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Title: Stories of the Gorilla Country - Narrated for Young People
Author: Du Chaillu, Paul B. (Paul Belloni)
Language: English
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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.

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  [Illustration: GORILLA HUNTING.
                     CHAP. XXXII.]



                                STORIES
                                OF THE
                            GORILLA COUNTRY


                       NARRATED FOR YOUNG PEOPLE


                                  BY
                            PAUL DU CHAILLU

             AUTHOR OF "DISCOVERIES IN EQUATORIAL AFRICA"
                              ETC., ETC.


                        NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION


                                LONDON
                    SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY
                               _Limited_
                          St. Dunstan's House
                    FETTER LANE, FLEET STREET, E.C.
                                 1893
                        [_All rights reserved_]



                                LONDON:
                PRINTED BY GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, LD.,
               ST. JOHN'S HOUSE, CLERKENWELL ROAD, E.C.



                               CONTENTS.


      PAGE

  PRELIMINARY CHAPTER                                                  1

                              CHAPTER II.
  Arrival on the coast--A king and his palace--Dancing and
  idol-worship                                                         3

                             CHAPTER III.
  A week in the woods--A tornado--The leopards prowling about--I
  kill a cobra and a scorpion--Fight with a buffalo--Hunting for
  wild boars--A leopard takes a ride on a bull--Sick with the
  fever                                                               13

                              CHAPTER IV.
  A village on the seashore--Lying in wait for a leopard              23

                              CHAPTER V.
  The Bay of Corisco--The mangrove trees--The wonderful flocks of
  birds--What I found in the pouch of a pelican--How an old king
  is buried, and the new king crowned                                 29

                              CHAPTER VI.
  An old man killed for witchcraft--My journey to the country of
  the cannibals--Starting on the route                                37

                             CHAPTER VII.
  Our journey through the wilderness continued--A rebellion in
  camp--Nothing to eat--I shoot a fish and miss an elephant--I
  kill a big snake and the others eat him--My first sight of
  gorillas                                                            47

                             CHAPTER VIII.
  I arrive among the cannibals--Their spears, bows, and
  battle-axes--They take me for a spirit--Their king shakes when
  he sees me--I give him a looking-glass--It astonishes him           59

                              CHAPTER IX.
  An elephant hunt                                                    67

                              CHAPTER X.
  Life among the cannibals--Curious musical instruments--Cooking
  utensils--A blacksmith's bellows and anvil--Cannibal diet           75

                              CHAPTER XI.
  Journey to Yoongoolapay--Hunting with nets--The terrible
  Bashikonay ants                                                     83

                             CHAPTER XII.
  Returning to the coast--Caverns and waterfalls in the
  highlands--Crossing a river on mangrove roots--Stirring up a big
  snake--A mutual scare                                               89

                             CHAPTER XIII.
  Cape Lopez and an open prairie once more--King Bango and his
  three hundred wives--His five idols--Slave barracoons--The
  corpse and the vultures                                             97

                             CHAPTER XIV.
  Slave barracoons--A big snake under my bed--A slave-ship off the
  coast                                                              103

                              CHAPTER XV.
  Going into the interior--Sleeping with the king's rats--The
  chimpanzee--Kill a gazelle--Too cold to sleep--The grey
  partridge                                                          109

                             CHAPTER XVI.
  The hippopotamus--A speck of war--Reach Ngola--A Sunday
  talk--The black man's God and the white man's God--How King
  Njambai punished his wife--We build an olako in the woods          117

                             CHAPTER XVII.
  An unsuccessful hunt for elephants--I take aim at a buffalo--A
  leopard in the grass near us--We shoot the leopard and her
  kitten--Great rejoicing in camp--Who shall have the tail?--A
  quarrel over the brains--The guinea hens--The monkeys              125

                            CHAPTER XVIII.
  Alone in camp--Hunting for elephants--Aboko kills a rogue--I cut
  another python in two--We shoot some wild boars--A buffalo
  hunt--Return to Sangatanga--King Bango sick                        133

                             CHAPTER XIX.
  A jolly excursion party--A race for the fishing banks--The
  Oroungou burial-ground                                             143

                              CHAPTER XX.
  Our camp at Point Fetish--An African watering-place--Fishing,
  but not bathing--The sharks--Curing mullets, etc.--Turning
  turtles--Bird shooting--A leopard springs upon us                  149

                             CHAPTER XXI.
  Bound for the interior--A sea voyage--A tornado--We reach the
  Fernand-Vaz--Sangala wishes to detain me--A night
  alarm--Prospect of a war--Arrayed for battle--A compromise--My
  Commi friends                                                      157

                             CHAPTER XXII.
  I build a village, and call it Washington--I start for the
  interior--My speech on leaving--The people applaud me
  vociferously, and promise to be honest--We reach Aniambia--The
  "big king," Olenga-Yombi--A royal ball in my honour--The
  superstitions of the natives--A man tossed by a buffalo            169

                            CHAPTER XXIII.
  Capture of a young gorilla--I call him "Fighting Joe"--His
  strength and bad temper--He proves untameable--Joe
  escapes--Recaptured--Escapes again--Unpleasant to handle--Death
  of "Fighting Joe"                                                  179

                             CHAPTER XXIV.
  The hippopotamus--A duel--Shooting on the river--Nearly
  upset--A night-hunt on land--My companion fires and
  runs--Appearance and habits of the hippopotamus                    189

                             CHAPTER XXV.
  Visit of King Quengueza--I promise to visit him--The kindness of
  the Commi--The dry season of the Fernand-Vaz--Plenty of birds
  and fishes--The marabouts--The eagles--A bad wound                 199

                             CHAPTER XXVI.
  Another expedition to Lake Anengue--Difficult passage up the
  river--The crocodiles--King Damagondai and his troubles--I
  buy an mbuiti, or idol                                             207

                            CHAPTER XXVII.
  A visit to King Shimbouvenegani--His royal costume--Hunting
  crocodiles--How they seize their prey--The nkago--The ogata        215

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.
  The nshiego mbouvé--Bald-headed apes--Their houses in the
  trees--Lying in wait for them--We kill a male--The shrieks of
  his mate--Description of the animal--Farewell to Shimbouvenegani   221

                             CHAPTER XXIX.
  War threatened--Oshoria arms his men--We bluff them off, and
  fall sick with fever--The _mbola ivoga_, or end of mourning
  time--A death and burial--Finding out the sorcerer--The village
  deserted--I become Viceroy at Washington                           227

                             CHAPTER XXX.
  Hunting in the woods--The mboyo wolf--We catch another young
  gorilla--He starves to death                                       237

                             CHAPTER XXXI.
  Going to unknown regions--Quengueza sends his son as a
  hostage--I take him along with me--Reception by the king--Our
  speeches--Quengueza afraid of a witch--An incantation scene        241

                            CHAPTER XXXII.
  Gorilla hunting--My companions, Mombon, Etia, and Gambo--Etia
  kills a large gorilla---We make up a large party--Camp stories
  about gorillas--We capture a young gorilla--Her untimely death     247

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.
  Voyage up the river--We build a village near
  Obindji--Quengueza's plan for keeping the Sabbath--Kindness of
  the natives--A trial by ordeal                                     253

                            CHAPTER XXXIV.
  The kooloo-kamba--The gouamba, or meat-hunger--Exploring the
  forest--Gorilla hunting--Within eight yards of a large
  gorilla--He roars with rage and marches upon us                    259

                             CHAPTER XXXV.
  We go up the river to N'calai Boumba--A severe attack of
  fever--The tender care of the natives for me--Anguilai accuses
  his people of bewitching me--I go out and quiet him--A boy cut
  to pieces for witchcraft--A useful idol--The ebony trees           265

                            CHAPTER XXXVI.
  Hunting for food--We kill a female nshiego mbouvé--A young
  nshiego with a white face--He becomes my pet Tommy--His
  affection for me--His stealing pranks--Tommy gets drunk--His
  behaviour at meals--His sudden death--Conclusion                   271



                LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


  GORILLA HUNTING                       FRONTISPIECE

  MY RECEPTION BY THE KING                         3

  ENTICING THE LEOPARD                            23

  FLOCKS OF BIRDS                                 29

  SCENE WITH THE MBOUSHA                          37

  KILLING THE SNAKE                               47

  KING ASTONISHED AT LOOKING-GLASS                59

  ENTRAPPING THE ELEPHANT                         67

  FAN BLACKSMITHS AT WORK                         75

  THE HANDJA                                      78

  NET-HUNTING                                     83

  MANGROVE SWAMP. TUMBLING AND FALLING            89

  SLAVE BARRACOONS. BURIAL GROUND                 97

  EMBARKING SLAVES                               103

  THE GAZELLE                                    109

  AFTER DINNER                                   117

  A LEOPARD AND HER YOUNG ONE                    125

  ABOKO KILLS A ROGUE ELEPHANT                   133

  FISHING                                        143

  TURNING TURTLES JUST BEFORE SUNRISE            149

  OUR SCHOONER CAUGHT IN A TORNADO               157

  AFRICAN BALL. KING OLENGA-YOMBI DANCING        169

  CAPTURING A YOUNG GORILLA                      179

  HIPPOPOTAMI AT HOME                            189

  MARABOUTS, STORKS, AND PELICANS                199

  THE KING RECEIVES ME                           207

  A CROCODILE HUNT                               215

  THE NSHIEGO MBOUVÉ                             221

  EXPIRATION OF MOURNING                         227

  WOLF HUNTING                                   237

  AN INCANTATION SCENE                           241

  A TRIAL BY ORDEAL                              253

  THE GORILLA MARCHES UPON US                    259

  MEETING THE MBUITI                             265

  A YOUNG NSHIEGO MBOUVÉ WITH A WHITE FACE       272

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

Stories of the Gorilla Country.



PRELIMINARY CHAPTER.


I had passed several years on the African Coast before I began the
explorations recorded in my first book. In those years I hunted, traded
with the natives, and made collections in natural history.

In such a wild country as Africa one does not go far without
adventures. The traveller necessarily sees what is strange and
wonderful, for everything is strange.

In this book I have attempted to relate some of the incidents of life
in Africa for the reading of young folks. In doing this I have kept no
chronological order, but have selected incidents and adventures here
and there as they seem to be fitted for my purpose.

I have noticed that most intelligent boys like to read about the habits
of wild animals, and the manners and way of life of savage men; and
of such matters this book is composed. In it I have entered into more
minute details concerning the life of the native inhabitants than I
could in my other books, and have shown how the people build their
houses, what are their amusements, how they hunt, fish, eat, travel,
and live.

Whenever I am at a friend's house the children ask me to tell them
something about Africa. I like children, and in this book have written
especially for them. I hope to interest many who are yet too young to
read my larger works.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: MY RECEPTION BEFORE THE KING.]



CHAPTER II.

  ARRIVAL ON THE COAST--A KING AND HIS PALACE--DANCING AND
  IDOL-WORSHIP.


Some years ago a three-masted vessel took me to a wild country on the
West Coast of Africa near the Equator.

It was a very wild country indeed.

As we came in sight of the land, which was covered with forest, canoes
began to start from the shore towards us; and, as we neared the land,
we could see the people crowding down on the beach to look at the
strange sight of a vessel.

The canoes approached the vessel in great numbers. Some of them were
so small that they looked like mere nutshells. Indeed, some of the men
paddled with their feet; and one man carried his canoe ashore on his
shoulder.

At last, the natives came on board, and what funny people they were! I
could not discern one from another; they seemed to me all alike.

What a queer way of dressing they had too! You would have laughed to
see them. Some had only an old coat on. Others had an old pair of
trousers which probably had belonged to some sailor; these wore no
shirt or coat. Some had only an old ragged shirt, and some again had
nothing on except an old hat. Of course none of them had shoes.

How they shouted and hallooed as they came about the vessel! They
seemed to speak such a strange language. No one on board appeared to
understand them. They made so great a noise that I thought I should
become deaf.

One of them had a fowl to sell; another brought an egg or two; and
another a few bunches of plantains.

Our captain knew the coast; for he had long been an African trader,
though he had never been at this place before.

The ship cast anchor. It was not far from a river called Benito.

I left the vessel and went ashore with some others. As I landed I was
surrounded immediately by crowds of natives, who looked so wild and so
savage that I thought they would kill me at once.

I was led to the village, which stood not far from the sea, and was
hidden from view by the very large trees and the great forest that
surrounded it. On one side of the village was a prairie.

I shall always remember this village. It was the first African village
I had ever seen; and it was unlike those built in Southern Africa.

Don't think for a moment that I am going to speak to you of stone or
wooden houses. No! These wild people lived in queer little huts, the
walls of which were made of the bark of trees, and were not more than
four or five feet high. The top of the roof was only about seven or
eight feet from the ground. The length of these huts was about ten or
twelve feet, and they were seven or eight feet wide. There were no
windows, and the door was very small. They immediately took me to one
of these houses, and said they gave it to me. They meant that it was
mine as long as I would stay with them. It belonged to the son of the
king.

So I went in. But where was I to sit down?

There was no chair to be seen.

Patience, thought I. These people had probably never seen a chair in
their lives. It was so dark I could not see at first. By and by I saw
how the hut was furnished. There were some calabashes to hold water,
and two or three cooking pots. There were some ugly-looking spears, an
axe, and two or three large and queer-looking knives, which could sever
the head of a man at one blow. Of course I looked for a bed: I need not
tell you there was none; but, instead, there were some sticks to lie
upon. The very look of this sleeping-place made me shudder; I thought
of snakes, scorpions, and centipedes. The dark hut seemed the very
place for them. Shortly after the king's son came. If I remember well,
his name was _Andèké_. He told me that his father, the king, was ready
to receive me.

The king ready to receive me!

This was a great announcement. I must dress.

But how?

There was no washing-basin to wash myself in; besides, I had forgotten
my soap.

I was glad I had no beard at that time; for I do not know how I could
have shaved.

In short, I resolved to go and see his majesty as I was.

The sun being very warm, I took my umbrella with me. The people
conducted me to the royal palace.

What do you suppose a palace to be in the Benito country? The king's
palace was made of the same material (bark of trees) as the houses I
have just described to you; and it was only about twice as big.

As I entered I went towards the king, who was seated on a stool.
Another empty stool was by his side.

I may say that Apourou--such was the king's name--did not come up to my
ideas of a king. In fact, I should have laughed at him had I dared.

His costume was composed of a red soldier's coat, and he wore a little
bit of calico round his waist. That was all. You must understand he had
no shirt.

He was a tall, slim negro, with grey hair, and had large scars on
his face, and his whole body was covered with tattoos. He wore large
earrings. He was smoking a big ugly pipe.

He looked at me, and I looked at him.

The room was full of people, and the king had several of his wives
around him. The queen was there. Would you believe it? in that country
a man marries as many wives as he chooses!

The king looked at me for a long time without saying a word. Finally
he opened his mouth, clapped his hands, and said I was a funny-looking
_fellow_.

He next said he was very glad to see me, and would take care of me.
Then he touched my hair, and said I must give him some. He would like
to have me remain with him always. At this the people shouted, "We want
the _ntangani_ to stay with us!"

       *       *       *       *       *

What do you think he did next?

He quietly proposed to me that I should get married to some of his
countrywomen; and added that whomsoever I should choose would become my
wife.

The suggestion was received by all the people with a tremendous grunt
of approval, to show that they thought just as their king. Then they
shouted, "The girl he likes he shall marry!"

I said, "I don't want to get married, I am too young." I did not want
to tell him that I would not, for all the world, marry one of his
people.

It was getting very warm in the hut, and there was a strong odour.
The people were packed so closely together that they reminded one of
herrings in a barrel, and you must remember I said the house had no
windows.

Then the king presented me with one fowl, two eggs, and one bunch of
plantain; and as I went away he said I had better give him my umbrella.
But I went off as if I had not heard what he said. I thought it was
rather too much for a king to ask a stranger to give up his umbrella. I
had just begun to learn what African kings were.

The people followed me everywhere; I wish I could have understood their
language. One man could talk English, and I am going now to give you a
specimen of his English.

When he thought I must be hungry, he said, "Want chop? Want chop?" When
he saw that I could not understand what he meant, he made signs with
his hands and mouth, which at once explained to me that he had asked
me if I wanted to eat. I said, "Yes;" and after a while, some cooked
plantains, with some fish, were brought to me. I did not care for the
plantains; it was the first time I had ever tasted them.

After my meal, I walked through the street of the village and came to
a house, in the recess of which I saw an enormous idol. I had never in
all my life seen such an ugly thing. It was a rude representation of
some human being, of the size of life, and was made of wood. It had
large copper eyes, and a tongue of iron, which shot out from its mouth
to show that it could sting. The lips were painted red. It wore large
iron earrings. Its head was ornamented with a feather cap. Most of the
feathers were red, and came from the tails of grey parrots, while the
body and face were painted red, white, and yellow. It was dressed in
the skins of wild animals. Around it were scattered skins of tigers
and serpents, and the bones and skulls of animals. Some food also was
placed near, so that it might eat if it chose.

It was now sunset; and night soon set in over the village. For the
first time in my life I stood alone in this dark world, surrounded by
savages, without any white people near me. There was no light in the
street, and only the reflection of the fires could be seen now and
then. How dismal it was!

I looked at my pistols and my guns, and was glad to find that they were
in good order.

By-and-by the people began to come out of their huts; and I saw some
torches lighted, and taken towards the large _mbuiti_ as they call
the idol, and there placed on the ground. The large drums or tom-toms
were also carried there; and the women and men of the village gathered
around. The tom-toms beat; and, soon after, I heard the people singing.
I went to see what was the matter.

What a sight met my eyes!

The men had their bodies painted in different colours. Some had one
cheek red and the other white or yellow. A broad white or yellow stripe
was painted across the middle of the chest and along both the arms.
Others had their bodies spotted. Most ugly they looked! The women wore
several iron or brass rings around their wrists and ankles.

Then the singing began, and the dancing! I had never seen such dancing
before. It was very ungraceful. The drummers beat on the tom-toms with
all their might. As they became warm with exertion their bodies shone
like seals, so oily were they.

I looked and looked, with my eyes wide open; I was nearly stunned with
the noise. As the women danced and sung, the brass and iron rings which
they wore struck against each other, and kept time with the music and
the beating of the tom-toms.

But why were they all there dancing and screeching around the idol?

I will tell you.

They were about to start on a hunting expedition, and they were asking
the idol to give them good luck in their sport.

When I found it was to be a hunting expedition, I wanted to go at once
with these savages, though I was only a lad under twenty years old.

I retired to my hut with a valiant heart; I was going to do great
things.

If you had been in my place, boys, would you not have felt the same?
Would you have left the gorillas alone? I am sure you all shout at
once, "No! no!" Would you have let the elephants go unmolested in the
forest? "Certainly not," will be your answer.

And what about the chimpanzee, and the big leopards who carry away
so many people and eat them, the huge buffaloes, the wild boars, the
antelopes, and the gazelles?

Would you have left the snakes alone?

Perhaps you are all going to say "Yes" to that; and I think you are
right, for many of these snakes are very poisonous, and they are
numerous in these great forests; for the country I am telling you
about is nothing but an immense jungle. When a man is bitten by one of
these snakes he often dies in a few minutes. There is also to be found
in these woods an immense python, or boa, that swallows antelopes,
gazelles, and many other animals. I shall have a good deal to tell you
about them by-and-by.

So I resolved that I would try to see all these native tribes; that I
would have a peep at the cannibals; that I would have a good look also
at the dwarfs.

I am sure, that if any one of you had been with me on that coast, you
would have said to me, "Du Chaillu, let us go together and see all
these things, and then come back home and tell the good folks all we
have seen."

Yes, I am certain that every one of you would have felt as I did.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER III.

  A WEEK IN THE WOODS--A TORNADO--THE LEOPARDS PROWLING ABOUT--I KILL
  A COBRA AND A SCORPION--FIGHT WITH A BUFFALO--HUNTING FOR WILD
  BOARS--A LEOPARD TAKES A RIDE ON A BULL--SICK WITH THE FEVER.


Now, boys, fancy yourselves transported into the midst of a very dense
and dark forest, where the trees never shed their leaves all at one
time, where there is no food to be had, except what you can get with
your gun, and where wild beasts prowl around you at night, while you
sleep.

I found myself in such a place.

Immediately after we arrived in those gloomy solitudes we began to
build an olako to shelter us from the rains.

I must tell you that Benito is a very strange country. It is situated,
as you have seen by the map, near the equator. Of course, you know
what the equator is? There, at a certain time of the year, the sun is
directly above your head at noon, and hence it is the hottest part of
the earth. The days and nights are of the same length. The sun rises at
six o'clock in the morning, and the sunset takes place at six o'clock
in the evening. There is only a difference of a few minutes all the
year round. There is no twilight, and half an hour before sunrise
or after sunset it is dark. There is no snow, except on very high
mountains. There is no winter. There are only two seasons--the rainy
season and the dry season. Our winter time at home is the time of the
rainy season in Equatorial Africa, and it is also the hottest period
of the year. It rains harder there than in any other country. No such
rain is to be witnessed either in the United States or Europe. And as
to the thunder and lightning! You never have heard or seen the like;
it is enough to make the hair on your head stand on end. Then come the
tornados, a kind of hurricane which, for a few minutes, blows with
terrific violence, carrying before it great trees. How wild the sky
looks! How awful to see the black clouds sweeping through the sky with
fearful velocity!

So you will not wonder that we busied ourselves in preparing our
shelter, for I remember well it was in the month of February. We
took good care not to have big trees around us, for fear they might
be hurled upon us by a tornado, and bury us all alive under their
weight. Accordingly we built our olako near the banks of a beautiful
little stream, so that we could get as much water as we wanted. Then
we immediately began to fell trees. We carried two or three axes with
us, for the axe is an indispensable article in the forests. With the
foliage we made a shelter to keep off the rain.

While the men were busy building the olako, the women went in search
of dried wood to cook our supper. We had brought some food from the
village with us.

We were ready just in time. A most terrific tornado came upon us. The
rain poured down in torrents. The thunder was stunning. The lightning
flashed so vividly and often as nearly to blind us.

Our dogs had hidden themselves, indeed all animals and birds of the
forest were much frightened, which was not to be wondered at. How
thankful I was to be sheltered from such a storm! We had collected
plenty of fuel, and our fires burned brightly.

We formed a strange group while seated around the fires, the men and
women smoking their pipes and telling stories. We had several fires,
and, as they blazed up, their glare was thrown out through the gloom
of the forest, and filled it with fantastic shadows. Though tired,
everybody seemed merry. We were full of hope for the morrow. Every one
spoke of the particular animal he wished to kill, and of which he was
most fond. Some wished for an antelope, others for an elephant, a wild
boar, or a buffalo. I confess that I myself inclined towards the wild
boar; and I believe that almost every one had the same wish, for that
animal, when fat, is very good eating. Indeed, they already began to
talk as if the pig were actually before them. All fancied they could
eat a whole leg apiece, and their mouths fairly watered in thinking
about it. No wonder they are so fond of meat, they have it so seldom.
Who among us does not relish a good dinner, I should like to know?

By-and-by all became silent; one after the other we fell asleep, with
the exception of two or three men who were to watch over the fires and
keep them bright; for there were plenty of leopards prowling in the
neighbouring forest, and none of us wanted to serve as a meal for them.
In fact, before going to sleep, we heard some of these animals howling
in the far distance. During the night, one came very near our camp. He
went round and round; and, no doubt, lay in wait to see if one of us
would go out alone; and then he would have pounced upon the careless
fellow. I need not say we did not give him a chance; and you may be
sure we kept the fire blazing. Finally, we fired a few guns, and he
went off.

These leopards are dreadful animals, and eat a great many natives.
They are generally shy; but once they have tasted human flesh, they
become very fond of it, and the poor natives are carried off, one after
another, in such numbers that the villages have to be abandoned.

The next day we went hunting. I had hardly gone into the forest when
I saw, creeping on the ground under the dry leaves, an enormous black
snake: I fancy I see it still. How close it was to me! One step more
and I should have just trodden upon it, and then should have been
bitten, and a few minutes after have died, and then, boys, you know
I should have had nothing to tell you about Africa. This snake was a
cobra of the black variety (_Dendrapspis angusticeps_). It is a very
common snake in that region; and, as I have said, very poisonous.

As soon as the reptile saw me, he rose up, as if ready to spring upon
me, gave one of his hissing sounds, and looked at me, showing, as he
hissed, his sharp-pointed tongue. Of course, the first thing I did
was to make a few steps backward. Then, levelling my gun, I fired
and killed him. He was about eight feet long. I cut his head off,
and examined his deadly fangs. What horrible things they were! They
looked exactly like fish bones, with very sharp ends. I looked at
them carefully, and saw that he could raise and lower them at will;
while the teeth are firmly implanted in a pouch, or little bag, which
contains the poison. I saw in the end of the fang a little hole, which
communicated with the pouch. When the snake opens his mouth to bite, he
raises his fangs. Then he strikes them into the flesh of the animal he
bites, and brings a pressure on the pouch, and the poison comes out by
the little hole I have spoken of.

I cut open the cobra, and found in his stomach a very large bird.
Andèké packed the bird and snake in leaves, and, on our return to the
camp, the men were delighted. In the evening they made a nice soup of
the snake, which they ate with great relish.

I had also killed a beautiful little striped squirrel, upon which I
made my dinner. I felt almost sorry to kill it, it was such a pretty
creature.

In the evening, as I was siting by the fire, and looking at the log
that was burning, I spied a big ugly black scorpion coming out of one
of the crevices. I immediately laid upon its back a little stick which
I had in my hand. You should have seen how its long tail flew up and
stung the piece of wood! I shuddered as I thought that it might have
stung my feet or hands, instead of the wood. I immediately killed it,
and the natives said these scorpions were quite common, and that people
have to be careful when they handle dry sticks of wood, for these
poisonous creatures delight to live under the dry bark, or between the
crevices.

A nice country this to live in! thought I, after killing a snake and a
scorpion the same day!

So when I lay down on my pillow, which was merely a piece of wood, I
looked up to see if there was any scorpions upon it. I did not see any;
but, during the night, I awoke suddenly and started up. I thought I
felt hundreds of them creeping over me, and that one had just stung me,
and caused me to wake up. The sweat covered my body. I looked around
and saw nothing but sleeping people. There was no scorpion to be found.
I must have been dreaming.

Not far from our camp was a beautiful little prairie. I had seen,
during my rambles there, several footprints of wild buffaloes; so I
immediately told Andèké we must go in chase of them. Andèké, the son of
the king, was a very nice fellow, and was, besides, a good hunter--just
the very man I wanted.

So we went towards the little prairie, and lay hidden on the borders of
it, among the trees. By-and-by I spied a huge bull, who was perfectly
unaware of my presence, for the wind blew from him to me; had the wind
blown the other way, the animal would have scented me and made off. As
it was, he came slowly towards me. I raised my gun and fired. My bullet
struck a creeper, on its way, and glanced aside, so I only wounded the
beast. Turning fiercely, he rushed at me in a furious manner, with his
head down. I was scared; for I was, at that time, but a young hunter;
I got ready to run, though I had a second barrel in reserve. I thought
the infuriated bull was too powerful for me, he looked so big. Just as
I was about to make my escape, I found my foot entangled and hopelessly
caught in a tough and thorny creeper. The bull was dashing towards me
with head down and eyes inflamed, tearing down brushwood and creepers,
which barred his progress. Turning to meet the enemy, I felt my nerves
suddenly grow firm as a rock. If I missed the bull all would be over
with me. He would gore me to death. I took time to aim carefully, and
then fired at his head. He gave one loud, hoarse bellow, and tumbled
almost at my feet. In the meantime, Andèké was coming to the rescue.

I must say I felt very nervous after all was over. But being but a lad,
I thought I had done pretty well. It was the first direct attack a wild
beast had ever made upon me. I found afterwards, that the bulls are
generally very dangerous when wounded.

Now I must tell you how this beast looked. He was one of the wild
buffaloes frequently to be met with in this part of Africa. During
the greater part of the day they hide in the forest. When much hunted
they become very shy. They are generally found in herds of from ten to
twenty-five, though I have found them sometimes in much greater number.

This animal (_Bos brachicheros_) is called by some of the natives
"niaré." It is of the size of our cattle. It is covered with thin red
hair, which is much darker in the bull than in the cow. The hoofs are
long and sharp; the ears are fringed with most beautiful silky hair;
the horns are very handsome, and bend backward in a graceful curve.
In shape, the buffalo looks like something between an antelope and
a common cow; and, when seen afar off, you might think these wild
buffaloes were a herd of cattle at home.

How glad the people were when Andèké and I brought the news that we had
killed a bull! There was great rejoicing. But I was tired and remained
in the camp; while they went with knives and swords to cut the buffalo
to pieces, and bring in the flesh.

What a fine place it was for hunting! The animals seemed to come down
from the mountains beyond, and remain in the flat woody country along
the seashore.

There were a great many wild boars. You know we all wanted one of
these. So one night Andèké and I agreed to go and lie in wait for them
on the prairie. In order to look like Andèké, I blackened my face and
hands with charcoal, so that in the night the colour of my face could
not be distinguished.

We started from the camp before dark, and reached the prairie before
night. I stationed myself behind a large ant-hill not far from the
open space. There I lay; one hour passed--two hours--three hours, and
still neither wild boar nor buffaloes. I looked at Andèké. He was fast
asleep, at the foot of another ant-hill close by. Once I saw a whole
herd of gazelles pass by; but they were too far from me. Occasionally a
grunt or the cracking of a twig, told me that a wild boar was not far
off. At last everything became silent, and I fell asleep unconsciously.

Suddenly I was awakened by an unearthly roar--the yell of a wild beast.

I rubbed my eyes in a hurry--what could be the matter?

I looked round me, and saw nothing. The woods were still resounding
with the cry that had startled me. Then I heard a great crash in the
forest, made by some heavy animal running away. Then I saw emerge from
the forest a wild bull, on whose neck crouched an immense leopard. The
poor buffalo reared, tossed, roared and bellowed; but in vain. The
leopard's enormous claws were firmly fixed in his victim's body, while
his teeth were sunk deeply in the bull's neck. The leopard gave an
awful roar, which seemed to make the earth shake. Then both buffalo and
leopard disappeared in the forest, and the roars, and the crashing of
the trees, soon ceased. All became silent again.

I had fired at the leopard, but it was too far off. We stayed a week
here, and I enjoyed myself very much in the woods. I collected birds
and butterflies, killed a few nice little quadrupeds, and then we
returned to the seashore village. There the fever laid me low on my
bed of sickness. How wretched I felt! I had never had the fever before.
For a few days my head was burning hot. When I got better, and looked
at myself in my little looking-glass I could not recognise myself; I
had not a particle of colour left in my cheeks and I looked as yellow
and pale as a lemon. I got frightened. This fever was the forerunner of
what I had to expect in these equatorial regions.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: ENTICING THE LEOPARD.]

CHAPTER IV.

  A VILLAGE ON THE SEASHORE--LYING IN WAIT FOR A LEOPARD.


On the promontory called Cape St. John, about a degree north of the
Equator stood a Mbinga village, whose chief was called Imonga. This
was, I think, in the year 1852. The country around was very wild. The
village stood on the top of a high hill which ran out into the sea,
and formed the cape itself. The waves there beat with great violence
against a rock of the tertiary formation. It was a grand sight to see
those angry billows white with foam dashing against the shore. You
could see that they were wearing away the rock. To land there safely
was very difficult. There were only two or three places where between
the rocks a canoe could reach the shore. The people were as wild as the
country round them, and very warlike. They were great fishermen, and
many of them spent their whole time fishing in their little canoes.
Game being very scarce, there were but few hunters.

Imonga, the chief, had a hideous large scar on his face, which showed
at once that he was a fighting man. Not a few of his men showed signs
of wounds which they had received in battle. Many of these fights or
quarrels took place in canoes on the water, among themselves, or with
people of other villages.

I do not know why, but Imonga was very fond of me, and so also were his
people. But one thing revolted me. I found that several of Imonga's
wives had the first joint of their little finger cut off. Imonga
did this to make them mind him; for he wanted his wives to obey him
implicitly.

The woods around the village were full of leopards. They were the
dread of the people, for they were constantly carrying off some one.
At night, they would come into the villages on their errands of blood,
while the villagers were asleep. There was not a dog nor a goat left;
and within two months three people had been eaten by them; the very
places could be seen in the huts where the leopards had entered. They
would tear up the thin thatched palm leaves of the roofs, and having
seized their victims, they would go back through the hole with a
tremendous leap, and with the man in their jaws, and run off into the
forest.

The last man taken uttered a piercing cry of anguish, which awoke
all the villagers. They at once arose and came to the rescue, but it
was too late. They only found traces of blood as they proceeded. The
leopard had gone far into the woods, and there devoured his victim. Of
course there was tremendous excitement, and they went into the forest
in search of the leopard; but he could never be found. There were so
many of these savage beasts that they even walked along the beach, not
satisfied with the woods alone; and when the tide was low, during the
night, the footprints of their large paws could be seen distinctly
marked on the sand. After ten or eleven o'clock at night, no native
could be seen on the seashore without torches.

During the day the leopard hides himself either in the hollow of some
one of the gigantic trees, with which these forests abound, or sleeps
quietly on some branch, waiting for the approach of night. He seldom
goes out before one o'clock in the morning, unless pressed by hunger,
and about four o'clock he goes back to his lair.

I was now getting accustomed to face danger. Killing the buffalo that
attacked me had given me confidence.

To kill a leopard must be my next exploit.

I selected a spot very near the sands of the sea, where I remarked the
leopards used to come every night, when the tide was low. I chose a day
when the moon began to rise at midnight, so that it might not be so
dark that I could not take a good aim at the leopard, and see what was
going on.

I then began to build a kind of pen or fortress; and I can assure you
I worked very hard at it. Every day I went into the forest and cut
branches of trees, with which I made a strong palisade. Every stick
was about six feet high, and was put in the ground about a foot deep.
These posts were fastened together with strong creepers. My little
fortress, for so I must call it, was about five feet square. This would
never answer; for the leopard might leap inside and take hold of me.
So with the help of some strong branches all tied strongly together I
built a roof. Then I made loopholes on all sides for my guns, so that I
might fire at the beast whenever he came in sight.

I was glad when I had finished, for I felt very tired. My axe was not
sharp, and it had required several days to complete my work.

One clear starlight night, at about nine o'clock, I went and shut
myself up in my fortress. I had taken a goat with me, which I tied a
few yards from my place of concealment. It was quite dark. After I had
tied the goat, I went back and shut myself very securely inside my
stronghold.

I waited and waited, but no leopard came. The goat cried all the time.
It was so dark that even if the leopard had come I could not have seen
it.

The moon rose by one o'clock. It was in its last quarter; and very
strange and fantastic it made everything look. There were the shadows
of the tall trees thrown upon the white sand of the beach, while in
the forest the gloom was somewhat greater. The sea came rolling on
the beach in gentle waves, which, as they broke, sent up thousands of
bright, phosphorescent flashes. There was a dead silence everywhere,
except when the goat cried, or some wild beast made the forest resound
with its dismal howl. The wind whispered gently, mournfully through the
woods.

I could not account for it, but now and then a cold shudder ran through
me. I was quite alone, for the negro I had taken with me was fast
asleep.

One o'clock. No leopard. I looked in vain all round me: I could see
nothing.

Two o'clock. Nothing yet.

Suddenly, I spied something a long way off on the beach, so far that I
could not make out what it was. It came slowly towards me. What could
it be? I asked myself. Soon I recognised a big spotted leopard. The
goat, which had seen it, began to cry more loudly. The big beast came
nearer and nearer. He began to crouch. Then he lay flat on the ground.
How his eyes glittered! They looked like two pieces of bright, burning
charcoal.

My heart beat. The first thought that came to me was--Is my house
strong enough to resist his attack, in case I should wound him, or if,
perchance, he should prefer me to the goat, and make an onslaught upon
it?

The savage beast crawled nearer, and again crouched down on the ground.
I took my gun; and, just as I was getting ready to fire, he made an
immense leap, and bounded upon the goat. I fired. I do not know how,
but, in the twinkling of an eye, the goat was seized, and both leopard
and goat disappeared in the dark forest. I fired again, but with no
better success. In the morning, I saw nothing but the traces of the
poor goat's blood.

I did not return to the village till morning; for I dared not go
outside of my palisade that night. So, the goat being gone, I concluded
I had better light a fire, to warm myself, and drive away the
mosquitoes. I always carried a box of matches with me. I struck one,
and soon succeeded in making a blaze with the little firewood I had
collected.

Strange enough I must have looked, inside of my cage, while the fire
sent its glimmering light around.

Finally, seeing that everything was well secured, I went to sleep,
taking good care to put myself in the middle of the fort, so that if,
by any chance, a leopard came, he could not get hold of me with his
paw. When I awoke it was broad daylight, and I immediately started for
Imonga's village.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: FLOCKS OF BIRDS.]

CHAPTER V.

  THE BAY OF CORISCO--THE MANGROVE TREES--THE WONDERFUL FLOCKS OF
  BIRDS--WHAT I FOUND IN THE POUCH OF A PELICAN--HOW AN OLD KING IS
  BURIED, AND THE NEW KING CROWNED.


Now that you have followed me in the Benito country, and to Cape St.
John, I will take you a little further down the coast to the Bay of
Corisco. There, two rivers empty their waters into the sea. One of them
is called the Muni river, and the other the Monda.

I will leave the Muni, for we shall have to come to it by-and-by, and
will speak to you only of the Monda. It is throughout a low-banked
swampy stream. The banks are covered with mangrove trees. Every limb or
branch that grows in the water is covered with oysters--real oysters
too; so that at low tide you can see, in some places for a long
distance, immense beds of this kind of shell-fish.

The mangroves, on which the oysters grow so curiously, are very
extraordinary trees. The main trunk, or parent tree, grows to an
immense size. From a single tree a whole forest will grow up in time,
for the branches send down shoots into the ground, which in their turn
take root and become trees; so that, generally, almost the whole of the
mangrove forest may be said to be knitted together.

The inhabitants of the country at the mouth of the river are called
Shekiani. They are a very warlike tribe, and many of them are armed
with guns, which they obtain from the vessels that come here from time
to time to buy bar wood, ivory, or india-rubber.

I arrived at the mouth of the river, in a small canoe, manned by
several Mbinga men. The canoe was made of the trunk of a single tree,
and had a mat for a sail. At the mouth of the river, high above the
swamps that surround its banks, are two hills. On the top of one of
these hills, a village was situated. There I stayed. It was a village
of insignificant size.

At low tide, the high muddy banks of the river are exposed. So many
birds as are there, I never saw elsewhere: they are to be seen in
countless thousands. The shore, the mud islands, and the water were so
covered with them, that it was really a sight worth seeing. Here and
there flocks of pelicans swam majestically along, keeping at a good
distance from my canoe. You would probably wish to know what these
pelicans are like. I will tell you. They are large birds, and have
an enormous bill, under which is a large pouch, capable of containing
several pounds of fish. They have webbed feet, and their feathers are
white. I wish you could see them looking out for their prey. How slyly
they pry in the water for the fish they are in search of, and how
quickly they pounce upon them unawares with their powerful beak! In an
instant the fish are killed and stored away in the pouch; and when this
is full, then Master Pelican begins to eat. The fish are put in the
pouch as if it were a storehouse.

Now and then a string of flamingoes go stretching along the muddy
shore, looking for all the world like a line of fire. Most beautiful
are these flamingoes! and very singular they appear when not on the
wing, but standing still on their long red legs! They are very wild,
however, and difficult of approach.

Wherever the mud peeped out of the water, there were herons, cranes,
gulls of various kinds. Scattered everywhere were seen those beautiful
white birds (_Egretta flavirostris_). Some of the shore trees were
covered with them, looking like snow in the distance.

Of course I wished to kill some of these birds. So I took a tiny little
canoe, and covered it with branches of trees, that the birds might
think it was a tree coming down the stream, as is often the case.
Then I took a Shekiani with me to paddle, and, putting two guns in
the canoe, we made for the pelicans. The sly birds seemed to suspect
something, and did not give me a chance to approach them for a long
time. But, as you know, in order to succeed in anything, people must
have patience and perseverance. So, after chasing many, I finally
succeeded in approaching one. He was just in the act of swallowing a
big fish, when--bang!--I fired, and wounded him so that he could not
fly. His wing had been broken by my shot. At the noise made by firing
my gun, the birds flew away by thousands. I made for Master Pelican.
The chase became exciting; but at last we succeeded in coming near him.
But how to get hold of him was now the question. His wing only was
broken; and, with his great beak, he might perhaps be able to cut one
of my fingers right off. I was afraid to spoil his feathers if I fired
again. He became exhausted, and with one of the paddles I gave him a
tremendous blow on the head, which stunned him. Another blow finished
him, and we lifted him into the canoe.

I cannot tell you how pleased I was. His pouch was full of fish. They
were so fresh that I resolved to make a meal out of them.

I had hardly put the bird at the bottom of the canoe, when there came
flying towards me a flock of at least two hundred flamingoes. In a
moment I had my gun in readiness. Would they come near enough for me to
get a shot at them? I watched them anxiously. Yes! Now they are near
enough; and--bang! bang!--I fired the two barrels right into the middle
of the flock, and two beautiful flamingoes fell into the water. Quickly
we paddled towards them. In order to go faster I took a paddle also,
and worked away as well as I could. They were dead. Both had received
shots in the head.

We made for the shore. When I opened the pouch of the pelican--just
think of it!--I found a dozen large fishes inside! They were quite
fresh; and I am sure they had not been caught more than half an hour.
You will agree with me that the pelican makes quick work when he goes
a-fishing.

In the evening I felt so tired that I went straight to bed; and I slept
so soundly, that if the Shekianis had chosen, they could have murdered
me without my even opening my eyes.

This village had a new king; and I wondered if his majesty were made
king in the same fashion as the sovereign of the Mpongwe tribe; a tribe
of negroes among whom I have resided, and I will tell you how their
king was made.

Old King Glass died. He had been long ailing, but clung to life with
determined tenacity. He was a disagreeable old heathen; but in his last
days he became very devout--after his fashion. His idol was always
freshly painted, and brightly decorated; his fetich, or "monda," was
the best cared for fetich in Africa, and every few days some great
doctors were brought down from the interior, and paid a large fee
for advising the old king. He was afraid of witchcraft: he thought
everybody wanted to put him out of the way by bewitching him. So the
business of the doctors was to keep off the witches, and assure his
majesty that he would live a long time. This assurance pleased him
wonderfully, and he paid his doctors well.

The tribe had got tired of their king. They thought, indeed, that he
was himself a most potent and evil-disposed wizard; and, though the
matter was not openly talked about there were very few natives indeed
who would pass his house after night, and none who could be tempted
inside, by any slighter provocation than an irresistible glass of rum.
In fact, if he had not been a great king, he would probably have been
killed.

When he got sick at last, everybody seemed very sorry; but several of
my friends told me in confidence, that the whole town hoped he would
die; and die he did. I was awakened one morning, by those mournful
cries and wails with which the African oftener covers a sham sorrow
than expresses a real grief. All the women of the village seemed to be
dissolved in tears. It is a most singular thing to see how readily the
women of Africa can supply tears on the slightest occasion, or for no
occasion at all. They will cry together, at certain times of the day,
on mourning occasions, when a few minutes before they were laughing.
They need no pain or real grief to excite their tears. They can,
apparently, weep at will.

The mourning and wailing on this occasion lasted six days. On the
second day the old king was secretly buried, by a few of the most
trusty men of the tribe, very early in the morning, before others were
up; or perhaps at night. Some said he had been buried at night, while
others said he had been buried in the morning, thus showing that they
did not know. This custom arises from a belief that the other tribes
would much like to get the head of the king, in order that with his
brains they might make a powerful fetich.

During the days of mourning, the old men of the village busied
themselves in choosing a new king. This, also, is a secret operation,
and the result is not communicated to the people generally till the
seventh day.

It happened that Njogoni (fowl), a good friend of mine, was elected. I
do not know that Njogoni had the slightest suspicion of his elevation.
At any rate, he shammed ignorance very well.

While he was walking on the shore, on the morning of the seventh
day--probably some one had told him to go--he was suddenly set upon by
the entire populace, who proceeded with a ceremony which is preliminary
to the crowning. In a dense crowd they surrounded him, and then began
to heap upon him every manner of abuse that the worst of mobs could
imagine. Some spat in his face. Some beat him with their fists, not
very hard of course. Some kicked him. Others threw dirty things at him.
Those unlucky cues who stood on the outside and could only reach the
poor fellow with their voices, assiduously cursed him, and also his
father, and especially his mother, as well as his sisters and brothers,
and all his ancestors to the remotest generation. A stranger would
not have given a farthing for the life of him who was presently to be
crowned.

Amid the noise and struggle, I caught the words which explained all to
me; for every few minutes some fellow, administering a comparatively
severe blow or kick, would shout out, "You are not our king yet; for
a little while we will do what we please with you. By-and-by we shall
have to do your will."

Njogoni bore himself like a man, and a prospective king, and took all
this abuse with a smiling face. When it had lasted about half an hour,
they took him to the house of the old king. Here he was seated, and
became again for a little while the victim of his people's curses and
ill-usage.

Suddenly all became silent, and the elders of the people rose, and said
solemnly (the people repeating after them), "Now we choose you for our
king; we engage to listen to you, and to obey you."

Then there was silence; and presently the silk hat, of "stove-pipe"
fashion, which is the emblem of royalty among the Mpongwe and several
other tribes, was brought in, and placed on Njogoni's head. He was then
dressed in a red gown, and received the greatest marks of respect from
all those who had just now abused him.

Then followed six days of festival, during which the poor king, who had
taken the name of his predecessor, was obliged to receive his subjects
in his own house, and was not allowed to stir out. The whole time was
occupied in indescribable gorging of food, and drinking of bad rum
and palm wine. It was a scene of beastly gluttony and drunkenness and
uproarious confusion. Strangers came from the surrounding villages.
Everything to eat and drink was furnished freely, and all comers were
welcome.

Old King Glass, for whom during six days no end of tears had been shed,
was now forgotten; and _new_ King Glass, poor fellow, was sick with
exhaustion.

Finally, the rum and palm wine were drank up, the food was eaten, the
allotted days of rejoicing had expired, and the people went back to
their homes.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: SCENE WITH THE MBOUSHA.]

CHAPTER VI.

  AN OLD MAN KILLED FOR WITCHCRAFT--MY JOURNEY TO THE COUNTRY OF THE
  CANNIBALS--STARTING ON THE ROUTE.


In the year 1856 I was again in the equatorial regions. I was in the
great forest, on my way to the cannibal country; yes, the country where
the people eat one another. It was a long way off, and how was I to get
there through the dense jungle? How was I to find my way in that vast
African forest? These were the thoughts that troubled me when I was in
the village of Dayoko.

The village of Dayoko lies not far from the banks of the Ntambounay
river, and is surrounded by beautiful groves of plantain trees.

Dayoko is one of the chiefs of the Mbousha tribe, and a wild and savage
set of people they are I can tell you. But Dayoko became my friend, and
said he would spare me a few men to take me part of the way.

These Mbousha people look very much like the Shekiani I have already
described. They are superstitious and cruel, and believe in witchcraft.
I stayed among them only a few days. I will now tell you what I saw
there.

In a hut I found a very old man. His wool (hair) was white as snow,
his face was wrinkled, and his limbs were shrunken. His hands were
tied behind him, and his feet were placed in a rude kind of stocks.
Several negroes, armed to the teeth, stood guard over him, and now and
then insulted him by angry words and blows, to which he submitted in
silence. What do you suppose all this meant?

This old man was to be killed for witchcraft!

A truly horrible delusion this witchcraft is!

I went to Dayoko, the chief, to try to save the old man's life, but I
saw it was in vain.

During the whole night I could hear singing all over the town as well
as a great uproar. Evidently they were preparing for the sacrifice of
the old man.

Early in the morning the people gathered together with the fetich-man.
His blood-shot eyes glared in savage excitement, as he went around
from man to man. In his hands he held a bundle of herbs with which he
sprinkled, three times, those to whom he spoke. Meantime, there was a
man on the top of a high tree close by, who shouted, from time to time,
"Jocou! Jocou!" at the same time shaking the trees.

"_Jocou_" means "devil" among the Mbousha; and the business of this man
was to scare the evil spirit, and keep it away.

At last they all declared that the old man was a most potent wizard,
that he had killed many people by sorcery, and that he must be killed.

You would like to know, I dare say, what these Africans mean by a
wizard, or a witch? They believe that people have, within themselves,
the power of killing anyone who displeases them. They believe that no
one dies unless some one has bewitched him. Have you ever heard of such
a horrible superstition? Hence those who are condemned for witchcraft
are sometimes subjected to a very painful death; they are burnt by slow
fire, and their bodies are given to the Bashikouay ant to be devoured.
I shall have something to tell you about ants by-and-by. The poor
wretches are cut into pieces; gashes are made over their bodies and
cayenne pepper is put into the wounds. Indeed it makes me shudder to
think of it, for I have witnessed such dreadful deaths, and seen many
of the mutilated corpses.

After I witnessed the ceremony, the people scattered, and I went into
my hut, for I was not well. After a while I thought I saw a man pass
my door, almost like a flash, and after him rushed a horde of silent
but infuriated men towards the river. In a little while, I heard sharp,
piercing cries, as of a man in great agony, and then all became still
as death.

I came out, and going towards the river was met by the crowd returning,
every man armed, with axe, spear, knife or cutlass; and these weapons,
as well as their own hands, and arms, and bodies were sprinkled with
blood.

They had killed the poor old man they called a wizard, hacked him to
pieces, and finished by splitting open his skull, and scattering the
brains into the water. Then they returned. At night these blood-thirsty
men seemed to be as gentle as lambs, and as cheerful as if nothing had
happened.

Ought we not to be thankful that we were born in a civilized country?

Now came the "grand palaver" over my departure. I called Dayoko and all
the elders of the village together. When they had all assembled, I told
them I must go into the Fan country inhabited by the cannibals.

Dayoko said I should be murdered by the cannibals, and eaten up, and
tried to dissuade me from going.

Finally I said that go I would.

So it was determined that I should go under Dayoko's protection.
Accordingly he gave me two of his sons to accompany me, and ordered
several men to carry my chests, guns, powder, bullets, and shot. They
were to take me to one of Dayoko's fathers-in-law, a Mbondemo chief who
lived in the mountains.

I was going farther and farther from the sea; if the savages were to
leave me and run away in the forest, what would become of me?

We started in canoes, ascended the Muni river, and then paddled up the
river called the Ntambounay (you must not mind these hard names, they
are not of my choice. I must call things by the names the natives give
them).

After paddling all day, towards sunset we all felt very tired; for we
had gone a long way up the river, and reached a Shekiani village. I was
quite astonished to meet Shekiani here, but so it happened.

I shall always remember this Shekiani village, for I thought I should
be murdered and plundered there. After we had landed in the village,
I was told at once, that I could not go any further, for the road
belonged to them. I must pay a tribute of six shirts similar to those
I wore, three great-coats, beads, etc., etc. This would have entirely
ruined me.

I could not sleep at all. Through the whole night a crowd surrounded my
hut, talking, shouting, and singing in the greatest excitement. My guns
and revolvers were all loaded and I made up my mind not to be killed
without fighting desperately. If I was to die, I resolved at all events
to die like a brave man. All my party were in my hut except Dayoko's
two sons, who had gone to talk with the Shekiani chief. The Shekiani
chief was a friend of Dayoko, and Dayoko's sons told him I was their
father's stranger-friend.

At last, things became more quiet; and, towards morning, the people
were still or asleep.

We left the hut. All was still peaceful. My men said that Dayoko's sons
had a big fetich to avert war.

I gave a present to the Shekiani chief, and off we started. We left our
large canoes and took smaller ones; for we were to go through a very
small stream.

As we ascended the beautiful river, we could see the lofty mountains
of the interior. A great many islands studded the stream. From the
trees on the banks, the monkeys looked down at us with astonishment.
What curious creatures they were, with their black faces peeping out
through the dark foliage, and looking as if they were making grimaces
at us. By-and-by we left the river and made our way along the creeks or
through the woods towards the Mbondemo village. Now and then we walked
freely through the wide openings which the elephants had made. The
rushing of a herd of elephants effects quite a clearing in the forest.
On we went, till finally we came to a place where a great number of
large trees had been prostrated. Wherever we looked, trees were lying
on the ground, many of them of enormous size. As I looked I heard, not
far off, a tremendous crash--a most awful noise. I could not conjecture
what was the matter. It turned out that a tree had come down; and as it
fell, being a huge one, it crushed a dozen others around it, and each
as it broke gave a great crash, so that the combined effect was awful
to hear.

We had to go through these fallen trees; and what tough work it was! I
never had seen anything like it. Now we had to climb on a fallen tree
and follow its trunk; then we had to come down, and were entangled in
its branches or in those of other trees. At other times we had to creep
under them. I was continually afraid that my gun would be fired off by
some creepers or boughs getting hold of the trigger.

At last, when my patience was entirely gone, and my few clothes
literally hanging in ribbons about me, my legs sadly wounded, and my
face and hands scratched, we arrived at the camp of the Mbondemos,
situated almost at the foot of the mountain.

These mountains were covered with an immense forest; and so thick were
the trees that no open view could be obtained in any direction. The
mountains ended somewhere in the interior, no one knew where, but this
they knew, that it was near the home of the Fans, a cannibal tribe,
and that elephants were plentiful, and gorillas were occasionally
seen there. This encampment of the Mbondemos was called an Olako.
There was not a house in the camp, and it was a romantic scene to look
at. Scattered under huge trees, on the edge of the woods, were leafy
shelters, opening towards the forest. Under these the people lived.
A few sticks put close together formed their beds. They contrived to
sleep upon them, and I did the same. I assure you that they were hard
enough, and reminded me that a mattress was a very good thing. Every
family had its fire prepared beside the beds; and around these fires in
the evening they clustered, men, women, and children.

The chief of this Mbondemo encampment was called Mbéné, and I liked him
very much. He was very kind to me, and always tried to furnish me with
food. There was scarcity of provisions, at the time, in the camp of the
Mbondemos. There were no plantain and cassada fields near, and often
I had to go without breakfast or dinner. The people lived chiefly on
the nuts of the forest, and at that season of the year these were very
scarce.

Poor Mbéné said they had very little to eat, but would give me what
they could. I had carried with me a few little crackers, which I found
very precious, more precious than gold, and which I reserved for time
of sickness; but one by one they disappeared. I looked at them every
time I took one; but I felt so hungry that I could not refrain from
eating them.

Have you known what hunger is--real craving hunger? I can assure you it
is a dreadful feeling.

During that time of the year, this people had half the time nothing to
eat but the nut of a kind of palm.

This nut was so bitter I could scarcely eat it. It is shaped like an
egg, with rounded ends. To prepare it for eating, it is divested of its
husk, and soaked in water for twenty-four hours, when it loses part of
its exceedingly bitter taste, and becomes tolerably palatable, that
is, to a starving man. Sometimes hunger will make them eat the nut
without soaking it. I have done so myself, when lost in the forest. It
is dreadfully disagreeable.

Now and then, the women succeeded in getting a few little fish in the
streams, and gave me some. I could bear a good deal, for I had firmly
resolved to go into the cannibal country.

These Mbondemos are continually moving their villages. Mbéné has moved
his village three times within a few years. I asked him why he made
these frequent changes. He said he moved the first time because a man
had died, and the place was "not good" after that event. The second
time he was forced to move because they had cut down all the palm
trees, and would get no more mimbo (palm wine), a beverage of which
they are excessively fond. They tap the palm, just as the maple tree is
tapped in America, only they tap the tree at the top. This palm wine
has somewhat of a milky colour; and, when drunk in great quantity, it
intoxicates. The palm trees are very plentiful all over this part of
the country, and it seems easier for them to move than to take care of
the trees surrounding their settlements, useful as they are to them;
for they furnish not only the wine they love, but the bitter nut I
mentioned before, which often keeps them from actual starvation. When
the tree is cut down they get what we call the palm cabbage which grows
at the top. When cooked this palm cabbage is very good.

A country which has plenty of palm trees, plenty of game, a good river
or rivulet, and plenty of fish, is the country for a Mbondemo settler
or squatter.

In these forests there is a vine or creeper which I might call the
traveller's vine. If thirsty you may cut it, and within less than a
minute a tumblerful of water will come out of it. This vine hangs
about in the forest, and seemed to me to grow without leaves. What a
capital thing it would be if water were not abundant in this country!
The water procured from it has hardly any taste, and is perfectly pure
and limpid.

Being unable to endure the continual hunger, I called Mbéné, and told
him that his place had no food to give, and he must take me to a
country where there was something to eat, and which would be on my way
to the Fan country. Good Mbéné said, "Spirit, I will try the best I can
to take you where you want to go. I will send some of my people with
you."

In the meantime, Dayoko's people had all returned to their village.
These forests had no game. I spent hour after hour scouring the forest,
but I could see nothing, except birds, some of which were extremely
pretty. I am afraid that if I had succeeded in killing a snake I should
have eaten it, as I felt desperately hungry. I did not like the bitter
nuts; so it was agreed that Mbéné's brother Mcomo, together with
several of his people, should accompany me as far as the country of the
Fan tribe. I could hardly believe such good news to be true.

Mbéné's wife always cooked my food. She was a dear good old woman, and
I gave her a fine necklace of beads when I left. She was delighted
with my present. They were big white porcelain beads of the size of a
pigeon's egg. One day Mbéné succeeded in getting a fowl for me. His
wife cooked it; she made soup, and put plenty of cayenne pepper into
it. I had also some plantain. How I enjoyed this meal! the more so that
it was probably the last I should get for a good many days, unless we
were unusually lucky, and should kill some antelopes or elephants on
our road to the Fan country.

Elephant meat is execrable, as you would say on tasting it. But as you
may not have the chance I will tell you by-and-by how it tastes.

As much food as possible was collected for our journey, and at last
everything was ready.

[Illustration]

  [Illustration: KILLING THE SNAKE.
                         CHAP. VII.]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER VII.

  OUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS CONTINUED--A REBELLION IN
  CAMP--NOTHING TO EAT--I SHOOT A FISH AND MISS AN ELEPHANT--I KILL A
  BIG SNAKE, AND THE OTHERS EAT HIM--MY FIRST SIGHT OF GORILLAS.


Before we renewed our journey the natives had done all they could to
gather provisions; but the result was poor enough. By going to distant
villages they had succeeded in getting a few bunches of plantain.

Mcomo, Mbéné's brother, backed out. He said he was not going into the
cannibal country to be eaten up. But I must tell you that Mbéné had
some friends among the cannibals. And he sent with me two of his sons
called Miengai and Makinda, together with twelve good hunters, and six
women who were the wives of some of the men. The women carried the
provisions, etc.

I took seventy pounds of shot and bullets, nineteen pounds of powder,
ten pounds of arsenic for preserving the birds and animals I should
kill, for I knew I should probably succeed in getting some new
specimens.

When all was arranged, when everybody had taken leave of all his
friends, for this was a very great journey, and they came back
half-a-dozen times to take leave over again, or say something they had
forgotten, when all the shouting and quarrelling about who should carry
the smallest load was over, we at last got away.

We had left the camp of Mbéné behind us at a distance of about five
miles when we came to the banks of a little river called the Noonday, a
clear and beautiful stream. I was ahead of the party with Miengai, and
was waiting for the others to come up before crossing. As we stood on
the banks I spied a fish swimming along. Immediately the thought came
into my mind, "How nicely that fish would taste if I could get it and
boil it in a pot over the fire!" I fired a charge of small shot into
it; but no sooner had I pulled the trigger than I heard a tremendous
crash on the opposite bank about six or seven yards off. Small trees
were torn down violently, and then we heard the shrill trumpetings of a
party of frightened elephants. They were probably sleeping or standing
in a dead silence on the opposite bank in the jungle. I was sorry I had
fired, for after crossing the stream we might have killed an elephant.
Poor Miengai was terribly vexed. "I am sure," said he, "they had big
tusks of ivory."

Our party, as soon as they heard the gun, came up in haste, and asked
what was the matter. When they heard the story they began to lament our
not killing an elephant; for then we should have had meat enough for
the whole journey; and they shouted with one accord: "Elephant meat is
so good!"

This exclamation made me wonder how an elephant steak would taste.

On we went, and got fairly into the mountainous country. The hills
became steeper as we advanced. How tired I felt; for the diet at
Mbéné's camp had not strengthened me. These Mbondemos had a great
advantage over me. They used their bare feet almost as deftly as
monkeys, and hence got their foothold more easily than I.

Miengai and I were in advance. All at once he made me a sign to keep
very still. I thought he had discovered a herd of elephants, or seen
the traces of an enormous leopard. He cocked his gun; I cocked mine;
the other men did the same; and there we stood in perfect silence, for
at least five minutes. Suddenly Miengai sent a "hurrah" echoing through
the forest. It was immediately answered by shouts from many voices not
very far off, but whose owners were hidden from us by huge rocks and
trees. Miengai replied with the fierce shout of the Mbondemo warriors,
and was again answered. Thinking we were going to have a general fight,
I looked carefully after my powder flask and my bullets, and found they
were all right. Going a little farther on, we came in sight of the
encampment of a large party, who proved to be some of Mbéné's people
just returning from a trading expedition to the interior. Two men of
this camp offered to go with us. Their names were Ngolai and Yeava. We
consented to take them.

What a journey it was! Nothing but thick woods to struggle through,
hills to climb, rivers to cross, and nearly all the time it rained;
in fact, I was wet from morning to night. How glad I was when, in the
evening, we had made our camp, and built great fires! For my part, I
had three fires lit about my bed of leaves; and in the evening I always
hung up my clothes to dry, so as to have them ready for the next day.

One morning my men came to tell me they were tired, and would not go a
step farther unless I gave them more cloth.

They seemed in earnest; and I began to question myself whether they
meant to plunder me or to leave me in these mountains. To be left thus
alone would have been almost certain death. To give them what they
asked was to show them I was afraid of them. If they knew I was afraid
of them I did not know what they might next do. So I determined to put
on a bold front. Taking my two revolvers in my hand, I said: "I will
not give you any more cloth. I will not let you leave me, because your
father Mbéné has given you to me to accompany me to the Fan tribe. You
must therefore go with me, or" (here I motioned with my pistols) "there
will be war between us. But," said I, "this is a very hard road, and at
the end of the journey I will give you something more."

This satisfied them, and we again resumed our journey. Up, and up,
and up we struggled, and now we began to meet with immense boulders.
Not the scream of a bird, or the shrill cry of a monkey, broke the
stillness of the dark solitude. Nothing was heard but the panting
breaths of our party as we ascended the hills.

At last we came to an immense mountain torrent, which rushed down the
hillside with fearful force, and was white with foam. Its course was
full of huge granite boulders, which lay about as though the Titans
had been playing at skittles in that country. Against these the angry
waters dashed as if they would carry all before them, and, breaking,
threw the milky spray up to the very tree-tops. As I looked up the
torrent seemed to pour its foaming waters directly down upon us.

This was the head of the Ntambounay river which I had ascended in a
canoe, and on the banks of which I came near being murdered in the
Shekiani village. What a change had taken place in it! Here a canoe
would be dashed into a hundred pieces against the rocks.

I was so thirsty and tired that I went to the river's bank, and drank a
few handfuls of the pure, clean cold water.

After resting a little while, we continued our course till we reached
the top of a very high mountain, whence I could see all the country
round. How wild and desolate it looked! Nothing but forest and
mountains stretching away as far as the eye could reach.

I was sitting under a very large tree, when, suddenly looking up, I saw
an immense serpent coiled upon the branch of a tree just above me; and
I really could not tell whether he was not about to spring upon me and
entangle me in his huge folds. You may well believe that I very quickly
"stood from under." I rushed out, and taking good aim with my gun, I
shot my black friend in the head. He let go his hold, tumbled down with
great force, and after writhing convulsively for a time, he lay before
me dead. He measured thirteen feet in length, and his ugly fangs proved
that he was venomous.

My men cut off the head of the snake, and divided the body into as many
pieces as there were people. Then they lighted a fire, and roasted and
ate it on the spot. They offered me a piece; but, though very hungry,
I declined. When the snake was eaten I was the only individual of the
company that had an empty stomach; I could not help reflecting on the
disadvantage it is sometimes to have been born and bred in a civilized
country, where snakes are not accounted good eating.

We now began to look about the ruins of the village near which we sat.
A degenerate kind of sugar-cane was growing on the very spot where the
houses had formerly stood. I made haste to pluck some of this, and chew
it for the little sweetness it had. While thus engaged my men perceived
what instantly threw us all into the greatest excitement. Here and
there the cane was beaten down or torn up by the roots; and, lying
about, were fragments which had evidently been chewed. There were also
footprints to be seen, which looked almost like those of human beings.
What could this mean? My men looked at each other in silence, and
muttered, "Nguyla!" (Gorillas!).

It was the first time I had seen the footprints of these wild men
of the woods, and I cannot tell you how I felt. Here was I now, it
seemed, on the point of meeting, face to face, that monster, of whose
ferocity, strength, and cunning the natives had told me so much, and
which no white man before had hunted. My heart beat till I feared its
loud pulsations would alarm the gorilla. I wondered how they looked. I
thought of what Hanno the Carthaginian navigator said about the wild
hairy men he had met on the West Coast of Africa more than two thousand
years ago.

By the tracks it was easy to know that there must have been several
gorillas in company. We prepared at once to follow them.

The women were terrified. They thought their end had come--that the
gorilla would be soon upon them. So, before starting in search of the
monster, we left two or three men to take care of them and reassure
them. Then the rest of us looked once more carefully at our guns;
for the gorilla gives you no time to reload, and woe to him whom he
attacks! We were fortunately armed to the teeth.

My men were remarkably silent, for they were going on an expedition
of more than usual risk; for the male gorilla is literally the king
of the forest--the king of the equatorial regions. He and the crested
lion of Mount Atlas are the two fiercest and strongest beasts of that
continent. The lion of South Africa cannot be compared with either for
strength or courage.

As we left the camp, the men and women left behind crowded together,
with fear written on their faces. Miengai, Ngolai, and Makinda set
out for the hunt in one party; myself and Yeava formed another. We
determined to keep near each other; so that in case of trouble, or in a
great emergency, we might be at hand to help one another. For the rest,
silence and a sure aim were the only cautions to be given.

As we followed the footprints, we could easily see that there were
four or five of them, though none appeared very large. We saw where
the gorillas had run along on all fours, which is their usual mode of
progression. We could perceive also where, from time to time, they had
seated themselves to chew the canes they had borne off. The chase began
to be very exciting.

We had agreed to return to the women and their guards and consult about
what was to be done, after we had discovered the probable course of
the gorilla; and this was now done. To make sure of not alarming our
prey, we moved the whole party forward a little way, to some leafy
huts, built by passing traders, and which served us for shelter and
concealment. Here we bestowed the women, whose lively fear of the
terrible gorilla arises from various stories current among the tribes,
of women having been carried off into the woods by the fierce animal.
Then we prepared once more to set out on our chase, this time hopeful
to get a shot.

Looking once more to our guns, we started off. I confess that I was
never more excited in my life. For years I had heard of the terrible
roar of the gorilla, of its vast strength, of its fierce courage when
only wounded. I knew that we were about to pit ourselves against an
animal which even the enormously large leopards of the mountains fear,
which the elephants let alone, and which perhaps has driven away the
lion out of this territory; for the "king of beasts," so numerous
elsewhere in Africa, is not met with in the land of the gorilla.

We descended a hill, crossed a stream on a fallen log, crept under the
trees, and presently approached some huge boulders of granite. In the
stream we had crossed we could see plainly signs that the animals had
just crossed it, for the water was still disturbed. Our eyes wandered
everywhere to get a glimpse of our prey. Alongside of the granite
blocks lay an immense dead tree, and about this the gorillas were
likely to be.

Our approach was very cautious; I wish you could have seen us. We were
divided into two parties. Makinda led one, and I the other. We were to
surround the granite block, behind which Makinda supposed the gorillas
to be hiding. With guns cocked and ready we advanced through the dense
wood, which cast a gloom, even in midday, over the whole scene. I
looked at my men, and saw that they were even more excited than myself.

Slowly we pressed on through the dense bush, dreading almost to
breathe, for fear of alarming the beasts. Makinda was to go to the
right of the rock, while I took the left. Unfortunately he and his
party circled it at too great a distance. The watchful animals saw
him. Suddenly I was startled by a strange, discordant, half human,
devilish cry, and beheld four young and half-grown gorillas running
towards the deep forest. I was not ready. We fired, but hit nothing.
Then we rushed on in pursuit; but they knew the woods better than we.
Once I caught a glimpse of one of the animals again; but an intervening
tree spoiled my mark, and I did not fire. We pursued them till we were
exhausted, but in vain. The alert beasts made good their escape. When
we could pursue no more we returned slowly to our camp, where the women
were anxiously expecting us.

I protest I felt almost like a murderer when I saw the gorilla this
first time. As they ran on their hind legs, with their heads down,
their bodies inclined forward, their whole appearance was that of hairy
men running for their lives. Add to all this their cry, so awful, yet
with something human in its discordance, and you will cease to wonder
that the natives have the wildest superstitions about these "wild men
of the woods."

In our absence the women had made large fires, and prepared the camp. I
changed my clothes, which had become drenched by the frequent torrents
and puddles we ran through in our eager pursuit. Then we sat down to
our supper, which had been cooked in the meantime. I noticed that all
my plantains were gone--eaten up. What was to become of us in the great
forest? I had only two or three biscuits, which I kept in case of
actual starvation or sickness.

As we lay by the fire in the evening before going to sleep, the
adventure of the day was talked over to those who had not gone with us;
and, of course, there followed some curious stories of the gorillas. I
listened in silence.

One of the men told a story of two Mbondemo women who were walking
together through the woods, when suddenly an immense gorilla stepped
into the path, and, clutching one of the women, bore her off in spite
of the screams and struggles of both. The other woman returned to the
village much frightened, and told the story. Of course her companion
was given up for lost. Great was the surprise when, a few days
afterwards, she returned to her home.

"Yes," said one of the men, "that was a gorilla inhabited by a spirit."
This explanation was received by a general grunt of approval.

One of the men told how, some years ago, a party of gorillas were found
in a cane-field tying up the sugar-cane in regular bundles, preparatory
to carrying it away. The natives attacked them, but were routed,
and several killed, while others were carried off prisoners by the
gorillas; but in a few days they returned home, not uninjured indeed,
for the nails of their fingers and toes had been torn off by their
captors.

Then several people spoke up, and mentioned names of dead men whose
spirits were known to be dwelling in gorillas.

Finally came the story that is current among all the tribes who are
acquainted with the habits of the gorilla, that this animal will
hide himself in the lower branches of a tree, and there lie in wait
for people who go to and fro. When one passes sufficiently near, the
gorilla grasps the luckless fellow with his powerful feet, which he
uses like giants' hands, and, drawing the man up in to the tree, he
quietly chokes him there.

Hunger and starvation began to tell upon us severely. When we started
I did not calculate on meeting with gorillas. I had eaten all my sea
bread. There was not a particle of food among us, and no settlement
near us. I began to feel anxious for fear that we should die. Berries
were scarce; and nuts were hardly to be found. The forest seemed
deserted. There was not even a bird to kill. To make matters worse, we
had been misled. We were lost--lost in the great forest!--and we failed
to reach a certain settlement where we had expected to arrive.

Travelling on an empty stomach is too exhausting to be very long
endured. The third day I awoke feeble, but found that one of the men
had killed a monkey. This animal, roughly roasted on the coals, tasted
delicious. How I wished we had ten monkeys to eat! but how glad and
grateful we were for that single one.

Presently, Makinda, looking up, discovered a beehive. He smoked the
bees out, and I divided the honey. There might have been a fight over
this sweet booty had I not interposed and distributed it in equal
shares. Serving myself with a portion not bigger than I gave the rest,
I at once sat down, and devoured honey, wax, dead bees, worms, dirt,
and all; I was so hungry. I was only sorry we had not more.

I had really a hard time getting through the old elephant tracks, which
were the best roads through the jungle. The men seemed to have lost
their way. We saw no animals, but found several gorillas' tracks.

At last my men began to talk more cheerfully; they knew where they
were: and, soon after, I saw the broad leaves of the plantain, the
forerunner of an African town. But, alas! as we approached, we saw no
one coming to meet us; and when we reached the place we found only a
deserted village. But even for this how thankful I was! Since I left
Dayoko I had experienced nothing but hunger and starvation; and these
were the first human habitations we had met.

Presently, however, some Mbicho people made their appearance. They were
relatives of Mbéné, and their village was close by. They gave us some
plantains, but no fowls. I wished very much to get a fowl. I felt
gouamba (which means hunger) for meat, and knew that a good warm fowl
broth would have done me a great deal of good. We spent the evening in
the houses, drying and warming ourselves. It was much better than the
forest, even if it was only a deserted town.

I asked if we should ever reach the cannibal country, and found that,
with the exception of the Mbicho village near at hand, we were already
surrounded on three sides by Fan villages.

I was too tired to rest. Besides, I was getting deep into the interior
of Africa, and was in the neighbourhood of the Fans, the most warlike
tribe that inhabited the country. So I barricaded my hut, got my
ammunition ready, saw that my guns were all right, and then lay awake
for a long time, before I could go to sleep.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: KING ASTONISHED AT LOOKING-GLASS.]

CHAPTER VIII.

  I ARRIVE AMONG THE CANNIBALS--THEIR SPEARS, BOWS, AND
  BATTLE-AXES--THEY TAKE ME FOR A SPIRIT--THEIR KING SHAKES WHEN HE
  SEES ME--I GIVE HIM A LOOKING-GLASS--IT ASTONISHES HIM.


We were, at last, near the Fan country. We had passed the last Mbichos
village, and were on our way to the villages of the _man-eaters_.

I remember well the first Fan village I approached. It stood on the
summit of a high hill in the mountains. All its inhabitants were very
much excited when they perceived we were coming towards it, through the
plantation path; for the trees around the hill had been cut down. The
men were armed to the teeth, as we entered the village, and I knew not
whether hundreds of spears and poisoned arrows might not be thrown at
me, and I be killed on the spot. What dreadful spears those cannibals
had; they were all barbed. Each man had several in his hand; and,
besides, had a shield made of elephant's hide, to protect himself with.
Others were armed with huge knives, and horrible-looking battle-axes,
or with bows and poisoned arrows.

Wild shouts of astonishment, which, for all I knew, were war-shouts,
greeted me as I entered the village. I must own that I felt not quite
at my ease. How wild and fierce these men looked! They were most
scantily dressed. When they shouted, they showed their teeth, which
were filed to a point, and coloured black. Their open mouths put me
uncomfortably in mind of a tomb; for how many human creatures each of
these men had eaten!

How ugly the women looked! They were all tattooed, and nearly naked.
They fled with their children into their houses, as I passed through
the street, in which I saw, here and there, human bones lying about.
Yes, human bones from bodies that had been devoured by them! Such are
my recollections of my first entrance into a village of cannibals.

The village was strongly fenced, or palisaded; and on the poles were
several skulls of human beings and of gorillas. There was but a single
street, about two-thirds of a mile long. On each side of this were low
huts, made of the bark of trees.

I had hardly entered the village when I perceived some bloody remains,
which appeared to me to be human. Presently we passed a woman who was
running as fast as she could towards her hut. She bore in her hand a
piece of a human thigh, just as we should go to market and carry thence
a joint or steak.

This was a very large village. At last we arrived at the palaver house.
Here I was left alone with Mbéné for a little while. There was great
shouting going on at a little distance, at the back of some houses. One
of them said they had been busy dividing the body of a dead man, and
that there was not enough for all.

They flocked in presently, and soon I was surrounded by an immense
crowd. Not far from me was a ferocious-looking fellow. On one arm he
supported a very large shield, made of an elephant's hide, and of the
thickest part of the skin, while in his other hand he held a prodigious
war-knife, which he could have slashed through a man in a jiffy.

Some in the crowd were armed with cross-bows, from which were shot
either iron-headed arrows, or the little, insignificant-looking,
but really most deadly darts, tipped with poison. These are made of
slender, harmless reeds, a foot long, whose sharpened ends are dipped
in a deadly vegetable poison, which these people know how to make.
These poisoned darts are so light that they would blow away, if simply
laid in the groove of the bow. Hence they use a kind of sticky gum to
hold them.

The handle of the bow is ingeniously split; and, by a little peg, that
acts as a trigger, the bow-string is disengaged. The bow is very stiff
and strong, and sends the arrow to a great distance. As you see by the
representation of a Fan bowman, they have to sit down and apply both
feet to the middle of the bow, while they pull with all their strength
on the string to bend it back.

These little poisoned arrows are much dreaded by them, and are very
carefully kept in little bags, which are made of the skin of wild
animals.

Some bore on their shoulders the terrible war-axe. A single blow of
this axe suffices to split a human skull. I saw that some of these
axes, as well as their spears and other ironwork, were beautifully
ornamented.

The war-knife, which hangs by their side, is a terrible weapon. It is
used in hand-to-hand conflict, and is designed to be thrust through the
enemy's body. There was also another sort of huge knife used by some of
the men in the crowd before me. It was a foot long, about eight inches
wide, and is used to cut through the shoulders of an adversary. It must
do tremendous execution.

A few of the men had also a very singular pointed axe, which is thrown
from a distance. When thrown, it strikes with the point down, and
inflicts a terrible wound. They handle it with great dexterity. The
object aimed at with this axe is the head. The point penetrates to the
brain, and kills the victim immediately.

The spears were six or seven feet long, and are ingeniously adapted to
inflict terrible wounds. They are thrown with an accuracy and a force
which never ceased to astonish me. The long, slender staff fairly
whistles through the air; and woe to the man who is within twenty or
thirty yards of their reach.

Most of the knives and axes were ingeniously sheathed in covers made
of snake or antelope skins, or of human skin. These sheaths were slung
round the shoulder or neck by cords, which permit the weapon to hang at
the side, out of the wearer's way.

These Fan warriors had no armour. Their only weapon of defence is the
huge shield of elephant hide, of which I spoke to you. It is three and
a half feet long, by two and a half feet wide.

Besides their weapons, many of the men wore a small knife, as a
table-knife, or jack-knife.

From this description of the men by whom I was surrounded, you may
judge with what amazement I looked around me, with my guns in my
hands. It was a grand sight to see such a number of stalwart, martial,
fierce-looking fellows, fully armed, and ready for any desperate fray,
gathered together.

Finer-looking savages I never saw; and I could easily believe them to
be brave; and the completeness of their war-like equipments proved that
fighting is a favourite pastime with them. No wonder they are dreaded
by all their neighbours!

Here was I, at this time only a lad, alone in the midst of them.

Presently came the king, a ferocious-looking fellow. His body was
naked. His skin in front was painted red, and his chest, stomach, and
back were tattooed in a rude but effective manner. He was covered with
charms, and he wore round his neck a necklace made with leopard's
teeth. He was fully armed. Most of the Fans wore queues; but the queue
of Ndiayai, the king, was the biggest of all, and terminated in two
tails, in which were strung brass rings. His beard was plaited in
several plaits, which contained white beads. His teeth were filed sharp
to a point. He looked like a perfect glutton of human flesh.

I looked around me in a cool, impassive manner. Ndiayai, the king,
fairly shook at the sight of me. He had refused to come and see me, at
first, from a belief that he would die in three days after setting eyes
on me. But Mbéné had persuaded him to come. Ndiayai was accompanied by
the queen, the ugliest woman I ever saw, and very old. She was called
Mashumba. She was nearly naked, her only covering being a strip of
cloth about four inches wide, made of the soft bark of a tree, and dyed
red. Her body was tattooed in the most fanciful manner; her skin, from
long exposure, had become rough and knotty. She wore two enormous iron
anklets, and had, in her ears, a pair of copper rings, two inches in
diameter. I could easily put my little fingers in the holes through
which the earrings passed.

The people looked at me, wondered at my hair, but never ceased to look
at my feet. "Look at the strange being," said they to each other, "his
feet are not of the colour of his face, and he has no toes!"

Finally, the king said to Mbéné that, when surrounded by his people, he
was not afraid of anybody.

I could well believe him. When fighting they must look perfect devils.

When night came I entered my house, and looked about to see how I could
barricade myself for the night; for I did not fancy putting myself
entirely at the mercy of these savage Fans. Their weapons had been
sufficient to show me that they were men who were not afraid to fight.
I told Mbéné to send for Ndiayai. The king came, and I presented him
a large bunch of white beads, a looking-glass, a file, fire-steels,
and some gun-flints. His countenance beamed with joy. I never saw such
astonishment as he exhibited when I held the looking-glass before
his face. At first he did not know what to make of it, and did not
want to take the glass, till Mbéné told him that he had one. He put
his tongue out, and he saw it reflected in the looking-glass. Then
he shut one eye, and made faces; then he showed his hands before the
looking-glass--one finger--two fingers--three fingers. He became
speechless, and with all I had given him, he went away as "happy as a
king"; and "every inch a (savage) king" he was.

Shortly afterwards, Mashumba, the queen, thinking that probably I had
something for her, also came and brought me a basketful of plantains.
They were cooked. At once the idea rushed into my mind, that perhaps
the very same pot that cooked the plantains had cooked a Fan's head in
the morning; and I began to have a horrible loathing of the flesh-pots
of these people. I would not have cooked in their pots for the world.

A little after dark, all became silent in the village. I barred my
little bit of a door as well as I could with my chest, and, lying down
on that dreadful Fan bed, I placed my gun by my side, and tried hard,
but in vain, to go to sleep. I wondered how many times human flesh had
entered the hut I was in. I thought of all I had seen during the day,
which I have related to you. The faces of those terrible warriors, and
the implements of war, were before my eyes though it was pitch dark.

Was I afraid? Certainly not. What feeling was it that excited me? I
cannot tell you. It was certainly not fear; for if anyone the next
day had offered to take me back where I came from, I should have
declined the offer. Probably I was agitated by the novel and horrible
sights that had greeted my eyes, and which exceeded all my previous
conceptions of Africa. Now and then I thought that as these men not
only killed people, but ate them also, they might perhaps be curious to
try how I tasted.

Hour after hour passed, and I could not get to sleep. I said my bed
was a dreadfully bad one. It was a frame composed of half a dozen
large round bamboos. I might as well have tried to sleep on a pile of
cannonballs. Finally, I succeeded in going to sleep, holding my gun
tightly under my arm.

When I got up in the morning, and went out at the back of the house, I
saw a pile of ribs, leg and arm bones, and skulls, piled together. The
cannibals must have had a grand fight, not long before, and devoured
all their prisoners of war.

In what was I to wash my face? I resolved at last not to wash at all.



[Illustration: ENTRAPPING THE ELEPHANT.]

CHAPTER IX.

  AN ELEPHANT HUNT.


After a few days the Fans began to get accustomed to me, and I to them;
and we were the best friends in the world.

They are great hunters. One day a woman returning from the plantations
brought news, that she had seen elephants; and that one of the plantain
fields had been entirely destroyed by them. This was an event of common
occurrence in the country; for the elephants are not very particular,
and whatever they like they take; not caring a bit how much hunger they
may occasion among the poor natives.

When the news arrived, a wild shout of joy spread among the villagers.
The grim faces of the Fans smiled; and in doing so, showed their ugly
filed teeth. "We are going to kill elephants," they all shouted. "We
are going to have plenty of meat to eat," shrieked the women.

So in the evening a war-dance took place; a war-dance of cannibals! It
was the wildest scene I ever saw. It was pitch-dark; and the torches
threw a dim light around us, and showed the fantastic forms of these
wild men. Really it was a wild scene. They were all armed as if they
were going to war. How they gesticulated! What contortions they made!
What a tumult they raised! How their wild shouts echoed from hill to
hill, and died away in the far distance! They looked like demons. Their
skins were painted of different colours; and, as the dancing went on,
their bodies became warm, and shone as if they had been dipped in oil.

Suddenly a deafening shout of the whole assemblage seemed to shake the
earth. Their greatest warrior (Leopard) came to dance. Leopard was, it
appears, the bravest of them all. He had killed more people in war than
anybody else. He had given more human food to his fellow-townsmen than
many other warriors put together. Hence they all admired and praised
him; and a song describing his feats of arms was sung by those who
surrounded him. How ferocious he looked! He was armed to the teeth.
He had a spear like one of those I have already described. A long
knife hung by its side, and the hand that held the shield carried a
battle-axe also. In dancing, he acted at times as if he were defending
himself against an attack; at other times, as if he were himself
attacking somebody. Once or twice I really thought he meant to throw
his spear at someone. I could hardly breathe while looking at him.
He appeared actually to be a demon. Finally he stopped from sheer
exhaustion, and others took his place.

The next day the men furbished up their arms. I myself cleaned my guns,
and got ready for the chase; so that, if I could get a chance, I might
send a bullet through an elephant.

The war-dish was cooked. It is a mixture of herbs, and is supposed to
inspire people with courage. They rubbed their bodies with it, and
then we started. There were about five hundred men. After leaving the
village we divided into several parties. Each party was well acquainted
with the forest, and knew just where to go. The march was conducted
in perfect silence, so that we might not alarm the elephants. After
proceeding six hours we arrived not far from the hunting-ground where
the elephants were supposed to be. The Fans built shelters, and these
were hardly finished when it began to rain very hard.

The next day some Fans went out to explore the woods, and I joined the
party. The fallen trees, the broken-down limbs, the heavy footprints,
and the trampled underbrush, showed plainly that there had been many
elephants about. There were no regular walks, and they had strayed at
random in the forest.

When the elephants are pleased with a certain neighbourhood, they
remain there a few days. When they have eaten all the food they like,
and nothing remains, they go on to some other place.

The forest here, as everywhere else, was full of rough, strong,
climbing plants, many of which reach to the top of the tallest trees.
They are of every size; some bigger than a man's thigh, while many are
as large as the ropes of which the rigging of a ship is made. These
creepers the natives twist together; and, after working very hard, they
succeed in constructing a huge fence, or obstruction. Of course, it
is not sufficient to hold the elephant; but when he gets entangled in
its meshes, it is strong enough to check him in his flight, till the
hunters can have time to kill him. When an elephant is once caught,
they surround the huge beast, and put an end to his struggles by
incessant discharges of their spears and guns.

While the others worked, I explored the forest. Seeing that the
men were careful in avoiding a certain place, I looked down on the
ground, and saw nothing. Then, looking up, I saw an immense piece of
wood suspended by the wild creepers, high in the air; and, fixed in
it at intervals, I saw several large, heavy, sharp pointed pieces of
iron pointing downwards. The rope that holds up this contrivance is
so arranged that the elephant cannot help touching it, if he passes
underneath. Then the _hanou_ (such is the name given to the trap) is
loosened, it falls with a tremendous force on his back; the iron points
pierce his body, and the piece of wood, in falling, generally breaks
his spine.

I also saw in different places, large, deep ditches, intended as
pitfalls for the elephant. When he runs away, or roams around at night,
he often falls into these pits, and that is the end of him; for, in
falling, he generally breaks his legs. Sometimes, when the natives go
and visit the pit they have made, they find nothing but the bones of
the elephant and his ivory tusks.

The fence that the natives had made must have been several miles long,
and in many places was several rows deep; and now there were elephant
pits beside, and the _hanous_.

We were, you must remember, in a mountainous country; and I could
scarcely believe my eyes when I saw plainly the footprints of this
animal where I myself had to hold to the creepers to be able to ascend.

When everything was ready, part of the men went silently and hid
themselves upon the limbs or besides the trunks of trees near the
barrier or "tangle." Others of us took a circuitous route in an
opposite direction from that in which we had come. After we had got
miles away from the "tangle," we formed a chain as long in extent as
the fence, and moved forward, forming a semi-circle, with the men ten
or twenty yards apart from each other.

Presently, all along the line the hunting horns were sounded, wild
shouts were sent up, and, making all the noise they could, the
Fans advanced in the direction of the "tangle." The elephants were
entrapped. Hearing the noise, of course they moved away from us,
breaking down everything before them in their flight. If they tried to
go to the right, they heard the same wild shouts; if they tried to go
to the left, they heard the same. There was no other way for them to
go but straight ahead; and there, though they did not know it, were
the tangle, the pits, and the _hanous_. They were going to surer death
than if they had tried to break our lines; for then most, if not all
of them, would have escaped. We were too far from each other to hinder
them.

Onward we pressed, the circle of those giving chase becoming smaller
and smaller, and the crashing of the underbrush more distinct, as we
approached the elephants in their flight. The men's countenances became
excited. They got their spears in readiness; and soon we came in sight
of the tangles. What an extraordinary sight lay before me; I could
distinguish one elephant, enraged, terrified, tearing at everything
with his trunk and feet, but all in vain! The tough creepers of the
barrier in no instance gave way before him. Spear after spear was
thrown at him. The Fans were everywhere, especially up on the trees,
where they were out of the reach of the elephant. The huge animal began
to look like a gigantic porcupine, he was stuck so full of spears. Poor
infuriated beast! I thought he was crazy. Every spear that wounded him
made him more furious! But his struggles were in vain. He had just
dropped down when I came close to him; and to end his sufferings, I
shot him through the ear. After a few convulsions of limb all became
quiet. He was dead.

Some of the elephants had succeeded in going through the tangle, and
were beyond reach.

Four elephants had been slain; and I was told that a man had been
killed by one of the elephants, which turned round and charged his
assailants. This man did not move off in time, and was trampled under
foot by the monstrous beast. Fortunately, the elephant got entangled;
and, in an instant, he was covered with spears, and terribly wounded.
After much loss of blood he dropped down lifeless.

I am sure you will agree with me, after the description I have given
of a Fan elephant hunt, that the men of this tribe are gifted with
remarkable courage and presence of mind.

They have certain rules for hunting the elephant. These tell you
never to approach an elephant, except from behind; he cannot turn
very fast, and you have, therefore, time to make your escape. He
generally rushes blindly forward. Great care must also be taken that
the strong creepers, which are so fatal to the elephant, do not also
catch and entangle the hunters themselves. A man lying in wait to spear
an elephant should always choose a stout tree, in order that the
infuriated beast, should he charge at it, may not uproot it.

The next day, there was a dance round the elephant, while the
fetich-man cut a piece from one of the hind legs. This was intended for
their idol. The meat was cooked in presence of the fetich-man, and of
those who had speared the elephant. As soon as all the meat had been
cooked they danced round it; and a piece was sent into the woods for
the spirit to feed upon, if he liked. The next day, the meat was all
cut up in small pieces, then hung up and smoked.

The cooking and smoking lasted three days, and I can assure you it
is the toughest meat I ever tasted. Of course, like the Fans, I had
no other food; and for three days I ate nothing but elephant meat. I
wish I could give you a notion how it tastes; but really I do not know
what to compare it with. Beef, mutton, lamb, pork, venison, make not
the slightest approach to a resemblance: and as for poultry, such a
comparison would be positively aggravating!

The proboscis being one of the favourite morsels, a large piece of it
was given to me. The foot is another part reputed to be a great dainty,
and two feet were sent me, together with a large piece of the leg for a
roast.

But the meat was so tough that I had to boil it for twelve hours;
and then I believe it was as tough as ever; it seemed to be full of
gristle. So, the next day, I boiled it again for twelve hours; all my
trouble, however, was unavailing, for it was still hopelessly tough! I
may say, that the more I ate of elephant meat the more I got to dislike
it. I do not think I shall ever hanker after elephant steak as long
as I live. I wonder if you boys would like it? I wish I had some, and
could induce you to taste of it. I am inclined to think you would
agree with me, and never desire to renew your acquaintance with it.

How glad I was when I returned to Ndiayai village; and no wonder,
for we had rain every day in the woods. As for the poor man who had
been killed by the elephant, his body was sent to another clan to be
devoured; for the cannibals do not eat their own people.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: FAN BLACKSMITHS AT WORK.]

CHAPTER X.

  LIFE AMONG THE CANNIBALS--CURIOUS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS--COOKING
  UTENSILS--A BLACKSMITH'S BELLOWS AND ANVIL--CANNIBAL DIET.


After we reached Ndiayai, I went back to my little hut, and found
everything I had left there. I had hidden my powder and shot in
different places, and had dug holes in which to hide my beads.

The news had spread among the surrounding cannibal villages that the
spirit, as they called me, was still in the village of Ndiayai, and
the people flocked to see me. Among those who came to see me, was a
chief of the name of Oloko. He gave me the long war knife, of which you
have seen a drawing, and explained to me how it had several times gone
right through a man.

Mbéné went away for a while, and left me entirely alone with these
cannibals. During his absence I studied the habits of these strange
people; and you may be sure that wherever I went I kept my eyes wide
open.

By the way, I see I have omitted to give a description of the town of
King Ndiayai. It was a very large town, composed of a single street.
When I say a large town, I do not mean, of course, that it could bear
any comparison as to size with London, Paris, or New York. I mean that
it was a large town for this part of Africa. It contained five or six
hundred men. The houses were quite small, and were all made of the bark
of trees; none of them had windows. They were nearly all of the same
size.

Strange to say, these Fans seemed to be very fond of music, and very
funny instruments they make use of. To hear some of their music would
make you laugh. They have not the slightest idea of what we consider
harmony in sound; but they evidently have a great liking for music
after their own notion. It is very much the same with their dancing.
They have not the slightest idea of the dances in use with us, such as
waltzes, galops, polkas, or quadrilles; and I am sure if they were to
see us dancing in our fashion, they would laugh quite as much as you
would laugh if you could see them capering in their uncouth style.

Like all the savage tribes of Africans, they are very fond of the
tom-tom, or drum. Those drums are of different sizes, but many are
from four to six feet in length, and about ten inches in diameter at
one end, but only six or seven at the other. The wood is hollowed out
quite thin, and skins of animals are stretched tightly over the ends.
The drummer holds the tom-tom slantingly between his legs; and, with
two sticks, he beats furiously upon the larger end of the drum, which
is held uppermost. Sometimes they beat upon it with their hands. The
people form a circle round the tom-tom, and dance and sing, keeping
time with it. They often invited me to hear them.

But now I am going to speak to you of a far more curious instrument.
It is called by these cannibals the handja; and I never saw it except
among their tribes.

Ndiayai was very fond of hearing the handja, and I often went to his
shed to hear someone play upon it. Sometimes, on these occasions,
Ndiayai would come out surrounded by Queen Mashumba and some of his
other wives, and listen for an hour or two to the music of the handja.

I give you a representation of the handja (_see_ p. 78), so you will
understand better when I describe it to you.

It consists of a light reed frame, about three feet long, and eighteen
inches wide, in which are set, and securely fastened, a number of
hollow gourds. The handja I saw contained seven gourds. These gourds
are covered by strips of a hard, red wood, found in the forest. These
gourds and cylinders, as you see, are of different sizes, so graduated
that they form a regular series of notes. Each gourd has a little hole
which is covered with a skin thinner than parchment. And what kind of
skin do you think it was? It was the skin of the very large spider
which abounds in that country, and from which I should not care to
receive a bite, it is so poisonous.

The performer sits down, with the frame across his knees, and strikes
the strips lightly with a stick. There are two sticks, one of hard
wood, the other of much softer wood. The instrument is played on the
same principle as a chime of bells, or an instrument used in France,
and which, perhaps, some of you have seen, composed of a series of
glasses. The tone of the handja is very clear and good, and though
their tunes were rude, they played them with considerable skill.

[Illustration: THE HANDJA.]

The Fans work iron better than any tribe I met with. They are very
good blacksmiths. Their warlike habits have made iron a very necessary
article to them. It is very plentiful in their mountainous country.

Before you is a picture of two Fan blacksmiths. Look at the curious
bellows they have. It is made of two short, hollow cylinders of wood,
surmounted by skins, very well fitted on, and having an appropriate
valve for letting in the air. As you see, the bellows-blower is on his
knees, moving down these coverings with great rapidity. There are two
small wooden pipes, connected with two iron tubes which go into the
fire.

The anvil, as you see in the picture, is a solid piece of iron. The
sharp end is stuck into the ground; and the blacksmith sits alongside
his anvil, and beats his iron with a singular-looking hammer, clumsy in
form, and with no handle; in fact it is merely made of a heavy piece of
iron.

The blacksmiths sometimes spend many days in making a battle-axe, knife
or spear. They make, also, their own cooking utensils and water-jugs.
These are of the shape you see in the picture before you. They also
make their own pipes, for they are great smokers. Some of their pipes
are not at all ungraceful in shape.

Besides the water-jug, they frequently use the calabash, as a vessel
to carry water in; and some of their calabashes are really pretty, and
very nicely ornamented. Some of the spoons, with which they eat their
human broth, are very beautiful. They are made of various woods, and
sometimes of ivory.

It is quite sickening to think what horrible people these Fans are!
Such inveterate cannibals are they, that they even eat the poor
wretches who die of disease. As I was talking to the king one day,
some Fans brought in a dead body, which they had bought or bartered
for, in a neighbouring town, and which was to be divided among them.
I could see that the man had died of some disease; for the body was
very lean. They came round it with their knives; and Ndiayai left me to
superintend the distribution. I could not stand this; and when I saw
them getting ready, I left the spot, and went to my hut. Afterwards, I
could hear them growing noisy over the division of their horrid spoil.

In fact, the Fans seem to be perfect ghouls. Those who live far in the
interior practise unblushingly their horrid custom of eating human
flesh. It appears they do not eat the dead of their own family, but
sell the corpse to some other clan, or make an agreement that when one
of their number dies they will return the body in exchange.

Until I saw these things I could not believe a story I had often heard
related among the Mpongwe tribe, which is as follows: A party of Fans
once came down to the seashore to view the ocean. While there, they
actually stole a freshly-buried body from the cemetery, and cooked and
ate it. Another body was taken by them and conveyed into the woods,
where they cut it up, and smoked the flesh. These acts created a great
excitement among the Mpongwes.

But you must not think that the Fans are continually eating human
flesh. They eat it when they can get it, but not every day. They kill
no one on purpose to be eaten.

One day Ndiayai took me to an Osheba town, the king of which tribe
was his friend; and let me tell you that the Oshebas were also great
man-eaters, like the Fans, whom they greatly resemble in appearance.
The chief of that Osheba village was called Bienbakay.

The Fans are the handsomest and most resolute-looking set of negroes
I have ever seen in the interior. Eating human flesh does not seem to
disagree with them, though I have since seen other Fan tribes whose men
had not the fine appearance of these mountaineers. Here, as everywhere
else, the character of the country doubtless has much to do with the
matter of bodily health and growth. These cannibals were living among
the mountains, and had come from still higher mountain regions, and
this accounts for their being so robust and hardy.

The strangest thing in connection with the Fans, next to their hideous
cannibalism, is their constant encroachments upon the land westward.
Year by year they have been advancing nearer to the sea. Town after
town has been settled by them on the banks of the Gaboon river. In
fact, they seem to be a conquering race, driving every other tribe
before them.

The colour of these people is dark brown rather than black. They feed
much upon manioc and the plantain. They have also two or three kinds of
yams, splendid sugar-cane, and squashes, all of which they cultivate
with considerable success. Manioc seemed to be the favourite food.
Enormous quantities of squashes are raised, chiefly for the seeds,
which, when pounded and prepared in their fashion, are much prized
by them, and I confess I relished this food myself. At a certain
season, when the squash is ripe, their villages seem covered with the
seeds, which everybody spreads out to dry. When dried they are packed
in leaves, and placed over the fireplaces in the smoke, to keep off
an insect which also feeds upon them. They are all suspended by a
cord, for, besides being infested by insects, they are subject to the
depredations of mice and rats, both of which are fond of them.

The process of preparation is very tedious. A portion of the seeds is
boiled, and each seed is divested of its skin; then the mass of pulp is
put into a rude wooden mortar and pounded, a vegetable oil being mixed
with it before it is cooked.

While on the subject of the food of the cannibals, I ought to mention
that they do not sell the bodies of their chiefs, kings, or great men;
these receive burial, and remain undisturbed. It is probable also that
they do not eat the corpses of people who die of special diseases.



[Illustration: NET-HUNTING.]

CHAPTER XI.

  JOURNEY TO YOONGOOLAPAY--HUNTING WITH NETS--THE TERRIBLE BASHIKONAY
  ANTS.


On my way to the seashore from the cannibal country, I had a good deal
of trouble. I had taken quite another route to come back; Mbéné and
his people left me on the banks of a river called the Noya, at the
village of a chief called Wanga. From there I pushed my way towards
Yoongoolapay, a village, whose chief is called Alapay. But before
reaching that place, we came one evening to a village called Ezongo.
The inhabitants, seeing our heavy loads, turned out with the greatest
amount of enthusiasm to receive me. Their ardour cooled somewhat when
they learned the contents of my packages, for they were the birds and
animals I had collected. The rascally chief, thinking I must place a
great value on things I had gone so far to get, determined to detain me
till I paid a heavy price to get away; and for a while things looked
as if I should have a good deal of trouble. The king, urged on by his
people, who seemed to be a greedy set of rascals, insisted on his
price, which would have left me empty-handed.

At last my Mbicho guides from the Noya tried to settle the matter. They
were wise enough to get the king to come to me with them alone. I gave
the rascal a coat and an old shirt, and I told him, what was literally
true, that I was very poor, and could not pay what his people wanted.
After this palaver he went out at once and harangued the turbulent
extortioners.

So I passed on safely to the village of my old friend, King Alapay,
whom I had known before, and who was very glad to see me again. He
asked me to stay some days; and being really worn out with constant
exposure, much anxiety, and frequent annoyance, I determined to do so.
His village is charmingly situated upon a high hill, which overlooks
the surrounding country, and has a beautiful stream skirting its base.
Moreover, I found the people very kind, peaceable, and hospitable.

A considerable number of independent Mbicho villages lay within a
circuit of a few miles, the inhabitants of which lived in great harmony
with one another, having prudently intermarried to such a degree
that they really constitute a large family. I was made welcome among
them all, and spent some very pleasant days in hunting with these
kind-hearted people, and particularly in that kind of sport called
by them _asheza_, or net-hunting, a practice very common among the
bakalai, who called it _ashinga_.

This singular sport is very much practised in this part of Africa; and,
as it is generally successful, it is a local amusement, and brings out
the best traits of the natives. I was always very fond of it.

The ashinga nets are generally made of the fibres of the bark of a
kind of tree, which are twisted into stout cords. They are from sixty
to eighty feet long, and four to five feet high; and every well-to-do
village owns at least one. But, as few villages have enough nets to
make a great spread, it generally happens that several unite in a grand
hunt, and divide the proceeds, the game caught in any particular net
falling to the share of its owners.

The first day we went out, the people of half a dozen villages met
together at an appointed place, the men of each bringing their nets.
Then we set out for a spot about ten miles off, where they had a
clearing in the dense woods, which had been used before, and was one of
their hunting-grounds. We moved along in silence, so as not to alarm
the animals which might be near our ground. The dogs--for dogs are used
in this hunt--were kept still, and close together.

Finally, we arrived on the ground, and the work of spreading the toils
began. Each party stretched a single net, tying it up by creepers to
the lower branches of trees. As all worked in the same direction, and
each took care to join his net to that of his neighbour, in a very
short time we had a line of netting running in a wide half circle, and
at least half a mile long.

This done, a party went out on each side, to guard against the chance
of escape, and the rest of us were ready to beat the bush. We started
at about a mile from the nets, and, standing about fifty yards from
each other, we advanced gradually, shouting and making all the noise we
could, at the same time keeping our arms in readiness to shoot or spear
down anything which might come in our way.

Though this very spot had been frequently used for net-hunting, and
was therefore better cleared than the neighbouring woods, yet we were
obliged to proceed almost step by step. Nearly every native carried,
besides his gun, a heavy cutlass or bill, with which it was necessary
literally to hew out a way, the vines and creepers making a network
which only the beasts of the forest could glide through without trouble.

As we advanced, so did the men that guarded the flanks; and thus our
party gradually closed round the prey. Presently we began to hear
shouts, but we could see nothing; and I could only hold my gun in
readiness and pray that my neighbours might not shoot me by mistake;
for they are fearfully reckless when on a chase.

The dogs had for some time been let loose. At last we came in sight of
the nets. We had caught a gazelle of very minute size, called _ncheri_.
It is a very graceful little animal, and would make a pretty pet,
though I have never seen one tamed. A large antelope also was brought
to bay, and shot before I came up; and another antelope, being shot at
and missed, rushed forward and got entangled in the net.

Having drawn this cover, we gathered up the nets and went off with the
dogs, who enjoyed the sport vastly, to try another place. After walking
about three-quarters of an hour we again spread our nets. Here we had
better luck, catching a considerable number of antelopes, gazelles, and
some smaller animals. It was pretty busy work for us. Nearly all the
animals got very much entangled, and the more they tried to get through
the nets the more they became bewildered.

Before breaking up, all the game caught was laid together, that all
might see it. And now I had an opportunity to notice the curious
little sharp-eared dogs, about a foot high, which had been so useful
in driving the animals into our toils. They stood looking at their
prizes with eager and hungry eyes. These dogs often go and hunt for
themselves; and it is no unusual thing for half-a-dozen dogs to drive
an antelope to the neighbourhood of their village, when their barking
arouses the hunters, who come out and kill their quarry.

It was almost dark when we returned to the village of Alapay. One
antelope was put aside for me, being a peculiar species which I wanted
to stuff; and the rest of the meat was immediately divided. The
villagers were delighted at our luck. We were all very hungry, and
cooking began at once. I could hardly wait for the dinner, which was
one worthy of an emperor's palate. It consisted of plantain, cooked in
various ways, and venison of the tenderest sort, stewed in lemon-juice,
and afterwards roasted on charcoal.

I was glad to go to bed early, for I felt very tired. I had travelled
during the day very nearly thirty miles.

But I had scarcely got sound asleep when I was fairly turned out of the
house by a furious attack of the Bashikonay ants. They were already
upon me when I jumped up, and I was bitten by them terribly. I ran out
into the street, and called for help and torches. The natives came out,
the lights were struck, and presently I was relieved. But now we found
that the whole village was attacked. A great army of ants was pouring
in on us, attracted doubtless by the meat in the houses, which they
had smelt afar off. My unfortunate antelope had probably brought them
to my door. All hands had to turn out to defend themselves. We built
little cordons of fires, which kept them away from places they had not
entered, and in this way protected our persons from their attacks.
We scattered hot ashes and boiling water right and left; and towards
morning, having eaten everything they could get at, they left us in
peace. As was to be expected, my antelope was literally eaten up--not a
morsel left.

The vast number, the sudden appearance, and the ferocity of these
frightful creatures never ceased to astonish me. On this occasion they
had come actually in millions. The antelope on which they fed was a
vast mass of living ants, which we could not approach; and it was only
when many fires were lighted that they were forced from their onward
and victorious course, which they generally pursue. Then, however,
they retreated in parties with the greatest regularity, vast numbers
remaining to complete the work of destruction. Little would I give for
the life of a man who should be tied up to a tree when these ants pass
that way and attack him; in two or three hours nothing would be left of
him but the bare bones.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: MANGROVE SWAMP. TUMBLING AND FALLING.]

CHAPTER XII.

  RETURNING TO THE COAST--CAVERNS AND WATERFALLS IN THE
  HIGHLANDS--CROSSING A RIVER ON MANGROVE ROOTS--STIRRING UP A BIG
  SNAKE--A MUTUAL SCARE.


I left the good villagers of Yoongoolapay, and pursued my way to the
seashore. On the route we came to a high ridge, or plateau. This was
the highest land I had seen between the Moonda and the Mani, and it is
probable that, if it had not been for the trees, I should have seen
the ocean very well. Along this ridge were strewn some of the most
extraordinary boulders I ever saw. These immense blocks of granite
covered the ground in every direction. Several of them were between
twenty and thirty feet high, and about fifty feet long.

Near the largest of these granite masses a huge rock rose some forty
or fifty feet out of the ground. I saw an opening in the solid rock,
leading to a fine large cavern. It had no doubt been made by the hands
of man; it was not of natural formation, for the entrance had evidently
been cut out of the solid rock by human beings; and now it was much
used by the natives as a house to stop in over night when they were
travelling to and fro. Its vast opening admits such a flood of sunlight
and air that it is not likely to be used as a lair for wild beasts. We
saw the remains of several fires inside, but I am bound to say we saw
also the tracks of leopards and other dangerous beasts on the outside,
for which reason I did not care to sleep there.

While exploring the cavern I thought several times I heard a trickling,
which was almost like the noise of rain, and which I had not noticed
before, probably on account of the great shouting of my men. But when
we got out I was surprised to find not a cloud in the sky. Turning
for an explanation to Alapay, he led me along a path, and as we went
forward the trickling noise gradually grew into the sound of rushing
waters. Presently we came to the edge of a steep declivity, and here I
saw before and around me a most charming landscape, the centre of which
was a most beautiful waterfall. A little stream, which meandered along
the slope of the plateau, and which had hitherto escaped our view, had
here worn its way through a vast granite block which barred its course.
Rushing through the narrow and almost circular hole in this block, it
fell in one silvery leap perpendicularly forty or fifty feet. The
lower level of the stream ran along between high, steep banks covered
with trees, the right bank being quite abrupt. It was a miniature
Niagara. Clear, sparkling, and pure as it could be, the water rushed
down to its pebbly bed--a sight so charming that I sat down for some
time and feasted my eyes upon it.

I then determined to have a view from below. After some difficult
climbing we got to the bottom, and there beheld, under the fall, a
large hole in the perpendicular face of the rock, which evidently
formed the mouth of a cavern. The opening of the cavern was partly
hidden by the waterfall, and was cut through solid rock. Between the
opening and the waterfall there were a few feet of clear space, so that
by going sideways one could make good his entrance into the cavern
without receiving a shower bath.

I determined to enter this cavern; but before venturing I went first
and tried to get a peep at the inside. It was so dark that I could
see nothing, so it was not very inviting. We lit torches; I took my
revolver and gun, and, accompanied by two men, who also were armed
with guns, we entered. How dark it was! Once inside, we excited
the astonishment of a vast number of huge vampire bats. There were
thousands and thousands of them. They came and fluttered around our
lights, threatening each moment to leave us in darkness, and the motion
of their wings filled the cavern with a dull thunderous or booming
roar. It really looked an awful place, and the dim light of our torches
gave to every shadow a fantastic form.

The cavern was rather rough inside. When we had advanced about one
hundred yards we came to a stream, or puddle of water, extending
entirely across the floor, and barring our way. My men, who had gone
thus far under protest, now desired to return, and urged me not to go
into the water. It might be very deep; it might be full of horrible
water snakes; all sorts of wild beasts might be beyond, and land snakes
also. At the word snake I hesitated, for I confess to a great dread
of serpents in the dark, or in a confined place, where a snake is
likely to get the advantage of a man. A cold shudder ran through me at
the thought that, once in the water, many snakes might come and swim
round me, and perhaps twist themselves about me as they do around the
branches of trees. So I paused and reflected.

While peering into the darkness beyond I thought I saw two eyes, like
bright sparks or coals of fire, gleaming savagely at us. Could it be
a leopard, or what? Without thinking of the consequences, I levelled
my gun at the shining objects and fired. The report, for a moment,
deafened us. Then came a redoubled rush of the great hideous bats.
It seemed to me that millions of these animals suddenly launched out
upon us from all parts of the surrounding gloom. Some of these got
caught in my clothes. Our torches were extinguished in an instant,
and, panic-stricken, we all made for the cavern's mouth. I had visions
of enraged snakes springing after and trying to catch me. We were all
glad to reach daylight once more, and nothing could have induced us to
try the darkness again. I confess that, though I think it takes a good
deal to frighten me, I did not at all relish remaining there in entire
darkness.

The scene outside was as charming as that within was hideous. I stood a
long time looking at one of the most beautiful landscapes I ever beheld
in Africa. It was certainly not grand, but extremely pretty. Before me,
the little stream whose fall over the cliff filled the forest with a
gentle murmur, resembling very much, as I have said, when far enough
off, the pattering of a shower of rain, ran along between steep banks,
the trees of which seemed to meet above it. Away down the valley we
could see its course, traced like a silver line over the plain, till it
was lost to our sight in a denser part of the forest.

I have often thought of these caverns since I saw them, and I have
regretted that I did not pay more attention to them. If I had made
my camp in the vicinity, and explored them and dug in them for days,
I think that I should have been amply rewarded for the trouble. At
that time I did not feel greatly interested in the subject. I had not
read the works of M. Boucher de Perthes and others, or heard that the
bones of animals now extinct had been discovered in caverns in several
parts of Europe, and that implements made of flint, such as axes,
sharp-pointed arrows, etc., etc., had been found in such places. If I
had excavated I might perhaps have found the remains of charcoal fires,
or other things, to prove that these caverns had been made by men who
lived in Africa long before the negro. I feel certain these caverns
must have been human habitations. I do not see how they could have been
made except by the hand of man.

On my last journey I thought once or twice of going to them from the
Fernand-Vaz, to explore and dig in them. I thought I might be rewarded
for labour by discovering the bones of unknown beasts, or of some
remains of primitive men.

These caverns are fortunately not far away from the sea--I should think
not more than ten or fifteen miles--and are situated between the Muni
and the Moonda rivers. Anyone desiring to explore them would easily
find the way to them. The cavern under the waterfall would be extremely
interesting to explore.

The valley itself was a pleasant wooded plain, which, it seemed, the
hand of man had not yet disturbed, and whence the song of birds, the
chatter of monkeys, and the hum of insects came up to us, now and then,
in a confusion of sounds very pleasant to the ear.

But I could not loiter long over this scene, being anxious to reach
the seashore. After we set off again we found ourselves continually
crossing or following elephant tracks, so we walked very cautiously,
expecting every moment to find ourselves face to face with a herd.

By-and-by the country became quite flat, the elephant tracks ceased,
and presently, as we neared a stream, we came to a mangrove swamp. It
was almost like seeing an old friend, or, I may say, an old enemy, for
the remembrances of mosquitoes, tedious navigation, and malaria which
the mangrove tree brought to my mind were by no means pleasant. It is
not very pleasant to be laid up with African fever, I assure you.

From a mangrove tree to a mangrove swamp and forest is but a step. They
never stand alone. Presently we stood once more on the banks of the
little stream, whose clear, pellucid water, had so charmed me a little
farther up the country. Now it was only a swamp, a mangrove swamp. Its
bed, no longer narrow, was spread over a flat of a mile, and the now
muddy water meandered slowly through an immense growth of mangroves,
whose roots extended entirely across, and met in the middle, where they
rose out of the mire and water like the folds of some vast serpent.

It was high tide. There was not a canoe to be had. To sleep on this
side, among the mangroves, was to be eaten up by the mosquitoes, which
bite much harder than those of America, for they can pierce through
your trousers and drawers. This was not a very pleasant anticipation,
but there seemed to be no alternative, and I had already made up
my mind that I should not be able to go to sleep. But my men were
not troubled at all with unpleasant anticipations. We were to cross
over, quite easily too, they said, on the roots which projected above
the water, and which lay from two to three feet apart, at irregular
distances.

It seemed a desperate venture, but they set out jumping like monkeys
from place to place, and I followed, expecting every moment to fall in
between the roots in the mud, there to be attacked, perhaps, by some
noxious reptile whose rest my fall would disturb. I had to take off
my shoes, whose thick soles made me more likely to slip. I gave all
my baggage, and guns, and pistols to the men, and then commenced a
journey, the like of which I hope never to take again. We were an hour
in getting across--an hour of continual jumps and hops, and holding on.
In the midst of it all a man behind me flopped into the mud, calling
out, "Omemba!" in a frightful voice.

Now, _omemba_ means snake. The poor fellow had put his hands on an
enormous black snake, and, feeling its cold, slimy scales, he let go
his hold and fell. All hands immediately began to run faster than
before, both on the right and the left. There was a general panic, and
every one began to shout and make all kinds of noises to frighten the
serpent. The poor animal also got badly scared, and began to crawl away
among the branches as fast as he could. Unfortunately his fright led
him directly towards me, and a general panic ensued. Everybody ran as
fast as he could to get out of danger. Another man fell into the mud
below, and added his cries to the general tumult. Two or three times I
was on the point of getting a mud bath myself, but I luckily escaped.
My feet were badly cut and bruised, but at last we were safe across,
and I breathed freely once more, as soon after I saw the deep blue
sea.

  [Illustration: SLAVE BARRACOONS. BURIAL GROUND.
                                      CHAP. XIII.]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XIII.

  CAPE LOPEZ AND AN OPEN PRAIRIE ONCE MORE--KING BANGO AND HIS THREE
  HUNDRED WIVES--HIS FIVE IDOLS--SLAVE BARRACOONS--THE CORPSE AND THE
  VULTURES.


Cape Lopez is a long sandy arm of land reaching out into the sea. As
you approach it from the ocean it has the appearance of overflowed
land. It is so low that the bushes and the trees growing on it seem,
from a distance seaward, to be set in the water.

The bay formed by Cape Lopez is about fourteen miles long. Among
several small streams which empty their water into it is the Nazareth
river, one of whose branches is the Fetich river. The bay has numerous
shallows and small islands, and abounds in all sorts of delicious fish.
On the cape itself many large turtles from the ocean come to lay their
eggs. I will tell you by-and-by what a nice time I had fishing at Cape
Lopez; but I have many other things to talk about before I come to
that.

I arrived at Cape Lopez one evening when it was almost dark. The next
morning I prepared myself for a visit to King Bango, the king of the
country. The royal palace is set up on a tolerably high hill, and
fronts the seashore. Between the foot of this hill and the sea there
is a beautiful prairie, over which are scattered the numerous little
villages called Sangatanga. I never tired of looking at this prairie.
I had lived so long in the gloomy forest that it gave me great delight
to see once more the green and sunlit verdure of an open meadow. I
found the royal palace surrounded by a little village of huts. As I
entered the village I was met by the _mafouga_, or officer of the king,
who conducted me to the palace. It was an ugly-looking house of two
stories, resting on pillars. The lower story consisted of a dark hall,
flanked on each side by rows of small dark rooms, which looked like
little cells. At the end of the hall was a staircase, steep and dirty,
up which the mafouga piloted me. When I had ascended the stairs I found
myself in a large room, at one end of which was seated the great King
Bango, who claims to be the greatest chief of this part of Africa. He
was surrounded by about one hundred of his wives.

King Bango was fat, and seemed not over clean. He wore a shirt and
an old pair of pantaloons. On his head was a crown, which had been
presented to him by some of his friends, the Portuguese slavers. Over
his shoulders he wore a flaming yellow coat, with gilt embroidery, the
cast-off garment of some rich man's lacquey in Portugal or Brazil. When
I speak of a crown you must not think it was a wonderful thing, made
of gold and mounted with diamonds. It was shaped like those commonly
worn by actors on the stage, and was probably worth, when new, about
ten dollars. His majesty had put round it a circlet of pure gold, made
with the doubloons he got in exchange for slaves. He sat on a sofa, for
he was paralyzed; and in his hand he held a cane, which also answered
the purpose of a sceptre.

This King Bango, whom I have described so minutely, was the greatest
slave king of that part of the coast. At that time there were large
slave depôts on his territory. He is a perfect despot, and is much
feared by his people. He is also very superstitious.

Though very proud, he received me kindly, for I had come recommended by
his great friend, Rompochombo, a king of the Mpongwe tribe. He asked
me how I liked his wives. I said, very well. He then said there were a
hundred present, and that he had twice as many more, three hundred in
all. Fancy three hundred wives! He also claimed to have more than six
hundred children. I wonder if all these brothers and sisters could know
and recognise each other!

The next night a great ball was given in my honour by the king. The
room where I had been received was the ball-room. I arrived there
shortly after dark, and I found about one hundred and fifty of the
king's wives, and I was told that the best dancers of the country were
there.

I wish you could have seen the room. It was ugly enough; there were
several torches to light it; but, notwithstanding these, the room was
by no means brilliantly illuminated. The king wanted only his wives
to dance before me. During the whole of the evening not a single man
took part in the performance; but two of his daughters were ordered to
dance, and he wanted me to marry one of them.

Not far from the royal palace were three curious and very small houses,
wherein were deposited five idols, which were reputed to have far
greater power and knowledge than the idols or gods of the surrounding
countries. They were thought to be the great protectors of the Oroungou
tribe, and particularly of Sangatanga and of the king. So I got a peep
inside the first house. There I saw the idol called Pangeo; he was made
of wood, and looked very ugly; by his side was his wife Aleka, another
wooden idol. Pangeo takes care of the king, and of his people, and
watches over them at night.

I peeped also into the second little house. There I saw a large idol,
called Makambi, shaped like a man, and by his side stood a female
figure, Abiala his wife. Poor Makambi is a powerless god, his wife
having usurped the power. She holds a pistol in her hand, with which,
it is supposed, she can kill anyone she pleases; hence the natives are
much afraid of her; and she receives from them a constant supply of
food, and many presents (I wonder who takes the presents away). When
they fall sick, they dance around her, and implore her to make them
well; for these poor heathen never pray to the true God. They put their
trust in wooden images, the work of their own hands.

I looked into the third house, and there I saw an idol called Numba.
He had no wife with him, being a bachelor deity. He is the Oroungou
Neptune and Mercury in one--Neptune in ruling the waves, and Mercury in
keeping off the evils which threaten from beyond the sea.

As I came away after seeing the king, I shot at a bird sitting upon a
tree, but missed it, for I had been taking quinine and was nervous. But
the negroes standing around at once proclaimed that this was a "fetich
bird,"--a sacred bird--and therefore I could not shoot it, even if I
fired at it a hundred times.

I fired again, but with no better success. Hereupon they grew
triumphant in their declarations; while I, loth to let the devil have
so good a witness, loaded again, took careful aim, and, to my own
satisfaction and their utter dismay, brought my bird down.

During my stay in the village, as I was one day out shooting birds in a
grove, not far from my house, I saw a procession of slaves coming from
one of the barracoons toward the farther end of my grove. As they came
nearer, I saw that two gangs of six slaves each, all chained about the
neck, were carrying a burden between them, which I knew presently to
be the corpse of another slave. They bore it to the edge of the grove,
about three hundred yards from my house; and, throwing it down there
on the bare ground, they returned to their prison, accompanied by the
overseer, who, with his whip, had marched behind them.

"Here, then, is the burying-ground of the barracoons," I said to myself
sadly, thinking, I confess, of the poor fellow who had been dragged
away from his home and friends; who, perhaps, had been sold by his
father or relatives to die here and be thrown out as food for the
vultures. Even as I stood wrapped in thought, these carrion birds were
assembling, and began to darken the air above my head; ere long they
were heard fighting over the corpse.

The grove, which was, in fact, but an African Aceldama, was beautiful
to view from my house; and I had often resolved to explore it, or to
rest in the shade of its dark-leaved trees. It seemed a ghastly place
enough now as I approached it more closely. The vultures fled when they
saw me, but flew only a little way, and then perched upon the lower
branches of the surrounding trees, and watched me with eyes askance,
as though fearful I should rob them of their prey. As I walked towards
the corpse, I felt something crack under my feet. Looking down, I saw
that I was already in the midst of a field of skulls and bones. I had
inadvertently stepped upon the skeleton of some poor creature who had
been lying here long enough for the birds and ants to pick his bones
clean, and for the rains to bleach them. I think there must have been
the relics of a thousand skeletons within sight. The place had been
used for many years; and the mortality in the barracoons is sometimes
frightful, in spite of the care they seem to take of their slaves.
Here their bodies were thrown, and here the vultures found their daily
carrion. The grass had just been burnt, and the white bones scattered
everywhere, gave the ground a singular, and, when the cause was known,
a frightful appearance. Penetrating farther into the bush, I found
several great piles of bones. This was the place, years ago--when
Cape Lopez was one of the great slave markets on the West Coast, and
barracoons were more numerous than they are now--where the poor dead
were thrown, one upon another, till even the mouldering bones remained
in high piles, as monuments of the nefarious traffic. Such was the
burial-ground of the poor slaves from the interior of Africa.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: EMBARKING SLAVES.]

CHAPTER XIV.

  SLAVE BARRACOONS--A BIG SNAKE UNDER MY BED--A SLAVE SHIP OFF THE
  COAST.


One day I passed by an immense enclosure, protected by a fence of
palisades about twelve feet high, and sharp-pointed at the top. Passing
through the gate, which was standing open, I found myself in the midst
of a large collection of shanties, surrounded by shady trees, under
which were lying, in various positions, a great many negroes. As I
walked round, I saw that the men were fastened, six together, by a
little stout chain, which passed through a collar secured about the
neck of each. Here and there were buckets of water for the men to
drink; and they being chained together, when one of the six wanted to
drink, the others had to go with him.

Then I came to a yard full of women and children. These could roam at
pleasure through their yard. No men were admitted there. These people
could not all understand each other's language; and you may probably
wish to know who they were. They were Africans belonging to various
tribes, who had been sold, some by their parents or by their families;
others by the people of their villages. Some had been sold on account
of witchcraft; but there were many other excuses for the traffic. They
would find suddenly that a boy or girl was "dull," and so forth, and
must be sold. Many of them came from countries far distant.

Some were quite merry; others appeared to be very sad, thinking that
they were bought to be eaten up. They believed that the white men
beyond the seas were great cannibals, and that they were to be fattened
first and then eaten. In the interior, one day, a chief ordered a slave
to be killed for my dinner, and I barely succeeded in preventing the
poor wretch from being put to death. I could hardly make the chief
believe that I did not, in my own country, live on human flesh.

Under some of the trees were huge caldrons, in which beans and rice
were cooking for the slaves; and others had dried fish to eat. In the
evening they were put into large sheds for the night. One of the sheds
was used as a hospital.

In the midst of all this stood the white man's house--yes, the white
man's house!--and in it were white men whose only business was to buy
these poor creatures from the Oroungou people!

After I had seen everything, I left the barracoon--for that is the name
given to such a place as I have just described. I wandered about, and
it was dark before I returned to the little bamboo house which the king
had given me. I got in, and then, striking a match carefully, I lighted
a torch, so that I might not go to bed in darkness. You may smile when
I say bed, for my couch was far from bearing any resemblance to our
beds at home, with mattresses and pillows, and sheets and blankets.
Travellers in equatorial Africa are utter strangers to such luxuries.

After I had lighted the torch, I cast my eyes round to see if anything
had been disturbed; for a thief, so disposed, could easily break into
these houses. I noticed something glittering and shining under my
akoko, or bedstead. The object was so still that I did not pay any
attention to it; in fact, I could not see it well by the dim light of
the torch. But when I approached the bed to arrange it, I saw that the
glitter was produced by the shining scales of an enormous serpent,
which lay quietly coiled up there within two feet of me. What was I
to do? I had fastened my door with ropes. If the snake were to uncoil
itself and move about, it might, perhaps, take a spring and wind itself
about me, quietly squeeze me to death, and then swallow me as he would
a gazelle. These were not comforting thoughts. I was afraid to cry out
for fear of disturbing the snake, which appeared to be asleep. Besides,
no one could get in, as I had barricaded the only entrance, so I went
quietly and unfastened the door. When everything was ready for a safe
retreat, I said to myself, "I had better try to kill it." Then, looking
for my guns, I saw, to my utter horror, that they were set against the
wall at the back of the bed, so that the snake was between me and them.
After watching the snake intently, and thinking what to do, I resolved
to get my gun; so, keeping the door in my rear open, in readiness for
a speedy retreat at the first sign of life in the snake, I approached
on tip-toe, and, in a twinkling of an eye, grasped the gun which was
loaded heavily with large shot. How relieved I felt at that moment!
I was no longer the same man. Fortunately, the snake did not move.
With my gun in one hand I went again towards the reptile, and, fairly
placing the muzzle of the gun against it, I fired, and then ran out of
the house as fast as I could.

At the noise of the gun there was a rush of negroes from all sides
to know what was the matter. They thought some one had shot a man,
and run into my house to hide himself; so they all rushed into it,
helter-skelter; but I need not tell you they rushed out just as fast,
on finding a great snake writhing about on the floor. Some had trodden
upon it and been frightened out of their wits. You have no idea how
they roared and shouted; but no one appeared disposed to enter the
house again, so I went in cautiously myself to see how matters stood,
for I did not intend to give undisputed possession of my hut so easily
to Mr. Snake. I entered and looked cautiously around. The dim light
of the torch helped me a little, and there I saw the snake on the
ground. Its body had been cut in two by the discharge, and both ends
were now flapping about the floor. At first I thought these ends were
two snakes, and I did not know what to make of it; but as soon as I
perceived my mistake, I gave a heavy blow with a stick on the head
of the horrible creature, and finished it. Then I saw it disgorge a
duck--a whole duck--and such a long duck! It looked like an enormous
long-feathered sausage. After eating the duck, the snake thought my
bedroom was just the place for him to go to sleep in and digest his
meal; for snakes, after a hearty meal, always fall into a state of
torpor. It was a large python, and it measured--would you believe
it?--eighteen feet. Fancy my situation if this fellow had sprung upon
me and coiled round me! It would soon have been all over with me. I
wonder how long it would have taken to digest me, had I been swallowed
by the monster!

One fine day, while walking on the beach of this inhospitable shore,
I spied a vessel. It approached nearer and nearer, and at last ran in
and hove-to a few miles from the shore. Immediately I observed a gang
of slaves rapidly driven down from one of the barracoons. I stood and
watched. The men were still in gangs of six, but they had been washed,
and each had a clean cloth on. The canoes were immense boats, with
twenty-six paddles, and about sixty slaves each. The poor slaves seemed
much terrified. They had never been on the rough water before, and they
did not know what that dancing motion of the sea was. Then they were
being taken away, they knew not whither. As they skimmed over the waves
and rolled, now one way, now another, they must have thought their last
day had come, and that they were to be consigned to a watery grave.

I was glad that these poor creatures could not see me, for I was hidden
from their view by trees and bushes. I felt ashamed of myself--I
actually felt ashamed of being a white man! Happily, such scenes are
rarely if ever witnessed nowadays, and the slave trade will soon belong
to the past.

Two hours afterwards, the vessel, with a cargo of six hundred slaves,
was on her way to Cuba.



[Illustration: THE GAZELLE.]

CHAPTER XV.

  GOING INTO THE INTERIOR--SLEEPING WITH THE KING'S RATS--THE
  CHIMPANZEE--KILL A GAZELLE--TOO COLD TO SLEEP--THE GREY PARTRIDGE.


After this I went again to visit King Bango, and was announced to his
Majesty by his great mafouga. I had an important object in paying this
visit. I wished to ask the king to permit me to go into the interior
and to spare me some people to show me the way.

Bango liked me, though I had declined to marry one of his beautiful
daughters. So he granted my request, and gave me twenty-five men, some
of whom were reputed great hunters in that country. They had killed
many elephants and brought all the ivory to their king. They were the
providers of the royal table, and passed their lives in the hunt and in
the forest.

We made great preparations for the chase, for game was said to be
plentiful. We were to encamp many days in the forest, and to have a
jolly time, and a hard time, too, for the hunter's life is not an easy
one. I was invited by the king to sleep in his palace, so that the
next day I might start early; so I was led to my bedroom by the great
mafouga. It was so dirty and gloomy that I wished myself fast asleep
under a tree in the forest. I looked around, thinking that perhaps
the king wanted to get rid of me, and had invited me there to have me
murdered; but finding nothing suspicious, I concluded that old King
Bango had never entertained such ideas, and I felt vexed at myself for
having such thoughts on my mind. Then I extinguished the light and
lay down on the royal couch. I had scarcely lain down when I began to
hear a strange noise. At first I did not know what it meant. The noise
in the room increased. What could it be? I tried to see through the
darkness, but could distinguish nothing. Just then I felt something
getting under my blanket. Confounded, I jumped up, not knowing what
it might be. It was an enormous rat. As soon as I got up, I heard a
perfect scrambling of rats going back where they came from, and then
all became silent. I lay down on the bed again and tried to sleep,
but in vain, on account of the assaults and gambols of the rats, of
which there was a prodigious number. They seemed inclined to dispute
possession of my room with me. They were continually on my bed, and
running over my face. I soon got quite enough of the royal palace.
I wished I had never come into it. But it was an excellent place
for getting up early. No sooner had the morning twilight made its
appearance than I rose and called my men together; and, though we could
hardly see, we set out at once on the march.

I went in advance with Aboko, my head man, and Niamkala, the next best
man, at my side. Both these men were great hunters, and had spent
the principal part of their lives in the woods. They seemed really
like men of the woods, so very wild were their looks. Aboko was a
short, somewhat stout man; very black, and extremely muscular, very
flat-nosed, and with big thick lips. His eyes were large and cunning,
and seemed to wander about; his body bore marks of many scratches from
thorny trees and briars; his legs displayed great strength. Niamkala,
on the contrary, was tall and slender, not very dark; he had sharp
piercing eyes, and seemed to be continually looking after something.
Both were first-rate elephant hunters.

Aboko, Niamkala, and I became great friends, for we were all three
hunters, and loved the woods.

Our way led through some beautiful prairies, each surrounded by dark
forests, and seeming like natural gardens planted in this great woody
wilderness. The country was really lovely. The surface was mostly
rolling prairie, with a light sandy soil. The highest hills often broke
into abrupt precipices, on which we would come suddenly; and if any of
us had tumbled down to the bottom, he would never have been heard of
again. The woods are the safe retreat of the elephant. Great herds of
buffaloes are found there, also antelopes, which go out into the great
grass fields by night to play and feed. Leopards are also abundant.

I was much pleased to be able to travel in an open space, and not
always through the dark forest The breeze fanned our faces as we went
onward. Presently we saw the footprints of huge elephants and of wild
buffaloes. Friend Aboko now warned us to look sharp, for we were sure
to see game. Sure enough, he had hardly spoken when we saw a bull
standing, deer-like, upon the edge of the wood, watching us, I suppose,
and no doubt greatly puzzled to make out what kind of animals we were.
He stood for some minutes, safe out of range, and then turned into the
woods, evidently not liking our appearance. We ran around to intercept
him; and I waited at one pass in the woods, for Aboko to go clear
around and drive the bull towards me.

I was waiting, when suddenly I saw something approaching me out of
the deep gloom of the forest. I thought it was Aboko coming towards
me, and I waited anxiously for news. I did not say a word for fear of
frightening the game that might be near us. The object came nearer
and nearer to me, till I thought I could recognise Aboko's dark
face distinctly through the foliage. I stood with my gun resting on
the ground, when suddenly I heard a shrill scream, and then what I
thought to be Aboko turned and ran back into the woods, showing a
broad, big hairy body. It was one of the wild men of the woods--the
chimpanzee--and a big one it was, I assure you.

How glad I was to have seen this wild man of the woods! For a few
minutes I felt so astonished that I did not move. His black face
certainly did look very much like that of an African, so much so that,
as I have already said, I took the chimpanzee to be Aboko.

By-and-by the real Aboko made his appearance. This time there was no
illusion, and we had a good laugh over my mistake. I felt quite vexed
that I had not shot the chimpanzee. I should have liked so much to
look at the animal closely. But I felt it was almost like shooting a
man.

We left the woods, and started once more for the interior. We had not
been long on our way when I spied a gazelle right in the middle of
the prairie. How could one approach it without being seen? for the
grass was short. We wanted very much to kill it, for we had not killed
anything yet; and what were we to have for our dinner and supper? No
one likes to go without dinner, especially when working hard. Aboko,
Niamkala, and I held a council. We lay down flat on the ground for fear
of being seen; and finally it was agreed that I should go towards the
gazelle with my long range gun and shoot it if I could. So I started.
I almost crawled, now and then raising my head just to the level of
the grass, to see if the animal was still there. When I thought I was
near enough, I quietly lay down flat on the ground and rested my gun
on an ant-hill that looked like a mushroom. Taking careful aim at the
unsuspicious animal I fired, and down it tumbled, to my great delight.
Aboko and Niamkala, who had been watching afar off, came rushing and
shouting, their faces beaming with joy. The prospect of a good dinner
cheered them up.

Others of the party soon joined us. The gazelle was cut upon the spot,
and we continued our journey till we came to a beautiful little stream,
which was too deep to be forded. A huge tree had been felled, and we
crossed to the other side on it, though it was hard work. I assure you
I thought once or twice I should have tumbled into the water.

At sunset we stopped, quite tired out. We made our camp in the midst of
the prairie in order to have the nice grass to lie upon. It was the dry
season, and we were not afraid of getting wet. The people went into
the nearest forest and collected an immense quantity of firewood, not a
difficult task, as so many dead limbs were lying on the ground.

We lighted a great many large fires, which blazed up fiercely, for the
wind blew hard. The country around was illuminated, and the glare of
our fires must have been seen a long way off. We took our dinner and
supper at the same time. I roasted my own share of the gazelle myself;
I put a piece of stick through the flesh and laid the skewer across two
forked sticks, which I fixed in the ground on each side of the fire. I
longed for some lard to baste the roasting meat, but I was thankful for
the good dinner I had, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had a little bit
of salt to eat with it, and also some nice cayenne pepper.

My men also seemed to enjoy their meal very much, for they had meat to
their heart's content; and these negroes are very gluttonous generally.
It was laughable to see how lazily we lay around on the grass by our
fires; some were smoking, others tried to sleep, while others told
stories; but we all tried to warm ourselves, and kept continually
adding fuel to the already bright fires.

The night was clear and almost frosty. The stars shone brilliantly
above our heads, and it was bright moonlight. It became so windy and
cold that we regretted we had not encamped by the forest, where we
should have been sheltered from the wind. It was too cold to sleep,
even with my blanket; and my poor men, who had no blankets, were
shivering around the fires.

So at two o'clock in the morning I ordered the men to get up. A couple
of hours' sharp walking brought us to a thick wood, and there we were
sheltered. We quickly made up one very large fire, big enough for all
of us, and stretched ourselves pell-mell around it for a short nap.
We were so tired that we soon fell asleep, not caring for leopards
or anything else. We were awakened by the cry of the grey partridge
(_Francolinus squamatus_), called _quani_ by the natives.

I will now say a word about these partridges. Unlike our partridges,
they perch on trees. When evening comes, the old cock perches himself
first, and calls the flock together. They all settle near each other.
In the morning, before daylight, they begin to cluck; and it was
this noise that we heard. They do not sleep on the ground, like our
partridges, because there are too many snakes crawling about, and too
many carnivorous animals.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: AFTER DINNER.]

CHAPTER XVI.

  THE HIPPOPOTAMUS--A SPECK OF WAR--REACH NGOLA--A SUNDAY TALK--THE
  BLACK MAN'S GOD AND THE WHITE MAN'S GOD--HOW KING NJAMBAI PUNISHED
  HIS WIFE--WE BUILD AN OLAKO IN THE WOODS.


Sunrise found us under way again; and before us lay a fine stretch of
prairie, on the farther borders of which were quietly grazing several
herds of buffaloes, which, as we approached them, quickly ran into the
woods. While they remained in sight they gave the country a civilized
appearance; it looked like a large grazing farm in June, with cattle,
and hay almost ready for harvest; a fine, quiet, old-country picture
here in the wilds of Africa, that reminded me so much of home scenes
that I felt happy and elated.

We pushed on rapidly in order to travel as far as possible before the
heat of the day should set in. We came to a large pool or lakelet; and,
while looking at the water, I suddenly saw something strange coming
out from under its surface. It was a hippopotamus--the first I had
seen. I thought it was a log of wood; then I fancied it was the head
of a horse; for certainly, from a distance, the head of a hippopotamus
looks like that of a horse. Then I heard a great grunt, and down went
the head under the water. Suddenly a number of the animals made their
appearance; there were at least a dozen of them. They began sporting
in the water, now popping their huge heads out and snorting, and then
diving to the bottom and remaining there for some time.

I watched them for a while, and then I took my gun, intending to send
a bullet into the head of one and haul him ashore; but Aboko said they
would sink to the bottom. Not wishing to kill one of these creatures
for nothing, I took Aboko's advice, and we went away.

We had not met a single human being since we left Sangatanga till now.
As we journeyed, I saw in the distance what I at first took to be a
herd of buffaloes, but soon perceived it was a caravan of natives
coming in our direction. Immediately we looked at our guns; for in this
country there is no law, and every man's hand is against his brother.
We saw that they, too, prepared for an encounter; that most of them hid
in the grass, watching. Four fellows came towards us to reconnoitre,
and to ask if it was peace or war, when suddenly they got a glimpse
of me, and I do not know how, but they at once saw, from the fact of
my being there, that there would be no war. They shouted to their
companions to come and see the Otangani.

They were Shekianis, who, as I have said, are a very warlike people,
and this part of the country, I was told, was thickly inhabited by
them. We left them in the midst of their wonders, and travelled as fast
as we could, for we wanted to reach a village of their tribe, named
Ngola, whose chief was a friend of King Bango, and was his vassal,
having married one of his daughters.

At last, after much travelling, we reached the village of Ngola. As
we approached, and as soon as the women caught sight of me, they ran
screaming into the houses. Njambai, the chief, received us very kindly,
and gave me a house to live in.

Ngola was a very pretty village, and the house I lived in belonged
to Shinshooko, the brother of the chief. You will agree with me that
Shinshooko had a funny name. He was a worthy fellow, and tolerably
honest, too, for he gave me the key of one of his doors--(I wonder
where he got the old padlock that was on it)--and he recommended me
to shut my door every time I went away, as the people might steal
something.

Sunday came; I remained in the village. They all understood the
Oroungou language so I could speak to them. I told them there was no
such thing as witchcraft, and that it was very wrong to accuse people
of it and kill them; that there was only one God, who made both the
whites and the blacks, and we should all love Him. This elicited only
grunts of surprise and incredulity. They all shouted that there were
two gods,--the God of the _Ntangani_ (white men) and the God of the
_Alombai_ (black men). The God of the black men had never given them
anything, while the God of the white men had sent them guns, powder,
and many other fine things. Then Shinshooko remarked, "You have rivers
of _alongon_ (rum) flowing through your land. When I go to Sangatanga I
taste it at King Bango's; how much I should like to live on the banks
of such rivers!" They would not believe that we had only rivers of
water like theirs; and that we ourselves made our powder, and guns, and
rum also.

I stayed for a few days in the village of Ngola, where the people were
very kind to me. One day I heard a woman crying out, as if she were
in great pain. Asking what was the matter, a man told me the king was
punishing one of his wives; and others said that, if I did not go to
her help, she might be killed. I hurried to the king's house, and
there, in front of the verandah, a spectacle met my eyes, which froze
my blood with horror. A woman was tied by the middle to a stout stake
driven into the ground. Her legs were stretched out and fastened to
other smaller stakes, and stout cords were bound round her neck, waist,
ankles, and wrists. These cords were being twisted with sticks; and
when I arrived the skin was bursting from the terrible compression. The
poor woman looked at me. The king was in a perfect rage; he himself
was the chief executioner. His eyes were blood-shot, and his lips were
white with foam. I had to be careful in expostulating with the king,
for fear that he might kill her at once, in a fit of rage. I walked up,
and, taking him by the arm, I asked him for my sake to release the poor
woman, and not to kill her. He seemed to hesitate; he did not answer,
and went into his house. I threatened to leave if he did not release
her. Finally he consented, and said: "Let her loose yourself; I give
her to you."

How glad I was! I rushed out immediately and began to untie the savage
cords, and to cut them away with my knife. The poor creature was
covered with blood. I sent her to my house and took care of her. I
learned that she had stolen some of her husband's beads.

After this, I left the Shekiani village of Ngola and went on my journey
with my friends, Aboko and Niamkala. We travelled on, till, on reaching
a place in the midst of a forest, not far from a little lake, we
determined to build an olako; for I liked the country so much that I
did not want to leave it. There were a great many wild animals in the
neighbourhood, and we thought the place was likely to afford us good
sport, especially as the lake would draw beasts down to its banks to
drink. We were not only near water, but we had a wide stretch of forest
and prairie-land about us. We worked very hard that day, building
and arranging our encampment, in such a way as to make everything
comfortable and secure. Of course we selected the prettiest part of
the forest, and where there were many tall and shady trees. We first
cut the underbrush from under the trees, and also many of the vines or
creepers, which looked very singular as they hung down over our heads.
Then we collected a great number of large leaves, which are called by
some tribes _shayshayray_ and _guaygayrai_, to roof our sheds with.
After this we proceeded to cut a number of small sticks, seven or eight
feet long, and began to construct our habitations. Then we cut branches
of trees to shield us from the wind, and collected a great quantity of
firewood, for we had made up our minds to keep ourselves warm. After we
had arranged and lighted the fires, our camp looked quite like a little
village. It was very romantic and beautiful. I had arranged my own
shelter very nicely; and it was first in the row. To be sure, my bed
was rather hard, being composed of sticks and leafy branches; while for
a pillow I had merely a piece of wood.

In the midst of our work, ten slaves of Njambai came, laden with
provisions, which the good fellow had sent after me. After doing a hard
day's work, I think we deserved to rest comfortably in the evening. We
began cooking our dinner; and a right good dinner it was. My men had
monkey and buffalo-meat; but I had a nice fat fowl, which my friend
Njambai had sent me.

Before dinner I warned my men to be honest, and keep their fingers
at home. They were good fellows, but I found that all savages will
steal. So I threatened to kill the first man I caught meddling with my
property, and told them I would shoot without mercy; "and then," said
I, with great sternness, "when I have blown your brains out, I will
settle the matter with your king." To which Aboko coolly replied that
the settlement was not likely to do them any particular good.

Of course they all protested that they were honest; but I knew them
better than they knew themselves; I knew the effect of temptation on
them, poor fellows! and had more confidence in their faith that I would
kill the thief than I had in their good resolutions.

When this little matter was settled, they drew around the blazing fire.
By this time, the buffalo-meat suspended in a huge kettle over the
fire was cooked and ready to be eaten; the monkeys had been roasted
on charcoal; my fowl had been cooked; and before us was a great pile
of roasted plantain. We enjoyed a hearty meal together; I eating off
a plate, and using a fork, while the black fellows took fresh leaves
for plates, and used the "black man's fork," as they call their five
fingers. After dinner, they drank a large calabash-full of palm wine
that had been brought from Ngola; and then, to crown their feast, with
the greatest delight of all, I went to one of my boxes, and, lifting
the lid, while the shining black faces peered at me with saucer-eyes of
expectation, I took out a huge plug of Kentucky tobacco. There was a
wild hurrah of joy from them all. They shouted that I was their friend;
they loved only me; they would go with nobody else; I was their good
spirit; I was like one of themselves. I distributed the tobacco among
them; and in a few minutes all were lying about the fire, or seated
round it, with their pipes in their mouths.

After making the fire burn brightly I, being tired, went and lay
down, as you see me in the picture. My blanket was the only article
of bedding I had; I wrapped this around me, and rested my head on my
wooden pillow, which I assure you was not of the softest kind. I felt
pleased to see my men so contented. Their wild stories of hunting
adventures, of witchcraft, and evil spirits well fitted the rude,
picturesque surroundings; and they lay there talking away, till, at
last, I was obliged to remind them that it was one o'clock, and time to
go to sleep, especially as some of us were to get up very early and go
hunting. Then all became silent, and soon we all fell asleep, except
the men appointed to keep the fires bright, on account of the leopards,
and also to watch that we might not be surprised by some enemy.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: A LEOPARD AND HER YOUNG ONE.]

CHAPTER XVII.

  AN UNSUCCESSFUL HUNT FOR ELEPHANTS--I TAKE AIM AT A BUFFALO--A
  LEOPARD IN THE GRASS NEAR US--WE SHOOT THE LEOPARD AND HER
  KITTEN--GREAT REJOICING IN CAMP--WHO SHALL HAVE THE TAIL?--A
  QUARREL OVER THE BRAINS--THE GUINEA HENS--THE MONKEYS.


Early the next morning, Aboko and I got up. Aboko covered himself with
his war fetiches, and also with the fetiches that were to bring good
luck, and give him a steady hand. On the middle of his forehead was a
yellow spot made with clay. When he had finished these preparations we
started.

Our desire was to kill elephants. We saw plenty of tracks, and we
hunted all day long. In many places, to judge by the tracks, the
elephants had been only an hour or two before ourselves. But we did not
see a single elephant, and I killed only a few monkeys for my men's
dinner, as well as a few birds.

We were returning to the camp, rather down-hearted, when I heard the
cry of the grey male partridge, of which I have already spoken, calling
for his mates to come and perch on the tree he had chosen. We turned
back to get a shot, if possible, for they are fine eating. We were
just on the edge of the forest; and, as I pushed out into the prairie,
suddenly I saw several buffaloes, one of which I made sure of as he
stood a little in advance of the rest, where the grass was high enough
for a stealthy approach. I immediately put a ball into the barrel that
had only shot, so that I might have my two barrels loaded with bullets.
Then Aboko and I advanced slowly towards the unconscious bull, which
stood a fair mark, and I was about to raise my gun when Aboko made a
quick sign to hold still and listen. Aboko, at the same time, breathed
as if he were smelling something.

I did not know why it was that Aboko had stopped me, but I knew there
must be better game at hand, or some other good reason for his doing
so. Perhaps he had heard the footstep of an elephant. I looked at his
face, and saw that it appeared anxious.

As we stood perfectly motionless, I heard, at apparently a little
distance before us, a low purring sound, which might have been taken,
by a careless ear, for the sound of the wind passing through the grass.
But to Aboko's quick ear it betokened something else. His face grew
very earnest, and he whispered to me "Njego" (leopard).

What were we to do? The noise continued. We cocked our guns, and moved,
slowly and cautiously, a few steps ahead, to get a position where we
thought we might see over the grass. The leopard might pounce upon
us at any moment. What would prevent him from doing so if he chose?
Certainly not our guns, for we did not know exactly where the beast
was. To tell you the truth, I did not feel comfortable at all; I had
a slight objection to being carried away in the jaws of a leopard and
devoured in the woods.

Our situation was far from being a pleasant one. The leopard comes out
generally by night only, and nothing but extreme hunger will bring him
out of his lair in open day. When he is hungry, he is also unusually
savage, and very quick in his motions.

We knew the animal was near, but we could not succeed in getting a
sight of him. As the wind blew from him towards us, I perceived plainly
a strong peculiar odour which this animal gives out; and this fact
proved, still more decidedly, that the leopard could not be far off.
The thought passed through my mind: Is he watching us? Is he coming
towards us--crouching like a cat on the ground, and ready to spring
upon us when near enough? Do his eyes penetrate the grass which we
cannot see through? If so, is he ready to spring?

Meantime our buffalo-bull stood stupidly before his herd, not twenty
yards from us, utterly innocent of the presence of so many of his
formidable enemies--the leopard, Aboko, and myself.

Just then we moved a little to one side, and, peering through an
opening in the grass, I beheld an immense leopard, a female, with a
tiny young leopard by her side. The beast saw us at the same moment,
having turned her head quickly at some slight noise we made. She had
been watching the buffalo so intently as not to notice our approach. It
seemed to me as if a curious look of indecision passed over her face.
She, too, had more game than she had looked for, and was puzzled which
to attack first. Her long tail swished from side to side, and her eyes
glared, as she hesitated for a moment to decide which of the three--the
bull, Aboko, or me--to pounce upon and make her victim.

But I saved her the trouble of making up her mind; for, in far less
time than it takes me to tell you what took place, I had put a ball
into her head, which, luckily for us, relieved her of further care
for prey. She dropped down dead. At the same moment Aboko fired into
the little leopard and killed it. At the noise of the guns, the
buffalo-bull and the herd decamped in the opposite direction, at a
tremendous pace, the bull little knowing the circumstances to which he
owed his life.

I felt much relieved, for I had never before been in quite so ticklish
a situation, and I felt no particular desire ever to be in a similar
plight again.

When we returned to the camp there was a great excitement as soon as
they heard the news that two leopards had been killed. Aboko carried in
the young leopard on his back; but mine was too heavy, and had to be
left in the field. Guns were fired in rejoicing; and the big leopard
was fetched in. When the people returned with it to the camp, all
shouted, "What an enormous beast! what an enormous beast! We heard gun
firing," etc., etc.

In the midst of this noise Niamkala made his appearance with some of
our party, bringing in some wild boars and a pretty little gazelle
which the natives called _ncheri_. Of course the wild boars had been
cut up into several pieces, for they were too heavy to carry whole.

Niamkala and his party were received with great cheers. The prospect of
a good supper brightened all their faces, and mine also; and I shouted,
"Well done, Niamkala and boys!"

Everything was brought to my feet. There was so much to eat that there
was no use in dividing the meat into equal shares; so I let everyone
take as much as he liked.

After supper the leopards were hung on a pole resting on two forked
sticks; and then the negroes danced round them. They sang songs of
victory, and exulted over and abused the deceased leopard (the mother).
They addressed to her comical compliments upon her beauty (and the
leopard is really a most beautiful animal). They said, "What a fine
coat you have!" (meaning her skin). "We will take that coat off from
you." They shouted, "Now you will kill no more people! Now you will eat
no more hunters! Now you cannot leap upon your prey! What has become
of the wild bull you were looking after so keenly? Would you not have
liked to make a meal of Aboko or of Chaillie?" (for they called me
Chaillie).

Thus they sang and danced round till towards morning, when I made them
go to sleep.

Next morning there was great quarrelling among my men. What could be
the matter? I found that Niamkala was declaring his determination
to have the end of my leopard's tail, while the rest of the hunters
asserted their equal right to it. Aboko said he did not care, as he
would have the tail of the one he had killed.

I skinned the two leopards in the most careful manner, and gave the end
of the tail to Niamkala, and I promised Fasiko to give him the tail of
the next one I should kill. They all shouted, "I hope you will kill
leopards enough to give to each of us a tail!"

Poor Fasiko looked very down-hearted. When I inquired why, he said,
"Don't you know that when a man has the end of a leopard's tail in his
possession he is sure to be fortunate in winning the heart of the girl
he wants to marry?"

I said, "Fasiko, you have one wife, what do you care for a leopard's
tail?"

He replied, "I want a good many wives."

The palaver about the tail was hardly over when another quarrel broke
out. This time it was about the brains. Aboko, Niamkala, and Fasiko
each wanted the whole brain of the animal. The others said they must
have some too; that there was only one end to each tail, but that the
brains could be divided among them all. For a few minutes a fight
seemed imminent over the head of the leopard.

I said, "You may quarrel, but no fighting. If you do you will see me
in the fight; and I will hit everybody, and hit hard too." At the same
time I pointed out to them a large stick lying by my bedside. This
immediately stopped them.

They all wanted the brain, they said, because, when mixed with some
other charms, it makes a powerful _monda_ (fetiche), which gives its
possessors dauntless courage and great fortune in the hunt. Happily,
I was able to persuade my three best hunters that they wanted no such
means to bolster up their courage.

The dispute over the brains being settled, Aboko, in the presence of
all the men, laid the liver before me. As this had no value or interest
for me, since I was certainly not going to eat the liver of the leopard
for my dinner, I was about to kick it aside, when they stopped me, and
entreated me to take off the gall and destroy it, in order to save
the party from future trouble. These negroes believe the gall of the
leopard to be deadly poison, and my men feared to be suspected by their
friends or enemies at Sangatanga of having concealed some of this
poison. So I took off the gall, put it under my feet and destroyed it,
and then, taking the earth in which it had been spilled, I threw it in
every direction, for I did not want any of these poor fellows to be
accused of a crime, and lose their lives by it. I intended to inform
the king, on my return, that we had destroyed the liver. But I told
my men that their belief was all nonsense, and a mere superstition.
They said it was not. As I could not prove their notion to be false, I
stopped the discussion by saying I did not believe it.

Having plenty of game, we carried the leopard-meat a long way off, and
threw it away.

We did not go hunting for two days, but spent our time in smoking the
meat we had on hand. It was just the sort of weather for hunting,
and for living in the woods. The air was cool and refreshing, for it
was June, and the dry season; but the sky was often clouded, which
prevented the sun from being oppressive. To add to our pleasure, the
forest trees were in bloom, and many of them were fragrant. The nights
were very cold indeed for this country, the thermometer going down to
sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. The wind blew hard, but against that we
managed to protect ourselves. The dews were not nearly so heavy as they
are in the rainy season. The grass was in great part burned off the
prairies.

Every day we succeeded in shooting more or less game, among which were
antelopes, gazelles, wild boars, monkeys without number, and guinea
fowls. These guinea fowls were of a beautiful species. In this country
you have never seen any like them.

My joy was great when I killed this hitherto unknown species of
guinea-fowl (_Numida plumifera_). It is one of the handsomest of all
the guinea-fowls yet discovered. Its head is naked, the skin being of
a deep bluish-black tinge, and is crowned with a beautiful crest of
straight, erect, narrow, downy feathers, standing in a bunch close
together. The plumage of the body is of a fine bluish-black ground,
variegated with numerous _eyes_ of white, slightly tinged with blue.
The bill and legs are coloured a blue-black, similar to the skin of the
head.

This bird is not found near the seashore. It is very shy, but marches
in large flocks through the woods. At night they perch on trees, where
they are protected from the numerous animals which prowl about.

I killed several beautiful monkeys called by the natives _mondi_.
What curious-looking monkeys they were! Only the stuffed specimen of
a young one had been received in England before this time. The mondi
is entirely black, and is covered with long shaggy hair. It has a very
large body, and a funny little head, quite out of proportion to the
size of the animal. It is a very beautiful monkey; the hair is of a
glossy jet black; and it has a very long tail. In Africa no monkeys
have prehensile tails; I mean by that, tails which they can twist round
the branch of a tree, and so hang themselves with the head downwards.
That kind of monkey is only found in South America.

The mondi has a dismal cry, which sounds very strangely in the silent
woods, and always enabled me to tell where these monkeys were.

  [Illustration: ABOKO KILLS A ROGUE ELEPHANT.
                                  CHAP. XVIII.]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XVIII.

  ALONE IN CAMP--HUNTING FOR ELEPHANTS--ABOKO KILLS A ROGUE
  ELEPHANT--I CUT ANOTHER PYTHON IN TWO--WE SHOOT SOME WILD BOARS--A
  BUFFALO HUNT--RETURN TO SANGATANGA--KING BANGO SICK.


One fine day I remained in the camp, for I had been hunting so much
that I wanted a day of rest. All the others had gone to hunt. I was
left alone, and I enjoyed the solitude, everything around me was so
beautiful and quiet. Nature seemed to smile on all sides. I placed
myself at the foot of a large tree, and wrote in my journals; and
then I thought of the dear friends I had at home, and wondered if
they sometimes thought of me. Then I called to mind all I had seen in
the wonderful country which I had explored. I could hardly believe
it myself: it seemed like a dream. What extraordinary people, and
what curious beasts, had I not met! How many wonderful dangers I had
escaped! How kind God had been in protecting me! How He had watched
over the poor lonely traveller, and taken care of him during sickness!
Thus my heart went up in gratitude, and I silently implored that the
protection of God might still be granted me.

Towards sunset, Aboko and Niamkala made their appearance, and brought
a fine young boar with them. As usual, without saying a word, they
came right to me, and put the dead animal at my feet. Then, seating
themselves and clapping their hands, Aboko began to tell me what had
happened from the time they started in the morning until the time
they returned. They forgot nothing, even mentioning the tracks of the
animals they had seen. They reported they had found fresh elephant
tracks, and thought the elephants had made their head-quarters there
for a few days. After hearing this, we immediately resolved that we
would all turn out after elephants on the following day.

Accordingly, in the evening, we cleaned and prepared our guns, and
everybody went to sleep early.

The next morning we started about daybreak, each of us carrying
some provisions. We were to fire no guns in the forest, for fear of
frightening the elephants, who are very shy in this region. We had
taken pains to load our guns in the most careful manner.

We hunted all day, but in vain; no elephants were to be seen. We slept
out in the woods, for we were too far from the camp to return. We felt
so tired that we had only sufficient strength left to enable us to
fetch firewood, and to cut a few branches of trees and lie down upon
them. I had lost or forgotten the matches, so I had to light the fire
with a piece of steel and a gun-flint. This took a little longer.

Very soundly we all slept, as you may easily suppose. When I awoke
in the midst of the night our fires were almost out; at least they
did not blaze up enough to frighten the wild beasts. Aboko, Niamkala,
and Fasiko were snoring tremendously. One was lying flat on his back,
the other had his legs up, while Fasiko had his arm extended at full
length. By the side of each was his gun, which touched him in some way,
so that it could not be taken without awaking him. I believe it was
their snoring that had aroused me. They were so tired, and seemed to
sleep so soundly, that I did not want to wake them, so I went and added
fuel to the fire, which soon began to blaze up again.

The next day found us again exploring the woods in every direction.
Elephants certainly were not plentiful; besides they travelled much
in search of their favourite food--a kind of fern, which was not very
abundant. Again I got very tired; but at last, in the afternoon, we
came across our quarry.

Emerging from a thick part of the forest into a prairie which bordered
it, we saw to our left, just upon the edge of the wood, a solitary bull
elephant. There we stood still. I wonder what he was thinking about! I
had seen the great beast in menageries, and also among the Fans, and I
have described to you an elephant hunt in their country, but then there
was great confusion.

Here, the huge animal stood quietly by a tree, innocent of our
presence; and now, for the first time in my life, I was struck with the
vast size of this giant of the forests. Large trees seemed like small
saplings when compared with the bulk of this immense beast which was
standing placidly near them.

What were we to do but to kill him? Though I felt a sense of pity at
trying to destroy so noble an animal, yet I was very anxious to get the
first shot myself; for it was a "rogue elephant"--that is, an elephant
unattached.[1] It was an old one, as we could see by the great size
of its tusks. I remembered that rogue elephants are said to be very
ferocious. So much the better, I thought. I had killed a good deal of
game, and I had ceased to be afraid of any of them, though I felt that
hunting was no child's play.

       [1] Sir Emerson Tennent ("Ceylon," vol. ii. p. 304) speaks of
       "the class of solitary elephants, which are known by the term
       of _Goondapo_, in India, and from their vicious propensities,
       and predatory habits, are called Hora, or Rogues, in Ceylon."

You must not think that we were standing up all this time in sight of
the elephant. As soon as we had seen him, we lay down and hid ourselves
in the forest, in such a manner as not to lose sight of him. Then we
held a grand council, and talked over what must be done to bag the
beast.

The grass was burnt in every direction to the leeward of him, and we
dared not risk approaching him from the windward for fear he should
smell us. What was to be done? The eyes of my men were fixed upon me
with a keenly inquisitive look. They expected me to tell them what I
thought best to do about the matter.

I looked at the country, and saw that the grass was very short; and,
after taking account of all the chances of approach, I was compelled
to admit that I could not manage to get near the beast myself with
any certainty. I could not crawl on the ground; my clothes were sure
to be seen by the elephant; therefore, as a sensible hunter, I was
reluctantly compelled to resign in favour of Aboko, who, I thought, was
the best man for the difficult undertaking. His eyes glistened with
pleasure as he thought that now he could show his skill. Besides, among
hunters there is something pleasant and exciting in knowing that you
are about to rush into danger.

After cocking his musket, Aboko dropped down in the short grass, and
began to creep up to the elephant slowly on his belly. The rest of us
remained where we had held our council, and watched Aboko as he glided
through the grass for all the world like a huge boa-constrictor; for,
from the slight glimpses we caught, his back, as he moved farther and
farther away from us, resembled nothing so much as the folds of a great
serpent winding his way along. Finally we could no longer distinguish
any motion. Then all was silence. I could hear the beating of my heart
distinctly, I was so excited.

The elephant was standing still, when suddenly the sharp report of a
gun rang through the woods and over the plain, and elicited screams of
surprise from sundry scared monkeys who were on the branches of a tree
close by us. I saw the huge beast helplessly tottering till he finally
threw up his trunk, and fell in a dead mass at the foot of a tree. Then
the black body of Aboko rose; the snake-like creature had become a man
again. A wild hurrah of joy escaped from us; I waved my old hat, and
threw it into the air, and we all made a run for the elephant. When we
arrived, there stood Aboko by the side of the huge beast, calm as if
nothing had happened, except that his body was shining with sweat. He
did not say a word, but looked at me, and then at the beast, and then
at me again, as if to say: "You see, Chaillu, you did right to send me.
Have I not killed the elephant?"

The men began to shout with excitement at such a good shot. "Aboko is a
man," said they, as we looked again at the beast, whose flesh was still
quivering with the death agony. Aboko's bullet had entered his head a
little below the ear, and, striking the brain, was at once fatal.

Aboko began to make fetich-marks on the ground around the body. After
this was done we took an axe, which Fasiko had carried with him, and
broke the skull, in order to get out the two tusks, and very large
tusks they were.

Of course we could not carry off the elephant, so Aboko and I slept
that night near our prize on the grass and under the tree. Niamkala and
Fasiko had started for the camp to tell the men the news, and the next
morning all the men hurried out. While quietly resting under the shade
of a tree close to the elephant, I spied them coming. As soon as they
recognised us they shouted, and, when near enough, they made a spring
at Aboko and then at the elephant. All the cutlasses, all the axes and
knives that were in the camp, had been sharpened and brought out. Then
the cutting up of the elephant took place. He was not very fat. What a
huge beast he was! What a huge liver he had! What an enormous heart,
too!

The trunk, being considered a choice morsel, was cut into small pieces.
The meat was to be smoked immediately, and then carried to Sangatanga,
to be sold and given away. Great bargains were looming before the men's
eyes; they were all to get rich by selling the elephant's meat.

I never saw men more happy than these poor fellows were. The negroes
believe in eating. Mine ate nothing but meat, and they ate such
quantities of it that several of them got sick, and I was obliged to
give them laudanum in brandy to cure them. They almost finished my
little stock of brandy.

The camp was full of meat, and as we had no salt, the odour that
came from it was not particularly agreeable. Indeed, I had to have a
separate shanty built on one side, and to the windward of the camp. I
could not stand the stench.

At night the negroes lay around the fires, the jolliest of mortals,
drinking palm-wine, which they made regularly from the neighbouring
palm-trees, and smoking tobacco when I was generous enough to give them
some. In fact, they were as honest a set of negroes as I had met with
anywhere, really good fellows.

As time passed on you must not think that I did nothing but kill
animals. I rambled through the forest, and studied everything I saw.
Sometimes, when too far away from the camp, and after a day of hard
hunting, I slept soundly under a tree by the side of a big fire, with
my gun by my side. I thought I would go hunting one day for wild
animals; on another, for birds; and, when too tired to travel, I would
remain in the camp, sleeping sweetly on my primitive couch, which
consisted of a couple of mats spread on the bare and soft earth, with
a thick blanket for cover, the foliage of a tree and the blue starlit
sky being my canopy and roof. I had given up sleeping upon bare sticks,
finding it too hard.

As fresh boar tracks had been seen near the camp, I could not resist
the temptation of having another hunt after that savage beast. However
tired I might be, I could hardly keep still whenever news came that
game was near us. I was always in the hope of finding some new animal
or something curious to stuff and bring home, to show what I had done.

We had not gone far when we heard, to the right of us, the grunting
of some wild boars. As they are very wild, we jumped hastily behind a
fallen tree to hide ourselves. In our haste to do this, I heedlessly
stepped on something in my path, and, looking down, found I was
running upon an immense serpent, a huge python, which lay snugly
coiled up beside the tree. Happily, he was in a state of stupefaction,
consequent, probably, on having eaten too heavy a dinner. He scarcely
moved, and did not raise his head. I ran to Niamkala, and borrowed a
kind of heavy cutlass which he carried with him, and with a blow of
this I cut the python in two pieces, which instantly began to squirm
about in a very snaky and horrible way. During his death-struggle the
monster disgorged the body of a young gazelle, which was in a half
digested condition. This python was not quite twenty feet long--a
pretty good-sized one, you may judge.

The noise we made in killing the snake of course frightened the wild
pigs. We pursued them, and succeeded, by good management, and after a
hard chase of an hour, in coming up with the herd. They were ten in
number, and we managed to bag two. They were not very large. Besides
these pigs, my hunters carried the two halves of the serpent to the
camp. We were received there with demonstrations of joy. They made a
kind of soup with the boa, and seemed to relish it very much. I did not
taste it, and can therefore say nothing against it.

I never saw a country like this for game. There was so much prairie
land that it reminded me of Southern Africa. The contrast with the
great forest, where I had travelled for days without seeing anything,
was very great.

For a few days I remained quiet in the camp. The men had in the
meantime been hunting and exploring in various directions. As they
reported that great herds of buffaloes frequented every night a prairie
situated about ten miles from our camp, I determined to have a hunt for
them. I was very fond of buffaloes, at least of their meat.

We set out and left our camp just before sunset. Our route was through
the midst of prairie land, and by eight o'clock in the evening we
reached the forest beyond. There we hoped to find our game; and
securing for ourselves safe hiding-places in the woods on the edge of
the plain, we lay down and waited. Now, waiting is generally tedious,
but waiting in a cold night from eight to two o'clock, every moment
expecting that which does not come, is apt to try one's patience
severely. Mine was entirely gone, and I wished myself comfortably under
my blanket in camp, when suddenly the buffaloes came. Aboko heard them
coming, and presently a herd of about twenty-five animals emerged from
the woods, and scattered quietly about the grassy plain.

The moon was going down, and we could see from our hiding-places the
long shadows of the buffaloes, silently gliding one way or another,
but never near enough to us for a shot. Soon they felt quite at ease,
and began feeding, ever and anon gambling sportively with one another.
Seeing them engaged, we crawled towards them slowly and with great
care. We had almost got within safe range when a sudden change of
wind discovered us to them. They snuffed up the air suspiciously, and
instantly gathering together, they disappeared in the woods.

There was ill luck! My hunters cursed in Shekiani, and I grumbled in
several languages. But there was still hope. Silently we crawled back
to our lair, and waited patiently for two mortal hours; when at last
two--a bull and a cow--stalked leisurely into the fields and began to
crop the grass. It was now dark. The moon had gone down, leaving us
only the uncertain light of the stars. We watched the motions of the
buffaloes until we thought we could venture, and then silently crawled
towards them again. This time we got within range. I chose the bull for
my shot, and Niamkala took the cow, while Aboko was ready to second
me with his gun in case I should not kill my animal. We fired both
at once, and by good luck, for the light was not enough to afford a
chance for a fair shot, both the animals fell down dead.

Daylight soon appeared, and we resolved to return to the camp and send
men to bring in the meat, thinking that no wild beasts would trouble
our prizes at such unseasonable hours. Aboko and Niamkala first cut off
the bushy tails of black glossy hair, and then we made for the camp,
where they showed to our companions these trophies of our chase. The
men made haste, and reached the place early, but not before the cow was
half eaten by a hungry leopard. The poor leopard who ventured out so
early in the morning must have been nearly famished. I did not grudge
him his meal, though I should have liked to watch for him and shoot
him, had I thought of his coming, for I had plenty of friends to whom I
could have given his skin on my return.

A few days afterwards we broke up our camp, and loaded ourselves with
the birds and beasts I had killed and prepared, and also with the meat
which my men had smoked; and all the time they were boasting of how
much tobacco and other dainties they would get for this. They seemed
very jolly, though groaning under their burdens; and I was pleased to
see them so happy. The specimens of the _Bos brachicheros_ were an
inconvenient load, and I was obliged to be very careful with them.

When I reached Sangatanga I found that the king was in worse health
than he was when I had left. He was alarmed, fearing he would die. He
remarked that it was singular he had been taken worse immediately after
my departure; and that, in fact, he grew sick on the very night when I
slept in his house.



[Illustration: FISHING]

CHAPTER XIX.

  A JOLLY EXCURSION PARTY--A RACE FOR THE FISHING BANKS--THE OROUNGOU
  BURIAL-GROUND.


Not long after we returned from our hunting expedition, I prepared to
go to Fetich Point on a fishing excursion. For this purpose it was
necessary to have canoes. I had called on King Bango since I returned,
but, remembering the rats, I had respectfully declined the hospitality
of his palace. Nevertheless, he remained my friend and gave me all the
men I wanted.

I not only wanted to fish, but I also wished to see the burial-ground
of the Oroungous, which is not far from Fetich Point. There were also
some enormous turtles on Fetich Point, I was told, and I wished to
catch some of them.

My old hunting friend, Fasiko, had got together a party of forty men.
Besides Fetich Point, I was to visit the Fetich river, and the end
of Cape Lopez. There being no houses whatever there, the women had
prepared for us a great quantity of powdered manioc, baskets of ground
nuts, sweet potatoes, and bunches of plantain. We had a very large
outfit. Fasiko got together a lot of mats to sleep upon, and kettles to
cook in, and a great quantity of salt, with which to salt the fish we
hoped to catch. We had several fish-nets made, of the fibre of a vine.
We also had fish-hooks; and I took an enormous hook to catch sharks.
I always had a hatred of sharks, they are such savage and voracious
monsters.

We had a great number of baskets. The women carried these to put the
fish in. We did not forget guns; for leopards lurk in the jungle,
on the south side of the cape, and the boa hangs from the trees,
waiting for his prey. If you got up early there, as everybody at a
watering-place should, you can see huge elephants trotting down along
the beach, and cooling their tender toes in the surf.

It was a very jolly party, for Cape Lopez is the Cape May, or Nahant of
Sangatanga. The dry season there answers to our July, when "everybody
that is anybody" is supposed to be "out of town and down by the
seaside."

Niamkala and Aboko were of the party; for we were great friends; and
wherever I went they wanted to go with me. They were slaves of King
Bango; but we had shared the same dangers, we had shared the same
pleasures.

At last everything was ready. I embarked in the biggest canoe, which
was manned by sixteen oarsmen. As usual, there was a good deal of
shouting and bustle before we got off. The sails, made with matting,
were unfurled, and we set out across the bay. We had an exciting race
to see which canoe was the fastest. There was a stiff _breeze_; but
unfortunately the wind was nearly in our faces, so that our sails were
of little use. The men worked lustily at their paddles, and as they
paddled they sang their wild canoe songs. The morning was clear and
bright, but in the afternoon the sky became clouded. We reached Fetich
Point a little before sunset; and the men, who seemed as lively and
jolly as could be, at once cast their net, in a way not materially
different from our mode of using the hand-net, and made a great haul
of fish, the principal part of which were mullets. How beautiful they
looked! They seemed like silver fish.

The men went immediately in search of firewood. We lighted our fires;
and, having cooked and eaten our fish, which were delicious, we
prepared for a night's rest by spreading mats upon the sand. It was
terribly cold; for we were not sheltered from the wind, which went
right through my blanket.

Not far from Fetich Point is the river Tetica, one of the tributaries
of the Nazareth river. The Nazareth falls into the bay, through a
tangled, dreary, and poisonous track of back country, consisting of
mangrove swamps, like those I have described on the Monda river, and
where, I daresay, no animals, except serpents, are to be found. There
are no human habitations there.

In the morning, I wished to see the Oroungou burial-ground, before
starting for Cape Lopez itself. It lay about a mile from our camp,
towards Sangatanga, from which it is distant about half a day's pull in
a canoe.

It was only by the promise of a large reward that I persuaded Niamkala
to accompany me. The negroes visit the place only on funeral errands,
and hold it in the greatest awe, conceiving that here the spirits of
their ancestors wander about, and that they are not lightly to be
disturbed.

Niamkala and I left the camp, and, following the seashore, we soon
reached the place. It is in a grove of noble trees, many of them of
magnificent size and shape. As I have said, the natives hold the place
in great reverence.

The grove is by the sea. It is entirely cleared of underbrush; and, as
the wind sighs through the dense foliage of the trees, and whispers
in their darkened, somewhat gloomy recesses, there is something awful
about the place. I thought how many lives had been sacrificed on these
graves.

Niamkala stood in silence by the strand, while I entered the domain of
the Oroungou dead.

The corpses are not put below the surface. They lie about beneath the
trees, in huge wooden coffins, many of which are made of trees. By far
the greater number were crumbling away. Some new ones betokened recent
arrivals. The corpses of some had only been surrounded by a mat. Here
was a coffin falling to pieces, and disclosing a grinning skeleton
within. On the other side were skeletons, already without their covers,
which lay in the dirt beside them. Everywhere were bleached bones,
and mouldering remains. It was curious to see the brass anklets and
bracelets, in which some Oroungou maiden or wife had been buried, still
surrounding her whitened bones, and to note the remains of articles
which had been laid in the coffin or put by the side of some wealthy
fellow now crumbling to dust. What do you think these articles were?
Umbrellas, guns, spears, knives, bracelets, bottles, cooking-pots,
swords, plates, jugs, glasses, etc.

In some places there remained only little heaps of shapeless dust, from
which some copper, or iron, or ivory ornaments, or broken pieces of the
articles I have just mentioned, gleamed out, to prove that here, too,
once lay a corpse, and exemplifying the saying of the Bible, "Dust, to
dust thou shalt return." I could not help saying to myself. "Man, what
art thou?"

Suddenly I came to a corpse that must have been put there only the day
before. The man looked asleep, for death does not show its pallor in
the face of the negro as it does in that of the white man. This corpse
had been dressed in a coat, and wore a necklace of beads. By his side
stood a jar, a cooking-pot, and a few other articles, which his friend,
or his heir, had put by his side.

Passing on into a yet more sombre gloom, I came at last to the grave
of old King Pass-all, the brother of the present king. Niamkala had
pointed out to me the place where I should find it. The huge coffin
lay on the ground, and was surrounded on every side with great chests,
which contained some of the property of his deceased majesty. Many
of them were tumbling down, and the property destroyed. The wood, as
well as the goods, had been eaten up by the white ants. Among some of
these chests, and on the top of them, were piled huge earthenware jugs,
glasses, mugs, plates, iron pots, and brass kettles. Iron and copper
rings, and beads were scattered around, with other precious things
which Pass-all had determined to carry to the grave with him. There
lay also the ghastly skeletons of the poor slaves, who, to the number
of one hundred, were killed when the king died, that he might not pass
into the other world without due attendance.

It was a grim sight, and one which filled me with a sadder feeling than
even the disgusting slave barracoons had given me.

The land breeze was blowing when I returned, and we started for the
sandy point of the cape. It is a curious beach, very low, and covered
with a short scrub, which hides a part of the view, while the sand
ahead is undistinguishable at a distance from the water, above which it
barely rises. I was repeatedly disappointed, thinking we had come to
the end, when in fact we had before us a long narrow sand-spit. Finally
we reached the extreme end, and landed in smooth water on the inside of
the spit.

The point gains continually upon the sea. Every year a little more sand
appears above the water, while the line of short shrubs, which acts as
a kind of dam or breakwater, is also extended, and holds the new land
firm against the encroachments of old Neptune.

Among these shrubs we built our camp, and here for some days we had a
very pleasant and lively time.

The weather was delightful; we had no rain, it being the dry season,
and we were not afraid of the awful tornadoes.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: TURNING TURTLES JUST BEFORE SUNRISE.]

CHAPTER XX.

  OUR CAMP AT POINT FETICH--AN AFRICAN WATERING-PLACE--FISHING,
  BUT NOT BATHING--THE SHARKS--CURING MULLETS, ETC.--TURNING
  TURTLES--BIRD SHOOTING--A LEOPARD SPRINGS UPON US.


Our camp presented a very picturesque appearance, and was unlike the
one described a little while ago, and of which I gave you a picture.
Here each man had built for himself a cosy shade with mats, which, by
the way, are very beautiful. These mats are about five or six feet in
length and three feet wide. We made our walls of them, so that we were
sheltered from the wind. Our houses looked very much like large boxes.

As usual, the first day was occupied in making everything comfortable,
and in collecting firewood, which it was not so easy a matter to find,
for the shrubs did not furnish much, and we had to go far to get it;
afterwards it was made the business of the children to gather brushwood
for the fires; and the poor children had hard work too.

We built large _oralas_, or frames, on which to dry the fish when
salted, or to smoke it by lighting a fire beneath, in which case the
oralas were built higher.

Some had brought with them large copper dishes, called Neptunes, which
looked like gigantic plates, in which they were to boil down salt water
to get supplies of salt for salting the fish, and to take home with
them. Some of the women were all day making salt; when made, it was
packed securely in baskets, and placed near the fire to keep it dry.

Every day we had some new kind of fish to eat, or to salt down.

As for myself, as I have said, I had brought along an immense
shark-hook and a stout rope. The hook was attached to a strong chain
two feet long, so that the teeth of the shark could not cut the line if
they should swallow the piece of meat or the large fish put on the hook
for a bait.

There were so many sharks swarming in the waters about the cape that
they were often almost washed upon the beach by the waves. I never saw
such an immense number. The Chinese, who eat sharks' fins, would find
enough here to glut the Canton market. In truth, I sometimes trembled
when in a canoe at the idea that it might upset, for if that had
happened, in a short time I should have been seized by a dozen hungry
sharks, been dragged to the bottom of the sea, and there been devoured.
These sharks are certainly the lions and tigers of the water: they
show no mercy. The very sight of them is horrible, for you cannot help
thinking and saying to yourself, "I wonder how many people this shark
has eaten!" There is a superstition among sailors that whenever there
is a sick person aboard, the sharks will follow the ship, watching for
the corpse to be thrown overboard.

I confess I felt a hatred for sharks, and while at Cape Lopez I killed
as many of them as I could. Almost every day you could have seen me in
a canoe near the shore, throwing my shark-hook into the sea, and after
awhile making for the beach, and calling all the men together to pull
with all our might, and draw in my victim. One day I took a blue-skin
shark. He was a tremendous fellow. I thought we should never be able
to haul him ashore, or that the line would part. It took us an hour
before we saw him safely on the beach. Now and then I thought he would
get the better of us, and that we should have to let the line go, or
be pulled into the water. At last he came right up on the beach, and
a great shout of victory welcomed him. Aboko was ready for him, and
with a powerful axe he gave him a tremendous blow that cut off his
tail. Then we smashed his head, and cut his body into several pieces,
which quivered to and fro for some time. In his stomach we found a
great number of fish. If I remember correctly, he had six or seven rows
of teeth, and such ugly teeth! I pity the poor man whose leg should
unfortunately get caught between them.

Hardly a day passed that I did not catch some sharks, and then for a
bait I used to put on my hook a piece of their own flesh, which, like
the cannibals, they ate apparently without any remorse.

There is another species of shark, of a grey leaden colour, which is
shorter and thicker than the blue-skin shark; it has a broader head,
and a much wider mouth, and is far more voracious. This species is
the most common. It will attack a man in shallow water. I remember a
poor boy who was going to his canoe, where the water was not up to his
knees, when suddenly, just as he was going to get in, he was seized by
his leg and dragged into the water by one of these terrible sharks,
which had probably been for some time swimming along the beach watching
for prey. In that country it is dangerous to bathe in the sea, and I
did not attempt to do so. So much for the sharks.

Every day, on the muddy banks near the mouth of the Fetich river, we
hauled in with our nets a great quantity of mullets and other fish.
These were split open, cleaned, salted, dried, and smoked, and then
packed away in baskets.

Sometimes, early in the morning, we went out to turn turtles. To do
this we had to start before daylight. They came on the beach to lay
their eggs in the sand, which the sea does not reach. There the heat of
the sun hatches them out. I have sometimes spied these turtles early in
the morning coming out of the water and ascending the beach in a clumsy
way, until they reached the dry spot where they wish to lay their
eggs. After laying them, they manage to cover them with sand. I should
have liked very much to have seen the young ones come out of the eggs.
How funny the little wee turtles must look! But I have never been so
fortunate.

One day we caught a turtle which had only three legs; the fourth had
been bitten off, no doubt by a hungry shark. The wound had got well,
and must have been made long before we caught the turtle.

Would you like to know how we captured turtles?

As soon as they see people coming towards them they generally make
for the water. Then we rush with all speed upon the unwieldy turtle,
and with one jerk roll it over on its back, where it lies, vainly
struggling to recover its legs. Then we kill it.

Hundreds of eggs are sometimes found in one turtle. I was very fond of
them when found in the body, otherwise I did not like them. They made
splendid omelettes.

The turtles look very curious when they lie fast asleep on the water.
At such times I am told that, with great care, they may be approached
and captured.

Besides fishing, we had hunting also. South of the cape was a dense
forest, in which might be found most of the animals that live in
African woods. Several times we saw elephants on the beach, but we shot
none. I killed a great number of sea fowls, which fly about there in
such flocks as almost to darken the air. They collect in this way in
order to feed on the fish which are so plentiful.

One evening, as Aboko, Niamkala, and I were returning from a fruitless
hunt in the woods, we fell in with larger game. Passing along the
edge of the forest we were suddenly startled by a deep growl. Looking
quickly about, we perceived an immense male leopard just crouching for
a spring upon our party. Fortunately our guns were loaded with ball.
No doubt we had come upon the animal unawares. In a flash we all three
fired into the beast, for there was no time to be lost. He was already
upon the spring, and our shot met him as he rose. He fell dead and
quivering almost within a foot of Aboko, who may be said to have had a
very narrow escape, for the leopard had singled him out as his prey. He
was an immense animal, and his skin, which I preserved as a trophy, is
most beautifully shaded and spotted; in fact there is scarcely a more
beautiful animal than the African leopard.

At the mouth of the Nazareth the savage saw-fish is found. It is no
doubt one of the most formidable, and the most terrible of the animals
that live in the water.

I was quietly paddling in a little canoe, when my attention was drawn
to a great splashing of water a little way off. I saw at once it was a
deadly combat between two animals. All round the water was white with
foam. The cause of this could not be two hippopotami fighting, for in
that case I should have seen them.

I approached cautiously, having first made my two rifles ready in case
of an emergency. At last I came near enough to see an enormous saw-fish
attacking a large shark. It was a fearful combat; both fought with
desperation. But what could the shark do against the powerful saw of
his antagonist?

At last they came too near my canoe. I moved off lest they might attack
my canoe, for they would have made short work of my small, frail boat;
and a single blow of the saw-fish would have disabled me. Each tooth of
the saw must have been two inches long, and there were, I should say,
forty on each side; the saw was about five feet long. In the end, the
saw-fish, more active than the shark, gave him a terrible blow, making
his teeth go right through the flesh of the shark. Several such blows
were quickly delivered, and all became still, the foam ceased, and the
water resumed its accustomed stillness. I paddled towards the scene,
when suddenly I saw, at the bottom of the river, what I recognised to
be a great shark; it was dead, and lay on its back, showing its belly.
The body was frightfully lacerated.

The saw-fish had killed its antagonist, and left the field of battle,
and only the blood of the shark stained the water.

In the bay of Cape Lopez, in the month of July, I could see whales
playing about in every direction, and sending water high into the air.

They come at that time of the year with their young; and the water
of the bay being very quiet, they enjoy there the sea, and the young
whales get strong before they go into the broad ocean. Very pretty it
looks to see them swimming by the side of the big mothers.

Year after year the whales came, always in July; but one year the
whalers found them out, and made war upon them; and now, when July
comes, they are no more to be seen, for the whale is very intelligent,
and knows well the places where he is not safe; so they look out for
some other unfrequented bay wherein to play and train their young.

Besides the whale, all the year round can be seen what the sailor
commonly calls the _bottle-nose_, an enormous fish, not so big as a
whale, but nevertheless of great size. It is of the whale family.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: OUR SCHOONER CAUGHT IN A TORNADO.]

CHAPTER XXI.

  BOUND FOR THE INTERIOR--A SEA VOYAGE--A TORNADO--WE REACH THE
  FERNAND-VAZ--SANGALA WISHES TO DETAIN ME--A NIGHT ALARM--PROSPECT
  OF A WAR--ARRAYED FOR BATTLE--A COMPROMISE--MY COMMI FRIENDS.


I have been a great wanderer. On the 5th of February, 1857, I was
on board of a little schooner, of forty-five tons burden, bound for
the mouth of a river called Fernand-Vaz. From there I expected to
penetrate into the interior. I was on my way to a wild and unexplored
region.

The name of the schooner was the Caroline. She was full of provisions
and goods for the long journey I had to undertake; for I intended to
make a very long exploration before my return to America. The captain
was a Portuguese negro, Cornillo by name. The crew, seven in number,
were Mpongwes, Mbingos, and Croomen, not more than two of whom could
understand each other, and not a soul could properly understand the
captain. A fine prospect for the voyage!

I got aboard at daylight, and should have been glad to go immediately
ashore again; but, by dint of steady shouting, and a great deal of
standing idle, with a little work now and then, we got the anchor up
just at dusk. The captain did not like to leave port on Friday. I told
him I would take the responsibility. He asked what good that would do
him if he went to the bottom. It appears that the Portuguese have the
same absurd superstitions as many of the sailors of other nations.

No sooner had we got into the swell than our two black women, and every
man on board (except the captain), got sea-sick. The cook was unable to
get the breakfast next morning; and the men were lying about, looking
like dying fish.

We set sail from the Gaboon river, and hoped to get down to the Commi
country in five days. But for four days after starting we had light
wind and a contrary current; and, on the fifth day, we were caught in
such a storm at sea as I hope never to experience again.

The steering went on so badly when Captain Cornillo was below, that I
was forced to stand watch myself. I had been steering for four hours,
and had been perhaps one hour in my berth, when I was awakened from a
sound sleep by the captain's voice, giving orders to take down the
mainsail. I sprang on deck immediately, knowing there must be at least
a heavy squall coming. But no sooner did I cast my eyes to the leeward
than I saw how imminent the danger was. A tornado was coming down upon
us. The black clouds which had gathered about the horizon were becoming
lurid white with startling quickness. It seemed almost as if they were
lit up by lightning. The tornado was sweeping along and in a moment
would be upon us. As yet all was still--still as death. There was not a
breath of wind.

I turned to see if the mainsail was down, but found nothing had been
done. The captain was shouting from the wheel; the men were also
shouting and running about, half scared to death; and, in the pitchy
darkness (for I could not see my hands when held close before my
eyes), no one could find the halliards. In the midst of our trouble
the wind came roaring down upon us. I seized a knife, determined to
cut everything away; but just then somebody let go the halliards, and,
in the nick of time, the mainsail came half-way down. The tornado was
upon us. The jibs flew away in rags in a moment. The vessel was thrown
upon her beam ends. The water rushed over her deck, and the men sang
out that we were drowning; as, in fact, we should have been in a very
few minutes. Happily the wind shifted a little; and, by the light of
some very vivid lightning, we seized on the mainsail, like men that
felt it was their last hope, and pulled it down, holding it so that the
wind should not catch it again. The vessel righted, and in less than
twenty minutes the squall died away, and was succeeded by a driving
rain, which poured down in such torrents that in a very short time I
was drenched to the skin. The lightning and thunder were something
terrific. I was afraid of the lightning, striking us as the Caroline
had no lightning-rod, and we had powder enough on board to blow us
all to atoms. The deck was so leaky that even below I could not get
protection from the rain.

The next morning we had no jibs, and our other sails were severely
damaged. To add to our difficulties, no one on board, not even our
captain, knew where we were. At that time I knew not how to make
astronomical observations. The captain was in the habit of bringing up,
every day, an old quadrant; but about the use of it he knew as much as
a cow does about a musket.

At last we made the land. A canoe came on board, and we asked where
we were. We found that we must be somewhere near Cape St. Catherine,
and therefore a good many miles south of the mouth of the Fernand-Vaz,
the place where I was bound. So we turned about to retrace our path.
Sailing close in shore, when I passed the village of Aniambia, or Big
Camma, the natives came with a message from their king, offering me two
slaves if I would stay with him.

I was immovable, for I had set my heart on going to the Fernand-Vaz
river, of which I heard a good deal, from my friend Aboko, while in the
Cape Lopez regions. As we approached that river, the vast column of
water, pushing seaward, forced its separate way through the ocean for
at least four or five miles; and the water there was almost fresh, and
seemed a separate current in the sea.

At last we came to the mouth of the Fernand-Vaz, and our fame had
gone before us. Some of the Commi people, the inhabitants of the
Fernand-Vaz, had seen me before at Cape Lopez. The news had spread that
I wanted to settle at the village of a chief called Ranpano; so, as we
passed his seashore village, a canoe came off to ask me to land; but as
the breakers were rather formidable, I begged to be excused.

Ranpano's men wanted much to hug me; and were so extravagant in their
joy, that I had to order them to keep their hands off, their shining
and oily bodies having quite soiled my clothes. They went back to the
king to tell him the good news. I kept one of these men on board for a
pilot, being now anxious to get across the intricate bar, and fairly
into the river, before dark.

As we sailed along up the river, canoes belonging to different villages
shot out to meet us; and presently I had a crowd alongside anxious to
come on board, and sufficient almost to sink us. They took me for a
slaver at first, and their joy was unbounded; for there is nothing the
African loves so much as to sell his fellowmen. They immediately called
out their names in Portuguese: one was Don Miguel, another Don Pedro,
another Don Francisco. They began to jabber away in Portuguese. Where
they had learned this language I could not tell, unless it were in
Sangatanga. I could not understand them; so I sent my captain to talk
with them. He had some difficulty to persuade them that I came no such
errand as slave-trading. They insisted that I had, and that the vessel
looked exactly like a slaver. They said we must buy some of their
slaves; they had plenty of them.

They insisted that I should not go to Ranpano. I should put up a
factory in their place. They belonged to Elindé, a town just at the
mouth of the Fernand-Vaz, whose king is named Sangala. They praised the
power and greatness of Sangala, and decried poor Ranpano, until I had
to order all hands ashore for the night, being anxious to get a good
quiet sleep to prepare for the morrow.

During the night, the men on watch said they heard the paddling of a
canoe coming towards us. What could it be? Let us be ready. These men
might be coming to board us and make war. At length the canoe came
within hailing distance; we shouted to them. (I may say that the Commi
speak the same language as the Oroungou people--the inhabitants of
Cape Lopez.) They came, they said, with a message from King Sangala.
I recognised the voice of the head man in the canoe to be that of
Nchouga. He was brother of King Bango of Cape Lopez. Bango had accused
Nchouga of bewitching him, whereupon the latter, to save his life, fled
from the country; and having married one of the daughters of Sangala,
he came to his father-in-law for protection.

Nchouga was a very cunning fellow; fortunately I knew him well, and
he could not fool me so easily as he thought. He came to tell me that
Sangala was the master of all the river; that he was a very great king;
that he would not let me go to Ranpano, who was only a vassal of the
great Sangala; therefore, he advised me as a friend--an old friend--to
go ashore at Elindé.

I could read the cunning rogue. He had been one of the greatest rascals
of Cape Lopez, and his slave dealings had not improved him. So I sent
Nchouga off; I wanted to go to sleep. He had come out to test me; they
thought I was a green hand at slave-trading.

Early next morning Sangala sent off a boat for me. On my arrival at
Elindé, which village was about two miles from the river's mouth, I was
conducted to the best house. Hither presently came King Sangala, who,
in order to nerve himself for the occasion, had got drunk, and came
attended by a great crowd of eager subjects. He grew very angry when I
stated my intention of passing up the river, and going to Ranpano, and
also into the interior. He declared that I should not go; he was the
big king there and everywhere all over the world, and I must settle in
his town.

I declared that I should go on. Sometimes I wonder that they did not at
once make me a prisoner.

We had some sharp words, and I explained to his majesty that I was
an old African traveller, and saw through all his lies; that he was
not the big king of the country, as he said. Then he said I might go
wherever I liked, provided I would have a factory built in his village.

I said that I had no factory to build in his village; but I offered to
"dash" him (give him some presents).

He refused this offer; and now Ranpano, having just come, assured me
that I should be backed up. I told Sangala I should force my way up.
Sangala and all his people shouted with all their might that there
should be war; Sangala, as he got up to say so, reared and tumbled
down, he was so drunk.

So I left Sangala. By that time it rained so hard that no one followed
us. It is wonderful how a crowd is dispersed by a shower of rain.

A great palaver was looming up; the excitement had spread over the
country. In the meantime I had succeeded in going to Ranpano's village,
situated up the river, five or six miles above Elindé. Ranpano gave me
as much land as I wanted. My goods must come to his village; but it
seemed that they could not be brought there without great trouble. Our
canoes would be attacked by Sangala's people. Men would be killed; and
we might be routed, unless we had a powerful force.

One morning the war drums beat. All Ranpano's friends had gathered to
help fight Sangala. Canoe after canoe came in loaded with armed men,
with drums beating, and all hands shouting, and waving their swords,
guns, and spears. All were prepared to assist Ranpano's white man;
all were anxious to burn and plunder Elindé, ready even to die in the
undertaking. There was King Ritimbo, with two canoes and fifty men;
King Mombon, from Sanguibiuri, also had two canoes; altogether we had
no less than twenty big canoes, and could muster about three hundred
men, most of whom were drunk on _mimbo_ (palm-wine), and as noisy and
as ready for fight as drunkenness will make an African. The drums
were beaten, war songs were sung, and guns fired, as we paddled down
the river. All hands had their faces painted white, which is a sign
of war; and were covered with fetiches and other amulets. The white
chalk or ochre was a sovereign protection against danger, and their war
fetiches would prevent them from being killed. I could not recognise
old Ranpano, his body was so daubed with paint.

One would have supposed these terrible fellows were bent upon the most
bloody of raids. I wondered if all this uproar would end in smoke; I
thought it would; nor was I disappointed. As these terrible warriors
approached the village of Elindé they became less demonstrative. When
they came in sight of Sangala's town, they pushed over to the other
shore, out of the way, and took care to keep the Caroline between the
enemy and themselves. The sight of Sangala's warriors had wrought a
wonderful change in their warlike feelings. They really began to think
that there might be some fighting.

We found that Sangala had also gathered his friends, and had about one
hundred and fifty men ready for the fight, who probably felt about as
courageous as my men did. These fellows were painted more outrageously
than mine, having red as well as white applied in broad stripes. They
looked like so many devils shouting and firing guns, each side knowing
their mutual lack of courage, and thinking it prudent to scare the
other in advance.

My men fired guns, sung, and danced war dances. I went on board my
schooner. One small canoe on Sangala's side, with two men, who were
unarmed, started from the shore towards us. This of course meant a
palaver; they came on board of the Caroline, where I was. I sent word
to Sangala, pointing to two little guns we had on deck, that if he
stopped me I would blow his canoes out of the water with grape-shot,
and would then go and bring a man-of-war to finish him up. I loaded my
guns and pistols before them. I made my men put good charges into their
pieces, and showed Sangala's men the bag of bullets I loaded them with,
and then sent them back, and awaited the event.

I spied them with a glass. As soon as they landed the people surrounded
them; there was a grand palaver.

Presently, from Sangala, came a small canoe to ask me ashore. Sangala
sent his Konde (chief wife) to be hostage for my safety. I determined
to go ashore, and, to show these negroes that I had no fear of them, I
took the woman along with me, to her great joy. Ranpano and his brother
kings protested against my rashness as they thought it. "Why not keep
Sangala's woman on board?" said they. But I told them it was not the
fashion of white people to fear anything. They looked at me as if to
say, "If you are not afraid we are." All this had its effect upon them,
and Ranpano and his brother kings were evidently impressed, and so also
was old Sangala when he saw me come with his wife by my side.

We met on neutral ground outside his town. His army was drawn up in
battle array, and made a fine savage display, many of the men wearing
beautiful leopard skins about their waists. They came up to us at full
trot, when we were seated, and made as though they would spear us all;
and, if Sangala had not been close to me, I should have thought it was
to be the end of us all. Ranpano kept whispering in my ears, "Why did
you not keep Sangala's wife on board?"

But this advance upon us was only a kind of military salute. Sangala,
this time, had become more gentle; he was not drunk, and, thinking that
perhaps there might really be a fight, he had become very quiet. He did
not wish to push matters to extremity.

Presently, Sangala said he would let me pass if I would give him a
barrel of rum, a big one. I refused. I said I had none. He insisted
that they must rejoice and get drunk. He wanted to get drunk for
several days, and drink rum to his heart's content. At last, the
palaver was settled, and I gave him many presents; and thereafter King
Sangala became one of my best friends.

Ranpano was delighted; he hugged Sangala; he swore eternal friendship,
and said that he loved him with all his heart. Sangala returned these
compliments. We made a sign, agreed upon to our men, that everything
was settled. Immediately they fired guns, embarked in their canoes, and
came over to Sangala's village. They made a fine display, as all their
canoes came in a line, and they were singing their war songs.

They were met by Sangala's warriors; and they made a rush towards each
other as if they were to have a real fight, and then all was over and
they laughed over the palaver, and swore that they would not hurt each
other for the world.

I need not say how glad I was that everything had ended so well.
Captain Cornillo, when everything looked black, swore that he never
would come again to this wild country; and the crew said I wanted them
all to be murdered.

I found these Commi very good people. I took ashore canoe after canoe,
loaded with goods which might well tempt these poor negroes sorely.
Many of the things were brought loose to Ranpano's; and yet not a
single thing was stolen, not even the value of a penny. They were proud
that I had come to settle among them. I was the first white man who had
done so.

I love these Commi people dearly; and I am sure they all love me also.
They took such great care of me. Ranpano was a very good king, and he
always tried to please me, and so did his people. Now and then they
did wrong; but these poor people knew no better, and they were sorry
afterwards. Not one would have tried to do me an injury, and I could
sleep with my doors wide open.

[Illustration]

  [Illustration: AFRICAN BALL. KING OLENGA-YOMBI DANCING.
                                               CHAP. XII.]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XXII.

  I BUILD A VILLAGE, AND CALL IT WASHINGTON--I START FOR THE
  INTERIOR--MY SPEECH ON LEAVING--THE PEOPLE APPLAUD ME VOCIFEROUSLY,
  AND PROMISE TO BE HONEST--WE REACH ANIAMBIA--THE "BIG KING,"
  OLENGA-YOMBI--A ROYAL BALL IN MY HONOUR--THE SUPERSTITIONS OF THE
  NATIVES--A MAN TOSSED BY A BUFFALO.


I immediately began building a substantial settlement, not an _olako_.
I collected from a kind of palm tree a great many leaves, with which to
cover the roofs of the buildings I had to construct. I gathered also
a great quantity of branches from the same palm trees, and sticks,
and poles, and all that was necessary to make a house; and finally I
succeeded in building quite a village, which I called Washington. My
own house had five rooms; it was forty-five feet long by twenty-five
wide, and cost me about fifty dollars. My kitchen, which stood by
itself, cost four dollars. I had a fowl-house, containing a hundred
chickens (and such nice little tiny chickens they are in that country)
and a dozen ducks. My goat-house contained eighteen goats, and funny
goats they were. You had to milk a dozen of them to get a pint of milk.
I built a powder-house separate, for I do not like to sleep every day
in a place where there is powder. I had a dozen huts for my men.

This was Washington in Africa, a very different place from Washington
in America.

At the back of my village was a wide extent of prairie. In front was
the river Npoulounai winding along; and I could see miles out on the
way which I was soon to explore. The river banks were lined with the
mangrove trees; and, looking up stream, I could at almost any time see
schools of hippopotami tossing and tumbling on the flats or mud banks.

I was now ready to explore the country, and go to Aniambia, where the
big king of the country lived. I bought a splendid canoe, made of
large trees, which I hoped would be serviceable to me in my up-river
explorations. I was now anxious to be off.

Before starting I called Ranpano and all his people together, and said
that I had perfect confidence in them; that I was their white man, and
had come to them through much difficulty and many dangers. (Cheers.)
That Sangala's people wanted me, but I was determined to live with the
honest folks of Biagano (Ranpano's village). (Tremendous applause.)
That I was going away for a few days, and hoped to find my goods all
safe when I came back.

At this, there were great shoutings of "You can go! Do not fear! We
love you! You are our white man! We will take care of you!" and so on;
amid which my sixteen men seized their paddles, and shoved off.

At nine in the evening, the moon rose; and we pulled along through what
seemed a charming scene. The placid stream was shaded by the immense
trees which overhung its banks; and the silence was broken, now and
then, by the screech of some night-prowling blast, or, more frequently,
by the sudden plunge of a playful herd of hippopotami, some of which
came very dangerously near us, and might have upset our canoe.

Towards midnight, my men became very tired, and we went ashore, at a
little village which was nearly deserted. We could find only three
old women, who were fast asleep and were not particularly anxious to
make us welcome. I was too sleepy to stand upon ceremonies, and stowed
myself away under a rough shed without walls. I had scarcely lain down,
when there came up, suddenly, one of those fierce tornadoes which pass
over these countries in the rainy season.

Fortunately, it was a dry tornado. In my half-sleepy state I did not
care to move. As the tornado had unroofed every other shed as well as
mine, nothing would have been gained by moving, even if it had rained.

The next morning we paid for our lodging, not in hard cash, but with
some leaves of tobacco, and up the river we paddled until we reached
a village called Igala Mandé, which is situated on the banks of the
river. In a two hours' walk through grass fields we found numerous
birds. One, in particular, was new to me, the _Mycteria senegalensis_.
It had such long legs that it fairly outwalked me. I tried to catch it;
but, though it would not take to its wings, it kept so far ahead that I
did not even get a fair shot at it. This _Mycteria senegalensis_ is a
beautiful bird, and wanders here through the grass of the prairie.

There were also great flocks of a beautiful bird, whose dark golden
body-plumage and long snow-white downy necks make a very fine and
marked contrast with the green grass. Next to these, in point of
number, was the snow-white _egretta_, which is found in vast flocks all
along this coast.

At last we came to Aniambia. Olenga-Yombi, the king, came in from his
plantation when he heard the joyful news that a white man had arrived.
I paid him a state visit. He was a drunken old wretch, surrounded
by a crowd of the chief men of the town. His majesty had on a thick
overcoat, but no trousers; and, early as it was, he had already taken a
goodly quantity of palm-wine, and was quite drunk. I was invited to sit
at his right hand.

King Olenga-Yombi was one of the ugliest fellows I ever met with. He
always carried with him a long stick; and when drunk he struck at his
people right and left, and shouted, "I am a big king!" Happily, they
managed to keep out of his way.

At nightfall I got a guide, and went out to see if I could get a shot
at something larger than a bird. We had gone but a little way, when
my guide pointed out to me a couple of bright glowing spots, visible
through a piece of thick brush. The fellow trembled, as he whispered
"Leopard!" But I saw at once that it was only the light of a couple
of fireflies which had got in proper position to make a tolerable
resemblance to the glowing eyes of the dreaded leopard.

I did not think much of the bravery of my guide. What a difference
between him and Aboko, Niamkala, or Fasiko! I wished that I had them
with me.

At two o'clock in the morning we at last heard a grunting, which
announced the approach of a herd of wild hogs. I lay in wait for them,
and I was fortunate enough to kill the big boar of the pack. The rest
of the herd made off without showing a desire for fight.

The next day, King Olenga-Yombi held a grand dance in my honour. All
the king's wives, to the number of forty, and all the women in the
town and neighbourhood were present.

Fortunately, the dance was held out in the street, and not in a room,
as at Cape Lopez. The women were ranged on one side, the men opposite.
At the end of the line sat the drummers, beating their huge tom-toms,
which make an infernal din, enough to make one deaf; and, as if for
this occasion the tom-toms were not entirely adequate, there was a
series of old brass kettles, which also were furiously beaten. In
addition, as if the noise was not yet enough, a number of boys sat near
the drummers, and beat on hollow pieces of wood. What beauty they found
in such music I cannot tell. There was of course singing and shouting;
and the more loudly and energetically the horrid drums were beaten, and
the worse the noise on the brass kettles, the wilder were the jumps of
the male Africans, and the more disgusting the contortions of the women.

As may be imagined, to beat the tom-tom is not a labour of love;
the stoutest negro is worn out in an hour; and for such a night's
entertainment as this, a series of drummers was required.

The people enjoyed it vastly; their only regret was that they had not
a barrel of rum in the midst of the street, with which to refresh
themselves in the pauses of the dance; but they managed to get just as
drunk on palm-wine, of which a great quantity was served out.

The excitement became greatest when the king danced. His majesty was
pretty drunk, and his jumps were very highly applauded. His wives
bowed down to his feet while he capered about, and showed towards him
the deepest veneration. The drums and kettles were belaboured more
furiously than ever, and the singing, or rather the shouting, became
stentorian.

Of course I did not think his majesty's party pleasant enough to
detain me all night. I retired, but could not sleep.

Now I think I have given you a sufficient account of a ball at
Aniambia, and of how his majesty Olenga-Yombi danced.

There are two very curious fetich-houses in Aniambia, which enjoy the
protection of two spirits of great power--Abambou and Mbiuri. The
former is an evil spirit, a kind of devil; the latter, as far as I have
been able to ascertain, is beneficent.

The little houses where these spirits sometimes condescend to come and
sleep for the night were about six feet square. In the house of Abambou
I saw a fire, which I was told was never permitted to go out. I saw no
idol, but only a large chest, on the top of which were some white and
red chalk and some red parrot-feathers. The chalk was used to mark the
bodies of the devout.

Abambou is the devil of the Commi people. He is a wicked and
mischievous fellow, who often lives near graves and burial-grounds, and
is most comfortably lodged among the skeletons of the dead. He takes
occasional walks through the country, and, if he gets angry at anyone,
he has the power to cause sickness and death. The Commi people cook
food for him, which is deposited in lonely places in the woods, and
there they address him in a flattering manner, and ask him to be good
to them, and, in consideration of their gifts, and of the great care
they take of him, to let them alone. I was present once at a meeting
where Abambou was being addressed in public. They cried continually:
"Now we are well! Now we are satisfied! Now be our friend, Abambou, and
do not hurt us!"

The offerings of plantain, bananas, sugar-cane, ground-nuts, etc.,
etc., are wrapped in leaves by the free men, but the slaves lay them
on the bare ground. Sometimes Abambou is entreated to kill the enemies
of him who is making the offering. A bed is made in Abambou's house,
and there he is believed to rest himself sometimes, when he is tired
going up and down the coast in the forest.

Mbiuri, whose house I next visited, is lodged and kept much in the same
way as his rival. He is a good spirit, but his powers are like those
of Abambou, as far as I could make out. Not being wicked, he is less
zealously worshipped.

These Commi people are full of superstition. They believe in a third
and much-dreaded spirit, called Ovengua. This is a terrible catcher
and _eater_ of men. He is not worshipped, and has no power over
disease; but he wanders unceasingly through the forests, and catches
and destroys luckless travellers who cross his path. By day he lives
in dark caverns, but at night he roams freely, and even sometimes gets
into the body of a man, and beats and kills all who come out in the
dark. Sometimes, they relate, such a spirit is met and resisted by a
body of men, who wound him with spears, and even kill him. In this case
the body must be burned, and not even the smallest bone left, lest a
new Ovengua should arise from it. There are many places where no object
in the world would induce a Commi negro to go by night, for fear of
this dreadful monster.

They have a singular belief that when a person dies who has been
bewitched, the bones of his body leave the grave one by one, and form
in a single line united to each other, which line of bones gradually
becomes an Ovengua.

It is not an easy matter to get at the religious notions of these
people. They themselves have no well-defined ideas of them, and on many
points they are not very communicative.

I suppose they think that sometimes the Ovengua is in a man; hence they
kill him and burn his body.

Of course the Commi people, like all other negroes, are firm believers
in witchcraft.

Not very far from Aniambia, there is a place in the forest which is
supposed to be haunted by the spirit of a crazy woman, who, some
hundreds of years ago, left her home. They believe that she cultivates
her plantation in some hidden recess in the forest, and that she often
lies in wait for travellers, whom she beats and kills out of pure
malice.

While at Aniambia I had a great adventure with a _bos brachicheros_,
which might have ended in a terrible way. I started out early one day
to try and get a shot at some buffaloes which were said to be in the
prairie at the back of the town. I had been an hour on the plains
with Ifouta, a hunter, when we came upon a bull feeding in the midst
of a little prairie surrounded by woods, which made an approach easy.
I remember well how beautiful the animal looked. Ifouta walked round
through the jungle opposite to where I lay in wait; for, if the animal
should take fright at him, it might fly towards me. When he reached the
right position, Ifouta began to crawl, in the hunter's fashion, through
the grass towards his prey. All went well till he came near enough for
a shot. Just then, unluckily, the bull saw him. Ifouta immediately
fired. It was a long shot, and he only wounded the beast, which,
quite infuriated, immediately rushed upon him. It was now that poor
Ifouta lost his presence of mind. In such cases, which are continually
happening to those who hunt the _bos brachicheros_, the proper course
for the hunter is to remain perfectly quiet till the beast is within a
jump of him, then to step nimbly to one side, and let him rush past.
But Ifouta got up and ran.

The bull ran faster than he, and in a moment had him on his horns. He
tossed him high into the air, once, twice, thrice, before I could come
up; for, as soon as I saw what had happened, I ran as fast as I could
to the rescue, and my shouts drew the bull's fury upon myself. He left
Ifouta and came rushing at me, thinking that he would serve me as he
had just served Ifouta. Master Bull was sadly mistaken. I took a good
aim, and down came the bull, to rise no more.

Ifouta proved to be considerably bruised; but, on the whole, he was
more scared than hurt. It was fortunate for him that the horns of these
buffaloes slant backwards a good deal, and are curved.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: CAPTURING A YOUNG GORILLA.]

CHAPTER XXIII.

  CAPTURE OF A YOUNG GORILLA--I CALL HIM "FIGHTING JOE"--HIS
  STRENGTH AND BAD TEMPER--HE PROVES UNTAMEABLE--JOE
  ESCAPES--RE-CAPTURED--ESCAPES AGAIN--UNPLEASANT TO HANDLE--DEATH OF
  "FIGHTING JOE."


I remember well the day when I first possessed a live gorilla. Yes, a
gorilla that could roar; a young gorilla alive! He was captured not far
from Cape St. Catherine, and dragged into Washington.

My hunters were five in number, and were walking very silently through
the forest, when suddenly the silence was broken by the cry of a young
gorilla for its mother. Everything was still. It was about noon, and
they immediately determined to follow the cry.

Soon they heard the cry again. Gun in hand, the brave fellows crept
noiselessly towards a clump of wood where the baby gorilla evidently
was. They knew the mother would be near; and there was a likelihood
that they might encounter the male also, which they dread more than
they do the mother. But they determined to risk everything, and, if
possible, to take the young one alive, knowing how pleased I should be,
for I had been long trying to capture a young gorilla.

Presently they perceived the bush moving; and crawling a little farther
on, in dead silence, scarcely breathing with excitement, they beheld
what had seldom been seen even by negroes. A young gorilla was seated
on the ground, as the picture shows you, eating some berries, which
grew close to the earth. A few feet farther on sat the mother, also
eating of the same fruit.

Instantly they made ready to fire; and none too soon, for the old
female saw them as they raised their guns, and they had to pull
triggers without delay. Happily, they wounded her mortally.

She fell on her face, the blood gushing from the wounds. The young one,
hearing the noise of the guns, ran to his mother and clung to her,
hiding his face and embracing her body. The hunters immediately rushed
towards the two, hallooing with joy. How much I wished that I had been
with them, and been so fortunate as to assist in the capture of a live
gorilla!

Their shouts roused the little one, who, by this time, was covered with
blood coming from his mother's wounds. He instantly let go of his
mother and ran to a small tree, which he climbed with great agility.
There he sat and roared at them savagely. They were now perplexed how
to get at him. What was to be done? No one cared to run the chance of
being bitten by this savage little beast. They did not want to shoot
him, for they knew I should never forgive them for doing so. He would
not come down the tree, and they did not care to climb it after him. At
last they cut down the tree, and, as it fell, they dexterously threw
a cloth over the head of the young monster, and thus gained time to
secure it while it was blinded. With all these precautions, one of the
men received a severe bite on the hand, and another had a piece taken
out of his leg.

The little brute, though very diminutive, and the merest baby in age,
was astonishingly strong, and by no means good-tempered. They found
they could not lead him. He constantly rushed at them, showing fight,
and manifesting a strong desire to take a piece, or several pieces, out
of every one of their legs, which were his special objects of attack.
So they were obliged to get a forked stick, in which his neck was
inserted in such a way that he could not escape, and yet could be kept
at a safe distance. It must have been very uncomfortable for him; but
it was the only way of securing themselves against his nails and teeth,
and thus he was brought to Washington.

The excitement in the village was intense, as the animal was lifted
out of the canoe in which he had come down the river. He roared and
bellowed; and looked around wildly with his wicked little eyes, giving
fair warning that if he could get at any of us he would take his
revenge. Of course, no one came in his way.

I saw that the stick hurt his neck, and immediately set about having a
cage made for him. In two hours we had built a strong bamboo house with
the slats securely tied at such a distance apart that we could see the
gorilla, and it could see out. We made it as strong as we could, and I
was very careful to provide against every chance of his escaping. In
this cage he was immediately deposited; and now, for the first time, I
had a fair chance to look at my prize.

As I approached the cage he darted at me; but I could afford to have a
good laugh over him, for I knew he could not get near enough to bite
me. He looked at me with very savage eyes.

I named the gorilla Joe--"Fighting Joe." He was evidently not three
years old, but fully able to walk alone, and possessed, for his age,
of very extraordinary strength. His height was about three feet and
six inches. His hands and face were very black, his eyes were sunken.
The hair on his head was of a reddish-brown colour. It began just at
the eyebrows and came down the sides of the face to the lower jaw,
just as our beards grow. The whiskers, if we may call them so, were
of a blackish colour. The face was smooth, and intensely black. The
upper lip was covered with short, coarse hair; I wondered if it was
the beginning of a moustache. I found afterwards that gorillas had no
moustaches. The lower lip had longer hair; and I wondered also if in
time an imperial would grow there. There were eyelashes too, though
these were slight and thin. The eyebrows were straight. Excepting the
face, and the palms of his hands and feet, his whole body was covered
with hair. On the back, the hair was of an iron grey, becoming quite
dark near the arms. On the arms, the hair was longer than anywhere else
on the body, as you may see by the picture.

After I had looked carefully at the little fellow, and knew well that
he was safely locked in his cage, I ventured to approach him to say
a few encouraging words. He stood in the farthest corner; but as I
approached, he bellowed and made a precipitate rush at me. Though I
retreated as quickly as I could, he succeeded in catching my trousers'
legs with the toes of one of his feet, and then retreated immediately
to the farthest corner. This taught me caution; I must not approach too
near.

Shall I be able to tame him? I thought I should; but I was disappointed.

He sat in his corner, looking wickedly out of his grey eyes; and I
never saw a more morose or ill-tempered face than this little beast
had. I do not believe that gorillas ever smile.

Of course I had to attend to the wants of my captive. My first business
in the morning was to attend on Joe. I sent for some of the forest
berries which these animals are known to prefer, and placed these and
a cup of water within his reach. He was exceedingly shy, and would
neither eat nor drink till I had removed to a considerable distance.

The second day I found Joe fiercer than on the first. He rushed
savagely at anyone who stood even for a moment near his cage and seemed
ready to tear us to pieces. A fine specimen of man-monkey, thought I; a
tiger under the disguise of a gorilla. I wondered what kind of a cage a
full-grown gorilla would require. I should certainly not care to be his
keeper.

I threw Joe pieces of pine-apple leaves; and I noticed that he ate only
the white part. There seemed to be no difficulty about his food, as
long as it was gathered from his native woods; but he refused all other
kinds of food. He was very fond of bananas and ripe plantains.

The third day Joe was still more morose and savage, bellowing when any
persons approached, or retiring to a distant corner to make a rush upon
them.

On the fourth day, while no one was near, the little rascal succeeded
in forcing apart two of the bamboo sticks which composed his cage and
made his escape. I came up just as his flight was discovered, and
immediately got all the negroes together for pursuit. Where had he
gone? I was determined to surround the wood and recapture him. Running
into my house to get one of my guns, I was startled by an angry growl
issuing from under my low bedstead. It was Master Joe; there was no
mistake about it; I knew his growl but too well. Master Joe lay there
hid, but anxiously watching my movements. I cleared out faster than I
came in. I instantly shut the windows, and called to my people to guard
the door. When Joe saw the crowd of black faces he became furious; and
with his eyes glaring, and every sign of rage in his little face and
body, he got out from beneath the bed. He was about to make a rush at
all of us. He was not afraid. A stampede of my men took place. I shut
the door quickly, and left Joe master of the premises. I preferred
devising some plans for his easy capture, to exposing myself and men to
his terrible teeth; for the little rascal could bite very hard, and I
did not care to have a piece taken out of one of my legs. How to take
him was now a puzzling question. He had shown such strength and such
rage already that I did not care, and none of my men seemed to care,
to run the chance of getting badly beaten in a hand-to-hand struggle,
in which we were pretty sure to come off the worse. Meantime, peeping
through the keyhole, I saw Master Joe standing still in the middle
of the room looking about for his enemies, and examining, with some
surprise, the furniture. He seemed to think that he had never seen
such things before. I watched with fear, lest the ticking of my clock
should attract his attention, and perhaps lead him to an assault upon
that precious article. Indeed, I should have left Joe in possession,
but for a fear that he would destroy the many little articles of value
or curiosity I had hung about the walls, and which reminded me so much
of America.

Finally, seeing Joe to be quiet, I despatched some fellows for a net;
and, opening the door quickly, I threw this over his head. Fortunately
we succeeded at the first throw in effectually entangling the young
monster, who roared frightfully, and struck and kicked in every
direction under the net. So fearfully was he excited that I thought he
would die in a fit of rage. I took hold of the back of his neck; two
men seized his arms, and another the legs; and, thus held by four men,
we could hardly manage Joe.

We carried him as quickly as we could to the cage, which had been
repaired, and then once more locked him in. I never saw such a furious
beast in my life as he was. He darted at everyone. He bit the bamboos
of his cage. He glared at us with venomous and sullen eyes, and in
every motion showed a temper thoroughly wicked and malicious.

After this Joe got worse than ever; and as good treatment only made
him more morose and savage, I tried what starvation would do towards
breaking his spirit. Besides, it began to be troublesome to procure his
food from the woods, and I wanted him to become accustomed to civilized
food, which was placed before him. But he would touch nothing of the
kind. How was I to bring him to America? I could not put an African
forest on board. As for his temper, after starving him for twenty-four
hours, all I gained was, that he came slowly up and took some berries
from the forest out of my hand and then immediately retreated to
his corner to eat them. Daily attentions from me, for a fortnight
more, did not bring me any further confidence from him than this. He
always snarled at me; and only when very hungry would he take even his
choicest food from my hand.

At the end of this fortnight I came one day to feed him, and found that
he had gnawed a bamboo to pieces slily, and again made his escape.
Luckily he had but just gone, for as I looked around I caught a sight
of him making off on all fours, and with great speed, across the
prairie for a clump of trees.

I at once gave the alarm. I called the men up, and we gave chase,
taking with us all the fishing nets. He saw us, and, before we could
head him off, made for another clump, which was thicker and larger.
This we surrounded. He did not ascend a tree, but stood defiantly at
the border of the wood. About one hundred and fifty of us surrounded
him. As we moved up he began to yell, and made a sudden dash upon a
poor fellow who was in advance. The fellow ran, and tumbled down in
affright. By his fall he escaped the tender mercies of Joe's teeth;
but he also detained the little rascal long enough for the nets to be
thrown over him.

Four of us bore him again, struggling, into the village. This time I
would not trust him to the cage, but fastened a small chain round his
neck. This operation he resisted with all his might, and it took us
quite an hour to securely chain the little fellow, whose strength was
something marvellous.

Ten days after he was thus chained he died quite suddenly. He had been
in good health, and ate plentifully of his natural food, which was
brought every day from the forest for him. He did not seem to sicken
until two days before his death. He died in some pain. To the last he
continued utterly untameable, and after his chain was put on he added
treachery to his other vices. He would come sometimes quite readily to
eat out of my hand, but while I stood by him would suddenly--looking
me all the time in the face to keep my attention--put out his foot and
grasp at my leg. Several times he tore my pantaloons in this manner. A
quick retreat on my part saved my legs from further injury, but I had
to be very careful in my approaches. The negroes could not come near
him at all without setting him in a rage. He seemed always to remember
that they captured him, and to think he had experienced rather too hard
treatment at their hands; but he evidently always cherished towards me
also a feeling of revenge.

After he was chained I filled a half barrel with hay, and set it near
him for his bed. He recognised its use at once, and it was pretty to
see him shake up the hay and creep into this nest when he was tired. At
night he always shook it up, and then took some hay in his hands, with
which he would cover himself when he was snug in his barrel. He often
moaned, for his mother perhaps, at night.

After Joe died I stuffed his body, and brought his skin and skeleton to
New York, where many saw it. Around his neck, where the chain had been,
the hair was worn off.

Poor Joe! I wish he had lived and become tame, so that I could have
brought him home with me to show the children.

Now poor Joe can be seen stuffed in the British Museum.



[Illustration: HIPPOPOTAMI AT HOME.]

CHAPTER XXIV.

  THE HIPPOPOTAMUS--A DUEL--SHOOTING ON THE RIVER--NEARLY UPSET--A
  NIGHT-HUNT ON LAND--MY COMPANION FIRES AND RUNS--APPEARANCE AND
  HABITS OF THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.


What have we yonder in the water? A flock of hippopotami! Their bodies
look for all the world like so many old weather-beaten logs stranded on
a mud-bank or a sand-bar.

Every thing was still. The sun was very hot, and all nature seemed
to repose. I was concealed on the banks of the river, under a very
shady tree, watching them. Suddenly, not far from me, two huge beasts
rose as by enchantment to the surface of the water and rushed towards
each other. Their vast and hideous mouths were opened to their utmost
capacity, showing their huge crooked tusks, which gave their mouths
a savage appearance. Their eyes were flaming with rage, and each of
them put forth all his power to annihilate the other. They seized each
other with their jaws; they stabbed and punched with their strong
tusks, lacerating each other in a frightful manner; they advanced
and retreated; now they were at the top of the water, and now they
sank down to the bottom. Their blood discoloured the river, and their
groans or grunts of rage were hideous to listen to. They showed little
power of strategy, but rather a piggish obstinacy in maintaining their
ground, and a frightful savageness of demeanour. The combat lasted
an hour. It was a grand sight. The water around them was sometimes
white with foam. At last one turned about and made off, leaving the
other victorious and master of the field. A few days after, I killed a
hippopotamus, and its thick hide was lacerated terribly. Doubtless it
was one of the beasts I had seen fighting.

The hippopotamus is found in most of the rivers of Africa which empty
themselves into the Atlantic or Indian Ocean, but in none but the Nile
of those which empty themselves into the Mediterranean; and in the Nile
it is only met far up the river. Many as there were of them on the
Fernand-Vaz, they were more numerous on the Ogobai.

How much sport I have had with them! How often have I studied their
habits! And now I must give you some account of my encounters with them.

About five miles above my little settlement at Washington there was a
place in the river shallow enough for them to stand and play around,
and there they remained all day playing in the deep water, sometimes
diving, but for the most part standing on the shallows, with only their
ugly noses or heads lifted out of the water.

One fine morning I went towards them. We approached slowly and with
caution to within thirty yards of them without seeming to attract the
slightest attention from the sluggish animals. One might have asked
himself, "Are they hippopotami or not?" Stopping there I fired five
shots, and, so far as I could see, I killed three hippopotami. The ear
is one of the most vulnerable spots, and this was my mark every time.

The first shot was received with very little attention by the herd; but
the struggles of the dying animal I had hit, which turned over several
times and finally sank to the bottom, seemed to rouse the others, who
began to plunge about and dive down into deep water. The blood of my
victims discoloured the water all around, and we could not see whether
those who escaped were not swimming for us.

Presently the canoe received a violent jar, and, looking overboard, we
perceived that we were in the midst of the herd. "The hippopotami are
coming upon us!" shouted the men; "they are going to attack us!" We
pulled out of the way as fast as we could, none of us being anxious to
be capsized. It would have been a comical sight to see us swimming in
the midst of a flock of hippopotami, and some of us, perhaps, raised up
on the back of one as he came to the surface, or lifted, maybe, with
his two crooked tusks in our body.

We were soon out of the way, and looking back to see where were the
animals I had killed, I saw nothing. They had sunk to the bottom, and
of the three, only one was recovered. It was found two days afterwards
on a little island near the river's mouth. Seeing this, I resolved
never to shoot hippopotami while they are in the water, for I did not
want to kill these animals for nothing; I wanted their skins and their
skeletons to enrich our museums.

Some time after Joe had died, I determined to go on a night hunt after
hippopotami. These animals come ashore by night to feed.

The Fernand-Vaz runs for many miles parallel with the seashore,
separated from the sea by a strip of sandy prairie. On this prairie
the hippopotamus feeds. He is sometimes called the sea-horse, for when
his head is out of the water it looks from a distance exactly like the
head of a horse. The "walk" of a herd is easily discernible. It looks
very much like a regular beaten road, only their immense footprints
showing who are its makers. In their track no grass grows. They always
return by the same path they go out on. This gives the hunter a great
advantage.

I chose moonlight night, and paddled up to the vicinity of one of
these "walks." There Igala, my hunter, and I set out by ourselves.
I had painted my face with a mixture of oil and soot, which is a
prudent measure for a white hunter in Africa. The beasts there seem
to have a singularly quick eye for anything white. I made myself look
exactly like Igala. We both had black faces and black hands. I was
dressed in the usual dark suit of clothes for the night; people there
must not go hunting in light-coloured garments. We chose the windward
side of the track, for the hippopotamus has a very keen scent, and is
easily alarmed at night, feeling, probably, that on land his sluggish
movements, huge bulk, and short legs have their disadvantages.

We lay down under shelter of a bush and watched. As yet none of the
animals had come out of the water. We could hear them in the distance
splashing about in the water, their subdued snort-like roars breaking
in upon the stillness of the night in a very odd way. It was the only
noise we heard--no, I cannot say the only noise, for the mosquitoes
were busily buzzing around, and feeding upon us, taking advantage,
apparently, of our anxiety to keep perfectly quiet.

The moon was nearly down, and the watch was getting tedious, when I
was startled by a sudden groan. Peering into the distance, I saw dimly
a huge animal looking doubly monstrous in the uncertain light. It was
quietly eating grass, which it seemed to nibble off quite close to the
ground.

There was another bush between us and our prey, and we crawled up to
this in dead silence. Arrived there, we were but eight yards from
the great beast. How terrible he looked! The negroes who hunt the
hippopotami are sometimes killed; I thought that one of us might be
killed also. The animal, if only wounded, turns savagely upon his
assailants, and experience has taught the negro hunters that the only
safe way to approach him is from behind. He cannot turn quickly, and
thus the hunter has a chance to make good his escape. This time we
could not get into a very favourable position; but I determined to have
my shot nevertheless, eight yards being a safe killing distance, even
with so poor a light as we had by this time.

We watched the hippopotamus intently, looking at each other as if to
say, "Are you ready?" We then raised our guns slowly. Igala and I
both took aim. He fired and, without waiting to see the result, ran
as swiftly as a good pair of legs could carry him. I was not quite
ready, but fired the moment after him, and before I could get ready for
running (in which I had not Igala's practice) I saw there was no need
for it. The beast tottered for a moment, and fell over with a booming
sound, dead.

This closed our night's sport, as none of the herd would come this
way while their companion lay there. So we returned home. Poor Igala
remonstrated with me for not running as he did. It appears that running
was considered one of the chief accomplishments of the hippopotamus
hunter. Our good luck created great joy in the village, where meat
was scarce. The men went out at daylight and brought the flesh home.
Basket after basket came in, and as each one arrived all shouted except
those who did not eat the hippopotamus. It is _roonda_ for them. Some
of their ancestry had a long time ago given birth to a hippopotamus,
and if they were to eat any, more births of hippopotami would come to
them, or they would die. These shouted, "I wish he had killed a bullock
instead of a hippopotamus."

The meat does not taste unlike beef, but was not so red. It was rather
coarse-grained, and in the case of this animal it was not fat. It makes
a welcome and wholesome dish. I tried to have some steaks; I must say
they were rather tough, and did not go down easily. The broth was
better, and I enjoyed it very much. There was something novel in having
hippopotamus soup.

I have killed a good many hippopotami. It is a very clumsily-built,
unwieldy animal, remarkable chiefly for its enormous head, whose
upper jaw seemed to be movable, like the crocodile's, and for its
disproportionately short legs. The male is much larger than the female;
indeed, a full-grown male sometimes attains the bulk, though not the
height, of the elephant. In the larger specimens the belly almost
sweeps the ground as they walk.

The feet are curiously constructed to facilitate walking among the
reeds and mud of the river bottom, and swimming with ease. The hoof is
divided into four short, apparently clumsy and unconnected toes; and
they are able, by this breadth of foot, to walk rapidly even through
the mud. I have seen them make quick progress, when alarmed, in water
so deep that their backs were just at the surface.

The colour of the skin is a clayey yellow, assuming a roseate hue under
the belly. In the grown animal the colour is a little darker. The skin
of an adult hippopotamus is from one and a half to two inches thick on
the middle of the back. It is devoid of hair, with the exception of a
few short bristly hairs in the tail, and a few scattered tufts, of four
or five hairs each, near the muzzle.

All along the Fernand-Vaz there were scattered herds of hippopotami;
and I used to watch them from my house. I could see them at any time
during the day. After they have chosen a spot, they like to remain
there day after day, and month after month, unless they are disturbed,
or their food becomes scarce. These animals consort together in herds
of from two to thirty. They choose shallows in the rivers, where the
depth of the water allows them to have their whole body submerged when
standing. There they remain all day, swimming off into the deep place,
diving for their grassy food, or gambolling in the waves. From time to
time they throw up a stream of water two or three feet high. This is
done with a noise like blowing, and it is doubtless an effort to get
breath. It is pleasant to watch a herd peacefully enjoying themselves,
particularly when they have two or three young ones among them. Some
of the little fellows look very small, and are comically awkward. They
chase each other about the shoals or play about their dams; and I have
often seen them seated on the back of their mother in the water. How
careful their mothers seemed to be when they were swimming about, and
carrying their young in the way I have described. It is a sight worth
seeing; sometimes the whole herd of hippopotami will disappear for a
long time under the water.

They prefer parts of the rivers where the current is not very swift,
and are therefore to be found in all the lakes of the interior. They
prefer to be near grass fields. They are very fond of a particular
kind of coarse grass which grows on these prairies, and will travel
considerable distances to find it. They always return, however, before
daylight. Their path overland is very direct. Neither rocks nor swamps
nor bushes can prove formidable obstacles to a water beast of such
bulk. I have seen their path lie through the thickest woods. Unless
much pursued and harassed, they are not much afraid of man. If troubled
by hunters they move their encampment, or go into countries where they
can be more quiet.

Some of their favourite grass was growing on a little plain at the back
of my house; and several times I found hippopotami tracks not more than
fifty yards from the house. They had not feared to come as near as
this; though probably, if the wind had been blowing towards them, they
would have avoided the place.

They always choose a convenient landing-place, where the bank has a
long and easy incline. This landing-place they use till they have eaten
up all the provender which can be found in that vicinity. Before going
ashore, they watch for an hour, and sometimes for two hours, near the
landing, remaining very quiet themselves, and listening for danger.
The slightest token of the hunter's presence, or any other suspicious
appearances on such occasions, will send them away for that night.
If no danger appears they begin to wander ashore in twos or threes. I
never saw more than three of a herd grazing together; and, during their
stay ashore, they place more dependence on their ears than on their
eyes. I have watched them closely in many hunts; and I am sure that the
beast walks along with his eyes nearly shut.

When playing in the water, this animal makes a noise very much
resembling the grunt of a pig. This grunt it utters also when alarmed
by the approach of man. When enraged, or suddenly disturbed, it utters
a kind of groan--a hoarse sound--which can be heard at a considerable
distance. They are quite combative among themselves, as you have seen
in the case of the fight I have described.

[Illustration]

  [Illustration: MARABOUTS, STORKS, AND PELICANS.
                                       CHAP. XXV.]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XXV.

  VISIT OF KING QUENGUEZA--I PROMISE TO VISIT HIM--THE KINDNESS OF
  THE COMMI--THE DRY SEASON ON THE FERNAND-VAZ--PLENTY OF BIRDS AND
  FISHES--THE MARABOUTS--THE EAGLES--A BAD WOUND.


One fine day I was quietly seated in my bamboo house, and reading
over, for the fiftieth time, the letters of the dear friends who had
not forgotten me, and were so kind as to remember me in my wandering
life in Africa. My attention was suddenly drawn away by the singing
of numerous voices coming down the river. Soon afterwards there stood
before me, accompanied by Ranpano, a tall venerable-looking and slender
negro of noble but savage bearing; he was evidently, I thought, a
chief; there was something commanding about his countenance. He was
not very dark. The people who came with him showed him great respect.
This tall negro was Quengueza, the great king of the Rembo, and the
sovereign of the whole up-river country of the Rembo and Ovenga, the
head waters of the Fernand-Vaz.

He came down in considerable state in three canoes, with three of his
favourite wives, and about one hundred and thirty men.

My little black boy, Macondai, brought him a chair; and after he had
seated himself I saluted him, according to the usual custom, by saying
"Mbolo." After a few seconds he said "Ai." Then he paused a little
while, and said "Mbolo," to which I replied "Ai." This is the usual
mode of salutation in the Commi country, the host beginning first.

He looked at me and seemed very much astonished. He said he expected to
see a tall and stout man. He had heard of me as a great hunter. He was
now convinced, he said, that I must have a brave heart to hunt as I did.

Fortunately, Quengueza and I could talk together, the Commi being his
native language.

He told me there were plenty of gorillas and _nshiegos_ in his country;
and that, if I would come, I should have liberty and protection to hunt
and to do what I pleased. No one would hurt my people, or Ranpano's
people, or myself, or anybody, added he, with emphasis, that should
come with me.

I liked the old king at first sight; but I little guessed then that he
would afterwards become so fond of me, and that I should love him so
much. Yes, I shall remember my good friend Quengueza as long as I live.
Though he is a poor heathen, his heart was full of love for me, and he
possessed many manly and noble qualities.

I was so much pleased with King Quengueza's visit that I sent the
kind-hearted old fellow off with his canoes full of presents of iron
bars, brass rods, chests, etc.; and I gave him goods on trust with
which to buy me ebony. He promised me great sport, and an introduction
to some tribes of whom these Commi men of the seashore knew nothing.

To do him greater honour my people fired a salute as he started off,
with which he was highly delighted, as an African is sure to be with
noise. He did not go before making me promise to come and see him as
soon as the rainy season arrived.

The dry season was now setting in. It was the first I had spent in the
Commi country; and I devoted the whole month of July to exploring the
country along the seashore, between the Fernand-Vaz and the sea.

There was quite a change. The birds, which were so abundant during
the rainy season, had taken their leave; and other birds, in immense
numbers, flocked in to feed on the fish, which now leave the seashore
and the bars of the river's mouth and ascend the river to spawn. Fish,
particularly mullet, were so abundant in the river that two or three
times, when I took my evening airing on the water in a flat upper-river
canoe, enough mullet would leap into the boat to furnish me a breakfast
the next day. The quantity of fish in the shallow water was prodigious.

The breakers on the shore, never very light, were now frightful to
see. The coast was rendered inaccessible by them even to the natives,
and the surf increased to such a degree, even at the mouth of the
river, that it was difficult, and often impossible, to enter with a
canoe. Strong winds from the south prevailed, and, though the sky was
constantly overcast, not a drop of rain fell. The thermometer fell
sometimes early in the morning to 64° of Fahrenheit, and I suffered
from cold, as did also the poor natives. The grass on the prairie was
dried up or burnt over; the ponds were dried up; only the woods kept
their resplendent green.

I was often left alone in that great prairie with my cook and my little
boy Macondai, and a dear little boy he was. I felt perfectly safe
among the good Commi. I always had tried to do right with them, and I
had reaped my reward. They loved me, and anyone who should have tried
to injure me would have no doubt been put to death or exiled from the
country. I shall always remember my little village of Washington and
the good Commi people. When perchance I got a chill the whole village
was in distress. No one was allowed to talk loud, and everyone would
call during the day and sit by me with a sad face for hours without
saying a word, and, when they went away, they all expressed their
sorrow to see me ill. The kind women would bring me wild fruits, or
cold water from the spring, in which to bathe my burning and aching
head; and sometimes tears would drop from their eyes and run down their
kind black faces.

At this season the negroes leave their villages and work on their
plantations. The women gathered the crop of ground-nuts which had been
planted the preceding rainy season, while the men cut down the trees
for the plantations of the coming year, or built canoes, or idled about
or went fishing. Some of their farms are necessarily at some distance
off. The sandy prairie is not fit to cultivate, being, in fact, only
a deposit of the sea, which must have taken an incalculable period of
time to form.

The birds flocked in immense numbers on the prairies, whither they come
to hatch their young; especially later in the season, when the ugly
marabouts, from whose tails our ladies get the splendid feathers for
their bonnets, were there in thousands; and I can assure you they were
not very easy to approach. I believe the marabout is the ugliest bird
I ever saw, and one would never dream that their beautiful feathers
are found only under the tail, and can hardly be seen when the bird is
alive.

Pelicans waded on the river banks all day in prodigious swarms, and
gulped down the luckless fish which came in their way. I loved to see
them swimming about in grave silence, and every now and then grabbing
up a poor fish with their enormous, long, and powerful bills. If not
hungry, they left the fish in their huge pouches, till sometimes three
or four pounds of reserved food awaited the coming of their appetite.
This pouch, you see, performed the office of a pocket, where boys, when
not hungry, keep their apples in reserve.

On the sandy islands were seen now and then flocks of the _Ibis
religiosa_, the sacred Ibis of the Egyptians. They looked exactly like
those that are found mummified, and which have been preserved several
thousand years. They are very curious-looking birds; the head and neck
have no feathers. I have tried to find their nests, but never succeeded.

Ducks of various kinds built their nests in every creek and on every
new islet that appeared with the receding waters. Some of them were of
beautiful plumage.

Cranes, too, and numerous other water-fowls, flocked in, and every day
brought with it new birds. They came by some strange instinct, from
far-distant lands, to feed upon the vast shoals of fish which literally
filled the river. I wondered if many of these birds had come from the
Nile, the Niger, the Zambesi--from the interior of Africa, where no one
had ever penetrated, and from the vast plains of South Africa. What
great travellers some of these birds must be! I envied them, and often
wished I could fly away, supported by their wings. What countries I
should have seen!--what curious people I should have looked at!--and
how many novel things I should have found to recount to you!

Along the trees bordering the river, sometimes perched on their highest
branches, sometimes hidden in the midst of them, I could see that most
beautiful eagle, the _Gypohierax angolensis_, called _coungou_ by the
natives. This eagle is of a white and black colour. He often watches
over the water. How quickly his keen eyes can see through it! and with
what rapidity he darts at his prey! Then, seizing it in his powerful
talons, which sink deep into it, he rises into the air and goes where
he can devour it undisturbed. These eagles attack large fish. They
generally make them blind, and then gradually succeed in getting them
ashore, though it is hard work for them. They have a luxurious time on
the Fernand-Vaz river during the dry season, and are very numerous.
They build their nests on the tops of the highest trees, and come back
to them every year. These nests are exactly like those you have seen,
only larger. They keep very busy when their young begin to eat. The
male and female are then continually fishing. Strange to say, they are
very fond of the palm-oil nuts. In the season, when these are ripe,
they are continually seen among the palm trees.

No wonder these eagles grab fish so easily, they have such claws! One
day, as one passed over my head, I shot him, and, thinking that he was
quite dead, I took him up, when suddenly, in the last struggle for
life, his talons got into my hands. I could have dropped down from
pain. Nothing could have taken the claws away; one of them went clear
through my hand, and I shall probably keep the mark of it all my life.

On the seashore I sometimes caught a bird called the _Sula capensis_,
which had been driven ashore by the treacherous waves to which it had
trusted itself, and could not, for some mysterious reason, get away
again.

Finally, every sand-bar was covered with gulls, whose shrill screams
were heard from morning till night, as they flew about greedily after
their finny prey.

It was a splendid opportunity for sportsmen, and I thought of some of
my friends. As for myself, I took more delight in studying the habits
of the birds than in killing them, and I assure you I had a very
delightful time. I love dearly the dry season in Africa. I am sure you
would have enjoyed it quite as much as I did, if you had been there
with me.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: THE KING RECEIVES ME.]

CHAPTER XXVI.

  ANOTHER EXPEDITION TO LAKE ANENGUE--DIFFICULT PASSAGE UP THE
  RIVER--THE CROCODILES--KING DAMAGONDAI AND HIS TROUBLES--I BUY AN
  MBUITI, OR IDOL.


One fine morning there was a great bustle on the banks of the river
at Washington, where two canoes were loading. I was about to start on
another expedition. I called King Ranpano and his people together and
gave them charge of my property; I declared that if anything was stolen
during my absence I should surely punish the thief.

They all protested that I need not even lock the doors of my house; and
I believed them. The Biagano people loved me, and did not steal from me.

Then I counted my ten goats in their presence, and said that I wanted
no leopard stories told me when I came back. At this they shouted and
laughed. They declared that neither they nor the leopards should touch
my goats.

I counted the fowls, and told them I wanted no snake stories about
them. Another hearty laugh, and they all shouted that no snakes should
gobble up my fowls. These matters having been satisfactorily arranged,
I started with my canoes and a well-armed crew.

I was bound again for Lake Anengue, where I had been a few months
before. It was now the dry season. We had armed ourselves well, for
fear we might be interrupted, as some people came up this way to make
plantations during the dry season and might dispute our advance; I
determined to let no man bar the road to me.

The dry season was at its height, and I found the Npoulounay shallower
than before. There was about fifteen feet less depth of water in the
Ogobai during the dry season than there was in the rainy season. At
this time the river was covered with muddy or sandy islands, many of
which were left dry. The muddy islands were covered with reeds, among
which sported the flamingo, a bird not seen here in the rainy season.

We pulled hard all day, and we slept the first night on a sandy island
of the Ogobai river, under our mosquito-nets, of which I had laid in
a store. These nets, which the natives also use, are made of grass
cloth, which comes from the far interior, and does very well out doors,
where it keeps out the dew as well as the mosquitoes, and protects the
sleeper against the cold winds which prevail.

The next morning, when I awoke, I saw, for the first time, a fog in
this part of Africa; it was very thick, but the sun drove it off. I
sent out my fishing-net, and in a few minutes the men caught fish
enough for supper and breakfast.

After our breakfast of fish and plantain, we paddled on up the stream.
Though we had seen a few villages, we had not met a single canoe on the
water, and nothing human, except a corpse that came down the river and
ran against our canoe. It was probably the body of some poor wretch
who had been drowned on account of witchcraft. The hands and feet were
tied, so that when they threw him into the water he could not swim.

Finally we entered the Anengue; but this river we found was entirely
changed since May. Then it was a deep, swift stream. Now its surface
was dotted with numberless black mud islands, on which swarmed
incredible numbers of crocodiles. We actually saw many hundreds of
these disgusting monsters, sunning themselves on the black mud, and
slipping off into the water to feed. I never saw such a horrible
sight. Many were at least twenty feet long; and when they opened their
frightful mouths they seemed capable of swallowing our little canoes
without trouble. I wondered what would become of us all if, perchance,
our canoe should capsize.

I determined to have a shot at these crocodiles, which seemed no wise
frightened at our approach. Making my men paddle the boat quite near to
them, I singled out the biggest and lodged a ball in his body, aiming
at the joints of his fore legs, where the thick armour is defective.
He tumbled over, and, after struggling in the water for a moment, sank
into the mud. His companions turned their hideous snaky eyes down at
him, in momentary surprise, but did not know what to make of it, and
dropped back to their sluggish comfort. I shot another, but he sank
also, and as my men did not like to venture into the black mud after
them, we got neither.

As we ascended the stream, it branched off in several places, and
became gradually narrower. Crocodiles were seen everywhere. At length
we found ourselves pushing laboriously along through a deep crooked
ditch, not more than two yards wide, and overhung with tall reeds, on
which a great number of birds balanced themselves, as though enjoying
our dilemma. We found this time, to my surprise, a tremendous current
running. In May, the water of the lake had overflowed its shores, and
its regular outlets had therefore no great pressure upon them. Now,
this outlet was choked with water, which rushed through at such a rate
that at some of the turns in the crooked channel we were actually swept
back several times before we could make our way ahead. At one point,
where the true outlets joined, we could not pass till I made the men
smoke their _condouquai_, a long reed pipe, which seems to give them
new vigour; I also gave them a sup of my brandy. This done, they gave
a great shout and pushed through, and in an hour after we emerged into
the lake, but not without tremendous exertions.

We now lay on our paddles and gazed about us. On one side the lake is
bounded by hills which come close down to the shore; on the other side
the hills recede, and between them and the water lies a dreary extent
of low marsh, covered with reeds. Several towns were in sight, all
located on the summits of hills.

The lake, alas! had changed with the season too. It was still a
beautiful sheet of water; but all over its placid face the dry season
had brought out an eruption of those black mud islands which we had
noticed before, and on these reposed, I fear to say what number of
crocodiles. Wherever the eye was turned these disgusting creatures,
with their dull leering eyes and huge savage jaws, appeared in
prodigious numbers. The water was alive with fish, on which I suppose
the crocodiles had fat living; but pelicans and herons, ducks and other
water-birds, also abounded, drawn hither by the abundance of their prey.

Paddling carefully past great numbers of crocodiles, into whose ready
jaws I was by no means anxious to fall, and past several villages,
whose people looked at us with mute amazement, we reached at last the
town of Damagondai. A great crowd was assembled to receive us, headed
by the king himself, who stood on the shore. Quarters were provided for
me by his majesty, who, a short time after my arrival, presented me
with a goat. He was dressed in the usual middle-cloth of the natives,
and a tarnished scarlet soldier's coat, but was innocent of trousers.
His welcome, however, was not the less hearty because the pantaloons
were absent.

His town, which contains about fifty huts, lies on some high ground,
at a little distance from the water. I distributed presents among the
grey-beards, and beads among the women, and thus put them all in good
humour.

Damagondai, the king, then insisted that I must get married to at least
two or three women. He was amazed when I declined this flattering
proposal, and insisted upon it that my bachelor life must be very
lonely and disagreeable.

The king was a tall, rather slim negro, over six feet high, and
well-shaped. In war, or in the chase, he had the usual amount of
courage, but at home he was exceedingly superstitious. As night came
on he seemed to get a dread of death; and at last began to groan that
some of the people wanted to bewitch him, in order to get his property
and his authority. Finally he would get excited, and begin to curse
all witches and sorcerers. He would say that no one should have his
wives and slaves; and that the people who wanted to kill him had better
beware; the _mboundou_ was ready.

Certainly poor Damagondai must have slept on the wrong side, as I told
him afterwards, for the old fellow began to lecture his wives, telling
them to love him and feed him well, for he had given a great deal of
goods and slaves to their parents for them, and they were a constant
expense to him. To all this the poor women listened with respect.

Damagondai and I were very good friends. I really don't know why, but,
wherever I went, these negroes seem to take a liking to me.

In the village of Damagondai there was an _mbuiti_, "an idol,"
representing a female figure, with copper eyes, and a tongue made of a
sharp sword-shaped piece of iron. This explained her chief attribute;
she cuts to pieces those with whom she is displeased. She was dressed
in the Shekiani cloth, covering her from the neck down. She is said
to speak, to walk, to foretell events, and to take vengeance on her
enemies. Her house is the most prominent one in the whole village.

She comes to people by night and tells them in their sleep what is
going to happen. In this way, they asserted, my coming had been
foretold. They worship her by dancing around her and singing her
praises, and their requests. Sometimes a single woman or man comes
alone to prefer a request; and one evening I saw the whole village
engaged in this rite, all dancing and singing around her. They offer
her sugar-cane and other food, which they believe she eats. I tried to
buy this goddess, but, ugly as she was, Damagondai said that no amount
of money would purchase her. He insinuated, however, in a very slight
way, that for a proper price I might obtain the mbuiti of the slaves.
Then a great council took place with the grey-beards of the village.
The slaves were on the plantations. They agreed to tell them on their
return that they had seen their mbuiti walk off in the woods, and that
she had not returned. I could hear them laugh over what they thought to
be their clever plot.

I paid them a good price for it. I packed the mbuiti up, and took her
off with me, and her portrait, an exact likeness, taken in New York
from the idol itself, is found in my book called "Equatorial Africa."

I have often thought since how much I should have enjoyed seeing the
return of the slaves to the village. I should like to know if they
really believed that their mbuiti had left them; if so, there must have
been great wailing and mourning for fear that the wrath of the mbuiti
would come upon them.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: A CROCODILE HUNT.]

CHAPTER XXVII.

  A VISIT TO KING SHIMBOUVENEGANI--HIS ROYAL COSTUME--HUNTING
  CROCODILES--HOW THEY SEIZE THEIR PREY--THE NKAGO--THE OGATA.


I resolved to embark again on the waters of the Anengue Lake and make a
little journey of exploration. Damagondai went in the canoe with me. He
was to take me to another king, a friend of his.

We reached the residence of King Shimbouvenegani, a king with a long
name and a small village. We had to paddle through very shallow water
before reaching this place.

When we arrived, the king with the long name was not at his village.
We were told he was at his _olako_--a place temporarily erected in the
woods when villagers go out to hunt, or fish, or pursue agriculture.

They had chosen a charming spot in the woods, just upon the shores of
the lake, which here had abrupt banks. Their mosquito-nets were hung
up under the trees; every family had a fire built, and from the pots
came a fragrant smell of plantain and fish cooking. The savour was very
pleasant to me, for I was hungry.

Presently, Shimbouvenegani came up. He was rejoiced to see me, and
thanked his friend Damagondai for bringing his white man to visit him.

The appearance of Shimbouvenegani was comical. He was between sixty and
seventy years of age, and was quite lean. His only garment was a very
dirty swallow-tailed coat, which certainly must have belonged to the
time of my grandfather. The buttons were all gone. On his head he wore
a broad beaver hat, which dated nearly as far back as the coat itself.
The fur was entirely worn off, and the hat had a very seedy appearance.
But the king seemed very proud when he made his appearance. He thought
his costume was just the thing, and he looked loftily around, as if to
say, "Am I not a fine-looking fellow?" And truly, though his dress did
not amount to much according to our notions, I doubt not it had cost
him several slaves.

He asked me how I liked his costume, at the same time taking one of the
smaller tails in his hand and shaking it.

Presently, some large pots of palm-wine were brought, with which all
hands proceeded to celebrate my arrival. Damagondai and Shimbouvenegani
soon got drunk, and swore to each other eternal friendship, and
Shimbouvenegani promised to give one of his daughters in marriage to
Damagondai.

Meantime, Damagondai had presented me to his eldest son, Okabi, who
resided in the village of Shimbouvenegani. Okabi arranged a nice little
place for me, with branches of trees, and made a kind of bed for me. He
then gave me his two wives to take care of me, and to cook for me.

I had a very agreeable time in hunting while I was with
Shimbouvenegani. It was during my stay there that I discovered the
_nshiego mbouvé_, of which I will speak by-and-by.

We also had a great crocodile hunt, which pleased the people very
much, as they are extravagantly fond of the meat. Now and then during
my travels, for lack of something better, I have been obliged to eat
crocodiles. I have tried it in all sorts of ways--steaks, stews,
boiled, and broth; but I must say I was never fond of it.

They killed more or fewer crocodiles every day at this village; but the
negroes were so lazy that they were glad to have me go and save them
the trouble. Moreover, the crocodile has not much meat on him; so that,
though some were killed every day, the village was never sufficiently
supplied.

We went in canoes. These canoes on the Anengue are of very singular
construction. They are quite flat-bottomed, and of very light draught;
many of them are about fifty feet long, with a breadth of not more
than two feet, and a depth of ten to twelve inches. They are made of
a single tree. They are ticklish craft. The oarsmen stand up and use
paddles seven feet long, with which they can propel one of these canoes
at a very good rate. They are, of course, easily capsized, the gunwale
being but a very few inches above the water; but they do not often tip
over. What surprised me most was the way in which the negro paddlers
stood up at their work all day without tiring.

The negroes on the Anengue hunt the crocodile both with guns and with a
kind of harpoon. The vulnerable part of the animal is near the joints
of his forelegs; and there they endeavour to wound it. Though so many
are killed they do not decrease in numbers, nor, strange to say, do
they seem to grow more wary. They were to be seen everywhere during the
dry season; when the rainy season comes they disappear.

As we started out, we saw them swimming in all directions, and lying on
the mud banks sunning themselves. They took no notice of our canoe at
all. As we were to shoot them we were obliged to look for our prizes
on the shore, for if killed in the water they sink and are lost.
Presently we saw one immense fellow extended on the bank among some
reeds. We approached cautiously. I took good aim and knocked him over.
He struggled hard to get to the water, but his strength gave out ere he
could reach it, and to our great joy he expired. We could not think of
taking his body into our canoe, for he was nearly twenty feet long.

We killed another which measured eighteen feet. I never saw more
savage-looking jaws; they were armed with most formidable rows of teeth
and looked as though a man would scarcely be a mouthful for them.

We had brought another canoe along, and capsizing this upon the shore,
we rolled the dead monsters into it and paddled off for the village.
Then we returned to the olako.

During the heat of the day these animals retire to the reeds, where
they lie sheltered. In the morning, and late in the afternoon, they
come forth to seek their prey. They swim very silently, and scarcely
make even a ripple on the water, though they move along quite rapidly.
The motion of their paws in swimming is like those of a dog, over and
over. They can remain quite still on the top of the water, where they
may be seen watching for prey with their dull wicked-looking eyes. When
they are swimming the head is the only part of the body visible; and
when they are still, it looks exactly like an old piece of wood which
has remained long in the water, and is tossing to and fro. They sleep
among the reeds. Their eggs they lay in the sand on the island, and
cover them over with a layer of sand. It is the great abundance of fish
in the lake which makes them multiply so fast as they do. The negroes
seemed rather indifferent to their presence.

On my journey back to Damagondai's I saw an example of the manner
in which the crocodile seizes upon his prey. As we were paddling
along I perceived in the distance ahead a beautiful gazelle, looking
meditatively into the waters of the lagoon, of which from time to time
it took a drink. I stood up to get a shot, and we approached with
the utmost silence; but just as I raised my gun to fire a crocodile
leaped out of the water, and, like a flash, dived back again, with the
struggling animal in its powerful jaws. So quickly did the beast take
its prey that, though I fired at him, I was too late. I did not think
my bullet hit him.

After hunting on the water, I thought I would have a few rambles in the
forest near the olako. I killed a beautiful monkey, which the natives
call nkago, whose head is crowned with a cap of bright red, or rather
brown, hair. The nkagos are very numerous in these woods.

While walking in the forest I found, near the water, the hole or
burrow of an ogata. This is a species of cayman, which lives near the
pools, and makes a long hole in the ground, with two entrances. In
this hole it sleeps and watches for its prey. The ogata is very unlike
the crocodile in its habits. It is a night-roving animal, and solitary
in its ways. It scrapes out its hole with its paws with considerable
labour. It lives near a pool, for the double reason, I imagine, that
it may bathe, and because thither come gazelles and other animals,
for whom it lies in wait. The negroes told me that they rush out with
great speed upon any wandering animal, and drag it into the hole to eat
it. When the negroes discover one of these holes they come with their
guns, which are generally loaded with iron spikes, and watch at one
end, while a fire is built at the other entrance. When it becomes too
hot the ogata rushes out, and is shot. I killed one which proved to be
seven feet in length. It had great strength in its jaws, and its teeth
were very formidable. Like the crocodile, its upper jaw is articulated,
and is raised when the mouth is opened.

Sometimes fire is put at both ends of the hole, and the animal is
smoked to death. At other times a trap is made at the end where there
is no fire, and when the ogata rushes out it is ensnared.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: THE NSHIEGO MBOUVÉ.]

CHAPTER XXVIII.

  THE NSHIEGO MBOUVÉ--BALD-HEADED APES--THEIR HOUSES IN THE
  TREES--LYING IN WAIT FOR THEM--WE KILL A MALE--THE SHRIEKS OF HIS
  MATE--DESCRIPTION OF THE ANIMAL--FAREWELL TO SHIMBOUVENEGANI.


AS I was trudging along one day in the woods, rather tired of the
sport, and on the point of going back to the camp, I happened to look
up at a high tree which we were passing and saw a most singular
shelter or home built in its branches. I immediately stopped and asked
Okabi why the hunters slept in that way in the woods. Okabi laughed,
after looking at me quizzically, and then he told me that no man had
ever built that shelter. He said that it was made by a kind of man
of the woods, called nshiego mbouvé, an animal which had no hair on
the top of its head. I really thought Okabi was joking. An animal--a
man-monkey--with no hair on the top of his head? a bald-headed ape? It
was now my turn to laugh, for I did not believe Okabi's story about the
bald-headed animal, though I believed what he said about the shelter in
the tree.

I saw at once that I was on the trail of an animal which no civilized
man had ever seen before. I no longer felt tired, but pushed on through
the woods with renewed ardour, and with increased caution, so as not to
alarm our prey. The shelter we had seen was an old one, which had been
abandoned, but we had a hope of finding another which should be still
occupied.

We were not disappointed. We soon found two more shelters. They were
about twenty feet from the ground, and were on two trees, which stood a
little apart from the others, and which had no limbs below the one on
which the nests were placed. This location for its house is probably
chosen by the animals to secure them at night from beasts and serpents,
and from the falling limbs of surrounding trees. They build only in the
loneliest part of the forest. They are very shy, and are seldom seen,
even by the negroes.

Okabi, who was an old and intelligent hunter, told me that the male
and female together select the material for their nest or shelter. It
is constructed in part of the branches of the tree itself, which they
twist in with the boughs of other trees collected by them for the
purpose. The shelters I saw had the shape of an umbrella.

We concealed ourselves by lying flat on the ground amidst the bushes
near by, and keeping perfectly still. My patience was sorely tried.
Mosquitoes and flies were continually biting me. Ants now and then were
creeping upon me, and some of them managed to get under my clothes.
Besides, I had some fear of the bashikonay, or of the white ants,
coming to disturb me, or of snakes creeping upon me. So, as you may
imagine, I was not comfortable, neither had I pleasant thoughts.

At length, just at dusk, we heard the loud peculiar "hew, hew, hew,"
which is the call of the male to his mate. I was glad to know I had not
waited in vain; and looking up I saw a nshiego mbouvé sitting under his
nest. His feet rested on the lower branch; his head reached quite into
the little dome of a roof; and his arm was clasped firmly about the
tree trunk. This, I suppose, is the position in which they sleep. Soon
after his mate came and ascended the tree.

After gazing till I was tired, I saw that one of the animals showed
signs of being alarmed. Had they smelt us? had we made a noise that
excited their suspicions? Anyhow, we raised our guns and fired through
the gloom at the one that seemed asleep. I almost felt sorry for the
unfortunate beast, which fell with a tremendous crash, and died without
a struggle. The other uttered an awful shriek and came down the tree
with the utmost rapidity. I fired but missed the animal, and in less
time than I take to write it the poor creature had disappeared in the
woods.

I was very hungry, for I had eaten nothing since breakfast. We built
a fire at once, and made our camp. Then we built several more fires,
to prevent an attack of the bashikonay ants, in case they should come
that way. The poor ape was hung up to a limb out of reach. During the
night, I could hear now and then, in the distance, the piercing shriek
of its mate, which no doubt was calling for the absent one. At last I
fell asleep on my bed of leaves and grass, as pleased a man perhaps as
any in the world.

The next morning I examined the nshiego mbouvé. Okabi, pointing to
the head triumphantly, exclaimed, "See, Chaillie, is not the animal
bald-headed? Did I not tell you the truth?" So it was. The nshiego
mbouvé was quite bald; not a hair could be seen on the top of his head.
He was a full-grown specimen, and measured three feet and eleven inches
in height. His colour was intensely black, and the body was covered
with short, rather blackish hair. On the legs the hair was of a dirty
grey, mixed with black. On the shoulders and back the hair grew two
or three inches long. This animal was old, and his hair was a little
mixed with grey. The arms also, down to the wrists, were covered with
long black hair. The hair is much thinner than on the gorilla, and is
blacker, longer, and glossier. The nose, also, is not so prominent.
Though only three feet and eleven inches in height, the animal had an
extremely broad chest, though not so powerful as that of the gorilla.
The fingers, also, were much longer, and not large; and the hand was
longer than the foot; while the gorilla, like man, has the foot longer
than the hand.

Some of the teeth were decayed. So the poor fellow must have had the
toothache badly; and I suppose there were no dentists among the nshiego
mbouvés. I have killed several of these animals. One of them was a very
old one; he had silvery hair; nearly all his teeth were decayed, and
some were missing which had dropped out with age. He was getting so
infirm that he had not strength enough to pick berries or break nuts;
and, when killed, he had only leaves in his stomach.

After enjoying myself thoroughly at the olako of Shimbouvenegani, we
returned to the village of Damagondai. Shimbouvenegani dressed himself
again in state, that is to say, he put on his swallow-tailed coat and
his beaver hat. In this regal costume he accompanied us to our canoes,
and there bid us good-bye.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: EXPIRATION OF MOURNING.]

CHAPTER XXIX.

  WAR THREATENED--OSHORIA ARMS HIS MEN--WE BLUFF THEM OFF, AND FALL
  SICK WITH FEVER--THE MBOLA IVOGA, OR END OF MOURNING TIME--A DEATH
  AND BURIAL--FINDING OUT THE SORCERER--THE VILLAGE DESERTED--I
  BECOME VICEROY AT WASHINGTON.


News came that Oshoria, the chief of Guabuirri, a village situated at
the junction of the Ogobai and Anengue rivers, intended to stop me on
my way back to Washington. It was reported that he had assembled all
his fighting men, and was bent upon war.

Poor Damagondai was much troubled. He wanted no war. He sent his
brother down with a plate, a mug, and a brass pan, to propitiate
Oshoria. These were great presents. A plate, a mug, and a pan are
thought to be very valuable in the regions of the Anengue.

I was very angry. I had done no harm to the people of Guabuirri; I had
passed their village in peace. Oshoria wanted to exact tribute for my
passage; but he was not the king of the country, and I determined to
put down Mr. Oshoria.

We cleaned our guns, and I prepared my revolvers, and the next morning
we set out, without waiting for the return of the king's brother,
greatly to the dismay of Damagondai and of his peaceful people. But
nothing must stop us. We must return to Washington. My men swore that
they would fight to the death.

When we came in sight of Guabuirri, I saw that some of my fellows,
who, a short time before, were going to be so brave, began to show the
white feather. I therefore pointed to my revolver, and told them that I
would blow out the brains of the first man who failed to fight to the
last. They had a great respect for this wonderful revolver, and they
immediately answered, "We are men."

So we pulled down the stream and soon came almost opposite Oshoria's
people. I gave orders to make for the town. On the shore stood about
one hundred and fifty fellows armed with spears and axes, and led by
ten men who had guns. All of them were making a great noise.

My men were all well armed, and, if I remember well, there were only
sixteen of us. I had my revolver in one hand and a double-barrelled
gun in the other. The men all had guns, which were placed beside them
in such a way that the natives on the shore could see them. At this
piece of bravado, Oshoria's men became very civil. They retreated as we
approached the landing; and instead of continuing their war-shouts and
firing at us, they received us peaceably, and shouted to us not to fire.

Damagondai's brother hurried down to meet me, and announced that there
was no palaver: I must not kill anybody. I was then led to where
the quarrelsome Oshoria stood. Looking at him with a stern look, I
reproached him for his conduct, telling him that if anybody had been
killed, the palaver would have been on his own head. He said he had
been vexed that I did not stop to see him on my way up; and, after
making further excuses, added, "Aouè olomé," "thou art a man;" an
expression used in several ways, either to designate a smart man or
a rascal, or, in the best sense, a very brave man. I was content to
accept it as an intended compliment.

I was presented with fruits and fowls, and we were presently the best
of friends. To show them what I could do in the way of shooting,
I brought down a little bird which sat on a very high tree. They
all declared that I must have a very big shooting fetich; and they
reverenced me greatly.

The next morning, I left Oshoria, and once more I glided down the
placid waters of the Ogobai. I reached Washington in safety.

It was in the month of August, and the malaria of the Anengue marshes
began to tell on me. I fell sick with dysentery and symptoms of
malignant fever. In three days I took one hundred and eighty grains of
quinine, and thus happily succeeded in breaking the force of the fever,
which was the most dangerous of the two diseases. I was ill from the
18th to the 31st of August; and I did not regain my strength till the
9th of September. The Commi waited patiently for my recovery before
they would go through some of then ceremonies.

There was to be a _mbola ivoga_ at Biagano, that is, an end of the
mourning time, to be celebrated with ceremonies and a terrible noise.

When anyone of importance dies, the clan, or town, or the relatives,
cease to wear their best clothes, and make it a point to go unusually
dirty. No ornaments whatever, such as earrings or bracelets or beads,
are worn. This is the way they "mourn." Mourning lasts generally from
one year to two years. The ceremonies at the breaking-up of this
mourning are what I am now about to describe.

The man who had died left seven wives, a house, a plantation, several
slaves, and other property. All this the elder brother inherited;
and on him, as the heir, it devolved to give the grand feast. For
this feast every canoe that came brought jars of mimbo, or palm-wine.
Sholomba and Jombouai, the heir, with his people, had been out for
two weeks, fishing, and now returned with several canoe-loads of dry
fish. From his plantation a large supply of palm-wine was brought in.
The women and slaves had prepared a great quantity of food. Everything
needful was provided in great abundance.

In the village the people all got ready their best clothes and
furbished up their ornaments. Drums and kettles were collected for
music; powder was brought out for the salutes; and at last all was
ready for the mbola ivoga.

The seven wives of the deceased seemed quite jolly, for to-morrow they
were to lay aside their widows' robes, and to join in the jollification
as brides. The heir could have married them all; but he had generously
given up two to a younger brother, and one to a cousin. He had already
sixteen wives, and might well be content with only four more. Twenty
wives is a pretty good number.

No wonder the widows were glad to see the time of mourning over. For
two whole years they had been almost imprisoned in their husband's
house, hardly ever going out.

At seven o'clock three guns were fired off, to announce that the
widows had done eating a certain mess, mixed of various ingredients,
supposed to have magical virtues, and by which they are released from
their widowhood. This was the first part of the ceremony. They then
put on bracelets and anklets, and the finest calico they had. Some of
the Commi women wear brass anklets on each leg almost as high as the
knee, as you see represented in the picture. The weight must be between
twenty and thirty pounds on each leg. Besides these anklets, they wear
a few bracelets of the same material. On their necks they wear beads.

From early morning the guests had been coming, all bringing provisions
and mimbo (palm-wine) with them, and dressed in their best clothes.
There were several hundreds in all. The guests that lived far away had
come the day before. About nine o'clock all the guests sat down on
mats, spread about outside of the house of the deceased, and along the
main street. They were divided into little groups; and before each was
set an immense jar of mimbo, and food was spread before them. All began
to talk pleasantly, till, suddenly, the Biagano people fired off a
volley of about one hundred guns. This was the signal for the drinking
and eating to begin. Men, women, and children set to, and ate as much
as they could; and from this time till the next morning the orgies were
continued without interruption. They drank, they sang, they shouted,
they fired guns, and loaded them so heavily when they got tipsy that
I wonder the old trade-guns did not burst. They drummed on everything
that could possibly give out a noise. The women danced--such dances
as are not seen elsewhere! You may imagine what they were, when every
woman was so furiously tipsy.

This mbola ivoga would have lasted probably for several days, but the
victuals and palm-wine finally gave out.

Next day, about sunrise, Jombouai came and asked me to assist at the
concluding ceremony; for I had told him that I wanted to see every
scene of the mbola ivoga. His brother's house, according to the custom,
was to be torn down and burned--yes, burned to the ground, so that not
a vestige of it would remain to remind the people that once there stood
a house whose possessor was dead.

The people came around the house and fired guns; then, in a moment, as
if they were an infuriated mob, they hacked the old house to pieces
with axes and cutlasses; then they set fire to it. When the ruins were
burnt, the feast was done.

This is the way they go out of mourning among the Commi. The widows
were all married again, and, until another death should occur,
everything would go smoothly again.

Hardly were the rejoicings over, when Ishungui, the man who had
faithfully taken care of my house in my absence, lay at death's door.
He had gone out on Jombouai's fishing excursion, in order to catch fish
for the mbola ivoga which I have just described. He caught cold, and
had now a lung fever. The people called for me. I knew as soon as I saw
him that he must die, and I tried to prepare his mind for the change.
But his friends and relatives by no means gave him up. They sent for
a distinguished fetich doctor, and under his auspices they began the
infernal din with which they seek to cure a dying man. I am afraid the
cure is worse than the disease.

One of the Commi people's theories of disease is, that Obambou (the
devil) has got into the sick man, and as long as the devil remains in
the body there is no hope of curing the man. Now this devil is only to
be driven out by noise, and accordingly a great crowd surround the sick
man and beat drums and kettles close to his head, fire off guns close
to his ears, and in every part of the house they sing, shout, dance,
and make all the noise they can. This lasts till the poor fellow either
dies or is better; but I must say that he generally dies, unless the
operators get tired out first.

Ishungui died. He left no property, and his brother buried him in the
sand, without a coffin, in a grave so shallow (as is the custom) that,
when I came upon it some days after, I saw that the wild beasts had
been there and eaten the corpse.

The mourning was short in this case; it lasted only six days. There
were no wives or property; there was no feast. The relatives of the
deceased slept one night in his house, as a mark of respect.

Among the Commi it is the custom, when a man has died, to keep the
_nchougou_. The nchougou is a feast that takes place generally, if
not always, after the man has been dead six days. There is drinking,
eating, and dancing; but the rejoicing is not so uproarious as the
ceremony of the mbola ivoga. Then the mourning begins. I think you will
agree with me that the nchougou is a most extraordinary custom.

After Ishungui had died, it became necessary to discover the persons
who had bewitched the dead man; for the Commi said, "How is it that
a young man, generally healthy, should die so suddenly?" This they
did not believe to be natural; hence they attributed his death to
sorcerers, and were afraid that the sorcerers would kill other people.

A canoe had been despatched up to Lake Anengue to bring down a great
doctor. They brought down one of Damagondai's sons, a great rascal. He
had been foremost in selling me the idol, or _mbuiti_, of the slaves of
which I spoke to you, and he was an evident cheat.

When all was ready for the trial, I went down to look at the doctor,
who looked really diabolical. I never saw a more ugly-looking object.

He had on a high head-dress of black feathers. His eyelids were painted
red, and a red stripe, from the nose upward, divided his forehead into
two parts; another stripe passed around his head. The face was painted
white, and on each side of the mouth were two round red spots. About
his neck hung a necklace of grass, and also a cord, which held a box
against his breast. This little box is sacred, and contains spirits.
A number of strips of leopard's skin, and of skin of other animals,
crossed his breast, and were exposed about his person; and all these
were charmed and had charms attached to them. From each shoulder down
to his hands was a white stripe, and one hand was painted quite white.
To complete this horrible array, he wore around his body a string of
little bells.

He sat on a box. Before him stood another box containing charms. On
this stood a looking-glass, before which lay a buffalo-horn. In this
horn there was some black powder, and it was said to be the refuge
of many spirits. The doctor had also a little basket of snake-bones,
which he shook frequently during his incantations, and several skins,
to which little bells were attached. Near by stood a fellow beating a
board with two sticks.

All the people of the village gathered about this couple. The doctor
had, no doubt, impressed the people with his great power. His
incantations were continued for a long time, and at last came to the
climax. Jombouai was told to call over the names of persons in the
village, in order that the doctor might ascertain if any of those named
were sorcerers. As each name was called, the old cheat looked in the
looking-glass to see the result.

During the whole operation I stood near him, which seemed to trouble
him greatly. At last, after all the names were called, the doctor
declared that he could not find any "witch-man," but that an evil
spirit dwelt in the village, and many of the people would die if it
continued there. I have a suspicion that this final judgment with which
the incantations broke up was a piece of revenge upon me. I had no idea
until the next day how seriously the word of one of these _ougangas_
(doctors) is taken.

The next morning all was excitement. The people were scared. They said
their mbuiti was not willing to have them live longer here; that he
would kill them, etc. Then began the removal of all kinds of property,
and the tearing down of houses, and by nightfall I was actually
left alone in my house with a Mpongwe boy and my little Ogobai boy,
Macondai, both of whom were anxious to be off.

Old Ranpano came to beg me not to be offended; he said that he dared
not stay; that the mbuiti was now in town. He advised me as a friend to
move also; but nobody wished me ill, only he must go, and would build
his house not far off.

I did not like to abandon my house and settlement at Washington, which
it had cost me a good deal of trouble to build. I called a meeting of
the people, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I could get
some of my own canoe boys and a few men to come and stay at my place.
These began immediately to build themselves houses, and a little
village was built, of which I was now, to my great surprise, offered
the sovereignty. I remembered how the new king was made in the Gaboon,
and I did not know but that the Commi had the same custom. The thought
of the ceremony which precedes the assumption of royalty deterred me.
Finally, the men determined to have me as their chief, next to Ranpano;
and with this my ambition was satisfied.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: WOLF HUNTING.]

CHAPTER XXX.

  HUNTING IN THE WOODS--THE MBOYO WOLF--WE CATCH ANOTHER YOUNG
  GORILLA--HE STARVES TO DEATH.


Everything went on smoothly among the good Commi. When I absented
myself they took great care of my property. They seemed proud of their
honesty; and though it was a wild country, and they were a wild people,
I felt very safe among them.

Now and then I left Washington to go and live entirely in the woods,
and hunt, sometimes for gorillas, at other times for wild boars or
buffaloes, or something else.

I was also very fond of hunting the _mboyo_, a very shy animal of the
wolf kind, with long yellowish hair and straight ears. They are very
cunning; and now and then you can see them in the grass engaged in
hunting for themselves. I have often watched these animals surrounding
and chasing game. They run very well together in a drove; and as their
policy is to run round and round, they soon bewilder, tire out, and
capture any animal of moderate endurance. As they run round, gradually
their circle grows smaller and smaller; and of course the smaller it
becomes the more bewildered becomes their prey.

Often I have seen them prying about alone in search of prey. How
roguish they look! and I could only shoot them at very long distances.
I never was able to get near one of them.

At times I went into the country where gorillas were plentiful, and
had a good deal of fun and plenty of excitement. This country was not
far from the village of a chief called Makaga Oune-jiou. This chief
was affected with leprosy. He had already lost all the fingers of his
left hand and two fingers of his right hand, besides the big toe of
his left foot. But Makaga was very kind to me, and was much beloved by
his people. His village was small, but was a very dear little village
to him. It was surrounded by fields of sugar-cane, plantain trees, and
little fields of ground-nuts; and now and then the gorillas came and
helped themselves to the good things these people had planted. This
made them very wroth, and they were always glad to have me come and
spend a few days among them.

Early in the morning I could sometimes hear the gorillas, who then
came quite near the village. Here I found that I need not make long
journeys in order to reach the hunting ground. But they are difficult
of approach; the slightest noise alarms them and sends them off. It is
only once in a while that you can surprise an old male, and then he
will fight you.

While staying with Makaga Oune-jiou I captured a second young gorilla;
and we had an exciting time, I assure you, before we got him.

We were walking along in silence, when I heard a cry, and presently I
saw not far from me, in the midst of a dense foliage, a female gorilla,
with a tiny baby gorilla hanging to her breast. The mother was stroking
the little one, and looking fondly down at it; and the scene was so
pretty and touching that I withheld my fire and considered (like a
soft-hearted fellow) whether I had not better leave them in peace.
Before I could make up my mind, however, my hunter fired and killed the
mother, who fell dead without a struggle.

The mother fell, but the baby clung to her, and, with piteous cries,
endeavoured to attract her attention. I came up, and when it saw me
it hid its poor little head in its mother's breast. It could neither
walk nor bite, it was such a tiny little baby gorilla. We could easily
manage it; and I carried it, while the men bore the mother on a pole.

When we got to the village another scene ensued. The men put the body
down, and I set the little fellow near. As soon as he saw his mother
he crawled to her and threw himself on her breast. He did not find his
accustomed nourishment, and perceived that something was the matter
with his mother. He crawled over her body, smelt at it, and gave
utterance from time to time to a plaintive cry, "Hoo, hoo, hoo," which
touched my heart.

I could get no milk for this poor little fellow. He could not eat, and
consequently he died on the third day after he was caught.



[Illustration: AN INCANTATION SCENE.]

CHAPTER XXXI.

  GOING TO UNKNOWN REGIONS--QUENGUEZA SENDS HIS SON AS A
  HOSTAGE--I TAKE HIM ALONG WITH ME--RECEPTION BY THE KING--OUR
  SPEECHES--QUENGUEZA AFRAID OF A WITCH--AN INCANTATION SCENE.


Time passed on. It was several years since I left the United States,
but nevertheless I determined to set out for the head waters of the
Fernand-Vaz, and for countries undiscovered as yet by white men.

Quengueza had sent to me his eldest son, named Kombé (the sun), with
a present of ebony wood, and his youngest son, a boy of ten, called
Akounga; and he said I must come and leave Akounga in Ranpano's hands
as a hostage for my safety. "You see," he sent word, "that I am not
afraid of you. You may trust me."

I had to take my big boat, because no canoe would hold all the goods,
powder and shot, guns, provisions, and medicines, I took along. It was
to be a very, very long journey. I was the first white man to venture
up in this direction, and I was anxious to get as far as possible.

We were fifteen in all in my boat. Another canoe, with fifteen more
men, followed us. Quengueza's little boy was with us too. I would never
have thought of such a thing as keeping the poor little fellow away
from his mother and father. I took also the brave little Macondai, whom
I had at first determined to leave behind, as being too small to stand
the fatigues of such a journey. The little fellow entreated so much to
be taken that I at last consented. He behaved like a man. Macondai grew
fast as years went by, and I wish you could have seen him fighting by
my side in Ashango land.

At last, after much fatigue and hard pulling, we reached the village
of Goumbi, the residence of King Quengueza. Here I was received in the
most triumphant manner. I could not make myself heard for the shouts
and firing of guns. The whole population of Goumbi crowded down to the
shore to see me, and I was led up in procession to an immense covered
space, capable of holding at least a thousand people, and surrounded by
seats. I found there strangers from various parts of the interior, who
gazed at me, and especially at my hair, with the greatest wonder.

A large high seat was appointed for me, and another close to it was
for Quengueza, who presently arrived with a face beaming with joy. He
shook hands with me and then seated himself.

There was a dead silence in the vast crowd before us. Quengueza
was an old, white-woolled negro, very tall, spare, and of a severe
countenance, betokening great energy and courage, qualities for which
he was celebrated all over their country. When younger he was the dread
of all, but now that he had become the chief of his clan, and was
getting old, he had grown milder, and become peaceful, to the great
joy of the surrounding villages. He was a very remarkable man for his
opportunities. He made haste to tell me that he was in mourning for his
eldest brother, who had died two years before, and left him chief of
their clan, the Abouya.

Quengueza had on a finely-knit black cap, and a grass body-cloth,
which was black also; both the cap and cloth were of Ashira make, and
were really beautiful. He had no shirt; that article is not allowed to
mourners; but he wore an American coat which was too small for him.

After the king had done welcoming me, I called his little son, Akounga.
When he had come forward, I said to the king in a loud voice, that the
people might hear: "You sent your son to me to keep, so that I might
feel safe to come to you. I am not afraid. I like you, and can trust
you. Therefore I have brought your little son back to you. I do not
want him as a hostage for my safety. Let him remain by the side of his
mother."

At this there was a tremendous shouting, and the people seemed
overjoyed.

The king rose to reply. There was immediately a dead silence; for
Quengueza was greatly reverenced by his people. The king said: "This is
my _ntangani_ (white man), he has come from a far country to see me. I
went down to beg him to come up to me. Now he has come. Let no one do
harm to his people; for him I need not speak. Give food to his people.
Treat them well. Do not steal anything. If you do not do as I say, A
BIG PALAVER WILL COME UPON YOU!" This last sentence he uttered in a
tremendous voice.

Then he addressed himself to the Ashira and Bakalai who were present,
saying,: "Beware! Do not steal my white man, for if you should make the
attempt, I will sell you all."

Then loads of plantains and sugar-canes, together with a hundred fowls,
and several goats, were presented to me by the king, and this closed
the ceremony.

The longer I stayed with Quengueza, the more I loved him; I was only
sorry that he was so curiously superstitious. For a year he had not
passed down the street which led most directly to the water, but had
gone always by a roundabout way, because, when he came to the throne,
this street was pronounced bewitched by a secret enemy of his; and
he was persuaded that if he passed by it, he would surely die. This
superstitious notion had originated in a dream of the king's which had
been interpreted in that way.

Several times efforts had been made by distinguished doctors to
drive away the _aniemba_ (witch), which there lay in wait; but the
king, though he believed in sorcery, did not have much faith in the
exorcisers or doctors. He thought that, perhaps, the aniemba had not
gone, and that it was better to be on the safe side, which was not to
go on the road at all. But his subjects felt very much troubled about
this matter; for they wanted their king to pass through their street
sometimes.

Once more a last attempt was made to drive off the aniemba, or witch.
A famous doctor from the far-off Bakalai country had been brought down
to perform this act. His name was Aquailai.

In the evening the people gathered in great numbers under the immense
_hangar_, or covered space in which I had been received, and there lit
fires, around which they sat. The space thus covered was one hundred
and fifty feet long by forty wide, and was roofed with palm branches
and leaves.

About ten o'clock, when it was pitch dark, the doctor commenced
operations by singing some boastful songs, recounting his power over
witches. Immediately all the people gathered into their houses, and
with such great haste, that two women failing to get home, and afraid
to go farther through the streets, took refuge in my house. Then all
the fires in the houses were carefully extinguished, those under the
hangar having been already put out; and, in about an hour more, there
was not a light of any kind in the whole town except mine. They had
only asked of me that I should shut my door. The most pitchy darkness
and the most complete silence reigned everywhere. No voice could
be heard, even in a whisper, among the several thousands of people
gathered in the gloom.

At last the silence was broken by the doctor, who, standing in the
centre of the town, began some loud babbling, of which I could not make
out the meaning. From time to time the people answered him in chorus.
This went on for an hour, and was really one of the strangest scenes I
ever took part in. I could see nothing but the faces of the two women
in my house, who were badly frightened, poor things, as, in fact,
all the people were. The hollow voice of the witch-doctor resounded
curiously through the silence; and when the answer of many mingled
voices came through the darkness, the ceremony really assumed the air
of a poet's incantation scene.

At last, just at midnight by my watch, I heard the doctor approach. He
had bells girded about him, which he jingled as he walked. He went to
every family in the town, successively, and asked if to them belonged
the aniemba (witch) that obstructed the king's highway. Of course, all
answered no. Then he began to run up and down the bewitched street,
calling out loudly for the witch to go off. Presently he came back and
announced that he could no longer see the aniemba, which had doubtless
gone, never to come back. At this, all the people rushed out of their
houses, and shouted, "Go away! go away! and never come back to hurt our
king!"

Then fires were lit, and all sat down to eat. This done, all the fires
were once more extinguished; and the people sung wild songs until four
o'clock. Then the fires were lit again.

At sunrise the whole population gathered to accompany their king down
the dreaded street to the water. Quengueza, I know, was brave as a
hunter and as a warrior. He was also very intelligent about many things
regarding which his people were very stupid; but the poor old king
was now horribly afraid. He was assured that the aniemba was gone;
but he evidently thought that he was walking to almost certain death.
He hesitated; but at last he determined to face his fate, and walked
manfully down to the river and back, amidst the plaudits of his loyal
subjects. So ended the ceremony; but Quengueza never went again on that
road; his dread of it still remained.



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XXXII.

  GORILLA HUNTING--MY COMPANIONS, MOMBON, ETIA, AND GAMBO--ETIA KILLS
  A LARGE GORILLA--WE MAKE UP A LARGE PARTY--CAMP STORIES ABOUT
  GORILLAS--WE CAPTURE A YOUNG GORILLA--HER UNTIMELY DEATH.


Quengueza had a slave named Mombon, whom he loved greatly. Mombon
was his overseer, chamberlain, steward, man of business, and general
factotum, the man whose place it was to take care of the king's private
affairs, set his slaves to work, oversee his plantations, and who had
the care of the keys of the royal houses. Mombon was to see that I was
made comfortable in town.

Quengueza had also another slave named Etia. Etia was his favourite
hunter, and he gave him to me for a guide in the bush. This Etia was
a fine-looking old man, belonging to a tribe far in the interior, who
had never heard that there was such a thing as a white man in the
world. He was living on a little plantation outside the town, where
he had a neat house and a nice old wife, who always treated me in a
kind, motherly way; she always had something to give me to eat. Etia's
business was to supply the royal larder with "bush meat," and he went
out hunting almost every week for that purpose.

Etia and I became great friends, and loved each other much. I gave
to Etia and to his wife many little presents, with which they always
seemed very much pleased. Around the house of Etia were arranged skulls
of elephants, hippopotami, leopards, and gorillas, as trophies of his
prowess.

Among the numerous guests of Quengueza was an Ashira chief, who had
come on a visit to the king. He had a son called Gambo, a noted hunter.
Gambo was a very ill-looking fellow, but he had a fiery eye, great
courage, and a kind heart. I became very fond of Gambo, and Gambo
became very fond of me. Sometimes Quengueza could not help saying
to his people, "See how hunters love each other, no matter if they
come from different countries. See how my white man loves the black
hunters." In fact, we were always together. I had never seen the Ashira
tribe to which Gambo belonged.

One day we had been going through the woods about three hours when at
last we came upon fresh gorilla tracks. Etia now set out alone, while
Gambo and I walked silently in another direction. The gorilla is so
difficult to approach that we had literally to creep through the thick
woods when in their vicinity. The hunter cannot expect to see his enemy
till he is close upon him. The forest is so thick and gloomy that even
when quite near the animal is but dimly visible. All this makes hunting
for the gorilla very trying to the nerves; for it is in the hunter's
mind that if he misses--if his bullet does not go to the most fatal
point--the wounded and infuriated brute will make short work of his
opponent.

As we crept silently along, suddenly the woods resounded with the
report of a gun. We sped at once towards the quarter whence the report
came, and there we found old Etia sitting complacently upon the dead
body of the largest female gorilla I ever saw. The total height of
the animal was four feet seven inches. This was a huge gorilla for a
female, for they are always much smaller than the males.

Another time we made up a large party. We were to go a considerable
distance to a spot where Etia gave me hopes that we should catch a
young gorilla alive. I would have gone through any hardship and peril
to get one large enough to be kept alive, and to be sent to Europe.

Etia, Gambo, myself, and ten men composed our party. Each was armed,
and laden with provisions for a couple of days. The men were covered
with fetiches. They had painted their faces red, and had cut their
hands in more than fifty different places. This bleeding of the hands
was done for luck. The fellows were nearly naked; but this is their
usual habit.

As for me, I had also made extra preparations. I had blackened my
face and hands with powdered charcoal and oil; and my blue drilling
shirt and trousers and black shoes made me as dark as any of them. My
revolvers hung at my side, with my ammunition bag and brandy flask;
my rifle lay upon my shoulder. All this excited the admiration of the
crowd which assembled to see us go out.

Quengueza was greatly delighted, and exclaimed, "What kind of ntangani
(white man) is this? He fears nothing; he cares for neither sun nor
water; he loves nothing but the hunt."

The old king charged the people to take great care of his white man,
and to defend him with their lives if need be.

We travelled all day, and about sunset we came to a little river. Here
we began at once to make a fire and build leafy shelters for the night.
Scarcely was the firewood gathered, and we were safely bestowed under
our shelter, when a storm came up which lasted half an hour. Then all
was clear once more. We cooked plantains and smoked some dried fishes.

In the evening the men told stories about gorillas.

"I remember," said one, "my father told me he once went out to the
forest, when just in his path he met a great gorilla. My father had his
spear in his hand. When the gorilla saw the spear he began to roar;
then my father was terrified, and dropped the spear. When the gorilla
saw that my father had dropped the spear he was pleased. He looked at
him, and then left him and went into the thick forest. Then my father
was glad, and went on his way."

Here all shouted together, "Yes! so we must do when we meet the
gorilla. Drop the spear; that appeases him."

Next Gambo spoke. "Several dry seasons ago a man suddenly disappeared
from my village after an angry quarrel. Some time after an Ashira of
that village was out in the forest. He met a very large gorilla. That
gorilla was the man who had disappeared; he had turned into a gorilla.
He jumped on the poor Ashira and bit a piece out of his arm. Then he
let him go. Then the man came back with his bleeding arm. He told me
this. I hope we shall not meet such gorillas."

Chorus--"No; we shall not meet such wicked gorillas."

I myself afterwards met that man in the Ashira country. I saw his
maimed arm, and he repeated the same story.

Then one of the men spoke up: "If we kill a gorilla to-morrow I should
like to have a part of the brain for a fetich. Nothing makes a man so
brave as to have a fetich of gorilla's brain. That gives a man a strong
heart."

Chorus of those who remained awake--"Yes; that gives a man a strong
heart."

Then we all gradually dropped to sleep.

Next morning we cleaned and reloaded our guns, and started off for the
hunting ground. There is a particular little berry of which the gorilla
is very fond, and where this is found in abundance you are sure to meet
the animal.

We had divided. Etia, Gambo, two other men, and I kept together, and
we had hardly gone more than an hour when we heard the cry of a young
gorilla after his mother. Etia heard it first, and at once pointed out
the direction in which it was.

Immediately we began to walk with greater caution than before.
Presently Etia and Gambo crept ahead, as they were expert with the net,
and were also the best woodsmen. I unwillingly remained behind, but
dared not go with them, lest my clumsier movements should betray our
presence. In a short time we heard two guns fired. Running up, we found
the mother gorilla shot, but her little one had escaped; they had not
been able to catch it.

The poor mother lay there in her gore, but the little fellow was off in
the woods. So we concealed ourselves hard by to wait, for its return.
Presently it came up, jumped on its mother, and began sucking at her
breasts and fondling her. Then Etia, Gambo, and I rushed upon it.
Though evidently less than two years old, it proved very strong, and
escaped from us. But we gave chase, and in a few minutes had it fast,
not, however, before one of the men had his arm severely bitten by the
savage little beast.

It proved to be a young female. Unhappily, she lived but ten days after
capture. She persistently refused to eat any cooked food, or anything
else except the nuts and berries which they eat in the forest. She
was not so ferocious as "Fighting Joe," but was quite as treacherous
and quite as untameable. She permitted no one to approach her without
trying to bite. Her eyes seemed somewhat milder than Joe's, but had the
same gloomy and treacherous look, and she had the same way as Joe of
looking you straight in the eyes when she was meditating an attack. I
remarked in her also the same manoeuvre practised by the other when she
wished to seize something, my leg, for instance, which, by reason of
the chain around her neck, she could not reach with her arm. She would
look me straight in the face, then quick as a flash would throw her
body on one leg and one arm and reach out with the other leg. Several
times I had narrow escapes from the grip of her strong big toe. I
thought sometimes that when she looked at me she appeared cross-eyed,
but of this I could not make certain. All her motions were remarkably
quick, and her strength was very great, though she was so small.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: A TRIAL BY ORDEAL.]

CHAPTER XXXIII.

  VOYAGE UP THE RIVER--WE BUILD A VILLAGE NEAR OBINDJI--QUENGUEZA'S
  PLAN FOR KEEPING THE SABBATH--KINDNESS OF THE NATIVES--A TRIAL BY
  ORDEAL.


King Quengueza accompanied me on my voyage up the Rembo and Ovenga
rivers. We were followed by a great many canoes, and by chiefs of the
Ashira and Bakalai tribes. We were going to the Bakalai country. The
weather was intensely hot; even the negroes suffered; and, though I had
a thick umbrella over my head, and sat quite still, I had frequently
to bathe my head and keep wet handkerchiefs in my banana hat; for I
feared a sunstroke.

The river was narrow and deep, flowing generally between high lands and
hills, and now and then in the midst of flats.

Everybody complained except Macondai. He was the most spirited little
negro I ever saw, a real little hero. I tell you that many, very many,
of these African boys have a good deal of pluck, although they are
black.

Two days after we started, we arrived, a little before sunset, at
the village of Obindji, a Bakalai chief, who was a great friend of
Quengueza. Wherever we passed a Bakalai village the people rushed
down to the banks to see me. As we approached the village of Obindji,
our men fired guns and sang songs. Obindji came down in great state,
dressed in his silk hat, a shirt, and a nice cloth. He was ringing his
_kendo_--a bell, which is the insignia of kingship there--a sort of
royal sceptre. The high-crowned silk hat, also, as I said before, is
worn only by the chiefs.

I said to Obindji, "Why do you ring your kendo?"

He replied, "Obindji's heart is glad, and he thanks his Mboundji (a
spirit) that he has to-day come up higher than he ever stood before--a
_ntanga_ (white man) has come to see Obindji."

When we had landed, and the two kings and I were seated on the stools
used in that country, the grand reception began. Quengueza gave to his
friend Obindji, and to all the Bakalai who surrounded us, an account of
his entire intercourse with me, from the time he came down to see me at
the seashore to the present hour.

Then Obindji replied, giving, in like manner (in short sentences), a
statement of his feelings when he heard that Quengueza was to bring a
ntanga to see him. This closed the conference.

The village of Obindji was small, and was beautifully situated at the
foot of a high hill, just on the banks of the Ovenga. The Ovenga river
belonged to Quengueza, and, except at its head waters, it had been
inhabited by the Bakalai only since the time of Quengueza's eldest
brother, whom he had succeeded. These Bakalai are very warlike; they
are much dreaded by the other tribes.

The region of the Ovenga is a grand and wild country. It consists of
hills and mountains, covered with impenetrable forests, which teem with
all kinds of insects. Many animals, curious birds, and a great number
of snakes are found there, together with those extraordinary ants--the
bashikonay. There also are the chimpanzees and gorillas.

As I intended to remain some time, I set about building another
village. The men all went into the forest to collect bark, palm leaves,
and posts.

When Sunday came, I requested Quengueza to make the men rest on this
day, explaining to him that white men do not work on the Sabbath.

The old man was puzzled for a moment, and then said, "We are much
hurried now. Suppose you put off the Sunday for three or four weeks.
Then we can have as many Sundays as you want. We will keep four or five
days following each other as Sundays. It will be just the same."

He seemed quite proud of his discovery and was quite disappointed when
I told him it would not do.

I worked very hard in building my house. The labour was the more trying
because the heat was so intense; there was not a breath of wind in this
Bakalai country. Besides, the fever had got hold of me again; but I did
not give way to it.

Obindji became very friendly to me. I may say that all these negroes
seemed to take a liking for me. I made quite a number of friends among
the Bakalai. Two of them, indeed, were very dear friends of mine; they
were called Malaouen and Querlaouen. I really do not know which of the
two I liked the best. They were ready to do anything I wished them
to do. If I proposed a hunt, they immediately offered to accompany
me; if they killed game, they presented me with the best piece. Their
wives were sure to bring me, almost every day, sugar-cane, plantain,
or something else. As for Obindji, he did all in his power to please
me. Moreover, Quengueza was always close to me. He said that wherever
I went he would follow me, and build his shed by the side of mine. I
was now Quengueza's white man and Obindji's white man. They all seemed
to take pride in me. I am sure I also tried my best to be kind to
them. Above all things, I wanted them to believe my word implicitly.
Hence, whatever I promised, I kept my word. They noticed this; and
therefore no one doubted me. These poor people, though they have no
word to describe "an honest man," know the difference between lying and
truth-telling; and they appreciate truthfulness.

One day I saw a trial by ordeal performed. A little boy, a son of
Aquailai, the doctor who had driven the aniemba, or witch, from the
main street at Goumbi, reported that one of Quengueza's men had damaged
a Bakalai's canoe. The owner demanded compensation for the injury. The
Goumbi men denied that he had injured the canoe, and asked for trial.
An Ashira doctor who was in the village was called. He said that the
only way to make the truth appear was by the trial of the ring boiled
in oil. Thereupon, the Bakalai and the Goumbi men gathered together,
and the trial was at once made.

The Ashira doctor stuck three little billets of wood into the ground,
with their top ends together, then he piled some smaller pieces
between, till all were laid as high as the three pieces. A native
earthenware pot, half full of palm oil, was set upon the wood, which
had been set on fire; and the oil was set on fire also. When it had
burned up brightly, a brass bracelet or ring from the doctor's hand
was cast into the pot. The doctor stood by with a little vase full of
grass soaked in water, of which he threw in, now and then, some bits.
This made the oil blaze up fresh. At last, all was burned out, and now
came the trial. The accuser, the little boy, was required at once to
take the ring out of the pot. He hesitated, but was pushed on by his
father. The people cried out, "Let us see whether he lied or told the
truth." Finally he put his hand in and seized the almost red-hot ring,
but quickly dropped it, having severely burned his fingers. At this
there was a shout, "He lied! he lied!" and the Goumbi man was declared
innocent. I ventured to suggest that he also would burn his fingers if
he touched the ring, but nobody seemed to consider this view of the
subject.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: THE GORILLA MARCHES UPON US.]

CHAPTER XXXIV.

  THE KOOLOO-KAMBA--THE GOUAMBA, OR MEAT-HUNGER--EXPLORING THE
  FOREST--GORILLA-HUNTING--WITHIN EIGHT YARDS OF A LARGE GORILLA--HE
  ROARS WITH RAGE AND MARCHES UPON US.


We established ourselves in a deserted Bakalai village, a few miles
from the banks of the Ovenga, and about ten miles above Obindji. I was
glad that I had no olako to build.

There were with me several Bakalai; among whom, of course, were my good
friends Querlaouen and Malaouen. Gambo was also one of our party.

After our camp was arranged we went out to look for gorilla tracks.
It was too late to hunt; besides, we were too tired. In the evening
Malaouen came in after dark, and said he had heard the cry of the
kooloo, and knew where to find it in the morning.

Of course I asked what this kooloo was; for I had not the slightest
idea of what he meant. I had never heard the name before. I received,
in answer, a description of the animal, which threw me into the
greatest excitement; for I saw this was most certainly a new species
of ape, or man-like monkey; a new man of the woods, of which I had not
even heard as yet. It was called kooloo-kamba by the Goumbi people from
its cry or call, "kooloo," and the Commi word _kamba_, which means
"speak." The Bakalai call it simply _koola_.

I scarce slept all night, with fidgeting over the morrow's prospects.
The Bakalai said the kooloo-kamba was very rare here, and there was
only a chance that we should find the one whose call had been heard.

At last the tedious night was gone. At the earliest streak of dawn I
had my men up. We had fixed our guns the night before. All was ready,
and we set out in two parties. My party had been walking through
the forest about an hour, by a path which led, I knew not where,
when suddenly I stepped into a file of bashikonay ants, whose fierce
bites nearly made me scream. The little rascals were infuriated at my
disturbance of their progress; and they held on to my legs, and to my
trousers, till I picked them off. Of course I jumped nimbly out of the
way of the great army of which they formed part, but I did not get off
without some severe bites.

We had hardly got clear of the bashikonays, when my ears were
saluted by the singular cry of the ape I was after. "Koola-kooloo,
koola-kooloo," it said several times. Only Gambo and Malaouen were with
me. Gambo and I raised our eyes, and saw, high up on a tree-branch, a
large ape. It looked almost like a black hairy man. We both fired at
once; and the next moment the poor beast fell with a heavy crash to
the ground. I rushed up, anxious to see if indeed I had a new animal.
I saw in a moment that it was neither a nshiego mbouvé, nor a common
chimpanzee, nor a gorilla. Again I had a happy day. This kooloo-kamba
was undoubtedly a new variety of chimpanzee.

We at once disembowelled the animal, which was a full-grown male. We
found in his stomach nothing but berries, nuts, and fruits. He had no
doubt just begun to take his breakfast.

This kooloo-kamba was four feet three inches high.

He was powerfully built, with strong and square shoulders. He had a
very round head, with whiskers running quite round the face and below
the chin. The face was round; the cheek-bones prominent; the cheeks
sunken. The roundness of the head and the prominence of the cheek-bones
were so great as to remind me of some of the heads of Indians or
Chinamen. The hair was black and long on the arms, which, however, were
partly bare. His ears were large, and shaped like those of a human
being. Of its habits the people could tell me nothing, except that it
was found more frequently in the far interior. I brought the skin of
this kooloo-kamba to New York, and some years ago many people saw it.

On our return to Obindji we were overtaken by my good friend
Querlaouen, who had shot a wild pig, of which the good fellow gave me
half. The negroes feasted on the kooloo meat, which I could not touch.
So the pig was welcome to me, as indeed it was to Quengueza, whom we
found almost crying with an affection which is common in this part
of Africa, and is called _gouamba_, but for which we happily have no
name. Gouamba is the inordinate longing and craving of exhausted nature
for meat. For days, and sometimes for weeks, a man does not get any
meat at all, and whenever other food is brought before him, you will
hear him say, looking at the food with disgust, "Gouamba," which means
literally, "I am sick of food; I have a craving for meat; I care for
nothing else."

I had some glorious gorilla-hunting while in the Bakalai country, in
the upper regions of the Ovenga river. Malaouen, Querlaouen, Gambo, and
I, often started out together, and remained for days in the thickest
part of the forest. Now and then we would return to Obindji to get a
supply of plantain, and then would go off again. We roamed over the
forest in all directions; we explored some new regions; and sometimes
we got lost in the midst of impenetrable mountains, where often for
days we killed nothing.

In these excursions we suffered sometimes a good deal; for we had to
endure many hardships. We often had very poor fare, and fever sometimes
prostrated me.

One day, I remember well, we were out for gorillas; which we knew were
to be found thereabouts, by the presence of a pulpy pear-shaped fruit,
the _tondo_, of which the animal is very fond. I also am very fond of
the subdued and grateful acid of this fruit, which is eaten by the
negroes as well as by the gorilla.

We found everywhere gorilla marks, and so recent that we began to think
the animals must be avoiding us. This was really the case, I believe,
though I am not sure. At any rate, we beat the bush for two hours,
before, at last, we found the game. Suddenly, an immense gorilla
advanced out of the wood, straight towards us, and gave vent, as he
came up, to a terrible howl of rage, as much as to say, "I am tired of
being pursued, and will face you."

It was a lone male, the kind which are always most ferocious. This
fellow made the woods resound with his roar, which is really an awful
sound, resembling very much a rolling and muttering of distant thunder.

He was about twenty yards off when we first saw him. We at once
gathered together; and I was about to take aim and bring him down where
he stood, when Malaouen stopped me, saying in a whisper, "Not time yet."

We stood, therefore, in silence, gun in hand. The gorilla looked at us
for a minute or so out of his evil grey eyes, then beat his breast with
his gigantic arms--and what arms he had!--then he gave another howl of
defiance and advanced upon us. How horrible he looked! I shall never
forget it.

Again he stopped not more than fifteen yards away.

Still Malaouen said, "Not yet." Good gracious! what is to become of us,
if our guns miss fire, or if we only wound the huge beast?

Again the gorilla made an advance upon us. Now he was not twelve
yards off. I could see plainly his ferocious face. It was distorted
with rage; his huge teeth were ground against each other, so that we
could hear the sound; the skin of the forehead was drawn forward and
back rapidly, which made his hair move up and down, and gave a truly
devilish expression to the hideous face. Once more he gave out a roar,
which seemed to shake the woods like thunder; I could really feel the
earth trembling under my feet. The gorilla, looking us in the eyes, and
beating his breast, advanced again.

"Don't fire too soon," said Malaouen; "if you do not kill him, he will
kill you."

This time he came within eight yards of us before he stopped. I was
breathing fast with excitement as I watched the huge beast.

Malaouen said only, "Steady," as the gorilla came up. When he stopped,
Malaouen said, "Now!" And before he could utter the roar for which he
was opening his mouth, three musket-balls were in his body. He fell
dead, almost without a struggle.

He was a monstrous beast indeed, though not amongst the tallest.
His height was five feet six inches. His arms had a spread of seven
feet two inches. His broad brawny chest measured fifty inches round.
The big toe of his foot measured five inches and three quarters in
circumference. His arms seemed like immense bunches of muscle only;
and his legs and claw-like feet were so well fitted for grabbing and
holding that I could see how easy it was for the negroes to believe
that these animals, when they conceal themselves in trees and watch for
prey, can seize and pull up with their feet any living thing, leopard,
ox, or man, that passes beneath.

The face of this gorilla was intensely black. The vast chest, which
proved his great power, was bare, and covered with a parchment-like
skin. His body was covered with grey hair.

While the animal approached us in its fierce way, walking on its hind
legs and facing us as few animals dare face man, it really seemed to me
to be a horrid likeness of man.



[Illustration: MEETING THE MBUITI.]

CHAPTER XXXV.

  WE GO UP THE RIVER TO N'CALAI BOUMBA--A SEVERE ATTACK OF FEVER--THE
  TENDER CARE OF THE NATIVES FOR ME--ANGUILAI ACCUSES HIS PEOPLE OF
  BEWITCHING ME--I GO OUT AND QUIET HIM--A BOY CUT TO PIECES FOR
  WITCHCRAFT--A USEFUL IDOL--THE EBONY TREES.


With Quengueza I resumed the ascent of the river Ovenga. We were bound
to the town of a chief named Anguilai. The place was called N'calai
Boumba.

We left Obindji early in the morning. On the way we passed several
Bakalai villages, the largest of which, Npopo, I afterwards visited.
The river banks, all the way up, were densely wooded, but very sparsely
inhabited by beasts. We saw no animals the whole day, except one monkey
and a few birds.

Anguilai, who was one of the vassals of Quengueza, and a powerful
Bakalai chief, and whom I had met at Obindji's, received us well.

Anguilai's town is the hottest place I ever saw in Africa. N'calai
Boumba was set in a hollow, and the houses were so small and close as
to be quite unendurable to me. The village was only a little more than
a year old. The people had come lately from the interior. Plantations
of plantain trees were very abundant.

Towards the end of April I was brought down to my bed with fever. This
was the severest attack I had yet experienced in Africa. It entirely
prostrated me. I looked like a corpse. Not a single particle of colour
could be seen on my face. I had no strength. I could not eat. I could
not walk.

For three days I had violent returns of the fever. The blood rushed
to my head, and my mind wandered at times; so the natives told me. Of
course I cannot remember what I said. I only know that my head burned
like fire, and that I was almost mad with pain. Between the attacks of
fever I really thought I should die and I commended my soul to God.

While I lay sick, people came and entreated me not to hunt so much and
so constantly. They said, "Look at us; we hunt one day; we rest two.
When we hunt three days, we rest for many days after it. But you go out
every day."

I thought to myself, they are right, and I shall follow their rule
hereafter. But it was hard to do so; for I felt that no one else was
in the field; that in such an unhealthy climate no one can live very
long, and I wanted to do as much work as I could. I wanted to bring all
the wonders of that part of the world to light; and I felt that I was
getting older and older, and there was yet very much work to be done.
So I prayed God to give me strength for the work that was entrusted to
my hands.

I shall never forget the kindness of those native women to me while
I was sick. Poor souls! they are sadly abused by their task-masters.
They are the merest slaves. They have to do all the drudgery. They
receive blows and ill-usage. And yet, at the sight of suffering, their
hearts soften, just as women's hearts soften in our own more civilized
lands. No sooner did sickness attack me than these kind souls came to
nurse and take care of me. They sat by me to fan me; they brought more
mats for my bed; they bathed my burning head with cold water; they got
me refreshing fruit from the woods. At night, when I woke up from a
feverish dream, I used to hear their voices, as they sat around in the
darkness, pitying me and contriving ways to cure me.

When I think of these things I cannot help thanking God for them; that,
wherever I have gone, He has made human hearts tender and kind to me;
that, even under the black skin of the benighted and savage African, He
has implanted something of His own compassionate love.

Anguilai and Quengueza were sadly alarmed at my illness. Anguilai
accused his people of wickedly bewitching me. One still night he walked
up and down the village, threatening, in a loud voice, to kill the
sorcerers if he could only find them. I had to get up and tell Anguilai
that I was sure his people and the Bakalai loved me too much to wish me
to be sick. Whereupon they all shouted at once, "It is so; it is so."

After a few days I was able to walk again a little; and I went and
lived in the forest, where I suffered less from the heat than in our
little houses.

How sorry I often felt that these kind-hearted negroes were given to
superstitions which led them to commit the most horrid cruelties. A
little boy, about ten years old, had been accused of sorcery. On being
examined, he confessed that he had made a witch. Thereupon the whole
town seemed to be seized with the ferocity of devils. They took spears
and knives, and actually cut the poor little fellow to pieces. I had
been walking out, and returned just as the dreadful scene was over.
I could not even make the wretched people feel shame at their bloody
act. They were still frantic with rage at the thought that this little
fellow had made a witch to kill some of them; and they were not quiet
for some hours after.

I felt so badly that I went into the woods and took the path that
led to the village of Npopo, which was not far distant from N'calai
Boumba. I wanted to see if the men had returned; I wanted to see
Aguailai, the chief. He was the doctor who had come to Goumbi to drive
off the aniemba. When I went down to Npopo the first time I found
the people all gone into the bush. Everything was open and exposed
to thieves; chickens and goats were walking about; and I wondered to
see such carelessness in the village. But in the centre, looking down
on everything, stood the _mbuiti_, or god of Npopo, a copper-eyed
divinity, who, I was informed, safely guarded everything. It seemed
absurd; but I was assured that no one dared steal, and no one did
steal, with the eyes of this mbuiti upon him.

This uncommonly useful idol was a rudely-shaped piece of ebony, about
two feet high, with a man's face, the nose and eyes of copper, and the
body covered with grass.

At last we started for the ebony woods. Our new location was about nine
miles from the river, on the side of a long hill, and close by where a
cool sparkling rivulet leaped from rock to rock down into the plain,
making the pleasantest of music for me as I lay, weak and sick, in the
camp. Five huge ebony trees lifted their crowned heads together in a
little knot just above us. All around were pleasant and shady woods. It
was a very pleasant camp, but proved to have one drawback--we nearly
starved to death. I sent out the hunters immediately on our arrival.
They were gone two days, but brought back nothing. Game was very scarce
there; and, without an _ashinga_, or net, such as many Bakalai villages
have, not much was to be got.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XXXVI.

  HUNTING FOR FOOD--WE KILL A FEMALE NSHIEGO MBOUVÉ--A YOUNG NSHIEGO
  WITH A WHITE FACE--HE BECOMES MY PET TOMMY--HIS AFFECTION FOR
  ME--HIS STEALING PRANKS--TOMMY GETS DRUNK--HIS BEHAVIOUR AT
  MEALS--HIS SUDDEN DEATH--CONCLUSION.


At last I got better. I could not stand hunger and gouamba any longer,
and determined to make up a regular hunting party and stay out till
we got something to eat. Malaouen told me that if we went off about
twenty miles we should come to a better game country. So we started in
the direction he pointed out, and where he thought we should find the
gorilla, or perhaps the nshiego mbouvé.

The men were covered with greegrees, or fetiches, and had cut their
hands for luck. Anguilai told me that his _ogana_ (idol) had told him
that to-morrow the heart of the _otanga_ (the white man) would be made
glad, for we should kill game.

For some hours after we started we saw nothing but old tracks of
different wild beasts, and I began to think that Anguilai's ogana
had been too sanguine. Finally towards twelve o'clock, when we were
crossing a kind of high table-land, we heard the cry of a young animal,
which we recognised to be a nshiego mbouvé. At once all my troubles
left me. I no longer felt either sick or hungry.

We crawled through the bush as silently as possible, still hearing the
baby-like cry. At last, coming out into a little place where there was
very little under-growth, we saw something running along the ground
towards where we stood concealed. We hardly dared to breathe, for fear
of awakening the animal's suspicions. When it came nearer, we saw it
was a female nshiego mbouvé, running on all-fours, with a young one
clinging to her breast. She was eagerly eating some berries, while with
one arm she supported her little one.

Querlaouen, who had the fairest chance, fired, and brought her down.
She dropped without a struggle. The poor little one cried, "Hew! hew!
hew!" and clung to the dead body, sucking her breasts, and burying his
head there, in alarm at the report of the gun.

We hurried up in great glee to secure our capture. I cannot tell my
surprise when I saw that the nshiego baby's face was as white as that
of a white child.

I looked at the mother, but found her black as soot in the face. What
did it mean?--the mother black, the child white! The little one was
about a foot in height. One of the men threw a cloth over its head and
secured it, till we could make it fast with a rope; for, though it was
quite young, it could walk. The old one was of the bald-headed kind of
which I had secured the first known specimen some months before.

  [Illustration: A YOUNG NSHIEGO MBOUVÉ WITH A WHITE FACE.
                                              CHAP. XXXVI.]

I immediately ordered a return to the camp, which we reached towards
evening. The little nshiego had been all this time separated from
its dead mother, and now, when it was put near her body, a most
touching scene ensued. The little fellow ran instantly to her. Touching
her on the face and breast, he saw evidently that some great change
had happened. For a few minutes he caressed her, as though trying to
coax her back to life. Then he seemed to lose all hope. His little eyes
became very sad, and he broke out in a long, plaintive wail, "Ooee!
ooee! ooee!" which made my heart ache for him. He looked quite forlorn,
and as though he really felt his forsaken lot. All in the camp were
touched at his sorrows, and the women especially were much moved.

All this time I stood wonderingly staring at the white face of the
creature. It was really marvellous, and quite incomprehensible. A more
strange and weird-looking animal I never saw.

While I stood here, up came two of my hunters, and began to laugh at
me. "Look, Chaillie," said they, calling me by the name I am known by
among them--"look at your friend. Every time we kill gorilla, you tell
us look at your black friend, your first cousin. Now, you see, look at
your white friend." Then came a roar of laughter at what they thought a
tremendous joke.

"Look! he got straight hair, all same as you! See white face of your
cousin from the bush! He is nearer to you than the gorilla is to us!"

Then they roared again.

"Gorilla no got woolly hair like me. This one straight hair like you."

"Yes," said I; "but when he gets old his face is black; and do you not
see his nose, how flat it is, like yours?"

Whereat there was a louder roar than before.

The mother was old, to judge by her teeth, which were much worn; but
she was quite black in the face; in fact, her skin was black. Like all
the nshiego mbouvé, she was bald-headed.

Now I must give you an account of the little fellow who excited all
this surprise and merriment. He lived five months, and became perfectly
tame and docile. I called him "Tommy," to which name he soon began to
answer.

Three days after his capture, he was quite tame. He then ate crackers
out of my hands, devoured boiled rice and roasted plantain, and drank
the milk of a goat. Two weeks after his capture, he was perfectly
tamed, and no longer required to be tied up. He ran about the camp,
and, when we went back to Obindji's town, he found his way about the
village and into the huts just as though he had been raised there.

He had a great affection for me, and used to follow me about. When I
sat down, he was not content till he had climbed upon me and hid his
head in my breast. He was extremely fond of being petted and fondled,
and would sit by the hour while anyone stroked his head and back.

He soon began to be a very great thief. When the people left their huts
he would steal in and make off with their plantains or fish (for he
could then eat anything). He watched very carefully till all had left
a house, and it was difficult to catch him in the act. I flogged him
several times, and indeed brought him to the conviction that it was
_wrong_ to steal; but he could never resist the temptation.

From me he stole constantly. He soon found out that my hut was the best
supplied with ripe bananas and other fruit. He also discovered that
the best time to steal from me was when I was asleep in the morning.
At that time he used to crawl slowly and carefully on tip-toe towards
my bed and look at my closed eyes. If he saw no movement, with an air
of great relief he would go and pick up several ripe plantains. If I
stirred in the least, he was off like a flash, and would presently
re-enter for another inspection.

If my eyes were open when he came in on such a predatory trip, he would
come directly to me, with an honest face, and would climb upon me and
caress me; but I could easily detect an occasional wishful glance
towards the bunch of plantains.

My hut had no door, but was closed with a mat. It was very funny to see
Tommy gently raising one corner of this mat and popping his head in
to see if I was asleep. Sometimes I feigned sleep, and then stirred,
just as he was in the act of taking off his prize. Then he would drop
everything and make off in the utmost consternation.

He kept the run of meal times, and was present at as many meals as
possible; that is, he would go from my breakfast to half a dozen
others, and beg sometimes at each. But he never missed my own breakfast
and dinner, knowing by experience that he fared best there.

I had a kind of rude table made, on which my meals were served, in the
open part of my house. This was too high for Tommy to see the dishes;
so he used to come in before I sat down, when all was ready, and climb
up on the pole that supported the roof. From here he would attentively
survey every dish on the table, and having determined what to have, he
would descend and sit down at my side. If I did not immediately pay
attention to him he would begin to howl, "Hew! hew! hew!" louder and
louder, till, for peace sake, his wants were satisfied. Of course I
could not tell what he had chosen for dinner of my different dishes,
and would offer him first one, then another, till the right one came.
If he received what he did not want he would throw it down on the
ground with a little shriek of anger and a stamp of his foot, and begin
to howl, and this was repeated till he was served to his liking. In
short, he behaved very much like a spoiled child.

If I pleased him quickly, he thanked me by a kind of gentle murmur,
like "hoohoo," and would hold out his hand to shake mine. He knew
perfectly how to shake hands. He was very fond of boiled messes,
particularly boiled fish, and was constantly picking the bones he
found lying about the village. He wanted always to taste of my coffee,
and when Macondai brought it would beg some of me in the most serious
manner.

I made him a little pillow to sleep on, and he became very fond of it.
After he was accustomed to it, he would never part with it, but dragged
it after him wherever he went. If by any chance it was lost the whole
camp knew it by his howls. Now and then, on some forest excursion, he
would mislay it, and then I had to send people for it in order to stop
his noise. At other times the people would hide it, just to tease him.
He slept on it, coiled up in a little heap, and only relinquished it
when I gave him permission to accompany me into the woods.

As he became more and more used to our ways, he grew more impatient of
contradiction, and more fond of being caressed; and whenever he was
thwarted, he would howl in his disagreeable way. Now and then I gave
him a flogging to teach him better manners.

As the dry season came on it became colder, and Tommy began to wish for
company when he slept, to keep him warm. The negroes would not have
him for a companion, for he seemed too much like one of themselves.
I did not like to have him in bed with me. So poor Tommy was reduced
to misery, as he seemed to think nobody would have him. But soon I
found that he waited till everybody was fast asleep at night, and then
crawled in softly next some of his black friends, and slept there till
the earliest dawn. Then he would get up and get away undiscovered. At
other times he felt too warm and comfortable to get up, and was caught
and beaten, but he always tried it again.

He showed an extraordinary fondness for strong drink. Whenever a
negro had palm-wine Tommy was sure to know it. He had a decided taste
for Scotch ale, of which I had a few bottles, and he even begged for
brandy. Indeed, his last exploit was with a brandy bottle. One day,
before going out to the hunt, I had carelessly left the bottle on my
chest. The little rascal stole in and seized it; and being unable to
get out the cork, in some way he broke the bottle. When I returned,
after some hours' absence, I found my precious bottle broken in pieces!
It was the last; and to an African traveller brandy is as indispensable
as quinine. Master Tommy was coiled up on the floor amid the fragments,
in a state of maudlin drunkenness. When he saw me he got up and tried
to stagger up to me; but his legs tottered, and he fell down several
times. His eyes had the glare of human drunkenness; his arms were
extended in vain attempts to reach me; his voice came thick; in fact,
he looked disgustingly and yet comically human. It was the maudlin and
sentimental stage of human drunkenness very well represented. I had
seen men looking exactly as Tommy did, and I wished these drunkards
could have seen him; they might then, perhaps, have become so disgusted
with themselves that they would have given up their horrid vice.

I gave him a severe thrashing, which seemed to sober the little toper
somewhat; but nothing could cure him of his love for liquor.

He was also very fond of tea and coffee, but wanted both to be well
sweetened. He could drink out of a cup. Sometimes, to tease him, I
would not put in any sugar; then he would throw down the cup and begin
to howl; and he would make the whole place resound with his noise.

He had a great deal of intelligence; and, if I had had leisure, I think
I might have trained him to some kind of good behaviour, though I
despaired of his thieving disposition. The older he grew, the greater
thief he became.

He lived so long, and was growing so accustomed to civilized life, that
I began to have great hopes of carrying him alive to America.

Sometimes he would come round the fire where my men were and warm
himself with them. How comical he then looked! At other times, when
they took their meals, and ate out of a common dish, Master Tommy would
join the party; and when they would all put their hands into the dish,
he would put his in also, and take a little handful of cooked and
smoked fish. In fact, he kept time with them.

But alas! poor Tommy! One morning he refused his food, seemed downcast,
and was very anxious to be petted and held in our arms. I got all kinds
of forest berries for him, but he refused all. He did not seem to
suffer, but he ate nothing; and next day, without a struggle, he died.
Poor fellow! he seemed sorry to leave us. I was grieved; and even the
negroes, though he had given them great trouble, were mournful at his
death. He had hardly expired when the news spread through the village
that little Tommy was no more. They all came to see him; he looked as
if he were asleep.

It seemed as if we had lost a friend. We missed his mischief and noise;
and for many days we all mourned for Tommy, and wished him back among
us.

Tommy turned darker as he grew older. At the time of his death he was
yellow rather than white. If he had lived to be old he would, no doubt,
have become black, like his mother.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, young friends, for the present I have done. I have told you
many things about Africa, about its strange animals, its terrible
gorillas, its savage cannibals. And all that I have told you is true;
for it is what I have seen with my own eyes.

But I have not told you all that I saw and heard in that far-distant
country. I have many more singular sights to describe and queer
adventures to recount to you.

So I will not bid you farewell: I will say to you "_Au revoir!_" That
means "Good-bye till I come again."


THE END.


Gilbert and Rivington, Ld., St. John's House, Clerkenwell Road, London.



Uniform with this Volume.

_With numerous Illustrations, 2s. 6d.; gilt edges, 3s. 6d. each._


=Dick Cheveley.= By W. H. G. Kingston.

=Heir of Kilfinnan.= By W. H. G. Kingston.

=Off to the Wilds.= By G. Manville Fenn.

=The Two Supercargoes.= By W. H. G. Kingston.

=The Silver Cañon.= By G. Manville Fenn.

=Under the Meteor Flag.= By Harry Collingwood.

=Jack Archer=: a Tale of the Crimea. By G. A. Henty.

=The Mutiny on board the Ship "Leander."= By B. Heldmann.

=With Axe and Rifle=; or, The Western Pioneers. By W. H. G. Kingston.

=Red Cloud, the Solitary Sioux=: a Tale of the Great Prairie. By
Colonel Sir William Butler, K.C.B.

=The Voyage of the Aurora.=, By Harry Collingwood.

=Charmouth Grange=: a Tale of the 17th Century. By J. Percy Groves.

=Snowshoes and Canoes.= By W. H. G. Kingston.

=The Son of the Constable of France.= By Louis Rousselet.

=Captain Mugford=; or, Our Salt and Fresh Water Tutors. Edited by W. H.
G. Kingston.

=The Cornet of Horse=; a Tale of Marlborough's Wars. By G. A. Henty.

=The Adventures of Captain Mago.= By Leon Cahun.

=Noble Words and Noble Deeds.=

=The King of the Tigers.= By Rousselet.

=Hans Brinker=; or, The Silver Skates. By Mrs. Dodge.

=The Drummer-Boy=; a Story of the time of Washington. By Rousselet.

=Adventures in New Guinea=: The Narrative of Louis Trégance.

=The Crusoes of Guiana.= By Boussenard.

=The Gold-Seekers.= A Sequel to the above. By Boussenard.

=Winning his Spurs=: a Tale of the Crusade. By G. A. Henty.

=The Blue Banner.= By Leon Cahun.

=Ben Burton=; or, Born and Bred at Sea. By W. H. G. Kingston.

=Adventures on the Great Hunting Grounds of the World.= By V. Meunier.

=The Three Deserters=; or, Ran Away from the Dutch. By M. T. H.
Perelaer.

=My Kalulu, Prince, King, and Slave.= By H. M. Stanley.

=Adventures of a Young Naturalist.= By Lucien Biart. Edited and adapted
by Parker Gillmore (Ubique).

=The Startling Exploits of the Doctor.= By Céliere.

=The Brothers Rantzau=: a Story of the Vosges. By Erckmann-Chatrian.

=The Serpent Charmer.= By Louis Rousselet.

=Stories of the Gorilla Country.= By Paul Du Chaillu.

=The Conquest of the Moon.= By A. Laurie.

=The Maid of the Ship "Golden Age."= By H. E. Maclean.

=The Frozen Pirate.= By W. Clark Russell.

=The Marvellous Country.= By S. W. Cozzens.

=The Mountain Kingdom.= By D. Lawson Johnstone.

=A Thousand Miles in the "Rob Roy" Canoe.= By John MacGregor ("Rob
Roy").

=Blacks and Bushrangers=; or, Adventures in Queensland. By E. B.
Kennedy.

=Sir Ludar=: a Tale of Love, War, and Adventure in the days of the
great Queen Bess. By Talbot Baines Reed.

=Wild Life under the Equator.= By Paul Du Chaillu.

=My Rambles in the New World.= By Lucien Biart.

=New York to Brest in Seven Hours.= By A. Laurie.

=Rob Roy on the Baltic.= By John MacGregor, M.A.

=Bevis.= By Richard Jefferies. Edited by G. A. Henty.

=The Cobbler of Cornikeranium.= By Rev. A. N. Malan.

=Strange Stories of Adventure.= By Captain Mayne Reid.

=The Aztec Treasure-House.= By T. A. Janvier.

=How Martin Drake found his Father.= By G. Norway.

=Roger Ingleton, Minor.= By T. B. Reed.

=Axel Ebersen, the Graduate of Upsala.= By A. Laurie.

=Sandy Carmichael.= By C. J. Hyne.

=The Priceless Orchid.= By Percy Ainslie.

=An Inca Queen.= By J. Evelyn.

=Voyage Alone in the Yawl "Rob Roy."= By J. MacGregor.

=Adrift In the Pacific.= By Jules Verne.

=The Purchase of the North Pole.= By Jules Verne.


             LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY, LTD.,

         ST. DUNSTAN'S HOUSE, FETTER LANE, FLEET STREET, E.C.





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