cottage roofs among the trees. Slim columns of
smoke rose straight into the motionless air. The very sun seemed to have
abated its African fierceness, and to have become mild.
Some of these things Kingozi learned from Cazi Moto; some from the Leopard
Woman; each after his kind.
About a half-mile away a number of warriors in single file walked across
the wide valley and disappeared in the forest to the left. They carried
heavy spears and oval shields painted in various designs. A fillet bound
long ostrich plumes that slanted backward on either side the head; and as
they walked forward in the rather teetery fashion of the savage dandy
these plumes waved up and down in rhythm.
"M'tela," said the _shenzi_ goatherd waving his hand abroad.
They camped at the edge of a pleasant grove near running water. The donkey
that the Leopard Woman rode fell to the tall lush grasses with a
thankfulness beyond all expression. All the safari was in high spirits.
They saw _potio_ in sight again; and, immediately, long grass for beds.
Visitors came in shortly--a dozen armed men, like the warriors seen
earlier in the day, and a dignified older man who spoke a sufficient
Swahili. Kingozi received these in a friendly fashion, did not permit them
to sit, but at once began to cross-question them. The Leopard Woman
emerged from her tent.
"Stay where you are," Kingozi called to her in decided tones. "You must in
this permit me to judge of expediencies. I forbid you to hold any
communication with these people. I hope you will not make it necessary for
me to take measures to see that my wishes are carried out."
She showed no irritation, not even at the "forbid," but smiled quietly,
and without reply returned to her tent.
"Yes," said the old man, "this was M'tela's country, these were M'tela's
people." He disclaimed having been sent by M'tela.
At this point Kingozi, apparently losing all interest, dismissed them into
the hands of Cazi Moto. The latter, previously instructed, took his guests
to his own camp. There he distributed roast meat, one _balauri_ of coffee
to the old man, and many tales, some of them true. These people had never
before laid eyes on a white man, but naturally, at this late date in
African history, all had heard more or less of the phenomenon. Cazi Moto
found that the distinction between _Inglishee_ and _Duyche_ was known. He
left a general impression that Kingozi was the favourite son of the King,
come from sheer friendship and curiosity to see M'tela, whose fame was
universal. For two hours the warriors squatted, or walked about camp
examining with carefully concealed curiosity its various activities and
strange belongings. Then all disappeared. No more people appeared that
Kingozi knew well enough that this was a spying party sent directly from
M'tela's court; and that, pending its report, nothing more was to be done.
Cazi Moto's detailed description of what had been said and done cheered
his master wonderfully. By all the signs the simplest of the white man's
wonders were brand new to the visitors; _ergo_ Winkleman could not have
arrived. If he were not yet at M'tela's court, the chances seemed good
that Simba and the magic bone had succeeded.
Nothing at present could be done. Kingozi sent Cazi Moto out to kill an
abundance of game. The little headman returned later to report the
extraordinary luck of two zebra to two cartridges (at thirty yards to be
sure!) and that after each kill very many _shenzis_ gathered to examine
the bullet wound, the gun, and the distance. They were immensely excited,
not at all awestricken, entirely friendly. There was no indication of any
desire to rob the hunters. Evidently, Kingozi reflected, they were
familiar with firearms by hearsay, and were deeply interested at this
first hand experience.
The safari remained encamped at this spot all the next day, and the day
succeeding. Natives came into camp, at first only the men, hesitatingly;
then the women. A brisk little trade sprang up for yams, bananas,
_m'wembe_ meal, eggs, and milk. No shrewder bargainer exists than your
African safari man, and these soon discovered that beads and wire
possessed great purchasing power in this unsophisticated country. The
bartering had to be done in sign language, as Swahili seemed to be
unknown; and no man in the safari understood this unknown tongue. Kingozi
sat in state before his tent, smoking his pipe--which he still enjoyed in
spite of his blindness--and awaiting events in that vast patience so
necessary to the successful African traveller. Occasionally a group of the
chatting natives would drift toward his throne, would fall into
awestricken silence, would stare, would drift away again; but none
addressed him. The Leopard Woman, obeying rules that Kingozi had managed
to convey as very strict, held apart. Only in the evening, after the lion-
fearing visitors had all departed, did they sit together sociably by the
fire. The nights at this elevation were cool--cold they seemed to the
There was not much conversation. Kingozi was lost in a deep brooding,
which she respected. The occasion was serious, and both knew it. During
the moment of decision the man's duty and principle had been the most
important matters in the world. Once the decision was irrevocably made,
however, these things fell below the horizon. There loomed only the
thought of perpetual blindness. Kingozi faced it bravely; but such a fact
requires adjustment, and in these hours of waiting the adjustments were
Only once or twice did Bibi-ya-chui utter the thoughts that continually
"It seems so foolish!" she complained to him. "You are making yourself
blind for always; and you are going to be a prisoner for long! If you
would go back, you would not be captured and held by Winkleman when you
But such expostulations she knew to be vain, even as she uttered them.
At about nine o'clock of the third day Cazi Moto reported a file of
warriors, many warriors--"like the leaves of grass!" armed with spears and
shields, wearing black ostrich plumes, debouching from the grove a mile
across the way. At the same instant the Leopard Woman, her alarm causing
her to violate her instructions, came to Kingozi's camp.
"They attack us!" she cried. "They come in thousands! How can we resist so
many--and you blind! Tell me what I shall do!"
"There is no danger," Kingozi reassured her. "This is undoubtedly an
escort. No natives ever attack at this hour of the day. Their time is just
at first dawn."
She sighed with relief. Then a new thought struck her.
"But if they had wished to attack--at dawn--we have had no extra guards--
we have not fortified! What would prevent their killing us all?"
"Not a thing," replied Kingozi calmly. "We are too weak for resistance.
That is a chance we had to take. Now please go back to your tent. Cazi
Moto, strike camp, and get ready to safari."
The warriors of M'tela debouched on the open plain, seemingly without end.
The sun glinted from their upraised, polished spears; their ostrich plumes
swayed gently as though a wind ruffled a field of sombre grain tassels;
the anklets and leg bracelets clashed softly together to produce in the
aggregate a rhythmic marching cadence. Their front was nearly a quarter of
a mile in width. Rank after rank in succession appeared: literally
thousands. Drums roared and throbbed; and the blowing of innumerable
trumpets, fashioned mostly from the horns of oryx and sing-sing, added to
the martial ensemble.
The members of the safari were gathered in little knots, staring, wide
eyed with apprehension. Upon them descended zealous Cazi Moto. Even his
_kiboko_ had difficulty in breaking up the groups, in setting the men at
the commonplace occupations of breaking camp. Yet that must be done, in
all decent dignity; and at length it was done.
The first ranks were now fairly at the outskirts of camp; the last had but
just left the woods. The plains were literally covered with spearmen. A
magnificent sight! They came to a halt, raised their spears horizontally
above their heads; the horns and drums redoubled their din; a mighty,
concerted shout rent the air. Then abruptly fell dead silence.
From the front rank a tall, impressive savage stepped forward, pacing with
dignified stride. He walked directly to Kingozi's chair.
"_Jambo, bwana!_" He uttered his greeting in deep chest tones that rumbled
like distant thunder.
"_Jambo, n'ympara_," responded Kingozi in a mild tone. By his use of the
word _n'ympara_--headman--he indicated his perfect understanding of the
fact that this man, for all his magnificence, for all the strength of his
escort, was not M'tela himself, but only one of M'tela's ministers.
"_Jambo, bwana m'kubwa!_" rolled the latter.
"_Jambo_" replied Kingozi.
"_Jambo, bwana m'kubwa-sana!_"
"_Jambo, bwana m'kubwa-sana!_"
Having thus climbed by easy steps to the superlative greeting, the
minister uttered his real message. As befitted his undoubted position in
court, he spoke excellent Swahili.
"I am come to take you to the _manyatta_ of M'tela," he announced.
"That is well," replied Kingozi calmly. "In one hour we shall go."
They set off through the beautiful country in their usual order of march.
The warriors of M'tela accompanied them, walking ahead, behind, and on
either flank. The drums roared incessantly, the trumpets of horn sounded.
It was a triumphal procession, but rather awe-inspiring. The safari men
did their best to imitate Kingozi's attitude of indifference; and
succeeded fairly well, but their eyes rolled in their heads.
The Leopard Woman sat her donkey, and surveyed it all with appreciative
eyes. In spite of Kingozi's reassuring words, the impression of savage
power as the warriors debouched from the wood had been vivid enough to
give emphasis to a strong feeling of relief when their intentions proved
peaceful. The revulsion accentuated her enjoyment of the picturesque
aspects of the scene. The shining, naked bodies, the waving ostrich
plumes, the glitter of spears, the glint of polished iron, the wild,
savage expression of the men, the throb of barbaric music appealed to her
artistic sense. In a way her mind was at rest. At least the striving was
over. Kingozi had made his decision; it was no use to struggle against it
longer. She had no doubt that now they were virtually prisoners, that they
were being conducted in this impressive manner to a chieftain already won
over by Winkleman. The latter had had more than the time necessary to
carry out his purpose. Kingozi's persistence was maddeningly futile; but
it was part of the man, and she could not but acquiesce.
They marched across the open grassy plain, and into the woods beyond. A
wide, beaten track took them through, as though they walked in a lofty
tunnel with green walls through which one could look, but beyond which one
might not pass. Then out into the sunlight again, skirting a swamp of
plumed papyrus with many waterfowl, and swarms of insects, and birds
wheeling swiftly catching the insects, and other larger birds soaring
grandly above on the watch-out for what might chance. This swamp was like
a green river flowing bank high between the hills. It twisted out of sight
around wooded promontories. And the hills, constantly rising in height,
crowned with ever-thickening forests, extended as far as the eye could
At the end of the straight vista they turned sharp to the right and
climbed a tongue of land--what would be called a "hog's-back" in the West.
It was grown sparsely with trees, and commanded a wide outlook. Now the
sinuous course of the papyrus swamp could be followed for miles in its
vivid green; and the tops of the forest trees lay spread like a mantle.
The top of the "hog's-back" had been flattened, and on it stood M'tela's
The Leopard Woman stared curiously. There was not much to be seen. A high
stockade of posts and wattle shut off the view, but over it could be
distinguished a thatched roof. It was rectangular instead of circular and
appeared to be at least forty feet long--a true, royal palace. Smaller
roofs surrounded it. Outside the gate stood several more of the gorgeous
spearmen, rigidly at attention. Not another soul was in sight.
But whatever seemed to lack either in the cordiality or curiosity of the
inhabitants was more than made up for by the escort. With admirable
military precision, a precision that Kingozi would have appreciated could
he have seen it, they deployed across the wide open space at the front of
the plateau. The drums lined up before them. In the echoing enclosure of
the forest walls the noise was prodigious. And then abruptly, as before,
it fell. In the silence the voice of the old headman was heard:
"Here will be found the way to the guest houses," he urged gently.
The ragged safari, carrying its loads, plunged again into a forest path,
walking single file, a tatterdemalion crew. And yet a philosophic observer
might have caught a certain nonchalance, a faint superiority of bearing on
the part of these scarecrows; ridiculous when considered against the
overwhelming numbers, the military spruceness, the savage formidability of
the wild hordes that surrounded them. And if he had been an experienced as
well as a philosophic observer he could have named the quality that
informed them. Even in these truly terrifying, untried conditions it
persisted--the white man's _prestige_.
The forest path, wide and well-trodden, led them a scant quarter mile to a
cleared wide space on the very edge of the hill, which here fell abruptly
away. A large circular guest house occupied the centre point, and other
smaller houses surrounded it at a respectful distance. To the right hand
were the tops of trees on a lower elevation; to the left and at the rear
the solid wall of forest; immediately in front a wide outlook over the
papyrus swamp and the partly clothed hills beyond.
Their guides--for there were several--indicated the guest houses, and
silently disappeared. The safari was alone with its own devices.
Kingozi's practical voice broke the slight awe that all this savage
magnificence had imposed.
"Cazi Moto!" he commanded, "tell me what is here."
He listened attentively while the wizen-faced little headman gave a
detailed account, not only of the present dispositions, but also of what
had been seen during the short march to M'tela's stronghold. At the
conclusion of this recital he called to the Leopard Woman.
"I am here, near you," she answered.
"You must be my eyes for this," he told her. "Look into the large guest
house. Is it clean? Is it fairly new?"
She reported favourably as to these points.
"I am sorry, but I must take it over for myself," he said. "Matter not of
comfort, but of prestige. You would do best to pitch your tent somewhere
near. Cazi Moto, let the men make camp as usual."
"Very well," she agreed to her part of this program. Her manner was very
gentle; and she looked on him, could he have known it, with eyes of a
tender compassion. His was a brave heart, but Winkleman must long since
She moved slowly away to superintend the placing of her tent, reflecting
on these matters. It was decent of Winkleman to keep himself in the
background just at first. Time enough to convince poor blind Kingozi that
the game was up when he had to some extent recovered from the strain and
fatigue of the long journey. But Winkleman was a good sort. She knew him:
a big, hearty, bearded Bavarian, polyglot, intensely scientific, with a
rolling deep voice. He must have had ten days--a week anyway--to use his
acknowledged arts and influence on the savage king. Kingozi had said a
week would be enough--and Kingozi knew! She sighed deeply as she thought
of the doom to which his own obstinacy had condemned that remarkable man.
Her eyes wandered to where he sat in his canvas chair, superintending
through the ever-efficient Cazi Moto the details of the camp. His
shoulders were sagging forward wearily, and his face in repose fell into
lines of infinite sadness. Her heart melted within her; and in a sudden
revulsion she flamed against Winkleman and all his diabolical efficiency.
After all, this little corner of an unknown land could not mean so much to
the general result, and it would be so glorious a consolation to a brave
man's blindness! Then she became ashamed of herself as a traitor. Her tent
was now ready; so she entered it, bathed, clad herself in her silks, and
hung the jewel on her forehead. Once more the serene mistress of herself,
she came forth to view the sights.
It was by now near the setting of the sun. The forest shadows were rising.
Colobus were calling, and birds. Up a steep trail from the swamp came a
long procession of women and little girls. They were all stark naked, and
each carried on her head an earthen vessel or a greater or lesser gourd
according to her strength. They passed near the large guest house, and
there poured the water from their vessels into a series of big jars. Thus
every drop of water had to be transported up the hill, not only for the
guest camp, but for all M'tela's thousands somewhere back in the
mysterious forest. These women were of every age and degree of
attractiveness; but all were slender, and each possessed a fine-textured
skin of red bronze. Except the very old, whose breasts had fallen, they
were finely shaped. The rays of the sun outlined them. They seemed quite
unaware of their nakedness. Their faces were good-humoured; and some of
them even smiled shyly at the white woman standing by her tent. Having
poured out the water, they disappeared down the forest path.
Thence shortly appeared other women with huge burdens of firewood carried
by means of a strap, after the fashion of the Canadian tump-line; and
still others with _m'wembe_, bananas, yams, eggs, _n'jugu_ nuts, and
gourds of smoked milk. Evidently M'tela did not do things by halves.
The customary routine of the camp went on. Supper was served as usual; and
as usual the Leopard Woman joined Kingozi for the meal. The occasion was
constrained on her side, easy on his. He asked her various questions as to
details of the surroundings which she answered accurately but a little
absently. She spoke from the surface of her mind. Within herself she was
listening and waiting--listening for the first sound of shod feet, wailing
for the moment when Winkleman should see fit to declare himself and end
So high was this inner tension that she fairly jumped from her chair as a
demoniac shrieking wail burst from the forest near at hand. It was
answered farther away. Other voices took up the cry. It was as though a
thousand devils in shuddering pain were giving tongue.
"Tree hyraxes," Kingozi reassured her.
"Those tiny beasts!" she cried incredulously.
"Just so. Sweet voices, haven't they? Some of these people must be wearing
And indeed she remembered seeing some of the soft, beautiful karosses.
But now from the direction of M'tela's palaces arose a confused murmur
that swelled as a multitude drew near. The drums began again. Soon, the
Leopard Woman described, torches began to flash through the trees. At the
same moment Cazi Moto came to report.
"Build up a big fire," commanded Kingozi. He turned to the Leopard Woman.
"This is likely to be an all-night session," he said resignedly. "If you
want to get out of it, I advise you to go now. Not that you'll be able to
get any sleep. But if you stay, you must stick it out. It would never do
to leave in the middle of the performance. Some of it you won't like."
"What is it to be?"
"Ceremonial dances, I fancy."
"I think I shall stay," she said slowly.
In her heart she thought it extremely unlikely that the performance would
last all night. Indeed her own opinion was that Kingozi would be a
prisoner within an hour.
Kingozi settled himself stolidly in his chair before the fire that was now
beginning to eat its way through an immense pile of fuel, where, during
all subsequent events, he remained in the same attitude.
The Leopard Woman, on the contrary looked with all her eyes. The torches
came nearer. People began to pour out from the woods. There were warriors
in full panoply; lithe, naked men carrying only wands peeled fresh to the
white; women hung heavily with cowries; other women with neither garment
nor ornament, their bodies oiled and glistening. A deep, rolling chant
arose from hundreds of throats, punctuated and carried by a sort of
shrill, intermittent ululation. The drums were there, but for the moment
they were not being beaten in cadence, only rubbed until they roared in
undertone to the men's chanting.
All these people divided to right and left in the clearing of the guest
camp, and took their stations. More and more appeared. The space filled,
filled solidly, until at last there was no break in the mass of humanity
except for a circle forty feet in diameter about the fire.
Suddenly a group of fifteen or twenty men detached themselves from the
main body and leaped into this cleared space. The great chant still rolled
on; but now a varied theme was introduced by a chorus of the nearby women.
The dancers were oiled to a high state of polish, naked except for a
single plume apiece and a sort of tasselled tail hung to a string belt.
They clustered in a close group near the fire, facing a common centre. In
deep chest tones they pronounced the word _goom_, at the same time half
crouching; then in sharp staccato head tones the word _zup_, at the same
time rising swiftly up and toward their common centre. It was like the ebb
and surge of a wave, the alternate smooth crouch and spring over and over
again--_goom, zup! goom, zup! goom, zup!_--and behind it the twinkle of
torches, the gleam of eyes, the roll of the deep-voiced chanting.
Endlessly they repeated this performance. The Leopard Woman, watching, at
last had to close her eyes in order to escape the hypnotic quality of it.
In spite of herself her senses swam in the rhythmic monotony. All outside
the focus of the dancers turned gray--_goom, zup! goom, zup!_--was it
never to end? And then it seemed to her that it never would end, that thus
it would go on forever, and that so it was just and right. The men were
tireless. The sweat glistened on their bodies, but their eyes gleamed
fanatically. She floated off on a tide of irrelevant thoughts.
Hours later, as it seemed to her, she came to herself suddenly. Kingozi
still sat stolidly in his chair. The dancers were retiring step by step,
still with unabated vigour, continuing their performance. They melted into
Now a pellmell of bizarre figures broke out. They were bedecked
fantastically: some of them were painted with white clay; one was clad in
the skins of beasts. There was no rhythm or order to their entrance; but
immediately they began to dash here and there shouting.
"It is the Lion Dance, _memsahib_," Cazi Moto told her in a low voice.
"That one is the lion; and they hunt him with spears in the long grass."
The chase went forward with some verisimilitude, and yet with a symbolic
syncopation that indicated the Lion Dance was a very ancient and
conventional ceremony. These dancers gave way to a chorus of singers. For
interminable hours, so it seemed, they chanted a high, shrill recitative,
carried in fugue by deeper voices. The burden of the song was evidently an
impromptu. Occasionally some peculiarly apt or pleasing phrase was caught
up for endless repetition. And in the background, against the farther
background of the undistinguished masses, those who had formerly carried
on their performances in the full glare of front-row publicity and the
campfire, now continued their efforts almost unabated. The impressive
utterers of the _goom-zup_ shibboleth, the slayers of the symbolical lion,
carried on still. Indeed as the night wore on, and one group of dancers
succeeded another, the homogeneous crowd began to break into varied
activity. Each took his turn as principal, then fell back to form part of
the variegated background. Each dance was different. Warriors fully armed
clashed shield and spear; witch doctors crouched and sprang; women stamped
in rhythm; the elephant was hunted, the crops sown and gathered, all the
activities of community and individual life were danced, the frankness of
some saved from obscenity only by the unconscious earnestness of their
exposition and the evidence of their symbolism that they were not the
expression of the moment but very ancient customs.
The Leopard Woman watched it all with shining eyes. The emotion of the
picturesque, the call of savage wildness, the contagion of a mounting
community excitement caused the blood to race through her veins. The drums
throbbed against her heart as the pulse throbbed against her temples. She
resisted an actual impulse to rise from her chair, to throw herself with
abandon into an orgy of rhythm and motion. Perfectly she understood those
who, having reached the breaking point, dashed madly through the fire
scattering embers and coals, or who darted forward to kiss ecstatically
the white man's feet, or who reached a wild paroxysm of nerves to collapse
the next instant into exhaustion. She was brought to herself by Kingozi's
"Sweet riot, isn't it?" he remarked. "They're working themselves up to a
high pitch. It's always that way. You would think they'd drop from sheer
"How long will they keep it up?" she asked, drawing a deep breath, and
trying to speak naturally.
"So it got you, too, a little, did it?" he said curiously.
"What do you mean?"
"The excitement. It's contagious unless you are accustomed to it. I've
seen safe and sane youngsters go quite off their heads at these shows, and
dash down and caper around like the maddest _shenzi_ of them all. Felt it
myself at first. It draws you; like wanting to jump off when you look down
from a high place." He was talking evenly and carelessly. "Enough of this
sort of thing will make a crowd see anything. Devil-worshippers for
instance, they see red devils, after they work up to it, not a doubt of
"Thank you," she answered his evident purpose of bringing her to herself.
"All right now, eh?"
"Well, to answer your question; I've known dances to last two days."
"Heaven!" she cried, dismayed.
"But this is to prepare a suitable entrance for his majesty. We'll hear
from him along toward daylight." He held out his wrist watch toward her.
"What time now?"
Somehow the simple action seemed to her pathetic. Her eyes filled, and she
stooped as though to kiss the outstretched hand. Never again would the
worn old wrist watch serve its owner, except thus, vicariously!
"It is ten minutes past the twelve," she answered in a stifled voice.
"We must settle down to it. If you want tea or something to eat, tell Cazi
He resumed his stolid demeanour.
The dancing continued. Every once in a while women threw armfuls of fuel
on the blaze. The tree hyraxes, out-screeched and outnumbered, fell into
silence or withdrew. Above the stars shone serenely; and all about stood
the trees of the ancient forest. Outside the hot, leaping red light they
drew back aloof and still. They had seen many dances, many ebbs and flows
of men's passions; for they were very old.
The Leopard Woman's vision blurred after a time. She was getting drowsy.
Her thoughts strayed. But always they circled back to the same point. She
found herself wondering whether Winkleman would appear to-night.
A few hours earlier than Kingozi had predicted, in fact not far after two
o'clock, the wild dancing died to absolute immobility and absolute
silence, and M'tela arrived.
He appeared walking casually as though out for a stroll, emerging from the
end of the wide forest path. Central African natives are never obese--
comic papers to the contrary notwithstanding. Nevertheless, M'tela was a
large man, amply built, his muscles overlaid by smoother, softer flesh. He
possessed dignity without aloofness, a rare combination, and one that
invariably indicates a true feeling of superiority. As he moved forward he
glanced lazily and good-humouredly to right and left at his people, in the
manner of a genial grown-up among small children. He wore a piece of
cotton cloth dyed black, so draped as to leave one arm and shoulder bare,
a polished bone armlet, and a tarboush that must have been traded through
"The _sultani, bwana_," murmured the ever-alert Cazi Moto.
M'tela wandered to where Kingozi sat. The white man did not move, but
appeared to stare absently straight before him. At ten paces M'tela
stopped and deliberately inspected his visitor for a full half-minute.
Then he advanced and dropped to the stool an obsequious and zealous slave
placed for him.
"_Jambo_, papa," he said casually.
His manner was perfect. The thousand or so human beings who crowded the
clearing might not have existed. Himself and Kingozi, two equals, were
settling themselves for an informal little chat in the midst of solitudes.
His large intelligent eye passed over the Leopard Woman, but if her
appearance aroused in him any curiosity or other interest no flicker of
expression betrayed the fact.
As he heard the form of address a brief gleam of satisfaction crossed
Kingozi's face. Whether it has been transferred from the English, or has
been adopted more directly from the babbling of infants, "papa" is
perfectly good Swahili. When M'tela addressed Kingozi as "papa" he not
only acknowledged him as a guest, but he admitted the white man to the
intimacy that exists between equals in rank.
M'tela was friendly.
Two days passed. By the end of that time it had been borne in on the
Leopard Woman that Winkleman had not yet arrived. Kingozi and M'tela
circled each other warily, like two strange dogs, though all the time with
an appearance of easy and intimate cordiality. As yet Kingozi had neither
confided to the savage the fact of his blindness nor visited the royal
palace. The latter ceremony he had evaded under one plea or another; and
the infliction he had managed to conceal by the simple expedient of
remaining in his canvas chair. Later would be time enough to acknowledge
so great a weakness; later when the subtle and specialized diplomacy he so
assiduously applied would have had time to do its work.
For M'tela was initially friendly. This was a great satisfaction to
Kingozi, though none knew better than he how any chance gust of influence
or passion could veer the wind. Still it was something to start on; and
something more or less unexpected and unhoped for. M'tela himself supplied
the reason in the course of one of their interminable conversations.
"I am pleased to see the white man," he said. "Never has the white man
come to my country before; but always I knew he would come. One time long
ago my brother who is king of the people near the Great Water said these
words to me: 'My brother, some day white men will come to you. They will
be few, and they will come with a small safari, and their wealth will look
small to you. But make no mistake. Where these few white men who look poor
come from are many more--like the leaves of the grass--and their wealth is
great and their wonders many; and for each white man that is speared ten
more come, without end, like water flowing down a hill. I know this to be
so, for I am an old man, and I have fought, and of all those who fought
the white man in my youth only I remain.' So I remembered these words of
my brother always."
"You are a wise man, oh, King," said Kingozi, "for those words are true."
Hourly Kingozi cursed his eyes. With this man so well-disposed a day--a
single hour--of the white man's miracles would have cemented his
friendship. But Kingozi was deprived at a stroke of the great advantages
to be gained by cutting out paper dolls, making coins disappear and appear
again, and all the rest of the bag of tricks. He had not even the
alternative advantage of a store of rich gifts with which to buy the
chief's favour. This crude alternative to subtle diplomacy he had scorned
when making out a small safari for a long journey.
To be sure he was not doing badly. A box of matches and instructions in
the use thereof went far as an evidence of munificence. Sparingly he doled
out his few treasures--the gaudy blankets; coils of brass, copper, and
iron wires; beads; snuff; knives, and the like. They were received with
every mark of appreciation. In return firewood, water, and food of all
sorts came in abundantly. But these, Kingozi well knew, were only
temporizing evidences of good feeling. Time would come when M'tela would
ceremoniously bring in his real present--assuredly magnificent as
beseeming his power. Then, Kingozi knew, he should be able to reciprocate
in degree. He could not do so; he could not use his accustomed methods; he
could not even exhibit his trump card--the deadly wonder of the weapon
that could kill at a distance.
Nevertheless he would have awaited the outcome with serene indifference
could he have been certain of a dear field. The arrival of Winkleman
would, he secretly admitted, upset him completely. Winkleman--another
white man, possessed of powers he did not possess, of wonders he did not
own, of knowledge equal to his--would have no difficulty in taking the
lead from him. Certainly Winkleman had not yet arrived, and he was long
overdue. On the other hand, neither had Simba nor Mali-ya-bwana reported;
and they were equally overdue. These were ticklish times; and Kingozi had
great difficulty in sitting calmly in his canvas chair listening to the
endless inconsequences of a savage.
The Leopard Woman could not understand how he did it. Her inner nervous
tension, due as much to a conflict as to suspense, drove her nearly
frantic. She knew that Winkleman's appearance spelled defeat for Kingozi;
she knew that she should hope for that appearance--and deep in her heart
she knew that she dreaded it! But as time went on without tangible
results, she began to long for it as a relief. At least it would be over
then. And Kingozi--oh, brave heart! oh, pathetic figure--if anything could
make it up to him----!
The morning of the third day came. Usual camp activities carried them on
until nine o'clock. Kingozi was settled in his chair awaiting what the day
would bring forth. The Leopard Woman coming across from her tent to the
guest house stopped short at what she saw.
Across the way, a half or three-quarters of a mile distant, beyond the
green papyrus swamp, on the slope from the edge of the forest, appeared a
long file of men bearing burdens on their heads. Even at this distance she
made out the colour of occasional garments of khaki cloth, or the green of
canvas on the packs.
She arrived at Kingozi's side simultaneously with Cazi Moto.
"A safari comes, _bwana_," said the latter. "It is across the swamp."
Kingozi's figure stiffened.
"What kind of a safari?" he asked quietly.
The Leopard Woman answered him. There was no note of jubilation in her
"It is a white man's safari," she told him. "I can see khaki--and they are
marching as a white man's safari marches."
"Get my glasses," he told Cazi Moto. Then to her, his voice vibrating with
emotion too long controlled: "Look and tell me, fairly. I must know.
Whatever the outcome you must tell me truth. It will not matter. I can do
"I will tell you the truth," she promised, raising the glasses.
For some moments she looked intently.
"It is Winkleman's safari," she announced sadly. "I have been able to see.
It is a very large safari with many loads," she added.
Kingozi's face turned gray. He dropped his face into his hands. Gently she
laid her hand on his bowed head. Thus they waited, while the safari,
evidently under local guidance, plunged into some hidden path through the
papyrus, and so disappeared.
THE MAGIC BONE
Let us now follow Simba, Mali-ya-bwana, and their six men and the two
strange _shenzis_ who were to act as guides.
They started off across the veldt at about four o'clock of the afternoon
and travelled rapidly until dark. The gait they took was not a run, but it
got them over the ground at four and a half to five miles an hour. Shortly
after sundown they stopped for an hour, ate, drank, and lay flat on their
backs. Then they arose, lighted a candle end in the mica lantern, and
resumed their journey. Thus they travelled day and night for three days.
There seemed to be neither plan nor regularity to their journeying.
Whenever they became tired enough to sleep, they lay down and slept for a
little while; whenever they became hungry, they ate; and whenever they
thirsted, they drank, paying no attention whatever to the time of day, the
state of their larder, or the distance to more water. No ideas of
conservation hampered them in the least. If the water gave out, they
argued, they would be thirsty; but it was as well to be thirsty later from
lack of water than to be thirsty now from some silly idea of abstention.
No white man could have travelled successfully under that system.
Nevertheless, the little band held together and arrived in the fringe of
hills fit and comparatively fresh.
Here they encountered people belonging to M'tela's tribes; but their
guides seemed to vouch for them, and they passed without trouble. Indeed
they were here enabled to get more food, and to waste no time hunting. At
noon of another day, surmounting a ridge, they looked down on a marching
safari. The two _shenzi_ guides pointed and grinned, much pleased with
themselves. Their pleasure was short lived; for they were promptly seized,
disarmed, and tied together. The grieved astonishment of their expressions
almost immediately faded into fatalistic stolidity. So many things happen
Mali-ya-bwana and one of the other men proceeded rapidly ahead on the
general line of march. The rest paralleled the safari below. After an hour
the scouts returned with news of a water-hole where, undoubtedly, the
strange safari would camp. All then hurried on.
Concealed in a thicket Simba proceeded with great zest to make himself
over into a _shenzi_. In every savage is a good deal of the small boy; so
this disguising himself pleased him immensely. Taking the spear in one
hand and the "sacred bone" reverently in the other, he set out to
intercept the safari.
It came within the hour. Simba almost unremarked regarded it curiously.
There were over a hundred men, all of tribes unknown to him with the
exception of a dozen who evidently performed the higher offices. The
common porters were indeed _shenzis_--wild men--picked up from jungle and
veldt as they were needed; and not at all of the professional porter class
to be had at Mombasa; Nairobi, Dar-es-salaam, or Zanzibar. Simba's eyes
passed over them contemptuously, but rested with more interest on the
smaller body of _askaris_, headmen, and gun bearers. These also were of
tribes strange to him; but of East African types with which he was
familiar. They were all dressed in a sort of uniform of khaki, wore caps
with a curtain hanging behind, and arm bands gayly emblazoned with
imperial eagles. All this was very impressive. Simba conceived a respect
for this white man's importance. Evidently he was a _bwana m'kubwa_. The
supposed savage experienced a growing excitement over the task he had
undertaken. All his training had taught him to respect the white man, as
such; and now he was called upon to abduct forcibly one of the sacred
breed--and such a specimen! Only Simba's undoubted force of character, and
the veneration his long association with Kingozi had inculcated, sustained
For Winkleman was a big man in every way: tall, broad, thick, with a
massive head, large features, and such a tremendous black beard! Well had
he deserved his native name of _Bwana_ Nyele--the master with the mane.
Simba awaited the moment of greatest confusion in the placing and pitching
of the camp, and then advanced timidly, holding out the bone Kingozi had
given him. His courage and faith were very low. They revived instantly as
he saw the immediate effect. It was just as Kingozi had told him it would
be; and as there was nothing on earth in a bit of dry bone that could
accomplish such an effect except magic, Simba thenceforward went on with
his adventure in completed confidence.
For at sight of the bone _Bwana_ Nyele's eyes lit up, he uttered an
astonishing bellow of delight, and sprang forward with such agility for so
large a man that he almost succeeded in snatching the talisman from
Simba's hands. Acting precisely on his instructions the latter backed
away, pointing over the hill.
"Where did you get that?" Winkleman demanded.
Simba continued to point.
"Give it me."
Simba started away, still pointing. Winkleman followed a few steps.
"There is more?" he asked. "Do you speak Swahili?"
"Many more, _bwana_," Simba replied in the atrocious Swahili Kingozi had
ordered. "Over there only a little distance."
Everything turned out as Kingozi had promised. Bwana Nyele asked several
more questions, received no replies, finally bellowed:
"But lead me there, _m'buzi!_ I would see!"
Simba guided him up the hill. At the appointed spot they fell upon him and
bore him to the earth in spite of his strength, and bound his hands behind
his back. Then Simba wrapped the magic bone reverently in its cloth.
Certainly it was wonderful magic.
Winkleman put up a good fight, but once he felt himself definitely
overpowered he ceased his struggles. He was helped to his feet. A glance
at his captors taught him that these were safari men and not savages of
the country; and, with full knowledge of the general situation, he was not
long in guessing out his present plight. But now was not the time for
A half-hour's walk took the party to a second water-hole, the indications
for which Simba had already noted on his little scouting tour. There they
proceeded to make camp. The six porters began with their swordlike
_pangas_ to cut poles and wattles, to peel off long strips of inner bark
from the thorn trees which would serve as withes. Then they began the
construction of a _banda_, one of the quickly built little thatched sheds,
open at both ends. At sight of this Winkleman swore deeply. He was fairly
trapped, and knew it; but the _banda_ indicated that he was to be held
prisoner in this one spot for at least some days. However, wise man in
native ways, he said nothing and made no objection. But his keen wide
eyes took in every detail.
When the _banda_ was finished and a big pile of the dried hay had been
spread as a couch Simba approached respectfully but firmly, took _Bwana_
Nyele's helmet from his head, his spine-pad from his back, and his shoes
from his feet. In this strategy Winkleman with reluctance admired the
white man's hands. Without head and spine covering of some sort he could
not travel a mile under the tropic sun; without foot covering or a light
he would be helpless at night. Of course these things could be improvised;
but not easily. He stretched himself on the hay and awaited events.
The men built a fire and gathered around it. They were cooking, but at the
same time the two whom Winkleman recognized as leaders conferred earnestly
and at great length. Had he been at their elbows he would have heard the
"The magic of this bone is a very great magic," Simba was saying. "All
happened exactly as _Bwana_ Kingozi told us. Now is the fifth day. There
remain now nine days to wait until we must bring this _m'zungu_ to _Bwana_
Kingozi at the _manyatta_ of M'tela."
"It is indeed great magic," agreed Mali-ya-bwana. "How many days is the
"I do not know. These _shenzis_ should know; but they talk only monkey
talk. Here, let us try." He drew one of the prisoners one side. "M'tela,"
he enunciated slowly.
The savage nodded, and pointed the direction with his protruded lower lip.
Simba indicated the sun, and swept his hand across the arc of the heavens.
Then he looked inquiringly at the other and held up in rapid success first
one, then two, then three fingers. The savage was puzzled. Simba went
through the movements of a man walking, pronounced the name of M'tela,
pointed out the direction, and then repeated his previous pantomime.
A light broke on the _shenzi_. He held up four fingers.
Simba next called to Mali-ya-bwana to interrogate the other prisoner
apart. As the latter also reported M'tela four days distant--when he
understood--this was accepted as the truth.
"Then we remain in camp five days," they concluded, after working out the
"But," intervened one of the porters, "we have no more _potio_."
"I have the _bwana's_ gun," Simba pointed out, "and also the gun of this
_m'zungu_. There is here plenty of game."
"To eat meat always is not well," grumbled the porter.
"To eat _kiboko_ (whip) is always possible," replied Simba grimly.
"Nevertheless," said Mali-ya-bwana, who as co-leader was privileged to
more open speech, "_potio_ and meat are better than meat only."
Simba looked at him inquiringly.
"You have a thought?"
Mali-ya-bwana leaned forward.
"It is this: If the bone has such great magic that thus we can take
prisoner a mighty _bwana_ like this, surely it is powerful enough to fight
also against safari men."
Simba pondered this.
"Every one knows that a white man is a great Lord," urged Mali-ya-bwana,
"and that it is useless for the black man to fight against him. This is
true always. Every man knows this."
"Black men have killed white men," Simba objected.
"Only when the numbers were many. Even then many more black men also have
died, so that the painting for mourning went through many tribes. Never
before have men like us taken a white man thus easily."
"That is true."
"Then since this magic bone can subdue for us a great lord of a _m'zungu_,
surely it will also subdue for us a safari of black men like ourselves, a
safari that the _m'zungu_ has held in his hand."
"That is true."
"And that safari must have much _potio_"
"That also is true."
"Let you--or me, it does not matter--take the magic bone, and with it take
also this safari and its _potio_."
"I will do it," assented Simba after a moment. "You will stay here to
carry out the _bwana's_ orders."
In the course of the evening Winkleman, conceiving that the right moment
had come, set himself seriously to establishing a dominance over these
members of an inferior race. He was a skilled man at this, none more so;
nevertheless he failed. For in the persons of Simba and Mali-ya-bwana he
was dealing not with natives, but with another white man as shrewd and
experienced as himself. Kingozi had from the abundance of his knowledge
foreseen exactly what methods and arguments the Bavarian would use, and in
his final instructions he had dramatized almost exactly the scene that was
now taking place. Simba had his replies ready made for him. When an
unexpected argument caught him unaware, he merely fingered surreptitiously
his magic bone, and remained serenely silent. Winkleman might as well have
talked at a stone wall. He soon recognized this, as also that the man had
been coached minutely.
"Who is your _bwana?_" he asked at length.
"He is a very great _bwana_," Simba replied.
"He has many names among many people."
"What name do you call him?"
"I call him _bwana m'kubwa_ (great master)," replied Simba blandly.
Winkleman gave up this tack and tried another.
"What is his business? What does he do here?"
"His business is to fight."
"Ah!" ejaculated Winkleman. "To fight!"
"Yes. His business is to fight the elephant."
Winkleman swore. He could get at nothing this way. He must give his mind
Early the next morning Simba started. He took with him, of course, his
magic bone; but, like a canny general, he carried also the rifle. Mali-ya-
bwana was left sufficiently armed by Winkleman's weapon and the sixteen
cartridges captured on his person.
By the water-hole Simba found the safari encamped. At sight of his khaki-
clad figure several men ran to meet him. Their countenances were of a cast
unfamiliar to Simba. He looked at them calmly.
"Does some one speak Swahili?" he inquired.
"_N'dio!_" they assented in chorus.
Simba looked about him. This was indeed a great safari, and a rich
_bwana_. The tent, of green canvas, was what is known as a "four-man
tent"; that is, it took four men to carry it. The pile of loads in the
centre of the cleared space was high. There were three tin boxes and many
chop boxes among them.
The group moved slowly across the open space, stared at by curious eyes,
and came to a halt before a drill tent slightly larger than the little
kennels assigned to the ordinary porters. Here over a fire bubbled a
_sufuria_, the African cooking pot, tended by a naked small boy. A clean
mat woven in bright colours carpeted the ground; on this all seated
It would be tedious to relate each step of the ensuing negotiations. These
simple Africans would have needed no instruction from civilization to
carry on the most long-winded submarine controversy in the most approved
and circuitous manner. At the end of one solid hour of grave and polite
exchange it developed that the white man was not at present in camp.
Somewhat later Simba permitted it to be understood that his own white man
was not in the immediate neighbourhood. These gems of knowledge were
separated by much leisurely chatter, and occasional and liberal dippings
into the _sufuria_. And thus was the beginning and the end of the first
At noon of the second day, after a refreshing night's sleep, Simba moved
up his forces.
"Your white man is known to me," said he.
Some one remarked appropriately.
"He is a prisoner in my camp."
"In the camp of your white man."
"In my camp. I myself have taken him prisoner," insisted Simba.
"You are telling lies," said the headman of the safari.
Simba took this calmly. In Africa to call a man a liar is no insult.
"It is the truth," said he. "With my own hands I took him; and he lies
bound in my camp."
"These are lies," persisted the headman. "How can such things be? That you
took a white man, a great _bwana?_ That is foolishness. That has never
been and could never be. How could you accomplish such a feat?"
"I have a magic."
"Ho!" cried the headman derisively. "Everybody knows that a magic is not
good against the white man. That has been tried many times!"
"This is a white man's magic."
The statement made a visible impression.
"Let us see it," they demanded.
But Simba refused. He was entirely at ease. In his ordinary habit he would
have become excited over being doubted, he would have wrangled, have
shouted--in short, would have been but one unit among many equals. But the
possession of the magic bone gave him a confidence from outside himself.
For the time being he slipped genuinely into the attitude of the white
man; became a super-Simba, as it were. This dignity and sureness commenced
to have its effect. Almost they began to believe that Simba's words might
At three o'clock the battle closed in.
"My men need _potio_" said Simba. "Let ten loads be put aside, and let ten
of these _shenzis_ be told to carry them where I shall say."
But the headman leaped to his feet.
"Who are you to give orders?" he cried. "These things belong to my white
"Your white man is my property," replied Simba superbly; and with no
further parley he shot the headman dead.
Here indeed showed the super-Simba. The dispute might in the ordinary
course of events have come to shooting; but only after hours of excited
wrangling, and as a climax worked up to in a crescendo of emotion. This
expeditious nipping in the bud was a thoroughly white-manly proceeding.
The headman whirled about under the impact of the high-power bullet at so
close a range, and collapsed face down. Simba sat calmly in his place. He
did not even trouble to place himself in a better defensive attitude
against possible attack. His confidence in his magic bone was growing to
sublimity as he noted how efficiently it carried him through every crisis.
All over the camp the porters, startled, leaped to their feet. But at the
headmen's fire no one moved. They would ordinarily have been afraid
neither of Simba nor Simba's weapons. Firearms were familiar to them. The
usual sequence to Simba's deed would have been an immediately defunct
Simba. But his serene confidence in his magic caught their credulity.
The white man's _prestige_ and privileges were invested in him.
"Yours is undoubtedly a great magic," said Winkleman's gun bearer
politely. "Let us talk."
They talked at great length, without bothering to remove the dead headman.
The result was finally a continued respect for Simba, his magic bone, and
his ready rifle; but a lingering though polite incredulity as to the
matter of Winkleman--_Bwana_ Nyele. It was possible that Simba had killed
the latter, of course. But to have taken him alive--and to be holding him
It was suggested that the various upper men of this safari accompany Simba
to the place of incarceration. Declined for obvious reasons. Proposition
modified to exclude all visitors but one. Still declined.
The debate summarized in the above short paragraph consumed six hours.
What is time in the face of an African eternity? And in Africa, as every
one knows, the feeling of eternity is an accompaniment of every-day life.
After some refreshments the sitting rose. Simba did not spend the night in
camp. That did not seem to him wise. Instead he withdrew to a place he had
already marked, deftly built himself a withe platform in the spread of an
acacia, and slept soundly above the danger line.
Next morning the discussion was resumed. It was all on an amicable basis.
A bystander would have seen merely a group of lazy native servants
gossiping idly. And, indeed, for one word of relevance were a dozen of
sheer chatter. That is the African way.
Since it was impossible to visit _Bwana_ Nyele, why could not _Bwana_
Nyele be brought to within sight? Simba considered this; but finally
rejected it. The risk was too great, magic bone or no magic bone.
"It is probable you speak lies," said the gun bearer at last. "You say you
want _potio_ and that you hold _Bwana_ Nyele prisoner. But you do not
bring us orders from _Bwana_ Nyele for _potio_. Nor do you give us proof.
We must have proof before we believe or before we obey."
"I will bring you _Bwana_ Nyele's gun; or his coat; or anything that is
his that you may see that I hold him prisoner."
"Those things prove nothing," the gun bearer pointed out. "They might have
been taken from a dead man."
They negotiated further. One gifted with the power of seeing only
essential things would have found here a strange parallel. For these two
men, talking cautiously, clinging with tenacity to single points, yielding
grudgingly, would have been the same to him as two shrewd business men
coming together on the phrases of a contract, or two diplomats framing the
terms of a treaty.
Thus well into the third day. By that time an agreement had been reached.
It was very simple and direct and practical, when one thinks of it;
covered the situation fully; involved few compromises; and gained each man
Simba demanded _potio_ and obedience because he held the mighty _m'zungu_
prisoner. The gun bearer wanted indubitable proof not only that Simba held
the white man, but that he held him alive.
It was agreed that Simba was to return to his own camp, was to procure the
proof agreed upon, and was promptly to return. The said proof was to be
one of _Bwana_ Nyele's fingers, which all agreed would be easily
recognizable both as to identity and freshness!
The divulgence of this simple little plan by a Simba quite in earnest
dissipated Winkleman's last hope of doing anything by means of persuasion.
He knew his African well enough to realize that this fantastic method of
identification seemed quite a matter of course. In fact, Simba was at the
moment sharpening his hunting knife in preparation. Winkleman swore
heartily and fluently, then grinned. He was at heart a good soul,
Winkleman, with a sense of amusement if not of humour, and a philosophy of
life denied most of his inexperienced and theoretical countrymen. And also
he realized that he had his work cut out to prevent the program being
carried through. The African is slow to come to a definite conclusion, but
once it is arrived at it is apt to look to him like a permanent structure.
It was a wonderful tribute to Winkleman that it took him only four hours
to persuade Simba that there might be another way; and two hours more to
convince him that there might even be a better way. When Simba reluctantly
and a little doubtfully sheathed his knife, the big Bavarian wiped his
brow with genuine thankfulness.
The reader need not be wearied by a detailed report of the interminable
conferences that led up to the substitute plan. It would be a picture of a
big bearded man smoking slowly--for until affairs were decided he could
get no more of his own tobacco--leaning on his elbow beneath the roof of
the _banda_. Before him squatted on their heels in the posture white men
find so trying Mali-ya-bwana and Simba, entirely respectful, their shining
black eyes fixed on the white man. The open ends of the _banda_ gave out
on a dry boulder-strewn wash and the parched side of a hill. All else was
sky. Morning coolness was succeeded by the blaze of midday, when the very
surface of the ground danced in the shimmer; then slowly the shadows crept
out, the veils of mirage sank to earth, a coolness wandered in from some
blessed region; darkness came suddenly; over the parched hill--now looming
mysterious in black garments--the tropic stars blazed out. Then outside
some one lighted a fire. The flames cast lights and shadows within the
_banda_ where still the white man leaned on his elbow, the black men
squatted on their heels, and the murmur of talk went on and on.
But Winkleman got his way. At an appointed hour and at an appointed place
Winkleman, Mali-ya-bwana, and two of the carriers met Simba conducting the
gun bearer from the other camp. The interview was very short. Indeed it
had all been carefully rehearsed. Winkleman said only what he had agreed
to say; and thereby earned his finger.
"This man holds me prisoner," he told the gun bearer. "What he says is
true. Do what he asks you to do. It is my command."
"Yes, _bwana_," agreed the gun bearer.
Then they parted. The immediate result was five loads of _potio_ brought
by safari men to "somewhere in Africa," and thence transported by Simba's
men to Simba's camp. As game was thereabout abundant and undisturbed
everybody was happy.
Thus passed a week, which brought time forward to the moment when Simba,
following his instructions, was to report to Kingozi at the village of
M'tela. Therefore Simba set forth, taking with him, according to African
custom, one of the porters as companion. He carried Kingozi's rifle, but
left that belonging to Winkleman with Mali-ya-bwana.
Winkleman watched Simba go with considerable satisfaction. Mali-ya-bwana
was a man much above average African intelligence, but he had not the
experience, the initiative, the _flaire_ of Simba. Nor had he Simba's
magic bone. Simba took that with him. Winkleman knew nothing of the
supposed virtues of that property; and in consequence entertained a
respect for qualities of Simba that were not entirely inherent in that
individual. He began to flatter Mali-ya-bwana; to fraternize just enough;
to assume complete resignation to his plight--in short, to use just those
tactics a clever man would use to lull the alertness of any bright child.
Naturally he succeeded. At sundown of the second day he began to complain
of the irksomeness of his bonds.
"This is foolishness, so to treat a _m'zungu_," said he. "Nothing is
gained. I cannot sleep; and the skin of my wrists is sore. He who watches
has only to keep the fire bright. I cannot go like smoke."
To Mali-ya-bwana, in his flattered and unsuspicious mood, this seemed
reasonable. He was no such fool as to turn Winkleman loose to his own
devices; but he compromised by untying the Bavarian's wrists, and doubling
the thongs by which the latter's ankles were hitched to the larger timbers
of the _banda_. Also he instructed the sentinel to keep the fire bright,
to watch _Bwana_ Nyele, and to stop instantly any and all movements of the
hands toward the feet.
The early watches passed quietly. A second sentinel replaced the first. Up
to this time Winkleman had slept quietly. Now he began to shift position
often, to twist and turn, finally to groan softly. The sentinel came to
the end of the _banda_ and looked in. To him _Bwana_ Nyele raised a face
so ghastly that even the half-savage porter was startled. The man's eyes
seemed to have sunk into his head, deep seams to have creased his brow and
jaws. Apparently Winkleman was on the point of dissolution.
"_Magi! nataka magi!_" he gasped.
[Footnote 16: Water! I want water!]
The sentinel took the canteen from the peg where it hung and bent over the
dying man. Instantly his throat was clasped by a pair of heavy and
Two minutes later Winkleman rose to his feet free. The porter's knife in
his hand, he looked down on that unfortunate securely bound and gagged.
Treading softly Winkleman stepped through the sleeping camp into the
clear. He drew a deep breath. Then unconsciously wiping from his face the
mixture of grease and ashes that had constituted his "make-up," he strode
grimly away toward his own safari.
WINKLEMAN'S SAFARI ARRIVES
The Leopard Woman watched the safari file down the distant hill and lose
itself beneath the green plumes of the papyrus swamp. By all right she
should have rejoiced. Against every probability she had succeeded. The
stars had worked for her. Though the prearranged plan had not carried in
any of its details, nevertheless the sought-for result had been gained.
She had herself done little to detain Kingozi; yet he had been detained;
and here was Winkleman, belated but in time, to carry out triumphantly the
wishes of the Imperial Government. But her heart was like lead.
After the first droop Kingozi had straightened beneath the blow, and now
sat bolt upright, staring straight before him, as a king might have sat
alone on his throne. Whatever was coming, he would front it serenely.
The head of the safari appeared at the foot of the slope. It seemed a
trifle uncertain as to where to go next, but catching sight of Kingozi's
tents, it turned up the hill. Cazi Moto's keen eyes were searching out
every detail; those of the Leopard Woman had suddenly become suffused with
"It is a rich safari, _bwana_," Cazi Moto reported; "many loads." His
voice sharpened with surprise, but he did not raise his tones. "Simba is
there," said he.
"Simba! So they caught him," muttered Kingozi. "Well, that play failed. Do
you see the white man?" he asked.
"No, _bwana_. The white man has not yet come. But Simba now sees us, and
"He is guarded?"
"No, _bwana_; he is alone."
"_Jambo, bwana_," said Simba's voice a moment later.
Something in his tone caught Kingozi's ear.
"Yes, Simba?" was all he replied.
"All has been done as you ordered, _bwana_. This is the fourteenth day,
and I am here to tell you."
Kingozi caught his breath sharply.
"_Bwana_ Nyele was captured?"
"Mali-ya-bwana holds him prisoner at a certain water."
"There was no trouble?"
"None, _bwana_. All happened as you told. This magic is a very great
magic," said Simba piously.
"The safari," he suggested at last. "I am told of a safari; indeed, I can
hear it. What of that? No orders were given as to a safari."
"That is true, _bwana_," explained Simba earnestly, "but this is a very
great safari. It has tents and _potio_, and _chakula_, and blankets
and beads and wire and many other things to a quantity impossible to say.
And it came to my mind that _shenzis_ like these things, as do all men,
and that in this _shenzi_ country my _bwana_ might make use of them; so I
brought them with me for your use, _bwana_."
[Footnote 17: _Chakula_--white man's food.]
"You had no trouble bringing this great safari?" asked Kingozi.
"I used again the magic bone," replied Simba.
"Simba, you jewel!" cried Kingozi in English, "you've saved the day! I
should think _shenzis_ did like these things! And oh, haven't I needed
them! You old tar-baby, you!"
And Simba replied as usual to this incomprehensible gibberish with his own
full stock of English:
"You have done well, very well," Kingozi shifted to Swahili. "I am pleased
with you. For this work you shall have much _backsheeshi_--a month's wages
extra, and twenty goats for your farm, and any other thing that you want
most. What is it?"
Simba appeared to hesitate and boggle.
"Speak up! I am Very pleased."
"This is a very great thing I would ask," said Simba in a low voice.
"It is a great thing you have done."
"_Bwana_," cried Simba earnestly. "It is this: I would have the magic bone
for my own. For it is a very great magic," he added wistfully.
Kingozi choked back an impulse to shout aloud.
"It is yours," he said gravely.
"Oh, _bwana! bwana!_" choked Simba. "_Assanti! assanti sana!_"
His sob was echoed at Kingozi's elbow.
"Oh," cried the Leopard Woman, "I know I should be sorry that this has
come this way! But I'm not; I am glad!"
With the riches thus unexpectedly placed at his disposal, and legitimately
his by the fortunes of war, Kingozi was enabled to proceed to the final
grand exchange of gifts that assured his friendship with M'tela and sealed
the alliance. He was spurred to his best efforts in this by the news,
brought in by an alarmed Mali-ya-bwana, that Winkleman had escaped.
However, by dint of rich presents, supplementing the careful diplomatic
negotiations that had gone before, he arrived at an understanding.
"And now, oh, King, I must tell you this," he said boldly. "Of white men
there is not merely one but many kinds, just as among the African peoples.
There are strong men and weak men, good men and bad men, and men of
different tribes. Of the tribes are the _Inglishee_ to which I belong,
which is the most powerful of all--like your own people of the Kabilagani
in this land--and also another tribe called the _Duyche_, only a little
less powerful. These two tribes are now at war."
"A-a-a-a," observed M'tela interestedly.
"One of the _Duyche_ is in your country, oh, King. I have met him and
defeated him by my magic. Some of these people you see here were his
people; and of his goods I have everything."
"But it may be," suggested M'tela with a slight cooling of cordiality,
"that many more _Duyche_ will follow this one."
"They cannot prevail against my magic. Talk with Simba, with my men, and
know what virtue is in my magic. But beyond that, oh, King, have you not
heard of the wars of the Wakamba? of Lobengula? of the Matabele and the
Basuto? has not news come to you from the north of the battles of the
Sudan? Have you not heard of Lenani, the king of all Masai, and of his
advice to his people? All these wars were won by _Inglishee_; Lenani's
words of wisdom spoke of _Inglishee_. Have you ever heard of the victories
of the _Duyche?_ No. There were no such victories!"
[Footnote 18: Kingozi here took shrewd advantage of the fact that German
East Africa was peacefully occupied without necessity of the spectacular
tribal wars of Matabeland, Zululand, Basutoland, and the Wakamba district
of British East Africa. Lenani's advice to his people was given at the
close of the Wakamba war. Said he: "There is no doubt that the Masai are a
greater people than the Wakamba, and in case of war we could fight the
white man harder than the Wakamba fought him. Undoubtedly, too, my people
could kill a great many of the English. But this I have noticed: that when
a Wakamba is dead, he remains dead; but when a white man is dead ten more
come to take his place." In consequence of this advice the Masai--one of
the most warlike of all the tribes--negotiated with the English, and today
remain both at peace and unconquered.]
After an hour's elaboration of this theme Kingozi judged the moment
propitious to return to the original subject. M'tela offered the
"This _Duyche_ whom you have conquered--you killed him?"
"He is still alive and in your land. Let order be given to search him
"That shall be done," said M'tela after a moment's thought.
Mali-ya-bwana and Simba set out with a posse of M'tela's men. They had no
great difficulty in getting track of the missing Bavarian. Winkleman had
arrived to find the camping site deserted. He had, indomitably, set out on
the track of his safari. To eat he was forced at last to beg of the wild
herdsmen. M'tela's dread name elicited from these last definite
information. The search party found Winkleman, very dirty, quite hungry,
profoundly chagrined, but still good humoured, seated in a smoky hut
eating soured smoky milk. He wore sandals improvised from goatskin, a hat
and spine-pad made from banana leaves ingeniously woven.
[Illustration: "The search party found Winkleman, very dirty, quite
hungry, profoundly chagrined"]
"_Ach!_" he cried, recognizing Kingozi's two men. "So it is you! What have
you done with my safari?"
"I led it to my _bwana_," replied Simba.
"Where you may now lead me," said Winkleman resignedly. "By what means
have you thought of these things, N'ympara?" "By the magic of this,"
replied Simba with becoming modesty, producing the precious bone.
"_Ach_ the _saurian!_" cried Winkleman. "I remember. It had gone from my
mind. It is a curious type; I do not quite recognize. Let me see it."
But Simba was replacing carefully the talisman in its wrappings. He had no
mind to deliver the magic into other hands--perhaps to be used against
They led Winkleman directly to Kingozi's camp. Winkleman followed, looking
always curiously about him. His was the true scientific mind. He was quite
capable of forgetting his plight--and did so--in the interest of new fauna
and flora, or of ethnological eccentricities. Once or twice he insisted on
a halt for examination of something that caught his notice, and insisted
so peremptorily when the savages would have forced him on, that they
yielded to his wish.
It was early in the morning. Kingozi, as ever, sat in his canvas chair
atop the hill. He was alone, for the Leopard Woman, always on the alert
and always staring through her glasses, had caught sight of the little
group before it plunged into the papyrus; and had retired to her tent.
Winkleman plowed up the hill blowing out his cheeks in a full-blooded
"Oho!" he cried in his great voice when he had drawn near. "This is not so
bad! It is Culbertson!"
"I am sorry about this," said Kingozi briefly--"a man of your eminence--
Winkleman dropped heavily to the ground.
"That is nothing," he waved aside the half-apology, "though it would not
be bad to have the bath and change these clothes. But fortunes of war--it
Back to Full Books