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´╗┐Title: Black Ivory
Author: Ballantyne, R. M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Black Ivory" ***

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Black Ivory, by R.M. Ballantyne.

________________________________________________________________________

Although the book's title Black Ivory denotes dealing in the slave trade
it is not our heroes who are doing it.  At the very first chapter there
is a shipwreck, which leaves the son of the charterer of the sinking
ship, and a seaman friend of his, alone on the east coast of Africa,
where Arab and Portuguese slave traders were still carrying out their
evil trade, despite the great efforts of patrolling British warships to
limit it and free the unfortunates whom they found being carried away in
the Arab dhows.

Our heroes encountered a slave trader almost at the very spot where they
come ashore, and thereby managed to get to Zanzibar in a British warship
that had captured the trader's dhow in which our friends had hitched a
lift.

At Zanzibar they pick up some funds, and set forth on a journey into the
interior.  Here again they encounter the vile trade, but most of the
story deals with other encounters of a more acceptable nature.

This book will open your eyes to what really went on.  At the time of
writing slave-dealing on the west coast of Africa was, due to the
efforts of the British, almost extinct, but this was not the case on the
east coast.  Your reviewer found it very moving.

Makes a good audiobook, of about ten and a half hours duration.

________________________________________________________________________

BLACK IVORY, BY R.M. BALLANTYNE.

In writing this book, my aim has been to give a true picture in outline
of the Slave Trade as it exists at the present time on the east coast of
Africa.

In order to do this I have selected from the most trustworthy sources
what I believe to be the most telling points of "the trade," and have
woven these together into a tale, the warp of which is composed of thick
cords of fact; the woof of slight lines of fiction, just sufficient to
hold the fabric together.  Exaggeration has easily been
avoided, because--as Dr Livingstone says in regard to the
slave-trade--"exaggeration is impossible."

If the reader's taste should be offended by finding the tragic and comic
elements in too close proximity I trust that he will bear in remembrance
that "such is life," and that the writer who would be true to life must
follow, not lead, nature.

I have to acknowledge myself indebted to Dr Ryan, late Bishop of
Mauritius; to the Rev.  Charles New, interpreter to the Livingstone
Search Expedition; to Edward Hutchinson, Esquire, Lay Secretary to the
Church Missionary Society, and others, for kindly furnishing me with
information in connexion with the slave trade.

Besides examining the Parliamentary Blue-books which treat of this
subject, I have read or consulted, among others, the various
authoritative works to which reference is made in the foot-notes
sprinkled throughout this book,--all of which works bear the strongest
possible testimony to the fact that the horrible traffic in human beings
is in all respects as bad at the present time on the east coast of
Africa as it ever was on the west coast in the days of Wilberforce.

I began my tale in the hope that I might produce something to interest
the young (perchance, also, the old) in a most momentous cause,--the
total abolition of the African slave-trade.  I close it with the prayer
that God may make it a tooth in the file which shall eventually cut the
chains of slavery, and set the black man free.

R.M. Ballantyne.

1873



CHAPTER ONE.

SHOWS THAT A GOOD BEGINNING MAY SOMETIMES BE FOLLOWED BY A BAD ENDING.

"Six feet water in the hold, sir!"

That would not have been a pleasant announcement to the captain of the
`Aurora' at any time, but its unpleasantness was vastly increased by the
fact that it greeted him near the termination of what had been, up to
that point of time, an exceedingly prosperous voyage.

"Are you sure, Davis?" asked the captain; "try again."

He gave the order under the influence of that feeling which is styled
"hoping against hope," and himself accompanied the ship's carpenter to
see it obeyed.

"Six feet two inches," was the result of this investigation.

The vessel, a large English brig, had sprung a leak, and was rolling
heavily in a somewhat rough sea off the east coast of Africa.  It was no
consolation to her captain that the shores of the great continent were
visible on his lee, because a tremendous surf roared along the whole
line of coast, threatening destruction to any vessel that should venture
to approach, and there was no harbour of refuge nigh.

"She's sinking fast, Mr Seadrift," said the captain to a stout
frank-looking youth of about twenty summers, who leant against the
bulwarks and gazed wistfully at the land; "the carpenter cannot find the
leak, and the rate at which the water is rising shows that she cannot
float long."

"What then do you propose to do?" inquired young Seadrift, with a
troubled expression of countenance.

"Abandon her," replied the captain.

"Well, _you_ may do so, captain, but I shall not forsake my father's
ship as long as she can float.  Why not beach her somewhere on the
coast?  By so doing we might save part of the cargo, and, at all events,
shall have done the utmost that lay in our power."

"Look at the coast," returned the captain; "where would you beach her?
No doubt there is smooth water inside the reef, but the channels through
it, if there be any here, are so narrow that it would be almost certain
death to make the attempt."

The youth turned away without replying.  He was sorely perplexed.  Just
before leaving England his father had said to him, "Harold, my boy,
here's your chance for paying a visit to the land you've read and talked
so much about, and wished so often to travel through.  I have chartered
a brig, and shall send her out to Zanzibar with a cargo of beads, cotton
cloth, brass wire, and such like: what say you to go as supercargo?  Of
course you won't be able to follow in the steps of Livingstone or Mungo
Park, but while the brig is at Zanzibar you will have an opportunity of
running across the channel, the island being only a few miles from the
main, and having a short run up-country to see the niggers, and
perchance have a slap at a hippopotamus.  I'll line your pockets, so
that you won't lack the sinews of war, without which travel either at
home or abroad is but sorry work, and I shall only expect you to give a
good account of ship and cargo on your return.--Come, is it fixed?"

Need we say that Harold leaped joyfully at the proposal?  And now, here
he was, called on to abandon the `Aurora' to her fate, as we have said,
near the end of a prosperous voyage.  No wonder that he was perplexed.

The crew were fully aware of the state of matters.  By the captain's
orders they stood ready to lower the two largest boats, into which they
had put much of their worldly goods and provisions as they could hold
with safety.

"Port, port your helm," said the captain to the man at the wheel.

"Port it is, sir," replied the man at the wheel, who was one of those
broad-shouldered, big-chested, loose-garmented, wide-trousered,
bare-necked, free-and-easy, off-hand jovial tars who have done so much,
in years gone by, to increase the wealth and prosperity of the British
Empire, and who, although confessedly scarce, are considerately allowed
to perish in hundreds annually on our shores for want of a little
reasonable legislation.  But cheer up, ye jolly tars!  There is a
glimmer of sunrise on your political horizon.  It really does seem as
if, in regard to you, there were at last "a good time coming."

"Port, port," repeated the captain, with a glance at the compass and the
sky.

"Port it is, sir," again replied the jovial one.

"Steady!  Lower away the boat, lads.--Now, Mr Seadrift," said the
captain, turning with an air of decision to the young supercargo, "the
time has come for you to make up your mind.  The water is rising in the
hold, and the ship is, as you see, settling fast down.  I need not say
to you that it is with the utmost regret I find it necessary to abandon
her; but self-preservation and the duty I owe to my men render the step
absolutely necessary.  Do you intend to go with us?"

"No, captain, I don't," replied Harold Seadrift firmly.  "I do not blame
you for consulting your own safety, and doing what you believe to be
your duty, but I have already said that I shall stick by the ship as
long as she can float."

"Well, sir, I regret it but you must do as you think best," replied the
captain, turning away--"Now, lads, jump in."

The men obeyed, but several of those who were last to quit the ship
looked back and called to the free-and-easy man who still stood at the
wheel--"Come along, Disco; we'll have to shove off directly."

"Shove off w'en you please," replied the man at the wheel, in a deep
rich voice, whose tones were indicative of a sort of good-humoured
contempt; "wot I means for to do is to stop where I am.  It'll never be
said of Disco Lillihammer that he forsook the owner's son in distress."

"But you'll go to the bottom, man, if you don't come."

"Well, wot if I do?  I'd raither go to the bottom with a brave man, than
remain at the top with a set o' fine fellers like _you_!"

Some of the men received this reply with a laugh, others frowned, and a
few swore, while some of them looked regretfully at their self-willed
shipmate; for it must not be supposed that _all_ the tars who float upon
the sea are of the bold, candid, open-handed type, though we really
believe that a large proportion of them are so.

Be this as it may, the boats left the brig, and were soon far astern.

"Thank you, Lillihammer," said Harold, going up and grasping the horny
hand of the self-sacrificing sea-dog.  "This is very kind of you, though
I fear it may cost you your life.  But it is too late to talk of that;
we must fix on some plan, and act at once."

"The werry thing, sir," said Disco quietly, "that wos runnin' in my own
mind, 'cos it's werry clear that we hain't got too many minits to spare
in confabilation."

"Well, what do you suggest?"

"Arter you, sir," said Disco, pulling his forelock; "you are capting
now, an' ought to give orders."

"Then I think the best thing we can do," rejoined Harold, "is to make
straight for the shore, search for an opening in the reef, run through,
and beach the vessel on the sand.  What say you?"

"As there's nothin' else left for us to do," replied Disco, "that's
'zactly wot I think too, an' the sooner we does it the better."

"Down with the helm, then," cried Harold, springing forward, "and I'll
ease off the sheets."

In a few minutes the `Aurora' was surging before a stiff breeze towards
the line of foam which indicated the outlying reef, and inside of which
all was comparatively calm.

"If we only manage to get inside," said Harold, "we shall do well."

Disco made no reply.  His whole attention was given to steering the
brig, and running his eyes anxiously along the breakers, the sound of
which increased to a thunderous roar as they drew near.

"There seems something like a channel yonder," said Harold, pointing
anxiously to a particular spot in the reef.

"I see it, sir," was the curt reply.

A few minutes more of suspense, and the brig drove into the supposed
channel, and struck with such violence that the foremast snapped off
near the deck, and went over the side.

"God help us, we're lost!" exclaimed Harold, as a towering wave lifted
the vessel up and hurled her like a plaything on the rocks.

"Stand by to jump, sir," cried Disco.  Another breaker came roaring in
at the moment, overwhelmed the brig, rolled her over on her beam-ends,
and swept the two men out of her.  They struggled gallantly to free
themselves from the wreck, and, succeeding with difficulty, swam across
the sheltered water to the shore, on which they finally landed.

Harold's first exclamation was one of thankfulness for their
deliverance, to which Disco replied with a hearty "Amen!" and then
turning round and surveying the coast, while he slowly thrust his hands
into his wet trouser-pockets, wondered whereabouts in the world they had
got to.

"To the east coast of Africa, to be sure," observed the young
supercargo, with a slight smile, as he wrung the water out of the foot
of his trousers, "the place we were bound for, you know."

"Werry good; so here we are--come to an anchor!  Well, I only wish," he
added, sitting down on a piece of driftwood, and rummaging in the
pockets before referred to, as if in search of something--"I only wish
I'd kep' on my weskit, 'cause all my 'baccy's there, and it would be a
rael comfort to have a quid in the circumstances."

It was fortunate for the wrecked voyagers that the set of the current
had carried portions of their vessel to the shore, at a considerable
distance from the spot where they had landed, because a band of natives,
armed with spears and bows and arrows, had watched the wreck from the
neighbouring heights, and had hastened to that part of the coast on
which they knew from experience the cargo would be likely to drift.  The
heads of the swimmers being but small specks in the distance, had
escaped observation.  Thus they had landed unseen.  The spot was near
the entrance to a small river or creek, which was partially concealed by
the formation of the land and by mangrove trees.

Harold was the first to observe that they had not been cast on an
uninhabited shore.  While gazing round him, and casting about in his
mind what was best to be done, he heard shouts, and hastening to a rocky
point that hid part of the coast from his view looked cautiously over it
and saw the natives.  He beckoned to Disco, who joined him.

"They haven't a friendly look about 'em," observed the seaman, "and
they're summat scant in the matter of clothin'."

"Appearances are often deceptive," returned his companion, "but I so far
agree with you that I think our wisest course will be to retire into the
woods, and there consult as to our future proceedings, for it is quite
certain that as we cannot live on sand and salt water, neither can we
safely sleep in wet clothes or on the bare ground in a climate like
this."

Hastening towards the entrance to the creek, the unfortunate pair
entered the bushes, through which they pushed with some difficulty,
until they gained a spot sufficiently secluded for their purpose, when
they observed that they had passed through a belt of underwood, beyond
which there appeared to be an open space.  A few steps further and they
came out on a sort of natural basin formed by the creek, in which
floated a large boat of a peculiar construction, with very
piratical-looking lateen sails.  Their astonishment at this unexpected
sight was increased by the fact that on the opposite bank of the creek
there stood several men armed with muskets, which latter were
immediately pointed at their breasts.

The first impulse of the shipwrecked friends was to spring back into the
bushes--the second to advance and hold up their empty hands to show that
they were unarmed.

"Hold on," exclaimed Disco, in a free and easy confidential tone; "we're
friends, we are; shipwrecked mariners we is, so ground arms, my lads,
an' make your minds easy."

One of the men made some remark to another, who, from his Oriental
dress, was easily recognised by Harold as one of the Arab traders of the
coast.  His men appeared to be half-castes.

The Arab nodded gravely, and said something which induced his men to
lower their muskets.  Then with a wave of his hand he invited the
strangers to come over the creek to him.

This was rendered possible by the breadth of the boat already mentioned
being so great that, while one side touched the right bank of the creek,
the other was within four or five feet of the left.

Without hesitation Harold Seadrift bounded lightly from the bank to the
half-deck of the boat, and, stepping ashore, walked up to the Arab,
closely followed by his companion.

"Do you speak English?" asked Harold.

The Arab shook his head and said, "Arabic, Portuguese."

Harold therefore shook _his_ head;--then, with a hopeful look, said
"French?" interrogatively.

The Arab repeated the shake of his head, but after a moments' thought
said, "I know littil Engleesh; speak, where comes you?"

"We have been wrecked," began Harold (the Arab glanced gravely at his
dripping clothes, as if to say, I had guessed as much), "and this man
and I are the only survivors of the crew of our ship--at least the only
two who swam on shore, the others went off in a boat."

"Come you from man-of-war?" asked the Arab, with a keen glance at the
candid countenance of the youth.

"No, our vessel was a trader bound for Zanzibar.  She now lies in
fragments on the shore, and we have escaped with nothing but the clothes
on our backs.  Can you tell us whether there is a town or a village in
the neighbourhood? for, as you see, we stand sadly in need of clothing,
food, and shelter.  We have no money, but we have good muscles and stout
hearts, and could work our way well enough, I doubt not."

Young Seadrift said this modestly, but the remark was unnecessary, for
it would have been quite obvious to a man of much less intelligence than
the Arab that a youth who, although just entering on the age of manhood,
was six feet high, deep-chested, broad-shouldered, and as lithe as a
kitten, could not find any difficulty in working his way, while his
companion, though a little older, was evidently quite as capable.

"There be no town, no village, for fifty miles from where you stand,"
replied the Arab.

"Indeed!" exclaimed Harold in surprise, for he had always supposed the
East African coast to be rather populous.

"That's a blue look-out anyhow," observed Disco, "for it necessitates
starvation, unless this good gentleman will hire us to work his craft.
It ain't very ship-shape to be sure, but anything of a seagoin' craft
comes more or less handy to an old salt."

The trader listened with the politeness and profound gravity that seems
to be characteristic of Orientals, but by no sign or expression showed
whether he understood what was said.

"_I_ go to Zanzibar," said he, turning to Harold, "and will take you,--
so you wish."

There was something sinister in the man's manner which Harold did not
like, but as he was destitute, besides being in the Arab's power, and
utterly ignorant of the country, he thought it best to put a good face
on matters, and therefore thanked him for his kind offer, and assured
him that on reaching Zanzibar he would be in a position to pay for his
passage as well as that of his friend.

"May I ask," continued Harold, "what your occupation is?"

"I am trader."

Harold thought he would venture another question:--

"In what sort of goods do you trade?"

"Ivory.  Some be white, an' some be what your contrymans do call black."

"Black!" exclaimed Harold, in surprise.

"Yees, black," replied the trader.  "White ivory do come from the
elephant--hims tusk; Black Ivory do come,"--he smiled slightly at this
point--"from the land everywheres.  It bees our chef artikil of trade."

"Indeed!  I never heard of it before."

"No?" replied the trader; "you shall see it much here.  But I go talk
with my mans.  Wait."

Saying this, in a tone which savoured somewhat unpleasantly of command,
the Arab went towards a small hut near to which his men were standing,
and entered into conversation with them.

It was evident that they were ill pleased with what he said at first for
there was a good deal of remonstrance in their tones, while they pointed
frequently in a certain direction which seemed to indicate the
coast-line; but by degrees their tones changed, and they laughed and
chuckled a good deal, as if greatly tickled by the speech of the Arab,
who, however, maintained a look of dignified gravity all the time.

"I don't like the looks o' them fellers," remarked Disco, after
observing them in silence for some time.  "They're a cut-throat set, I'm
quite sure, an' if you'll take my advice, Mister Seadrift, we'll give
'em the slip, an' try to hunt up one o' the native villages.  I
shouldn't wonder, now, if that chap was a slave-trader."

"The same idea has occurred to myself, Disco," replied Harold, "and I
would willingly leave him if I thought there was a town or village
within twenty miles of us; but we are ignorant on that point and I have
heard enough of the African climate to believe that it might cost us our
lives if we were obliged to spend a night in the jungle without fire,
food, or covering, and with nothing on but a wet flannel shirt and pair
of canvas breeches.  No, no, lad, we must not risk it.  Besides,
although some Arabs are slave-traders, it does not follow that all are.
This fellow may turn out better than he looks."

Disco Lillihammer experienced some sensations of surprise on hearing his
young friend's remarks on the climate, for he knew nothing whatever
about that of Africa, having sailed chiefly in the Arctic Seas as a
whaler,--and laboured under the delusion that no climate under the sun
could in any degree affect his hardy and well-seasoned frame.  He was
too respectful, however, to let his thoughts be known.

Meanwhile the Arab returned.

"I sail this night," he said, "when moon go down.  That not far before
midnight.  You mus keep by boat here--close.  If you go this way or that
the niggers kill you.  They not come _here_; they know I is here.  I go
look after my goods and chattels--my Black Ivory."

"Mayn't we go with 'ee, mister--what's your name?"

"My name?--Yoosoof," replied the Arab, in a tone and with a look which
were meant to command respect.

"Well, Mister Yoosoof," continued Disco, "if we may make bold to ax
leave for to go with 'ee, we could lend 'ee a helpin' hand, d'ye see, to
carry yer goods an' chattels down to the boat."

"There is no need," said Yoosoof, waving his hand, and pointing to the
hut before mentioned.  "Go; you can rest till we sail.  Sleep; you will
need it.  There is littil rice in hut--eat that, and make fire, dry
youselfs."

So saying, the Arab left them by a path leading into the woods, along
which his men, who were Portuguese half-castes, had preceded him.

"Make fire indeed!" exclaimed Disco, as he walked with his companion to
the hut; "one would think, from the free-and-easy way in which he tells
us to make it, that he's in the habit himself of striking it out o' the
point o' his own nose, or some such convenient fashion."

"More likely to flash it out of his eyes, I should think," said Harold;
"but, see here, the fellow knew what he was talking about.  There is
fire among these embers on the hearth."

"That's true," replied Disco, going down on his knees, and blowing them
carefully.

In a few minutes a spark leaped into a flame, wood was heaped on, and
the flame speedily became a rousing fire, before which they dried their
garments, while a pot of rice was put on to boil.

Scarcely had they proceeded thus far in their preparations, when two
men, armed with muskets, were seen to approach, leading a negro girl
between them.  As they drew nearer, it was observable that the girl had
a brass ring round her neck, to which a rope was attached.

"A slave!" exclaimed Disco vehemently, while the blood rushed to his
face; "let's set her free!"

The indignant seaman had half sprung to his legs before Harold seized
and pulled him forcibly back.

"Be quiet man," said Harold quickly.  "If we _could_ free her by
fighting, I would help you, but we can't.  Evidently we have got into a
nest of slavers.  Rashness will only bring about our own death.  Be
wise; bide your time, and we may live to do some good yet."

He stopped abruptly, for the new comers had reached the top of the
winding path that led to the hut.

A look of intense surprise overspread the faces of the two men when they
entered and saw the Englishmen sitting comfortably by the fire, and
both, as if by instinct threw forward the muzzles of their muskets.

"Oh! come in, come in, make your minds easy," cried Disco, in a
half-savage tone, despite the warning he had received; "we're all
_friends_ here--leastwise we can't help ourselves."

Fortunately for our mariner the men did not understand him, and before
they could make up their minds what to think of it, or how to act Harold
rose, and, with a polite bow, invited them to enter.

"Do you understand English?" he asked.

A frown, and a decided shake of the head from both men, was the reply.
The poor negro girl cowered behind her keepers, as if she feared that
violence were about to ensue.

Having tried French with a like result, Harold uttered the name,
"Yoosoof," and pointed in the direction in which the trader had entered
the woods.

The men looked intelligently at each other, and nodded.

Then Harold said "Zanzibar," and pointed in the direction in which he
supposed that island lay.

Again the men glanced at each other, and nodded.  Harold next said
"Boat--dhow," and pointed towards the creek, which remark and sign were
received as before.

"Good," he continued, slapping himself on the chest, and pointing to his
companion, "_I_ go to Zanzibar, _he_ goes, _she_ goes," (pointing to the
girl), "_you_ go, and Yoosoof goes--all in the dhow together to
Zanzibar--to-night--when moon goes down.  D'ee understand?  Now then,
come along and have some rice."

He finished up by slapping one of the men on the shoulder, and lifting
the kettle off the fire, for the rice had already been cooked and only
wanted warming.

The men looked once again at each other, nodded, laughed, and sat down
on a log beside the fire, opposite to the Englishmen.

They were evidently much perplexed by the situation, and, not knowing
what to make of it, were disposed in the meantime to be friendly.

While they were busy with the rice, Disco gazed in silent wonder, and
with intense pity, at the slave-girl, who sat a little to one side of
her guardians on a mat, her small hands folded together resting on one
knee, her head drooping, and her eyes cast down.  The enthusiastic tar
found it very difficult to restrain his feelings.  He had heard, of
course, more or less about African slavery from shipmates, but he had
never read about it, and had never seriously given his thoughts to it,
although his native sense of freedom, justice, and fair-play had roused
a feeling of indignation in his breast whenever the subject chanced to
be discussed by him and his mates.  But now, for the first time in his
life, suddenly and unexpectedly, he was brought face to face with
slavery.  No wonder that he was deeply moved.

"Why, Mister Seadrift," he said, in the confidential tone of one who
imparts a new discovery, "I do honestly confess to 'ee that I think
that's a _pretty_ girl!"

"I quite agree with you," replied Harold, smiling.

"Ay, but I mean _really_ pretty, you know.  I've always thought that all
niggers had ugly flat noses an' thick blubber lips.  But look at that
one: her lips are scarce a bit thicker than those of many a good-looking
lass in England, and they don't stick out at all, and her nose ain't
flat a bit.  It's quite as good as my Nancy's nose, an' that's sayin' a
good deal, _I_ tell 'ee.  Moreover, she ain't black--she's brown."

It is but justice to Disco to say that he was right in his observations,
and to explain that the various negro tribes in Africa differ very
materially from each other; some of them, as we are told by Dr
Livingstone, possessing little of what, in our eyes, seems the
characteristic ugliness of the negro--such as thick lips, flat noses,
protruding heels, etcetera,--but being in every sense handsome races of
humanity.

The slave-girl whom Disco admired and pitied so much belonged to one of
these tribes, and, as was afterwards ascertained, had been brought from
the far interior.  She appeared to be very young, nevertheless there was
a settled expression of meek sorrow and suffering on her face; and
though handsomely formed, she was extremely thin, no doubt from
prolonged hardships on the journey down to the coast.

"Here, have somethin' to eat," exclaimed Disco, suddenly filling a tin
plate with rice, and carrying it to the girl, who, however, shook her
head without raising her eyes.

"You're not hungry, poor thing," said the seaman, in a disappointed
tone; "you look as if you should be.  Come, try it," he added, stooping,
and patting her head.

The poor child looked up as if frightened, and shrank from the seaman's
touch, but on glancing a second time in his honest face, she appeared to
feel confidence in him.  Nevertheless, she would not touch the rice
until her guardians said something to her sternly, when she began to eat
with an appetite that was eloquent.

"Come, now, tell us what your name is, lass," said Disco, when she had
finished the rice.

Of course the girl shook her head, but appeared to wish to understand
the question, while the Portuguese laughed and seemed amused with the
Englishman's eccentricities.

"Look here, now," resumed the tar, slapping his own chest vigorously,
"Disco, Disco, Disco, that's me--Disco.  And this man," (patting his
companion on the breast) "is Harold, Harold, that's him--Harold.  Now,
then," he added, pointing straight at the girl, "you--what's you name,
eh?"

A gleam of intelligence shot from the girl's expressive eyes, and she
displayed a double row of beautiful teeth as in a low soft voice she
said--"Azinte."

"Azinte? come, that's not a bad name; why, it's a capital one.  Just
suited to 'ee.  Well, Azinte, my poor girl," said Disco, with a fresh
outburst of feeling, as he clenched his horny right hand and dashed it
into the palm of his left, "if I only knew how to set you free just now,
my dear, I'd do it--ay, if I was to be roasted alive for so doin'.  I
would!"

"You'll never set anybody free in this world," said Harold Seadrift,
with some severity, "if you go on talking and acting as you have done
to-day.  If these men had not, by good fortune, been ignorant of our
language, it's my opinion that they would have blown our brains out
before this time.  You should restrain yourself, man," he continued,
gradually dropping into a remonstrative and then into an earnestly
confidential tone; "we are utterly helpless just now.  If you did
succeed in freeing that girl at this moment, it would only be to let her
fall into the hands of some other slave-owner.  Besides, that would not
set free all the other slaves, male and female, who are being dragged
from the interior of Africa.  You and I _may_ perhaps do some small
matter in the way of helping to free slaves, if we keep quiet and watch
our opportunity, but we shall accomplish nothing if you give way to
useless bursts of anger."

Poor Lillihammer was subdued.

"You're right Mister Seadrift, you're right, sir, and I'm a ass.  I
never _could_ keep my feelings down.  It's all along of my havin' bin
made too much of by my mother, dear old woman, w'en I was a boy.  But
I'll make a effort, sir; I'll clap a stopper on 'em--bottle 'em up and
screw 'em down tight, werry tight indeed."

Disco again sent his right fist into the palm of his left hand, with
something like the sound of a pistol-shot to the no small surprise and
alarm of the Portuguese, and, rising, went out to cool his heated brow
in the open air.



CHAPTER TWO.

YOOSOOF'S "BLACK IVORY."

When Yoosoof entered the woods, as before stated, for the purpose of
looking after his property, he followed a narrow footpath for about half
a mile, which led him to another part of the same creek, at the entrance
of which we introduced him to the reader.  Here, under the deep shadow
of umbrageous trees, floated five large Arab boats, or dhows, similar to
the one which has been already referred to.  They were quite empty, and
apparently unguarded, for when Yoosoof went down the bank and stood on a
projecting rock which overlooked them, no one replied to his low-toned
hail.  Repeating it once, and still receiving no answer, he sat quietly
down on the rocks, lighted a small pipe, and waited patiently.

The boats, as we have said, were empty, but there were some curious
appliances in them, having the appearance of chains, and wristlets, and
bars of iron running along and fixed to their decks, or rather to the
flooring of their holds.  Their long yards and sails were cleared and
ready for hoisting.

After the lapse of ten or fifteen minutes, Yoosoof raised his head--for
he had been meditating deeply, if one might judge from his attitude--and
glanced in the direction of an opening in the bushes whence issued a
silent and singular train of human beings.  They were negroes, secured
by the necks or wrists--men, women, and children,--and guarded by armed
half-caste Portuguese.  When a certain number of them, about a hundred
or so, had issued from the wood, and crowded the banks of the creek,
they were ordered to stand still, and the leader of the band advanced
towards his master.

These were some of Yoosoof's "goods and chattels," his "cattle," his
"black ivory."

"You have been long in coming, Moosa," said the Arab trader, as the man
approached.

"I have," replied Moosa, somewhat gruffly, "but the road was rough and
long, and the cattle were ill-conditioned, as you see."

The two men spoke in the Portuguese tongue, but as the natives and
settlers on that coast speak a variety of languages and dialects, we
have no alternative, good reader, but to render all into English.

"Make the more haste now," said Yoosoof; "get them shipped at once, for
we sail when the moon goes down.  Pick out the weakest among the lot,
those most likely to die, and put them by themselves in the small dhow.
If we _must_ sacrifice some of our wares to these meddling dogs the
English, we may as well give them the refuse."

Without remark, Moosa turned on his heel and proceeded to obey orders.

Truly, to one unaccustomed to such scenes, it would have appeared that
all the negroes on the spot were "most likely to die," for a more
wretched, starved set of human beings could scarcely be imagined.  They
had just terminated a journey on foot of several hundreds of miles, with
insufficient food and under severe hardships.  Nearly all of them were
lean to a degree,--many so reduced that they resembled nothing but
skeletons with a covering of black leather.  Some of the children were
very young, many of them mere infants, clinging to the backs of the poor
mothers, who had carried them over mountain and plain, through swamp and
jungle, in blistering sunshine and pelting rain for many weary days.
But prolonged suffering had changed the nature of these little ones.
They were as silent and almost as intelligently anxious as their
seniors.  There were no old pieces of merchandise there.  Most were
youthful or in the prime of life; a few were middle-aged.

Difficult though the task appeared to be, Moosa soon selected about
fifty men and women and a few children, who were so fearfully emaciated
that their chance of surviving appeared but small.  These were cast
loose and placed in a sitting posture in the hold of the smallest dhow,
as close together as they could be packed.

Their removal from the bank made room for more to issue from the wood,
which they did in a continuous stream.  Batch after batch was cast loose
and stowed away in the manner already described, until the holds of two
of the large boats were filled, each being capable of containing about
two hundred souls.  This was so far satisfactory to Yoosoof, who had
expended a good deal of money on the venture--satisfactory, even
although he had lost a large proportion of the goods--four-fifths at
least if not more, by death and otherwise, on the way down to the coast;
but that was a matter of little consequence.  The price of black ivory
was up in the market just at that time, and the worthy merchant could
stand a good deal of loss.

The embarkation was effected with wonderful celerity, and in comparative
silence.  Only the stern voices of the half-caste Portuguese were heard
as they ordered the slaves to move, mingled with the occasional clank of
a chain, but no sounds proceeded from the thoroughly subdued and
worn-out slaves louder than a sigh or a half-suppressed wail, with now
and then a shriek of pain when some of the weaker among them were
quickened into activity by the lash.

When all had been embarked, two of the five boats still remained empty,
but Yoosoof had a pretty good idea of the particular points along the
coast where more "cattle" of a similar kind could be purchased.
Therefore, after stationing some of his men, armed with muskets, to
guard the boats, he returned with the remainder of them to the hut in
which the Englishmen had been left.

There he found Azinte and her guardians.  He seemed angry with the
latter at first, but after a few minutes' thought appeared to recover
his equanimity, and ordered the men to remove the ropes with which the
girl was tethered; then bidding her follow him he left the hut without
taking any notice of the Englishmen further than to say he would be back
shortly before the time of sailing.

Yoosoof's motions were usually slow and his mien somewhat dignified,
but, when occasion required, he could throw off his Oriental dignity and
step out with the activity of a monkey.  It was so on this occasion,
insomuch that Azinte was obliged occasionally to run in order to keep up
with him.  Proceeding about two miles in the woods along the shore
without halt, he came out at length on the margin of a bay, at the head
of which lay a small town.  It was a sorry-looking place, composed of
wretchedly built houses, most of which were thatched with the leaves of
the cocoa-nut palm.

Nevertheless, such as it was, it possessed a mud fort, an army of about
thirty soldiers, composed of Portuguese convicts who had been sent there
as a punishment for many crimes, a Governor, who was understood to be
honourable, having been placed there by his Excellency the
Governor-General at Mozambique, who had been himself appointed by His
Most Faithful Majesty the King of Portugal.

It was in quest of this Governor that Yoosoof bent his rapid steps.
Besides all the advantages above enumerated, the town drove a small
trade in ivory, ebony, indigo, orchella weed, gum copal, cocoa-nut oil,
and other articles of native produce, and a very large (though secret)
trade in human bodies and--we had almost written--souls, but the worthy
people who dwelt there could not fetter souls, although they could, and
very often did, set them free.

Senhor Francisco Alfonso Toledo Bignoso Letotti, the Governor, was
seated at the open window of his parlour, just before Yoosoof made his
appearance, conversing lightly with his only daughter, the Senhorina
Maraquita, a beautiful brunette of about eighteen summers, who had been
brought up and educated in Portugal.

The Governor's wife had died a year before this time in Madrid, and the
Senhorina had gone to live with her father on the east coast of Africa,
at which place she had arrived just six weeks previous to the date of
the opening of our tale.

Among the various boats and vessels at anchor in the bay, were seen the
tapering masts of a British war-steamer.  The Senhorina and her sire
were engaged in a gossiping criticism of the officers of this vessel
when Yoosoof was announced.  Audience was immediately granted.

Entering the room, with Azinte close behind him, the Arab stopped
abruptly on beholding Maraquita, and bowed gravely.

"Leave us, my child," said the Governor, in Portuguese; "I have business
to transact with this man."

"And why may not I stay to assist you, father, in this wonderful
man-mystery of transacting business?" asked Maraquita, with an arch
smile.

"Whenever you men want to get rid of women you frighten them away with
_business_!  If you wish not to explain something to us, you shake your
wise heads, and call it _business_!  Is it not so?--Come, Arab," she
added, turning with a sprightly air to Yoosoof, "you are a trader, I
suppose; all Arabs are, I am told.  Well, what sort of wares have you
got to sell?"

Yoosoof smiled slightly as he stepped aside and pointed to Azinte.

The speaking countenance of the Portuguese girl changed as if by magic.
She had seen little and thought little about slavery during the brief
period of her residence on the coast, and had scarcely realised the fact
that Sambo, with the thick lips--her father's gardener--or the black
cook and house-maids, were slaves.  It was the first entrance of a new
idea with something like power into her mind when she saw a delicate,
mild-looking, and pretty negro girl actually offered for sale.

Before she could bethink herself of any remark the door opened, and in
walked, unannounced, a man on whose somewhat handsome countenance
villainy was clearly stamped.

"Ha!  Marizano," exclaimed Senhor Letotti, rising, "you have thought
better of it, I presume?"

"I have, and I agree to your arrangement," replied Marizano, in an
off-hand, surly tone.

"There is nothing like necessity," returned the Governor, with a laugh.
"'Twere better to enjoy a roving life for a short time with a lightish
purse in one's pocket, than to attempt to keep a heavy purse with the
addition of several ounces of lead in one's breast!  How say you?"

Marizano smiled and shrugged his broad shoulders, but made no reply, for
just then his attention had been attracted to the slave-girl.

"For sale?" he inquired of the Arab carelessly.

Yoosoof bowed his head slightly.

"How much?"

"Come, come, gentlemen," interposed the Governor, with a laugh and a
glance at his daughter, "you can settle this matter elsewhere.  Yoosoof
has come here to talk with me on other matters.--Now, Maraquita dear,
you had better retire for a short time."

When the Senhorina had somewhat unwillingly obeyed, the Governor turned
to Yoosoof: "I presume you have no objection to Marizano's presence
during our interview, seeing that he is almost as well acquainted with
your affairs as yourself?"

As Yoosoof expressed no objection, the three drew their chairs together
and sat down to a prolonged private and very interesting palaver.

We do not mean to try the reader's patience by dragging him through the
whole of it; nevertheless, a small portion of what was said is essential
to the development of our tale.

"Well, then, be it as you wish, Yoosoof," said the Governor, folding up
a fresh cigarette; "you are one of the most active traders on the coast,
and never fail to keep correct accounts with your Governor.  You deserve
encouragement but I fear that you run considerable risk."

"I know that; but those who make much must risk much."

"Bravo!" exclaimed Marizano, with hearty approval; "nevertheless those
who risk most do not always make most.  Contrast yourself with me, now.
You risk your boats and cattle, and become rich.  I risk my life, and
behold!  I am fleeced.  I have little or nothing left, barely enough to
buy yonder girl from you--though I _think_ I have enough for that."

He pointed as he spoke to Azinte, who still stood on the spot where she
had been left near the door.

"Tell me," resumed Senhor Letotti, "how do you propose to elude the
English cruiser? for I know that her captain has got wind of your
whereabouts, and is determined to watch the coast closely--and let me
tell you, he is a vigorous, intelligent man."

"You tell me he has a number of captured slaves already in his ship?"
said Yoosoof.

"Yes, some hundreds, I believe."

"He must go somewhere to land these, I presume?" rejoined the Arab.

Yoosoof referred here to the fact that when a British cruiser engaged in
the suppression of the slave-trade on the east coast of Africa has
captured a number of slaves, she is under the necessity of running to
the Seychelles Islands, Aden, or some other British port of discharge,
to land them there as free men, because, were she to set them free on
any part of the coast of Africa, belonging either to Portugal or the
Sultan of Zanzibar, they would certainly be recaptured and again
enslaved.  When therefore the cruisers are absent--it may be two or
three weeks on this duty, the traders in human flesh of course make the
most of their opportunity to run cargoes of slaves to those ports in
Arabia and Persia where they always find a ready market.

On the present occasion Yoosoof conceived that the captain of the
`Firefly' might be obliged to take this course to get rid of the negroes
already on board, who were of course consuming his provisions, besides
being an extremely disagreeable cargo, many of them being diseased and
covered with sores, owing to their cruel treatment on board the
slave-dhows.

"He won't go, however, till he has hunted the coast north and south for
you, so he assures me," said the Governor, with a laugh.

"Well, I must start to-night, therefore I shall give him a small pill to
swallow which will take him out of the way," said Yoosoof, rising to
leave the room.

"I wish you both success," said the Governor, as Marizano also rose to
depart, "but I fear that you will find the Englishman very
troublesome.--Adieu."

The Arab and the half-caste went out talking earnestly together, and
followed by Azinte, and immediately afterwards the Senhorina Maraquita
entered hurriedly.

"Father, you must buy that slave-girl for me.  I want a pretty slave all
to myself," she said, with unwonted vehemence.

"Impossible, my child," replied the Governor kindly, for he was very
fond as well as proud of his daughter.

"Why impossible?  Have you not enough of money?"

"Oh yes, plenty of that, but I fear she is already bespoken, and I
should not like to interfere--"

"Bespoken! do you mean sold?" cried Maraquita, seizing her father's
hands, "not sold to that man Marizano?"

"I think she must be by this time, for he's a prompt man of business,
and not easily thwarted when he sets his mind to a thing."

The Senhorina clasped her hands before her eyes, and stood for a moment
motionless, then rushing wildly from the room she passed into another
apartment the windows of which commanded a view of a considerable part
of the road which led from the house along the shore.  There she saw the
Arab and his friend walking leisurely along as if in earnest converse,
while Azinte followed meekly behind.

The Senhorina stood gazing at them with clenched hands, in an agony of
uncertainty as to what course she ought to pursue, and so wrapt up in
her thoughts that she failed to observe a strapping young lieutenant of
H.M.S. steamer `Firefly,' who had entered the room and stood close to
her side.

Now this same lieutenant happened to be wildly in love with Senhorina
Maraquita.  He had met her frequently at her father's table, where, in
company with his captain, he was entertained with great hospitality, and
on which occasions the captain was assisted by the Governor in his
investigations into the slave-trade.

Lieutenant Lindsay had taken the romantic plunge with all the charming
enthusiasm of inexperienced youth, and entertained the firm conviction
that, if Senhorina Maraquita did not become "his," life would
thenceforth be altogether unworthy of consideration; happiness would be
a thing of the past, with which he should have nothing more to do, and
death at the cannon's mouth, or otherwise, would be the only remaining
gleam of comfort in his dingy future.

"Something distresses you, I fear," began the lieutenant, not a little
perplexed to find the young lady in such a peculiar mood.

Maraquita started, glanced at him a moment, and then, with flashing eyes
and heightened colour, pointed at the three figures on the road.

"Yes, Senhor," she said; "I am distressed--deeply so.  Look! do you see
yonder two men, and the girl walking behind them?"

"I do."

"Quick! fly after them and bring them hither--the Arab and the girl I
mean--not the other man.  Oh, be quick, else they will be out of sight
and then she will be lost; quick, if you--if--if you really mean what
you have so often told me."

Poor Lindsay!  It was rather a sudden and severe test of fidelity to be
sent forth to lay violent hands on a man and woman and bring them
forcibly to the Governor's house, without any better reason than that a
self-willed girl ordered him so to do; at the same time, he perceived
that, if he did not act promptly, the retreating figures would soon turn
into the town, and be hopelessly beyond his power of recognition.

"But--but--" he stammered, "if they won't come--?"

"They _must_ come.  Threaten my father's high displeasure.--Quick,
Senhor," cried the young lady in a commanding tone.

Lindsay flung open the casement and leapt through it as being the
shortest way out of the house, rushed with undignified speed along the
road, and overtook the Arab and his friend as they were about to turn
into one of the narrow lanes of the town.

"Pardon me," said the lieutenant laying his hand on Yoosoof's shoulder
in his anxiety to make sure of him, "will you be so good as to return
with me to the Governor's residence?"

"By whose orders?" demanded Yoosoof with a look of surprise.

"The orders of the Senhorina Maraquita."

The Arab hesitated, looked somewhat perplexed, and said something in
Portuguese to Marizano, who pointed to the slave-girl, and spoke with
considerable vehemence.

Lindsay did not understand what was said, but, conjecturing that the
half-caste was proposing that Azinte should remain with him, he
said:--"The girl must return with you--if you would not incur the
Governor's displeasure."

Marizano, on having this explained to him, looked with much ferocity at
the lieutenant and spoke to Yoosoof in wrathful tones, but the latter
shook his head, and the former, who disliked Marizano's appearance
excessively, took not the least notice of him.

"I do go," said Yoosoof, turning back.  Motioning to Azinte to follow,
he retraced his steps with the lieutenant and the slave--while Marizano
strode into the town in a towering rage.

We need scarcely say that Maraquita, having got possession of Azinte,
did not find it impossible to persuade her father to purchase her, and
that Yoosoof, although sorry to disappoint Marizano, who was an
important ally and assistant in the slave-trade, did not see his way to
thwart the wishes of the Governor, whose power to interfere with his
trade was very great indeed, and to whom he was under the necessity of
paying head-money for every slave that was exported by him from that
part of the coast.

Soon after Azinte had been thus happily rescued from the clutches of two
of the greatest villains on the East African coast--where villains of
the deepest dye are by no means uncommon--Lindsay met Captain Romer of
the `Firefly' on the beach, with his first lieutenant Mr Small, who, by
the way, happened to be one of the largest men in his ship.  The three
officers had been invited to dine that day with the Governor, and as
there seemed no particular occasion for their putting to sea that night,
and a fresh supply of water had to be taken on board, the invitation had
been accepted, all the more readily, too, that Captain Romer thought it
afforded an opportunity for obtaining further information as to the
movements of certain notorious slavers who were said to be thereabouts
at that time.  Lieutenant Lindsay had been sent ashore at an earlier
part of the day, accompanied by one of the sailors who understood
Portuguese, and who, being a remarkably intelligent man, might, it was
thought, acquire some useful information from some of the people of the
town.

"Well, Mr Lindsay, has Jackson been of any use to you?" inquired the
captain.

"Not yet," replied the lieutenant; "at least I know not what he may have
done, not having met him since we parted on landing; but I have myself
been so fortunate as to rescue a slave-girl under somewhat peculiar
circumstances."

"Truly, a most romantic and gallant affair," said the captain, laughing,
when Lindsay had related the incident, "and worthy of being mentioned in
despatches; but I suspect, considering the part that the Senhorina
Maraquita played in it and the fact that you only rescued the girl from
one slaveholder in order to hand her over to another, the less that is
said about the subject the better!--But here comes Jackson.  Perhaps he
may have learned something about the scoundrels we are in search of."

The seaman referred to approached and touched his cap.

"What news?" demanded the captain, who knew by the twinkle in Jack's eye
that he had something interesting to report.

"I've diskivered all about it sir," replied the man, with an
ill-suppressed chuckle.

"Indeed! come this way.  Now, let's hear what you have to tell," said
the captain, when at a sufficient distance from his boat to render the
conversation quite private.

"Well, sir," began Jackson, "w'en I got up into the town, arter leavin'
Mr Lindsay, who should I meet but a man as had bin a messmate o' mine
aboard of that there Portuguese ship w'ere I picked up a smatterin' o'
the lingo?  Of course we hailed each other and hove-to for a spell, and
then we made sail for a grog-shop, where we spliced the main-brace.
After a deal o' tackin' and beatin' about, which enabled me to find out
that he'd left the sea an' taken to business on his own account, which
in them parts seems to mean loafin' about doin' little or nothin', I
went slap into the subject that was uppermost in my mind, and says I to
him, says I, they does a deal o' slavin' on this here coast, it
appears--Black Ivory is a profitable trade, ain't it?  W'y, sir, you
should have seen the way he grinned and winked, and opened out on
'em.--`Black Ivory!' says he, `w'y, Jackson, there's more slaves
exported from these here parts annooally than would fill a good-sized
city.  I could tell you--but,' says he, pullin' up sudden, `you won't
split on me, messmate?'  `Honour bright,' says I, `if ye don't call
tellin' my captain splittin'.'  `Oh no,' says he, with a laugh, `it's
little I care what _he_ knows, or does to the pirates--for that's their
true name, and murderers to boot--but don't let it come to the
Governor's ears, else I'm a ruined man.'  I says I wouldn't and then he
goes on to tell me all sorts of hanecdots about their doin's--that they
does it with the full consent of the Governor, who gets head-money for
every slave exported; that nearly all the Governors on the coast are
birds of the same feather, and that the Governor-General himself, [See
Consul McLeod's _Travels in Eastern Africa_, volume one page 306.] at
Mozambique, winks at it and makes the subordinate Governors pay him
tribute.  Then he goes on to tell me more about the Governor of this
here town, an' says that, though a kind-hearted man in the main, and
very good to his domestic slaves, he encourages the export trade,
because it brings him in a splendid revenue, which he has much need of,
poor man, for like most, if not all, of the Governors on the coast, he
do receive nothin' like a respectible salary from the Portuguese
Government at home, and has to make it up by slave-tradin'."  [See
McLeod's _Travels_, volume one page 293.]

It must be explained here that British cruisers were, and still are,
kept on the east coast of Africa, for the purpose of crushing only the
_export_ slave-trade.  They claim no right to interfere with "domestic
slavery," an institution which is still legal in the dominions of the
Sultan of Zanzibar and in the so-called colonies of Portugal on that
coast.

"But that is not the best of it, sir," continued Jackson, with a
respectful smile, "after we'd had our jaw out I goes off along the road
by the beach to think a bit what I'd best do, an' have a smoke--for
that's wot usually sets my brain to work full-swing.  Bein' hot I lay
down in the lee of a bush to excogitate.  You see, sir, my old messmate
told me that there are two men here, the worst characters he ever
know'd--ashore or afloat.  One they calls Yoosoof--an Arab he is; the
other Marizano--he's a slave-catcher, and an outlaw just now, havin'
taken up arms and rebelled against the Portuguese authorities.
Nevertheless these two men are secretly hand and glove with the Governor
here, and at this moment there are said to be a lot o' slaves ready for
shipment and only waitin' till the `Firefly' is out of the way.  More
than this my friend could not tell, so that's w'y I went to
excogitate.--I beg parding, sir, for being so long wi' my yarn, but I
ain't got the knack o' cuttin' it short, sir, that's w'ere it is."

"Never mind, lad; go on to the end of it," replied the captain.  "Did
you excogitate anything more?"

"I can't say as I did, sir, but it was cooriously enough excogitated
_for_ me.  W'en I was lying there looking through the bush at the bay, I
sees two men comin' along, arm in arm.  One of 'em was an Arab.  W'en
they was near I saw the Arab start; I thought he'd seen me, and didn't
like me.  No more did I like him or his comrade.  However, I was wrong,
for after whisperin' somethin' very earnest-like to his friend, who
laughed very much; but said nothin', they came and sat down not far from
the bush where I lay.  Now, thinks I, it ain't pleasant to be an
eavesdropper, but as I'm here to find out the secrets of villains, and
as these two look uncommon like villains, I'll wait a bit; if they
broach business as don't consarn me or her Majesty the Queen, I'll
sneeze an' let 'em know I'm here, before they're properly under weigh;
but if they speaks of wot I wants to know, I'll keep quiet.  Well, sir,
to my surprise, the Arab--he speaks in bad English, whereby I came to
suppose the other was an Englishman, but, if he is, the climate must
have spoiled him badly, for I never did see such a ruffian to look at.
But he only laughed, and didn't speak, so I couldn't be sure.  Well, to
come to the pint, sir, the Arab said he'd got hold of two shipwrecked
Englishmen, whom he meant to put on board of his dhow, at that time
lyin' up a river not three miles off, and full of slaves, take 'em off
the coast, seize 'em when asleep, and heave 'em overboard; the reason
bein' that he was afraid, if they was left ashore here, they'd discover
the town, which they are ignorant of at present, and give the alarm to
our ship, sir, an' so prevent him gettin' clear off, which he means to
attempt about midnight just after the moon goes down."

This unexpected information was very gratifying to Captain Romer, who
immediately gave orders to get steam up and have everything in readiness
to start the moment he should make his appearance on board, at the same
time enjoining absolute silence on his lieutenants and Jackson, who all
returned to the `Firefly,' chuckling inwardly.

If they had known that the Arab's information, though partly true, was a
_ruse_; that Jackson had indeed been observed by the keen-eyed Oriental,
who had thereupon sat down purposely within earshot, and after a
whispered hint to his companion, gave forth such information as would be
likely to lead the British cruiser into his snares--speaking in bad
English, under the natural impression that the sailor did not understand
Portuguese, to the immense amusement of Marizano, who understood the
_ruse_, though he did not understand a single word of what his companion
said--had they known all this, we say, it is probable that they would
have chuckled less, and--but why indulge in probabilities when facts are
before us?  The sequel will show that the best-laid plans may fail.



CHAPTER THREE.

RELATES THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF HAROLD AND DISCO, AND LIFTS THE
CURTAIN A LITTLE HIGHER IN REGARD TO THE SLAVE-TRADE.

So Captain Romer and his lieutenants went to dine with the worthy
Governor Senhor Francisco Alfonso Toledo Bignoso Letotti, while Yoosoof
returned to the creek to carry out his deep-laid plans.

In regard to the dinner, let it suffice to observe that it was good, and
that the Governor was urbane, hospitable, communicative, and every way
agreeable.  It is probable that if he had been trained in another sphere
and in different circumstances he might have been a better man.  As
things stood, he was unquestionably a pleasant one, and Captain Romer
found it hard to believe that he was an underhand schemer.

Nothing could exceed the open way in which Senhor Letotti condemned the
slave-trade, praised the English for their zeal in attempting to
suppress it, explained that the King of Portugal and the Sultan of
Zanzibar were equally anxious for its total extinction, and assured his
guests that he would do everything that lay in his power to further
their efforts to capture the guilty kidnappers, and to free the poor
slaves!

"But, my dear sir," said he, at the conclusion of an emphatic
declaration of sympathy, "the thing is exceedingly difficult.  You are
aware that Arab traders swarm upon the coast, that they are reckless
men, who possess boats and money in abundance, that the trade is very
profitable, and that, being to some extent real traders in ivory,
palm-oil, indigo, and other kinds of native produce, these men have many
_ruses_ and methods--what you English call dodges--whereby they can
deceive even the most sharp-sighted and energetic.  The Arabs are smart
smugglers of negroes--very much as your people who live in the Scottish
land are smart smugglers of the dew of the mountain--what your great
poet Burns speaks much of--I forget its name--it is not easy to put them
down."

After dinner, Senhor Letotti led the officers into his garden, and
showed them his fruit-trees and offices, also his domestic slaves, who
looked healthy, well cared for, and really in some degree happy.

He did not, however, tell his guests that being naturally a humane man,
his slaves were better treated than any other slaves in the town.  He
did not remind them that, being slaves, they were his property, his
goods and chattels, and that he possessed the right and the power to
flay them alive if so disposed.  He did not explain that many in the
town _were_ so disposed; that cruelty grows and feeds upon itself; that
there were ladies and gentlemen there who flogged their slaves--men,
women, and children--nearly to the death; that one gentleman of an
irascible disposition, when irritated by some slight oversight on the
part of the unfortunate boy who acted as his valet, could find no relief
to his feelings until he had welted him first into a condition of
unutterable terror, and then into a state of insensibility.  Neither did
he inform them that a certain lady in the town, who seemed at most times
to be possessed of a reasonably quiet spirit, was roused once to such a
degree by a female slave that she caused her to be forcibly held, thrust
a boiling hot egg into her mouth, skewered her lips together with a
sail-needle, and then striking her cheeks, burst the egg, and let the
scalding contents run down her throat.  [See Consul McLeod's _Travels_,
volume two page 32.]

No, nothing of all this did the amiable Governor Letotti so much as hint
at.  He would not for the world have shocked the sensibilities of his
guests by the recital of such cruelties.  To say truth, the worthy man
himself did not like to speak or think of them.  In this respect he
resembled a certain class among ourselves, who, rather than submit to a
little probing of their feelings for a few minutes, would prefer to miss
the chance of making an intelligently indignant protest against slavery,
and would allow the bodies and souls of their fellow-men to continue
writhing in agony through all time.

It was much more gratifying to the feelings of Senhor Letotti to convey
his guests to the drawing-room, and there gratify their palates with
excellent coffee, while the graceful, and now clothed, Azinte brought a
Spanish guitar to the Senhorina Maraquita, whose sweet voice soon
charmed away all thoughts of the cruel side of slavery.  But duty ere
long stepped in to call the guests to other scenes.

"What a sweet girl the Senhorina is!" remarked Captain Romer, while on
his way to the beach.

"Ay, and what a pretty girl Azinte is, black though she be," observed
Lieutenant Small.

"Call her not black; she is brown--a brunette," said the captain.

"I wonder how _we_ should feel," said Lindsay, "if the tables were
turned, and _our_ women and children, with our stoutest young men, were
forcibly taken from us by thousands every year, and imported into Africa
to grind the corn and hoe the fields of the black man.  Poor Azinte!"

"Do you know anything of her history?" inquired Mr Small.

"A little.  I had some conversation in French with the Senhorina just
before we left--"

"Yes, I observed that," interrupted the captain, with a quiet smile.

"And," continued Lindsay, "she told me that she had discovered, through
an interpreter, that the poor girl is married, and that her home is far
away in the interior.  She was caught, with many others, while out
working in the fields one day several months ago, by a party of
slave-traders, under an Arab named Yoosoof and carried off.  Her husband
was absent at the time; her infant boy was with its grandmother in their
village, and she thinks may have escaped into the woods, but she has not
seen any of them again since the day of her capture."

"It is a sad case," said the captain, "and yet bad though it be, it
might be far worse, for Azinte's master and mistress are very kind,
which is more than can be said of most slave-owners in this region."

In a few minutes the captain's gig was alongside the "Firefly," and soon
afterwards that vessel quietly put to sea.  Of course it was impossible
that she should depart unobserved, but her commander took the precaution
to run due south at first, exactly opposite to the direction of his true
course, intending to make a wide sweep out to sea, and thus get
unobserved to the northward of the place where the slaver's dhow was
supposed to be lying, in time to intercept it.

Yoosoof, from a neighbouring height watched the manoeuvre, and
thoroughly understood it.  When the vessel had disappeared into the
shades of night that brooded over the sea, he smiled calmly, and in a
placid frame of mind betook himself to his lair in the creek beside the
mangrove trees.

He found Harold Seadrift and Disco Lillihammer in the hut, somewhat
impatient of his prolonged absence, and a dozen of his men looking
rather suspiciously at the strangers.

"Is all ready, Moosa?" he inquired of a powerful man, half-Portuguese,
half-negro in appearance, who met him outside the door of the hut.

"All ready," replied the half-caste, in a gruff tone of voice, "but what
are you going to do with these English brutes?"

"Take them with us, of course," replied Yoosoof.

"For what end?"

"For our own safety.  Why, don't you see, Moosa, that if we had set them
free, they might have discovered the town and given information to the
cruiser about us, which would have been awkward?  We might now, indeed,
set them free, for the cruiser is gone, but I still have good reason for
wishing to take them with me.  They think that we have but _one_ boat in
this creek, and I should like to make use of them for the purpose of
propagating that false idea.  I have had the good luck while in the town
to find an opportunity of giving one of the sailors of the cruiser a
little information as to my movements--some of it true, some of it
false--which will perhaps do us a service."

The Arab smiled slightly as he said this.

"Do these men know our trade?" asked Moosa.

"I think they suspect it," answered Yoosoof.

"And what if they be not willing to go with us?" demanded Moosa.

"Can twelve men not manage two?" asked the Arab.  Dark though the night
had become by that time, there was sufficient light to gleam on the
teeth that Moosa exposed on receiving this reply.

"Now, Moosa, we must be prompt," continued Yoosoof; "let some of you get
round behind the Englishmen, and have the slave-chains handy.  Keep your
eye on me while I talk with them; if they are refractory, a nod shall be
the signal."

Entering the hut Yoosoof informed Harold that it was now time to set
sail.

"Good, we are ready," said Harold, rising, "but tell me one thing before
my comrade and I agree to go with you,--tell us honestly if you are
engaged in the slave-trade."

A slight smile curled the Arab's thin lip as he replied--"If I be a
slave-trader, I cannot speak honestly, so you Engleesh think.  But I do
tell you--yes, I am."

"Then, I tell _you_ honestly," said Harold, "that I won't go with you.
I'll have nothing to do with slavers."

"Them's my sentiments to a tee," said Disco, with emphasis, thumping his
left palm as usual with his right fist, by way of sheating his remark
home--to use his own words.

"But you will both perish on this uninhabited coast," said Yoosoof.

"So be it," replied Harold; "I had rather run the risk of starving than
travel in company with slave-traders.  Besides, I doubt the truth of
what you say.  There must be several villages not very far off, if my
information in regard to the coast be not altogether wrong."

Yoosoof waited for no more.  He nodded to Moosa, who instantly threw a
noose round Harold's arms, and drew it tight.  The same operation was
performed for Disco, by a stout fellow who stood behind him, and almost
before they realised what had occurred, they were seized by a number of
men.

It must not be supposed that two able-bodied Englishmen quietly
submitted at once to this sort of treatment.  On the contrary, a
struggle ensued that shook the walls of the little hut so violently as
almost to bring it down upon the heads of the combatants.  The instant
that Harold felt the rough clasp of Moosa's arms, he bent himself
forward with such force as to fling that worthy completely over his
head, and lay him flat on the floor, but two of the other slavers seized
Harold's arms, a third grasped him round the waist, and a fourth rapidly
secured the ropes that had been thrown around him.  Disco's mode of
action, although somewhat different was quite as vigorous.  On being
grasped he uttered a deep roar of surprise and rage, and, raising his
foot, struck out therewith at a man who advanced to seize him in front.
The kick not only tumbled the man over a low bench and drove his head
against the wall, but it caused the kicker himself to recoil on his foes
behind with such force that they all fell on the floor together, when by
their united weight the slavers managed to crush the unfortunate Disco,
not, indeed, into submission, but into inaction.

His tongue, however, not being tied, continued to pour forth somewhat
powerful epithets, until Harold very strongly advised him to cease.

"If you want to retain a whole skin," he said, "you had better keep a
quiet tongue."

"P'raps you're right sir," said Disco, after a moment's consideration,
"but it ain't easy to shut up in the succumstances."

After they had thoroughly secured the Englishmen, the traders led them
down the bank of the creek to the spot where the dhow was moored.  In
the dark it appeared to Harold and his companion to be the same dhow,
but this was not so.  The boat by which they had crossed the creek had
been removed up the water, and its place was now occupied by the dhow
into which had been put the maimed and worn-out slaves of the band whose
arrival we have described.  The hold of the little vessel was very dark,
nevertheless there was light enough to enable the Englishmen to guess
that the rows of black objects just perceptible within it were slaves.
If they had entertained any uncertainty on this point, the odour that
saluted them as they passed to the stern would have quickly dispelled
their doubts.

It was evident from the manner of the slavers that they did not now fear
discovery, because they talked loudly as they pushed off and rowed away.
Soon they were out of the creek, and the roar of breakers was heard.
Much caution was displayed in guiding the dhow through these, for the
channel was narrow, and darkness rendered its position almost
indiscernible.  At last the sail was hoisted, the boat bent over to a
smart breeze, and held away in a north-easterly direction.  As the night
wore on this breeze became lighter, and, most of the crew being asleep,
deep silence prevailed on board the slave-dhow, save that, ever and
anon, a pitiful wail, as of a sick child, or a convulsive sob, issued
from the hold.

Harold and Disco sat beside each other in the stern, with an armed
half-caste on each side, and Yoosoof in front.  Their thoughts were busy
enough at first, but neither spoke to the other.  As the night advanced
both fell into an uneasy slumber.

When Harold awoke, the grey dawn was beginning to break in the east and
there was sufficient light to render objects dimly visible.  At first he
scarcely recollected where he was, but the pain caused by the ropes that
bound him soon refreshed his memory.  Casting his eyes quickly towards
the hold, his heart sank within him at the sight he there beheld.
Yoosoof's Black Ivory was not of the best quality, but there was a good
deal of it, which rendered judicious packing necessary.  So many of his
gang had become worthless as an article of trade, through suffering on
the way down to the coast, that the boat could scarce contain them all.
They were packed sitting on their haunches in rows each with his knees
close to his chin, and all jammed so tightly together that none could
rise up or lie down.  Men, women, and little children sat in this
position with an expression of indescribable hopelessness and apathy on
their faces.  The infants, of which there were several, lay motionless
on their mothers' shrunken breasts.  God help them! they were indeed
utterly worthless as pieces of merchandise.  The long journey and hard
treatment had worn all of them to mere skin and bone, and many were
suffering from bad sores caused by the slave-irons and the unmerciful
application of the lash.  No one knew better than Yoosoof that this was
his "damaged stock"--hopelessly damaged, and he meant to make the best
use he could of it.

The sun arose in all its splendour, and revealed more clearly to the
horrified Englishmen all the wretchedness of the hold, but for a
considerable time they did not speak.  The circumstances in which they
found themselves seemed to have bereft them of the faculty of speech.
The morning advanced, and Yoosoof with his men, took a frugal breakfast,
but they did not offer any to Harold or Disco.  As these unfortunates
had, however, supped heartily, they did not mind that.  So much could
not have been said for the slaves.  They had received their last meal of
uncooked rice and water, a very insufficient one, about thirty-six hours
before, and as they watched the traders at breakfast, their glaring eyes
told eloquently of their sufferings.

Had these been Yoosoof's valuable stock, his undamaged goods, he would
have given them a sufficiency of food to have kept them up to condition
as long as he possessed them; but being what they were, a very little
drop of water and a few grains of raw rice at noon was deemed sufficient
to prevent absolute starvation.

"How can you have the heart," said Harold at last turning to Yoosoof,
"to treat these poor creatures so cruelly?"

Yoosoof shrugged his shoulders.

"My fader treat them so; I follow my fader's footsteps."

"But have you no pity for them?  Don't you think they have hearts and
feelings like ourselves?" returned Harold earnestly.

"No," replied the Arab coldly.  "They have no feelings.  Hard as the
stone.  They care not for mother, or child, or husband.  Only brutes--
cattle."

Harold was so disgusted with this reply that he relapsed into silence.

Towards the afternoon, while the dhow was running close in-shore, a
vessel hove in sight on the horizon.  A few minutes sufficed to show
that it was a steamer.  It was of course observed and closely watched by
the slave-dealers as well as by Harold Seadrift and Disco Lillihammer,
who became sanguinely hopeful that it might turn out to be a British
man-of-war.  Had they known that Yoosoof was equally anxious and hopeful
on that point they would have been much surprised; but the wily Arab
pretended to be greatly alarmed, and when the Union Jack became clearly
visible his excitement increased.  He gave some hurried orders to his
men, who laughed sarcastically as they obeyed them.

"Yoosoof," said Harold, with a slight feeling of exultation, "your plans
seem about to miscarry!"

"No, they not miscarry yet," replied the Arab, with a grim smile.

"Tell me, Yoosoof," resumed Harold, prompted by strong curiosity, "why
have you carried us off bound in this fashion?"

Another smile, more grim than the former, crossed the Arab's visage as
he replied--"Me carry you off 'cause that sheep," pointing to the
steamer, "lie not two mile off, near to town of Governor Letotti, when I
first met you.  We not want you to let thems know 'bout us, so I carry
you off, and I bind you 'cause you strong."

"Ha! that's plain and reasonable," returned Harold, scarce able to
restrain a laugh at the man's cool impudence.  "But it would appear that
some one else has carried the news; so, you see, you have been outwitted
after all."

"Perhaps.  We shall see," replied the Arab, with something approaching
to a chuckle.

Altering the course of the boat, Yoosoof now ran her somewhat off the
shore, as if with a view to get round a headland that lay to the
northward.  This evidently drew the attention of the steamer--which was
none other than the "Firefly"--for she at once altered her course and
ran in-shore, so as to intercept the dhow.  Seeing this, Yoosoof turned
back and made for the land at a place where there was a long line of
breakers close to the shore.  To run amongst these seemed to be
equivalent to running on certain destruction, nevertheless the Arab held
on, with compressed lips and a frowning brow.  Yoosoof looked quite like
a man who would rather throw away his life than gratify his enemy, and
the Englishmen, who were fully alive to their danger, began to feel
rather uneasy--which was a very pardonable sensation, when it is
remembered that their arms being fast bound, rendered them utterly
unable to help themselves in case of the boat capsizing.

The "Firefly" was by this time near enough to hold converse with the
dhow through the medium of artillery.  Soon a puff of white smoke burst
from her bow, and a round-shot dropped a few yards astern of the boat.

"That's a broad hint, my lad, so you'd better give in," said
Lillihammer, scarce able to suppress a look of triumph.

Yoosoof paid not the slightest attention to the remark, but held on his
course.

"Surely you don't intend to risk the lives of these poor creatures in
such a surf?" said Harold anxiously; "weak and worn as they are, their
doom is sealed if we capsize."

Still the Arab paid no attention, but continued to gaze steadily at the
breakers.

Harold, turning his eyes in the same direction, observed something like
a narrow channel running through them.  He was enough of a seaman to
understand that only one who was skilled in such navigation could pass
in safety.

"They're lowering a boat," said Disco, whose attention was engrossed by
the manoeuvres of the "Firefly."

Soon the boat left the side of the vessel, which was compelled to check
her speed for fear of running on the reef.  Another gun was fired as she
came round, and the shot dropped right in front of the dhow, sending a
column of water high into the air.  Still Yoosoof held on until close to
the breakers, when, to the surprise of the Englishmen, he suddenly threw
the boat's head into the wind.

"You can steer," he said sternly to Disco.  "Come, take the helm an' go
to your ship; or, if you choose, go on the breakers."

He laughed fiercely as he said this, and next moment plunged into the
sea, followed by his crew.

Disco, speechless with amazement, rose up and sprang to the helm.  Of
course he could not use his bound hands, but one of his legs answered
almost as well.  He allowed the boat to come round until the sail filled
on the other tack, and then looking back, saw the heads of the Arabs as
they swam through the channel and made for the shore.  In a few minutes
they gained it, and, after uttering a shout of defiance, ran up into the
bushes and disappeared.

Meanwhile the "Firefly's" boat made straight for the dhow, and was soon
near enough to hail.

"Heave-to," cried an interpreter in Arabic.

"Speak your own mother tongue and I'll answer ye," replied Disco.

"Heave-to, or I'll sink you," shouted Mr Small, who was in charge.

"I'm just agoin' to do it, sir," replied Disco, running the dhow into
the wind until the sail shook.

Another moment and the boat was alongside.  "Jump aboard and handle the
sail, lads; I can't help 'ee no further," said Disco.

The invitation was unnecessary.  The moment the two boats touched, the
blue-jackets swarmed on board, cutlass in hand, and took possession.

"Why, what!--where did _you_ come from?" asked the lieutenant, looking
in profound astonishment at Harold and his companion.

"We are Englishmen, as you see," replied Harold, unable to restrain a
smile; "we have been wrecked and caught by the villains who have just
escaped you."

"I see--well, no time for talking just now; cut them loose, Jackson.
Make fast the sheet--now then."

In a few minutes the dhow ranged up alongside the "Firefly," and our
heroes, with the poor slaves, were quickly transferred to the
man-of-war's deck, where Harold told his tale to Captain Romer.

As we have already stated, there were a number of slaves on board the
"Firefly," which had been rescued from various Arab dhows.  The gang now
received on board made their numbers so great that it became absolutely
necessary to run to the nearest port to discharge them.

We have already remarked on the necessity that lies on our cruisers,
when overladen with rescued slaves, to run to a distant port of
discharge to land them; and on the readiness of the slave-traders to
take advantage of their opportunity, and run north with full cargoes
with impunity when some of the cruisers are absent; for it is not
possible for a small fleet to guard upwards of a thousand miles of coast
effectually, or even, in any degree, usefully.  If we possessed a port
of discharge--a British station and settlement--on the mainland of the
east coast of Africa, this difficulty would not exist.  As it is,
although we place several men-of-war on a station, the evil will not be
cured, for just in proportion as these are successful in making
captures, will arise the necessity of their leaving the station for
weeks at a time unguarded.

Thus it fell out on the occasion of which we write.  The presence of the
large slave-freight on board the man-of-war was intolerable.  Captain
Romer was compelled to hurry off to the Seychelles Islands.  He sailed
with the monsoon, but had to steam back against it.  During this period
another vessel, similarly freighted, had to run to discharge at Aden.
The seas were thus comparatively clear of cruisers.  The Arabs seized
their opportunity, and a stream of dhows and larger vessels swept out
from the various creeks and ports all along the East African coast,
filled to overflowing with slaves.

Among these were the four large dhows of our friend Yoosoof.  Having, as
we have seen, made a slight sacrifice of damaged and unsaleable goods
and chattels, in order to clear the way, he proceeded north, touching at
various ports where he filled up his living cargo, and finally got clear
off, not with goods damaged beyond repair, but with thousands of the
sons and daughters of Africa in their youthful prime.

In the interior each man cost him about four yards of cotton cloth,
worth a few pence; each woman three yards, and each child two yards, and
of course in cases where he stole them, they cost him nothing.  On the
coast these would sell at from 8 pounds to 12 pounds each, and in Arabia
at from 20 pounds to 40 pounds.

We mention this to show what strong inducement there was for Yoosoof to
run a good deal of risk in carrying on this profitable and accursed
traffic.

But you must not fancy, good reader, that what we have described is
given as a specimen of the _extent_ to which the slave-trade on that
coast is carried.  It is but as a specimen of the _manner_ thereof.  It
is certainly within the mark to say that at least thirty thousand
natives are annually carried away as slaves from the east coast of
Africa.

Sir Bartle Frere, in addressing a meeting of the chief native
inhabitants of Bombay in April 1873, said,--"Let me assure you, in
conclusion, that what you have heard of the horrors of the slave-trade
is in no way exaggerated.  We have seen so much of the horrors which
were going on that we can have no doubt that what you read in books,
which are so often spoken of as containing exaggerations, is exaggerated
in no respect.  The evil is much greater than anything you can conceive.
Among the poorer class of Africans there is nothing like security from
fathers and mothers being put to death in order that their children may
be captured;"--and, referring to the _east coast alone_, he says
that--"thirty thousand, or more, human beings, are exported every year
from Africa."

Dr Livingstone tells us that, on the average, about one out of every
five captured human beings reaches the coast alive.  The other four
perish or are murdered on the way, so that the thirty thousand annually
exported, as stated by Sir Bartle Frere, represents a loss of 150,000
human beings _annually_ from the east coast alone, altogether
irrespective of the enormous and constant flow of slaves to the north by
way of the White Nile and Egypt.

Yoosoof's venture was therefore but a drop in the vast river of blood
which is drained annually from poor Africa's veins--blood which flows at
the present time as copiously and constantly as it ever did in the days
of old--blood which cries aloud to God for vengeance, and for the flow
of which _we_, as a nation, are far from blameless.



CHAPTER FOUR.

IN WHICH OUR HEROES SEE STRANGE SIGHTS AT ZANZIBAR, AND RESOLVE UPON
TAKING A BOLD STEP.

Before proceeding to the Seychelles, the `Firefly' touched at the island
of Zanzibar, and there landed our hero Harold Seadrift and his comrade
in misfortune, Disco Lillihammer.

Here, one brilliant afternoon, the two friends sat down under a
palm-tree to hold what Disco called a palaver.  The spot commanded a
fine view of the town and harbour of Zanzibar.

We repeat that the afternoon was brilliant, but it is right to add that
it required an African body and mind fully to appreciate the pleasures
of it.  The sun's rays were blistering, the heat was intense, and the
air was stifling.  Harold lay down and gasped, Disco followed his
example, and sighed.  After a few minutes spent in a species of imbecile
contemplation of things in general, the latter raised himself to a
sitting posture, and proceeded slowly to fill and light his pipe.
Harold was no smoker, but he derived a certain dreamy enjoyment from
gazing at Disco, and wondering how he could smoke in such hot weather.

"We'll get used to it I s'pose, like the eels," observed Disco, when the
pipe was in full blast.

"Of course we shall," replied Harold; "and now that we have come to an
anchor, let me explain the project which has been for some days maturing
in my mind."

"All right; fire away, sir," said the sailor, blowing a long thin cloud
from his lips.

"You are aware," said Harold, "that I came out here as supercargo of my
father's vessel," (Disco nodded), "but you are not aware that my chief
object in coming was to see a little of the world in general, and of the
African part of it in particular.  Since my arrival you and I have seen
a few things, which have opened up my mind in regard to slavery; we have
now been a fortnight in this town, and my father's agent has enlightened
me still further on the subject, insomuch that I now feel within me an
intense desire to make an excursion into the interior of Africa; indeed,
I have resolved to do so, for the purpose of seeing its capabilities in
a commercial point of view, of observing how the slave-trade is
conducted at its fountain-head, and of enjoying a little of the scenery
and the sport peculiar to this land of Ham."

"W'y, you speaks like a book, sir," said Disco, emitting a prolonged
puff, "an' it ain't for the likes me to give an opinion on that there;
but if I may make bold to ax, sir, how do you mean to travel--on the
back of a elephant or a ry-noceris?--for it seems to me that there ain't
much in the shape o' locomotives or 'busses hereabouts--not even cabs."

"I shall go in a canoe," replied Harold; "but my reason for broaching
the subject just now is, that I may ask if you are willing to go with
me."

"There's no occasion to ax that sir; I'm your man--north or south, east
or west, it's all the same to me.  I've bin born to roll about the
world, and it matters little whether I rolls ashore or afloat--though I
prefers the latter."

"Well, then, that's settled," said Harold, with a look of satisfaction;
"I have already arranged with our agent here to advance me what I
require in the way of funds, and shall hire men and canoes when we get
down to the Zambesi--"

"The Zam-wot, sir?"

"The Zambesi; did you never hear of it before?"

"Never, nor don't know wot it is, sir."

"It is a river; one of the largest on the east coast, which has been
well described by Dr Livingstone, that greatest of travellers, whose
chief object in travelling is, as he himself says, to raise the negroes
out of their present degraded condition, and free them from the curse of
slavery."

"That's the man to _my_ mind," said Disco emphatically; "good luck to
him.--But w'en d'you mean to start for the Zambizzy, sir?"

"In a few days.  It will take that time to get everything ready, and our
money packed."

"Our money packed!" echoed the sailor, with a look of surprise, "w'y,
wot d'ye mean!"

"Just what I say.  The money current in the interior of Africa is rather
cumbrous, being neither more nor less than goods.  You'll never guess
what sort--try."

"Rum," said Disco.

"No."

"Pipes and 'baccy."

Harold shook his head.

"Never could guess nothin'," said Disco, replacing the pipe, which he
had removed for a few moments from his lips; "I gives it up."

"What would you say to cotton cloth, and thick brass wire, and glass
beads, being the chief currency in Central Africa?" said Harold.

"You don't mean it, sir?"

"Indeed I do, and as these articles must be carried in large quantities,
if we mean to travel far into the land, there will be more bales and
coils than you and I could well carry in our waistcoat pockets."

"That's true, sir," replied Disco, looking earnestly at a couple of
negro slaves who chanced to pass along the neighbouring footpath at that
moment, singing carelessly.  "Them poor critters don't seem to be so
miserable after all."

"That is because the nigger is naturally a jolly, light-hearted fellow,"
said Harold, "and when his immediate and more pressing troubles are
removed he accommodates himself to circumstances, and sings, as you
hear.  If these fellows were to annoy their masters and get a thrashing,
you'd hear them sing in another key.  The evils of most things don't
show on the surface.  You must get behind the scenes to understand them.
You and I have already had one or two peeps behind the scenes."

"We have indeed, sir," replied Disco, frowning, and closing his fists
involuntarily, as he thought of Yoosoof and the dhow.

"Now, then," said Harold, rising, as Disco shook the ashes out of his
little black pipe, and placed that beloved implement in the pocket of
his coat, "let us return to the harbour, and see what chance there is of
getting a passage to the Zambesi, in an honest trading dhow--if there is
such a thing in Zanzibar."

On their way to the harbour they had to pass through the slave-market.
This was not the first time they had visited the scene of this
iniquitous traffic, but neither Harold nor Disco could accustom
themselves to it.  Every time they entered the market their feelings of
indignation became so intense that it was with the utmost difficulty
they could control them.  When Disco saw handsome negro men and
good-looking girls put up for public sale,--their mouths rudely opened,
and their teeth examined by cool, calculating Arabs, just as if they had
been domestic cattle--his spirit boiled within him, his fingers tingled,
and he felt a terrible inclination to make a wild attack, single-handed,
on the entire population of Zanzibar, though he might perish in the
execution of vengeance and the relief of his feelings!  We need scarcely
add that his discretion saved him.  They soon reached the small square
in which the market was held.  Here they saw a fine-looking young woman
sold to a grave elderly Arab for a sum equal to about eight pounds
sterling.  Passing hastily on, they observed another "lot," a tall
stalwart man, having his various "points" examined, and stopped to see
the result.  His owner, thinking, perhaps, that he seemed a little
sluggish in his movements, raised his whip and caused it to fall upon
his flank with such vigour that the poor fellow, taken by surprise,
leaped high into the air, and uttered a yell of pain.  The strength and
activity of the man were unquestionable, and he soon found a purchaser.

But all the slaves were not fine-looking or stalwart like the two just
referred to.  Many of them were most miserable objects.  Some stood,
others were seated as if incapable of standing, so emaciated were they.
Not a few were mere skeletons, with life and skin.  Near the middle of
the square, groups of children were arranged--some standing up to be
inspected, others sitting down.  These ranged from five years and
upwards, but there was not one that betrayed the slightest tendency to
mirth, and Disco came to the conclusion that negro children do not play,
but afterwards discovered his mistake, finding that their exuberant
jollity "at home" was not less than that of the children of other lands.
These little slaves had long ago been terrified, and beaten, and
starved into listless, apathetic and silent creatures.

Further on, a row of young women attracted their attention.  They were
ranged in a semicircle, all nearly in a state of nudity, waiting to be
sold.  A group of Arabs stood in front of them, conversing.  One of
these women looked such a picture of woe that Disco felt irresistibly
impelled to stop.  There were no tears in her eyes; the fountain
appeared to have been dried up, but, apparently, without abating the
grief which was stamped in deep lines on her young countenance, and
which burst frequently from her breast in convulsive sobs.  Our
Englishmen were not only shocked but surprised at this woman's aspect,
for their experience had hitherto gone to show that the slaves usually
became callous under their sufferings.  Whatever of humanity might have
originally belonged to them seemed to have been entirely driven out of
them by the cruelties and indignities they had so long suffered at the
hands of their captors.  [See Captain Sulivan's _Dhow-chasing in
Zanzibar Waters_, page 252.]

"Wot's the matter with her, poor thing?" asked Disco of a half-caste
Portuguese, dressed in something like the garb of a sailor.

"Oh, notting," answered the man in broken English, with a look of
indifference, "she have lose her chile, dat all."

"Lost her child? how--wot d'ee mean?"

"Dey hab sole de chile," replied the man; "was good fat boy, 'bout
two-yer ole.  S'pose she hab carry him for months troo de woods, an'
over de hills down to coast, an' tink she keep him altogether.  But she
mistake.  One trader come here 'bout one hour past.  He want boy--not
want modder; so he buy de chile.  Modder fight a littil at first, but de
owner soon make her quiet.  Oh, it notting at all.  She cry a littil--
soon forget her chile, an' get all right."

"Come, I can't stand this," exclaimed Harold, hastening away.

Disco said nothing, but to the amazement of the half-caste, he grasped
him by the collar, and hurled him aside with a degree of force that
caused him to stagger and fall with stunning violence to the ground.
Disco then strode away after his friend, his face and eyes blazing with
various emotions, among which towering indignation predominated.

In a few minutes they reached the harbour, and, while making inquiries
as to the starting of trading dhows for the south, they succeeded in
calming their feelings down to something like their ordinary condition.

The harbour was crowded with dhows of all shapes and sizes, most of them
laden with slaves, some discharging cargoes for the Zanzibar market,
others preparing to sail, under protection of a pass from the Sultan,
for Lamoo, which is the northern limit of the Zanzibar dominions, and,
therefore, of the so-called "domestic" slave-trade.

There would be something particularly humorous in the barefacedness of
this august Sultan of Zanzibar, if it were connected with anything less
horrible than slavery.  For instance, there is something almost amusing
in the fact that dhows were sailing every day for Lamoo with hundreds of
slaves, although that small town was known to be very much overstocked
at the time.  It was also quite entertaining to know that the commanders
of the French and English war-vessels lying in the harbour at the time
were aware of this, and that the Sultan knew it, and that, in short,
everybody knew it, but that nobody appeared to have the power to prevent
it!  Even the Sultan who granted the permits or passes to the owners of
the dhows, although he _professed_ to wish to check the slave-trade,
could not prevent it.  Wasn't that strange--wasn't it curious?  The
Sultan derived by far the largest portion of his revenue from the tax
levied on the export of slaves--amounting to somewhere about 10,000
pounds a year--but _that_ had nothing to do with it of course not, oh
dear no!  Then there was another very ludicrous phase of this oriental,
not to say transcendental, potentate's barefacedness.  He knew, and
probably admitted, that about 2000, some say 4000, slaves a year were
sufficient to meet the home-consumption of that commodity, and he also
knew, but probably did not admit, that not fewer than 30,000 slaves were
annually exported from Zanzibar to meet this requirement of 4000!  These
are very curious specimens of miscalculation which this barefaced Sultan
seems to have fallen into.  Perhaps he was a bad arithmetician.  [See
Captain Sulivan's _Dhow-chasing in Zanzibar Water_; page 111.] We have
said that this state of things _was_ so at the time of our story, but we
may now add that it still _is_ so in this year of grace 1873.  Whether
it shall continue to be so remains to be seen!

Having spent some time in fruitless inquiry, Harold and Disco at last to
their satisfaction, discovered an Arab dhow of known good character,
which was on the point of starting for the Zambesi in the course of a
few days, for the purpose of legitimate traffic.  It therefore became
necessary that our hero should make his purchases and preparations with
all possible speed.  In this he was entirely guided by his father's
agent, a merchant of the town, who understood thoroughly what was
necessary for the intended journey.

It is not needful here to enter into full details, suffice it to say
that among the things purchased by Harold, and packed up in portable
form, were a number of bales of common unbleached cotton, which is
esteemed above everything by the natives of Africa as an article of
dress--if we may dignify by the name of dress the little piece, about
the size of a moderate petticoat, which is the only clothing of some, or
the small scrap round the loins which is the sole covering of other,
natives of the interior!  There were also several coils of thick brass
wire, which is much esteemed by them for making bracelets and anklets;
and a large quantity of beads of various colours, shapes, and sizes.  Of
beads, we are told, between five and six hundred tons are annually
manufactured in Great Britain for export to Africa.

Thus supplied, our two friends embarked in the dhow and set sail.  Wind
and weather were propitious.  In few days they reached the mouths of the
great river Zambesi, and landed at the port of Quillimane.

Only once on the voyage did they fall in with a British cruiser, which
ordered them to lay-to and overhauled them, but on the papers and
everything being found correct, they were permitted to pursue their
voyage.

The mouths of the river Zambesi are numerous; extending over more than
ninety miles of the coast.  On the banks of the northern mouth stands--
it would be more appropriate to say festers--the dirty little Portuguese
town of Quillimane.  Its site is low, muddy, fever-haunted, and swarming
with mosquitoes.  No man in his senses would have built a village
thereon were it not for the facilities afforded for slaving.  At spring
or flood tides the bar may be safely crossed by sailing vessels, but,
being far from land, it is always dangerous for boats.

Here, then, Harold and Disco landed, and remained for some time for the
purpose of engaging men.  Appearing in the character of independent
travellers, they were received with some degree of hospitality by the
principal inhabitants.  Had they gone there as simple and legitimate
traders, every possible difficulty would have been thrown in their way,
because the worthy people, from the Governor downwards, flourished,--or
festered,--by means of the slave-trade, and legitimate commerce is
everywhere found to be destructive to the slave-trade.

Dr Livingstone and others tell us that thousands upon thousands of
negroes have, of late years, gone out from Quillimane into slavery under
the convenient title of "free emigrants," their freedom being not quite
equal to that of a carter's horse, for while that animal, although
enslaved, is usually well fed, the human animal is kept on rather low
diet lest his spirit should rouse him to deeds of desperate violence
against his masters.  All agricultural enterprise is also effectually
discouraged here.  When a man wants to visit his country farm he has to
purchase a permit from the Governor.  If he wishes to go up the river to
the Portuguese towns of Senna or Tette, a pass must be purchased from
the Governor.  In fact it would weary the reader were we to enumerate
the various modes in which every effort of man to act naturally,
legitimately, or progressively, is hampered, unless his business be the
buying and selling of human beings.

At first Harold experienced great difficulty in procuring men.  The
master of the trading dhow in which he sailed from Zanzibar intended to
remain as short a time as possible at Quillimane, purposing to visit
ports further south, and as Harold had made up his mind not to enter the
Zambesi by the Quillimane mouth, but to proceed in the dhow to one of
the southern mouths, he felt tempted to give up the idea of procuring
men until he had gone further south.

"You see, Disco," said he, in a somewhat disconsolate tone, "it won't do
to let this dhow start without us, because I want to get down to the
East Luavo mouth of this river, that being the mouth which was lately
discovered and entered by Dr Livingstone; but I'm not sure that we can
procure men or canoes there, and our Arab skipper either can't or won't
enlighten me."

"Ah!" observed Disco, with a knowing look, "he won't--that's where it
is, sir.  I've not a spark o' belief in that man, or in any Arab on the
coast.  He's a slaver in disguise, he is, an' so's every mother's son of
'em."

"Well," continued Harold, "if we must start without them and take our
chance, we must; there is no escaping from the inevitable; nevertheless
we must exert ourselves _to-day_, because the dhow does not sail till
to-morrow evening, and there is no saying what luck may attend our
efforts before that time.  Perseverance, you know, is the only sure
method of conquering difficulties."

"That's so," said Disco; "them's my sentiments 'xactly.  Never say die--
Stick at nothing--Nail yer colours to the mast: them's the mottoes that
I goes in for--always s'posin' that you're in the right."

"But what if you're in the wrong, and the colours are nailed?" asked
Harold, with a smile.

"W'y then, sir, of course I'd have to tear 'em down."

"So that perhaps, it would be better not to nail them at all, unless
you're very sure--eh?"

"Oh, of _course_, sir," replied Disco, with solemn emphasis.  "You don't
suppose, sir, that I would nail 'em to the mast except I was sure, wery
sure, that I wos right?  But, as you wos a sayin', sir, about the
gittin' of them 'ere men."

Disco had an easy way of changing a subject when he felt that he was
getting out of his depth.

"Well, to return to that.  The fact is, I would not mind the men, for
it's likely that men of some sort will turn up somewhere, but I am very
anxious about an interpreter.  Without an interpreter we shall get on
badly, I fear, for I can only speak French, besides a very little Latin
and Greek, none of which languages will avail much among niggers."

Disco assumed a severely thoughtful expression of countenance.

"That's true," he said, placing his right fist argumentatively in his
left palm, "and I'm afeard I can't help you there, sir.  If it wos to
steer a ship or pull a oar or man the fore-tops'l yard in a gale o'
wind, or anything else in the seafarin' line, Disco Lillihammer's your
man, but I couldn't come a furrin' lingo at no price.  I knows nothin'
but my mother tongue,--nevertheless, though I says it that shouldn't, I
does profess to be somewhat of a dab at that.  Once upon a time I spent
six weeks in Dublin, an' havin' a quick ear for moosic, I soon managed
to get up a strong dash o' the brogue; but p'raps that wouldn't go far
with the niggers."

About two hours after the above conversation, while Harold Seadrift was
walking on the beach, he observed his faithful ally in the distance
grasping a short thickset man by the arm, and endeavouring to induce him
to accompany him, with a degree of energy that fell little short of main
force.  The man was evidently unwilling.

As the pair drew nearer, Harold overheard Disco's persuasive
voice:--"Come now, Antonio, don't be a fool; it's the best service you
could enter.  Good pay and hard work, and all the grub that's goin'--
what could a man want more?  It's true there's no grog, but we don't
need that in a climate where you've only got to go out in the sun
without yer hat an' you'll be as good as drunk in ten minutes, any day."

"No, no, not possibil," remonstrated the man, whose swarthy visage
betrayed a mixture of cunning, fun, and annoyance.  He was obviously a
half-caste of the lowest type, but with more pretensions to wealth than
many of his fellows, inasmuch as he wore, besides his loin-cloth, a
white cotton shooting-coat, very much soiled, beneath the tails of which
his thin black legs protruded ridiculously.

"Here you are, sir," cried Disco, as he came up; "here's the man for
lingo: knows the native talkee, as well as Portuguese, English, Arabic,
and anything else you like, as far as I know.  Antonio's his name.
Come, sir, try him with Greek, or somethin' o' that sort!"

Harold had much ado to restrain a smile, but, assuming a grave aspect,
he addressed the man in French, while Disco listened with a look of
profound respect and admiration.

"W'y, wot's wrong with 'ee, man," exclaimed Disco, on observing the
blank look of Antonio's countenance; "don't 'ee savay that?"

"I thought you understood Portuguese?" said Harold in English.

"So me do," replied Antonio quickly; "but dat no Portigeese--dat
Spanaish, me 'spose."

"What _can_ you speak, then?" demanded Harold sternly.

"Portigeese, Arbik, Fengleesh, an' two, tree, four, nigger lungwiches."

It was very obvious that, whatever Antonio spoke, he spoke nothing
correctly, but that was of no importance so long as the man could make
himself understood.  Harold therefore asked if he would join his party
as interpreter, but Antonio shook his head.

"Why not man--why not?" asked Harold impatiently, for he became anxious
to secure him, just in proportion as he evinced disinclination to
engage.

"Speak up, Antonio, don't be ashamed; you've no need to," said Disco.
"The fact is, sir, Antonio tells me that he has just bin married, an' he
don't want to leave his wife."

"Very natural," observed Harold.  "How long is it since you were
married?"

"Von veek since I did bought her."

"Bought her!" exclaimed Disco, with a broad grin; "may I ax wot ye paid
for her?"

"Paid!" exclaimed the man, starting and opening his eyes very wide, as
if the contemplation of the vast sum were too much for him; "lat me
zee--me pay me vife's pairyints sixteen yard ob cottin clothe, an' for
me's hut four yard morer."

"Ye don't say that?" exclaimed Disco, with an extended grin.  "Is she
young an' good-lookin'?"

"Yonge!" replied Antonio; "yis, ver' yonge; not mush more dan baby, an'
exiquitely bootiful."

"Then, my good feller," said Disco, with a laugh, "the sooner you leave
her the better.  A week is a long time, an' absence, you know, as the
old song says, makes the heart grow fonder; besides, Mr Seadrift will
give you enough to buy a dozen wives, if 'ee want 'em."

"Yes, I'll pay you well," said Harold; "that is, if you prove to be a
good interpreter."

Antonio pricked up his ears at this.

"How mush vill 'oo gif?" he asked.

"Well, let me think; I shall probably be away three or four months.
What would you say, Antonio, to twenty yards of cotton cloth a month,
and a gun into the bargain at the end, if you do your work well?"

The pleased expression of Antonio's face could not have been greater had
he been offered twenty pounds sterling a month.  The reader may estimate
the value of this magnificent offer when we say that a yard of cotton
cloth was at that time sevenpence-halfpenny, so that Antonio's valuable
services were obtained for about 12 shillings, 6 pence a month, and a
gun which cost Harold less than twenty shillings in Zanzibar.

We may remark here that Antonio afterwards proved to be a stout, able,
willing man, and a faithful servant, although a most arrant coward.

From this time Harold's difficulties in regard to men vanished.  With
Antonio's able assistance nine were procured, stout, young, able-bodied
fellows they were, and all more or less naked.  Two of these were
half-caste brothers, named respectively Jose and Oliveira; two were
half-wild negroes of the Somali tribe named Nakoda and Conda; three were
negroes of the Makololo tribe, who had accompanied Dr Livingstone on
his journey from the far interior of Africa to the East Coast, and were
named respectively Jumbo, Zombo, and Masiko; and finally two, named
Songolo and Mabruki, were free negroes of Quillimane.  Thus the whole
band, including Disco and the leader, formed a goodly company of twelve
stout men.

Of course Harold armed them all with guns and knives.  Himself and Disco
carried Enfield rifles; besides which, Harold took with him a spare
rifle of heavy calibre, carrying large balls, mingled with tin to harden
them.  This latter was intended for large game.  Landing near the East
Luavo mouth of the Zambesi, our hero was fortunate enough to procure two
serviceable canoes, into which he transferred himself, his men, and his
goods, and, bidding adieu to the Arab skipper of the dhow, commenced his
journey into the interior of Africa.



CHAPTER FIVE.

IN WHICH THE TRAVELLERS ENJOY THEMSELVES EXTREMELY, AND DISCO
LILLIHAMMER SEES SEVERAL ASTONISHING SIGHTS.

Behold our travellers, then, fairly embarked on the waters of the great
African river Zambesi, in two canoes, one of which is commanded by
Harold Seadrift, the other by Disco Lillihammer.

Of course these enterprising chiefs were modest enough at first to allow
two of the Makololo men, Jumbo and Zombo, to wield the steering-oars,
but after a few days' practice they became sufficiently expert, as Disco
said, to take the helm, except when strong currents rendered the
navigation difficult, or when the weather became so "piping hot" that
none but men clad in black skins could work.

We must however guard the reader here from supposing that it is always
piping hot in Africa.  There are occasional days when the air may be
styled lukewarm, when the sky is serene, and when all nature seems
joyful and enjoyable,--days in which a man opens his mouth wide and
swallows down the atmosphere; when he _feels_ his health and strength,
and rejoices in them, and when, if he be not an infidel, he also feels a
sensation of gratitude to the Giver of all good.

On such a day, soon after entering the East Luavo mouth of the Zambesi,
the explorers, for such we may almost venture to style them, ascended
the smooth stream close to the left bank, Harold leading, Disco
following closely in his wake.

The men rowed gently, as if they enjoyed the sweet calm of early
morning, and were unwilling to disturb the innumerable flocks of
wild-fowl that chuckled among the reeds and sedges everywhere.  Harold
sat in the stern, leaning back, and only dipping the steering-oar lazily
now and then to keep the canoe from running on the bank, or plunging
into a forest of gigantic rushes.  Disco, having resolved to solace
himself with a whiff of his darling pipe, had resigned "the helm" to
Jumbo, and laid himself in a position of comfort which admitted of his
resting his head on the gunwale in such a manner that, out of the
corners of his eyes, he could gaze down into the water.

The part of the river they had reached was so perfectly still that every
cloud in the sky, every mangrove, root and spray, and every bending
bulrush, was perfectly reproduced in the reflected world below.
Plaintive cries of wild-fowl formed appropriate melody, to which
chattering groups of monkeys and croaking bull-frogs contributed a fine
tenor and bass.

"Hallo, Disco!" exclaimed Harold in a subdued key, looking over his
shoulder.

"Ay, ay, sir?" sighed the seaman, without moving his position.

"Range up alongside; I want to speak to you."

"Ay, ay, sir.--Jumbo, you black-faced villain, d'ee hear that? give way
and go 'longside."

Good-humoured Jumbo _spoke_ very little English, but had come to
understand a good deal during his travels with Dr Livingstone.  He
wrinkled his visage and showed his brilliant teeth on receiving the
order.  Muttering a word to the men, and giving a vigorous stroke, he
shot up alongside of the leader's canoe.

"You seem comfortable," said Harold, with a laugh, as Disco's vast
visage appeared at his elbow.

"I is."

"Isn't this jolly?" continued Harold.

"No, sir, 'taint."

"Why, what d'you mean?"

"I means that jolly ain't the word, by a long way, for to express the
natur' o' my feelin's.  There ain't no word as I knows on as 'ud come up
to it.  If I wor a fylosipher, now, I'd coin a word for the occasion.
P'raps," continued Disco, drawing an unusually long whiff from his pipe,
"p'raps, not bein' a fylosipher, I might nevertheless try to coin one.
Wot's the Latin, now, for heaven?"

"Caelum," replied Harold.

"Sailum, eh?  An' wot's the 'arth?"

"Terra."

"Terra? well now, wot rediklous names to give to 'em," said Disco,
shaking his head gravely, "I can't see why the ancients couldn't ha' bin
satisfied with the names that _we'd_ given 'em.  Hows'ever, that's
neither here nor there.  My notion o' the state o' things that we've got
into here, as they now stand, is, that they are sailumterracious, which
means heaven-upon-earth, d'ee see?"

As Disco pronounced the word with a powerful emphasis on the _u-m_ part
of it the sound was rather effective, and seemed to please him.

"Right; you're right, or nearly so," replied Harold; "but don't you
think the word savours too much of perfection, seeing that breakfast
would add to the pleasure of the present delightful state of things, and
make them even more sailumterracious than they are?"

"No, sir, no; the word ain't too parfect," replied Disco, with a look of
critical severity; "part of it is 'arth, and 'arth is imparfect, bein'
susceptible of a many improvements, among which undoubtedly is
breakfast, likewise dinner an' supper, to say nothin' of lunch an' tea,
which is suitable only for babbies an' wimen; so I agrees with you, sir,
that the state o' things will be sailumterraciouser if we goes ashore
an' has breakfast."

He tapped the head of his very black little pipe on the edge of the
canoe, and heaved a sigh of contentment as he watched the ash-ball that
floated away on the stream; then, rousing himself, he seized the
steering-oar and followed Harold into a small creek, which was
pleasantly overshadowed by the rich tropical foliage of that region.

While breakfast was being prepared by Antonio, whose talents as
_chef-de-cuisine_ were of the highest order, Harold took his rifle and
rambled into the bush in search of game--any kind of game, for at that
time he had had no experience whatever of the sport afforded by the
woods of tropical Africa, and, having gathered only a few vague ideas
from books, he went forth with all the pleasurable excitement and
expectation that we may suppose peculiar to discoverers.

Disco Lillihammer having only consumed his first pipe of tobacco, and
holding it to be a duty which he owed to himself to consume two before
breakfast, remained at the camp-fire to smoke and chaff Antonio, whose
good-nature was only equalled by his activity.

"Wot have 'ee got there?" inquired Disco, as Antonio poured a quantity
of seed into a large pot.

"Dis? vy, hims be mapira," replied the interpreter, with a benignant
smile.  "Hims de cheef food ob dis konterie."

It must be remarked here that Antonio's English, having been acquired
from all sorts of persons, in nearly every tropical part of the globe,
was somewhat of a jumble, being a compound of the broken English spoken
by individuals among the Germans, French, Portuguese, Arabs, and
Negroes, with whom he had at various times associated, modified by his
own ignorance, and seasoned with a dash of his own inventive fancy.

"Is it good?" asked Disco.

"Goot!" exclaimed Antonio.  Being unable to find words to express
himself, the enthusiastic cook placed his hand on the region which was
destined ere long to become a receptacle for the mapira, and rolled his
eyes upwards in rapture.  "Hah! oo sall see behind long."

"Before long, you mean," observed the seaman.

"Dat all same ting, s'long's you onerstand him," replied Antonio
complacently.--"Bring vatter now, Jumbo.  Put him in careful.  Not spill
on de fire--zo--goot."

Jumbo filled up the kettle carefully, and a broad grin overspread his
black visage, partly because he was easily tickled into a condition of
risibility by the cool off-hand remarks of Disco Lillihammer, and partly
because, having acquired his own small smattering of English from Dr
Livingstone, he was intelligent enough to perceive that in regard to
Antonio's language there was something peculiar.

"Now, go fitch noder kittle--queek."

"_Yis_, sar--zo--goot," replied Jumbo, mimicking the interpreter, and
going off with a vociferous laugh at his little joke, in which he was
joined by his sable clansmen, Masiko and Zombo.

"Hims got 'nuff of impoodidence," said the interpreter, as he bustled
about his avocations.

"He's not the only one that's got more than enough impoodidence," said
Disco, pushing a fine straw down the stem of his "cutty," to make it
draw better.  "I say, Tony," (our regardless seaman had already thus
mutilated his name), "you seem to have plenty live stock in them parts."

"Plenty vat?" inquired the interpreter, with a perplexed expression.

"Why, plenty birds and beasts,--live stock we calls it, meanin' thereby
livin' creeturs."  He pointed towards an opening in the mangroves,
through which were visible the neighbouring mud and sand flats, swarming
with wild-fowl, and conspicuous among which were large flocks of
pelicans, who seemed to be gorging themselves comfortably from an
apparently inexhaustible supply of fish in the pools left by the
receding tide.

"Ho, yis, me perceive; yis, plenty bird and beast--fishes too, and
crawbs--look dare."

He pointed to a part of the sands nearest to their encampment which
appeared to be alive with some small creatures.

"That's coorious," said Disco, removing his pipe, and regarding the
phenomenon with some interest.

"No, 'taint koorous, it's crawbs," replied Antonio.

"Crabs, is it?" said Disco, rising and sauntering down to the sands; for
he possessed an inquiring mind, with a special tendency to investigate
the habits (pranks, as he called them) of the lower animals, which, in
other circumstances, might have made him a naturalist.

Muttering to himself--he was fond of muttering to himself, it felt
companionable,--"coorious, very coorious, quite 'stroanary," he crept
stealthily to the edge of the mangroves, and there discovered that the
sands were literally alive with myriads of minute crabs, which were
actively engaged--it was supposed by those who ought to know best--in
gathering their food.  The moment the tide ebbed from any part of the
sands, out came these crablets in swarms, and set to work, busy as bees,
ploughing up the sand, and sifting it, apparently for food, until the
whole flat was rendered rough by their incessant labours.  Approaching
cautiously, Disco observed that each crab, as he went along sidewise,
gathered a round bit of moist sand at his mouth, which was quickly
brushed away by one of his claws, and replaced by another, and another,
as fast as they could be brushed aside.

"Eatin' sand they are!" muttered Disco in surprise; but presently the
improbability of sand being very nutritious food, even for crabs, forced
itself on him, and he muttered his conviction that they "was scrapin'
for wittles."

Having watched the crabs a considerable time, and observed that they
frequently interrupted their labours to dart suddenly into their holes
and out again--for the purpose, he conjectured, of "havin' a drop o'
summat to wet their whistles,"--Disco thrust the cutty into his vest
pocket, and walked a little further out on the flat in the hope of
discovering some new objects of interest.  Nor was he disappointed.
Besides finding that the pools left by the tide swarmed with varieties
of little fish--many of them being "coorious,"--he was fortunate enough
to witness a most surprising combat.

It happened thus:--Perceiving, a little to his right, some small
creature hopping about on the sand near to a little pool, he turned
aside to observe it more closely.  On his drawing near, the creature
jumped into the pool.  Disco advanced to the edge, gazed intently into
the water, and saw nothing except his own reflected image at the bottom.
Presently the creature reappeared.  It was a small fish--a familiar
fish, too--which he had known in the pools of his native land by the
name of blenny.  As the blenny appeared to wish to approach the edge of
the pool, Disco retired, and, placing a hand on each knee, stooped, in
order to make himself as small as possible.  He failed, the diminution
in his height being fully counterbalanced by the latitudinal extension
of his elbows!

Presently the blenny put its head out of the water, and looked about.
We speak advisedly.  The blenny is altogether a singular, an exceptional
fish.  It can, and does, look sidewise, upwards and downwards, with its
protruding eyes, as knowingly, and with as much vivacity, as if it were
a human being.  This power in a fish has something of the same awesome
effect on an observer that might possibly result were a horse to raise
its head and smile at him.

Seeing that the coast was clear, for Disco stood as motionless as a
mangrove tree, blenny hopped upon the dry land.  The African blenny is a
sort of amphibious animal, living nearly as much out of the water as in
it.  Indeed its busiest time, we are told, [_See Dr Livingstone's
Zambesi and its Tributaries_, page 843.] is at low water, when, by means
of its pectoral fins it crawls out on the sand and raises itself into
something of a standing attitude, with its bright eyes keeping a sharp
look-out for the light-coloured flies on which it feeds.

For several seconds Disco gazed at the fish, and the fish gazed around,
even turning its head a little, as well as its eyes, on this side and on
that.  Presently a small fly, with that giddy heedlessness which
characterises the race, alighted about two inches in front of blenny's
nose.  Instantly the fish leaped that vast space, alighted with its
underset mouth just over the fly, which immediately rose into it and was
entombed.

"Brayvo!" passed through Disco's brain, but no sound issued from his
lips.

Presently another of the giddy ones alighted in front of blenny about a
foot distant.  This appeared to be much beyond his leaping powers, for,
with a slow, stealthy motion, like a cat, he began deliberately to stalk
his victim.  The victim appeared to be blind, for it took no notice of
the approaching monster.  Blenny displayed marvellous powers of
self-control, for he moved on steadily without accelerating his speed
until within about two inches of his prey--then he leapt as before, and
another fly was entombed.

"Well done!" exclaimed Disco, mentally, but still his lips and body were
motionless as before.

At this point an enemy, in the shape of another blenny, appeared on the
scene.  It came up out of a small pool close at hand, and seemed to
covet the first blenny's pool, and to set about taking possession of it
as naturally as if it had been a human being; for, observing, no doubt,
that its neighbour was busily engaged, it moved quietly in the direction
of the coveted pool.  Being a very little fish, it was not observed by
Disco, but it was instantly noticed by the first blenny, which, being
rather the smaller of the two, we shall style the Little one.

Suddenly Big Blenny threw off all disguise, bounded towards the pool,
which was about a foot square, and plunged in.  No mortal blenny could
witness this unwarrantable invasion of its hearth and home without being
stirred to indignant wrath.  With eyes that seemed to flash fire, and
dorsal fin bristling up with rage, Little Blenny made five tremendous
leaps of full three inches each, and disappeared.  Another moment and a
miniature storm ruffled the pool: for a few seconds the heavings of the
deep were awful; then, out jumped Big Blenny and tried to flee, but out
jumped Little Blenny and caught him by the tail; round turned the big
one and caught the other by the jaw.

"Hallo, Disco! breakfast's ready--where are you?" shouted Harold from
the woods.

Disco replied not.  It is a question whether he heard the hail at all,
so engrossed was he in this remarkable fight.

"Brayvo!" he exclaimed aloud, when Little Blenny shook his big enemy off
and rolled over him.

"Cleverly done!" he shouted, when Big Blenny with a dart took refuge in
the pool.

"I knowed it," he cried approvingly, when Little Blenny forced him a
second time to evacuate the premises, "Go in an' win, little 'un,"
thought Disco.

Thus the battle raged furiously, now in the water, now on the sand,
while the excited seaman danced round the combatants--both of whom
appeared to have become deaf and blind with rage--and gave them strong
encouragement, mingled with appropriate advice and applause.  In fact
Disco's delight would have been perfect, had the size of the
belligerents admitted of his patting the little blenny on the back; but
this of course was out of the question!

At last having struck, worried, bitten, and chased each other by land
and sea for several minutes, these pugnacious creatures seized each
other by their respective throats, like two bull-dogs, and fell
exhausted on the sand.

"It's a draw!" exclaimed Disco, rather disappointed.

"No, 'tain't," he said, as Little Blenny, reviving, rose up and renewed
the combat more furiously than ever; but it was soon ended, for Big
Blenny suddenly turned and fled to his own pool.  Little Blenny did not
crow; he did not even appear to be elated.  He evidently felt that he
had been called on to perform a disagreeable but unavoidable duty, and
deemed it quite unnecessary to wave banners, fire guns, or ring bells in
celebration of his victory, as he dived back into his pool amid the
ringing cheers of Disco Lillihammer.

"Upon my word, if you have not gone stark mad, you must have had a
sunstroke," said Harold, coming forward, "what's the matter?"

"Too late! too late!" cried Disco, in a mingled tone of amusement and
regret.

"D'ye think it is?  Are you incurable already?" asked his friend.

"Too late to see the most a-stonishin' scrimmage I ever did behold in
_my_ life," said Disco.

The description of this scrimmage gave the worthy seaman a subject for
conversation and food for meditation during the greater part of the time
spent over the morning meal, and there is no saying how long he would
have kept referring to and chuckling over it--to the great admiration
and sympathy of the black fellows, who are, as a race, excessively fond
of jocularity and fun--had not another of the denizens of the mangrove
jungle diverted his attention and thoughts rather suddenly.

This was a small monkey, which, seated on a branch overhead, peered at
the breakfast-party from among the leaves, with an expression of inquiry
and of boundless astonishment that it is quite impossible to describe.
Surprise of the most sprightly nature, if we may say so, sat enthroned
on that small monkey's countenance, an expression which was enhanced by
the creature's motions, for, not satisfied with taking a steady look at
the intruders from the right side of a leaf, it thrust forward its
little black head on the left side of it, and then under it, by way of
variety; but no additional light seemed to result from these changes in
the point of observation, for the surprise did not diminish.

In one of its intent stares it caught the eye of Disco.  The seaman's
jaws stopped, as if suddenly locked, and his eyes opened to their
widest.

The monkey seemed to feel uneasily that it had attracted attention, for
it showed the smallest possible glimpse of its teeth.  The action,
coupled with the leafy shadows which fell on its countenance, had the
effect of a smile, which caused Disco to burst into a loud laugh and
point upwards.  To bound from its position to a safer retreat, and
thence stare at Disco with deep indignation, and a threatening display
of all its teeth and gums, in addition to its looks of surprise, was the
work of a moment on the part of the small monkey, whereat Disco burst
into a renewed roar of laughter, in which he was joined by the whole
party.

"Are there many o' them fellows hereabouts?" inquired the seaman of
Antonio.

"Ho, yis, lots ob 'em.  T'ousands ebery whars; see, dare am morer."

He pointed to another part of the umbrageous canopy overhead, where the
face of a still smaller monkey was visible, engaged, like the previous
one, in an earnest scrutiny of the party, but with a melancholy, rather
than a surprised, expression of visage.

"Wot a miserable, broken-hearted thing!" said Disco, grinning, in which
act he was immediately copied by the melancholy monkey, though from
different motives.

Disco was very fond of monkeys.  All his life he had felt a desire to
pat and fondle those shivering creatures which he had been accustomed to
see on barrel-organs in his native land, and the same strong impulse
came over him now.

"Wot a pity the creeturs smell so bad, and ain't cleanly," he remarked,
gazing affectionately up among the leaves, "they'd make such capital
pets; why, there's another."

This remark had reference to a third monkey, of large dimensions and
fierce countenance, which at that moment rudely thrust the melancholy
monkey aside, and took its place.  The latter, with a humble air and
action, took up a new position, somewhat nearer to the fire, where its
sad countenance was more distinctly seen.

"Well, it does seem a particularly sorrowful monkey, that," said Harold,
laughing, as he helped himself to another canful of tea.

"The most miserable objic' I ever did see," observed Disco.

The negroes looked at each other and laughed.  They were accustomed to
monkeys, and took little notice of them, but they were mightily tickled
by Disco's amusement, for he had laid down his knife and fork, and shook
a good deal with internal chuckling, as he gazed upwards.

"One would suppose, now," he said softly, "that it had recently seen its
father and mother, and all its brothers and sisters, removed by a
violent death, or sold into slavery."

"Ha! they never see that," said Harold; "the brutes may fight and kill,
but they never _enslave_ each other.  It is the proud prerogative of man
to do that."

"That's true, sir, worse luck, as Paddy says," rejoined Disco.  "But
look there: wot's them coorious things round the creetur's waist--a pair
o' the werry smallest hands--and, hallo! a face no bigger than a button!
I do believe that it's--"

Disco did not finish the sentence, but he was right.  The small
melancholy monkey was a mother!

Probably that was the cause of its sorrow.  It is a touching thought
that anxiety for its tiny offspring perhaps had furrowed that monkey's
visage with the wrinkles of premature old age.  That danger threatened
it on every side was obvious, for no sooner had it taken up its new
position, after its unceremonious ejection by the fierce monkey, than
the sprightly monkey, before referred to, conceived a plot which it
immediately proceeded to carry into execution.  Observing that the tail
of the sad one hung down in a clear space below the branch on which it
sat, the sprightly fellow quickly, but with intense caution and silence,
crept towards it, and when within a yard or so sprang into the air and
caught the tail!

A wild shriek, and what Disco styled a "scrimmage," ensued, during which
the mother monkey gave chase to him of the lively visage, using her
arms, legs, and tail promiscuously to grasp and hold on to branches, and
leaving her extremely little one to look out for itself.  This it seemed
quite capable of doing, for no limpet ever stuck to a solid rock with
greater tenacity than did that infant to the maternal waist throughout
the chase.  The hubbub appeared to startle the whole monkey race,
revealing the fact that troops of other monkeys had, unobserved, been
gazing at the strangers in silent wonder, since the time of their
landing.

Pleasant however, though this state of things undeniably was, it could
not be expected to last.  Breakfast being concluded, it became necessary
that Disco should tear himself from the spot which, having first solaced
himself with a pipe, he did with a good grace, remarking, as he
re-embarked and "took the helm" of his canoe, that he had got more
powerful surprises that morning than he had ever before experienced in
any previous twelvemonth of his life.

Before long he received many more surprises, especially one of a very
different and much less pleasant nature, an account of which will be
found in the next chapter.



CHAPTER SIX.

DESCRIBES SEVERAL NEW AND SURPRISING INCIDENTS, WHICH MUST BE READ TO BE
FULLY APPRECIATED.

To travel with one's mouth and eyes opened to nearly their utmost width
in a state of surprised stupefaction, may be unavoidable, but it cannot
be said to be either becoming or convenient.  Attention in such a case
is apt to be diverted from the business in hand, and flies have a
tendency to immolate themselves in the throat.

Nevertheless, inconvenient though the condition was, our friend Disco
Lillihammer was so afflicted with astonishment at what he heard and saw
in this new land, that he was constantly engaged in swallowing flies and
running his canoe among shallows and rushes, insomuch that he at last
resigned the steering-oar until familiarity with present circumstances
should tone him down to a safe condition of equanimity.

And no wonder that Disco was surprised; no wonder that his friend Harold
Seadrift shared in his astonishment and delight, for they were at once,
and for the first time in their lives, plunged into the very heart of
jungle life in equatorial Africa!  Those who have never wandered far
from the comparatively tame regions of our temperate zone, can form but
a faint conception of what it is to ramble in the tropics, and therefore
can scarcely be expected to sympathise fully with the mental condition
of our heroes as they ascended the Zambesi.  Everything was so
thoroughly strange; sights and sounds so vastly different from what they
had been accustomed to see and hear, that it seemed as though they had
landed on another planet.  Trees, shrubs, flowers, birds, beasts,
insects, and reptiles, all were unfamiliar, except indeed, one or two of
the more conspicuous trees and animals, which had been so imprinted on
their minds by means of nursery picture-books that, on first beholding
them, Disco unconsciously paid these books the compliment of saying that
the animals "wos uncommon like the picturs."

Disco's mental condition may be said, for the first two or three days,
to have been one of gentle ever-flowing surprise, studded thickly with
little bursts of keen astonishment.

The first part of the river ran between mangrove jungle, in regard to
which he remarked that "them there trees had legs like crabs," in which
observation he was not far wrong, for, when the tide was out, the roots
of the mangroves rose high out of the mud, forming supports, as it were,
for the trees to stand on.

But it was the luxuriance of the vegetation that made the most powerful
impression on the travellers.  It seemed as if the various groups and
families of the vegetable kingdom had been warmed by the sun into a
state of unwonted affection, for everything appeared to entertain the
desire to twine round and embrace everything else.  One magnificent
screw-palm in particular was so overwhelmed by affectionate parasites
that his natural shape was almost entirely concealed.  Others of the
trees were decked with orchilla weed.  There were ferns so gigantic as
to be almost worthy of being styled trees, and palm-bushes so sprawling
as to suggest the idea of huge vegetable spiders.  Bright yellow fruit
gleamed among the graceful green leaves of the mangroves; wild
date-palms gave variety to the scene, if that had been needed, which it
was not, and masses of umbrageous plants with large yellow flowers grew
along the banks, while, down among the underwood, giant roots rose in
fantastic convolutions above ground, as if the earth were already too
full, and there wasn't room for the whole of them.  There was an
antediluvian magnificence, a prehistoric snakiness, a sort of primeval
running-to-seedness, which filled Harold and Disco with feelings of awe,
and induced a strange, almost unnatural tendency to regard Adam and Eve
as their contemporaries.

Animal life was not wanting in this paradise.  Frequently did our seaman
give vent to "Hallo!"  "There they go!"  "Look out for the little 'un
wi' the long tail!" and similar expressions, referring of course to his
favourite monkeys, which ever and anon peered out upon the strangers
with looks of intensity, for whatever their expression might be--
sadness, grief, interrogation, wrath, surprise--it was always in the
superlative degree.  There were birds also, innumerable.  One, styled
the "king-hunter," sang wild exultant airs, as if it found king-hunting
to be an extremely exhilarating occupation, though what sort of kings it
hunted we cannot tell.  Perhaps it was the king of beasts, perhaps the
kingfisher, a bright specimen of which was frequently seen to dart out
from the banks, but we profess ignorance on this point.  There were
fish-hawks also, magnificent fellows, which sat in regal dignity on the
tops of the mangrove trees, and the glossy ibis, with others of the
feathered tribe too numerous to mention.

Large animals also were there in abundance, though not so frequently
seen as those which have been already mentioned.  Disco occasionally
made known the fact that such, or something unusual, had transpired, by
the sudden and violent exclamation of "What's that?" in a voice so loud
that "that," whatever it might be, sometimes bolted or took to flight
before any one else caught sight of it.

"Hallo!" he exclaimed, on one such occasion, as the canoes turned a bend
of the river.

"What now?" demanded Harold, looking at his companion to observe the
direction of his eyes.

"I'm a Dutchman," exclaimed Disco in a hoarse whisper that might have
been heard half a mile off, "if it's not a zebra!"

"So it is; my rifle--look sharp!" said Harold eagerly.

The weapon was handed to him, but before it could be brought to bear,
the beautiful striped creature had tossed its head, snorted, whisked its
tail, kicked up its heels, and dashed into the jungle.

"Give way, lads; let's after him," shouted Disco, turning the canoe's
bow to shore.

"Hold on," cried Harold; "you might as well go after a needle in a
haystack, or a locomotive."

"So I might," admitted Disco, with a mortified air, resuming his course;
"but it ain't in reason to expect a feller to keep quiet w'en he sees
one o' the very picturs of his child'ood, so to speak, come alive an'
kick up its heels like that."

Buffaloes were also seen in the grassy glades, but it proved difficult
to come within range of them; also wart-hogs, and three different kinds
of antelope.

Of these last Harold shot several, and they were found to be excellent
food.

Human beings were also observed, but those first encountered fled at the
sight of the white men, as if they had met with their worst foes; and
such was in very truth the case,--if we may regard the Portuguese
half-castes of that coast as white men,--for these negroes were runaway
slaves, who stood the chance of being shot, or drowned, or whipped to
death, if recaptured.

Other animals they saw--some queer, some terrible, nearly all strange--
and last, though not least, the hippopotamus.

When Disco first saw this ungainly monster he was bereft of speech for
some minutes.  The usual "Hallo!" stuck in his throat and well-nigh
choked him.  He could only gasp, and point.

"Ay, there goes a hippopotamus," said Harold, with the easy nonchalance
of a man who had been to the Zoological Gardens, and knew all about it.
Nevertheless it was quite plain that Harold was much excited, for he
almost dropped his oar overboard in making a hasty grasp at his rifle.
Before he could fire, the creature gaped wide, as if in laughter, and
dived.

"Unfortunate!" said Harold, in a philosophically careless tone; "never
mind, we shall see lots more of them."

"Ugliness embodied!" said Disco, heaving a deep sigh.

"But him's goot for eat," said Antonio, smacking his lips.

"Is he?" demanded Disco of Jumbo, whose enjoyment of the sailor's
expressive looks was so great, that, whenever the latter opened his
lips, the former looked back over his shoulder with a broad grin of
expectation.

"Ho yis; de hiputmus am fust-rate grub for dis yer boy," replied the
negro, rolling his red tongue inside his mouth suggestively.

"He never eats man, does he?" inquired Disco.

"Nevair," replied Antonio.

"He looks as if he might," returned the seaman; "anyhow, he's got a
mouth big enough to do it.  You're quite sure he don't, I 'spose?"

"Kite sure an' sartin; but me hab seen him tak mans," said Antonio.

"Tak mans, wot d'ee mean by that?"

"Tak him," repeated Antonio.  "Go at him's canoe or boat--bump with
him's head--dash in de timbers--capsize, so's man hab to swim shore--all
as got clear ob de crokidils."

While Disco was meditating on this unpleasant trait of character in the
hippopotamus, the specimen which they had just seen, or some other
member of his family, having compassion, no doubt, on the seaman's
ignorance, proceeded to illustrate its method of attack then and there
by rising suddenly under the canoe with such force, that its head and
shoulders shot high out of the water, into which it fell with a heavy
splash.  Harold's rifle being ready, he fired just as it was
disappearing.

Whether he hit or not is uncertain, but next moment the enraged animal
rose again under Disco's canoe, which it nearly lifted out of the water
in its efforts to seize it in its mouth.  Fortunately the canoe was too
flat for its jaws to grip; the monster's blunt teeth were felt, as well
as heard, to grind across the planks; and Disco being in the stern,
which was raised highest, was almost thrown overboard by the jerk.

Rising about two yards off, the hippopotamus looked savagely at the
canoe, and was about to dive again when Harold gave it a second shot.
The large gun being fortunately ready, had been handed to him by one of
the Makololo men.  The heavy ball took effect behind the eye, and killed
the animal almost instantaneously.  The hippopotamus usually sinks when
shot dead, but in this case they were so near that, before it had time
to sink, Zombo, assisted by his friend Jumbo, made a line fast to it,
and it was finally dragged to the shore.  The landing, however, was much
retarded by the crocodiles, which now showed themselves for the first
time, and kept tugging and worrying the carcase much as a puppy tugs and
worries a ladies' muff; affording Disco and his friend strong reason to
congratulate themselves that the canoe had not been overturned.

The afternoon was pretty well advanced when the landing was accomplished
on a small sandy island, and as the spot was suitable for encamping,
they determined to remain there for the night, and feast.

There are many points of resemblance between savage and civilised
festivities.  Whether the performers be the black sons of Africa, or the
white fathers of Europe, there is the same powerful tendency to eat too
much, and the same display of good-fellowship; for it is an indisputable
fact that feeding man is amiable, unless, indeed, he be dyspeptic.
There are also, however, various points of difference.  The savage,
owing to the amount of fresh air and exercise which he is compelled to
take, usually eats with greater appetite, and knows nothing of equine
dreams or sleepless nights.  On the whole, we incline to the belief
that, despite his lack of refinement and ceremony, the savage has the
best of it in this matter.

Disco Lillihammer's visage, during the progress of that feast, formed a
study worthy of a physiognomist.  Every new achievement, whether
trifling or important, performed by the Makololo triad, Jumbo, Zombo,
and Masiko--every fresh hippopotamus steak skewered and set up to roast
by the half-caste brothers Jose and Oliveira--every lick bestowed on
their greasy fingers by the Somali negroes Nakoda and Conda, and every
sigh of intense satisfaction heaved by the so-called "freemen" of
Quillimane, Songolo and Mabruki, was watched, commented on, and, if we
may say so, reflected in the animated countenance of the stout seaman,
with such variety of expression, and such an interesting compound of
grin and wrinkle, that poor Jumbo, who gazed at him over hippopotamus
ribs and steaks, and tried hard not to laugh, was at last compelled to
turn away his eyes, in order that his mouth might have fair-play.

But wonderful, sumptuous, and every way satisfactory though that feast
was, it bore no comparison whatever to another feast carried on at the
same time by another party, about fifty yards off, where the carcase of
the hippopotamus had been left half in and half out of the water--for,
of course, being fully more than a ton in weight, only a small portion
of the creature was appropriated by the canoe-men.  The negroes paid no
attention whatever to this other festive party; but in a short time
Disco turned his head to one side, and said--"Wy, wot's that splashin' I
hears goin' on over there?"

"I suspect it must be some beast or other that has got hold of the
carcase," replied Harold, who was himself busy with a portion of the
same.

"Yis, dat am krokidils got 'im," said Antonio, with his mouth full--very
full.

"You don't say so?" said Disco, washing down the steak with a brimming
cup of tea.

No one appeared to think it worth while to asseverate the fact, for it
was self-evident.  Several crocodiles were supping, and in doing so they
tore away at the carcase with such violence, and lashed the water so
frequently with their powerful tails, as to render it clear that their
feast necessitated laborious effort, and seemed less a recreation than a
duty.  Moreover, they sat at their meat like insatiable gourmands, so
long into the night that supper became transmuted into breakfast, and
Harold's rest was greatly disturbed thereby.  He was too sleepy and
lazy, however, to rise and drive them away.

Next morning the travellers started early, being anxious to pass, as
quietly as possible, a small Portuguese town, near to which it was said
a party of runaway slaves and rebels against the Government were engaged
in making depredations.

When grey dawn was beginning to rise above the tree-tops, they left
their encampment in profound silence, and rowed up stream as swiftly as
possible.  They had not advanced far, when, on turning a point covered
with tall reeds, Zombo, who was bowman in the leading canoe, suddenly
made a sign to the men to cease rowing.

"What's the matter?" whispered Harold.

The negro pointed through the reeds, and whispered the single word
"Canoe."

By this time the other canoe had ranged up alongside, and after a brief
consultation between Harold and Disco, it was decided that they should
push gently into the reeds, and wait till the strange canoe should pass;
but a few seconds sufficed to show that the two men who paddled it did
not intend to pass down the river, for they pushed straight out towards
the deepest part of the stream.  They were, however, carried down so
swiftly by the current that they were brought quite near to the point of
rushes where our travellers lay concealed--so near that their voices
could be distinctly heard.  They talked in Portuguese.

Antonio muttered a few words, and Harold observed that there was a good
deal of excitement in the looks of his men.

"What's the matter?" he asked anxiously.

Antonio shook his head.  "Dat nigger goin' to be drownded," he said;
"bad nigger--obstropolous nigger, suppose."

"Wot!" exclaimed Disco in a whisper, "goin' to be drownded! wot d'ee
mean?"

Antonio proceeded to explain that it was a custom amongst the Portuguese
slave-owners there, when they found any of their slaves intractable or
refractory, to hire some individuals who, for a small sum, would bind
and carry off the incorrigible for the purpose of making away with him.
One method of effecting this was to tie him in a sack and throw him into
the river, the crocodiles making quite sure that the unfortunate being
should never again be seen, either alive or dead.  But before Antonio
had finished his brief explanation he was interrupted by an exclamation
from the horrified Englishmen, as they beheld the two men in the canoe
raise something between them which for a moment appeared to struggle
violently.

"Shove off! give way!" shouted Harold and Disco in the same breath, each
thrusting with his paddle so vigorously that the two canoes shot out
like arrows into the stream.

At the same instant there was a heavy plunge in the water beside the
strange canoe, and the victim sank.  Next moment one end of the sack
rose to the surface.  Both Harold and Disco made straight towards it,
but it sank again, and the two murderers paddled to the shore, on which
they drew up their canoe, intending to take to the bush, if necessary,
for safety.

Once again the sack rose not more than three yards from Disco's canoe.
The bold seaman knew that if it disappeared a third time there would be
little chance of its rising again.  He was prompt in action, and daring
to recklessness.  In one moment he had leaped overboard, dived, caught
the sack in his powerful grasp, and bore it to the surface.  The canoe
had been steered for him.  The instant he appeared, strong and ready
hands laid hold of him and his burden, and dragged them both inboard.

"Cut the lashin's and give him air," cried Disco, endeavouring to find
his clasp-knife; but one of the men quickly obeyed the order, and opened
the sack.

A groan of horror and pity burst from the seaman when he beheld the
almost insensible form of a powerful negro, whose back was lacerated
with innumerable ragged cuts, and covered with clotted blood.

"Where are the--"

He stopped short on looking round, and, observing that the two men were
standing on the shore, seized a double-barrelled gun.  The stream had
carried the canoe a considerable distance below the spot where the
murder had been attempted, but they were still within range.  Without a
moment's hesitation Disco took deliberate aim at them and fired.

Fortunately for him and his party Disco was a bad shot--nevertheless the
bullet struck so close to the feet of the two men that it drove the sand
and pebbles into their faces.  They turned at once and fled, but before
they reached the cover of the bushes the second barrel was fired, and
the bullet whistled close enough over their heads greatly to accelerate
their flight.

The negroes opened their great round eyes, and appeared awe-struck at
this prompt display of a thirst for vengeance on the part of one who had
hitherto shown no other disposition than hilarity, fun, and good-humour.

Harold was greatly relieved to observe Disco's failure, for, if he had
hit either of the fugitives, the consequences might have been very
disastrous to their expedition.

On being partially revived and questioned, it turned out that the poor
fellow had been whipped almost to death for refusing to be the
executioner in whipping his own mother.  This was a refinement in
cruelty on the part of these professedly Christian Portuguese, which our
travellers afterwards learned was by no means uncommon.

We are told by those who know that region well, and whose veracity is
unquestionable, that the Portuguese on the east coast of Africa live in
constant dread of their slaves rising against them.  No wonder,
considering the fiendish cruelties to which they subject them!  In order
to keep them in subjection they underfeed them, and if any of them
venture to steal cocoa-nuts from the trees the owners thereof are at
liberty to shoot them and throw them into the sea.  Slaves being cheap
there, and plentiful, are easily replaced, hence a cruel owner never
hesitates.  If a slave is refractory, and flogging only makes him worse,
his master bids the overseer flog him until "he will require no more."
Still further to keep them in subjection, the Portuguese then endeavour
to eradicate from them all sympathy with each other, and all natural
affection, by the following means.  If a woman requires to be flogged,
her brother or son is selected to do it.  Fathers are made to flog their
daughters, husbands their wives, and, if two young negroes of different
sexes are observed to show any symptoms of growing attachment for each
other, these two are chosen for each other's executioners.  [See
_Travels in Eastern Africa_, by Lyons McLeod, Esquire, FRGS, and late
Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Mozambique, volume one pages 274 to
277, and volume two page 27.]

The poor wretch whom we have just described as having been saved from
death, to which he had been doomed for refusing to become the
executioner of his own mother, was placed as tenderly and comfortably as
circumstances would admit of in the bottom of the canoe, and then our
travellers pushed on with all haste--anxious to pass the town before the
two fugitives could give the alarm.

They were successful in this, probably because the two men may have hid
themselves for some time in the jungle, under the impression that the
exasperated Englishmen might be searching for them on shore.

Giving themselves time only to take a hurried meal in the middle of the
day, our travellers rowed continuously till sunset when, deeming it
probable that pursuit, if undertaken at all, must have been abandoned,
they put ashore on the right bank of the river and encamped.

When the sufferer had been made as comfortable as circumstances would
allow--for he was much weakened by loss of blood as well as agonised
with pain--and after he had been refreshed with food and some warm tea,
Harold questioned him, through the interpreter, as to his previous
history.

At first the man was brusque in his manner, and inclined to be sulky,
for a long course of cruelty had filled him with an intense hatred of
white men.  Indeed, an embittered and desperate spirit had begun to
induce callous indifference to all men, whether white or black.  But
kind treatment, to which he was evidently unaccustomed, and generous
diet, which was obviously new to him, had a softening influence, and
when Harold poured a small glass of rum into his tea, and Antonio added
a lump of sugar, and Disco pressed him tenderly to drink it off--which
he did--the effect was very decided; the settled scowl on his face
became unsettled, and gradually melting away, was replaced by a milder
and more manly look.  By degrees he became communicative, and, bit by
bit, his story was drawn from him.  It was brief, but very sorrowful.

His name, he said, was Chimbolo.  He belonged to a tribe which lived far
inland, beyond the Manganja country, which latter was a country of
hills.  He was not a Manganja man, but he had married a Manganja woman.
One night he, with his wife and mother, was paying a visit to the
village of his wife's relations, when a band of slave-hunters suddenly
attacked the village.  They were armed with guns, and at once began to
murder the old people and capture the young.  Resistance was useless.
His relatives were armed only with bows and spears.  Being taken by
surprise, they all fled in terror, but were pursued and few escaped.
His wife, he said--and a scowl of terrible ferocity crossed Chimbolo's
face as he said it--was about to become a mother at the time.  He seized
her in his arms on the first alarm, and fled with her into the bush,
where he concealed her, and then hurried back to aid his relations, but
met them--old and young, strong and feeble--flying for their lives.  It
was not possible to rally them; he therefore joined in the flight.
While running, a bullet grazed his head and stunned him.  Presently he
recovered and rose, but in a few minutes was overtaken and captured.  A
slave-stick was put on his neck, and, along with a number of Manganja
men, women, and children, he was driven down to the coast, and sold,
with a number of other men and women, among whom was his own mother, to
a Portuguese merchant on the coast, near the East Luavo mouth of the
Zambesi.  There he was found to be of a rebellious spirit, and at last
on positively refusing to lash his mother, his master ordered him to be
whipped to death, but, changing his mind before the order had been quite
carried out he ordered him to be bound hand and foot and taken away in a
sack.  As to his wife, he had never heard of her since that night which
was about two years past.  He knew that she had not been found, because
he had not seen her amongst the other captives.  If they had found her
they would have been sure to carry her off, because--here Chimbolo's
visage again grew diabolical--she was young, he said, and beautiful.

When all this had been translated into bad English by Antonio, Harold
asked if Chimbolo thought it probable that his wife was still alive in
the Manganja highlands.  To this the former said that he thought it
likely.

"W'y, then," said Disco, giving his right thigh a powerful slap, which
was his favourite method of emphasising a remark, "wot d'ye say, sir, to
lay our course for these same highlands, and try for to find out this
poor critter?"

"Just what was running in my own mind, Disco," said Harold, musing over
his supper.  "It does not make much difference what part of this country
we go to, being all new to us; and as Antonio tells me the Manganja
highlands are up the Shire river, which was explored by Dr Livingstone
not long ago, and is not distant many days' journey from this, I think
we can't do better than go there.  We shall have a good as well as a
definite object in view."

"Wery good, sir; I'm agreeable," returned Disco, reaching forth his
pewter plate; "another hunk o' that pottimus, Jumbo; it's better than
salt-junk any day; and I say, Jumbo, don't grin so much, else ye'll
enlarge yer pretty little mouth, which 'ud be a pity."

"Yis, saar," replied Jumbo, becoming very grave all of a sudden, but on
receiving a nod and an expressive wink from the seaman, he exploded
again, and rolled backward on the grass, in the performance of which act
he capsized Zombo's can of tea, whereupon Zombo leaped upon him in
wrath, and Masiko, as in duty bound, came to the rescue.

"Clap a stopper on yer noise, will 'ee?" cried Disco sternly, "else
you'll be bringin' all the wild beasts in these parts down on us to see
wot it's all about."

"That reminds me," said Harold, when quiet was restored, "that we must
now organise ourselves into something of a fighting band--a company, as
it were, of soldiers,--and take our regular spell of watching by night,
for, from all that I hear of the disturbed state of the country just
now, with these runaway slaves and rebels, it will be necessary to be on
our guard.  Of course," he added, smiling, "I suppose I must be captain
of the company, and you, Disco, shall be lieutenant."

"Not at all," replied the seaman, shaking his head, and frowning at
Jumbo, whose brilliant teeth at once responded to the glance, "not at
all, none of your sodgerin' for me.  I never could abide the lobsters.
Fust-mate, sir, that's wot _I_ am, if I'm to be expected to do my
dooty."

"Well then, first-mate be it," rejoined Harold, "and Antonio shall be
serjeant-major--"

"Bo's'n--bo's'n," suggested Disco; "keep up appearances wotiver ye do,
an' don't let the memory of salt water go down."

"Very good," said Harold, laughing; "then you shall be boatswain,
Antonio, as well as cook, and I will instruct you in the first part of
your duty, which will be to keep watch for an hour while the rest of us
sleep.  My first-mate will teach you the whistling part of a boatswain's
duty, if that should be required--"

"Ah, and the roar," interrupted Disco, "a bo's'n would be nothin'
without his roar--"

At that moment the woods around them were filled with a tremendous and
very unexpected roar, which caused the whole party to spring up, and
induced the new bo's'n to utter a yell of terror that would have done
credit to the whistle of the most violent bo's'n on the sea.  Next
moment the travellers were surrounded by a large and excited band of
armed negroes.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

ENEMIES ARE CHANGED INTO FRIENDS--OUR TRAVELLERS PENETRATE INTO THE
INTERIOR OF THE LAND.

To possess the power of looking perfectly calm and unconcerned when you
are in reality considerably agitated and rather anxious, is extremely
useful in any circumstances, but especially so when one happens to be in
the midst of grinning, gesticulating, naked savages.

Our hero, Harold Seadrift possessed that power in an eminent degree, and
his first-mate, Disco Lillihammer, was not a whit behind him.  Although
both had started abruptly to their legs at the first alarm, and drawn
their respective revolvers, they no sooner found themselves surrounded
by overwhelming numbers than they lowered their weapons, and, turning
back to back, faced the intruders with calm countenances.

"Sit down, men, every one of you except Antonio," said Harold, in a
quiet, but clear and decided voice.

His men, who, having left their guns in the canoe, were utterly
helpless, quietly obeyed.

"Who are you, and what do you want?" demanded Antonio, by Harold's
order.

To this a tall negro, who was obviously the leader of the band, replied
in the native tongue,--"It matters little who we are; you are in our
power."

"Not quite," said Harold, slightly moving his revolver.  "Tell him that
he _may_ overcome us, but before he does so my friend and I carry the
lives of twelve of his men in our pistols."

The negro chief, who quite understood the powers of a revolver,
replied--"Tell your master, that before he could fire two shots, he and
his friend would have each twelve bullets in his body.  But I have not
time to palaver here.  Who are you, and where are you going?"

"We are Englishmen, travelling to see the country," replied Harold.

The chief looked doubtfully at him, and seemed to waver, then suddenly
making up his mind, he frowned and said sternly--"No; that is a lie.
You are Portuguese scoundrels.  You shall all die.  You have robbed us
of our liberty, our wives, our children, our homes; you have chained,
and tortured, and flogged us!"--he gnashed his teeth at this point, and
his followers grew excited.  "Now we have got free, and you are caught.
We will let you know what it is to be slaves."

As the negro chief stirred up his wrath by thus recounting his wrongs,
and advanced a step, Harold begged Disco, in a low, urgent voice, not to
raise his pistol.  Then looking the savage full in the face, without
showing a trace of anxiety, he said--"You are wrong.  We are indeed
Englishmen, and you know that the English detest slavery, and would, if
they could, put a stop to it altogether."

"Yes, I know that," said the chief.  "We have seen one Englishman here,
and he has made us to know that not all men with white faces are
devils--like the Portuguese and Arabs.  But how am I to know you are
English?"

Again the chief wavered a little, as if half-inclined to believe
Harold's statement.

"Here is proof for you," said Harold, pointing to Chimbolo, who, being
scarcely able to move, had remained all this time beside the fire
leaning on his elbow and listening intently to the conversation.  "See,"
he continued, "that is a slave.  Look at him."

As he said this, Harold stepped quickly forward and removed the blanket,
with which he had covered his lacerated back after dressing it.

A howl of execration burst from the band of negroes, who pointed their
spears and guns at the travellers' breasts, and would have made a speedy
end of the whole party if Antonio had not exclaimed "Speak, Chimbolo,
speak!"

The slave looked up with animation, and told the rebels how his
Portuguese owner had ordered him to be flogged to death, but changed his
mind and doomed him to be drowned,--how that in the nick of time, these
white men had rescued him, and had afterwards treated him with the
greatest kindness.

Chimbolo did not say much, but what he did say was uttered with emphasis
and feeling.  This was enough.  Those who would have been enemies were
suddenly converted into warm friends, and the desperadoes, who would
have torn their former masters, or any of their race, limb from limb, if
they could have got hold of them, left our adventurers undisturbed in
their bivouac, after wishing them a prosperous journey.

It was nevertheless deemed advisable to keep watch during the night.
This was done faithfully and conscientiously as far as it went.  Harold
took the first hour by way of example.  He sat over the fire,
alternately gazing into its embers while he meditated of home, and round
upon the dark forest while he thought of Africa.  True to time, he
called Disco, who, equally true to his sense of duty, turned out at once
with a deep "Ay, ay, sir."  The self-styled first-mate placed his back
against a tree, and, endeavouring to believe it to be a capstan, or
binnacle, or any other object appertaining to the sea, stared at the
ghostly stems of the forest-trees until they began to dance hornpipes
for his special gratification, or glowered at the shadows until they
became instinct with life, and all but induced him to rouse the camp
twenty times in the course of his hour's vigil.  True to time also, like
his predecessor, Disco roused Antonio and immediately turned in.

The vivacious _chef de cuisine_ started up at once, took up his position
at the foot of the tree which Disco had just left, leaned his back
against it, and straightway went to sleep, in which condition he
remained till morning, leaving the camp in unprotected felicity and
blissful ignorance.

Fortunately for all parties, Disco awoke in time to catch him napping,
and resolved to punish him.  He crept stealthily round to the back of
the tree against which the faithless man leaned, and reached gently
round until his mouth was close to Antonio's cheek, then, collecting all
the air that his vast lungs were capable of containing, he poured into
Antonio's ear a cumulative roar that threw the camp and the denizens of
the wilderness far and near into confusion, and almost drove the whole
marrow in Antonio's body out at his heels.  The stricken man sprang up
as if earth had shot him forth, uttered a yell of terror such as seldom
greets the ear, and rushed blindly forward.  Repeating the roar, Disco
plunged after him.  Antonio tumbled over the fire, recovered himself,
dashed on, and would certainly have plunged into the river, if not into
the jaws of a crocodile, had not Jumbo caught him in his arms, in the
midst of a chorus of laughter from the other men.

"How dare 'ee go to sleep on dooty?" demanded Disco, seizing the culprit
by the collar, "eh! we might have bin all murdered by rebels or eaten by
lions, or had our eyes picked out by gorillas, for all that _you_ would
have done to prevent it--eh?" giving him a shake.

"Oh, pardon, forgif.  Nevair doot more again," exclaimed the breathless
and trembling Antonio.

"You'd _better_ not!" said Disco, giving him another shake and releasing
him.

Having done so, he turned on his heel and bestowed a quiet look, in
passing, on Jumbo, which of course threw that unfortunate man into
convulsions.

After this little incident a hasty breakfast was taken, the canoes were
launched, and the voyage was continued.

It is not necessary to trace the course of our explorers day by day as
they ascended the Zambesi, or to recount all the adventures or
misadventures that befell them on their journey into the interior.  It
is sufficient for the continuity of our tale to say that many days after
leaving the coast they turned into the Shire river, which flows into the
Zambesi about 150 miles from the coast.

There are many fountain-heads of slavery in Africa.  The region of the
interior, which gives birth to the head-waters of the Shire river, is
one of the chief of these.  Here lies the great lake Nyassa, which was
discovered and partly explored by Dr Livingstone, and hence flows a
perennial stream of traffic to Kilwa, on the coast--which traffic, at
the present time, consists almost exclusively of the two kinds of ivory,
white and black, the former (elephants' tusks) being carried by the
latter (slaves), by which means the slave-trade is rendered more
profitable.

Towards this populous and fertile region, then, our adventurers directed
their course, when they turned out of the great river Zambesi and began
to ascend the Shire.

And here, at the very outset of this part of the journey, they met with
a Portuguese settler, who did more to open their eyes to the blighting
and withering influence of slavery on the land and on its people than
anything they had yet seen.

Towards the afternoon of the first day on the Shire, they landed near
the encampment of the settler referred to, who turned out to be a
gentleman of a Portuguese town on the Zambesi.

Harold found, to his delight, that he could speak English fluently, and
was, moreover, an exceedingly agreeable and well-informed man.  He was
out at the time on a hunting expedition, attended by a party of slaves.

Harold spent the evening in very pleasant intercourse with Senhor Gamba,
and at a later hour than usual returned to his camp, where he
entertained Disco with an account of his new acquaintance.

While thus engaged, he was startled by the most appalling shrieks, which
proceeded from the neighbouring encampment.  Under the impression that
something was wrong, both he and Disco leaped up and ran towards it.
There, to his amazement and horror, Harold beheld his agreeable friend
Senhor Gamba thrashing a young slave unmercifully with a whip of the
most formidable character.  Only a few lashes from it had been given
when Harold ran up, but these were so powerful that the unhappy victim
dropped down in a state of insensibility just as he reached the spot.

The Portuguese "gentleman" turned away from the prostrate slave with a
scowl, but betrayed a slight touch of confusion on meeting the gaze of
Harold Seadrift.

"Senhor!" exclaimed the latter sternly, with mingled remonstrance and
rebuke in his tone, "how _can_ you be so cruel?  What has the boy done
to merit such inhuman chastisement?"

"He has neglected my orders," answered the Portuguese, as though he
resented the tone in which Harold spoke.

"But surely, surely," said Harold, "the punishment is far beyond the
offence.  I can scarcely believe the evidence of my own eyes and ears
when they tell me that _you_ have been guilty of this."

"Come," returned Senhor Gamba, softening into a smile, "you English
cannot understand our case in this land.  Because you do not keep
slaves, you take the philanthropic, the religious view of the question.
We who do keep slaves have a totally different experience.  You cannot
understand, you cannot sympathise with us."

"No, truly, we can _not_ understand you," said Harold earnestly, "and
God forbid that we should ever sympathise with you in this matter.  We
detest the gross injustice of slavery, and we abhor the fearful
cruelties connected with it."

"That is because, as I said, you are not in our position," rejoined the
Senhor, with a shrug of his shoulders.  "It is easy for you to take the
philanthropic view, which, however, I admit to be the best, for in the
eyes of God all men are equal, and though the African be a degraded man,
I know enough of him to be sure that he can be raised by kindness and
religion into a position not very inferior to our own; but we who keep
slaves cannot help ourselves we _must_ act as we do."

"Why so?--is cruelty a necessity?" asked Harold.

"Yes, it is," replied the Senhor decidedly.

"Then the abolition of slavery is a needcessity too," growled Disco, who
had hitherto looked on and listened in silent wonder, debating with
himself as to the propriety of giving Senhor Gamba, then and there, a
sound thrashing with his own whip!

"You see," continued the Portuguese, paying no attention to Disco's
growl,--"You see, in order to live out here I must have slaves, and in
order to keep slaves I must have a whip.  My whip is no worse than any
other whip that I know of.  I don't justify it as right, I simply defend
it as necessary.  _Wherever slavery exists, discipline must of necessity
be brutal_.  If you keep slaves, and mean that they shall give you the
labour of their bodies, and of their minds also, in so far as you permit
them to have minds, you must degrade them by the whip and by all other
means at your disposal until, like dogs, they become the unhesitating
servants of your will, no matter what that will may be, and live for
your pleasure only.  It will never pay me to adopt your philanthropic,
your religious views.  I am here.  I _must_ be here.  What am I to do?
Starve?  No, not if I can help it.  I do as others do--keep slaves and
act as the master of slaves.  I must use the whip.  Perhaps you won't
believe me," continued Senhor Gamba, with a sad smile, "but I speak
truth when I say that I was tender-hearted when I first came to this
country, for I had been well nurtured in Lisbon; but that soon passed
away--it could not last.  I was the laughing-stock of my companions.
Just to explain my position, I will tell you a circumstance which
happened soon after I came here.  The Governor invited me to a party of
pleasure.  The party consisted of himself, his daughters, some officers,
and others.  We were to go in boats to a favourite island resort,
several miles off.  I took one of my slaves with me, a lad that I kept
about my person.  As we were going along, this lad fell into the river.
He could not swim, and the tide was carrying him fast away to death.
Dressed as I was, in full uniform, I plunged in after him and saved him.
The wish alone to save the boy's life prompted me to risk my own.  And
for this I became the jest of the party; even the ladies tittered at my
folly.  Next evening the Governor had a large dinner-party.  I was
there.  Having caught cold, I coughed slightly; this drew attention to
me.  Remarks were made, and the Governor alluded in scoffing terms to my
exploit, which created much mirth.  `Were you drunk?' said one.  `Had
you lost your senses, to risk your life for a brute of a negro?' said
another.  `Rather than spoil my uniform, I would have knocked him on the
head with a pole,' said a third; and it was a long time before what they
termed my folly was forgotten or forgiven.  You think I am worse than
others.  I am not; but I do not condescend to their hypocrisy.  What I
am now, I have been made by this country and its associates."  [These
words are not fictitious.  The remarks of Senhor Gamba were actually
spoken by a Portuguese slave-owner, and will be found in _The Story of
the Universities' Mission to Central Africa_, pages 64-5-6.]

Senhor Gamba said this with the air of one who thinks that he has
nearly, if not quite, justified himself.  "I am no worse than others,"
is an excuse for evil conduct, not altogether unknown in more highly
favoured lands, and is often followed by the illogical conclusion,
"therefore I am not to blame," but although Harold felt pity for his
agreeable chance acquaintance, he could not admit that this explanation
excused him, nor could he get over the shock which his feelings had
sustained; it was, therefore, with comparatively little regret that he
bade him adieu on the following morning, and pursued his onward way.

Everywhere along the Shire they met with a more or less hospitable
reception from the natives, who regarded them with great favour, in
consequence of their belonging to the same nation which had sent forth
men to explore their country, defend them from the slave-dealer, and
teach them about the true God.  These men, of whom mention is made in
another chapter, had, some time before this, been sent by the Church of
England to the Manganja highlands, at the suggestion of Dr Livingstone,
and laid, we believe, the foundation-stone of Christian civilisation in
the interior of Africa, though God saw fit to arrest them in the raising
of the superstructure.

Among other pieces of useful knowledge conveyed by them to the negroes
of the Shire, was the fact that Englishmen are not cannibals, and that
they have no special longings after black man steaks!

It may perchance surprise some readers to learn that black men ever
entertain such a preposterous notion.  Nevertheless, it is literally
true.  The slavers--Arabs and Portuguese--find it in their interest to
instil this falsehood into the minds of the ignorant tribes of the
interior, from whom the slaves are gathered, in order that their
captives may entertain a salutary horror of Englishmen, so that if their
dhows should be chased by our cruisers while creeping northward along
the coast and run the risk of being taken, the slaves may willingly aid
their captors in trying to escape.  That the lesson has been well learnt
and thoroughly believed is proved by the fact that when a dhow is
obliged to run ashore to avoid capture, the slaves invariably take to
the woods on the wings of terror, preferring, no doubt to be re-enslaved
rather than to be roasted and eaten by white fiends.  Indeed, so
thoroughly has this been engrained into the native mind, that mothers
frequently endeavour to overawe their refractory offspring by
threatening to hand them over to the dreadful white monster who will eat
them up if they don't behave!



CHAPTER EIGHT.

RELATES ADVENTURES IN THE SHIRE VALLEY, AND TOUCHES ON ONE OR TWO PHASES
OF SLAVERY.

Everything depends upon taste, as the monkey remarked when it took to
nibbling the end of its own tail!  If you like a thing, you take one
view of it; if you don't like it, you take another view.  Either view,
if detailed, would be totally irreconcilable with the other.

The lower part of the river Shire, into which our travellers had now
entered, is a vast swamp.  There are at least two opinions in regard to
that region.  To do justice to those with whom we don't sympathise, we
give our opponent's view first.  Our opponent, observe, is an honest and
competent man; he speaks truly; he only looks at it in another light
from Harold Seadrift and Disco Lillihammer.

He says of the river Shire, "It drains a low and exceedingly fertile
valley of from fifteen to twenty miles in breadth.  Ranges of wooded
hills bound this valley on both sides.  After the first twenty miles you
come to Mount Morambala, which rises with steep sides to 4000 feet in
height.  It is wooded to the top, and very beautiful.  A small village
peeps out about half-way up the mountain.  It has a pure, bracing
atmosphere, and is perched above mosquito range.  The people on the
summit have a very different climate and vegetation from those on the
plains, and they live amidst luxuriant vegetation.  There are many
species of ferns, some so large as to deserve the name of trees.  There
are also lemon and orange trees growing wild, and birds and animals of
all kinds."  Thus far we agree with our opponent but listen to him as he
goes on:--

"The view from Morambala is extensive, but cheerless past description.
Swamp, swamp-reeking, festering, rotting, malaria-pregnant swamp, where
poisonous vapours for several months in the year are ever bulging up and
out into the air,--lies before you as far as the eye can reach, and
farther.  If you enter the river at the worst seasons of the year, the
chances are you will take the worst type of fever.  If, on the other
hand, you enter it during the best season, when the swamps are fairly
dried up, you have everything in your favour."

Now, our opponent gives a true statement of facts undoubtedly, but his
view of them is not cheering.

Contrast them with the view of Disco Lillihammer.  That sagacious seaman
had entered the Shire neither in the "best" nor the "worst" of the
season.  He had chanced upon it somewhere between the two.

"Git up your steam an' go 'longside," he said to Jumbo one afternoon, as
the two canoes were proceeding quietly among magnificent giant-reeds,
sedges, and bulrushes, which towered high above them--in some places
overhung them.

"I say, Mister Harold, ain't it splendid?"

"Magnificent!" replied Harold with a look of quiet enthusiasm.

"I _does_ enjoy a swamp," continued the seaman, allowing a thin cloud to
trickle from his lips.

"So do I, Disco."

"There's such a many outs and ins an' roundabouts in it.  And such
powerful reflections o' them reeds in the quiet water.  W'y, sir, I do
declare w'en I looks through 'em in a dreamy sort of way for a long time
I get to fancy they're palm-trees, an' that we're sailin' through a
forest without no end to it; an' when I looks over the side an' sees
every reed standin' on its other self, so to speak, an' follers the
under one down till my eyes git lost in the blue sky an' clouds _below_
us, I do sometimes feel as if we'd got into the middle of fairy-land,--
was fairly afloat on the air, an' off on a voyage through the univarse!
But it's them reflections as I like most.  Every leaf, an' stalk, an'
flag is just as good an' real _in_ the water as out of it.  An' just
look at that there frog, sir, that one on the big leaf which has swelled
hisself up as if he wanted to bust, with his head looking up hopefully
to the--ah! he's down with a plop like lead, but he wos sittin' on his
own image which wos as clear as his own self.  Then there's so much
variety, sir--that's where it is.  You never know wot you're comin' to
in them swamps.  It may be a openin' like a pretty lake, with islands of
reeds everywhere; or it may be a narrow bit like a canal, or a river; or
a bit so close that you go scrapin' the gun'les on both sides.  An' the
life, too, is most amazin'.  Never saw nothin' like it nowhere.  All
kinds, big an' little, plain an' pritty, queer an' 'orrible, swarms here
to sitch an extent that I've got it into my head that this Shire valley
must be the great original nursery of animated nature."

"It looks like it, Disco."

The last idea appeared to furnish food for reflection, as the two
friends here relapsed into silence.

Although Disco's description was quaint, it could scarcely be styled
exaggerated, for the swamp was absolutely alive with animal life.  The
principal occupant of these marshes is the elephant, and hundreds of
these monster animals may be seen in one herd, feeding like cattle in a
meadow.  Owing to the almost impenetrable nature of the reedy jungle,
however, it is impossible to follow them, and anxious though Disco was
to kill one, he failed to obtain a single shot.  Buffaloes and other
large game were also numerous in this region, and in the water
crocodiles and hippopotami sported about everywhere, while aquatic birds
of every shape and size rendered the air vocal with their cries.
Sometimes these feathered denizens of the swamp arose, when startled, in
a dense cloud so vast that the mighty rush of their wings was almost
thunderous in character.

The crocodiles were not only numerous but dangerous because of their
audacity.  They used to watch at the places where native women were in
the habit of going down to the river for water, and not unfrequently
succeeded in seizing a victim.  This, however, only happened at those
periods when the Shire was in flood, when fish were driven from their
wonted haunts, and the crocodiles were reduced to a state of starvation
and consequent ferocity.

One evening, while our travellers were proceeding slowly up stream, they
observed the corpse of a negro boy floating past the canoe; just then a
monstrous crocodile rushed at it with the speed of a greyhound, caught
it and shook it as a terrier does a rat.  Others dashed at the prey,
each with his powerful tail causing the water to churn and froth as he
tore off a piece.  In a few seconds all was gone.  [Livingstone's
_Zambesi and its Tributaries_, page 452.] That same evening Zombo had a
narrow escape.  After dusk he ran down to the river to drink.  He
chanced to go to a spot where a crocodile was watching.  It lay settled
down in the mud with its head on a level with the water, so that in the
feeble light it could not be seen.  While Zombo was busy laving the
water into his mouth it suddenly rushed at him and caught him by the
hand.  The limb of a bush was fortunately within reach, and he laid hold
of it.  There was a brief struggle.  The crocodile tugged hard, but the
man tugged harder; at the same time he uttered a yell which brought
Jumbo to his side with an oar, a blow from which drove the hideous
reptile away.  Poor Zombo was too glad to have escaped with his life to
care much about the torn hand, which rendered him _hors de combat_ for
some time after that.

Although Disco failed to get a shot at an elephant, his hopeful spirit
was gratified by the catching of a baby elephant alive.  It happened
thus:--

One morning, not very long after Zombo's tussle with the crocodile,
Disco's canoe, which chanced to be in advance, suddenly ran almost into
the midst of a herd of elephants which were busy feeding on palm-nuts,
of which they are very fond.  Instantly the whole troop scattered and
fled.  Disco, taken completely by surprise, omitted his wonted "Hallo!"
as he made an awkward plunge at his rifle, but before he could bring it
to bear, the animals were over the bank of the river and lost in the
dense jungle.  But a fine little elephant, at that period of life which,
in human beings, might be styled the toddling age, was observed to
stumble while attempting to follow its mother up the bank.  It fell and
rolled backwards.

"Give way for your lives!" roared Disco.

The boat shot its bow on the bank, and the seaman flew rather than
leaped upon the baby elephant!

The instant it was laid hold of it began to scream with incessant and
piercing energy after the fashion of a pig.

"Queek! come in canoe!  Modder come back for 'im," cried Jumbo in some
anxiety.

Disco at once appreciated the danger of the enraged mother returning to
the rescue, but, resolved not to resign his advantage, he seized the
vicious little creature by the proboscis and dragged it by main force to
the canoe, into which he tumbled, hauled the proboscis inboard, as
though it had been the bite of a cable, and held on.

"Shove off! shove off! and give way, lads!  Look alive!"

The order was promptly obeyed, and in a few minutes the baby was dragged
into the boat and secured.

This prize, however, was found to be more of a nuisance than an
amusement and it was soon decided that it must be disposed of.
Accordingly, that very night, much to the regret of the men who wanted
to make a meal of it, Disco led his baby squealing into the jungle and
set it free with a hearty slap on the flank, and an earnest
recommendation to make all sail after its venerable mother, which it did
forthwith, cocking its ears and tail, and shrieking as it went.

Two days after this event they made a brief halt at a poor village where
they were hospitably received by the chief, who was much gratified by
the liberal quantity of calico with which the travellers paid for their
entertainment.  Here they met with a Portuguese half-caste who was
reputed one of the greatest monsters of cruelty in that part of the
country.  He was, however, not much more villainous in aspect than many
other half-castes whom they saw.  He was on his way to the coast in a
canoe manned by slaves.  If Harold and Disco had known that this was his
last journey to the coast they would have regarded him with greater
interest.  As it was, having learned his history from the chief through
their interpreter, they turned from him with loathing.

As this half-caste's career illustrates the depths to which humanity may
fall in the hot-bed of slavery, as well as, to some extent, the state of
things existing under Portuguese rule on the east coast of Africa, we
give the particulars briefly.

Instead of the whip, this man used the gun, which he facetiously styled
his "minister of justice," and, in mere wantonness, he was known to have
committed murder again and again, yet no steps were taken by the
authorities to restrain, much less to punish him.  Men heard of his
murders, but they shrugged their shoulders and did nothing.  It was only
a wild beast of a negro that was killed, they said, and what was that!
They seemed to think less of it than if he had shot a hippopotamus.  One
of his murders was painfully notorious, even to its minutest
particulars.  Over the female slaves employed in a house and adjacent
lands there is usually placed a head-woman, a slave also, chosen for
such an office for her blind fidelity to her master.  This man had one
such woman, one who had ever been faithful to him and his interests, who
had never provoked him by disobedience or ill-conduct, and against whom,
therefore, he could have no cause of complaint.  One day when half drunk
he was lying on a couch in his house; his forewoman entered and made
herself busy with some domestic work.  As her master lay watching her,
his savage disposition found vent in a characteristic joke: "Woman,"
said he, "I think I will shoot you."  The woman turned round and said,
"Master, I am your slave; you can do what you will with me.  You can
kill me if you like; I can do nothing.  But don't kill me, master, for
if you do, who is there to look after your other women? they will all
run away from you."

She did not mean to irritate her master, but instantly the man's brutal
egotism was aroused.  The savage jest became a fearful reality, and he
shouted with rage:--

"Say you that! say you that! fetch me my gun.  I will see if my women
will run away after I have killed you."

Trained to implicit obedience, the poor woman did as she was bid.  She
brought the gun and handed him powder and ball.  At his command she
knelt down before him, and the wretch fired at her breast.  In his
drunken rage he missed his mark--the ball went through her shoulder.
She besought him to spare her.  Deaf to her entreaties, he ordered her
to fetch more powder and ball.  Though wounded and in agony, she obeyed
him.  Again the gun was loaded, again levelled and fired, and the woman
fell dead at his feet.  [The above narrative is quoted almost _verbatim_
from _The Story of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa_, pages
78 and 79, the author of which vouches for its accuracy.]

The facts of this case were known far and wide.  The Portuguese Governor
was acquainted with them, as well as the ministers of justice, but no
one put forth a hand to punish the monster, or to protect his slaves.

But vengeance overtook him at last.  On his way down the Zambesi he shot
one of his men.  The others, roused to irresistible fury, sprang upon
him and strangled him.

_Then_, indeed, the Governor and Magistrates were roused to administer
"justice!"  They had allowed this fiend to murder slaves at his will,
but no sooner had the slaves turned on and killed their master than
ceaseless energy and resolution were displayed in punishing those who
slew him.  Soldiers were sent out in all directions; some of the
canoe-men were shot down like wild beasts, the rest were recaptured and
publicly whipped to death!

Reader, this is "domestic slavery."  This is what Portugal and Zanzibar
claim the right to practise.  This is what Great Britain has for many
years declined to interfere with.  This is the curse with which Africa
is blighted at the present day in some of her fairest lands, and this is
what Portugal has decreed shall not terminate in what she calls her
African dominions for some years to come.  In other words, it has been
coolly decreed by that weakest of all the European nations, that
slavery, murder, injustice, and every other conceivable and
unmentionable vice and villainy shall still, for some considerable time,
continue to be practised on the men, women, and children of Africa!

Higher up the Shire river, the travellers saw symptoms of recent
distress among the people, which caused them much concern.  Chimbolo, in
particular, was rendered very anxious by the account given of the famine
which prevailed still farther up the river, and the numerous deaths that
had taken place in consequence.

The cause of the distress was a common one, and easily explained.
Slave-dealers had induced the Ajawa, a warlike tribe, to declare war
against the people of the Manganja highlands.  The Ajawa had done this
before, and were but too ready to do it again.  They invaded the land,
captured many of the young people, and slew the aged.  Those who escaped
to the jungle found on their return that their crops were destroyed.
Little seed remained in their possession, and before that was planted
and grown, famine began to reduce the ranks, already thinned by war.

Indications of this sad state of things became more numerous as the
travellers advanced.  Few natives appeared to greet them on the banks of
the river as they went along, and these few resembled living skeletons.
In many places they found dead bodies lying on the ground in various
stages of decomposition, and everywhere they beheld an aspect of settled
unutterable despair on the faces of the scattered remnant of the
bereaved and starving people.

It was impossible, in the circumstances, for Harold Seadrift to give
these wretched people more than very slight relief.  He gave them as
much of his stock of provisions as he could spare, and was glad when the
necessity of continuing the journey on foot relieved him from such
mournful scenes by taking him away from the river's bank.

Hiring a party of the strongest men that he could find among them, he at
length left his canoes, made up his goods, food, and camp-equipage into
bundles of a shape and size suitable to being carried on the heads of
men, and started on foot for the Manganja highlands.

"Seems to me, sir," observed Disco, as they plodded along together on
the first morning of the land journey--"seems to me, sir, that Chimbolo
don't stand much chance of findin' his wife alive."

"Poor fellow," replied Harold, glancing back at the object of their
remarks, "I fear not."

Chimbolo had by that time recovered much of his natural vigour, and
although not yet able to carry a man's load, was nevertheless quite
capable of following the party.  He walked in silence, with his eyes on
the ground, a few paces behind Antonio, who was a step or two in rear of
his leader, and who, in virtue of his position as "bo's'n" to the party,
was privileged to walk hampered by no greater burden than his gun.

"We must keep up his sperrits, tho', poor chap," said Disco, in the
hoarse whisper with which he was wont to convey secret remarks, and
which was much more fitted to attract attention than his ordinary voice.
"It 'ud never do to let his sperrits down; 'cause w'y? he's weak, an'
if he know'd that his wife was dead, or took off as a slave, he'd never
be able to go along with us, and we couldn't leave him to starve here,
you know."

"Certainly not, Disco," returned Harold.  "Besides, his wife _may_ be
alive, for all we know to the contrary.--How far did he say the village
was from where we landed, Antonio?"

"'Bout two, t'ree days," answered the bo's'n.

That night the party encamped beside the ruins of a small hamlet where
charred sticks and fragments of an African household's goods and
chattels lay scattered on the ground.

Chimbolo sat down here on the ground, and, resting his chin on his
knees, gazed in silence at the ruin around him.

"Come, cheer up, old fellow," cried Disco, with rather an awkward effort
at heartiness, as he slapped the negro gently on the shoulder; "tell
him, Antonio, not to let his heart go down.  Didn't he say that
what-dee-call-the-place--his village--was a strong place, and could be
easily held by a few brave men?"

"True," replied Chimbolo, through the interpreter, "but the Manganja men
are not very brave."

"Well, well, never mind," rejoined the sympathetic tar, repeating his
pat on the back, "there's no sayin'.  P'raps they got courage w'en it
came to the scratch.  P'raps it never came to the scratch at all up
there.  Mayhap you'll find 'em all right after all.  Come, never say die
s'long as there's a shot in the locker.  That's a good motto for 'ee,
Chimbolo, and ought to keep up your heart even tho' ye _are_ a nigger,
'cause it wos inwented by the great Nelson, and shouted by him, or his
bo's'n, just before he got knocked over at the glorious battle of
Trafalgar.  Tell him that, Antonio."

Whether Antonio told him all that, is extremely doubtful, although he
complied at once with the order, for Antonio never by any chance
declined at least to attempt the duties of his station, but the only
effect of his speech was that Chimbolo shook his head and continued to
stare at the ruins.

Next morning they started early, and towards evening drew near to Zomba.

The country through which, during the previous two days, they had
travelled, was very beautiful, and as wild as even Disco could desire--
and, by the way, it was no small degree of wildness that could slake the
thirst for the marvellous which had been awakened in the breast of our
tar, by his recent experiences in Africa.  It was, he said--and said
truly--a real out-and-out wilderness.  There were villages everywhere,
no doubt but these were so thickly concealed by trees and jungle that
they were not easily seen, and most of them were at that time almost
depopulated.  The grass was higher than the heads of the travellers, and
the vegetation everywhere was rankly luxuriant.  Here and there open
glades allowed the eye to penetrate into otherwise impenetrable bush.
Elsewhere, large trees abounded in the midst of overwhelmingly
affectionate parasites, whose gnarled lower limbs and twining tendrils
and pendant foliage gave a softness to the landscape, which contrasted
well with the wild passes and rugged rocks of the middle distance, and
the towering mountains which rose, range beyond range, in the far
distance.

But as the party approached the neighbourhood of Zomba mountains, few of
them were disposed to give much heed to the beauties of nature.  All
being interested in Chimbolo, they became more or less anxious as to
news that awaited him.

On turning a spur of one of the mountains which had hitherto barred
their vision, they found themselves suddenly face to face with a small
band of Manganja men, whose woe-begone countenances told too eloquently
that the hand of the destroyer had been heavy upon them.

Of course they were questioned by Chimbolo, and the replies they gave
him were such as to confirm the fears he had previously entertained.

The Ajawa, they said, had, just the day before, burnt their villages,
stolen or destroyed their property, killed many of their kinsmen, and
carried off their wives and children for slaves.  They themselves had
escaped, and were now on their way to visit their chief, who was at that
time on the banks of the Zambesi, to beg of him to return, in order that
he might bewitch the guns of the Ajawa, and so render them harmless!

"Has a woman of your tribe, named Marunga, been slain or captured?"
asked Chimbolo eagerly.

To this the men replied that they could not tell.  Marunga, they said,
was known well to them by name and sight.  They did not think she was
among the captives, but could not tell what had become of her, as the
village where she and her little boy lived had been burnt, and all who
had not been killed or captured had taken to the bush.  Marunga's
husband, they added, was a man named Chimbolo--not a Manganja man, but a
friend of the tribe--who had been taken by the slavers, under command of
a Portuguese half-caste named Marizano, about two years before that
time.

Chimbolo winced as though he had been stung when Marizano's name was
mentioned, and a dark frown contracted his brows when he told the
Manganja men that _he_ was Chimbolo, and that he was even then in search
of Marunga and her little boy.

When all this had been explained to Harold Seadrift he told the men that
it was a pity to waste time in travelling such a long way to see their
chief, who could not, even if he wished, bewitch the guns of the Ajawa,
and advised them to turn back and guide him and his men to the place
where the attack had been made on the Manganja, so that a search might
be made in the bush for those of the people who had escaped.

This was agreed to, and the whole party proceeded on their way with
increased speed, Chimbolo and Harold hoping they might yet find that
Marunga had escaped, and Disco earnestly desiring that they might only
fall in with the Ajawa and have a brush with them, in which case he
assured the negroes he would show them a way of bewitching their guns
that would beat their chief's bewitchment all to sticks and stivers!

The village in which Marunga had dwelt was soon reached.  It was, as
they had been told by their new friends, a heap of still smouldering
ashes; but it was not altogether destitute of signs of life.  A dog was
observed to slink away into the bush as they approached.

The moment Chimbolo observed it he darted into the bush after it.

"Hallo!" exclaimed Disco in surprise; "that nigger seems to have took a
sudden fancy to the cur?--Eh, Antonio, wot's the reason of that, think
'ee?"

"Dunno; s'pose where dog be mans be?"

"Ah! or womans," suggested Disco.

"Or womans," assented Antonio.

Just then they heard Chimbolo's shout, which was instantly followed by a
succession of female shrieks.  These latter were repeated several times,
and sounded as though the fugitives were scattering.

"Hims find a nest of womins!" exclaimed Jumbo, throwing down his load
and dashing away into the bush.

Every individual of the party followed his example, not excepting Harold
and Disco, the latter of whom was caught by the leg, the moment he left
the track, by a wait-a-bit thorn--most appropriately so-called, because
its powerful spikes are always ready to seize and detain the unwary
passer-by.  In the present instance it checked the seaman's career for a
few seconds, and rent his nether garments sadly; while Harold, profiting
by his friend's misfortune, leaped over the bush, and passed on.  Disco
quickly extricated himself, and followed.

They were not left far behind, and overtook their comrades just as they
emerged on an open space, or glade, at the extremity of which a sight
met their eyes that filled them with astonishment, for there a troop of
women and one or two boys were seen walking towards them, with Chimbolo
in front, having a child on his left shoulder, and performing a sort of
insane war-dance round one of the women.

"He's catched her!" exclaimed Disco, with excited looks, just as if
Chimbolo had been angling unsuccessfully for a considerable time, and
had hooked a stupendous fish at last.

And Disco was right.  A few of the poor creatures who were so recently
burnt out of their homes, and had lost most of those dearest to them,
had ventured, as if drawn by an irresistible spell, to return with timid
steps to the scene of their former happiness, but only to have their
worst fears confirmed.  Their homes, their protectors, their children,
their hopes, all were gone at one fell swoop.  Only one among them--one
who, having managed to save her only child, had none to mourn over, and
no one to hope to meet with--only one returned to a joyful meeting.  We
need scarcely say that this was Marunga.

The fact was instantly made plain to the travellers by the wild manner
in which Chimbolo shouted her name, pointed to her, and danced round
her, while he showed all his glistening teeth and as much of the whites
of his eyes as was consistent with these members remaining in their
orbits.

Really it was quite touching, in spite of its being ludicrous, the way
in which the poor fellow poured forth his joy like a very child,--which
he was in everything except years; and Harold could not help
remembering, and recalling to Disco's memory, Yoosoof's observations
touching the hardness of negroes' hearts, and their want of natural
affection, on the morning when his dhow was captured by the boat of the
"Firefly."

The way in which, ever and anon, Chimbolo kissed his poor but now happy
wife, was wondrously similar to the mode in which white men perform that
little operation, except that there was more of an unrefined smack in
it.  The tears which _would_ hop over his sable cheeks now and then
sparkled to the full as brightly as European tears, and were perhaps
somewhat bigger; and the pride with which he regarded his little son,
holding him in both hands out at arms'-length, was only excelled by the
joy and the tremendous laugh with which he received a kick on the nose
from that undutiful son's black little toes.

But Yoosoof never chanced to be present when such exhibitions of negro
feeling and susceptibility took place.  How could he, seeing that men
and women and children--if black--fled from him, and such as he, in
abject terror?  Neither did Yoosoof ever chance to be present when women
sat down beside their blackened hearths, as they did that night, and
quietly wept as though their hearts would burst at the memory of little
voices and manly tones--not silent in death, but worse than that--gone,
gone _for ever_!  Doubtless they felt though they never heard of, and
could not in words express, the sentiment--

  "Oh for the touch of a vanished hand,
  And the sound of a voice that is still."

Yoosoof knew not of, and cared nothing for, such feelings as these.  We
ask again, how could he?  His only experience of the negro was when
cowering before him as a slave, or when yelling in agony under his
terrible lash, or when brutalised and rendered utterly apathetic by
inhuman cruelty.

Harold learned, that night on further conversation with the Manganja
men, that a raid had recently been made into those regions by more than
one band of slavers, sent out to capture men and women by the Portuguese
half-castes of the towns of Senna and Tette, on the Zambesi, and that
they had been carrying the inhabitants out of the country at the rate of
about two hundred a week.

This however was but a small speck, so to speak, of the mighty work of
kidnapping human beings that was going on--that is _still_ going on in
those regions.  Yoosoof would have smiled--he never laughed--if you had
mentioned such a number as being large.

But in truth he cared nothing about such facts, except in so far as they
represented a large amount of profit accrueing to himself.

The result of Harold Seadrift's cogitations on these matters was that he
resolved to pass through as much of the land as he could within a
reasonable time, and agreed to accompany Chimbolo on a visit to his
tribe, which dwelt at some distance to the north of the Manganja
highlands.



CHAPTER NINE.

IN WHICH A SAVAGE CHIEF ASTONISHES A SAVAGE ANIMAL.

There is something exceedingly pleasant in the act of watching--
ourselves unseen--the proceedings of some one whose aims and ends appear
to be very mysterious.  There is such a wide field of speculation opened
up in which to expatiate, such a vast amount of curious, we had almost
said romantic, expectation created; all the more if the individual whom
we observe be a savage, clothed in an unfamiliar and very scanty garb,
and surrounded by scenery and circumstances which, albeit strange to us,
are evidently by no means new to him.

Let us--you and me, reader,--quitting for a time the sad subject of
slavery, and leaping, as we are privileged to do, far ahead of our
explorers Harold Seadrift and his company, into the region of Central
Africa; let you and me take up a position in a clump of trees by the
banks of yonder stream, and watch the proceedings of that negro--negro
chief let me say, for he looks like one,--who is engaged in some
mysterious enterprise under the shade of a huge baobab tree.

The chief is a fine, stately, well-developed specimen of African
manhood.  He is clothed in black tights manufactured in nature's loom,
in addition to which he wears round his loins a small scrap of
artificial cotton cloth.  If an enthusiastic member of the Royal Academy
were in search of a model which should combine the strength of Hercules
with the grace of Apollo, he could not find a better than the man before
us, for, you will observe, the more objectionable points about _our_
ideal of the negro are not very prominent in him.  His lips are not
thicker than the lips of many a roast-beef-loving John Bull.  His nose
is not flat, and his heels do not protrude unnecessarily.  True, his
hair is woolly, but that is scarcely a blemish.  It might almost be
regarded as the crisp and curly hair that surrounds a manly skull.  His
skin is black--no doubt about that, but then it is _intensely_ black and
glossy, suggestive of black satin, and having no savour of that
dirtiness which is inseparably connected with whitey-brown.  Tribes in
Africa differ materially in many respects, physically and mentally, just
as do the various tribes of Europe.

This chief, as we have hinted, is a "savage;" that is to say, he differs
in many habits and points from "civilised" people.  Among other
peculiarities, he clothes himself and his family in the fashion that is
best suited to the warm climate in which he dwells.  This display of
wisdom is, as you know, somewhat rare among civilised people, as any one
may perceive who observes how these over-clothe the upper parts of their
children, and leave their tender little lower limbs exposed to the
rigours of northern latitudes, while, as if to make up for this
inconsistency by an inconsistent counterpoise, they swathe their own
tough and mature limbs in thick flannel from head to foot.

It is however simple justice to civilised people to add here that a few
of them, such as a portion of the Scottish Highlanders, are consistent
inasmuch as the men clothe themselves similarly to the children.

Moreover, our chief, being a savage, takes daily a sufficient amount of
fresh air and exercise, which nine-tenths of civilised men refrain from
doing, on the economic and wise principle, apparently, that engrossing
and unnatural devotion to the acquisition of wealth, fame, or knowledge,
will enable them at last to spend a few paralytic years in the enjoyment
of their gains.  No doubt civilised people have the trifling little
drawback of innumerable ills, to which they say (erroneously, we think)
that flesh is heir, and for the cure of which much of their wealth is
spent in supporting an army of doctors.  Savages know nothing of
indigestion, and in Central Africa they have no medical men.

There is yet another difference which we may point out: savages have no
literature.  They cannot read or write therefore, and have no permanent
records of the deeds of their forefathers.  Neither have they any
religion worthy of the name.  This is indeed a serious evil, one which
civilised people of course deplore, yet, strange to say, one which
consistency prevents some civilised people from remedying in the case of
African savages, for it would be absurdly inconsistent in Arab
Mohammedans to teach the negroes letters and the doctrines of their
faith with one hand, while with the other they lashed them to death or
dragged them into perpetual slavery; and it would be equally
inconsistent in Portuguese Christians to teach the negroes to read
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to
them," while "domestic slavery" is, in their so-called African
territories, claimed as a right and the traffic connected with it
sanctioned.

Yes, there are many points of difference between civilised people and
savages, and we think it right to point this out very clearly, good
reader, because the man at whom you and I are looking just now is a
savage.

Of course, being capable of reading this book, you are too old to
require to be told that there is nothing of our _nursery_ savage about
him.  That peculiar abortion was born and bred in the nursery, and
dwells only there, and was never heard of beyond civilised lands--
although something not unlike him, alas! may be seen here and there
among the lanes and purlieus where our drunkards and profligates resort.
No; our savage chief does not roar, or glare, or chatter, or devour his
food in its blood like the giant of the famous Jack.  He carries himself
like a man, and a remarkably handsome man too, with his body firm and
upright, and his head bent a little forward, with his eyes fixed on the
ground, as if in meditation, while he walks along.

But a truce to digressive explanation.  Let us follow him.

Reaching the banks of the river, he stops, and, standing in an attitude
worthy of Apollo, though he is not aware that we are looking at him,
gazes first up the stream and then down.  This done, he looks across,
after which he tries to penetrate the depths of the water with his eye.

As no visible result follows, he wisely gives up staring and wishing,
and apparently resolves to attain his ends by action.  Felling a small
tree, about as thick as his thigh, with an iron hatchet he cuts off it a
length of about six feet.  Into one end of this he drives a
sharp-pointed hard-wood spike, several inches long, and to the other end
attaches a stout rope made of the fibrous husk of the cocoa-nut.  The
point of the spike he appears to anoint--probably a charm of some
kind,--and then suspends the curious instrument over a forked stick at a
considerable height from the ground, to which he fastens the other end
of the rope.  This done, he walks quietly away with an air of as much
self-satisfaction as if he had just performed a generous deed.

Well, is that all?  Nay, if that were all we should owe you a humble
apology.  Our chief, "savage" though he be, is not insane.  He _has_ an
object in view--which is more than can be said of everybody.

He has not been long gone, an hour or two, when the smooth surface of
the river is broken in several places, and out burst two or three heads
of hippopotami.  Although, according to Disco Lillihammer, the
personification of ugliness, these creatures do not the less enjoy their
existence.  They roll about in the stream like puncheons, dive under one
another playfully, sending huge waves to the banks on either side.  They
gape hideously with their tremendous jaws, which look as though they had
been split much too far back in the head by a rude hatchet--the tops of
all the teeth having apparently been lopped off by the same clumsy blow.
They laugh too, with a demoniacal "Ha! ha! ha!" as if they rejoiced in
their excessive plainness, and knew that we--you and I, reader--are
regarding them with disgust, not unmingled with awe.

Presently one of the herd betakes himself to the land.  He is tired of
play, and means to feed.  Grass appears to be his only food, and to
procure this he must needs go back from the river a short way, his
enormous lips, like an animated mowing-machine, cutting a track of short
cropped grass as he waddles along.

The form of that part of the bank is such that he is at least inclined,
if not constrained, to pass directly under the suspended beam.  Ha! we
understand the matter now.  Most people do understand, when a thing
becomes obviously plain.  The hippopotamus wants grass for supper; the
"savage" chief wants hippopotamus.  Both set about arranging their plans
for their respective ends.  The hippopotamus passes close to the forked
stick, and touches the cord which sustains it in air like the sword of
Damocles.  Down comes the beam, driving the spike deep into his back.  A
cry follows, something between a grunt, a squeak, and a yell, and the
wounded animal falls, rolls over, jumps up, with unexpected agility for
such a sluggish, unwieldy creature, and rumbles, rushes, rolls, and
stumbles back into the river, where his relatives take to flight in
mortal terror.  The unfortunate beast might perhaps recover from the
wound, were it not that the spike has been tipped with poison.  The
result is that he dies in about an hour.  Not long afterwards the chief
returns with a band of his followers, who, being experts in the use of
the knife and hatchet, soon make mince-meat of their game--laden with
which they return in triumph to their homes.

Let us follow them thither.



CHAPTER TEN.

DESCRIBES AFRICAN DOMESTICITY, AND MANY OTHER THINGS RELATIVE THERETO,
BESIDES SHOWING THAT ALARMS AND FLIGHTS, SURPRISES AND FEASTS, ARE NOT
CONFINED TO PARTICULAR PLACES.

When our negro chief--whose name, by the way, was Kambira--left the
banks of the river, followed by his men bearing the hippopotamus-flesh,
he set off at a swinging pace, like to a man who has a considerable walk
before him.

The country through which they passed was not only well wooded, but well
watered by numerous rivulets.  Their path for some distance tended
upwards towards the hills, now crossing over mounds, anon skirting the
base of precipitous rocks, and elsewhere dipping down into hollows; but
although thus serpentine in its course, its upward tendency never varied
until it led them to the highest parts of a ridge from which a
magnificent prospect was had of hill and dale, lake, rivulet and river,
extending so far that the distant scenery at the horizon appeared of a
thin pearly-grey colour, and of the same consistency as the clouds with
which it mingled.

Passing over this ridge, and descending into a wide valley which was
fertilised and beautified by a moderately-sized rivulet, Kambira led his
followers towards a hamlet which lay close to the stream, nestled in a
woody hollow, and, like all other Manganja villages, was surrounded by
an impenetrable hedge of poisonous euphorbia--a tree which casts a deep
shade, and renders it difficult for bowmen to aim at the people inside.

In the immediate vicinity of the village the land was laid out in little
gardens and fields, and in these the people--men, women, and children,--
were busily engaged in hoeing the ground, weeding, planting, or
gathering the fruits of their labour.

These same fruits were plentiful, and the people sang with joy as they
worked.  There were large crops of maize, millet beans, and ground-nuts;
also patches of yams, rice, pumpkins, cucumbers, cassava, sweet
potatoes, tobacco, cotton, and hemp, which last is also called "bang,"
and is smoked by the natives as a species of tobacco.

It was a pleasant sight for Kambira and his men to look upon, as they
rested for a few minutes on the brow of a knoll near a thicket of
bramble bushes, and gazed down upon their home.  Doubtless they thought
so, for their eyes glistened, so also did their teeth when they
smilingly commented on the scene before them.  They did not, indeed,
become enthusiastic about scenery, nor did they refer to the picturesque
grouping of huts and trees, or make any allusion whatever to light and
shade; no, their thoughts were centred on far higher objects than these.
They talked of wives and children, and hippopotamus-flesh; and their
countenances glowed--although they were not white--and their strong
hearts beat hard against their ribs--although they were not clothed, and
their souls (for we repudiate Yoosoof's opinion that they had none),
their souls appeared to take quiet but powerful interest in their
belongings.

It was pleasant also, for Kambira and his men to listen to the sounds
that floated up from the valley,--sweeter far than the sweetest strains
of Mozart or Mendelssohn,--the singing of the workers in the fields and
gardens, mellowed by distance into a soft humming tone; and the hearty
laughter that burst occasionally from men seated at work on bows,
arrows, fishing-nets, and such-like gear, on a flat green spot under the
shade of a huge banyan-tree, which, besides being the village workshop,
was the village reception-hall, where strangers were entertained on
arriving,--also the village green, where the people assembled to dance,
and sing, and smoke "bang," to which last they were much addicted, and
to drink beer made by themselves, of which they were remarkably fond,
and by means of which they sometimes got drunk;--in all which matters
the intelligent reader will not fail to observe that they bore a marked
resemblance to many of the civilised European nations, except, perhaps,
in their greater freedom of action, lightness of costume, and colour of
skin.

The merry voices of children, too, were heard, and their active little
black bodies were seen, while they engaged in the play of savages--
though not necessarily in savage play.  Some romped, ran after each
other, caught each other, tickled each other, occasionally whacked each
other--just as our own little ones do.  Others played at games, of which
the skipping-rope was a decided favourite among the girls, but the play
of most of the older children consisted in imitating the serious work of
their parents.  The girls built little huts, hoed little gardens, made
small pots of clay, pounded imaginary corn in miniature mortars, cooked
it over ideal fires, and crammed it down the throats of imitation
babies; while the boys performed deeds of chivalric daring with reed
spears, small shields, and tiny bows and arrows, or amused themselves in
making cattle-pens, and in sculpturing cows and crocodiles.  Human
nature, in short, was powerfully developed, without anything particular
to suggest the idea of "savage" life, or to justify the opinion of Arabs
and half-caste Portuguese that black men are all "cattle."

The scene wanted only the spire of a village church and the tinkle of a
Sabbath bell to make it perfect.

But there _was_ a tinkle among the other sounds, not unlike a bell which
would have sounded marvellously familiar to English ears had they been
listening.  This was the ringing of the anvil of the village blacksmith.
Yes, savage though they were, these natives had a blacksmith who
wrought in iron, almost as deftly, and to the full as vigorously, as any
British son of Vulcan.  The Manganja people are an industrious race.
Besides cultivating the soil extensively, they dig iron-ore out of the
hills, and each village has its smelting-house, its charcoal-burners,
its forge with a pair of goatskin bellows, and its blacksmith--we might
appropriately say, its _very_ blacksmith!  Whether the latter would of
necessity, and as a matter of course, sing bass in church if the land
were civilised enough to possess a church, remains to be seen!  At the
time we write of he merely hummed to the sound of the hammer, and forged
hoes, axes, spears, needles, arrow-heads, bracelets, armlets, necklets,
and anklets, with surprising dexterity.

Pity that he could not forge a chain which would for ever restrain the
murderous hands of the Arabs and half-caste Portuguese, who, for ages,
have blighted his land with their pestilential presence!

After contemplating the picture for a time, Kambira descended the
winding path that led to the village.  He had not proceeded far when one
of the smallest of the children--a creature so rotund that his body and
limbs were a series of circles and ovals, and so black that it seemed an
absurdity even to think of casting a shadow on him--espied the advancing
party, uttered a shrill cry of delight, and ran towards them.

His example was followed by a dozen others, who, being larger, outran
him, and, performing a war-dance round the men, possessed themselves, by
amicable theft, of pieces of raw meat with which they hastened back to
the village.  The original discoverer of the party, however, had other
ends in view.  He toddled straight up to Kambira with the outstretched
arms of a child who knows he will be welcomed.

Kambira was not demonstrative, but he was hearty.  Taking the little
ball of black butter by the arms, he whirled him over his head, and
placed him on his broad shoulders, with a fat leg on each side of his
neck, and left him there to look after himself.  This the youngster did
by locking his feet together under the man's chin, and fastening his fat
fingers in his woolly hair, in which position he bore some resemblance
to an enormous chignon.

Thus was he borne crowing to the chief's hut, from the door of which a
very stout elderly woman came out to receive them.

There was no one else in the hut to welcome them, but Yohama, as the
chief styled her, was sufficient; she was what some people call "good
company."  She bustled about making preparations for a feast, with a
degree of activity that was quite surprising in one so fat--so very
fat--asking questions the while with much volubility, making remarks to
the child, criticising the hippopotamus-meat, or commenting on things in
general.

Meanwhile Kambira seated himself in a corner and prepared to refresh
himself with a pipe of bang in the most natural and civilised fashion
imaginable; and young Obo--for so Yohama called him--entered upon a
series of gymnastic exercises with his father--for such Kambira was--
which partook of the playfulness of the kitten, mingled with the
eccentricity and mischief of the monkey.

It would have done you good, reader, if you possess a spark of sympathy,
to have watched these two as they played together.  The way in which Obo
assaulted his father, on whose visage mild benignity was enthroned,
would have surprised you.  Kambira was a remarkably grave, quiet and
reserved man, but that was a matter of no moment to Obo, who threatened
him in front, skirmished in his rear, charged him on the right flank
with a reed spear, shelled him on the left with sweet potatoes, and
otherwise harassed him with amazing perseverance and ingenuity.

To this the enemy paid no further attention than lay in thrusting out an
elbow and raising a knee, to check an unusually fierce attack, or in
giving Obo a pat on the back when he came within reach, or sending a
puff of smoke in his face, as if to taunt and encourage him to attempt
further deeds of daring.

While this was going on in the chief's hut, active culinary preparations
were progressing all over the village--the women forsook their hoes and
grinding-mortars, and the looms on which they had been weaving cotton
cloth, the men laid down various implements of industry, and, long ere
the sun began to descend in the west, the entire tribe was feasting with
all the gusto, and twenty times the appetite, of aldermen.

During the progress of the feast a remarkably small, wiry old negro,
entertained the chief and his party with a song, accompanying himself
the while on a violin--not a European fiddle, by any means, but a native
production--with something like a small keg, covered with goatskin, for
a body, a longish handle, and one string which was played with a bow by
the "Spider."  Never having heard his name, we give him one in
accordance with his aspect.

Talk of European fiddlers!  No Paganini, or any other _nini_ that ever
astonished the Goths and Vandals of the north, could hold a candle--we
had almost said a fiddle--to this sable descendant of Ham, who, squatted
on his hams in the midst of an admiring circle, drew forth sounds from
his solitary string that were more than exquisite,--they were
excruciating.

The song appeared to be improvised, for it referred to objects around,
as well as to things past, present, and to come; among others, to the
fact that slave parties attacked villages and carried off the
inhabitants.

At such points the minstrel's voice became low and thrilling, while his
audience grew suddenly earnest, opened their eyes, frowned, and showed
their teeth; but as soon as the subject was changed the feeling seemed
to die away.  It was only old memories that had been awakened, for no
slavers had passed through their country for some time past, though
rumours of an attack on a not very distant tribe had recently reached
and greatly alarmed them.

Thus they passed the afternoon, and when the cool of the evening drew on
a dance was proposed, seconded, and carried unanimously.

They were about to begin when a man was seen running down the path
leading to the village at a speed which proved him to be the bearer of
tidings.  In a few minutes he burst into the midst of them with glaring
eyeballs and labouring chest--for he had run fast, though not far, and
told his news in rapid short sentences--to the effect that a band of
slavers, led by Portuguese, were on their way to the valley, within a
mile or so of it, even while he spoke; that he thought the leader was
Marizano; and that they were _armed with the loud-sounding guns_!

The consternation consequent on this news was universal, and there was
good ground for it, because Marizano was a well-known monster of
cruelty, and his guns had rendered him invincible hitherto, wherever he
went, the native spear and bow being utterly useless in the hands of men
who, however courageous, were shot down before they could come within
arrow-range of their enemies.

It is the custom of the slave-dealers, on going into the interior for
the purpose of procuring slaves, to offer to buy them from such tribes
as are disposed to sell.  This most of the tribes are willing to do.
Fathers do not indeed, sell their own children, or husbands their wives,
from preference, but chiefs and head-men are by no means loath to get
rid of their criminals in this way--their bad stock, as it were, of
black ivory.  They also sell orphans and other defenceless ones of their
tribes, the usual rate of charge being about two or three yards of
calico for a man, woman, or child.

But the Arab slave-dealer sometimes finds it difficult to procure enough
of "cattle" in this way to make up a band sufficiently large to start
with for the coast because he is certain to lose four out of every five,
at the _lowest estimate_, on his journey down.  The drove, therefore,
must be large.  In order to provide it he sends out parties to buy where
they can, and to steal when they have the chance.  Meanwhile he takes up
his quarters near some tribe, and sets about deliberately to produce
war.  He rubs up old sores, foments existing quarrels, lends guns and
ammunition, suggests causes of dispute, and finally gets two tribes to
fight.  Of course many are slaughtered, fearful barbarities and excesses
are committed, fields are laid waste and villages are burnt, but this is
a matter of no consequence to our Arab.  Prisoners are sure to be taken,
and he buys the prisoners; for the rest,--there are plenty of natives in
Africa!

When all else fails, not being very particular, he sends off a party
under some thorough-going scoundrel, well-armed, and with instructions
to attack and capture wherever they go.

No wonder, then, that the rumoured approach of Marizano and his men
caused the utmost alarm in Kambira's village, and that the women and
children were ordered to fly to the bush without delay.  This they
required no second bidding to do, but, oh! it was a sad sight to see
them do it.  The younger women ran actively, carrying the infants and
leading the smaller children by the hands, and soon disappeared; but it
was otherwise with the old people.  These, men and women, bowed with
age, and tottering as much from terror as decrepitude, hobbled along,
panting as they went, and stumbling over every trifling obstruction in
their path, being sometimes obliged to stop and rest, though death might
be the consequence; and among these there were a few stray little
creatures barely able to toddle, who had probably been forgotten or
forsaken by their mothers in the panic, yet were of sufficient age to be
aware, in their own feeble way, that danger of some sort was behind
them, and that safety lay before.  By degrees all--young and old, strong
and feeble--gained the shelter of the bush, and Kambira was left with a
handful of resolute warriors to check the invaders and defend his home.

Well was it at that time for Kambira and his men that the approaching
band was _not_ Marizano and his robbers.

When the head of the supposed enemy's column appeared on the brow of the
adjacent hill, the Manganja chief fitted an arrow to his bow, and,
retiring behind a hut, as also did his followers, resolved that Marizano
should forfeit his life even though his own should be the penalty.  Very
bitter were his thoughts, for his tribe had suffered from that villain
at a former period, and he longed to rid the land of him.

As he thought thus he looked at his followers with an expression of
doubt for he knew too well that the Manganja were not a warlike tribe,
and feared that the few who remained with him might forsake him in the
hour of need.  Indeed, much of his own well-known courage was to be
attributed to the fact, that his mother had belonged to a family more or
less nearly connected with the Ajawa, who are very warlike--too much so,
in truth, for it is they who, to a large extent are made use of by the
slave-dealers to carry on war with the neighbouring tribes.  Kambira's
men, however, looked resolute, though very grave.

While he was thus meditating vengeance, he observed that one of the
approaching band advanced alone without arms, and making signs of peace.
This surprised him a little, but dreading treachery, he kept under the
shelter of a hut until the stranger was close to the village; then,
observing that the party on the hill had laid down their arms and seated
themselves on the grass, he advanced, still, however, retaining his
weapons.

The stranger was a little man, and appeared timid, but seeing that the
chief evidently meant no mischief, and knowing that the guns of his
friends had him within range, he drew near.

"Where come you from?" demanded Kambira.

To this Antonio--for it was he--replied that his party came from the
coast; that they wanted to pass through the land to see it, and to find
out what it produced and what its people had to sell; that it was led by
two Englishmen, who belonged to a nation that detested slavery--the same
nation that sent out Dr Livingstone, who, as everybody knew, had passed
through that land some years before.  They were also, he said,
countrymen of the men of God who had come out to teach the Manganja the
Truth, who had helped them in their troubles, delivered them from the
slave-traders, and some of whom had died in their land.  He added that
there were Manganja men and women in their company.

The "men of God" to whom Antonio referred, and to whom he had been
expressly told by Harold Seadrift to refer, were those devoted
missionaries mentioned in a previous chapter, who, under the leadership
of the amiable and true-hearted Bishop Mackenzie, established a mission
among these very Manganja hills in the year 1861.  By a rare combination
of Christian love and manly courage under very peculiar circumstances,
they acquired extraordinary power and influence over the natives in the
space of a few months, and laid the foundation of what might have been--
perhaps may yet be--true Christianity in Central Africa.  But the
country was unhappily involved at the time in one of the wars created by
the Portuguese and Arab slave-traders.  The region was almost
depopulated by man-stealers, and by the famine that resulted from the
culture of the land having been neglected during the panic.  The good
bishop and several of his devoted band sank under the combined effects
of climate and anxiety, and died there, while the enfeebled remnant were
compelled, sorrowfully, to quit the field, to the deep regret of the
surviving Manganja.  [_The Story of the Universities' Mission to Central
Africa_, by the Reverend Henry Rowley.--We can heartily recommend this
to the young--ay, and to the old--as being, next to the Adventures of
Williams in the South Seas, one of the most interesting records of
missionary enterprise that we ever read.]

When, therefore, Antonio mentioned Bishop Mackenzie and Dr Livingstone,
a gleam of intelligent interest lit up Kambira's swarthy countenance,
and he was about to speak, but suddenly checked himself, and a stern
frown chased the gleam away.

"The Manganja," he said, after a few moments' silence, during which poor
Antonio eyed him with some distrust, "know well that these men of God
were not of the same country as the Arab and the Portuguese; that they
hated slavery and loved the Manganja, and that the graves of some of
them are with us now; but we know also that some white men are great
liars.  How am I to make sure that your leaders are English?  Why did
you not bring down the Manganja men and women you say are with you?"

"The women were footsore, and fell behind with their men," answered
Antonio, "and we thought it best not to wait for them."

"Go," rejoined Kambira, waving his hand; "if you be true men let the
Englishmen come to me, and also the Manganja, _without guns_, then I
will believe you.--Go."

The peremptory manner in which this was said left no room for reply.
Antonio therefore returned to his friends, and the chief to his cover.

On consultation and consideration it was agreed that Kambira's advice
should be acted on, "For," said Disco, removing the pipe with which he
had been solacing himself during Antonio's absence, "we can plant our
fellers on the knoll here with a blunderbuss each, and arrange a signal
so that, if there should be anything like foul play, we'd have nothin'
to do but hold aloft a kercher or suthin o' that sort, an' they'd pour a
broadside into 'em afore they could wink--d'ee see?"

"Not quite clearly," replied Harold, smiling, "because some of our
fellows can't take an aim at all, much less a good one, so they'd be as
likely to shoot us as them."

Disco pondered this a little, and shook his head, then shook the ashes
out of his pipe, and said that on the whole he was willing to risk it--
that they "could not expect to travel through Afriky without risking
summat."

As Chimbolo with his wife and the rest of the party came up at that
moment the case was put before him.  He at once advised compliance with
Kambira's request saying that the presence of himself and his friends
would be quite sufficient to put the chief's mind at rest.

In a few minutes the plan was carried out and Kambira satisfied of the
good faith of his visitors.  Nevertheless he did not at once throw open
his arms to them.  He stood upon his dignity; asked them a good many
questions, and answered a good many more, addressing himself always to
Antonio as the spokesman, it being a point of etiquette not to address
the principal of the party.  Then, presents were exchanged, in the
management of which a considerable time was spent.  One of the warriors
having in the meantime been despatched to recall the fugitives, these
began to pour out of the woods, the frail old people and forsaken
toddlers being the last to return, as they had been the last to fly.

After this, fires were kindled, fowls were chased, caught, slain,
plucked, roasted, and boiled; hippopotamus-flesh was produced, the
strangers were invited to make themselves at home, which they very soon
did.  Beer and bang were introduced; the celebrated fiddler was
reinstated, the dance, which had been so long delayed, was at last
fairly begun, and, as if to make the picture perfect and felicity
complete, the moon came out from behind a thick cloud, and clothed the
valley with a flood of silver light.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

REVEALS DISCO'S OPINIONS ABOUT SAVAGES, AND THE SAVAGES' OPINIONS OF
DISCO, AND OTHER WEIGHTY MATTERS.

As two or three of Harold's people were not very well just at that time,
he resolved to remain at Kambira's village for a few days to give them
rest, and afterwards to push on to the country of his friend Chimbolo.

This arrangement he came to the more readily that he was short of
provisions, and Kambira told him that a particular part of the country
near the shores of a lake not far distant abounded with game of all
sorts.

To Disco Lillihammer he explained his plans next day, while that worthy,
seated under the shade of a banyan-tree, was busily engaged with what he
styled his "mornin' dooties"--namely, the filling and smoking of his
cutty-pipe.

"You see, Disco," he said, "it won't do to knock up the men with
continuous travel, therefore I shall give them a spell of rest here.
Kambira tells me that there is plenty of game, large and small, to be
had not far off, so that we shall be able to replenish our stock of meat
and perchance give the niggers a feast such as they have not been
accustomed to of late, for it is not too much to expect that our rifles
will do more execution, at all events among lions and elephants, than
native spears.  Besides, I wish to see something of the people, who,
being what we may call pure out-and-out savages--"

"Savages!" interrupted Disco, removing his pipe, and pointing with the
stem of it to the village on an eminence at the outskirts of which they
were seated; "d'ee call them folk savages?"

Harold looked at the scene before him, and paused for a few moments; and
well he might, for not fifty yards off the blacksmith was plying his
work energetically, while a lad sat literally _between_ a pair of native
bellows, one of which he blew with his left hand, the other with his
right and, beyond these, groups of men and women wrought at their
primitive looms or tilled their vegetable gardens and patches of land.

"Savages!" repeated Disco, still pointing to the village with the stem
of his pipe, and gazing earnestly at his companion, "humph!"

It is probable that Disco might have said more, but he was an accurate
judge of the precise moment when a pipe is about to go out, and delay
will prove fatal.  He therefore applied himself diligently to suck and
cherish the dying spark.  Having revived its powers to such an extent
that clouds enveloped his visage, and his nose, being red, loomed
luridly through them, he removed the pipe, and again said, "Humph!  They
ain't a bit more savages, sir, than you or me is."

"Perhaps not," replied Harold.  "To say truth, it would be difficult to
point out any peculiarity that justifies the name, except the fact that
they wear very little clothing, and neither go to school nor church."

"They wears no clothin'," rejoined Disco, "'cause they don't need for to
do so; an' they don't go to church or school, 'cause they hain't got
none to go to--that same bein' not the fault o' the niggers, but o' them
as knows better."

"There's truth in what you say, Disco," returned Harold, with a smile,
"but come, you must admit that there is something savage in the custom
they have of wearing these hideous lip-rings."

The custom to which he referred is one which prevails among several of
the tribes of Africa, and is indeed so utterly hideous and outrageous
that we should be justified in refusing to believe it, were we not
assured of the fact by Dr Livingstone and other missionaries and
travellers of unquestionable integrity.  The ring is worn in the upper
lip, not hanging from it but fitted into a hole in it in such a manner
as to thrust the lip straight and far out from the face.  As the ring is
about the size of an ordinary napkin-ring, it may be easily believed,
that time is required for the formation of the deformity.  At an early
age the middle of the upper lip of a girl is pierced close to the nose,
and a small pin introduced to prevent the hole closing up.  After it is
healed the pin is taken out and a larger one forced into its place, and
so for weeks, months, and years the process of increasing the size of
the lip goes on, until a ring of two inches in diameter can be
introduced.  Nearly all the women in these parts use this ring, or, as
it is called, pelele.  Some make them of bamboo, others of ivory or tin.
When a wearer of the pelele smiles, the action of the cheek muscles
draws the lip tight which has the effect of raising the ring towards the
eyebrows, so that the nose is seen in the middle of it, and the teeth
are exposed, a revelation which shows that the latter have been chipped
to sharp points so as to resemble the teeth of a cat or crocodile.

"No doubt," said Disco, in reply to Harold's remark, "the lip-rings are
uncommon ugly, but the principle o' the thing, sir, that's w'ere it is,
the principle ain't no wuss than ear-rings.  The savages, as we calls
'em, bores holes in their lips an' sticks rings into 'em.  The civilised
folk, as we calls ourselves, bores holes in their ears an' sticks rings
into 'em.  W'ere's the difference? that's wot _I_ want to know."

"There's not much difference in principle," said Harold, laughing, "but
there is a great difference in appearance.  Ear-rings hang gracefully;
lip-rings stick out horribly."

"H'm! it appears to me that that's a matter o' taste, now.  Howsoever, I
do admit that lip-rings is wuss than ear-rings; moreover it must make
kissin' somewhat difficult, not to say onpleasant, but, as I said
before, so I says again, It's all in the principle w'ere it lies.  W'y,
look here, sir,--savages, as we call 'em, wear brass rings round their
necks, our women wear gold and brass chains.  The savages wear anklets,
we wear bracelets.  They have no end o' rings on their toes, we have 'em
on our fingers.  Some savages shave their heads, some of us shaves our
faces.  Their women are raither given to clothin' which is too short and
too narrer, ours come out in toggery far too wide, and so long
sometimes, that a feller daren't come within a fathom of 'em astarn
without runnin' the risk o' trampin' on, an' carrying away some o' the
canvas.  The savage women frizzes out their hair into most fantastical
shapes, till the very monkeys has to hold their sides sittin' in the
trees larfin' at 'em--and wot do _we_ do in regard to that?  W'y, some
of _our_ women puts on a mixture o' hairy pads, an' combs, an' pins, an'
ribbons, an' flowers, in a bundle about twice the size o' their heads,
all jumbled together in such a way as to defy description; an' if the
monkeys was to see _them_, they'd go off into such fits that they'd
bu'st altogether an' the race would become extinct in Afriky.  No, sir;
it's my opinion that there ain't no such thing as savages--or, if you
choose to put it the tother way, we're all savages together."

Disco uttered the last part of his speech with intense energy, winding
it up with the usual slap on the thigh, delivered with unusual fervour,
and then, becoming aware that the vital spark of the cutty had all but
fled, he applied himself to its resuscitation, in which occupation he
found relief to his feelings, and himself formed a brilliant
illustration of his remarks on savage customs.

Harold admitted that there was much truth in what he said, but rather
inclined to the opinion that of the two sets of savages the uncivilised
were, if anything, the wildest.  Disco however, contrary to his usual
habits, had nailed his colours to the mast on that point and could not
haul them down.  Meanwhile Harold's opinion was to some extent justified
by the appearance of a young man, who, issuing from the jungle close at
hand, advanced towards them.

Most of the men at the village displayed a good deal of pride, if not
taste, in the arrangement of their hair.  Some wore it long and twisted
into a coil which hung down their backs; others trained and stiffened it
in such a way that it took the form of buffalo horns, while some allowed
it to hang over the shoulders in large masses, and many shaved it either
entirely, or partially in definite patterns.  But the young dandy who
now approached outdid all others, for he had twisted his hair into
innumerable little tails, which, being stiffened by fillets of the inner
bark of a tree, stuck straight out and radiated from the head in all
directions.  His costume otherwise was simple enough, consisting merely
of a small kilt of white calico.  He was accompanied by Antonio.

"We've be come from Kambira," said the interpreter, "to tell you for
come to feast."

"All right," said Disco, rising; "always ready for wittles if you only
gives us an hour or two between times.--I say, Tony," (he had by that
time reduced the interpreter's name to this extent), "ask this feller
what he means by makin' sitch a guy of hisself."

"Hims say it look well," said Antonio, with a broad grin.

"Looks well--eh? and ask him why the women wear that abominable pelele."

When this question was put to the black dandy, he looked at Disco
evidently in surprise at his stupidity.  "Because it is the fashion," he
said.

"They wear it for beauty, to be sure!  Men have beards and whiskers;
women have none, and what kind of creature would woman be without
whiskers, and without a pelele?  She would have a mouth like a man, and
no beard!"

The bare idea of such a state of things tickled the dandy so much that
he went into roars of laughter, insomuch that all the radiating tails of
his head quivered again.  The effect of laughter and tails together was
irresistible.  Harold, Disco, and Antonio laughed in sympathy, till the
tears ran down their cheeks, and then returned to the village where
Kambira and his chief men awaited them.

While enjoying the feast prepared for them, Harold communicated his
intentions and desires to the chief, who was delighted at the prospect
of having such powerful allies on a hunting expedition.

The playful Obo meanwhile was clambering over his father's person like a
black monkey.  He appeared to be particularly fond of his father, and as
love begets love, it is not surprising that Kambira was excessively fond
of Obo.  But Obo, becoming obstreperous, received an amicable punch from
his father, which sent him headlong into a basket of boiled
hippopotamus.  He gave a wild howl of alarm as Disco snatched him out of
the dish, dripping with fat, and set him on his knee.

"There, there, don't blubber," said the seaman, tenderly wiping off the
fat while the natives, including Kambira, exploded with laughter.  "You
ain't burnt, are you?"

As Obo could not reply, Disco put his finger into the gravy from which
the urchin had been rescued, and satisfied himself that it was not hot
enough to have done the child injury.  This was also rendered apparent
by his suddenly ceasing to cry, struggling off Disco's knee, and
renewing his assaults on his easy-going father.

Accepting an egg which was offered him by Yohama, Harold broke it, and
entered into conversation with Kambira through the medium of Antonio.

"Is your boy's mother a--Hollo! there's a chick in this egg," he
exclaimed, throwing the offensive morsel into the fire.

Jumbo, who sat near the place where it fell, snatched it up, grinned,
and putting it into his cavernous mouth, swallowed it.

"Dem's betterer wid chickies," he said, resuming his gravity and his
knife and fingers,--forks being held by him in light esteem.

"Ask him, Antonio, if Obo's mother is alive," said Harold, trying
another egg, which proved to be in better condition.

The interpreter, instead of putting the question without comment, as was
his wont, shook his head, looked mysterious, and whispered--"No better
ask dat.  Hims lost him's wife.  The slave-hunters cotch her some time
ago, and carry her off when hims away hunting.  Hims awful mad, worser
dan mad elerphint when hims speak to 'bout her."

Harold of course dropped the subject at once, after remarking that he
supposed Yohama was the child's grandmother.

"Yis," said Antonio; "she be Kambira's moder, an' Obo's gran'moder--bof
at once."

This fact was, we may almost say, self-evident for Obo's attentions and
favours were distributed exclusively between Yohama and Kambira, though
the latter had unquestionably the larger share.

During the course of the feast, beer was served round by the little man
who had performed so deftly on the violin the previous evening.

"Drink," said Kambira hospitably; "I am glad to see my white brothers
here; drink, it will warm your hearts."

"Ay, an' it won't make us drunk," said Disco, destroying Jumbo's peace
of mind by winking and making a face at him as he raised the calabash to
his lips.  "Here's long life to you, Kambira, an' death to slavery."

There can be no doubt that the chief and his retainers would have
heartily applauded that sentiment if they had understood it, but at the
moment Antonio was too deeply engaged with another calabash to take the
trouble to translate it.

The beer, which was pink, and as thick as gruel, was indeed too weak to
produce intoxication unless taken in very large quantities; nevertheless
many of the men were so fond of it that they sometimes succeeded in
taking enough to bring them to the condition which we style "fuddled."
But at that time the particular brew was nearly exhausted, so that
temperance was happily the order of the day.

Having no hops in those regions, they are unable to prevent
fermentation, and are therefore obliged to drink up a whole brewing as
quickly as possible after it is made.

"Man, why don't ye wash yer face?" said Disco to the little fiddler as
he replenished his calabash; "it's awful dirty."

Jumbo laughed, of course, and the small musician, not understanding what
was said, followed suit out of sympathy.

"Wash him's face!" cried Antonio, laughing, "him would as soon cut off
him's head.  Manganja nevair wash.  Ah me!  You laugh if you hear de
womans ask me yesterday--`Why you wash?' dey say, `our men nevair do.'
Ho! ho! dey looks like it too."

"I'm sure that cannot be said of Kambira or any of his chief men," said
Harold.

"Perhaps not," retorted Antonio, "but some of 'um nevair wash.  Once
'pon a time one man of dis tribe foller a party me was with.  Not go way
for all we tell 'um.  We said we shoot 'um.  No matter, hims foller
still.  At last we say, `You scoun'rel, we _wash_ you!'  Ho! how hims
run!  Jist like zebra wid lion at 'um's tail.  Nevair see 'um after
dat--nevair more!"

"Wot a most monstrous ugly feller that is sittin' opposite Kambira, on
the other side o' the fire--the feller with the half-shaved head," said
Disco in an undertone to Harold during a temporary pause in eating.

"A well-made man, however," replied Harold.--"I say, Disco," he added,
with a peculiar smile, "you think yourself rather a good-looking fellow,
don't you, now?"

The worthy seaman, who was indeed an exceptionally good-looking tar,
modestly replied--"Well now, as you have put it so plump I don't mind if
I do confess that I've had some wild suspicions o' that sort now and
then."

"Then you may dismiss your suspicions now, for I can assure you that you
are regarded in this land as a very monster of ugliness," said Harold,
laughing.

"In the estimation of niggers your garments are hideous; your legs they
think elephantine, your red beard frightful, and your blue eyes
savage--_savage_! think of that."

"Well, well," retorted Disco, "your own eyes are as blue as mine, an' I
don't suppose the niggers think more of a yaller beard than a red one."

"Too true, Disco; we are both ill-favoured fellows here, whatever we may
be elsewhere; however, as we don't intend to take Manganja wives it
won't matter much.  But what think you of our plan, now that Kambira is
ready to fall in with it?"

"It seems a good one.  When do we start?"

"To-morrow," said Harold.

"Wery good," replied Disco, "I'm agreeable."

The morrow came, and with the early light all the people turned out to
witness the departure of the hunters.  Scouts had been previously sent
out in all directions to make sure that no enemies or slave-traders were
at that time in their immediate neighbourhood, and a strong force of the
best warriors was left to guard the village.

Of Harold's band, two half-castes, Jose and Oliveira, volunteered to
stay in camp with the guard, and two, Songolo and Mabruki, the freemen
of Quillimane, remained in the village to recruit their health, which
had failed.  Chimbolo likewise remained, the wounds on his back not
having healed sufficiently to admit of the hard labour of hunting.  All
the rest accompanied the hunters, and of these the three Makololo men,
Jumbo, Zombo, and Masiko, were incomparably the best and bravest.  Of
course the volatile Antonio also went, being indispensable.

On setting out--each man with his sleeping-mat on his back and his
little wooden pillow hung at his neck,--there was a great deal of
shouting and ho-ho-ing and well-wishing on the part of those who
remained behind, but above all the noise there arose a shrill cry of
intense and agonising despair.  This proceeded from the small windpipe
of little Obo, who had not until the last moment made the appalling
discovery that Kambira was going away without him!

There was something very touching in the cry of the urchin, and
something which brought vividly to the minds of the Englishmen the
infantine community of their own land.  There was the same sudden gaze
of horror on realising the true position of affairs,--the same sharp
shriek and frantic struggle to escape from the grasp of those who held
him back from following his father,--the same loud cry of agony on
finding that his efforts were vain, and then, the wide-open mouth, the
close-shut eyes, and the awful, prolonged silence--suggestive of fits--
that betokens the concentration of mind, heart, and lungs into that
tremendous roar of unutterable significance which appears to be the
safety-valve of the human family, black and white, at that tender period
of life.

Poor Obo! his sobs continued to burst out with steam-engine power, and
his eyes to pour cataracts of tears into Yohama's sympathetic bosom,
long after the hunting party had left the hills behind them, and
advanced into the almost impenetrable jungles of the low grounds.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

DESCRIBES A HUNTING EXPEDITION WHICH WAS BOTH EXCITING AND SUCCESSFUL.

Down by the reedy margin of a pretty large lake--where wild-fowl
innumerable made the air vocal with their cries by day, and frogs, in
numbers inconceivable, chirped and croaked a lullaby to men who slept,
and a symphony to beasts that howled and growled and prowled at night in
bush and brake--Kambira pitched his camp.

He did not indeed, select the moist level of the fever-breeding marshes,
but he chose for his temporary habitation the dry summit of a wooded
hill which overlooked the lake.

Here the natives of the neighbourhood said that elephants had been
lately seen, and buffaloes, zebras, etcetera, were at all times
numerous.

After two long days' march they had reached the spot, and encamped late
in the evening.  Next morning early the business of the expedition
began.  Various parties of natives, armed with bows and arrows and
spears, were sent out in different directions, but the principal band
was composed of Kambira and his chief men, with Harold and his party.

They did not go far before game was found.  Guinea-fowl were numerous,
and those who were aimed with bows soon procured a goodly supply of
these, but our travellers did not waste their energies or powder on such
small game.  Besides these, monkeys peeped inquisitively at the hunters
from among the trees, and myriads of turtle-doves were seen in the
covers.  As they advanced, wild pigs, elands, waterbucks, koodoos, and
other creatures, were seen in herds, and the natives dropped off, or
turned aside in pursuit of these, so that ere long the band remaining
with Kambira was reduced to about forty men.

Coming to a small river in which were a number of deep pools and
shallows, they saw several hippopotami lying asleep, their bodies nearly
all out of the water, appearing like masses of black rock in the stream.
But at the same place they discovered fresh traces of elephants and
buffaloes, therefore the hippopotami were left unmolested, save that
Harold sent a bullet amongst them, partly to let the natives hear the
report of his gun, and partly to see how the animals would take it.

They all started to their feet at once, and stared around them with
looks of stolid surprise that were almost equal to the looks of the
natives, to whom fire-arms were little known, except by report.  Another
shot sent the whole herd with a heavy plunge into deep water.

"It's a queer country," observed Disco when they had resumed their
march.  "Just look at them there lizards with red and blue tails running
about among the rocks an' eatin' up the white ants like one o'clock."

Disco might have said like twelve o'clock, if numbers would have added
to the force of his remark, for the little creatures referred to were
miraculously active in pursuit of their food.

"But I s'pose," continued Disco, "the niggers would think our country a
queerer place than this."

"Undoubtedly they would," replied Harold; "just fancy what would be the
feelings of Kambira if he were suddenly transported into the heart of
London."

"Hallo!" exclaimed Disco, stopping suddenly and pointing to one of the
men in advance, who had crouched and made signals to his friends to
halt, "breakers ahead--eh?"

"More likely buffaloes," whispered Harold, as he cocked his rifle and
advanced quickly with Kambira, who carried a short spear or javelin.

On reaching an opening in the bushes, a small herd of zebras was
observed not much more than a hundred yards in advance.

"Will the white man's gun kill so far?" asked the chief, turning to
Antonio.

The interpreter made no reply, but pointed to Harold, who was in the act
of taking aim.  The loud report was followed by the fall of the nearest
zebra.  Disco also fired and wounded another, which bounded away in wild
alarm with its fellows.

The natives yelled with delight, and Disco cheered in sympathy.

"You've hit him," said Harold, as he reloaded.

"Ay, but I han't disabled him.  Better luck next time.  I think I took
him somewhere on the port bow."

"If by that you mean the left shoulder," returned Harold, with a laugh,
"it's likely he won't run far.  What does Kambira think of the white
man's gun?" he added, turning round.

The tall chief nodded approvingly, and said, with a grave
countenance--"Good, good; it is good--better than this," shaking his
short spear.

At that moment a small antelope, which had been startled and put to
flight by some of the other bands of hunters, came crashing wildly
towards them, ignorant of the enemy in its front until within about
thirty yards.  It turned at a sharp angle and plunged into the jungle,
but the spear which Kambira had shaken whizzed though the air and
pierced its heart before it had time to disappear.

"A splendid heave!" cried Disco, with enthusiasm; "why, man alive, you'd
make yer fortin' as a harpooner if ye was to go to the whale-fishin'.--
Hallo! there's somethin' else; w'y, the place is swarmin'.  It's for all
the world like a zoological ga'rdings let loose."

As he spoke, the hoofs of a herd of ponderous animals were heard, but
the rank grass and underwood concealed them entirely from view.  The
whole party rushed to the nearest opening, and were just in time to see
the tail of an irate buffalo make a magnificent flourish in the air as
its owner plunged into cover.

There was no further attempt at conversation after this.  The near
presence of large game was too exciting, so that merely a word of
advice, direction, or inquiry, passed as the party advanced rapidly--one
or two of the most active going before as pioneers.

While Disco was striding along with flashing eyes, rifle ready, and head
turning from side to side in momentary expectation of something bounding
suddenly out of somewhere, he chanced to cast his eyes upwards, and, to
his horror, beheld two huge serpents coiled together among the branches
of a tree close to his head.

Uttering a yell of alarm--for he entertained an almost superstitious
dread of serpents--he fired blindly upwards, and dashed to one side so
violently that he tumbled himself and Harold into a bush of wait-a-bit
thorns, out of which the laughing natives found it difficult to extract
them.

"What _is_ the matter, man?" said Harold somewhat testily.

"Have a care! look!  Avast!  A bite'll be death, an' no mistake!" cried
Disco, pointing to the reptiles.

Harold fired at once and brought them both down, and the natives,
attacking them with sticks, soon killed them.

"No fear," said Antonio, with a chuckle.  "Dem not harm nobody, though
ums ugly an' big enough."

This was true.  They were a couple of pythons, and the larger of the
two, a female, was ten feet long; but the python is a harmless creature.

While they were talking, smoke was observed to rise from an isolated
clump of long grass and bushes not far from the banks of the river, much
to the annoyance of Kambira, who feared that the fire might spread and
scare away the game.  It was confined, however, to the place where it
began, but it had the effect of driving out a solitary buffalo that had
taken refuge in the cover.  Jumbo chanced to be most directly in front
of the infuriated animal when it burst out, and to him exclusively it
directed its attentions.

Never since Jumbo was the size of Obo had that laughter-loving savage
used his lithe legs with greater energy than on this occasion.  An
ostrich might have envied him as he rushed towards the river, into which
he sprang headlong when the buffalo was barely six feet behind him.

Of course Harold fired, as well as Disco, and both shots told, as also a
spear from Kambira, nevertheless the animal turned abruptly on seeing
Jumbo disappear, and charged furiously up the bank, scattering its
enemies right and left.  Harold fired again at little more than fifty
yards off, and heard the bullet thud as it went in just behind the
shoulder, yet strange to say, it seemed to have no other effect than to
rouse the brute to greater wrath, and two more bullets failed to bring
him down.

This toughness of the buffalo is by no means uncommon, but different
animals vary much in their tenacity of life.  Some fall at once to the
first well-directed shot; others die hard.  The animal the hunters were
now in pursuit of, or rather which was in pursuit of the hunters, seemed
to be of the latter class.  Harold fired another shot from behind a
tree, having loaded with a shell-bullet, which exploded on hitting the
creature's ribs.  It fell, much to the satisfaction of Disco, of whom it
happened to be in pursuit at the time.  The seaman at once stopped and
began to reload, and the natives came running forward, when Antonio, who
had climbed a tree to be out of harm's way, slipped down and ran with
great bravery up to the prostrate animal.

Just as he reached it the buffalo sprang up with the activity of a cat,
and charged him.  Antonio turned and ran with such rapidity that his
little legs became almost invisible, like those of a sparrow in a hurry.
He gained a tree, and had just time to climb into it when the buffalo
struck it like a battering-ram, hard enough almost to have split both
head and tree.  It paused a few seconds, drew back several paces, glared
savagely at Antonio, and then charged again and again, as if resolved
either to shake him out of the tree, or give itself a splitting
headache, but another shell from Harold, who could hardly take aim for
laughing, stretched the huge animal dead upon the ground.  Altogether,
it took two shells and five large solid rifle-balls to finish him.

"That wos a pretty good spurt," said Disco, panting, as he joined Harold
beside the fallen beast.  "It's well-known that a starn chase is a long
'un, but this would have been an exception to the rule if you hadn't
shot him, sir.  He pretty nigh made short work o' _me_.  He was a'most
aboard of me w'en you fired."

"True," said Harold; "and had that tree not grown where it stands, and
grown tough, too, I suspect he would have made short work of Antonio
too."

"Bah!" said the interpreter, with affected carelessness, "him was but a
slow brute, after all."

Disco looked at Jumbo, who was none the worse of his ducking, and shut
his right eye smartly.  Jumbo opened his cavernous mouth, and exploded
so violently that his double row of brilliant teeth must have been blown
out and scattered on the ground, had they not been miraculously strong.

"Come, now," said Kambira, who had just given orders to some of his
followers to remain behind and look after the carcase, "we go to find
elephants."

"Have we much chance of findin' them?" inquired Disco.

Kambira thought they had, because fresh traces had been recently seen in
the neighbourhood, whereupon Disco said that he would prefer to go after
lions, but Kambira assured him that these animals were not so easy to
find, and much more dangerous when attacked.  Admitting the force of
this, though still asserting his preference of lions to elephants, the
bloodthirsty son of Neptune shouldered his rifle and followed his
leader.

While the main party of hunters were thus successfully pushing along,
the other bands were not idle, though, possessing no fire-arms, they
were less noisy.  In fact their proceedings were altogether of the
cat-catty.  One fellow, as black as a coal, as lithe as an eel, and as
long--according to Disco's standard--as a fathom of pump-water, having
come upon a herd of buffalo unseen by them, and being armed with a small
bow and quiver of arrows, suddenly dropped on all-fours and began to
glide through the long grass.

Now there is a particular little bird in those regions which calls for
special notice here.  It is a very singular bird, inasmuch as it has
constituted itself the guardian of the buffalo.  It frequently sits upon
that animal's back, and, whenever it sees the approach of man, or any
other danger, it flaps its wings and screams to such an extent, that the
buffalo rushes off without waiting to inquire or see what is the matter;
and the small guardian seems to think itself sufficiently rewarded with
the pickings it finds on the back of its fat friend.  So vigilant is
this little creature, that it actually renders the approach of the
hunter a matter of great difficulty in circumstances when, but for it,
he might approach with ease.  [See Livingstone's _Zambesi and its
Tributaries_, page 200.]

Our wary native was, however, aware of this little fellow's
propensities, and took precautions to outwit the bird rather than the
beast.  It may perhaps cause some surprise to be told that a small bow
and arrows were a sufficiently powerful species of artillery to bring to
bear against such noble game, but the surprise will vanish when we state
that the arrows were poisoned.

Having crawled to within range, the fathom of black pump-water suddenly
arose and let fly an arrow.  The missile went deep into the side of a
majestic bull.  The little bird fluttered and screamed too late.  The
bull at once dashed away at full speed, starting off the whole herd in
alarm.  The black fathom followed at the top of his speed, and was
joined by a number of other black fathoms, who were quite aware of what
had been done.  The buffaloes were soon out of sight, but the fathoms
followed the trail with the unerring pertinacity of fate.  After a long
run they came up with the stricken bull, which had fallen behind its
fellows, and waited patiently until the poison took full effect.  In a
short time the animal fell, and the successful hunters fell to work upon
his carcase with their knives.

Leaving them thus employed, we will return to Kambira and his friends.

They had not gone far when a fine water-buck was observed feeding beside
a creek.

Kambira laid his hand on Harold's shoulder and pointed to it with a
smile, which might have been interpreted, "Now, then, there's a chance
for you!"

Harold fired, and the water-buck dropped.

"Good," said Kambira.

"Hallo!" exclaimed Disco.

And well he might, for at that moment an enormous crocodile, which had
evidently been watching the water-buck, seized and dragged it into the
water.  It was not deep, however, and the wounded animal made a
desperate plunge, hauled the crocodile several yards, and tore itself
out of its hideous jaws.  It then jumped into the stream and was
swimming across when another crocodile made a dash at it, but Harold
sent a ball into its ugly head, which appeared to make it change its
mind.  It disappeared, and the water-buck turning, made for the bank
from which it had started.  Just as it reached it the vital spark fled--
the fine head dropped and the body turned over.

It will be seen from what has been told, that on this occasion the
rifles did most of the work.  The natives who followed Harold had
nothing to do but look on exultingly, glare, dance, show their teeth and
gums, and secure the game.  We cannot perhaps, expect the good-natured
reader to follow us through all the details of that day's work; but it
would be unpardonable were we to close the chapter without referring to
the principal event of the day, which occurred a couple of hours after
the shooting of the water-buck.

It happened thus:--When the hunters began to grow tired, and the
prospect of falling in with large game became less hopeful, the chief
determined to return to camp; but Disco felt so disappointed at not
having seen an elephant or a lion, that he expressed a wish to continue
the chase with a small select party.  Harold laughed at the idea of the
seaman leading such a party, but offered no objection, although he did
not care to accompany his friend, having, as he said, had enough of it,
and being desirous of having a long chat with the chief in camp.

"You see, sir," said Disco, patting the stock of his rifle with his
right hand, "we chance to have got, so to speak, into the heart of a
shoal o' big fish, an' there's no sayin' how soon they may take it into
their heads to up anchor, and make sail for other grounds.  Therefore,
says I, blaze away at 'em while you've got the chance."

"But you may have as good a chance to-morrow, or next day," suggested
Harold.

"We ain't sure o' that sir.  To-morrow, they say, never comes," returned
Disco.  "It's my ambition to let fly a broadside at a lion or a elephant
so I means for to go on; an' wot I says is, Who wolunteers to sail in
company?"

When the party were given to understand what "wolunteers" meant, the
three Makololo joined the tar with alacrity, also the Somali negroes
Nakoda and Conda, and about a dozen of the natives, armed with spears.
Disco's own men were armed with their guns.  Antonio, being necessary to
Harold, returned to camp; but this was a matter of little importance, as
Jumbo and his fellow-countrymen knew enough of English to act as
interpreters.

Every one who has had a few years' experience of life knows the truth of
the proverb which asserts that "fortune favours the brave."  Its truth
was exemplified on the present occasion not more than an hour after the
little band of heroes had set out.

Disco led the way, as a matter of course, holding, as he said, that no
nigger could possibly be equal to a white sailor in the matter of
steering, whether ashore or afloat.  He steered by the sun, and directed
his course to nowhere in particular, being influenced chiefly by the
form of the ground and the appearance of the jungle.

Jumbo grinned a good deal at the sententious gravity with which the
leader delivered his orders, and the self-important strides with which
he passed over the land.  He would have grinned still more, perhaps have
laughed outright if he had understood that the occasional off-hand kicks
which Disco bestowed on a thick bush here and there, were given in the
hope that a lion might thereby be set up, as one dislodges a rabbit or a
hare!

At last on reaching the crest of a mound which was comparatively free of
underwood, Disco beheld a sight which caused him to drop on his hands
and knees as though he had been shot.

Not more than fifty yards off a herd of cow elephants and their calves
were seen feeding quietly on tall heavy-seeded grass in the plain below.

"Avast!" said Disco, in a hoarse whisper, at the same time crouching
behind a bush, and making frantic signals to the rest of the party to
advance with extreme caution.

"Wat 'um see?" inquired Jumbo in a low whisper, creeping up to his
excited leader.

There was no need for a reply.  A glance over the top of the bush
sufficed.

"Be quiet as mice now, lads," said Disco, when all the members of his
party had crept around him, and become aware of the presence of
elephants.  "Get your guns laid, and if any one of you dares to pull a
trigger till I give the word, I'll keel-haul him."

This, or something distantly resembling it, having been explained to the
men who carried guns, they lay down and took aim.

The noise made by the hunters attracted the attention of the nearest
elephant, and, with true motherly instinct she placed her young one
between her fore-legs for protection.

"We fire right in de middel ob de lot?" inquired Zombo hastily.

"Not at all," whispered Disco; "let every man point at the nearest one--
the one that lays broadside on to us, wi' the little un under her bows.
Now--ready--present--fire!"

Bang went the seven guns with a degree of precision that might have put
to shame any corps of volunteer riflemen in England; up went the trunks
and tails of the elephants, little and big, and away rushed the whole
herd in dire alarm.  But the wounded animal suddenly stumbled and fell
on its knees, then leaped up and ran on heavily.

Meanwhile Disco, who had discharged only one barrel of his heavy gun,
leaped over the bushes, and rushed forward at a pace which for a few
seconds enabled him to keep ahead even of the fleet natives.  The
elephants, however, easily left them all behind, and it appeared as if
the affair were about to end in disappointment, when the wounded beast
again stumbled.

"Hold on! halt!" cried Disco in a voice of thunder.

He kneeled at the same time, took aim, and fired.

Whether it was this last shot or the effects of previous loss of blood,
we cannot tell; but after receiving it, the ponderous animal rolled over
on its side, and died.

To say that the natives became temporarily insane would give but a
feeble idea of what now took place, because few readers are likely to be
aware of the amazing power of the negro to give expression to the
vagaries of insanity.  We shall therefore content ourselves by saying
that they cheered, laughed, howled, shouted, danced, and yelled--and
leave the rest to imagination.

"Now, then, boys, avast howlin'.  Clap a stopper on your bellows, will
'ee?" said Disco, in a boatswain's roar, that effectually quelled the
tumult.  "Cut off to camp, every mother's son of you, an bring up
Kambira an' all the boys, with as many knives and dishes as ye can
muster, for this mountain of flesh ain't to be cut up in a hurry, an'
the sun won't be long o' goin' to bed.  Away with 'ee!  Let's see how
you can wag yer black legs, an' I'll keep watch over the carcase.  If
anything comes to have a look at it--a lion, for instance,--so much the
worse for the lion!"

It was in vain that Jumbo explained there was no necessity for sending
more than one of the party to the camp.  Disco was a strict
disciplinarian, and, having given the order, enforced it in a manner
which admitted of no disobedience.  They therefore departed, leaving the
seaman seated on the elephant, smoking his pipe with his gun beside him.

But Jumbo did not go far.  He soon turned aside from his companions, and
returned to the scene of the hunt, resolved if possible to give his
leader a fright.  Gaining the skirts of the jungle which surrounded the
open space where Disco kept watch, he crept cautiously as near to him as
possible.

Disco still sat smoking and eyeing the elephant with a smile of
satisfaction.  Presently he rose,--retreated a few yards from the
carcase, and stood admiring it with his head on one side, as if it were
a picture and he a connoisseur.  He had in this act approached somewhat
nearer to Jumbo, who saluted him with a most awful growl.

No monkey in Africa could have dropped its pipe, had it been a smoker,
or sprung to seize its gun, had it been a sportsman, with greater
agility than did Disco Lillihammer on that trying occasion!  Getting on
the other side of the dead elephant he faced round, cocked both barrels,
and prepared to receive whatever might come.

Jumbo, lying very low behind a bank of earth for safety, gave another
low growl.  Disco started and half raised his piece.  Jumbo then threw a
large stone towards a neighbouring bush, which it struck and caused to
rustle.

This was enough for Disco, who took a quick aim, and let fly the
contents of both barrels into the bush.

Jumbo noiselessly but swiftly crept back into the woods, chuckling as he
went, leaving Disco to reload in wild haste.  But his haste was uncalled
for.  There was no more growling; no more rustling in the bushes.

"I've done for him," muttered Disco, after waiting patiently at the
"ready" for some time.  "But it won't do for me to ventur' up to it all
by myself.  Pr'aps it's a lion, an' they do say that it's chancy work to
go near a wounded lion.  To be sure the growl wasn't so loud as I'd have
expected o' the king o' the forest, but then they don't always growl
loud.  Anyhow I'll keep a bright look-out an' wait till the niggers
return."

Philosophising thus, the bold seaman mounted guard over the elephant.

Meanwhile Jumbo, having got out of earshot of his friend, indulged in a
loud laugh and made after his friends, but, observing the visage of a
small yellow-coloured monkey among the leaves overhead, a thought
flashed into his mind and induced him to change his plans.

Throwing his spear dexterously he transfixed the monkey and brought it
down.  Returning with great caution to the bush into which Disco had
fired, and gliding with the noiseless motion of a snake the latter part
of the way, he placed the dead monkey on the ground and left it there.

It was by that time too late to overtake his comrades.  He therefore
waited until they returned, and then joined the party in rear, as though
he had followed them from the camp.

The same wild exhibition of delight was about to be enacted when the
party came trooping up, but Disco quickly checked it by the astounding
announcement that he thought he had shot a lion, or somethin' o' that
sort!

"You don't mean it!" said Harold, rather excited.

"All I know is," said Disco, "that I heerd somethin' uncommon like a
lion growl twice in yonder bush, an' saw the bush move too, so I fired a
broadside that seemed to finish him at once, for there was no more
rustlin' after that."

"An' no more growlin'?" asked Jumbo, with much simplicity of
countenance.

"Not a growl, nor nothin' else," answered Disco.

"Well, get your guns ready, lads," said Harold, "and stand by to fire
while we go and search the bush."

So saying, Harold and Disco advanced together with their rifles ready,
while the natives, who were more or less alarmed, according to their
respective degrees of courage, scattered in a semicircle well in rear.
Kambira, armed with a spear, kept close to Harold, and Jumbo, with
unwonted bravery, walked alongside of Disco.  Antonio, quietly retiring,
took refuge in a tree.

"Yoo's _sure_ you hit um?" inquired Jumbo in a whisper.

"Can't say I'm _sure_," replied Disco, "but we'll soon see."

"Was um's growl very bad?" asked Jumbo.

"Hold yer long tongue!" said Disco testily, for he was becoming excited.

"Look! see dere!" exclaimed Jumbo in an energetic whisper.

"What? where?"

"Look! right troo de bush.  Dis way.  Dar, don' you zee um's skin,--
t'other side?  Fire!"

"Why, eh!" exclaimed Disco, peering keenly through the leaves, "yellow
hair! yes--its--"

Stopping abruptly he pointed his gun at the bush and poured the contents
of both barrels into it.  Then, clubbing his weapon and brandishing it
in the air, he uttered a wild cry--went crashing through the bush, and
next moment stood aghast before the yellow monkey, whose little carcase
he had almost blown to atoms.

We won't chronicle the roars of laughter, the yells of delight that
followed,--the immense amount of chaffing, the innumerable witticisms
and criticisms that ensued--no, no! regard for the gallant seaman
constrains us to draw a veil over the scene and leave it, as we have
left many things before, and shall leave many things yet to come, to the
reader's vivid imagination.

Fortunately for Disco, the superior attractions of the dead elephant
soon drew off attention from this exploit.  The natives proceeded to cut
up the huge mass of meat, and this was indeed an amazing spectacle.  At
first the men stood round the carcase in dead silence, while Kambira
delivered a species of oration, in which he pointed out minutely the
particular parts of the animal which were to be apportioned to the
head-men of the different fires of which the camp was composed,--the
left hind-leg and the parts around the eyes being allotted to his
English visitors.  These points settled, the order was given to "cut
up," and immediately the excitement which had been restrained burst
forth again with tenfold violence.  The natives seemed to be quite
unable to restrain their feelings of delight, as they cut away at the
carcase with spears and knives.  They screamed as well as danced with
glee.  Some attacked the head, others the flanks, jumping over the
animal or standing on it the better to expedite their operations; some
ever and anon ran off screaming with masses of bloody meat, threw it on
the grass and went back for more, while others, after cutting the
carcase open, jumped inside and wallowed about in their eagerness to
reach and cut out the precious fat--all talking and shouting at the
utmost pitch of their voices.

"Well, now," said Disco to Harold, with a grin of amusement, "the likes
o' that I never did see nowheres.  Cuttin' up a Greenland whale is
nothin' to it."

"Come, come," said Harold, checking his laughter and seizing an excited
negro by the shoulder, "no fighting allowed."

This had reference to two who chanced to have taken a fancy for the same
mass of meat, and were quarrelling so violently over it that blows
seemed on the point of following, but having let off part of their
superabundant energy in words, they rushed back to expend the remainder
on their dead friend.

Suddenly a sharp agonised yell was heard inside the carcase.  Next
moment Zombo jumped out all bloody and furious, holding up his right
hand.  While groping about inside, one of his too eager comrades outside
had laid about rather incautiously with his knife, drove it through the
meat and sliced Zombo's left hand.  He was easily soothed, however;
Harold bound up the cut with a piece of rag, and Zombo went to work as
recklessly as ever.

In a marvellously short time tons of meat were cut up and divided
amongst the band, and, before daylight had quite disappeared, the
hunters were on their way back to camp, while a troop of hyenas and
other carnivora were gorging themselves with the elephant's remains.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

THE ENCAMPMENT AND THE SUPPER--DISCUSSIONS, POLITICAL AND OTHERWISE--
KAMBIRA RECEIVES A SHOCK, AND OUR WANDERERS ARE THROWN INTO PERPLEXITY.

Turn we now to a more peaceful scene.  The camp is almost quiet, the
stars are twinkling brightly overhead, the fires are glimmering fitfully
below.  The natives, having taken the edge off their appetites, have
stretched their dusky forms on their sleeping-mats, and laid their
woolly heads on their little wooden pillows.  The only persons moving
are Harold Seadrift and Disco Lillihammer--the first being busy making
notes in a small book, the second being equally busy in manufacturing
cloudlets from his unfailing pipe, gazing the while with much interest
at his note-making companion.

"They was pretty vigorous w'en they wos at it, sir," said Disco, in
reference to supper, observing that his companion looked up from his
book, "but they wos sooner done than I had expected."

"Yes, they weren't long about it," replied Harold, with an abstracted
air, as he resumed his writing.

Lest the reader should erroneously imagine that supper is over, it is
necessary here to explain what taking the edge off a free African's
appetite means.

On reaching camp after the cutting up of the elephant, as detailed in
the last chapter, the negroes had set to work to roast and boil with a
degree of vigour that would have surprised even the _chefs de cuisine_
of the world's first-class hotels.  Having gorged themselves to an
extent that civilised people might perhaps have thought dangerous, they
had then commenced an uproarious dance, accompanied by stentorian songs,
which soon reduced them to the condition of beings who needed repose.
Proceeding upon the principle of overcoming temptation by giving way to
it, they at once lay down and went to sleep.

It was during this stage of the night's proceedings that Disco foolishly
imagined that supper had come to a close.  Not many minutes after the
observation was made, and before the black cutty-pipe was smoked out,
first one and then another of the sleepers awoke, and, after a yawn or
two, got up to rouse the fires and put on the cooking-pots.  In less
than a quarter of an hour the whole camp was astir, conversation was
rife, and the bubbling of pots that had not got time to cool, and the
hissing of roasts whose fat had not yet hardened, mingled with songs
whose echoes were still floating in the brains of the wild inhabitants
of the surrounding jungle.  Roasting, boiling, and eating were
recommenced with as much energy as if the feast had only just begun.

Kambira, having roused himself, gave orders to one of his men, who
brought one of the elephant's feet and set about the cooking of it at
Harold's fire.  Kambira and Disco, with Antonio and Jumbo, sat round the
same fire.

There was a hole in the ground close beside them which contained a small
fire; the embers of this were stirred up and replenished with fuel.
When the inside was thoroughly heated, the elephant's foot was placed in
it, and covered over with hot ashes and soil, and another fire kindled
above the whole.

Harold, who regarded this proceeding with some surprise, said to
Kambira--through Antonio--"Who are you cooking that for?"

"For my white guests," replied the chief.

"But we have supped already," said Harold; "we have already eaten as
much as we can hold of the elephant's trunk and tongue, both of which
were excellent--why prepare more?"

"This is not for to-night, but for to-morrow," returned Kambira, with a
smile.  "The foot takes all night to cook."

This was a sufficient explanation, and in truth the nature of the dish
required that it should be well done.  When, on the morrow, they were
called to partake of it they found that it was, according to Disco's
estimation, "fust-rate!"  It was a whitish mass, slightly gelatinous and
sweet, like marrow, and very palatable.  Nevertheless, they learned from
experience that if the effect of bile were to be avoided, a long march
was necessary after a meal of elephant's foot!

Meanwhile the proceedings of the natives were food enough for our
travellers for the time being.  Like human creatures elsewhere, they
displayed great variety of taste.  Some preferred boiled meat, others
roast; a few indulged in porridge made of mapira meal.  The meal was
very good, but the porridge _was_ doubtful, owing to the cookery.  It
would appear that in Africa, as in England, woman excels in the culinary
art.  At all events, the mapira meal was better managed by them, than by
the men.  On the present occasion the hunters tumbled in the meal by
handfuls in rapid succession as soon as the water was hot, until it
became too thick to be stirred about, then it was lifted off the fire,
and one man held the pot while another plied the porridge-stick with all
his might to prevent the solid mass from being burnt.  Thus it was
prepared, and thus eaten, in enormous quantities.  No wonder that
dancing and profuse perspiration were esteemed a necessary adjunct to
feeding!

At the close of the second edition of supper, which went into four or
five editions before morning, some of the men at the fire next to that
of Kambira engaged in a debate so furious, that the curiosity of Disco
and Harold was excited, and they caused Antonio to translate much of
what was said.  It is not possible to give a connected account of this
debate as translated by Antonio.  To overcome the difficulty we shall
give the substance of it in what Disco styled Antonio's "lingo."

There were about a dozen natives round the fire, but two of them
sustained the chief part in the debate.  One of these was a large man
with a flat nose; the other was a small man with a large frizzy head.

"Hold 'oos tongue," said Flatnose (so Antonio named him); "tongue too
long--far!"

"Boh! 'oos brains too short," retorted Frizzyhead contemptuously.

An immense amount of chattering by the others followed these pithy
remarks of the principals.

The question in debate was, Whether the two toes of the ostrich
represented the thumb and forefinger in man, or the little and ring
fingers?  But in a few minutes the subject changed gradually, and
somehow unaccountably, to questions of a political nature,--for, strange
to say, in savage Africa, as in civilised England, politics are keenly
discussed, doubtless at times with equal wisdom in the one land as in
the other.

"What dat 'oo say?" inquired Flatnose, on hearing some muttered remarks
of Frizzyhead in reference to the misgovernment of chiefs.  Of course
there, as here, present company was understood to be excepted.

"Chiefs ob no use--no use at all!" said Frizzyhead so vehemently that
the men at several of the nearest fires ceased to talk, and began to
listen.

"Ob no use?" cried Flatnose, with vehemence so superior that the
attention of the whole camp was arrested.

"No!" replied Frizzyhead, still more energetically, "ob no use at all.
We could govern ourselves betterer, so what de use of 'um?  The chief
'ums fat an' hab plenty wife, but we, who do all de hard work, hab
hunger, an' only one wife, prehaps none at all.  Dis is bad, unjust,
wrong."

There was a general shout of "eehee!" from all quarters, which was
equivalent to our "hear, hear."

"'Oo know noting at all," retorted Flatnose, who was a loyal subject.
"Is not de chief de fader of de peepil?  Can dere be peepil widout a
fader--eh?  God made de chief--who says dat chief is not wise?  He _is_
wise, but um's child'n am big fools!"

Kambira nodded his head and smiled at this, and there was a general
inclination on the part of most of the audience to applaud, for there,
as elsewhere, men have a tendency to be blown about by every wind of
doctrine.

It was amusing to observe the earnestness and freedom with which men of
the lowest grade assaulted the opinions of their betters on this
occasion.  Unable at other times, or in any other way, to bring
themselves into importance, they were glad of the opportunity to do so
with their tongues, and, like their civilised types, they assumed an air
of mock modesty.

"Oh!" cried one of these, in reply to Flatnose, "we is littil infants;
we is still holdin' on to de boosums ob our moders; we not able to walk
alone; we knows notin' at all; but on _dis_ point, we knows that you old
men speak like de ignorint peepil.  We nebber hear such nonsense--
nebber!"

No notice was taken of this, but Frizzyhead, whose passion was rising to
white heat in consequence of the glibness of his opponent's tongue,
cried out--"'Oo cannot prove wat 'ou says?"

"Oh yes, can prove it well 'nuff," replied Flatnose, "but 'oos no' got
brain for onerstand."

This last was too much for poor Frizzyhead, who leaped up, stuttered,
and cried--"Can 'oo outrun me, then?"

"Ye--ye--yes!" gasped Flatnose, springing up.

Away they went like two hunted springboks, and ran for a mile, then
turned and came back into camp streaming with perspiration, little
Frizzyhead far ahead of the big man, and rejoicing in the fact that he
could beat his opponent in a race, if not in an argument.  Thus was
peace restored.  Pity that civilised arguments cannot be terminated in
the same way!

While these discussions were going on, Disco observed that hyenas were
occasionally to be seen prowling near the verge of the bushes around
them, as if anxious to join in the feast, which no doubt was the case.

"Don't they do mischief sometimes?" he inquired of Antonio.

"No; him a cowardly beast.  Him come at mans when sleepin' or dyin', but
not at oder time.  'Oo like see me catch um?"

"Why, yes, if 'ee can do it," answered Disco, with a slight look of
contempt at his friend, who bore too much resemblance in some points to
the hyena.

"Come here, den."

They went together into the jungle a little distance, and halted under
the branch of a large tree.  To this Antonio suspended a lump of raw
flesh, at such a height from the ground that a hyena could only reach it
by leaping.  Directly underneath it he planted a short spear in the
earth with its point upward.

"Now, come back to fire," he said to Disco; "'ou soon hear sometin'."

Antonio was right.  In a short time afterwards a sharp yell was heard,
and, on running to the trap, they found a hyena in its death-agonies.
It had leaped at the meat, missed it, and had come down on the spear and
impaled itself.

"Well, of all the fellers I ever know'd for dodges," said Disco, on
reseating himself at the fire, "the men in these latitudes are the
cleverest."

By this time dancing was going on furiously; therefore, as it would have
been impossible to sleep, Disco refilled his pipe and amused himself by
contemplating the intelligent countenance of Kambira, who sat smoking
bang out of a huge native meerschaum on the other side of the fire.

"I wonder," said Harold, who lay stretched on a sleeping-mat, leaning on
his right arm and gazing contemplatively at the glowing heart of the
fire; "I wonder what has become of Yoosoof?"

"Was 'ee thinkin' that he deserved to be shoved in there?" asked Disco,
pointing to the fire.

"Not exactly," replied Harold, laughing; "but I have frequently thought
of the scoundrel, and wondered where he is and what doing now.  I have
sometimes thought too, about that girl Azinte, poor thing.  She--"

He paused abruptly and gazed at Kambira with great surprise, not unmixed
with alarm, for the chief had suddenly dropped his pipe and glared at
him in a manner that cannot be described.  Disco observed the change
also, and was about to speak, when Kambira sprang over the fire and
seized Harold by the arm.

There was something in the movement, however, which forbade the idea of
an attack, therefore he lay still.

"What now, Kambira?" he said.

"Antonio," cried the chief, in a voice that brought the interpreter to
his side in a twinkling; "what name did the white man speak just now?"

"Azinte," said Harold, rising to a sitting posture.

Kambira sat down, drew up his knees to his chin, and clasped his hands
round them.

"Tell me all you know about Azinte," he said in a low, firm voice.

It was evident that the chief was endeavouring to restrain some powerful
feeling, for his face, black though it was, indicated a distinct degree
of pallor, and his lips were firmly compressed together.  Harold
therefore, much surprised as well as interested, related the little he
knew about the poor girl,--his meeting with her in Yoosoof's hut;
Disco's kindness to her, and her subsequent departure with the Arab.

Kambira sat motionless until he had finished.

"Do you know where she is gone?" he inquired.

"No.  I know not; but she was not in the boat with the other slaves when
we sailed, from which I think it likely that she remained upon the
coast.--But why do you ask, Kambira, why are you so anxious about her?"

"She is my wife," muttered the chief between his teeth; and, as he said
so, a frown that was absolutely diabolical settled down on his features.

For some minutes there was a dead silence, for both Harold and Disco
felt intuitively that to offer consolation or hope were out of the
question.

Presently Kambira raised his head, and a smile chased the frown away as
he said--"You have been kind to Azinte, will you be kind to her
husband?"

"We should be indeed unworthy the name of Englishmen if we said no to
that," replied Harold, glancing at Disco, who nodded approval.

"Good.  Will you take me with you to the shores of the great salt lake?"
said Kambira, in a low, pathetic tone, "will you make me your servant,
your slave?"

"Most gladly will I take you with me as _a friend_," returned Harold.
"I need not ask why you wish to go," he added,--"you go to seek Azinte?"

"Yes," cried the chief, springing up wildly and drawing himself up to
his full height, "I go to seek Azinte.  Ho! up men! up!  Ye have feasted
enough and slept enough for one night.  Who knows but the slavers may be
at our huts while we lie idly here?  Up!  Let us go!"

The ringing tones acted like a magic spell.  Savage camps are soon
pitched and sooner raised.  In a few minutes the obedient hunters had
bundled up all their possessions, and in less than a quarter of an hour
the whole band was tracking its way by moonlight through the pathless
jungle.

The pace at which they travelled home was much more rapid than that at
which they had set out on their expedition.  Somehow, the vigorous tones
in which Kambira had given command to break up the camp, coupled with
his words, roused the idea that he must have received information of
danger threatening the village, and some of the more anxious husbands
and fathers, unable to restrain themselves, left the party altogether
and ran back the whole way.  To their great relief, however, they found
on arriving that all was quiet.  The women were singing and at work in
the fields, the children shouting at play, and the men at their wonted
occupation of weaving cotton cloth, or making nets and bows, under the
banyan-trees.

Perplexity is not a pleasant condition of existence, nevertheless, to
perplexity mankind is more or less doomed in every period of life and in
every mundane scene--particularly in the jungles of central Africa, as
Harold and his friends found out many a time to their cost.

On arriving at the native village, the chief point that perplexed our
hero there was as to whether he should return to the coast at once, or
push on further into the interior.  On the one hand he wished very much
to see more of the land and its inhabitants; on the other hand, Kambira
was painfully anxious to proceed at once to the coast in search, of his
lost wife, and pressed him to set off without delay.

The chief was rather an exception in regard to his feelings on this
point.  Most other African potentates had several wives, and in the
event of losing one of them might have found consolation in the others.
But Kambira had never apparently thought of taking another wife after
the loss of Azinte, and the only comfort he had was in his little boy,
who bore a strong resemblance, in some points, to the mother.

But although Harold felt strong sympathy with the man, and would have
gone a long way out of his course to aid him, he could not avoid
perceiving that the case was almost, if not altogether, a hopeless one.
He had no idea to what part of the coast Azinte had been taken.  For all
he knew to the contrary, she might have been long ago shipped off to the
northern markets, and probably was, even while he talked of her, the
inmate of an Arab harem, or at all events a piece of goods--a
"chattel"--in the absolute possession of an irresponsible master.
Besides the improbability of Kambira ever hearing what had become of his
wife, or to what part of the earth she had been transported, there was
also the difficulty of devising any definite course of action for the
chief himself, because the instant he should venture to leave the
protection of the Englishmen he would be certain to fall into the hands
of Arabs or Portuguese, and become enslaved.

Much of this Harold had not the heart to explain to him.  He dwelt,
however, pretty strongly on the latter contingency, though without
producing much effect.  Death, the chief replied, he did not fear, and
slavery could easily be exchanged for death.

"Alas! not so easily as you think," said Harold, pointing to Chimbolo,
whose sad story he had heard; "they will try _every_ kind of torture
before they kill you."

Chimbolo nodded his head, assenting, and ground his teeth together
fiercely when this was said.

Still Kambira was unmoved; he did not care what they did to him.  Azinte
was as life to him, and to search for her he would go in spite of every
consideration.

Harold prevailed on him, however, to agree to wait until he should have
spent another month in visiting Chimbolo's tribe, after which he
promised faithfully to return and take him along with his party to the
coast.

Neither Harold nor Disco was quite at ease in his mind after making this
arrangement, but they both agreed that no other course could be pursued,
the former saying with a sigh that there was no help for it, and the
latter asserting with a grunt that the thing "wos unawoidable."

On the following day the journey of exploration was resumed.  Kambira
accompanied his friends a few miles on the road, and then bade them
farewell.  On the summit of an elevated ridge the party halted and
looked back.  Kambira's manly form could be seen leaning on his spear.
Behind him the little village lay embosomed in luxuriant verdure, and
glowing in the bright sunshine, while songs and sounds of industry
floated towards them like a sweet melody.  It was with a feeling of keen
regret that the travellers turned away, after waving their hands in
reply to a parting salute from the stalwart chief, and, descending to
the plain, pushed forward into the unknown wilderness beyond.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

CAMPING, TRAVELLING, SHOOTING, DREAMING, POETISING, PHILOSOPHISING, AND
SURPRISING, IN EQUATORIAL AFRICA.

At sunset the travellers halted in a peculiarly wild spot and encamped
under the shelter of a gigantic baobab tree.

Two rousing fires were quickly kindled, round which the natives busied
themselves in preparing supper, while their leaders sat down, the one to
write up his journal, the other to smoke his pipe.

"Well, sir," said Disco, after a few puffs delivered with extreme
satisfaction, "you do seem for to enjoy writin'.  You go at that log of
yours every night, as if it wos yer last will and testament that ye
couldn't die happy without exikootin' an' signin' it with yer blood."

"A better occupation, isn't it," replied Harold, with a sly glance,
"than to make a chimney-pot of my mouth?"

"Come, sir," returned Disco, with a deprecatory smile, "don't be too
hard on a poor feller's pipe.  If you can't enjoy it, that's no argiment
against it."

"How d'you know I can't enjoy it?"

"Why? cos I s'pose you'd take to it if you did."

"Did _you_ enjoy it when you first began?" asked Harold.

"Well, I can't 'zactly say as I did."

"Well, then, if you didn't, that proves that it is not _natural_ to
smoke, and why should I acquire an unnatural and useless habit?"

"Useless! why, sir, on'y think of wot you loses by not smokin'--wot a
deal of enjoyment!"

"Well, I _am_ thinking," replied Harold, affecting a look of profound
thoughtfulness, "but I can't quite make it out--enjoyment? let me see.
Do I not enjoy as good health as you do?"

"O, cer'nly, sir, cer'nly.  You're quite up to the mark in that
respect."

"Well then, I enjoy my food as well, and can eat as much, can't I?"

"No doubt of it," replied Disco, with a grin; "I was used to be
considered raither a dab at wittles, but I must say I knocks under to
_you_, sir."

"Very good," rejoined Harold, laughing; "then as to sleep, I enjoy sleep
quite as soundly as yourself; don't I?"

"I can't say as to that," replied Disco.  "You see, sir, as I never
opens my eyes arter shuttin' of 'em till the bo's'n pipes all hands
ahoy, I've no means of knowin' wot you accomplish in that way."

"On the whole, then, it seems that I enjoy everything as much as you do,
and--"

"No, not everything; you don't enjoy baccy, you know.--But please, sir,
don't go for to moralise; I can't stand it.  You'll spile my pipe if ye
do!"

"Well, I shall spare you," said Harold, "all the more that I perceive
supper is about--"

At that moment Antonio, who had gone down to a streamlet which trickled
close at hand, gave utterance to a hideous yell, and came rushing into
camp with a face that was pea-green from terror.

"Ach!" he gasped, "a lion! queek! your guns!"  Every one leaped up and
seized his weapon with marvellous alacrity on receiving an alarm so
violent and unlooked-for.

"Where away?" inquired Disco, blazing with excitement, and ready at a
moment's notice to rush into the jungle and fire both barrels at
whatever should present itself.

"No, no, don' go," cried Antonio in alarm; "be cautionous."

The interpreter's caution was enforced by Chimbolo, who laid his hand on
Disco's arm, and looked at him with such solemnity that he felt it
necessary to restrain his ardour.

Meanwhile Antonio with trembling steps led Harold to a point in the
thicket whence he beheld two bright phosphoric-looking objects which his
companion said were the lion's eyes, adding that lion's eyes always
shone in that way.

Harold threw forward his rifle with the intention of taking aim, but
lowered it quickly, for he felt convinced that no lion could possibly
have eyes so wide apart unless its head were as large as that of an
elephant.

"Nonsense, Antonio!" he said, laughing; "that cannot be a lion."

"Ho, yis, him's a lion, for sure," Antonio returned, positively.

"We shall see."

Harold raised his rifle and fired, while Antonio turned and fled, fully
expecting the wounded beast to spring.  Harold himself half looked for
some such act, and shrank behind a bush by way of precaution, but when
the smoke cleared away, he saw that the two glowing eyes were gazing at
him as fixedly as ever.

"Pooh!" exclaimed Disco, brushing past; "I knows wot it is.  Many a time
I've seed 'em in the West Injies."

Saying which, he went straight up to the supposed lion, picked up a
couple of glow-worms, and brought them to the camp-fires, much to the
amusement of the men, especially of Jumbo, and greatly to the confusion
of the valorous interpreter, who, according to his invariable custom
when danger threatened, was found to have sought refuge in a tree.

This incident furnished ground for much discussion and merriment during
supper, in which Antonio, being in no wise ashamed of himself, joined
noisily; and Chimbolo took occasion to reprove Disco for his rashness,
telling him that it was impossible to kill lions in the jungle during
the darkness of night, and that, if they did pay them a visit, it would
be wise to let them be, and trust to the camp-fires keeping them at a
respectful distance.  To which Disco retorted that he didn't believe
there was any lions in Afriky, for he'd heard a deal about 'em an'
travelled far, but had not yet heard the sound of their woices, an', wot
was more, didn't expect to.

Before that night was far advanced, Disco was constrained to acknowledge
himself in error, for a veritable lion did actually prowl down to the
camp, and salute them with a roar which had a wonderfully awe-inspiring
effect on every member of the party, especially on those who heard it
for the first time in their lives.

Just before the arrival of this nocturnal visitor, one of the men had
been engaged in some poetic effusions, which claim preliminary notice
here, because they were rudely terminated by the lion.

This man was one of Kambira's people, and had joined the party by
permission.  He was one of those beings who, gifted with something like
genius, or with superior powers of some sort, have sprung up in Africa,
as elsewhere, no doubt from time immemorial, to dazzle their fellows for
a little, and then pass away, leaving a trail of tradition behind them.
The existence there, in time past, of men of mind far in advance of
their fellows, as well as of heroes whose physical powers were
marvellous, may be assumed from the fact that some such exist at the
present time, as well as from tradition.  Some of these heroes have
excited the admiration of large districts by their wisdom, others by
their courage or their superior dexterity with the spear and bow, like
William Tell and Robin Hood, but the memory of these must soon have been
obliterated for want of literature.  The man who had joined Harold was a
poet and a musician.  He was an _improvvisatore_, composed verses on the
incidents that occurred as they travelled along, and sang them with an
accompaniment on an instrument called the _sansa_, which had nine iron
keys and a calabash for a sounding-board.

The poet's name was Mokompa.  With the free and easy disposition of his
race, he allowed his fancy to play round the facts of which he sang, and
was never at a loss, for, if the right word did not come readily, he
spun out the measure with musical sounds which meant nothing at all.

After supper was over, or rather when the first interval of repose
occurred, Mokompa, who was an obliging and hearty little fellow, was
called on for a song.  Nothing loath, he seized his sansa and began a
ditty, of which the following, given by Antonio, may be regarded as a
remarkably free, not to say easy, translation:--

  MOKOMPA'S SONG.

  Kambira goes to hunt,
  Yo ho!
  Him's spear am nebber blunt,
  Yo ho!
  Him kill de buff'lo quick,
  An' lub de porridge thick;
  Him chase de lion too,
  An' stick um troo an' troo.
  De 'potimus as well,
  An' more dan me can tell,
  Hab down before um fell,
  Yo ho!
  De English come to see,
  Yo ho!
  Dat werry good for we,
  Yo ho!
  No' take us 'way for slaves,
  Nor put us in our graves,
  But set de black mans free,
  W'en cotch um on de sea.
  Dem splendid shooters, too,
  We knows what dey can do
  Wid boil an' roast an' stew,
  Yo ho!
  One makes um's gun go crack,
  Yo ho!
  An elephant on um's back,
  Yo ho!
  De drefful lion roar,
  De gun goes crack once more,
  De bullet fly an' splits
  One monkey into bits,
  Yo ho!
  De glow-worm next arise,
  De Englishman likewise
  Wid werry much surprise,
  An' hit um 'tween de eyes,
  "Hooray! hooray!" um cries,
  An' run to fetch um's prize--
  Yo ho!

The last "Yo ho!" was given with tremendous energy, and followed by
peals of laughter.

It was at this point that the veritable lion thought proper to join in,
which he did, as we have said, with a roar so tremendous that it not
only put a sudden stop to the music, but filled the party with so much
alarm that they sprang to their arms with surprising agility.

Mindful of Chimbolo's previous warning, neither Harold nor Disco sought
to advance, but both looked at their savage friend for advice.

Now, in some parts of Africa there exists a popular belief that the
souls of departed chiefs enter into lions and render them sacred, and
several members of Harold Seadrift's party entertained this notion.
Chimbolo was one of these.  From the sounds of growling and rending
which issued from the thicket, he knew that the lion in question was
devouring part of their buffalo-meat which had been hung on the branch
of a neighbouring tree, not, however, near enough to the fires to be
visible.  Believing that the beast was a chief in disguise, Chimbolo
advanced a little towards the place where he was, and, much to our
traveller's amusement, gave him a good scolding.

"_You_ call yourself a chief, do you--eh?" he said sternly.  "What kind
of a chief can _you_ be, to come sneaking about in the dark like this,
trying to steal our buffalo-meat!  Are you not ashamed of yourself?  A
pretty chief, truly; you are like the scavenger-beetle, and think of
yourself only; you have not the heart of a chief.  Why don't you kill
your own beef?  You must have a stone in your chest, and no heart at
all."

"That's werry flowery lingo, but it don't seem to convince him," said
Disco, with a quiet smile, as the lion, which had been growling
continuously over its meal all the time, wound up Chimbolo's speech with
another terrific roar.

At this point another believer in transmigration of souls, a quiet man
who seldom volunteered remarks on any subject, stepped forward and began
seriously to expostulate with the lion.

"It is very wrong of you," he said, "to treat strangers in this fashion.
You might have more respect for Englishmen who have come to see your
land, and never did you any harm.  We are travelling peaceably through
the country; we never kill anybody, and never steal anything; the
buffalo-meat is ours, not yours, and it ill becomes a great chief like
you to be prowling about in the dark, like a hyena, trying to steal the
meat of strangers.  Surely you can hunt for yourself--there is plenty of
meat in the forest."  [See Livingstone's _Zambesi and its Tributaries_,
page 160.]

As the lion was equally deaf to this man's reasoning, Harold thought it
right to try a more persuasive plan.  He drew up in a line all the men
who had guns, and at a word of command they fired a volley of balls into
the jungle, in the direction whence the sounds issued.  A dead silence
followed, but it was deemed advisable not to venture in to see the
effect, as men had frequently lost their lives by so doing.  A watch,
however, was kept during the night, and the fires were well replenished,
for they knew that the king of the forest usually shrinks from doing his
evil deeds in the light of a strong camp-fire.  We say usually--because
they are not always thus shy.  Authentic instances are on record of
lions having leaped into the centre of a bivouac, and carried off one of
the men in spite of being smitten in the face with flaming firebrands.
Fortunately the lion of which we write thought "discretion the better
part of valour."  He retired peaceably, nevertheless Disco and his
friend continued to dream of him all night so vividly that they started
up several times, and seized their rifles, under the impression that he
had roared his loudest into their very ears, and after each of these
occasions they crept back into their sleeping bags to re-dream of the
lion!

The "bag" which formed each man's couch was made simply of two mats
sewed together, and left open, not at one of the ends but at one of the
sides, so that a man could roll out of or into it more easily than he
could have slid, feet first, into a sack.  It was large enough also for
two to sleep inside together, always supposing that the two were of
accommodating dispositions!

That they had now reached a land which swarmed with wild animals was
intimated to some extent by the running past, within fifty yards of
their bivouac, of a troop of elephants.  It was daybreak at the time, so
that, having been thus rudely aroused, they did not deem it necessary to
return to rest but after taking a hasty mouthful of food, set forth on
their journey.

The usual mode of proceeding on the march was as follows:--They rose
about five o'clock, or soon after the appearance of dawn, and swallowed
a cup of tea, with a bit of biscuit, then some of the men folded up the
blankets and stowed them away in the bags, others tied up the cooking
utensils, etcetera, in bundles, and hung them at the ends of
carrying-sticks, which they bore upon their shoulders.  The process did
not take long.  They were soon on the march, either in single file, if
the path were narrow, or in groups, according to fancy, where the ground
admitted of their spreading out.  About nine, a convenient spot was
chosen for a halt to breakfast, which meat, although not "_eaten_ the
night before in order to save time in the morning," was at all events
_cooked_ on the previous evening for the same end, so that it only
needed warming up.  Then the march was resumed; a short rest was allowed
in the heat of the day, when, of course, Disco had a pipe and much
sagacious intercourse with his fellows, and they finally encamped for
the remainder of the day and night early in the afternoon.  Thus they
travelled five or six hours at a stretch, and averaged from twelve to
fifteen miles a day, which is about as much as Europeans can stand in a
hot climate without being oppressed.  This Disco called "taking it
easy," and so it was when compared with the custom of some travellers,
whose chief end would appear to be the getting over as much ground as
possible in a given time, in order that they may afterwards boast of the
same, and for the accomplishment of which they are obliged to abuse and
look ferocious at the blacks, cock their pistols, and flourish their
whips, in a manner which is only worthy of being styled contemptible and
cowardly.  We need not say that our friends Harold and Disco had no such
propensities.  They had kindly consideration for the feelings of their
"niggers," coupled with great firmness; became very sociable with them,
and thus got hearty, willing work out of them.  But to return from this
digression.

During the day, the number of animals of all sorts that were seen was so
great as to induce Disco to protest, with a slap of his thigh, that the
whole land, from stem to stern, seemed to him to be one prodigious
zoological garden--it did, an' no mistake about it.

Disco was not far wrong.  He and Harold having started ahead of the
party, with Chimbolo as their guide, came on a wonderful variety of
creatures in rapid succession.  First, they fell in with some large
flocks of guinea-fowl, and shot a few for dinner.  As they advanced,
various birds ran across their path, and clouds of turtle-doves filled
the air with the blatter of their wings as they rose above the trees.
Ducks, geese, and francolins helped to swell the chorus of sounds.

When the sun rose and sent a flood of light over a wide and richly
wooded vale, into which they were about to descend, a herd of pallahs
stood gazing at the travellers in stupid surprise, and allowed them to
approach within sixty yards before trotting leisurely away.  These and
all other animals were passed unmolested, as the party had sufficient
meat at the time, and Harold made it a point not to permit his followers
to shoot animals for the mere sake of sport, though several of them were
uncommonly anxious to do so.  Soon afterwards a herd of waterbucks
were passed, and then a herd of koodoos, with two or three
magnificently-horned bucks amongst them, which hurried off to the
hillsides on seeing the travellers.  Antelopes also were seen, and
buffaloes, grazing beside their path.

Ere long they came upon a small pond with a couple of elephants standing
on its brink, cooling their huge sides by drawing water into their
trunks and throwing it all over themselves.  Behind these were several
herds of zebras and waterbucks, all of which took to flight on "getting
the wind" of man.  They seemed intuitively to know that he was an enemy.
Wild pigs, also, were common, and troops of monkeys, large and small,
barked, chattered, grinned, and made faces among the trees.

After pitching the camp each afternoon, and having had a mouthful of
biscuit, the two Englishmen were in the habit of going off to hunt for
the daily supply of fresh meat accompanied by Chimbolo as their guide
and game-carrier, Antonio as their interpreter, and Mokompa as their
poet and jester.  They did not indeed, appoint Mokompa to that post of
honour, but the little worthy took it upon himself, for the express
purpose of noting the deeds of the white men, in order to throw his
black comrades into convulsions over supper by a poetic recital of the
same.

"It pleases them, an' it don't hurt us," was Disco's observation on this
head.

On the afternoon, then, of which we write, the party of four went out to
hunt, while the encampment was being prepared under the superintendence
of Jumbo, who had already proved himself to be an able manager and cook,
as also had his countrymen Masiko and Zombo.

"What a rich country!" exclaimed Harold, looking round in admiration
from the top of a small hillock on as fine a scene as one could wish to
behold, "and what a splendid cotton country it might be if properly
cultivated!"

"So it is," said Disco, "an' I shouldn't wonder if there wos lots of
gold too, if we only knew where to look for it."

"Gold!" exclaimed Antonio, who sat winking placidly on the stump of a
fallen tree; "dere be lots ob gold near Zambesi--an' oder ting too."

"Let's hear wot are some of the other things," said Disco.

"What are dere?--oh, let me see: der be coal, lots ob coal on Zambesi,
any amount ob it, an' it burn fuss-rate, too.  Dere be iron-ore, very
much, an' indigo, an' sugar-cane, an ivory; you hab hear an' see yooself
about de elephants an' de cottin, an' tobacco.  [See Livingstone's
_Zambesi and its Tributaries_, page 52.] Oh! great plenty ob eberyting
eberywhere in dis yere country, but," said Antonio, with a shrug of his
shoulders, "no can make noting out ob it on account ob de slave-trade."

"Then I 'spose 'ee don't approve of the slave-trade?" said Disco.

"No, dat am true," replied Antonio; "de country very good for
slave-trader, but no good for man like me what want to trade proper."

"H'm!  I've more respect for 'ee than I had," said Disco.  "I 'spose
you've bin up in these parts before now, have 'ee?"

"No, nevah, but I hab sister what marry one nigger, one slave, what sold
himself, an' him tell me much 'bout it.  Hims bin up here many time."

"Sold himself!" repeated Harold in surprise.  "What do you mean?"

"Mean dat," returned Antonio.  "Him was a black free-man--call him
Chibanti; him was all alone in de world, lose fader, moder, broder,
sister, wife, eberyting by slave-trader, who steal dem all away or
murder dem.  So Chibanti him say, `What de use of be free?'  So him go
to one master, who berry good to hims niggers--gib dem plenty to eat an'
little to do--an' sole hisself to him."

"An' wot did he get for himself?" asked Disco.

"Got ninety yard ob cottin cloth."

"Did he consider himself cheap or dear at that?" inquired Disco.

"Oh, dear--awful dear!"

"What has come of him now?" asked Harold.

"Dunno," answered Antonio.  "After him got de cloth, hims master send
him to Quillimane wid cargo ob ivory, an' gib him leave to do leetil
trade on hims own account; so him bought a man, a woman, an' a boy, for
sixty yard ob cottin, an' wid de rest hired slaves for de voyage down,
an' drove a mos' won'erful trade.  But long time since me hear ob him.
P'raps hims good master be dead, an' him go wid de rest of de goods an'
chattels to a bad master, who berry soon make him sorry him sole
hisself."

Pushing forward for several days in the manner which we have attempted
to describe, our travellers passed through many varied scenes, which,
however, all bore one mark in common, namely, teeming animal and
vegetable life.  Human beings were also found to be exceedingly
numerous, but not so universally distributed as the others, for,
although many villages and hamlets were passed, the inhabitants of which
were all peacefully inclined and busy in their fields, or with their
native cotton, iron, and pottery manufactures, vast expanses of rich
ground were also traversed, which, as far as man was concerned, appeared
to be absolute solitudes.

Entering upon one of these about noon of a remarkably fine day, Harold
could not help remarking on the strange stillness which pervaded the
air.  No sound was heard from beast, bird, or insect; no village was
near, no rippling stream murmured, or zephyr stirred the leaves; in
short, it was a scene which, from its solitude and profound silence,
became oppressive.

"W'y, sir," said Disco, whose face was bathed in perspiration, "it do
seem to me as if we'd got to the fag-end of the world altogether.  There
ain't nothin' nowhere."

Harold laughed, and said it looked like it.  But Disco was wrong.  It
was only the hour when animals seem to find a _siesta_ indispensable,
and vegetables as well as air had followed their example.  A few minutes
sufficed to prove their mistake, for, on entering a piece of woodland, a
herd of pallahs, and another of water-bucks, appeared, standing as quiet
and still as if they were part of a painted landscape.  Then, in passing
a thick clump of thorns, they could see, through openings in the bushes,
the dim phantom-like forms of buffaloes, with heads lowered and eyes
glaring at them, ready to charge, if need be, though too lazy from heat,
apparently, to begin the 'fray, and willing to act on the principle of
"let be for let be."  Still farther on, a native was observed keeping at
a respectful distance.  He had seen the travellers from afar, and come
with noiseless tread to get a nearer view.

Halting to rest the party for a few minutes in a shady hollow, Harold
threw himself at full length on the grass, but Disco, who, strange to
say, did not feel inclined to smoke at the moment--probably because he
had only just finished his fifth pipe a few minutes previously--
sauntered on alone to the top of the next ridge.

He had barely reached the summit when Harold, who chanced to be looking
after him, observed that he crouched suddenly behind a bush, and, after
gazing steadfastly for a few seconds over the hill, turned and ran back,
making excessively wild demonstrations with head and arms, but uttering
no sound.

Of course the whole party sprang up and ran towards the excited mariner,
and soon were near enough to understand that his violent actions were
meant to caution them to make no noise.

"Hush!" he said eagerly, on coming near enough to be heard; "keep quiet
as mice.  There's a slave-gang, or somethin' uncommon like it, goin'
along on right athwart us."

Without a word of reply, the whole party hurried forward and gained a
point of observation behind the low bushes which crowned the ridge.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

SHOWS SOME OF THE EFFECTS OF THE SLAVE-TRADE AT THE FOUNTAIN-HEAD.

Down in a gorge, just below the spot where Harold Seadrift and his men
lay concealed, a strange sight met the eyes of the two Englishmen, in
regard to which, despite all that they had heard and seen, and were
prepared to see, they were as much shocked as if it had never been
presented even to their imaginations up to that moment.

It was a gang of slaves winding its way slowly but steadily through the
gorge.

The head of the dusky procession was just emerging on the open ground
beyond the gorge when the travellers first came upon it.  The slaves
advanced towards the spot where they lay, passing under it so closely
that they could see the very expressions on the faces of the men, women,
and children who composed the gang.  These expressions were varied and
very terrible.  Our travellers had now reached the fountain-head whence
the perennial stream of "Black Ivory" flows out of Africa.  The process
of manufacture, although considerably advanced, had not yet reached that
perfection of callous subjection and settled despair which had struck
our Englishmen so forcibly in the slave-market of Zanzibar.  There was
anxiety not unmingled with faint hope in the faces of some of the women;
and a few of the more stalwart and courageous among the men wore a
fierce, determined aspect which told of manhood not yet absolutely
prostrated in the dust of abject servility, while, in regard to some of
the children, surprise at the peculiar circumstances of their
surroundings had not yet been swallowed up in a condition of chronic
terror.

They marched in a long line, fastened to each other by chains and ropes
and heavy "gorees" or slave-sticks.  The latter implements were poles
from six to seven feet long, with a fork at the end of each, in which
the necks of the men were fitted and secured by means of an iron bolt,
passing across the throat and riveted at both ends.  To render marching
possible with such encumbrances, the men went in couples, one behind the
other, so that the slave-stick of the leading man could be tied to the
stick of his fellow behind, which was slewed round to the front for the
purpose.  Their wrists were also tied, some in front, others behind
their backs.  Secured thus, Hercules himself might have been reduced to
obedience, especially if he had felt the frequent sting of the cruel
lash that was laid on these captives, a lash whose power was made
manifest by the numerous seams and scars which crossed and recrossed
their backs and limbs.  The women and children were deemed sufficiently
secure by being fastened to each other with ropes and iron rings round
their necks.  All were naked, with the exception of a little piece of
cloth round the loins, and some of the women had infants of a few weeks
old strapped to their backs by means of this shred of cloth, while
others carried baskets on their heads containing meal for the sustenance
of the party during their journey.

In advance of the line marched a tall, powerfully-built half-caste,
armed with a musket and small axe, and clad in a loose coat, short
drawers reaching the knees, and straw hat.  He was obviously the
commander of the band.  Behind him came several negroes, also armed with
muskets, and with thick wands for the purpose of flagellation.  These
wore loin-cloths and turbans or red caps, but nothing more.  They
laughed, talked and strutted as they went along, forming a marked
contrast to the silent and depressed slaves.

At intervals along the line, and in rear, there were stationed one or
two of these drivers, who urged on their "cattle" with more or less
cruelty, according to their individual impulses or natures.

We need scarcely say that this sight filled Harold and Disco not only
with feelings of horror and pity, but with sensations of towering
indignation that almost suffocated them.  Those who only read of such
things at home can form but a faint conception of what it is actually to
behold them.

"We must fight!" muttered Harold between his teeth.

Disco could not speak, but he looked at his companion, and gave a nod
that plainly indicated the state of his feelings.

"'Sh!" hissed Chimbolo, creeping up at that moment and laying his hand,
which trembled violently, on Harold's shoulder, "Marizano!"

"What! the scoundrel in advance?"

Chimbolo pointed to the leader of the slave-gang, and almost foamed at
the mouth with suppressed rage.

At that moment their attention was attracted to a woman who walked
immediately behind the slavers.  She was a young and, according to
African ideas, a comely girl, but was apparently very weak--so weak that
she panted and stumbled as she went along, a circumstance which was
accounted for by the little infant tied to her back, which could not
have been more than a couple of weeks old.  Stumbling against the fallen
branch of a tree, she fell at last with a low wail to the ground, and
made no effort, as on previous occasions, to recover herself.

The whole gang stopped, and Marizano, turning back, pushed the woman
with his foot.

A fine-looking young man, who was the leader in a couple secured by a
slave-stick, seemed to regard this woman with a degree of interest that
argued near relationship.  He started forward half involuntarily when
the Portuguese half-caste kicked her.  He had forgotten for an instant
his fellow in rear, as well as the bar of the goree across his throat,
which checked him violently; at the same time one of the drivers, who
had observed the movement, laid a supple wand across his bare back so
sharply as to draw forth a terrific yell of agony.

This was too much for Disco Lillihammer.  Unable to restrain himself, he
leaped up, seized his rifle by the muzzle with both hands, and, swinging
it round his head, rushed upon Marizano with a bursting shout of rage
and defiance.

It is probable that the half-caste leader, who was by no means destitute
of courage, would have stood his ground had his assailant been a man of
colour, but this unexpected apparition of a white man with a fiery
countenance and blue eyes that absolutely flashed as he rushed forward
with irresistible fury, was too much for him.  Firing hastily, and with
bad aim, Marizano turned and fled into the woods, followed by all his
men.  There was however a large band of Ajawa savages in rear, armed
with bows and poisoned arrows.  When he encountered these the Portuguese
chief halted, and, rallying his men, took shelter behind trees and began
to fire at the advancing enemy.

Seeing this, Harold drew his men together and made them fire a united
volley, which had the effect of utterly routing the slavers.  Disco
meanwhile, finding that he could not overtake Marizano, at last did what
he ought to have done at first--kneeled down, took deliberate aim at
him, and fired.  His agitation prevented accuracy of aim; nevertheless
he succeeded in sending a bullet through the fleshy part of the man's
arm, above the elbow, which effectually put him to flight.

Returning to the slaves, who had been left standing where they were
first stopped, in a state of great surprise and perplexity, he assisted
his companions in freeing them.  This was easy enough in regard to the
women and children, but the gorees on the men were very difficult to
remove.  Being riveted, as we have said, it became necessary to split
the forks with hatchets, an operation which endangered the heads of the
poor captives and hurt their galled necks considerably.  It was
accomplished however in the midst of a deal of excitement and hurried
conversation, while Jumbo and his comrades kindled fires, and Harold
bade the women cook the meal--which they had hitherto carried--for
themselves and their children.  They seemed to consider this too good
news to be true, but on being encouraged, began with alacrity.

"Don't be afeared, lass," cried Disco, patting a young woman on the
head, "eat as much as 'ee like.  You need it, poor thing, an' stuff the
childer till they can't hold no more.  Bu'st 'em if 'ee can.  The
slavers won't come back here in a hurry.  Ha!  I only wish they would,
an' let us have a brush with 'em.  But there's no such luck.  Cowards
never fight 'xcept w'en they're sure to win.--Now, piccaninny, here you
are," he said, stuffing some raw mapira meal into the open mouth of a
thin little girl of about six or seven, who was gazing at him in
open-eyed surprise; "don't put off time, you're half-starved already!"

The little black skeleton began to chew the dry meal with evident
satisfaction, but without taking her eyes off her deliverer.

"Who are _you_?" asked a somewhat older girl of Harold, whom she
regarded with looks of reverence and wonder.

Of course Harold did not understand her, but he immediately called
Antonio, who translated.

"Who are you?" she said; "the other people tied and starved us, but you
cut the ropes and tell us to eat; what sort of people are you?  Where
did you come from?"

To this Harold replied briefly that he was an Englishman, who hated
slavers and slavery, but he said nothing more at that time, as he
intended to have a palaver and explanation with the freed captives after
their meal was over.

There was a great clapping of hands among the slaves, expressive of
gratitude, on hearing that they were free.

About a hundred sat down to that meal, most of whom were women and
children, and the manner in which they devoured the food set before
them, told eloquently of their previous sufferings.  At first they
timidly held back, scarce venturing to believe that their new captors,
as they thought them, were in earnest.  But when their doubts and fears
were removed, they attacked the mapira porridge like ravening wolves.
Gradually the human element began to reappear, in the shape of a comment
or a smile, and before long the women were chatting together, and a few
of the stronger among the young children were making feeble attempts to
play.

When the oldest man of the party, who appeared to be between twenty and
thirty, was brought forward and questioned, he gave some interesting and
startling information.

"Tell him," said Harold to Antonio, "that we are Englishmen; that we
belong to the same nation as the great white man Dr Livingstone, who
travelled through this land some years ago--the nation which hates
slavery because the Great God hates it, and would have all men to be
free, to serve each other in love, and to do to other people as they
would have other people do to them.  Ask him, also, where he comes from,
and who captured him and his companions."

To this the negro replied--"What the white man says may be true, but the
white men seem to tell lies too much.  The men who killed our warriors,
burned our villages, and took our women and children away, came to us
saying that they were friends; that they were the servants of the same
people as the white man Livingstone, and wanted to trade with us.  When
we believed and trusted them, and were off our guard, they fired on us
with their guns.  We know not what to think or to believe."

Harold was much perplexed by this reply, for he knew not what evidence
to cite in proof that he, at least was not a deceiver.

"Tell him," he said at length, "that there are false white men as well
as true, and that the best proof I can give him that I am one of the
true is, to set him and his friends at liberty.  They are now as free to
go where they please as we are."

On receiving this assurance the negro retired to consult with his
friends.  Meanwhile Antonio, who seemed to have been touched by the
unvarying kindness with which he had been treated by his employers,
opened his mind to them, and gave them a good deal of information, of
which the substance is as follows:--

At that time the merchants of the Portuguese inland town of Tette, on
the Zambesi, were carrying on the slave-trade with unusual vigour, for
this reason, that they found it difficult to obtain ivory except in
exchange for slaves.  In former years they had carried on a trade in
ivory with a tribe called the Banyai, these Banyai being great
elephant-hunters, but it happened that they went to war with another
tribe named the Matabele, who had managed to steal from them all their
women and children.  Consequently, the forlorn Banyai said to the Tette
merchants, when they went to trade with them as they had been accustomed
to do, "We do not want your merchandise.  Bring us women and children,
and you shall have as much ivory as you wish."

These good people of Tette--being chiefly half-caste Portuguese, and
under Portuguese government, and claiming, as they do, to be the
possessors of that region of Africa--are so utterly incapable of holding
their own, that they are under the necessity of paying tribute to a
tribe of savages who come down annually to Tette to receive it, and who,
but for that tribute, would, as they easily could, expel them from the
land.  These merchants of Tette, moreover, in common with all the
Portuguese in Africa, are by the laws of Portugal prohibited from
engaging in the _export_ slave-trade.  They are not, however, forbidden
to engage temporarily in the "domestic slave-trade," hence they had sent
out slaving parties--in other words, robbers, kidnappers, murderers--who
hired the warlike Ajawa tribe to aid them in killing the Manganja men,
and robbing them of their wives and little ones, by which means they
were enabled to supply the demand for such "cattle" among the Banyai,
and thus obtained the desired supply of ivory!  So vigorously had this
slave traffic been carried on, at the time of which we write, that no
fewer than two hundred people--mostly women and children--were carried
out of the hill-country every week.  [See _The Universities' Mission to
Central Africa_, page 112.]

In a short time the negro returned to the place where Harold and Disco
were seated, and said that he believed his white deliverers were true
men, but added that he and his people had no home to go to; their
village having been burnt, and all the old people and warriors killed or
dispersed by Marizano, who was a terribly cruel man.  In proof of this
assertion he said that only the day before, Marizano had shot two of the
women for attempting to untie their thongs; a man had been killed with
an axe because he had broken-down with fatigue; and a woman had her
infant's brains dashed out because she was unable to carry it, as well
as the load assigned to her.

"It is difficult to decide what one should do in these circumstances,"
said Harold to Disco.  "You know it would never do to leave these
helpless people here to starve; but if we take them on with us our
progress will be uncommonly slow."

"We'd better take 'em back," said Disco.

"Back!  Where to?"

"W'y, to the last village wot we passed through.  It ain't more than a
day's march, an' I'm sure the old feller as is capting of it would take
care o' the lot."

"There is good advice in that, yet I grudge to go back," said Harold;
"if there were a village the same distance in advance, I would rather
take them on."

"But there ain't," returned Disco.  "Hallo!  I say, wot's wrong with
Tony?"

The interpreter came forward with a look of much excitement as he spoke.

"What now, Antonio?"

"Oh! it's drefful," replied the interpreter.  "Dey tells me have hear
Marizano speak ob anoder slaving party what go straight to Kambira's
village for attack it."

"Who told you that?  Are they sure?" asked Harold hastily.

"Two, t'ree mans tole me," replied Antonio.  "All say same ting.  Too
late to help him now, me's 'fraid."

"Never say too late," cried Disco, starting up; "never say die while
there's a shot in the locker.  It may be time enough yet if we only look
sharp.  I votes that we leave nearly all the provisions we have with
these poor critters here; up anchor, 'bout ship, clap on all sail, and
away this werry minit."

Harold agreed with this advice heartily, and at once acted on it.  The
arrangements were quickly made, the provisions distributed, an
explanation made, and in less than an hour the travellers were retracing
their steps in hot haste.

By taking a straight line and making forced marches, they arrived in
sight of the ridge where they had last seen Kambira, on the evening of
the third day.  As they drew near Harold pushed impatiently forward,
and, outrunning his companions, was first to reach the summit.  Disco's
heart sank within him, for he observed that his companion stood still,
bowed his head, and covered his face with both hands.  He soon joined
him, and a groan burst from the seaman's breast when he saw dense
volumes of smoke rising above the spot where the village had so recently
lain a picture of peaceful beauty.

Even their followers, accustomed though they were, to scenes and deeds
of violence and cruelty, could not witness the grief of the Englishmen
unmoved.

"P'raps," said Disco, in a husky voice, "there's some of 'em left alive,
hidin' in the bushes."

"It may be so," replied Harold, as he descended the slope with rapid
strides.  "God help them!"

A few minutes sufficed to bring them to the scene of ruin, but the
devastation caused by the fire was so great that they had difficulty in
recognising the different spots where the huts had stood.  Kambira's hut
was, however, easily found, as it stood on a rising ground.  There the
fight with the slavers had evidently been fiercest, for around it lay
the charred and mutilated remains of many human bodies.  Some of these
were so far distinguishable that it could be told whether they belonged
to man, woman, or child.

"Look here!" said Disco, in a deep, stern voice, as he pointed to an
object on the ground not far from the hut.

It was the form of a woman who had been savagely mangled by her
murderers.  The upturned and distorted face proved it to be Yohama, the
grandmother of little Obo.  Near to her lay the body of a grey-haired
negro, who might to judge from his position, have fallen in attempting
to defend her.

"Oh! if the people of England only saw this sight!" said Harold, in a
low tone; "if they only believed in and _realised_ this fact, there
would be one universal and indignant shout of `No toleration of slavery
anywhere throughout the world!'"

"Look closely for Kambira or his son," he added, turning to his men.

A careful search among the sickening remains was accordingly made, but
without any discovery worth noting being made, after which they searched
the surrounding thickets.  Here sad evidence of the poor fugitives
having been closely pursued was found in the dead bodies of many of the
old men and women, and of the very young children and infants; also the
bodies of a few of the warriors.  All these had been speared, chiefly
through the back.  Still they were unsuccessful in finding the bodies of
the chief or his little boy.

"It's plain," said Disco, "that they have either escaped or been took
prisoners."

"Here is some one not quite dead," said Harold,--"Ah! poor fellow!"

He raised the unfortunate man's head on his knee, and recognised the
features of the little man who had entertained them with his tunes on
the native violin.

It was in vain that Antonio tried to gain his attention while Disco
moistened his lips with water.  He had been pierced in the chest with an
arrow.  Once only he opened his eyes, and a faint smile played on his
lips, as if he recognised friends, but it faded quickly and left the
poor musician a corpse.

Leaving, with heavy hearts, the spot where they had spent such pleasant
days and nights, enjoying the hospitality of Kambira and his tribe, our
travellers began to retrace their steps to the place where they had left
the rescued slaves, but that night the strong frame of Disco Lillihammer
succumbed to the influence of climate.  He was suddenly stricken with
African fever, and in a few hours became as helpless as a little child.

In this extremity Harold found it necessary to encamp.  He selected the
highest and healthiest spot in the neighbourhood, caused his followers
to build a rude, but comparatively comfortable, hut and set himself
diligently to hunt for, and to tend, his sick friend.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

TREATS OF LOVE, HATRED, AND SORROW, AND PROVES THAT SLAVERY AND ITS
CONSEQUENCES ARE NOT CONFINED TO BLACK MEN AND WOMEN.

We must now change the scene to the garden of that excellent Governor,
Senhor Francisco Alfonso Toledo Bignoso Letotti, and the date to three
months in advance of the period in which occurred the events related in
the last chapter.

"Maraquita, I am sorry to find that you still persist in encouraging
that morbid regret for the loss of one who cannot now be recovered."

Thus spoke the Governor in tones that were unusually petulant for one
who idolised his child.

"Father, why did you sell her without saying a word to me about your
intention?  It was very, very, _very_ unkind--indeed it was."

Poor Maraquita's eyes were already red and swollen with much weeping,
nevertheless she proceeded to increase the redness and the swelling by a
renewed burst of passionate distress.

The worthy Governor found it difficult to frame a reply or to administer
suitable consolation, for in his heart he knew that he had sold Azinte,
as it were surreptitiously, to Marizano for an unusually large sum of
money, at a time when his daughter was absent on a visit to a friend.
The noted Portuguese kidnapper, murderer, rebel and trader in black
ivory, having recovered from his wound, had returned to the town, and,
being well aware of Azinte's market value, as a rare and remarkably
beautiful piece of ivory of extra-superfine quality, had threatened, as
well as tempted, Governor Letotti beyond his powers of resistance.
Marizano did not want the girl as his own slave.  He wanted dollars,
and, therefore, destined her for the markets of Arabia or Persia, where
the smooth-tongued and yellow-skinned inhabitants hold that robbery,
violence, and cruelty, such as would make the flesh of civilised people
creep, although horrible vices in themselves, are nevertheless, quite
justifiable when covered by the sanction of that miraculous talisman
called a "domestic institution."  The British Government had, by treaty,
agreed to respect slavery in the dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar, as
a domestic institution with which it would not interfere!

Governor Letotti's heart had smitten him at first for he really was an
amiable man, and felt kindly disposed to humanity at large, slaves
included.  Unfortunately the same kindliness was concentrated with
tenfold power on himself, so that when self-interest came into play the
amiable man became capable of deeds that Marizano himself might have
been proud of.  The only difference, in fact, between the two was that
the Governor, like the drunkard, often felt ashamed of himself, and
sometimes wished that he were a better man, while the man-stealer
gloried in his deeds, and had neither wish nor intention to improve.

"Maraquita," said Senhor Letotti, still somewhat petulantly, though with
more of remonstrance in his tone, "how can you speak so foolishly?  It
was out of my power you know, to speak to you when you were absent about
what I intended to do.  Besides, I was, at the time, very much in need
of some ready money, for, although I am rich enough, there are times
when most of my capital is what business men called `locked up,' and
therefore not immediately available.  In these circumstances, Marizano
came to me with a very tempting offer.  But there are plenty of
good-looking, amiable, affectionate girls in Africa.  I can easily buy
you another slave quite as good as Azinte."

"As good as Azinte!" echoed Maraquita wildly, starting up and gazing at
her father with eyes that flashed through her tears, "Azinte, who has
opened her heart to me--her bursting, bleeding heart--and told me all
her former joys and all her present woes, and who loves me as she
loves--ay, better than she loves--her own soul, merely because I dropped
a few tears of sympathy on her little hand!  Another as good as Azinte!"
she cried with increasing vehemence; "would _you_ listen with patience
to any one who should talk to you of another as good as Maraquita?"

"Nay, but," remonstrated the Governor, "you are now raving; your
feelings towards Azinte cannot be compared with my love for _you_."

"If you loved me as I thought you did, you would not--you could not--
have thus taken from me my darling little maid.  Oh! shame, shame on
you, father--"

She could say no more, but rushed from the room to fling herself down
and sob out her feelings in the privacy of her own chamber, where she
was sought out by the black cook, who had overheard some of the
conversation, and was a sympathetic soul.  But that amiable domestic
happened to be inopportunely officious; she instantly fled from the
chamber, followed by the neatest pair of little slippers imaginable,
which hit her on the back of her woolly head,--for Maraquita, like other
spoilt children, had made up her mind _not_ to be comforted.

Meanwhile the Governor paced the floor of his drawing-room with uneasy
feelings, which, however, were suddenly put to flight by the report of a
gun.  Hastening to the window, he saw that the shot had been fired by a
war-steamer which was entering the bay.

"Ha! the `Firefly;' good!" exclaimed the Governor, with a gratified
look; "this will put it all right."

He said nothing more, but left the room hastily.  It may however be as
well to explain that his remark had reference to the mutual affection
which he was well aware existed between his daughter and the gallant
Lieutenant Lindsay.  He had not, indeed, the most remote intention of
permitting Maraquita to wed the penniless officer, but he had no
objection whatever to their flirting as much as they pleased; and he
readily perceived that nothing would be more likely to take the
Senhorina's thoughts off her lost maid than the presence of her lover.

There was a bower in a secluded corner of the Governor Letotti's garden,
a very charming bower indeed, in which Lieutenant Lindsay had been wont
at times when duty to the Queen of England permitted, to hold sweet
converse with the "queen of his soul."  What that converse was it
neither becomes us to say nor the reader to inquire.  Perhaps it had
reference to astronomy, perchance to domestic economy.  At all events it
was always eminently satisfactory to both parties engaged, save when the
Senhorina indulged in a little touch of waywardness, and sent the poor
officer back to his ship with a heavy heart, for the express purpose of
teaching him the extent of her power and the value of her favour.  She
overclouded him now and then, just to make him the more ardently long
for sunshine, and to convince him that in the highest sense of the word
he was a slave!

To this bower, then, the Senhorina returned with a sad heart and swollen
eyes, to indulge in vain regrets.  Her sorrows had overwhelmed her to
such an extent that she failed to observe the `Firefly's' salute.  It
was therefore with a look of genuine surprise and agitation that she
suddenly beheld Lieutenant Lindsay, who had availed himself of the first
free moment, striding up the little path that led to the bower.

"Maraquita!" he exclaimed, looking in amazement at the countenance of
his lady-love, which was what Norsemen style "begrutten."

But Maraquita was in no mood to be driven out of her humour, even by her
lover.

"I am miserable," she said with vehemence, clenching one of her little
fists as though she meditated an assault on the lieutenant--"utterly,
absolutely, inconsolably miserable."

If Lindsay had entertained any doubt regarding the truth of her
assertion, it would have been dispelled by her subsequent conduct, for
she buried her face in a handkerchief and burst into tears.

"Beloved, adorable, tender, delicious Maraquita," were words which leapt
into the lieutenant's mind, but he dare not utter them with his lips.
Neither did he venture to clasp Maraquita's waist with his left arm, lay
her pretty little head on his breast and smooth her luxuriant hair with
his right hand, though he felt almost irresistibly tempted so to do--
entirely from feelings of pity, of course,--for the Senhorina had
hitherto permitted no familiarities beyond a gentle pressure of the hand
on meeting and at parting.

It is unnecessary to repeat all that the bashful, though ardent, man of
war said to Maraquita, or all that Maraquita said to the man of war;
how, ignoring the celestial orbs and domestic economy, she launched out
into a rhapsodical panegyric of Azinte; told how the poor slave had
unburdened her heart to her about her handsome young husband and her
darling little boy in the far off interior, from whom she had been
rudely torn, and whom she never expected to see again; and how she,
Maraquita, had tried to console Azinte by telling her that there was a
heaven where good people might hope to meet again, even though they
never met on earth, and a great deal more besides, to all of which the
earnest lieutenant sought to find words wherewith to express his pity
and sympathy, but found them not, though he was at no loss to find words
to tell the queen of his soul that, in the peculiar circumstances of the
case, and all things considered, his love for her (Maraquita) was
tenfold more intense than it had ever been before!

"Foolish boy," said the Senhorina, smiling through her tears, "what is
the use of telling me that?  Can it do any good to Azinte?"

"Not much, I'm afraid," replied the lieutenant.  "Well, then, don't talk
nonsense, but tell me what I am to do to recover my little maid."

"It is impossible for me to advise," said the lieutenant with a
perplexed look.

"But you _must_ advise," said Maraquita, with great decision.

"Well, I will try.  How long is it since Azinte was taken away from
you?"

"About two weeks."

"You say that Marizano was the purchaser.  Do you know to what part of
the coast he intended to convey her?"

"How should I know?  I have only just heard of the matter from my
father."

"Well then, you must try to find out from your father all that he knows
about Marizano and his movements.  That is the first step.  After that I
will consider what can be done."

"Yes, Senhor," said Maraquita, rising suddenly, "you must consider
quickly, and you must act at once, for you must not come here again
until you bring me news of Azinte."

Poor Lindsay, who knew enough of the girl's character to believe her to
be thoroughly in earnest, protested solemnly that he would do his
utmost.

All that Maraquita could ascertain from her father was, that Marizano
meant to proceed to Kilwa, the great slave-depot of the coast, there to
collect a large cargo of slaves and proceed with them to Arabia,
whenever he had reason to believe that the British cruisers were out of
the way.  This was not much to go upon, but the Senhorina was as
unreasonable as were the Egyptians of old, when they insisted on the
Israelites making bricks without straw.

He was unexpectedly helped out of his dilemma by Captain Romer, who
called him into his cabin that same evening, told him that he had
obtained information of the movements of slavers, which induced him to
think it might be worth while to watch the coast to the northward of
Cape Dalgado, and bade him prepare for a cruise in charge of the cutter,
adding that the steamer would soon follow and keep them in view.

With a lightened heart Lindsay went off to prepare, and late that night
the cutter quietly pulled away from the `Firefly's' side, with a
well-armed crew, and provisioned for a short cruise.

Their object was to proceed as stealthily as possible along the coast,
therefore they kept inside of islands as much as possible, and cruised
about a good deal at nights, always sleeping on board the boat, as the
low-lying coast was very unhealthy, but landing occasionally to obtain
water and to take a survey of the sea from convenient heights.

Early one morning as they were sailing with a very light breeze, between
two small islands, a vessel was seen looming through the haze, not far
from shore.

Jackson, one of the men, who has been introduced to the reader at an
earlier part of this narrative, was the first to observe the strangers.

"It's a brig," he said; "I can make out her royals."

"No, it's a barque," said the coxswain.

A little midshipman, named Midgley, differed from both, and said it was
a large dhow, for he could make out the top of its lateen sail.

"Whatever it is, we'll give chase," said Lindsay, ordering the men to
put out the oars and give way, the sail being of little use.

In a few minutes the haze cleared sufficiently to prove that Midgley was
right.  At the same time it revealed to those on board the dhow that
they were being chased by the boat of a man-of-war.  The little wind
that blew at the time was insufficient to enable the dhow to weather a
point just ahead of her, and the cutter rowed down on her so fast that
it was evidently impossible for her to escape.

Seeing this, the commander of the dhow at once ran straight for the
shore.  Before the boat could reach her she was among the breakers on
the bar, which were so terrible at that part of the coast as to render
landing in a small boat quite out of the question.  In a few minutes the
dhow was hurled on the beach and began to break up, while her crew and
cargo of slaves swarmed into the sea and tried to gain the shore.  It
seemed to those in the boat that some hundreds of negroes were
struggling at one time in the seething foam.

"We must risk it, and try to save some of the poor wretches," cried
Lindsay; "give way, lads, give way!"

The boat shot in amongst the breakers, and was struck by several seas in
succession, and nearly swamped ere it reached the shore.  But they were
too late to save many of the drowning.  Most of the strongest of the
slaves had gained the shore and taken to the hills in wild terror, under
the impression so carefully instilled into them by the Arabs, that the
only object the Englishmen had in view was to catch, cook, and eat them!
The rest were drowned, with the exception of two men and seven little
children, varying from five to eight years of age, who were found
crawling on the beach, in such a state of emaciation that they could not
follow their companions into the bush.  They tried, however, in their
own feeble, helpless way, to avoid capture and the terrible fate which
they thought awaited them.

These were soon lifted tenderly into the boat.

"Here, Jackson," cried Lindsay, lifting one of the children in his
strong arms, and handing it to the sailor, "carry that one very
carefully, she seems to be almost gone.  God help her, poor, poor
child!"

There was good cause for Lindsay's pity, for the little girl was so thin
that every bone in her body was sticking out--her elbow and knee-joints
being the largest parts of her shrunken limbs, and it was found that she
could not rise or even stretch herself out, in consequence, as was
afterwards ascertained, of her having been kept for many days in the
dhow in a sitting posture, with her knees doubled up against her face.
Indeed, most of the poor little things captured were found to be more or
less stiffened from the same cause.

An Arab interpreter had been sent with Lindsay, but he turned out to be
so incapable that it was scarcely possible to gain any information from
him.  He was either stupid in reality, or pretended to be so.  The
latter supposition is not improbable, for many of the interpreters
furnished to the men-of-war on that coast were found to be favourable to
the slavers, insomuch that they have been known to mislead those whom
they were paid to serve.

With great difficulty the cutter was pulled through the surf.  That
afternoon the `Firefly' hove in sight, and took the rescued slaves on
board.

Next day two boats from the steamer chased another dhow on shore, but
with even less result than before, for the whole of the slaves escaped
to the hills.  On the day following, however, a large dhow was captured,
with about a hundred and fifty slaves on board, all of whom were
rescued, and the dhow destroyed.

The dhows which were thus chased or captured were all regular and
undisguised slavers.  Their owners were openly engaged in what they knew
was held to be piracy alike by the Portuguese, the Sultan of Zanzibar,
and the English.  They were exporting slaves from Africa to Arabia and
Persia, which is an illegal species of traffic.  In dealing with these,
no difficulty was experienced except the difficulty of catching them.
When caught, the dhows were invariably destroyed and the slaves set
free--that is to say, carried to those ports where they might be set
free with safety.

But there were two other sorts of traffickers in the bodies and souls of
human beings, who were much more difficult to deal with.

There were, first the legal slave-traders, namely, the men who convey
slaves by sea from one part of the Sultan of Zanzibar's dominions to
another.  This kind of slavery was prosecuted under the shelter of what
we have already referred to as a domestic institution!  It involved, as
we have said before, brutality, injustice, cruelty, theft, murder, and
extermination, but, being a domestic institution of Zanzibar, it was
held to be _legal_, and the British Government have recognised and
tolerated it by treaty for a considerable portion of this century!

It is, however, but justice to ourselves to say, that our Government
entered into the treaty with the view of checking, limiting, and
mitigating the evils of the slave-trade.  We have erred in recognising
any form of slavery, no matter how humane our object was--one proof of
which is that we have, by our interference, unintentionally increased
the evils of slavery instead of abating them.

It is worth while remarking here, that slavery is also a domestic
institution in Arabia and Persia.  If it be right that we should not
interfere with the Zanzibar institution, why should we interfere with
that of Arabia or Persia?  Our treaty appears to have been founded on
the principle that we ought to respect domestic institutions.  We
maintain a squadron on the east coast of Africa to stop the flow of
Africans to the latter countries, while we permit the flow by _treaty_,
as well as by practice, to the former.  Is this consistent?  The only
difference between the two cases is one of distance, not of principle.

But to return to our point--the legal traders.  In consequence of the
Sultan's dominions lying partly on an island and partly on the mainland,
his domestic institution necessitates boats, and in order to distinguish
between his boats and the pirates, there is a particular season fixed in
which he may carry his slaves by sea from one part of his dominions to
another; and each boat is furnished with papers which prove it to be a
"legal trader."  This is the point on which the grand fallacy of _our_
interference hinges.  The "domestic institution" would be amply supplied
by about 4000 slaves a year.  The so-called legal traders are simply
legalised deceivers, who transport not fewer than 30,000 slaves a year!
It must be borne in mind that these 30,000 represent only a portion--the
Zanzibar portion--of the great African slave-trade.  From the Portuguese
settlements to the south, and from the north by way of Egypt, the export
of negroes as slaves is larger.  It is estimated that the total number
of human beings enslaved on the east and north-east coast of Africa is
about 70,000 a year.  As all authorities agree in the statement that, at
the _lowest_ estimate, only _one_ out of every five captured survives to
go into slavery, this number represents a loss to Africa of 350,000
human beings a year.  They leave Zanzibar with full cargoes continually,
with far more than is required for what we may term home-consumption.
Nevertheless, correct papers are furnished to them by the Sultan, which
protects them from British cruisers within the prescribed limits,
namely, between Cape Dalgado and Lamoo, a line of coast about 1500 miles
in extent.  But it is easy for them to evade the cruisers in these wide
seas and extensive coasts, and the value of Black Ivory is so great that
the loss of a few is but a small matter.  On reaching the northern
limits the legal traders become pirates.  They run to the northward, and
take their chance of being captured by cruisers.

The reason of all this is very obvious.  The Sultan receives nearly half
a sovereign a head for each slave imported into Zanzibar, and our
Governments, in time past, have allowed themselves to entertain the
belief, that, by treaty, the Sultan could be induced to destroy this the
chief source of his revenue!

Surely it is not too much to say, that _Great Britain ought to enter
into no treaty whatever in regard to slavery, excepting such as shall
provide for the absolute, total, and immediate extirpation thereof by
whatsoever name called_.

Besides these two classes of slavers,--the open, professional pirates,
and the sneaking, deceiving "domestic" slavers,--there are the
slave-smugglers.  They are men who profess to be, and actually are,
legal traders in ivory, gum, copal, and other produce of Africa.  These
fellows manage to smuggle two or three slaves each voyage to the Black
Ivory markets, under pretence that they form part of the crew of their
dhows.  It is exceedingly difficult, almost impossible, for the officers
of our cruisers to convict these smugglers--to distinguish between
slaves and crews, consequently immense numbers of slaves are carried off
to the northern ports in this manner.  Sometimes these dhows carry Arab
or other passengers, and when there are so many slaves on board that it
would be obviously absurd to pretend that they formed part of the crew,
the owner dresses the poor wretches up in the habiliments that come most
readily to hand, and passes them off as the wives or servants of these
passengers.  Any one might see at a glance that the stupid, silent,
timid-looking creatures, who have had almost every human element beaten
out of them, are nothing of the sort, but there is no means of _proving_
them other than they are represented to be.  If an interpreter were to
ask them they would be ready to swear anything that their owner had
commanded; hence the cruisers are deceived in every way--in many ways
besides those now mentioned--and our philanthropic intentions are
utterly thwarted; for the rescuing and setting free of 1000 or 2000
negroes a year out of the 30,000 annually exported, is not an adequate
result for our great expense in keeping a squadron on the coast,
especially when we consider that hundreds, probably thousands, of slaves
perish amid horrible sufferings caused by the efforts of the
man-stealers to avoid our cruisers.  These would probably not lose their
lives, and the entire body of slaves would suffer less, if we did not
interfere at all.

From this we do not argue that non-interference would be best, but that
as our present system of repression does not effectively accomplish what
is aimed at, it ought to be changed.  What the change should be, many
wise and able men have stated.  Their opinion we cannot quote here, but
one thing taught to us by past experience is clear, we cannot cure the
slave-trade by merely limiting it.  Our motto in regard to slavery ought
to be--_Total and immediate extinction everywhere_.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

STRONG MEASURES LEAD TO UNEXPECTED DISCOVERIES.

"I'm terribly worried and perplexed," said Lieutenant Lindsay one
afternoon to Midshipman Midgley, as they were creeping along the coast
in the neighbourhood of Cape Dalgado.

"Why so?" inquired the middy.

"Because I can learn nothing whatever about the movements of Marizano,"
replied the Lieutenant.  "I have not spoken to you about this man
hitherto, because--because--that is to say--the fact is, it wasn't worth
while, seeing that you know no more about him than I do, perhaps not so
much.  But I can't help thinking that we might have learned something
about him by this time, only our interpreter is such an unmitigated ass,
he seems to understand nothing--to pick up nothing."

"Indeed!" exclaimed the midshipman; "I'm surprised to hear you say so,
because I heard Suliman whispering last night with that half-caste
fellow whom we captured along with the other niggers, and I am confident
that he mentioned the name of Marizano several times."

"Did he?  Well now, the rascal invariably looks quite blank when I
mention Marizano's name, and shakes his head, as if he had never heard
of it before."

"Couldn't you intimidate him into disgorging a little of his knowledge?"
suggested Midgley, with an arch look.

"I have thought of that," replied Lindsay, with a frown.  "Come, it's
not a bad idea; I'll try!  Hallo!  Suliman, come aft, I want you."

Lieutenant Lindsay was one of those men who are apt to surprise people
by the precipitancy of their actions.  He was not, indeed, hasty; but
when his mind was made up he was not slow in proceeding to action.  It
was so on the present occasion, to the consternation of Suliman, who had
hitherto conceived him to be rather a soft easy-going man.

"Suliman," he said, in a low but remarkably firm tone of voice, "you
know more about Marizano than you choose to tell me.  Now," he
continued, gazing into the Arab's cold grey eyes, while he pulled a
revolver from his coat-pocket and cocked it, "I intend to make you tell
me all you know about him, or to blow your brains out."

He moved the pistol gently as he spoke, and placed his forefinger on the
trigger.

"I not know," began Suliman, who evidently did not believe him to be
quite in earnest; but before the words had well left his lips the drum
of his left ear was almost split by the report of the pistol, and a part
of his turban was blown away.

"You don't know? very well," said Lindsay, recocking the pistol, and
placing the cold muzzle of it against the Arab's yellow nose.

This was too much for Suliman.  He grew pale, and suddenly fell on his
knees.

"Oh! stop! no--no! not fire! me tell you 'bout 'im."

"Good, get up and do so," said the Lieutenant, uncocking the revolver,
and returning it to his pocket; "and be sure that you tell me all, else
your life won't be worth the value of the damaged turban on your head."

With a good deal of trepidation the alarmed interpreter thereupon gave
Lindsay all the information he possessed in regard to the slaver, which
amounted to this, that he had gone to Kilwa, where he had collected a
band of slaves sufficient to fill a large dhow, with which he intended,
in two days more, to sail, in company with a fleet of slavers, for the
north.

"Does he intend to touch at Zanzibar?" inquired Lindsay.

"Me tink no," replied the interpreter; "got many pritty garls--go
straight for Persia."

On hearing this the Lieutenant put the cutter about, and sailed out to
sea in search of the `Firefly,' which he knew could not at that time be
at any great distance from the shore.

He found her sooner than he had expected; and, to his immense
astonishment as well as joy, one of the first persons he beheld on
stepping over the side of his ship was Azinte.

"You have captured Marizano, sir, I see," he said to Captain Romer.

"Not the scoundrel himself, but one of his dhows," replied the Captain.
"He had started for the northern ports with two heavily-laden vessels.
We discovered him five days ago, and, fortunately, just beyond the
protected water, so that he was a fair and lawful prize.  The first of
his dhows, being farthest out from shore, we captured, but the other,
commanded by himself, succeeded in running ashore, and he escaped; with
nearly all his slaves--only a few of the women and children being
drowned in the surf.  And now, as our cargo of poor wretches is pretty
large, I shall run for the Seychelles.  After landing them I shall
return as fast as possible, to intercept a few more of these pirates."

"To the Seychelles!" muttered the Lieutenant to himself as he went
below, with an expression on his countenance something between surprise
and despair.

Poor Lindsay!  His mind was so taken up with, and confused by, the
constant and obtrusive presence of the Senhorina Maraquita that the
particular turn which affairs had taken had not occurred to him,
although that turn was quite natural, and by no means improbable.
Marizano, with Azinte on board of one of his piratical dhows, was
proceeding to the north.  Captain Romer, with his war-steamer, was on
the look-out for piratical dhows.  What more natural than that the
Captain should fall in with the pirate?  But Lieutenant Lindsay's mind
had been so filled with Maraquita that it seemed to be, for the time,
incapable of holding more than one other idea--that idea was the
fulfilment of Maraquita's commands to obtain information as to her lost
Azinte.  To this he had of late devoted all his powers, happy in the
thought that it fell in with and formed part of his duty, to his Queen
and country, as well as to the "Queen of his soul."  To rescue Azinte
from Marizano seemed to the bold Lieutenant an easy enough matter; but
to rescue her from his own Captain, and send her back into slavery!
"Ass! that I am," he exclaimed, "not to have thought of this before.  Of
course she can _never_ be returned to Maraquita, and small comfort it
will be to the Senhorina to be told that her favourite is free in the
Seychelles Islands, and utterly beyond her reach, unless she chooses to
go there and stay with her."

Overwhelmed with disgust at his own stupidity, and at the utter
impossibility of doing anything to mend matters, the unfortunate
Lieutenant sat down to think, and the result of his thinking was that he
resolved at all events to look well after Azinte, and see that she
should be cared for on her arrival at the Seychelles.

Among the poor creatures who had been rescued from Marizano's dhow were
nearly a hundred children, in such a deplorable condition that small
hopes were entertained of their reaching the island alive.  Their young
lives, however, proved to be tenacious.  Experienced though their hardy
rescuers were in rough and tumble work, they had no conception what
these poor creatures had already gone through, and, therefore, formed a
mistaken estimate of their powers of endurance.  Eighty-three of them
reached the Seychelles alive.  They were placed under the care of a
warm-hearted missionary, who spared no pains for their restoration to
health; but despite his utmost efforts, forty of these eventually died--
their little frames had been whipped, and starved, and tried to such an
extent, that recovery was impossible.

To the care of this missionary Lieutenant Lindsay committed Azinte,
telling him as much of her sad story as he was acquainted with.  The
missionary willingly took charge of her, and placed her as a nurse in
the temporary hospital which he had instituted for the little ones above
referred to.  Here Azinte proved herself to be a most tender,
affectionate, and intelligent nurse to the poor children, for whom she
appeared to entertain particular regard, and here, on the departure of
the `Firefly' shortly afterwards, Lindsay left her in a state of
comfort, usefulness, and comparative felicity.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

DESCRIBES SOME OF THE DOINGS OF YOOSOOF AND HIS MEN IN PROCURING BLACK
IVORY FROM THE INTERIOR OF AFRICA.

A dirty shop, in a filthy street in the unhealthy town of Zanzibar, is
the point to which we now beg leave to conduct our reader--whom we also
request to leap, in a free and easy way, over a few months of time!

It is not for the sake of the shop that we make this leap, but for the
purpose of introducing the two men who, at the time we write of, sat
over their grog in a small back-room connected with that shop.  Still
the shop itself is not altogether unworthy of notice.  It is what the
Americans call a store--a place where you can purchase almost every
article that the wants of man have called into being.  The prevailing
smells are of oil, sugar, tea, molasses, paint, and tar, a compound
which confuses the discriminating powers of the nose, and, on the
principle that extremes meet, removes the feeling of surprise that ought
to be aroused by discovering that these odours are in close connexion
with haberdashery and hardware.  There are enormous casks, puncheons,
and kegs on the floor; bales on the shelves; indescribable confusion in
the corners; preserved meat tins piled to the ceiling; with dust and
dirt encrusting everything.  The walls, beams, and rafters, appear to be
held together by means of innumerable cobwebs.  Hosts of flies fatten
on, without diminishing, the stock, and squadrons of cockroaches career
over the earthen floor.

In the little back-room of this shop sat the slave-dealer Yoosoof, in
company with the captain of an English ship which lay in the harbour.

Smoke from the captain's pipe filled the little den to such an extent
that Yoosoof and his friend were not so clearly distinguishable as might
have been desired.

"You're all a set of false-hearted, wrong-headed, low-minded,
scoundrels," said the plain-spoken captain, accompanying each
asseveration with a puff so violent as to suggest the idea that his
remarks were round-shot and his mouth a cannon.

The Briton was evidently not in a complimentary mood.  It was equally
evident that Yoosoof was not in a touchy vein, for he smiled the
slightest possible smile and shrugged his shoulders.  He had business to
transact with the captain which was likely to result very much to his
advantage, and Yoosoof was not the man to let feelings stand in the way
of business.

"Moreover," pursued the captain, in a gruff voice, "the trade in slaves
is illegally conducted in one sense, namely, that it is largely carried
on by British subjects."

"How you make that out?" asked Yoosoof.

"How? why, easy enough.  Aren't the richest men in Zanzibar the Banyans,
and don't these Banyans, who number about 17,000 of your population,
supply you Arabs with money to carry on the accursed slave-trade?  And
ain't these Banyans Indian merchants--subjects of Great Britain?"

Yoosoof shrugged his shoulders again and smiled.

"And don't these opulent rascals," continued the Briton, "love their
ease as well as their money, and when they want to increase the latter
without destroying the former, don't they make advances to the like of
you and get 100 per cent out of you for every dollar advanced?"

Yoosoof nodded his head decidedly at this, and smiled again.

"Well, then, ain't the whole lot of you a set of mean scoundrels?" said
the captain fiercely.

Yoosoof did not smile at this; he even looked for a moment as if he were
going to resent it, but it was only for a moment.  Self-interest came
opportunely to his aid, and made him submissive.

"What can we do?" he asked after a short silence.  "You knows what the
Sultan say, other day, to one British officer, `If you stop slave-trade
you will ruin Zanzibar.'  We mus' not do that.  Zanzibar mus' not be
ruin."

"Why not?" demanded the captain, with a look of supreme contempt, "what
if Zanzibar _was_ ruined?  Look here, now, Yoosoof, your dirty little
island--the whole island observe--is not quite the size of my own Scotch
county of Lanark.  Its population is short of 250,000 all told--scarce
equal to the half of the population of Lanark--composed of
semi-barbarians and savages.  That's one side of the question.  Here's
the other side: Africa is one of the four quarters of the earth, with
millions of vigorous niggers and millions of acres of splendid land, and
no end of undeveloped resources, and you have the impudence to tell me
that an enormous lump of this land must be converted into a desert, and
something like 150,000 of its best natives be drawn off _annually_--for
what?--for what?" repeated the sailor, bringing his fist down on the
table before him with such force that the glasses danced on it and the
dust flew up; "for what?  I say; for a paltry, pitiful island, ruled by
a sham sultan, without army or navy, and with little money, save what he
gets by slave-dealing; an island which has no influence for good on the
world, morally, religiously, or socially, and with little commercially,
though it has much influence for evil; an island which has helped the
Portuguese to lock up the east coast of Africa for centuries; an island
which would not be missed--save as a removed curse--if it were sunk this
night to the bottom of the sea, and all its selfish, sensual,
slave-dealing population swept entirely off the face of the earth."

The captain had risen and dashed his pipe to atoms on the floor in his
indignation as he made these observations.  He now made an effort to
control himself, and then, sitting down, he continued--"Just think,
Yoosoof; you're a sharp man of business, as I know to my cost.  You can
understand a thing in a commercial point of view.  Just try to look at
it thus: On the one side of the world's account you have Zanzibar sunk
with all its Banyan and Arab population; we won't sink the niggers, poor
wretches.  We'll suppose them saved, along with the consuls,
missionaries, and such-like.  Well, that's a loss of somewhere about
83,000 scoundrels,--a gain we might call it, but for the sake of
argument we'll call it a loss.  On the other side of the account you
have 30,000 niggers--fair average specimens of humanity--saved from
slavery, besides something like 150,000 more saved from death by war and
starvation, the results of the slave-trade; 83,000 from 150,000 leaves
67,000!  The loss, you see, would be more than wiped off, and a handsome
balance left at the world's credit the very first year!  To say nothing
of the opening up of legitimate commerce to one of the richest countries
on earth, and the consequent introduction of Christianity."

The captain paused to take breath.  Yoosoof shrugged his shoulders, and
a brief silence ensued, which was happily broken, not by a recurrence to
the question of slavery, but by the entrance of a slave.  He came in
search of Yoosoof for the purpose of telling him that his master wished
to speak with him.  As the slave's master was one of the wealthy Banyans
just referred to, Yoosoof rose at once, and, apologising to the captain
for quitting him so hurriedly, left that worthy son of Neptune to cool
his indignation in solitude.

Passing through several dirty streets the slave led the slaver to a
better sort of house in a more salubrious or, rather, less pestilential,
part of the town.  He was ushered into the presence of an elderly man of
quiet, unobtrusive aspect.

"Yoosoof," said the Banyan in Arabic, "I have been considering the
matter about which we had some conversation yesterday, and I find that
it will be convenient for me to make a small venture.  I can let you
have three thousand dollars."

"On the old terms?" asked Yoosoof.

"On the old terms," replied the merchant.  "Will you be ready to start
soon?"

Yoosoof said that he would, that he had already completed the greater
part of his preparations, and that he hoped to start for the interior in
a week or two.

"That is well; I hope you may succeed in doing a good deal of business,"
said the merchant with an amiable nod and smile, which might have led an
ignorant onlooker to imagine that Yoosoof's business in the interior was
work of a purely philanthropic nature!

"There is another affair, which, it has struck me, may lie in your way,"
continued the merchant.  "The British consul is, I am told, anxious to
find some one who will undertake to make inquiries in the interior about
some Englishmen, who are said to have been captured by the black fellows
and made slaves of."

"Does the consul know what tribe has captured them?" asked Yoosoof.

"I think not; but as he offers five hundred dollars for every lost white
man who shall be recovered and brought to the coast alive, I thought
that you might wish to aid him!"

"True," said Yoosoof, musing, "true, I will go and see him."

Accordingly, the slave-dealer had an interview with the consul, during
which he learned that there was no absolute certainty of any Englishmen
having been captured.  It was only a vague rumour; nevertheless it was
sufficiently probable to warrant the offer of five hundred dollars to
any one who should effect a rescue; therefore Yoosoof, having occasion
to travel into the interior at any rate, undertook to make inquiries.

He was also told that two Englishmen had, not long before, purchased an
outfit, and started off with the intention of proceeding to the interior
by way of the Zambesi river, and they, the consul said, might possibly
be heard of by him near the regions to which he was bound; but these, he
suggested, could not be the men who were reported as missing.

Of course Yoosoof had not the most remote idea that these were the very
Englishmen whom he himself had captured on the coast, for, after parting
from them abruptly, as described in a former chapter, he had ceased to
care or think about them, and besides, was ignorant of the fact that
they had been to Zanzibar.

Yoosoof's own particular business required a rather imposing outfit.
First of all, he purchased and packed about 600 pounds worth of beads of
many colours, cloth of different kinds, thick brass wire, and a variety
of cheap trinkets, such as black men and women are fond of, for Yoosoof
was an "honest" trader, and paid his way when he found it suitable to do
so.  He likewise hired a hundred men, whom he armed with guns, powder,
and ball, for Yoosoof was also a dishonest trader, and fought his way
when that course seemed most desirable.

With this imposing caravan he embarked in a large dhow, sailed for the
coast landed at Kilwa, and proceeded into the interior of Africa.

It was a long and toilsome journey over several hundred miles of
exceedingly fertile and beautiful country, eminently suited for the
happy abode of natives.  But Yoosoof and his class who traded in black
ivory had depopulated it to such an extent that scarce a human being was
to be seen all the way.  There were plenty of villages, but they were in
ruins, and acres of cultivated ground with the weeds growing rank where
the grain had once flourished.  Further on in the journey, near the end
of it, there was a change; the weeds and grain grew together and did
battle, but in most places the weeds gained the victory.  It was quite
evident that the whole land had once been a rich garden teeming with
human life--savage life, no doubt still, not so savage but that it could
manage to exist in comparative enjoyment and multiply.  Yoosoof--passed
through a hundred and fifty miles of this land; it was a huge grave,
which, appropriately enough, was profusely garnished with human bones.
[See Livingstone's _Tributaries of the Zambesi_, page 391.]

At last the slave-trader reached lands which were not utterly forsaken.

Entering a village one afternoon he sent a present of cloth and beads to
the chief, and, after a few preliminary ceremonies, announced that he
wished to purchase slaves.

The chief, who was a fine-looking young warrior, said that he had no
men, women or children to sell, except a few criminals to whom he was
welcome at a very low price,--about two or three yards of calico each.
There were also one or two orphan children whose parents had died
suddenly, and to whom no one in the village could lay claim.  It was
true that these poor orphans had been adopted by various families who
might not wish to part with them; but no matter, the chief's command was
law.  Yoosoof might have the orphans also for a very small sum,--a yard
of calico perhaps.  But nothing would induce the chief to compel any of
his people to part with their children, and none of the people seemed
desirous of doing so.

The slave-trader therefore adopted another plan.  He soon managed to
ascertain that the chief had an old grudge against a neighbouring chief.
In the course of conversation he artfully stirred up the slumbering
ill-will, and carefully fanned it into a flame without appearing to have
any such end in view.  When the iron was sufficiently hot he struck it--
supplied the chief with guns and ammunition, and even, as a great
favour, offered to lend him a few of his own men in order that he might
make a vigorous attack on his old enemy.

The device succeeded to perfection.  War was begun without any previous
declaration; prisoners were soon brought in--not only men, but women and
children.  The first were coupled together with heavy slave-sticks,
which were riveted to their necks; the latter were attached to each
other with ropes; and thus Yoosoof, in a few days, was enabled to
proceed on his journey with a goodly drove of "black cattle" behind him.

This occurred not far from Lake Nyassa, which he intended should be his
headquarters for a time, while his men, under a new leader whom he
expected to meet there, should push their victorious arms farther into
the interior.

On reaching the shores of the noble lake, he found several birds of the
same feather with himself--Arabs engaged in the same trade.  He also
found his old friend and trusty ally, Marizano.  This gratified him
much, for he was at once enabled to hand over the charge of the
expedition to his lieutenant, and send him forth on his mission.

That same evening--a lovely and comparatively cool one--Yoosoof and the
half-caste sauntered on the margin of the lake, listening to the sweet
melody of the free and happy birds, and watching the debarkation, from a
large boat, of a band of miserable slaves who had been captured or
purchased on the other side.

"Now, Marizano," said Yoosoof, addressing the half-caste in his native
tongue, "I do not intend to cumber you with cloth or beads on this
expedition.  I have already spent a good deal in the purchase of slaves,
who are now in my barracoon, and I think it will be both cheaper and
easier to make up the rest of the gang by means of powder and lead."

"It is lighter to carry, and more effectual," remarked Marizano, with a
nod of approval.

"True," returned Yoosoof, "and quicker.  Will a hundred men and guns
suffice?"

"Eighty are enough to conquer any of the bow and spear tribes of this
region," replied the half-caste carelessly.

"Good!" continued Yoosoof.  "Then you shall start to-morrow.  The tribes
beyond this lake are not yet afraid of us--thanks to the mad Englishman,
Livingstone, who has opened up the country and spread the information
that white men are the friends of the black, and hate slavery."
[Livingstone tells us that he found, on ascending the Shire river, that
the Portuguese slave-traders had followed closely in the footsteps of
his previous discoveries, and passed themselves off as his friends, by
which means they were successful in gaining the confidence of the
natives whom they afterwards treacherously murdered or enslaved.]

"You may try to pass yourself off as a white man, though your face is
not so white as might be desired; however, you can comfort yourself with
the knowledge that it is whiter than your heart!"

The Arab smiled and glanced at his lieutenant.  Marizano smiled, bowed
in acknowledgment of the compliment, and replied that he believed
himself to be second to no one except his employer in that respect.

"Well, then," continued Yoosoof, "you must follow up the discoveries of
this Englishman; give out that you are his friend, and have come there
for the same purposes; and, when you have put them quite at their ease,
commence a brisk trade with them--for which purpose you may take with
you just enough of cloth and beads to enable you to carry out the
deception.  For the rest I need not instruct; you know what to do as
well as I."

Marizano approved heartily of this plan, and assured his chief that his
views should be carried out to his entire satisfaction.

"But there is still another point," said Yoosoof, "on which I have to
talk.  It appears that there are some white men who have been taken
prisoners by one of the interior tribes--I know not which--for the
finding of whom the British consul at Zanzibar has offered me five
hundred dollars.  If you can obtain information about these men it will
be well.  If you can find and rescue them it will be still better, and
you shall have a liberal share of the reward."

While the Arab was speaking, the half-caste's visage betrayed a slight
degree of surprise.

"White men!" he said, pulling up his sleeve and showing a gun-shot wound
in his arm which appeared to be not very old.  "A white man inflicted
that not long ago, and not very far from the spot on which we stand.  I
had vowed to take the life of that white man if we should ever chance to
meet, but if it is worth five hundred dollars I may be tempted to spare
it!"

He laughed lightly as he spoke, and then added, with a thoughtful
look,--"But I don't see how these men--there were two of them, if not
more--can be prisoners, because, when I came across them, they were
well-armed, well supplied, and well attended, else, you may be sure,
they had not given me this wound and freed my slaves.  But the
scoundrels who were with me at the time were cowards."

"You are right," said Yoosoof.  "The white men you met I heard of at
Zanzibar.  They cannot be the prisoners we are asked to search for.
They have not yet been long enough away, I should think, to have come by
any mischance, and the white men who are said to be lost have been
talked about in Zanzibar for a long time.  However, make diligent
inquiries, because the promise is, that the five hundred dollars shall
be ours if we rescue _any_ white man, no matter who he may chance to be.
And now I shall show you the cattle I have obtained on the way up."

The barracoon, to which the Arab led his lieutenant, was a space
enclosed by a strong and high stockade, in which slaves were kept under
guard until a sufficient number should be secured to form a gang,
wherewith to start for the coast.  At the entrance stood a
savage-looking Portuguese half-caste armed with a gun.  Inside there was
an assortment of Yoosoof's Black Ivory.  It was in comparatively good
condition at that time, not having travelled far, and, as it was
necessary to keep it up to a point of strength sufficient to enable it
to reach the coast, it was pretty well fed except in the case of a few
rebellious articles.  There were, however, specimens of damaged goods
even there.  Several of the orphans, who had become Yoosoof's property,
although sprightly enough when first purchased, had not stood even the
short journey to the lake so well as might have been expected.  They had
fallen off in flesh to such an extent that Yoosoof was induced to remark
to Marizano, as they stood surveying them, that he feared they would
never reach the coast alive.

"That one, now," he said, pointing to a little boy who was tightly
wedged in the midst of the group of slaves, and sat on the ground with
his face resting on his knees, "is the most troublesome piece of goods I
have had to do with since I began business; and it seems to me that I am
going to lose him after all."

"What's the matter with him?" asked the half-caste.

"Nothing particular, only he is a delicate boy.  At first I refused him,
but he is so well-made, though delicate, and such a good-looking child,
and so spirited, that I decided to take him; but he turns out to be
_too_ spirited.  Nothing that I can do will tame him,--oh, _that_ won't
do it," said Yoosoof, observing that Marizano raised the switch he
carried in his hand with a significant action; "I have beaten him till
there is scarcely a sound inch of skin on his whole body, but it's of no
use.  Ho! stand up," called Yoosoof, letting the lash of his whip fall
lightly on the boy's shoulders.

There was, however, no response; the Arab therefore repeated the order,
and laid the lash across the child's bare back with a degree of force
that would have caused the stoutest man to wince; still the boy did not
move.  Somewhat surprised, Yoosoof pushed his way towards him, seized
him by the hair and threw back his head.

The Arab left him immediately and remarked in a quiet tone that he
should have no more trouble with him--he was dead!

"What's the matter with that fellow?" asked Marizano, pointing to a man
who was employed in constantly rolling up a bit of wet clay and applying
it to his left eye.

"Ah, he's another of these unmanageable fellows," replied Yoosoof.  "I
have been trying to tame _him_ by starvation.  The other morning he fell
on his knees before the man who guards the barracoon and entreated him
to give him food.  The guard is a rough fellow, and had been put out of
temper lately by a good many of the slaves.  Instead of giving him food
he gave him a blow in the eye which burst the ball of it, and of course
has rendered him worthless; but _he_ won't trouble us long."

In another place a woman crouched on the ground, having something
wrapped in leaves which she pressed to her dried breast.  It was the
body of a child to which she had recently given birth in that place of
woe.

Leaving his cringing and terrified goods to the guardian of the
barracoon, the Arab returned to his tent beside the beautiful lake, and
there, while enjoying the aroma of flowers and the cool breeze, and the
genial sunshine, and the pleasant influences which God has scattered
with bountiful hand over that luxuriant portion of the earth, calmly
concerted with Marizano the best method by which he could bring
inconceivable misery on thousands of its wretched inhabitants.



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

TELLS OF MISFORTUNES THAT BEFELL OUR WANDERERS; OF FAMILIAR TOYS UNDER
NEW ASPECTS, ETCETERA.

When Harold Seadrift and Disco Lillihammer were stopped in their
journey, as related in a former chapter, by the sudden illness of the
bold seaman, an event was impending over them which effectually
overturned their plans.  This was the sudden descent of a band of armed
natives who had been recently driven from their homes by a slaving
party.  The slavers had taken them by surprise during the night, set
their huts on fire, captured their women and children, and slaughtered
all the men, excepting those who sought and found safety in flight.  It
was those who had thus escaped that chanced to come upon the camp of our
travellers one evening about sunset.

Disco was recovering from his attack of fever at the time, though still
weak.  Harold was sitting by his couch of leaves in the hut which had
been erected for him on the first day of the illness.  Jumbo was cutting
up a piece of flesh for supper, and Antonio was putting the kettle on
the fire.  The rest of the party were away in the woods hunting.

No guard was kept; consequently the savages came down on them like a
thunderbolt, and found them quite unprepared to resist even if
resistance had been of any use.

At first their captors, bitterly infuriated by their recent losses,
proposed to kill their prisoners, without delay, by means of the most
excruciating tortures that they could invent, but from some unknown
cause, changed their minds; coupled Harold and Disco together by means
of two slave-sticks; tied Antonio and Jumbo with ropes, and drove them
away.

So suddenly was the thing done, and so effectually, that Disco was far
from the camp before he could realise that what had occurred was a fact,
and not one of the wild feverish dreams that had beset him during his
illness.

The natives would not listen to the earnest explanation of Antonio that
Harold and Disco were Englishmen, and haters of slavery.  They scowled
as they replied that the same had been said by the slavers who had
attacked their village; from which remark it would seem that Yoosoof was
not quite the originator of that device to throw the natives off their
guard.  The Portuguese of Tette on the Zambesi had also thought of and
acted on it!

Fortunately it was, as we have said, near sunset when the capture was
made, and before it became quite dark the band encamped, else must poor
Disco have succumbed to weakness and fatigue.  The very desperation of
his circumstances, however, seemed to revive his strength, for next
morning he resumed his journey with some hope of being able to hold out.
The continued protestations and assurances of Antonio, also, had the
effect of inducing their captors to remove the heavy slave-sticks from
the necks of Harold and Disco, though they did not unbind their wrists.
Thus were they led further into the country, they knew not whither, for
several days and nights, and at last reached a large village where they
were all thrust into a hut, and left to their meditations, while their
captors went to palaver with the chief man of the place.

This chief proved to be a further-sighted man than the men of the tribe
who had captured the Englishmen.  His name was Yambo.  He had heard of
Dr Livingstone, and had met with men of other tribes who had seen and
conversed with the great traveller.  Thus, being of a thoughtful and
inquiring disposition, he had come to understand enough of the good
white man's sentiments to guard him from being imposed on by pretended
Christians.

Yambo's name signified "how are you?" and was probably bestowed on him
because of a strongly benevolent tendency to greet friend and stranger
alike with a hearty "how d'ee do?" sort of expression of face and tone
of voice.

He was a tall grave man, with a commanding firm look, and, withal, a
dash of child-like humour and simplicity.  On hearing his visitors'
remarks about their captives, he at once paid them a visit and a few
leading questions put to Harold through Antonio convinced him that the
prisoners were true men.  He therefore returned to his black visitors,
told them that he had perfect confidence in the good faith of the white
men, and said that he meant to take charge of them.  He then entertained
his black brothers hospitably, gave them a few presents, and sent them
on their way.  This done he returned to his guests and told them that
they were free, that their captors were gone, and that they might go
where they pleased, but that it would gratify him much if they would
consent to spend some time hunting with him in the neighbourhood of his
village.

"Now," said Disco, after Yambo left them, "this is wot I call the most
uncommon fix that ever wos got into by man since Adam an' Eve began
housekeepin' in the garden of Eden."

"I'm not quite sure," replied Harold, with a rueful look, "that it is
absolutely the _worst_ fix, but it is bad enough.  The worst of it is
that this Yambo has let these rascals off with all our fire-arms and
camp-equipage, so that we are absolutely helpless--might as well be
prisoners, for we can't quit this village in such circumstances."

"Wot's wuss than that to my mind, sir, is, that here we are at sea, in
the heart of Afriky, without chart, quadrant, compass, or rudder, an' no
more idea of our whereabouts than one o' them spider monkeys that grins
among the trees.  Hows'ever, we're in luck to fall into the hands of a
friendly chief, so, like these same monkeys, we must grin an' bear it;
only I can't help feelin' a bit cast down at the loss of our messmates.
I fear there's no chance of their findin' us."

"Not the least chance in the world, I should say," returned Harold.
"They could not guess in which direction we had gone, and unless they
had hit on the right road at first, every step they took afterwards
would only widen the distance between us."

"It's lucky I was beginnin' to mend before we was catched," said Disco,
feeling the muscles of his legs; "true, I ain't much to boast of yet but
I'm improvin'."

"That is more than I can say for myself," returned Harold, with a sigh,
as he passed his hand across his forehead; "I feel as if this last push
through the woods in the hot sun, and the weight of that terrible
slave-stick had been almost too much for me."

Disco looked earnestly and anxiously into the face of his friend.

"Wot," asked he, "does you feel?"

"I can scarcely tell," replied Harold, with a faint smile.  "Oh, I
suppose I'm a little knocked up, that's all.  A night's rest will put me
all right."

"So I thought myself, but I wos wrong," said Disco.  "Let's hear wot
your feelin's is, sir; I'm as good as any doctor now, I am, in regard to
symptoms."

"Well, I feel a sort of all-overishness, a kind of lassitude and
sleepiness, with a slight headache, and a dull pain which appears to be
creeping up my spine."

"You're in for it sir," said Disco.  "It's lucky you have always carried
the physic in your pockets, 'cause you'll need it, an' it's lucky, too,
that I am here and well enough to return tit for tat and nurse you,
'cause you'll have that 'ere pain in your spine creep up your back and
round your ribs till it lays hold of yer shoulders, where it'll stick as
if it had made up its mind to stay there for ever an' a day.  Arter that
you'll get cold an' shivering like ice--oh! doesn't I know it well--an'
then hot as fire, with heavy head, an' swimming eyes, an' twisted sight,
an' confusion of--"

"Hold! hold!" cried Harold, laughing, "if you go on in that way I shall
have more than my fair share of it!  Pray stop, and leave me a little to
find out for myself."

"Well, sir, take a purge, and turn in at once, that's my advice.  I'll
dose you with quinine to-morrow mornin', first thing," said Disco,
rising and proceeding forthwith to arrange a couch in a corner of the
hut, which Yambo had assigned them.

Harold knew well enough that his follower was right.  He took his advice
without delay, and next morning found himself little better than a
child, both physically and mentally, for the disease not only prostrated
his great strength--as it had that of his equally robust companion--but,
at a certain stage, induced delirium, during which he talked the most
ineffable nonsense that his tongue could pronounce, or his brain
conceive.

Poor Disco, who, of course, had been unable to appreciate the extent of
his own delirious condition, began to fear that his leader's mind was
gone for ever, and Jumbo was so depressed by the unutterably solemn
expression of the mariner's once jovial countenance, that he did not
once show his teeth for a whole week, save when engaged with meals.

As for Antonio, his nature not being very sympathetic, and his health
being good, he rather enjoyed the quiet life and good living which
characterised the native village, and secretly hoped that Harold might
remain on the sick-list for a considerable time to come.

How long this state of affairs lasted we cannot tell, for both Harold
and Disco lost the correct record of time during their respective
illnesses.

Up to that period they had remembered the days of the week, in
consequence of their habit of refraining from going out to hunt on
Sundays, except when a dearth of meat in the larder rendered hunting a
necessity.  Upon these Sundays Harold's conscience sometimes reproached
him for having set out on his journey into Africa without a Bible.  He
whispered, to himself at first, and afterwards suggested to Disco, the
excuse that his Bible had been lost in the wreck of his father's vessel,
and that, perhaps, there were no Bibles to be purchased in Zanzibar, but
his conscience was a troublesome one, and refused to tolerate such bad
reasoning, reminding him, reproachfully, that he had made no effort
whatever to obtain a Bible at Zanzibar.

As time had passed, and some of the horrors of the slave-trade had been
brought under his notice, many of the words of Scripture leaped to his
remembrance, and the regret that he had not carried a copy with him
increased.  That touch of thoughtlessness, so natural to the young and
healthy--to whom life has so far been only a garden of roses--was
utterly routed by the stern and dreadful realities which had been
recently enacted around him, and just in proportion as he was impressed
with the lies, tyranny, cruelty, and falsehood of man, so did his
thoughtful regard for the truth and the love of God increase, especially
those truths that were most directly opposed to the traffic in human
flesh, such as--"love your enemies," "seek peace with all men," "be
kindly affectioned one to another," "whatsoever ye would that men should
do unto you, do ye even so to them."  An absolute infidel, he thought,
could not fail to perceive that a most blessed change would come over
the face of Africa if such principles prevailed among its inhabitants,
even in an extremely moderate degree.

But to return, the unfortunate travellers were now "at sea" altogether
in regard to the Sabbath as well as the day of the month.  Indeed their
minds were not very clear as to the month itself!

"Hows'ever," said Disco, when this subject afterwards came to be
discussed, "it don't matter much.  Wot is it that the Scriptur'
says,--`Six days shalt thou labour an' do all that thou hast to do, but
the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.  In it thou shalt do
no work.'  I wos used always to stick at that pint w'en my poor mother
was a-teachin' of me.  Never got past it.  But it's enough for present
use anyhow, for the orders is, work six days an' don't work the seventh.
Werry good, we'll begin to-day an' call it Monday; we'll work for six
days, an' w'en the seventh day comes we'll call it Sunday.  If it ain't
the right day, _we_ can't help it; moreover, wot's the odds?  It's the
_seventh_ day, so that to us it'll be the Sabbath."

But we anticipate.  Harold was still--at the beginning of this
digression--in the delirium of fever, though there were symptoms of
improvement about him.

One afternoon one of these symptoms was strongly manifested in a long,
profound slumber.  While he slept Disco sat on a low stool beside him,
busily engaged with a clasp-knife on some species of manufacture, the
nature of which was not apparent at a glance.

His admirer, Jumbo, was seated on a stool opposite, gazing at him
open-mouthed, with a countenance that reflected every passing feeling of
his dusky bosom.

Both men were so deeply absorbed in their occupation--Disco in his
manufacture, and Jumbo in staring at Disco--that they failed for a
considerable time to observe that Harold had wakened suddenly, though
quietly, and was gazing at them with a look of lazy, easy-going
surprise.

The mariner kept up a running commentary on his work, addressed to Jumbo
indeed, but in a quiet interjectional manner that seemed to imply that
he was merely soliloquising, and did not want or expect a reply.

"It's the most 'stror'nary notion, Jumbo, between you and me and the
post, that I ever did see.  Now, then, this here bullet-head wants a
pair o' eyes an' a nose on it; the mouth'll do, but it's the mouth as is
most troublesome, for you niggers have got such wappin' muzzles--it's
quite a caution, as the Yankees say,"--(a pause)--"on the whole,
however, the nose is very difficult to manage on a flat surface, 'cause
w'y?--if I leaves it quite flat, it don't look like a nose, an' if I
carves it out ever so little, it's too prominent for a nigger nose.
There, ain't that a good head, Jumbo?"

Thus directly appealed to, Jumbo nodded his own head violently, and
showed his magnificent teeth from ear to ear, gums included.

Disco laid down the flat piece of board which he had carved into the
form of a human head, and took up another piece, which was rudely
blocked out into the form of a human leg--both leg and head being as
large as life.

"Now this limb, Jumbo," continued Disco, slowly, as he whittled away
with the clasp-knife vigorously, "is much more troublesome than I would
have expected; for you niggers have got such abominably ill-shaped legs
below the knee.  There's such an unnat'ral bend for'ard o' the
shin-bone, an' such a rediklous sticking out o' the heel astarn, d'ee
see, that a feller with white man notions has to make a study of it, if
he sets up for a artist; in course, if he _don't_ set up for a artist
any sort o' shape'll do, for it don't affect the jumpin'.  Ha! there
they go," he exclaimed, with a humorous smile at a hearty shout of
laughter which was heard just outside the hut, "enjoyin' the old 'un;
but it's nothin' to wot the noo 'un'll be w'en it's finished."

At this exhibition of amusement on the countenance of his friend, Jumbo
threw back his head and again showed not only his teeth and gums but the
entire inside of his mouth, and chuckled softly from the region of his
breast-bone.

"I'm dreaming, of course," thought Harold, and shut his eyes.

Poor fellow! he was very weak, and the mere act of shutting his eyes
induced a half-slumber.  He awoke again in a few minutes, and re-opening
his eyes, beheld the two men still sitting, and occupied as before.

"It is a wonderfully pertinacious dream," thought Harold.  "I'll try to
dissipate it."

Thinking thus, he called out aloud,--"I say, Disco!"

"Hallo! that's uncommon like the old tones," exclaimed the seaman,
dropping his knife and the leg of wood as he looked anxiously at his
friend.

"What old tones?" asked Harold.

"The tones of your voice," said Disco.

"Have they changed so much of late?" inquired Harold in surprise.

"Have they?  I should think they have, just.  W'y, you haven't spoke
like that, sir, for--but, surely--are you better, or is this on'y
another dodge o' yer madness?" asked Disco with a troubled look.

"Ah!  I suppose I've been delirious, have I?" said Harold with a faint
smile.

To this Disco replied that he had not only been delirious, but stark
staring mad, and expressed a very earnest hope that, now he had got his
senses hauled taut again, he'd belay them an' make all fast for, if he
didn't, it was his, Disco's opinion, that another breeze o' the same
kind would blow 'em all to ribbons.

"Moreover," continued Disco, firmly, "you're not to talk.  I once nursed
a messmate through a fever, an' I remember that the doctor wos werry
partikler w'en he began to come round, in orderin' him to hold his
tongue an' keep quiet."

"You are right Disco.  I will keep quiet, but you must first tell me
what you are about, for it has roused my curiosity, and I can't rest
till I know."

"Well, sir, I'll tell you, but don't go for to make no obsarvations on
it.  Just keep your mouth shut an' yer ears open, an' I'll do all the
jawin'.  Well, you must know, soon after you wos took bad, I felt as if
I'd like some sort o' okipation w'en sittin' here watchin' of you--Jumbo
an' me's bin takin' the watch time about, for Antony isn't able to hold
a boy, much less _you_ w'en you gits obstropolous--Well, sir, I had took
a sort o' fancy for Yambo's youngest boy, for he's a fine, brave little
shaver, he is, an' I thought I'd make him some sort o' toy, an' it
struck me that the thing as 'ud please him most 'ud be a jumpin'-jack,
so I set to an' made him one about a futt high.

"You never see such a face o' joy as that youngster put on, sir, w'en I
took it to him an' pulled the string.  He give a little squeak of
delight he did, tuk it in his hands, an' ran home to show it to his
mother.  Well, sir, wot d'ee think, the poor boy come back soon after,
blubberin' an' sobbin', as nat'ral as if he'd bin an English boy, an'
says he to Tony, says he, `Father's bin an' took it away from me!'  I
wos surprised at this, an' went right off to see about it, an' w'en I
come to Yambo's hut wot does I see but the chief pullin' the string o'
the jumpin'-jack, an' grinnin' an' sniggerin' like a blue-faced baboon
in a passion--his wife likewise standin' by holdin' her sides wi'
laughin'.  Well, sir, the moment I goes in, up gits the chief an' shouts
for Tony, an' tells him to tell me that I must make him a jumpin'-jack!
In course I says I'd do it with all the pleasure in life; and he says
that I must make it full size, as big as hisself!  I opened my eyes at
this, but he said he must have a thing that was fit for a man--a chief--
so there was nothin' for it but to set to work.  An' it worn't difficult
to manage neither, for they supplied me with slabs o' timber an inch
thick an' I soon blocked out the body an' limbs with a hatchet an'
polished 'em off with my knife, and then put 'em together.  W'en the big
jack wos all right Yambo took it away, for he'd watched me all the time
I wos at it, an' fixed it up to the branch of a tree an' set to work.

"I never, no I never, did," continued Disco, slapping his right thigh,
while Jumbo grinned in sympathy, "see sitch a big baby as Yambo became
w'en he got that monstrous jumpin'-jack into action--with his courtiers
all round him, their faces blazin' with surprise, or conwulsed wi'
laughter.  The chief hisself was too hard at work to laugh much.  He
could only glare an' grin, for, big an' strong though he is, the jack
wos so awful heavy that it took all his weight an' muscle haulin' on the
rope which okipied the place o' the string that we're used to.

"`Haul away, my hearty,' thought I, w'en I seed him heavin', blowin',
an' swettin' at the jack's halyards, `you'll not break that rope in a
hurry.'

"But I was wrong, sir, for, although the halyards held on all right, I
had not calkilated on such wiolent action at the joints.  All of a
sudden off comes a leg at the knee.  It was goin' the up'ard kick at the
time, an' went up like a rocket, slap through a troop o' monkeys that
was lookin' on aloft, which it scattered like foam in a gale.  Yambo
didn't seem to care a pinch o' snuff.  His blood was up.  The sweat was
runnin' off him like rain.  `Hi!' cries he, givin' another most awful
tug.  But it wasn't high that time, for the other leg came off at the
hip-jint on the down kick, an' went straight into the buzzum of a black
warrior an' floored him wuss than he ever wos floored since he took to
fightin'.  Yambo didn't care for that either.  He gave another haul with
all his might, which proved too much for jack without his legs, for it
threw his arms out with such force that they jammed hard an' fast, as if
the poor critter was howlin' for mercy!

"Yambo looked awful blank at this.  Then he turned sharp round and
looked at me for all the world as if he meant to say `wot d'ee mean by
that? eh!'

"`He shouldn't ought to lick into him like that,' says I to Tony, `the
figure ain't made to be druv by a six-horse power steam-engine!  But
tell him I'll fix it up with jints that'll stand pullin' by an elephant,
and I'll make him another jack to the full as big as that one an' twice
as strong.'

"This," added Disco in conclusion, taking up the head on which he had
been engaged, "is the noo jack.  The old un's outside working away at
this moment like a win'-mill.  Listen; don't 'ee hear 'em?"

Harold listened and found no difficulty in hearing them, for peals of
laughter and shrieks of delight burst forth every few minutes,
apparently from a vast crowd outside the hut.

"I do believe," said Disco, rising and going towards the door of the hut
"that you can see 'em from where you lay."

He drew aside the skin doorway as he spoke, and there, sure enough, was
the gigantic jumping-jack hanging from the limb of a tree, clearly
defined against the sky, and galvanically kicking about its vast limbs,
with Yambo pulling fiercely at the tail, and the entire tribe looking on
steeped in ecstasy and admiration.

It may easily be believed that the sight of this, coupled with Disco's
narrative, was almost too much for Harold's nerves, and for some time he
exhibited, to Disco's horror, a tendency to repeat some antics which
would have been much more appropriate to the jumping-jack, but, after a
warm drink administered by his faithful though rough nurse, he became
composed, and finally dropped into a pleasant sleep, which was not
broken till late the following morning.

Refreshed in body, happy in mind, and thankful in spirit he rose to feel
that the illness against which he had fought for many days was
conquered, and that, although still very weak, he had fairly turned the
corner, and had begun to regain some of his wonted health and vigour.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

HAROLD APPEARS IN A NEW CHARACTER, AND TWO OLD CHARACTERS REAPPEAR TO
HAROLD.

The mind of Yambo was a strange compound--a curious mixture of gravity
and rollicking joviality; at one time displaying a phase of intense
solemnity; at another exhibiting quiet pleasantry and humour, but
earnestness was the prevailing trait of his character.  Whether
indulging his passionate fondness for the jumping-jack, or engaged in
guiding the deliberations of his counsellors, the earnest chief was
equally devoted to the work in hand.  Being a savage--and, consequently,
led entirely by feeling, which is perhaps the chief characteristic of
savage, as distinguished from civilised, man,--he hated his enemies with
exceeding bitterness, and loved his friends with all his heart.

Yambo was very tender to Harold during his illness, and the latter felt
corresponding gratitude, so that there sprang up between the two a
closer friendship than one could have supposed to be possible,
considering that they were so different from each other, mentally,
physically, and socially, and that their only mode of exchanging ideas
was through the medium of a very incompetent interpreter.

Among other things Harold discovered that his friend the chief was
extremely fond of anecdotes and stories.  He, therefore, while in a
convalescent state and unable for much physical exercise, amused
himself, and spent much of his time, in narrating to him the adventures
of Robinson Crusoe.  Yambo's appetite for mental food increased, and
when Crusoe's tale was finished he eagerly demanded more.  Some of his
warriors also came to hear, and at last the hut was unable to contain
the audiences that wished to enter.  Harold, therefore, removed to an
open space under a banyan-tree, and there daily, for several hours,
related all the tales and narratives with which he was acquainted, to
the hundreds of open-eyed and open-mouthed negroes who squatted around
him.

At first he selected such tales as he thought would be likely to amuse,
but these being soon exhausted, he told them about anything that chanced
to recur to his memory.  Then, finding that their power to swallow the
marvellous was somewhat crocodilish, he gave them Jack the Giant-killer,
and Jack of Beanstalk notoriety, and Tom Thumb, Cinderella, etcetera,
until his entire nursery stock was exhausted, after which he fell back
on his inventive powers; but the labour of this last effort proving very
considerable, and the results not being adequately great, he took to
history, and told them stories about William Tell, and Wallace, and
Bruce, and the Puritans of England, and the Scottish Covenanters, and
the discoveries of Columbus, until the eyes and mouths of his black
auditors were held so constantly and widely on the stretch, that Disco
began to fear they would become gradually incapable of being shut, and
he entertained a fear that poor Antonio's tongue would, ere long, be
dried up at the roots.

At last a thought occurred to our hero, which he promulgated to Disco
one morning as they were seated at breakfast on the floor of their hut.

"It seems to me, Disco," he said, after a prolonged silence, during
which they had been busily engaged with their knives and wooden spoons,
"that illness must be sent sometimes, to teach men that they give too
little of their thoughts to the future world."

"Werry true, sir," replied Disco, in that quiet matter-of-course tone
with which men generally receive axiomatic verities; "we _is_ raither
given to be swallered up with this world, which ain't surprisin'
neither, seein' that we've bin putt into it, and are surrounded by it,
mixed up with it, steeped in it, so to speak, an' can't werry well help
ourselves."

"That last is just the point I'm not quite so sure about," rejoined
Harold.  "Since I've been lying ill here, I have thought a good deal
about forgetting to bring a Bible with me, and about the meaning of the
term Christian, which name I bear; and yet I can't, when I look honestly
at it, see that I do much to deserve the name."

"Well, I don't quite see that, sir," said Disco, with an argumentative
curl of his right eyebrow; "you doesn't swear, or drink, or steal, or
commit murder, an' a many other things o' that sort.  Ain't that the
result o' your being a Christian."

"It may be so, Disco, but that is only what may be styled the _don't_
side of the question.  What troubles me is, that I don't see much on the
_do_ side of it."

"You says your prayers, sir, don't you?" asked Disco, with the air of a
man who had put a telling question.

"Well, yes," replied Harold; "but what troubles me is that, while in my
creed I profess to think the salvation of souls is of such vital
importance, in my practice I seem to say that it is of no importance at
all, for here have I been, for many weeks, amongst these black fellows,
and have never so much as mentioned the name of our Saviour to them,
although I have been telling them no end of stories of all kinds, both
true and fanciful."

"There's something in that sir," admitted Disco.  Harold also thought
there was so much in it that he gave the subject a great deal of earnest
consideration, and finally resolved to begin to tell the negroes Bible
stories.  He was thus gradually led to tell them that "old, old story"
of God the Saviour's life and death, and love for man, which he found
interested, affected, and influenced the savages far more powerfully
than any of the tales, whether true or fanciful, with which he had
previously entertained them.  While doing this a new spirit seemed to
actuate himself, and to influence his whole being.

While Harold was thus led, almost unconsciously, to become a sower of
the blessed seed of God's Word, Marizano was working his way through the
country, setting forth, in the most extreme manner, the ultimate results
of man's sinful nature, and the devil's lies.

One of his first deeds was to visit a village which was beautifully
situated on the banks of a small but deep river.  In order to avoid
alarming the inhabitants, he approached it with only about thirty of his
men, twenty of whom were armed.  Arrived at the outskirts, he halted his
armed men, and advanced with the other ten, calling out cheerfully, "We
have things for sale! have you anything to sell?"  The chief and his
warriors, armed with their bows and arrows and shields, met him, and
forbade him to pass within the hedge that encircled the village, but
told him to sit down under a tree outside.  A mat of split reeds was
placed for Marizano to sit on; and when he had explained to the chief
that the object of his visit was to trade with him for ivory--in proof
of which he pointed to the bales which his men carried,--he was well
received, and a great clapping of hands ensued.  Presents were then
exchanged, and more clapping of hands took place, for this was
considered the appropriate ceremony.  The chief and his warriors, on
sitting down before Marizano and his men, clapped their hands together,
and continued slapping on their thighs while handing their presents, or
when receiving those of their visitors.  It was the African "thank you."
To have omitted it would have been considered very bad manners.

Soon a brisk trade was commenced, in which the entire community became
ere long deeply and eagerly absorbed.

Meanwhile Marizano's armed men were allowed to come forward.  The women
prepared food for the strangers; and after they had eaten and drunk of
the native beer heartily, Marizano asked the chief if he had ever seen
fire-arms used.

"Yes," replied the chief, "but only once at a great distance off.  It is
told to me that your guns kill very far off--much further than our bows.
Is that so?"

"It is true," replied Marizano, who was very merry by this time under
the influence of the beer, as, indeed, were also his men and their
entertainers.  "Would you like to see what our guns can do?" asked the
half-caste.  "If you will permit me, I shall let you hear and see them
in use."

The unsuspecting chief at once gave his consent.  His visitors rose;
Marizano gave the word; a volley was poured forth which instantly killed
the chief and twenty of his men.  The survivors fled in horror.  The
young women and children were seized; the village was sacked--which
means that the old and useless members of the community were murdered in
cold blood, and the place was set on fire--and Marizano marched away
with his band of captives considerably augmented, leaving a scene of
death and horrible desolation behind him.  [See Livingstone's _Zambesi
and its Tributaries_, pages 201, 202.]

Thus did that villain walk through the land with fire and sword
procuring slaves for the supply of the "domestic institution" of the
Sultan of Zanzibar.

By degrees the murderer's drove of black "cattle" increased to such an
extent that when he approached the neighbourhood of the village in which
Harold and Disco sojourned, he began to think that he had obtained about
as many as he could conveniently manage, and meditated turning his face
eastward, little dreaming how near he was to a thousand dollars' worth
of property, in the shape of ransom for two white men!

He was on the point of turning back and missing this when he chanced to
fall in with a villager who was out hunting, and who, after a hot chase,
was captured.  This man was made much of, and presented with some yards
of cloth as well as a few beads, at the same time being assured that he
had nothing to fear; that the party was merely a slave-trading one; that
the number of slaves required had been made up, but that a few more
would be purchased if the chief of his village had any to dispose of.

On learning from the man that his village was a large one, fully two
days' march from the spot where he stood, and filled with armed men,
Marizano came to the conclusion that it would not be worth his while to
proceed thither, and was about to order his informant to be added to his
gang with a slave-stick round his neck, when he suddenly bethought him
of inquiring as to whether any white men had been seen in these parts.
As he had often made the same inquiry before without obtaining any
satisfactory answer, it was with great surprise that he now heard from
his captive of two white men being in the very village about which he
had been conversing.

At once he changed his plan, resumed his march, and, a couple of days
afterwards, presented himself before the astonished eyes of Harold
Seadrift and Disco Lillihammer, while they were taking a walk about a
mile from the village.

Disco recognised the slave-trader at once, and, from the troubled as
well as surprised look of Marizano, it was pretty evident that he
remembered the countenance of Disco.

When the recollection of Marizano's cruelty at the time of their first
meeting flashed upon him, Disco felt an almost irresistible desire to
rush upon and strangle the Portuguese, but the calm deportment of that
wily man, and the peaceful manner in which he had approached, partly
disarmed his wrath.  He could not however, quite restrain his tongue.

"Ha!" said he, "you are the blackguard that we met and pretty nigh shot
when we first came to these parts, eh?  Pity we missed you, you
black-hearted villain!"

As Marizano did not understand English, these complimentary remarks were
lost on him.  He seemed, however, to comprehend the drift of them, for
he returned Disco's frown with a stare of defiance.

"Whatever he was, or whatever he is," interposed Harold, "we must
restrain ourselves just now, Disco, because we cannot punish him as he
deserves, however much we may wish to, and he seems to have armed men
enough to put us and our entertainers completely in his power.  Keep
quiet while I speak to him."

Jumbo and Antonio, armed with bows and arrows,--for they were in search
of small game wherewith to supply the pot--came up, looking very much
surprised, and the latter a good deal frightened.

"Ask him, Antonio," said Harold, "what is his object in visiting this
part of the country."

"To procure slaves," said Marizano, curtly.

"I thought so," returned Harold; "but he will find that the men of this
tribe are not easily overcome."

"I do not wish to overcome them," said the half-caste.  "I have procured
enough of slaves, as you see," (pointing to the gang which was halted
some hundred yards or so in rear of his armed men), "but I heard that
you were prisoners here, and I have come to prove to you that even a
slave-trader can return good for evil.  _You_ did this," he said,
looking at Disco, and pointing to his old wound in the arm; "I now come
to deliver you from slavery."

Having suppressed part of the truth, and supplemented the rest of it
with this magnificent lie, Marizano endeavoured to look magnanimous.

"I don't believe a word of it," said Disco, decidedly.

"I incline to doubt it too," said Harold; "but he may have some good
reason of his own for his friendly professions towards us.  In any case
we have no resource left but to assume that he speaks the truth."

Turning to Marizano, he said:--

"We are not prisoners here.  We are guests of the chief of this
village."

"In that case," replied the half-caste, "I can return to the coast
without you."

As he said this a large band of the villagers, having discovered that
strangers had arrived, drew near.  Marizano at once advanced, making
peaceful demonstrations, and, after the requisite amount of clapping of
hands on both sides, stated the object for which he had come.  He made
no attempt to conceal the fact that he was a slave-trader, but said
that, having purchased enough of slaves, he had visited their village
because of certain rumours to the effect that some white men had been
lost in these regions, and could not find their way back to the coast.
He was anxious, he said, to help these white men to do so, but, finding
that the white men then at the village were _not_ the men he was in
search of, and did not want to go to the coast, he would just stay long
enough with the chief to exchange compliments, and then depart.

All this was translated to the white men in question by their faithful
ally Antonio, and when they retired to consult as to what should be
done, they looked at each other with half amused and half perplexed
expressions of countenance.

"Werry odd," said Disco, "how contrairy things turns up at times!"

"Very odd indeed," assented Harold, laughing.  "It is quite true that we
are, in one sense, lost and utterly unable to undertake a journey
through this country without men, means, or arms; and nothing could be
more fortunate than that we should have the chance, thus suddenly thrown
in our way, of travelling under the escort of a band of armed men;
nevertheless, I cannot bear the idea of travelling with or being
indebted to a slave-trader and a scoundrel like Marizano."

"That's w'ere it is, sir," said Disco with emphasis, "I could stand
anything a'most but that."

"And yet," pursued Harold, "it is our only chance.  I see quite well
that we may remain for years here without again having such an
opportunity or such an escort thrown in our way."

"There's no help for it, I fear," said Disco.  "We must take it like a
dose o' nasty physic--hold our nobs, shut our daylights, an' down with
it.  The only thing I ain't sure of is your ability to travel.  You
ain't strong yet."

"Oh, I'm strong enough now, or very nearly so, and getting stronger
every day.  Well, then, I suppose it's settled that we go?"

"Humph!  I'm agreeable, an' the whole business werry disagreeable," said
Disco, making a wry face.

Marizano was much pleased when the decision of the white men was made
known to him, and the native chief was naturally much distressed, for,
not only was he about to lose two men of whom he had become very fond,
but he was on the point of being bereft of his story-teller, the opener
up of his mind, the man who, above all others, had taught him to think
about his Maker and a future state.

He had sense enough, however, to perceive that his guests could not
choose but avail themselves of so good an opportunity, and, after the
first feeling of regret was over, made up his mind to the separation.

Next day Harold and Disco, with feelings of strong revulsion, almost of
shame, fell into the ranks of the slave-gang, and for many days
thereafter marched through the land in company with Marizano and his
band of lawless villains.

Marizano usually walked some distance ahead of the main body with a few
trusty comrades.  Our adventurers, with their two followers, came next
in order of march, the gang of slaves in single file followed, and the
armed men brought up the rear.  It was necessarily a very long line, and
at a distance resembled some hideous reptile crawling slowly and
tortuously through the fair fields and plains of Africa.

At first there were no stragglers, for the slaves were as yet, with few
exceptions, strong and vigorous.  These exceptions, and the lazy, were
easily kept in the line by means of rope and chain, as well as the rod
and lash.

Harold and Disco studiously avoided their leader during the march.
Marizano fell in with their humour and left them to themselves.  At
nights they made their own fire and cooked their own supper, as far
removed from the slave camp as was consistent with safety, for they
could not bear to witness the sufferings of the slaves, or to look upon
their captors.  Even the food that they were constrained to eat appeared
to have a tendency to choke them, and altogether their situation became
so terrible that they several times almost formed the desperate
resolution of leaving the party and trying to reach the coast by
themselves as they best might, but the utter madness and hopelessness of
such a project soon forced itself on their minds, and insured its being
finally abandoned.

One morning Marizano threw off his usual reserve, and, approaching the
white men, told them that in two hours they would reach the lake where
his employer was encamped.

"And who is your master?" asked Harold.

"A black-faced or yellow-faced blackguard like himself, I doubt not,"
growled Disco.

Antonio put Harold's question without Disco's comment, and Marizano
replied that his master was an Arab trader, and added that he would push
on in advance of the party and inform him of their approach.

Soon afterwards the lake was reached.  A large dhow was in readiness,
the gang was embarked and ferried across to a place where several rude
buildings and barracoons, with a few tents, indicated that it was one of
the inland headquarters of the trade in Black Ivory.

The moment our travellers landed Marizano led them to one of the nearest
buildings, and introduced them to his master.

"Yoosoof!" exclaimed Disco in a shout of astonishment.

It would have been a difficult question to have decided which of the
three faces displayed the most extreme surprise.  Perhaps Disco's would
have been awarded the palm, but Yoosoof was undoubtedly the first to
regain his self-possession.

"You be surprised," he said, in his _very_ broken English, while his
pale-yellow visage resumed its placid gravity of expression.

"Undoubtedly we are," said Harold.

"Bu'stin'!" exclaimed Disco.

"You would be not so mush surprised,--did you know dat I comes to here
every year, an' dat Engleesh consul ask me for 'quire about you."

"If that be so, how comes it that _you_ were surprised to see us?" asked
Harold.

"'Cause why, I only knows dat some white mans be loss theirselfs--not
knows _what_ mans--not knows it was _you_."

"Well now," cried Disco, unable to restrain himself as he turned to
Harold, "did ever two unfortnits meet wi' sitch luck?  Here have we bin'
obliged for days to keep company with the greatest Portugee villian in
the country, an' now we're needcessitated to be under a obligation to
the greatest Arab scoundrel in Afriky."

The scoundrel in question smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"Yoosoof," cried Disco, clenching his fist and looking full in the
trader's eyes, "when I last saw yer ugly face, I vowed that if ever I
seed it again I'd leave my mark on it pretty deep, I did; and now I does
see it again, but I haven't the moral courage to touch sitch a poor,
pitiful, shrivelled-up package o' bones an' half-tanned leather.
Moreover, I'm goin' to be indebted to 'ee!  Ha! ha!"  (he laughed
bitterly, and with a dash of wild humour in the tone), "to travel under
yer care, an' eat yer accursed bread, and--and--oh! there ain't no sitch
thing as shame left in my corpus.  I'm a low mean-spirited boastful
idiot, that's wot _I_ am, an' I don't care the fag-end of a hunk o'
gingerbread who knows it."

After this explosion the sorely tried mariner brought his right hand
down on his thigh with a tremendous crack, turned about and walked away
to cool himself.



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

PROGRESS OF THE SLAVE-RUN--THE DEADLY SWAMP, AND THE UNEXPECTED RESCUE.

We will now leap over a short period of time--about two or three weeks--
during which the sable procession had been winding its weary way over
hill and dale, plain and swamp.

During that comparatively brief period, Harold and Disco had seen so
much cruelty and suffering that they both felt a strange tendency to
believe that the whole must be the wild imaginings of a horrible dream.
Perhaps weakness, resulting from illness, might have had something to do
with this peculiar feeling of unbelief, for both had been subject to a
second, though slight, attack of fever.  Nevertheless, coupled with
their scepticism was a contradictory and dreadful certainty that they
were not dreaming, but that what they witnessed was absolute verity.

It is probable that if they had been in their ordinary health and vigour
they would have made a violent attempt to rescue the slaves, even at the
cost of their own lives.  But severe and prolonged illness often
unhinges the mind as well as the body, and renders the spirit all but
impotent.

One sultry evening the sad procession came to a long stretch of swamp,
and prepared to cross it.  Although already thinned by death, the
slave-gang was large.  It numbered several hundreds, and was led by
Marizano; Yoosoof having started some days in advance in charge of a
similar gang.

Harold and Disco were by that time in the habit of walking together in
front of the gang, chiefly for the purpose of avoiding the sight of
cruelties and woes which they were powerless to prevent or assuage.  On
reaching the edge of the swamp, however, they felt so utterly wearied
and dis-spirited that they sat down on a bank to rest, intending to let
the slave-gang go into the swamp before them and then follow in rear.
Antonio and Jumbo also remained with them.

"You should go on in front," said Marizano significantly, on observing
their intention.

"Tell him we'll remain where we are," said Disco sternly to Antonio.

Marizano shrugged his shoulders and left them.

The leading men of the slave-gang were ordered to advance, as soon as
the armed guard had commenced the toilsome march over ground into which
they sank knee-deep at every step.

The first man of the gang hesitated and heaved a deep sigh as though his
heart failed him at the prospect--and well it might, for, although
young, he was not robust, and over-driving, coupled with the weight and
the chafing of the goree, had worn him to a skeleton.

It was not the policy of the slave-traders to take much care of their
Black Ivory.  They procured it so cheaply that it was easier and more
profitable to lose or cast away some of it, than to put off time in
resting and recruiting the weak.

The moment it was observed, therefore, that the leading man hesitated,
one of the drivers gave him a slash across his naked back with a heavy
whip which at once drew blood.  Poor wretch; he could ill bear further
loss of the precious stream of life, for it had already been deeply
drained from him by the slave-stick.  The chafing of that instrument of
torture had not only worn the skin off his shoulders, but had cut into
the quivering flesh, so that blood constantly dropped in small
quantities from it.

No cry burst from the man's lips on receiving the cruel blow, but he
turned his eyes on his captors with a look that seemed to implore for
mercy.  As well might he have looked for mercy at the hands of Satan.
The lash again fell on him with stinging force.  He made a feeble effort
to advance, staggered, and fell to the ground, dragging down the man to
whom he was coupled with such violence as almost to break his neck.  The
lash was again about to be applied to make him rise, but Disco and
Harold rose simultaneously and rushed at the driver, with what intent
they scarcely knew; but four armed half-castes stepped between them and
the slave.

"You had better not interfere," said Marizano, who stood close by.

"Out of the way!" cried Harold fiercely, in the strength of his passion
hurling aside the man who opposed him.

"You shan't give him another cut," said Disco between his teeth, as he
seized the driver by the throat.

"We don't intend to do so," said Marizano coolly, while the driver
released himself from poor Disco's weakened grasp, "he won't need any
more."

The Englishmen required no explanation of these words.  A glance told
them that the man was dying.

"Cut him out," said Marizano.

One of his men immediately brought a saw and cut the fork of the stick
which still held the living to the dying man, and which, being riveted
on them, could not otherwise be removed.

Harold and Disco lifted him up as soon as he was free, and carrying him
a short distance aside to a soft part of the bank, laid him gently down.

The dying slave looked as if he were surprised at such unwonted
tenderness.  There was even a slight smile on his lips for a few
moments, but it quickly passed away with the fast ebbing tide of life.

"Go fetch some water," said Harold.  "His lips are dry."

Disco rose and ran to fill a small cocoa-nut-shell which he carried at
his girdle as a drinking-cup.  Returning with it he moistened the man's
lips and poured a little of the cool water on the raw sores on each side
of his neck.

They were so much engrossed with their occupation that neither of them
observed that the slave-gang had commenced to pass through the swamp,
until the sharp cry of a child drew their attention to it for a moment;
but, knowing that they could do no good, they endeavoured to shut their
eyes and ears to everything save the duty they had in hand.

By degrees the greater part of the long line had got into the swamp and
were slowly toiling through it under the stimulus of the lash.  Some,
like the poor fellow who first fell, had sunk under their accumulated
trials, and after a fruitless effort on the part of the slavers to drive
them forward, had been kicked aside into the jungle, there to die, or to
be torn in pieces by that ever-watchful scavenger of the wilderness, the
hyena.  These were chiefly women, who having become mothers not long
before were unable to carry their infants and keep up with the gang.
Others, under the intense dread of flagellation, made the attempt, and
staggered on a short distance, only to fall and be left behind in the
pestilential swamp, where rank reeds and grass closed over them and
formed a ready grave.

The difficulties of the swamp were, however, felt most severely by the
children, who, from little creatures of not much more than five years of
age to well-grown boys and girls, were mingled with and chained to the
adults along the line.  Their comparatively short legs were not well
adapted for such ground, and not a few of them perished there; but
although the losses here were terribly numerous in one sense, they after
all bore but a small proportion to those whose native vigour carried
them through in safety.

Among the men there were some whose strength of frame and fierce
expression indicated untameable spirits--men who might have been,
probably were, heroes among their fellows.  It was for men of this stamp
that the _goree_, or slave-stick, had been invented, and most
effectually did that instrument serve its purpose.  Samson himself would
have been a mere child in it.

There were men in the gang quite as bold, if not as strong, as Samson.
One of these, a very tall and powerful negro, on drawing near to the
place where Marizano stood superintending the passage, turned suddenly
aside, and, although coupled by the neck to a fellow-slave, and securely
bound at the wrists with a cord, which was evidently cutting into his
swelled flesh, made a desperate kick at the half-caste leader.

Although the slave failed to reach him, Marizano was so enraged that he
drew a hatchet from his belt and instantly dashed out the man's brains.
He fell dead without even a groan.  Terrified by this, the rest passed
on more rapidly, and there was no further check till a woman in the
line, with an infant on her back, stumbled, and, falling down, appeared
unable to rise.

"Get up!" shouted Marizano, whose rage had rather been increased than
abated by the murder he had just committed.

The woman rose and attempted to advance, but seemed ready to fall again.
Seeing this, Marizano plucked the infant from her back, dashed it
against a tree, and flung its quivering body into the jungle, while a
terrible application of the lash sent the mother shrieking into the
swamp.  [See Livingstone's _Zambesi and its Tributaries_, page 857; and
for a record of cruelties too horrible to be set down in a book like
this, we refer the reader to McLeod's _Travels in Eastern Africa_,
volume two page 26.  Also to the Appendix of Captain Sulivan's
_Dhow-Chasing in Zanzibar Waters_, which contains copious and
interesting extracts from evidence taken before the Select Committee of
the House of Commons.]

Harold and Disco did not witness this, though they heard the shriek of
despair, for at the moment the negro they were tending was breathing his
last.  When his eyes had closed and the spirit had been set free, they
rose, and, purposely refraining from looking back, hurried away from the
dreadful scene, intending to plunge into the swamp at some distance from
the place, and push on until they should regain the head of the column.

"Better if we'd never fallen behind, sir," said Disco, in a deep,
tremulous voice.

"True," replied Harold.  "We should have been spared these sights, and
the pain of knowing that we cannot prevent this appalling misery and
cruelty."

"But surely it is to be prevented _somehow_," cried Disco, almost
fiercely.  "Many a war that has cost mints o' money has been carried on
for causes that ain't worth mentionin' in the same breath with _this_!"

As Harold knew not what to say, and was toiling knee-deep in the swamp
at the moment he made no reply.

After marching about half an hour he stopped abruptly and said, with a
heavy sigh,--"I hope we haven't missed our way?"

"Hope not sir, but it looks like as if we had."

"I've bin so took up thinkin' o' that accursed traffic in human bein's
that I've lost my reckonin'.  Howsever, we can't be far out, an', with
the sun to guide us, we'll--"

He was stopped by a loud halloo in the woods, on the belt of the swamp.

It was repeated in a few seconds, and Antonio, who, with Jumbo, had
followed his master, cried in an excited tone--

"Me knows dat sound!"

"Wot may it be, Tony?" asked Disco.

There was neither time nor need for an answer, for at that moment a
ringing cry, something like a bad imitation of a British cheer, was
heard, and a band of men sprang out of the woods and ran at full speed
towards our Englishmen.

"Why, Zombo!" exclaimed Disco, wildly.

"Oliveira!" cried Harold.

"Masiko!  Songolo!" shouted Antonio and Jumbo.

"An' Jose, Nakoda, Chimbolo, Mabruki!--the whole bun' of 'em," cried
Disco, as one after another these worthies emerged from the wood and
rushed in a state of frantic excitement towards their friends--"Hooray!"

"Hooroo-hay!" replied the runners.

In another minute our adventurous party of travellers was re-united, and
for some time nothing but wild excitement, congratulations, queries that
got no replies, and replies that ran tilt at irrelevant queries, with
confusion worse confounded by explosions of unbounded and irrepressible
laughter not unmingled with tears, was the order of the hour.

"But wat! yoos ill?" cried Zombo suddenly, looking into Disco's face
with an anxious expression.

"Well, I ain't 'xac'ly ill, nor I ain't 'xac'ly well neither, but I'm
hearty all the same, and werry glad to see your black face, Zombo."

"Ho! hooroo-hay! so's me for see you," cried the excitable Zombo; "but
come, not good for talkee in de knees to watter.  Fall in boy, ho!
sholler 'ums--queek mash!"

That Zombo had assumed command of his party was made evident by the pat
way in which he trolled off the words of command formerly taught to him
by Harold, as well as by the prompt obedience that was accorded to his
orders.  He led the party out of the swamp, and, on reaching a dry spot,
halted, in order to make further inquiries and answer questions.

"How did you find us, Zombo?" asked Harold, throwing himself wearily on
the ground.

"_Yoos_ ill," said Zombo, holding up a finger by way of rebuke.

"So I am, though not so ill as I look.  But come, answer me.  How came
you to discover us?  You could not have found us by mere chance in this
wilderness?"

"Chanz; wat am chanz?" asked the Makololo.

There was some difficulty in getting Antonio to explain the word, from
the circumstance of himself being ignorant of it, therefore Harold put
the question in a more direct form.

"Oh! ve comes here look for yoo, 'cause peepils d'reck 'ums--show de
way.  Ve's been veeks, monts, oh! _days_ look for yoo.  Travil far--
g'rong road--turin bak--try agin--fin' yoo now--hooroo-hay!"

"You may say that, indeed.  I'd have it in my heart," said Disco, "to
give three good rousin' British cheers if it warn't for the thoughts o'
that black-hearted villain, Marizano, an' his poor, miserable slaves."

"Marizano!" shouted Chimbolo, glaring at Harold.

"Marizano!" echoed Zombo, glaring at Disco.

Harold now explained to his friends that the slave-hunter was close at
hand--a piece of news which visibly excited them,--and described the
cruelties of which he had recently been a witness.  Zombo showed his
teeth like a savage mastiff, and grasped his musket as though he longed
to use it, but he uttered no word until the narrative reached that point
in which the death of the poor captive was described.  Then he suddenly
started forward and said something to his followers in the native
tongue, which caused each to fling down the small bundle that was
strapped to his shoulders.

"Yoo stop here," he cried, earnestly, as he turned to Harold and Disco.
"Ve's com bak soon.  Ho! boys, sholler 'ums! queek mash!"

No trained band of Britons ever obeyed with more ready alacrity.  No
attention was paid to Harold's questions.  The "queek mash" carried them
out of sight in a few minutes, and when the Englishmen, who had run
after them a few paces, halted, under the conviction that in their weak
condition they might as well endeavour to keep up with race-horses as
with their old friends, they found that Antonio alone remained to keep
them company.

"Where's Jumbo?" inquired Harold.

"Gon' 'way wid oders," replied the interpreter.

Examining the bundles of their friends, they found that their contents
were powder, ball, and food.  It was therefore resolved that a fire
should be kindled, and food prepared, to be ready for their friends on
their return.

"I'm not so sure about their return," said Harold gravely.  "They will
have to fight against fearful odds if they find the slavers.  Foolish
fellows; I wish they had not rushed away so madly without consulting
us."

The day passed; night came and passed also, and another day dawned, but
there was no appearance of Zombo and his men, until the sun had been up
for some hours.  Then they came back, wending their way slowly--very
slowly--through the woods, with the whole of the slave-gang, men, women,
and children, at their heels!

"Where is Marizano?" inquired Harold, almost breathless with surprise.

"Dead!" said Zombo.

"Dead?"

"Ay, dead, couldn't be deader."

"And his armed followers?"

"Dead, too--some ob ums.  Ve got at um in de night.  Shotted Marizano
all to hatoms.  Shotted mos' ob um follerers too.  De res' all scatter
like leaves in de wind.  Me giv' up now," added Zombo, handing his
musket to Harold.  "Boys! orrer ums! mees Capitin not no more.  Now,
Capitin Harol', yoos once more look afer us, an' take care ob all ums
peepil."

Having thus demitted his charge, the faithful Zombo stepped back and
left our hero in the unenviable position of a half broken-down man with
the responsibility of conducting an expedition, and disposing of a large
gang of slaves in some unknown part of equatorial Africa!

Leaving him there, we will proceed at once to the coast and follow, for
a time, the fortunes of that archvillain, Yoosoof.



CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

DESCRIBES "BLACK IVORY" AT SEA.

Having started for the coast with a large gang of slaves a short time
before Marizano, as we have already said, and having left the Englishmen
to the care of the half-caste, chiefly because he did not desire their
company, although he had no objection to the ransom, Yoosoof proceeded
over the same track which we have already described in part, leaving a
bloody trail behind him.

It is a fearful track, of about 500 miles in length, that which lies
between the head of Lake Nyassa and the sea-coast at Kilwa.  We have no
intention of dragging the reader over it to witness the cruelties and
murders that were perpetrated by the slavers, or the agonies endured by
the slaves.  Livingstone speaks of it as a land of death, of desolation,
and dead men's bones.  And no wonder, for it is one of the main arteries
through which the blood of Africa flows, like the water of natural
rivers, to the sea.  The slave-gangs are perpetually passing eastward
through it--perpetually dropping four-fifths of their numbers on it as
they go.  Dr Livingstone estimates that, in some cases, not more than
_one-tenth_ of the slaves captured reach the sea-coast alive.  It is
therefore rather under than over-stating the case to say that out of
every hundred starting from the interior, _eighty_ perish on the road.

Yoosoof left with several thousands of strong and healthy men, women,
and children--most of them being children--he arrived at Kilwa with only
eight hundred.  The rest had sunk by the way, either from exhaustion or
cruel treatment, or both.  The loss was great; but as regards the trader
it could not be called severe, because the whole gang of slaves cost him
little--some of them even nothing!--and the remaining eight hundred
would fetch a good price.  They were miserably thin, indeed, and
exhibited on their poor, worn, and travel-stained bodies the evidence of
many a cruel castigation; but Yoosoof knew that a little rest and good
feeding at Kilwa would restore them to some degree of marketable value,
and at Zanzibar he was pretty sure of obtaining, in round numbers, about
10 pounds a head for them, while in the Arabian and Persian ports he
could obtain much more, if he chose to pass beyond the treaty-protected
water at Lamoo, and run the risk of being captured by British cruisers.
It is "piracy" to carry slaves north of Lamoo.  South of that point for
hundreds of miles, robbery, rapine, murder, cruelty, such as devils
could not excel if they were to try, is a "domestic institution" with
which Britons are pledged not to interfere!

Since the above was written Sir Bartle Frere has returned from his
mission, and we are told that a treaty has been signed by the Sultan of
Zanzibar putting an end to this domestic slavery.  We have not yet seen
the terms of this treaty, and must go to press before it appears.  We
have reason to rejoice and be thankful, however, that such an advantage
has been gained.  But let not the reader imagine that this settles the
question of East African slavery.  Portugal still holds to the "domestic
institution" in her colonies, and has decreed that it shall not expire
till the year 1878.  Decreed, in fact, that the horrors which we have
attempted to depict shall continue for five years longer!  And let it be
noted, that the export slave-trade cannot be stopped as long as domestic
slavery is permitted.  Besides this, there is a continual drain of human
beings from Africa through Egypt.  Sir Samuel Baker's mission is a blow
aimed at that; but nothing, that we know of, is being done in regard to
Portuguese wickedness.  If the people of this country could only realise
the frightful state of things that exists in the African Portuguese
territory, and knew how many thousand bodies shall be racked with
torture, and souls be launched into eternity during these five years,
they would indignantly insist that Portugal should be _compelled_ to
stop it _at once_.  If it is righteous to constrain the Sultan of
Zanzibar, is it not equally so to compel the King of Portugal?

The arch robber and murderer, Yoosoof--smooth and oily of face, tongue,
and manner though he was--possessed a bold spirit and a grasping heart.
The domestic institution did not suit him.  Rather than sneak along his
villainous course under its protecting "pass," he resolved to bid
defiance to laws, treaties, and men-of-war to boot--as many hundreds of
his compeers have done and do--and make a bold dash to the north with
his eight hundred specimens of Black Ivory.

Accordingly, full of his purpose, one afternoon he sauntered up to the
barracoons in which his "cattle" were being rested and fed-up.

Moosa, his chief driver, was busy among them with the lash, for, like
other cattle, they had a tendency to rebel, at least a few of them had;
the most of them were by that time reduced to the callous condition
which had struck Harold and Disco so much on the occasion of their
visits to the slave-market of Zanzibar.

Moosa was engaged, when Yoosoof entered, in whipping most unmercifully a
small boy whose piercing shrieks had no influence whatever on his
tormentor.  Close beside them a large strong-boned man lay stretched on
the ground.  He had just been felled with a heavy stick by Moosa for
interfering.  He had raised himself on one elbow, while with his right
hand he wiped away the blood that oozed from the wound in his head, and
appeared to struggle to recover himself from the stunning blow.

"What has he been doing?" asked Yoosoof carelessly, in Portuguese.

"Oh, the old story, rebelling," said Moosa, savagely hurling the boy
into the midst of a group of cowering children, amongst whom he
instantly shrank as much as possible out of sight.  "That brute,"
pointing to the prostrate man, "was a chief, it appears, in his own
country, and has not yet got all the spirit lashed out of him.  But it
can't last much longer; either the spirit or the life must go.  He has
carried that little whelp the last part of the way on his back, and now
objects to part with him,--got fond of him, I fancy.  If you had taken
my advice you would have cast them both to the hyenas long ago."

"You are a bad judge of human flesh, Moosa," said Yoosoof, quietly;
"more than once you have allowed your passion to rob me of a valuable
piece of goods.  This man will fetch a good price in Persia, and so will
his son.  I know that the child is his son, though the fool thinks no
one knows that but himself, and rather prides himself on the clever way
in which he has continued to keep his whelp beside him on the journey
down.  Bah! what can one expect from such cattle?  Don't separate them,
Moosa.  They will thrive better together.  If we only get them to market
in good condition, then we can sell them in separate lots without
risking loss of value from pining."

In a somewhat sulky tone, for he was not pleased to be found fault with
by his chief, the slave-driver ordered out the boy, who was little more
than five years old, though the careworn expression of his thin face
seemed to indicate a much more advanced age.

Trembling with alarm, for he expected a repetition of the punishment,
yet not daring to disobey, the child came slowly out from the midst of
his hapless companions, and advanced.  The man who had partly recovered
rose to a sitting position, and regarded Moosa and the Arab with a look
of hatred so intense that it is quite certain he would have sprung at
them, if the heavy slave-stick had not rendered such an act impossible.

"Go, you little whelp," said Moosa, pointing to the fallen chief, and at
the same time giving the child a cut with the whip.

With a cry of mingled pain and delight poor Obo, for it was he, rushed
into his father's open arms, and laid his sobbing head on his breast.
He could not nestle into his neck as, in the days of old, he had been
wont to do,--the rough goree effectually prevented that.

Kambira bent his head over the child and remained perfectly still.  He
did not dare to move, lest any action, however inoffensive, might induce
Moosa to change his mind and separate them again.

Poor Kambira!  How different from the hearty, bold, kindly chief to whom
we introduced the reader in his own wilderness home!  His colossal frame
was now gaunt in the extreme, and so thin that every rib stood out as
though it would burst the skin, and every joint seemed hideously large,
while from head to foot his skin was crossed and recrossed with terrible
weals, and scarred with open sores, telling of the horrible cruelties to
which he had been subjected in the vain attempt to tame his untameable
spirit.  There can be no question that, if he had been left to the
tender mercies of such Portuguese half-caste scoundrels as Moosa or
Marizano, he would have been brained with an axe or whipped to death
long ago.  But Yoosoof was more cool and calculating in his cruelty; he
had more respect for his pocket than for the gratification of his angry
feelings.  Therefore Kambira had reached the coast alive.

Little had the simple chief imagined what awaited him on that coast, and
on his way to it, when, in the fulness of his heart, he had stated to
Harold Seadrift his determination to proceed thither in search of
Azinte.  Experience had now crushed hope, and taught him to despair.
There was but one gleam of light in his otherwise black sky, and that
was the presence of his boy.  Life had still one charm in it as long as
he could lay hold of Obo's little hand and hoist him, not quite so
easily as of yore, on his broad shoulders.  Yoosoof was sufficiently a
judge of human character to be aware that if he separated these two,
Kambira would become more dangerous to approach than the fiercest
monster in the African wilderness.

"We must sail to-night and take our chance," said Yoosoof, turning away
from his captives; "the time allowed for our trade is past and I shall
run straight north without delay."

The Arab here referred to the fact that the period of the year allowed
by treaty for the "lawful slave-trade" of the Zanzibar dominions had
come to an end.  That period extended over several months, and during
its course passes from the Sultan secured "domestic slavers" against the
British cruisers.  After its expiration no export of slaves was
permitted anywhere; nevertheless a very large export was carried on,
despite non-permission and cruisers.  Yoosoof meant to run the blockade
and take his chance.

"How many dhows have you got?" asked Yoosoof.

"Three," replied Moosa.

"That will do," returned the Arab after a few minutes' thought; "it will
be a tight fit at first, perhaps, but a few days at sea will rectify
that.  Even in the most healthy season and favourable conditions we must
unfortunately count on a good many losses.  We shall sail to-morrow."

The morrow came, and three dhows left the harbour of Kilwa, hoisted
their lateen sails, and steered northwards.

They were densely crowded with slaves.  Even to the eye of a superficial
observer this would have been patent, for the upper deck of each was so
closely packed with black men, women, and children, that a square inch
of it could not anywhere be seen.

They were packed very systematically, in order to secure economical
stowage.  Each human being sat on his haunches with his thighs against
his breast, and his knees touching his chin.  They were all ranged thus
in rows, shoulder to shoulder, and back to shin, so that the deck was
covered with a solid phalanx of human flesh.  Change of posture was not
provided for: _it was not possible_.  There was no awning over the upper
deck.  The tropical sun poured its rays on the heads of the slaves all
day.  The dews fell on them all night.  The voyage might last for days
or weeks, but there was no relief to the wretched multitude.  For no
purpose whatever could they move from their terrible position, save for
the one purpose of being thrown overboard when dead.

But we have only spoken of the upper deck of these dhows.  Beneath this
there was a temporary bamboo deck, with just space sufficient to admit
of men being seated in the position above referred to.  This was also
crowded, but it was not the "Black Hole" of the vessel.  That was lower
still.  Seated on the stone ballast beneath the bamboo deck there was
yet another layer of humanity, whose condition can neither be described
nor conceived.  Without air, without light, without room to move,
without hope; with insufferable stench, with hunger and thirst, with
heat unbearable, with agony of body and soul, with dread anticipations
of the future, and despairing memories of the past, they sat for days
and nights together--fed with just enough of uncooked rice and water to
keep soul and body together.

Not enough in all cases, however, for many succumbed, especially among
the women and children.

Down in the lowest, filthiest, and darkest corner of this foul hold sat
Kambira, with little Obo crushed against his shins.  It may be supposed
that there was a touch of mercy in this arrangement.  Let not the reader
suppose so.  Yoosoof knew that if Kambira was to be got to market alive,
Obo must go along with him.  Moosa also knew that if the strong-minded
chief was to be subdued at all, it would only be by the most terrible
means.  Hence his position in the dhow.

There was a man seated alongside of Kambira who for some time had
appeared to be ill.  He could not be seen, for the place was quite dark,
save when a man came down with a lantern daily to serve out rice and
water; but Kambira knew that he was very ill from his groans and the
quiverings of his body.  One night these groans ceased, and the man
leaned heavily on the chief--not very heavily, however, he was too
closely wedged in all round to admit of that.  Soon afterwards he became
very cold, and Kambira knew that he was dead.  All that night and the
greater part of next day the dead man sat propped up by his living
comrades.  When the daily visitor came down, attention was drawn to the
body and it was removed.

Moosa, who was in charge of this dhow (Yoosoof having command of
another), gave orders to have the slaves in the hold examined, and it
was discovered that three others were dead and two dying.  The dead were
thrown overboard; the dying were left till they died, and then followed
their released comrades.

But now a worse evil befell that dhow.  Smallpox broke out among the
slaves.

It was a terrible emergency, but Moosa was quite equal to it.  Ordering
the infected, and suspected, slaves to be brought on deck, he examined
them.  In this operation he was assisted and accompanied by two powerful
armed men.  There were passengers on board the dhow, chiefly Arabs, and
a crew, as well as slaves.  The passengers and crew together numbered
about thirty-four, all of whom were armed to the teeth.  To these this
inspection was of great importance, for it was their interest to get rid
of the deadly disease as fast as possible.

The first slave inspected, a youth of about fifteen, was in an advanced
stage of the disease, in fact, dying.  A glance was sufficient and at a
nod from Moosa, the two powerful men seized him and hurled him into the
sea.  The poor creature was too far gone even to struggle for life.  He
sank like a stone.  Several children followed.  They were unquestionably
smitten with the disease, and were at once thrown overboard.  Whether
the passengers felt pity or no we cannot say.  They expressed none, but
looked on in silence.

So far the work was easy, but when men and women were brought up on whom
the disease had not certainly taken effect, Moosa was divided between
the desire to check the progress of the evil, and the desire to save
valuable property.

The property itself also caused some trouble in a few instances, for
when it became obvious to one or two of the stronger slave-girls and men
what was going to be done with them, they made a hard struggle for their
lives, and the two strong men were under the necessity of using a knife,
now and then, to facilitate the accomplishment of their purpose.  But
such cases were rare.  Most of the victims were callously submissive; it
might not be beyond the truth, in some cases, to say willingly
submissive.

Each day this scene was enacted, for Moosa was a very determined man,
and full forty human beings were thus murdered, but the disease was not
stayed.  The effort to check it was therefore given up, and the slaves
were left to recover or die where they sat.  See account of capture of
dhow by Captain Robert B. Cay, of H.M.S. "Vulture," in the _Times of
India_, 1872.

While this was going on in the vessel commanded by Moosa, the other two
dhows under Yoosoof and a man named Suliman had been lost sight of.  But
this was a matter of little moment, as they were all bound for the same
Persian port, and were pretty sure, British cruisers permitting, to meet
there at last.  Meanwhile the dhow ran short of water, and Moosa did not
like to venture at that time to make the land, lest he should be caught
by one of the hated cruisers or their boats.  He preferred to let the
wretched slaves take their chance of dying of thirst--hoping, however,
to lose only a few of the weakest, as water could be procured a little
farther north with greater security.

Thus the horrible work of disease, death, and murder went on, until an
event occurred which entirely changed the aspect of affairs on board the
dhow.

Early one morning, Moosa directed the head of his vessel towards the
land with the intention of procuring the much needed water.  At the same
hour and place two cutters belonging to H.M.S. `Firefly,' armed with gun
and rocket, twenty men, and an interpreter, crept out under sail with
the fishing boats from a neighbouring village.  They were under the
command of Lieutenants Small and Lindsay respectively.  For some days
they had been there keeping vigilant watch, but had seen no dhows, and
that morning were proceeding out rather depressed by the influence of
"hope deferred," when a sail was observed in the offing--or, rather, a
mast, for the sail of the dhow had been lowered--the owners intending to
wait until the tide should enable them to cross the bar.

"Out oars and give way, lads," was the immediate order; for it was
necessary to get up all speed on the boats if the dhow was to be reached
before she had time to hoist her huge sail.

"I hope the haze will last," earnestly muttered Lieutenant Small in the
first cutter.

"Oh that they may keep on sleeping for five minutes more," excitedly
whispered Lieutenant Lindsay in the second cutter.

These hopes were coupled with orders to have the gun and rocket in
readiness.

But the haze would not last to oblige Mr Small, neither would the Arabs
keep on sleeping to please Mr Lindsay.  On the contrary, the haze
dissipated, and the Arabs observed and recognised their enemies when
within about half a mile.  With wonderful celerity they hoisted sail and
stood out to sea in the full-swing of the monsoon.

There was no little probability that the boats would fail to overhaul a
vessel with so large a sail, therefore other means were instantly
resorted to.

"Fire!" said Mr Small.

"Fire!" cried Mr Lindsay.

Bang went the gun, whiz went the rocket, almost at the same moment.  A
rapid rifle-fire was also opened on the slaver--shot, rocket, and ball
bespattered the sea and scattered foam in the air, but did no harm to
the dhow, a heavy sea and a strong wind preventing accuracy of aim.

"Give it them as fast as you can," was now the order; and well was the
order obeyed, for blue-jackets are notoriously smart men in action, and
the gun, the rocket, and the rifles kept up a smart iron storm for
upwards of two hours, during which time the exciting chase lasted.

At last Jackson, the linguist who was in the stern of Lindsay's boat,
mortally wounded the steersman of the dhow with a rifle-ball at a
distance of about six hundred yards.  Not long afterwards the
rocket-cutter, being less heavily weighted than her consort, crept
ahead, and when within about a hundred and fifty yards of the slaver,
let fly a well-directed rocket.  It carried away the parrell which
secured the yard of the dhow to the mast and brought the sail down
instantly on the deck.

"Hurra!" burst irresistibly from the blue-jackets.

The Arabs were doubly overwhelmed, for besides getting the sail down on
their heads, they were astonished and stunned by the shriek, smoke, and
flame of the war-rocket.  The gun-cutter coming up at the moment the two
boats ranged alongside of the slaver, and boarded together.

As we have said, the crew and passengers, numbering thirty-four, were
armed to the teeth, and they had stood by the halyards during the chase
with drawn _creases_, swearing to kill any one who should attempt to
shorten sail.  These now appeared for a moment as though they meditated
resistance, but the irresistible dash of the sailors seemed to change
their minds, for they submitted without striking a blow, though many of
them were very reluctant to give up their swords and knives.

Fortunately the `Firefly' arrived in search of her boats that evening,
and the slaves were transferred to her deck.  But who shall describe the
harrowing scene!  The dhow seemed a very nest of black ants, it was so
crowded, and the sailors, who had to perform the duty of removing the
slaves, were nearly suffocated by the horrible stench.  Few of the
slaves could straighten themselves after their long confinement.  Indeed
some of them were unable to stand for days afterwards, and many died on
board the `Firefly' before they reached a harbour of refuge and freedom.
Those taken from the hold were in the worst condition, especially the
children, many of whom were in the most loathsome stages of smallpox,
and scrofula of every description.  They were so emaciated and weak that
many had to be carried on board, and lifted for every movement.

Kambira, although able to stand, was doubled up like an old man, and
poor little Obo trembled and staggered when he attempted to follow his
father, to whom he still clung as to his last and only refuge.

To convey these poor wretches to a place where they could be cared for
was now Captain Romer's chief anxiety.  First however, he landed the
crew and passengers, with the exception of Moosa and three of his men.
The filthy dhow was then scuttled and sunk, after which the `Firefly'
steamed away for Aden, that being the nearest port where the rescued
slaves could be landed and set free.



CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

THE REMEDY.

Reader, we will turn aside at this point to preach you a lay sermon, if
you will lend an attentive ear.  It shall be brief, and straight to the
point.  Our text is,--Prevention and Cure.

There are at least three great channels by which the life-blood of
Africa is drained.  One trends to the east through the Zanzibar
dominions, another to the south-east through the Portuguese
dependencies, and a third to the north through Egypt.  If the
slave-trade is to be effectually checked, the flow through these three
channels must be stopped.  It is vain to rest content with the stoppage
of one leak in our ship if two other leaks are left open.

Happily, in regard to the first of these channels, Sir Bartle Frere has
been successful in making a grand stride in the way of prevention.  If
the Sultan of Zanzibar holds to his treaty engagements, "domestic
slavery" in his dominions is at an end.  Nevertheless, our fleet will be
required just as much as ever to prevent the unauthorised, piratical,
slave-trade, and this, after all, is but one-third of the preventive
work we have to do.  Domestic slavery remains untouched in the
Portuguese dependencies, and Portugal has decreed that it shall remain
untouched until the year 1878!  It is well that we should be thoroughly
impressed with the fact that so long as slavery in any form is
tolerated, the internal--we may say infernal--miseries and horrors which
we have attempted to depict will continue to blight the land and
brutalise its people.  Besides this, justice demands that the same
constraint which we lay on the Sultan of Zanzibar should be applied to
the King of Portugal.  We ought to insist that _his_ "domestic slavery"
shall cease at _once_.  Still further, as Sir Bartle Frere himself has
recommended, we should urge upon our Government the appointment of
efficient consular establishments in the Portuguese dependencies, as
well as vigilance in securing the observance of the treaties signed by
the Sultans of Zanzibar and Muscat.

A recent telegram from Sir Samuel Baker assures us that a great step has
been made in the way of checking the tide of slavery in the third--the
Egyptian--channel, and Sir Bartle Frere bears testimony to the desire of
the Khedive that slavery should be put down in his dominions.  For this
we have reason to be thankful; and the appearance of affairs in that
quarter is hopeful, but our hope is mingled with anxiety, because
mankind is terribly prone to go to sleep on hopeful appearances.  Our
nature is such, that our only chance of success lies, under God, in
resolving ceaselessly to energise until our ends be accomplished.  We
must see to it that the Khedive of Egypt acts in accordance with his
professions, and for this end efficient consular agency is as needful in
the north-east as in the south-east.

So much for prevention, but prevention is not cure.  In order to
accomplish this two things are necessary.  There must be points or
centres of refuge for the oppressed on the _mainland_ of Africa, and
there must be the introduction of the Bible.  The first is essential to
the second.  Where anarchy, murder, injustice, and tyranny are rampant
and triumphant, the advance of the missionary is either terribly slow or
altogether impossible.  The life-giving, soul-softening Word of God, is
the only remedy for the woes of mankind, and, therefore, the only cure
for Africa.  To introduce it effectually, and along with it civilisation
and all the blessings that flow therefrom, it is indispensable that
Great Britain should obtain, by treaty or by purchase, one or more small
pieces of land, there to establish free Christian negro settlements, and
there, with force sufficient to defend them from the savages, and worse
than savages,--the Arab and Portuguese half-caste barbarians and lawless
men who infest the land--hold out the hand of friendship to all natives
who choose to claim her protection from the man-stealer, and offer to
teach them the blessed truths of Christianity and the arts of
civilisation.  Many of the men who are best fitted to give an opinion on
the point agree in holding that some such centre, or centres, on the
mainland are essential to the permanent cure of slavery, although they
differ a little as to the best localities for them.  Take, for instance,
Darra Salaam on the coast, the Manganja highlands near the river Shire,
and Kartoum on the Nile.  Three such centres would, if established,
begin at once to dry up the slave-trade at its three fountain-heads,
while our cruisers would check it on the coast.  In these centres of
light and freedom the negroes might see exemplified the blessings of
Christianity and civilisation, and, thence, trained native missionaries
might radiate into all parts of the vast continent armed only with the
Word of God, the shield of Faith, and the sword of the Spirit in order
to preach the glad tidings of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In brief, the great points on which we ought as a nation, to insist, are
the _immediate_ abolition of the slave-trade in Portuguese dependencies;
the scrupulous fulfilment of treaty obligations by the Sultans of
Zanzibar and Muscat, the Shah of Persia, and the Khedive of Egypt; the
establishment by our Government of efficient consular agencies where
such are required; the acquisition of territory on the mainland for the
purposes already mentioned, and the united action of all Christians in
our land to raise funds and send men to preach the Gospel to the negro.
So doing we shall, with God's blessing, put an end to the Eastern
slave-trade, save equatorial Africa, and materially increase the
commerce, the riches, and the happiness of the world.



CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

TELLS OF SAD SIGHTS, AND SUDDEN EVENTS, AND UNEXPECTED MEETINGS.

In the course of time, our hero, Harold Seadrift, and his faithful ally,
Disco Lillihammer, after innumerable adventures which we are unwillingly
obliged to pass over in silence, returned to the coast and, in the
course of their wanderings in search of a vessel which should convey
them to Zanzibar, found themselves at last in the town of Governor
Letotti.  Being English travellers, they were received as guests by the
Governor, and Harold was introduced to Senhorina Maraquita.

Passing through the market-place one day, they observed a crowd round
the flag-staff in the centre of the square, and, following the
irresistible tendency of human nature in such circumstances, ran to see
what was going on.

They found that a slave was about to be publicly whipped by soldiers.
The unhappy man was suspended by the wrists from the flag-staff, and a
single cord of coir round his waist afforded him additional support.

"Come away, we can do no good here," said Harold, in a low, sorrowful
tone, which was drowned in the shriek of the victim, as the first lash
fell on his naked shoulders.

"Pra'ps he's a criminal," suggested Disco, as he hurried away,
endeavouring to comfort himself with the thought that the man probably
deserved punishment.  "It's not the whippin' I think so much of," he
added; "that is the only thing as will do for some characters, but it's
the awful cruelties that goes along with it."

Returning through the same square about an hour later, having almost
forgotten about the slave by that time, they were horrified to observe
that the wretched man was still hanging there.

Hastening towards him, they found that he was gasping for breath.  His
veins were bursting, and his flesh was deeply lacerated by the cords
with which he was suspended.  He turned his head as the Englishmen
approached, and spoke a few words which they did not understand; but the
appealing look of his bloodshot eyes spoke a language that required no
interpreter.

At an earlier period in their career in Africa, both Harold and Disco
would have acted on their first impulse, and cut the man down; but
experience had taught them that this style of interference, while it put
their own lives in jeopardy, had sometimes the effect of increasing the
punishment and sufferings of those whom they sought to befriend.

Acting on a wiser plan, they resolved to appeal to Governor Letotti in
his behalf.  They therefore ran to his residence, where Maraquita, who
conversed with Harold in French, informed them that her father was in
the "Geresa," or public palaver house.  To that building they hastened,
and found that it was in the very square they had left.  But Senhor
Letotti was not there.  He had observed the Englishmen coming, and,
having a shrewd guess what their errand was, had disappeared and hid
himself.  His chief-officer informed them that he had left the town
early in the morning, and would not return till the afternoon.

Harold felt quite sure that this was a falsehood, but of course was
obliged to accept it as truth.

"Is there no one to act for the Governor in his absence?" he asked,
anxiously.

No, there was no one; but after a few minutes the chief-officer appeared
to be overcome by Harold's earnest entreaties, and said that he could
take upon himself to act, that he would suspend the punishment till the
Governor's return, when Harold might prefer his petition to him in
person.

Accordingly, the slave was taken down.  In the afternoon Harold saw the
Governor, and explained that he did not wish to interfere with his
province as a magistrate, but that what he had witnessed was so shocking
that he availed himself of his privilege as a guest to pray that the
man's punishment might be mitigated.

Governor Letotti's health had failed him of late, and he had suffered
some severe disappointments in money matters, so that his wonted
amiability had been considerably reduced.  He objected, at first, to
interfere with the course of justice; but finally gave a reluctant
consent, and the man was pardoned.  Afterwards, however, when our
travellers were absent from the town for a day, the wretched slave was
again tied up, and the full amount of his punishment inflicted; in other
words, he was flogged to death.  [For the incident on which this is
founded we are indebted to the Reverend Doctor Ryan, late Bishop of the
Mauritius.]

This incident had such an effect on the mind of Harold, that he resolved
no longer to accept the hospitality of Governor Letotti.  He had some
difficulty, however, in persuading himself to carry his resolve into
effect, for the Governor, although harsh in his dealing with the slave,
had been exceedingly kind and amiable to himself; but an unexpected
event occurred which put an end to his difficulties.  This was the
illness and sudden death of his host.

Poor, disconsolate Maraquita, in the first passion of her grief, fled to
the residence of the only female friend she had in the town, and refused
firmly to return home.  Thus it came to pass that Harold's intercourse
with the Senhorina was cut short at its commencement, and thus he missed
the opportunity of learning something of the fortunes of Azinte; for it
is certain that, if they had conversed much together, as would probably
have been the case had her father lived, some mention of the
slave-girl's name could not fail to have been made, and their mutual
knowledge of her to have been elicited and interchanged.

In those days there was no regular communication between one point and
another of the east coast of Africa and the neighbouring islands.
Travellers had frequently to wait long for a chance; and when they got
one were often glad to take advantage of it without being fastidious as
to its character.  Soon after the events above narrated, a small trading
schooner touched at the port.  It was bound for the Seychelles,
intending to return by Zanzibar and Madagascar, and proceed to the Cape.
Harold would rather have gone direct to Zanzibar, but, having plenty of
time on his hands, as well as means, he was content to avail himself of
the opportunity, and took passage in the schooner for himself, Disco,
and Jumbo.  That sable and faithful friend was the only one of his
companions who was willing to follow him anywhere on the face of the
earth.  The others received their pay and their discharge with smiling
faces, and scattered to their several homes--Antonio departing to
complete his interrupted honeymoon.

Just before leaving, Harold sought and obtained permission to visit
Maraquita, to bid her good-bye.  The poor child was terribly overwhelmed
by the death of her father, and could not speak of him without giving
way to passionate grief.  She told Harold that she meant to leave the
coast by the first opportunity that should offer, and proceed to the
Cape of Good Hope, where, in some part of the interior, lived an old
aunt, the only relative she now had on earth, who, she knew, would be
glad to receive her.  Our hero did his best to comfort the poor girl,
and expressed deep sympathy with her, but felt that his power to console
was very small indeed.  After a brief interview he bade her farewell.

The voyage which our travellers now commenced was likely to be of
considerable duration, for the Seychelles Islands lie a long way to the
eastward of Africa, but as we have said, time was of no importance to
Harold, and he was not sorry to have an opportunity of visiting a group
of islands which are of some celebrity in connexion with the East
African slave-trade.  Thus, all unknown to himself or Disco, as well as
to Maraquita, who would have been intensely interested had she known the
fact, he was led towards the new abode of our sable heroine Azinte.

But alas! for Kambira and Obo,--they were being conveyed, also, of
course, unknown to themselves or to any one else, further and further
away from one whom they would have given their heart's blood to meet
with and embrace, and it seemed as if there were not a chance of any
gleam of light bridging over the ever widening gulf that lay between
them, for although Lieutenant Lindsay knew that Azinte had been left at
the Seychelles, he had not the remotest idea that Kambira was Azinte's
husband, and among several hundreds of freed slaves the second
lieutenant of the `Firefly' was not likely to single out, and hold
converse with a chief whose language he did not understand, and who, as
far as appearances went, was almost as miserable, sickly, and degraded
as were the rest of the unhappy beings by whom he was surrounded.

Providence, however, turned the tide of affairs in favour of Kambira and
his son.  On reaching Zanzibar Captain Romer had learned from the
commander of another cruiser that Aden was at that time somewhat
overwhelmed with freed slaves, a considerable number of captures having
been recently made about the neighbourhood of that great rendezvous of
slavers, the island of Socotra.

The captain therefore changed his mind, and once more very unwillingly
directed his course towards the distant Seychelles.

On the way thither many of the poor negroes died, but many began to
recover strength under the influence of kind treatment and generous
diet.  Among these latter was Kambira.  His erect gait and manly look
soon began to return, and his ribs, so to speak, to disappear.  It was
otherwise with poor Obo.  The severity of the treatment to which he had
been exposed was almost too much for so young a frame.  He lost appetite
and slowly declined, notwithstanding the doctor's utmost care.

This state of things continuing until the `Firefly' arrived at the
Seychelles, Obo was at once conveyed to the hospital which we have
referred to as having been established there.

Azinte chanced to be absent in the neighbouring town on some errand
connected with her duties as nurse, when her boy was laid on his bed
beside a number of similar sufferers.  It was a sad sight to behold
these little ones.  Out of the original eighty-three children who had
been placed there forty-seven had died in three weeks, and the remnant
were still in a pitiable condition.  While on their beds of pain,
tossing about in their delirium, the minds of these little ones
frequently ran back to their forest homes, and while some, in spirit,
laughed and romped once more around their huts, thousands of miles away
on the banks of some African river, others called aloud in their
sufferings for the dearest of all earthly beings to them--their mothers.
Some of them also whispered the name of Jesus, for the missionary had
been careful to tell them the story of our loving Lord, while tending
their poor bodies.

Obo had fevered slightly, and in the restless half-slumber into which he
fell on being put to bed, he, too, called earnestly for his mother.  In
_his_ case, poor child, the call was not in vain.

Lieutenant Lindsay and the doctor of the ship, with Kambira, had
accompanied Obo to the hospital.

"Now, Lindsay," said the doctor, when the child had been made as
comfortable as circumstances would admit of, "this man must not be left
here, for he will be useless, and it is of the utmost consequence that
the child should have some days of absolute repose.  What shall we do
with him?"

"Take him on board again," said Lindsay.  "I daresay we shall find him
employment for a short time."

"If you will allow me to take charge of him," interposed the missionary,
who was standing by them at the time, "I can easily find him employment
in the neighbourhood, so that he can come occasionally to see his child
when we think it safe to allow him."

"That will be the better plan," said the doctor, "for as long as--"

A short sharp cry near the door of the room cut the sentence short.

All eyes were turned in that direction and they beheld Azinte gazing
wildly at them, and standing as if transformed to stone.

The instant Kambira saw his wife he leaped up as if he had received an
electric shock, bounded forward like a panther, uttered a shout that did
full credit to the chief of a warlike African tribe, and seized Azinte
in his arms.

No wonder that thirty-six little black heads leaped from thirty-six
little white pillows, and displayed all the whites of seventy-two eyes
that were anything but little, when this astonishing scene took place!

But Kambira quickly recovered himself, and, grasping Azinte by the arm,
led her gently towards the bed which had just been occupied, and pointed
to the little one that slumbered uneasily there.  Strangely enough, just
at the moment little Obo again whispered the word "mother."

Poor Azinte's eyes seemed ready to start from their sockets.  She
stretched out her arms and tried to rush towards her child, but Kambira
held her back.

"Obo is very sick," he said, "you must touch him tenderly."

The chief looked into his wife's eyes, saw that she understood him, and
let her go.

Azinte crept softly to the bed, knelt down beside it and put her arms so
softly round Obo that she scarcely moved him, yet she gradually drew him
towards her until his head rested on her swelling bosom, and she pressed
her lips tenderly upon his brow.  It was an old familiar attitude which
seemed to pierce the slumbers of the child with a pleasant reminiscence,
and dissipate his malady, for he heaved a deep sigh of contentment and
sank into profound repose.

"Good!" said the doctor, in a low tone, with a significant nod to
Lindsay, when an interpreter had explained what had been already guessed
by all present, that Kambira and Azinte were man and wife; "Obo has a
better chance now of recovery than I had anticipated; for joy goes a
long way towards effecting a cure.  Come, we will leave them together."

Kambira was naturally anxious to remain, but like all commanding
spirits, he had long ago learned that cardinal virtue, "obedience to
whom obedience is due."  When it was explained to him that it would be
for Obo's advantage to be left alone with his mother for a time, he
arose, bowed his head, and meekly followed his friends out of the room.

Exactly one week from that date little Obo had recovered so much of his
former health that he was permitted to go out into the air, and, a few
days later, Lieutenant Lindsay resolved to take him, and his father and
mother, on board the `Firefly,' by way of a little ploy.  In pursuance
of this plan he set off from the hospital in company with Kambira,
followed at a short distance by Azinte and Obo.

Poor Lindsay! his heart was heavy, while he did his best to convey in
dumb show his congratulations to Kambira, for he saw in this unexpected
re-union an insurmountable difficulty in the way of taking Azinte back
to her former mistress--not that he had ever seen the remotest chance of
his being able to achieve that desirable end before this difficulty
arose, but love is at times insanely hopeful, just as at other times--
and with equally little reason--it is madly despairing.

He had just made some complicated signs with hands, mouth, and eyebrows,
and had succeeded in rendering himself altogether incomprehensible to
his sable companion, when, on rounding a turn of the path that led to
the harbour, he found himself suddenly face to face with Harold
Seadrift, Disco Lillihammer, and their follower, Jumbo, all of whom had
landed from a schooner, which, about an hour before, had cast anchor in
the bay.

"Mr Lindsay!"  "Mr Seadrift!" exclaimed each to the other
simultaneously, for the reader will remember that they had met once
before when our heroes were rescued from Yoosoof by the "Firefly."

"Kambira!" shouted Disco.

"Azinte!" cried Harold, as our sable heroine came into view.

"Obo!" roared the stricken mariner.

Jumbo could only vent his feelings in an appalling yell and an impromptu
war-dance round the party, in which he was joined by Disco, who
performed a hornpipe with Obo in his arms, to the intense delight of
that convalescent youngster.

Thus laughing, questioning, shouting, and dancing, they all effervesced
towards the shore like a band of lunatics just escaped from Bedlam!



CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

THE LAST.

"How comes it," said Lieutenant Lindsay to Harold, on the first
favourable opportunity that occurred after the meeting described in the
last chapter; "how comes it that you and Kambira know each other so
well?"

"I might reply by asking," said Harold, with a smile, "how comes it that
you are so well acquainted with Azinte? but, before putting that
question, I will give a satisfactory answer to your own."

Hereupon he gave a brief outline of those events, already narrated in
full to the reader, which bore on his first meeting with the slave-girl,
and his subsequent sojourn with her husband.

"After leaving the interior," continued our hero, "and returning to the
coast, I visited various towns in order to observe the state of the
slaves in the Portuguese settlements, and, truly, what I saw was most
deplorable--demoralisation and cruelty, and the obstruction of lawful
trade, prevailed everywhere.  The settlements are to my mind a very
pandemonium on earth.  Every one seemed to me more or less affected by
the accursed atmosphere that prevails.  Of course there must be some
exceptions.  I met with one, at the last town I visited, in the person
of Governor Letotti."

"Letotti!" exclaimed Lindsay, stopping abruptly.

"Yes!" said Harold, in some surprise at the lieutenant's manner, "and a
most amiable man he was--"

"Was!--was!  What do you mean?  Is--is he dead?" exclaimed Lindsay,
turning pale.

"He died suddenly just before I left," said Harold.

"And Maraquita--I mean his daughter--what of her?" asked the lieutenant,
turning as red as he had previously turned pale.

Harold noted the change, and a gleam of light seemed to break upon him
as he replied:--

"Poor girl, she was overwhelmed at first by the heavy blow.  I had to
quit the place almost immediately after the event."

"Did you know her well?" asked Lindsay, with an uneasy glance at his
companion's handsome face.

"No; I had just been introduced to her shortly before her father's
death, and have scarcely exchanged a dozen sentences with her.  It is
said that her father died in debt, but of course in regard to that I
know nothing certainly.  At parting, she told me that she meant to leave
the coast and go to stay with a relative at the Cape."

The poor lieutenant's look on hearing this was so peculiar, not to say
alarming, that Harold could not help referring to it, and Lindsay was so
much overwhelmed by such unexpected news, and, withal, so strongly
attracted by Harold's sympathetic manner, that he straightway made a
confidant of him, told him of his love for Maraquita, of Maraquita's
love for Azinte, of the utter impossibility of his being able to take
Azinte back to her old mistress, now that she had found her husband and
child, even if it had been admissible for a lieutenant in the British
navy to return freed negroes again into slavery, and wound up with
bitter lamentations as to his unhappy fate, and expressions of poignant
regret that fighting and other desperate means, congenial and easy to
his disposition, were not available in the circumstances.  After which
explosion he subsided, felt ashamed of having thus committed himself,
and looked rather foolish.

But Harold quickly put him at his ease.  He entered on the subject with
earnest gravity.

"It strikes me, Lindsay," he said thoughtfully, after the lieutenant had
finished, "that I can aid you in this affair; but you must not ask me
how at present.  Give me a few hours to think over it, and then I shall
have matured my plans."

Of course the lieutenant hailed with heartfelt gratitude the gleam of
hope held out to him, and thus the friends parted for a time.

That same afternoon Harold sat under a palm-tree in company with Disco,
Jumbo, Kambira, Azinte, and Obo.

"How would you like to go with me to the Cape of Good Hope, Kambira?"
asked Harold abruptly.

"Whar dat?" asked the chief through Jumbo.

"Far away to the south of Africa," answered Harold.  "You know that you
can never go back to your own land now, unless you want to be again
enslaved."

"Him say him no' want to go back," interpreted Jumbo; "got all him care
for now--Azinte and Obo."

"Then do you agree to go with me?" said Harold.

To this Kambira replied heartily that he did.

"W'y, wot do 'ee mean for to do with 'em?" asked Disco, in some
surprise.

"I will get them comfortably settled there," replied Harold.  "My father
has a business friend in Cape Town who will easily manage to put me in
the way of doing it.  Besides, I have a particular reason for wishing to
take Azinte there.--Ask her, Jumbo, if she remembers a young lady named
Senhorina Maraquita Letotti."

To this Azinte replied that she did, and the way in which her eyes
sparkled proved that she remembered her with intense pleasure.

"Well, tell her," rejoined Harold, "that Maraquita has grieved very much
at losing her, and is _very_ anxious to get her back again--not as a
slave, but as a friend, for no slavery is allowed in English settlements
anywhere, and I am sure that Maraquita hates slavery as much as I do,
though she is not English, so I intend to take her and Kambira and Obo
to the Cape, where Maraquita is living--or will be living soon."

"Ye don't stick at trifles, sir," said Disco, whose eyes, on hearing
this, assumed a thoughtful, almost a troubled look.

"My plan does not seem to please you," said Harold.

"Please me, sir, w'y shouldn't it please me?  In course you knows best;
I was only a little puzzled, that's all."

Disco said no more, but he thought a good deal, for he had noted the
beauty and sprightliness of Maraquita, and the admiration with which
Harold had first beheld her; and it seemed to him that this rather
powerful method of attempting to gratify the Portuguese girl was proof
positive that Harold had lost his heart to her.

Harold guessed what was running in Disco's mind, but did not care to
undeceive him, as, in so doing, he might run some risk of betraying the
trust reposed in him by Lindsay.

The captain of the schooner, being bound for the Cape after visiting
Zanzibar, was willing to take these additional passengers, and the
anxious lieutenant was induced to postpone total and irrevocable
despair, although, Maraquita being poor, and he being poor, and
promotion in the service being very slow, he had little reason to
believe his prospects much brighter than they were before,--poor fellow!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Time passed on rapid wing--as time is notoriously prone to do--and the
fortunes of our _dramatis personae_ varied somewhat.

Captain Romer continued to roam the Eastern seas, along with brother
captains, and spent his labour and strength in rescuing a few hundreds
of captives from among the hundreds of thousands that were continually
flowing out of unhappy Africa.  Yoosoof and Moosa continued to throw a
boat-load or two of damaged "cattle" in the way of the British cruisers,
as a decoy, and succeeded on the whole pretty well in running full
cargoes of valuable Black Ivory to the northern markets.  The Sultan of
Zanzibar continued to assure the British Consul that he heartily
sympathised with England in her desire to abolish slavery, and to allow
his officials, for a "consideration," to prosecute the slave-trade to
any extent they pleased!  Portugal continued to assure England of her
sympathy and co-operation in the good work of repression, and her
subjects on the east coast of Africa continued to export thousands of
slaves under the protection of the Portuguese and French flags, styling
them _free engages_.  British-Indian subjects--the Banyans of
Zanzibar,--continued to furnish the sinews of war which kept the
gigantic trade in human flesh going on merrily.  Murders, etcetera,
continued to be perpetrated, tribes to be plundered, and hearts to be
broken--of course "legally" and "domestically," as well as piratically--
during this rapid flight of time.

But nearly everything in this life has its bright lights and half-tints,
as well as its deep shadows.  During the same flight of time, humane
individuals have continued to urge on the good cause of the total
abolition of slavery, and Christian missionaries have continued, despite
the difficulties of slave-trade, climate, and human apathy, to sow here
and there on the coasts the precious seed of Gospel truth, which we
trust shall yet be sown broad-cast by native hands, throughout the
length and breadth of that mighty land.

To come more closely to the subjects of our tale:

Chimbolo, with his recovered wife and child, sought safety from the
slavers in the far interior, and continued to think with pleasure and
gratitude of the two Englishmen who hated slavery, and who had gone to
Africa just in the nick of time to rescue that unhappy slave who had
been almost flogged to death, and was on the point of being drowned in
the Zambesi in a sack.  Mokompa, also, continued to poetise, as in days
gone by, having made a safe retreat with Chimbolo, and, among other
things, enshrined all the deeds of the two white men in native verse.
Yambo continued to extol play, admire, and propagate the life-sized
jumping-jack to such an extent that, unless his career has been cut
short by the slavers, we fully expect to find that creature a "domestic
institution" when the slave-trade has been crushed, and Africa opened
up--as in the end it is certain to be.

During the progress and continuance of all these things, you may be sure
our hero was not idle.  He sailed, as proposed, with Kambira, Azinte,
Obo, Disco, and Jumbo for Zanzibar, touched at the town over which poor
Senhor Francisco Alfonso Toledo Bignoso Letotti had ruled, found that
the Senhorina had taken her departure; followed, as Disco said, in her
wake; reached the Cape, hunted her up, found her out and presented to
her, with Lieutenant Lindsay's compliments, the African chief Kambira,
his wife Azinte, and his son Obo!

Poor Maraquita, being of a passionately affectionate and romantic
disposition, went nearly mad with joy, and bestowed so many grateful
glances and smiles on Harold that Disco's suspicions were confirmed, and
that bold mariner wished her, Maraquita, "at the bottom of the sea!" for
Disco disliked foreigners, and could not bear the thought of his friend
being caught by one of them.

Maraquita introduced Harold to her aunt, a middle-aged, leather-skinned,
excessively dark-eyed daughter of Portugal.  She also introduced him to
a bosom friend, at that time on a visit to her aunt.  The bosom friend
was an auburn-haired, fair-skinned, cheerful-spirited English girl.
Before her, Harold Seadrift at once, without an instant's warning, fell
flat down, figuratively speaking of course, and remained so--stricken
through the heart!

The exigencies of our tale require, at this point, that we should draw
our outline with a bold and rapid pencil.

Disco Lillihammer was stunned, and so was Jumbo, when Harold, some weeks
after their arrival at the Cape, informed them that he was engaged to be
married to Alice Gray, only daughter of the late Sir Eustace Gray, who
had been M.P. for some county in England, which he had forgotten the
name of, Alice not having been able to recall it, as her father had died
when she was four years old, leaving her a fortune of next-to-nothing a
year, and a sweet temper.

Being incapable of further stunning, Disco was rather revived than
otherwise, and his dark shadow was resuscitated, when Harold added that
Kambira had become Maraquita's head-gardener, Azinte cook to the
establishment, and Obo page-in-waiting--more probably page-in-mischief--
to the young Senhorina.  But both Disco and Jumbo had a relapse from
which they were long of recovering, when Harold went on to say that he
meant to sail for England by the next mail, take Jumbo with him as
valet, make proposals to his father to establish a branch of their house
at the Cape, come back to manage the branch, marry Alice, and reside in
the neighbourhood of the Senhorina Maraquita Letotti's dwelling.

"You means wot you say, I s'pose?" asked Disco.

"Of course I do," said Harold.

"An' yer goin' to take Jumbo as yer walley?"

"Yes."

"H'm; I'll go too as yer keeper."

"My what?"

"Yer keeper--yer strait-veskit buckler, for if you ain't a loonatic ye
ought to be."

But Disco did not go to England in that capacity.  He remained at the
Cape to assist Kambira, at the express command of Maraquita; and
continued there until Harold returned, bringing Lieutenant Lindsay with
him as a partner in the business; until Harold was married and required
a gardener for his own domain; until the Senhorina became Mrs Lindsay;
until a large and thriving band of little Cape colonists found it
necessary to have a general story-teller and adventure-recounter with a
nautical turn of mind; until, in short, he found it convenient to go to
England himself for the gal of his heart who had been photographed there
years before, and could be rubbed off neither by sickness, sunstroke,
nor adversity.

When Disco had returned to the colony with the original of the said
photograph, and had fairly settled down on his own farm, then it was
that he was wont at eventide to assemble the little colonists round him,
light his pipe, and, through its hazy influence, recount his
experiences, and deliver his opinions on the slave-trade of East Africa.
Sometimes he was pathetic, sometimes humorous, but, however jocular he
might be on other subjects, he invariably became very grave and very
earnest when he touched on the latter theme.

"There's only one way to cure it," he was wont to say, "and that is, to
bring the Portuguese and Arabs to their marrow-bones; put the fleet on
the east coast in better workin' order; have consuls everywhere, with
orders to keep their weather-eyes open to the slave-dealers; start two
or three British settlements--ports o' refuge--on the mainland; hoist
the Union Jack, and, last but not least, send 'em the Bible."

We earnestly commend the substance of Disco's opinions to the reader,
for there is urgent need for action.  There is death where life should
be; ashes instead of beauty; desolation in place of fertility, and, even
while we write, terrible activity in the horrible traffic in--"Black
Ivory."

THE END.





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