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Title: The Boy Travellers in the Far East, Part Fifth - Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey through Africa
Author: Knox, Thomas Wallace
Language: English
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[Illustration: Book Cover]



[Illustration: Map of Africa]



[Illustration]



THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST

_PART FIFTH_

       *       *       *       *       *

ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY

THROUGH AFRICA

BY

THOMAS W. KNOX

AUTHOR OF

"THE YOUNG NIMRODS IN NORTH AMERICA" "THE YOUNG NIMRODS AROUND THE
WORLD" "ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN JOURNEYS TO JAPAN AND CHINA--TO SIAM
AND JAVA--TO CEYLON AND INDIA--TO EGYPT AND THE HOLY LAND" ETC.

Illustrated

NEW YORK
HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE
1884



By THOMAS W. KNOX.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST. Five Volumes. Copiously Illustrated.
8vo, Cloth, $3.00 each. The volumes sold separately. Each volume
complete in itself.

    I. ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY TO JAPAN AND CHINA.
   II. ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY TO SIAM AND JAVA. With
          Descriptions of Cochin-China, Cambodia, Sumatra, and the Malay
          Archipelago.
  III. ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY TO CEYLON AND INDIA. With
          Descriptions of Borneo, the Philippine Islands, and Burmah.
   IV. ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY TO EGYPT AND PALESTINE.
    V. ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY THROUGH AFRICA.

       *       *       *       *       *

HUNTING ADVENTURES ON LAND AND SEA. Two Volumes. Copiously Illustrated.
8vo, Cloth, $2.50 each. The volumes sold separately. Each volume
complete in itself.

   I. THE YOUNG NIMRODS IN NORTH AMERICA.
  II. THE YOUNG NIMRODS AROUND THE WORLD.

       *       *       *       *       *

PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.

_Any of the above volumes sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of
the United States or Canada, on receipt of the price._



PREFACE


With this volume the wanderings of the Boy Travellers in the Far East
are brought to an end. Those enterprising and observant youths have
arrived safely at home, in company with their companion and mentor,
Doctor Bronson. They have seen and learned a great deal in their
absence, and it has been the aim of the author to tell the story of
their travels so that it would interest and instruct the school-mates
and friends of Frank Bassett and Fred Bronson, together with others who
have not the pleasure of their personal acquaintance.

The method followed in the preparation of the preceding volumes of the
series of the Boy Travellers has been observed in the present book, as
far as it was possible to do so. Though the author has visited several
parts of Africa, he has never made a journey to the Equatorial Regions
of the Dark Continent; consequently he has been placed under greater
obligations to other writers than in his preceding works, and the
personal experiences of Frank and Fred in Central Africa were not those
of the compiler of the narrative. But he has endeavored to maintain the
vividness of the story by the introduction of incidents drawn from many
books of African travel and exploration; he has sought to confine
fiction to the narrowest bounds, and to construct an account of travel
and adventure that should be true in every respect save in the
individual characters portrayed.

Many authorities have been consulted in the preparation of "The Boy
Travellers in Central Africa," and while some have been freely drawn
upon, others have been touched with a light hand. The incidents of the
volume have been mainly taken from the works of African explorers of the
last thirty years; a few are of older date, and some are from the
stories of travellers not yet in print. During the preparation of the
volume the author has been in correspondence with several gentlemen who
have supplied him with information relative to the most recent
explorations, and he has kept a watchful eye on the current news from
the land under consideration. Though the wanderings of the Boy
Travellers were confined to Central Africa, other portions of the
continent were studied, as the reader will discover while perusing the
following pages.

Many of the volumes consulted in the preparation of the book are named
in the narrative, but circumstances made it inconvenient to refer to
all. Among the volumes most freely used are the works of the following
authors: Stanley's "Through the Dark Continent" and "Coomassie and
Magdala;" Livingstone's "Travels and Researches in South Africa,"
"Expedition to the Zambesi," and "Last Journals;" Schweinfurth's "The
Heart of Africa" (two volumes); Barth's "Discoveries in North and
Central Africa" (three volumes); Speke's "Journal of the Discovery of
the Source of the Nile;" Burton's "The Lake Regions of Central Africa;"
Long's "Central Africa;" Baker's "The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia" and
"Ismailïa;" Reade's "Savage Africa;" Bourne's "African Discovery and
Adventure" (two volumes); Wilson's "Western Africa;" Baldwin's "Hunting
in South Africa;" Cumming's "A Hunter's Life in Africa;" Silver's
"Hand-book to South Africa;" Cameron's "Across Africa;" Serpa-Pinto's
"Comment J'ai Traversé L'Afrique" (two volumes); Du Chaillu's
"Equatorial Africa," "Ashango Land," "Wild Life Under the Equator," "My
Apingi Kingdom," and "Lost in the Jungle;" Anderson's "Lake Ngami;" and
lastly, several authors whose narratives have appeared in _Le Tour du
Monde_. The publishers have kindly allowed the use of illustrations
which have appeared in previous volumes relating to the African
continent, in addition to those specially prepared for this work. The
maps in the front and rear covers were drawn from the best authorities,
and are intended to embody all recent discoveries.

With this explanation of his methods, and the acknowledgment of his
indebtedness to numerous explorers and writers, the author submits the
adventures of Frank and Fred in Africa to the press and public that have
so kindly received the narratives of the previous travels of those
youths.

  T. W. K.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY.--FROM CAIRO TO KOROSKO.               13

  CHAPTER II.

  LEAVING KOROSKO.--EARLY EXPLORERS OF THE NILE VALLEY.               25

  CHAPTER III.

  FROM KOROSKO TO ABOO HAMED.--THE NILE AGAIN.--ADVENTURE WITH A
      CROCODILE.                                                      37

  CHAPTER IV.

  BERBER AND SHENDY.--HUNTING THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.--TERRIBLE REVENGE
      OF AN ETHIOPIAN KING.                                           48

  CHAPTER V.

  LIFE IN KHARTOUM.--DEPARTURE FOR GONDOKORO.                         61

  CHAPTER VI.

  AMONG THE SHILLOOK NEGROES.--ARRIVAL AT FASHODA.--EXPLORERS OF
      THE NILE.                                                       74

  CHAPTER VII.

  AN ANTELOPE HUNT.--GUINEA-WORMS, WHITE ANTS, AND GREAT SNAKES.      86

  CHAPTER VIII.

  THE DINKAS AND BARIS.--GONDOKORO.--ANNEXATION TO EGYPT.             99

  CHAPTER IX.

  AN ELEPHANT HUNT.--MARCHING SOUTHWARD FROM GONDOKORO.              116

  CHAPTER X.

  A FISHING EXCURSION.--ENCOUNTERING A HIPPOPOTAMUS.--THE COUNTRY
      OF THE NYAM-NYAMS.                                             130

  CHAPTER XI.

  ARRIVAL AT AFUDDO.--DIVISION OF ROUTES.--FRANK'S DEPARTURE.        149

  CHAPTER XII.

  DEPARTURE OF THE TWO EXPEDITIONS.--IN THE SHOOLI
      COUNTRY.--ATTACKED IN AN AMBUSCADE.                            162

  CHAPTER XIII.

  FRANK ON A HUNTING EXCURSION.--DRIVING THE PLAIN WITH FIRE.        175

  CHAPTER XIV.

  ARRIVAL AT FATIKO.--THE MARCH CONTINUED.--FRANK'S ANTELOPE HUNT.   189

  CHAPTER XV.

  AN ELEPHANT HUNT.--CROSSING THE VICTORIA NILE.--ARRIVAL AT
      FOUEIRA.--KING RIONGA AND HIS PEOPLE.                          203

  CHAPTER XVI.

  THE ALBERT N'YANZA.--ACCOUNT OF ITS DISCOVERY.--INCIDENTS OF
      THE FIRST DAY'S VOYAGE.                                        216

  CHAPTER XVII.

  A DAY ON AN ISLAND.--INCIDENTS OF HUNTING AND
      FISHING.--LAKE-DWELLINGS OF CENTRAL AFRICA.                    228

  CHAPTER XVIII.

  DR. LIVINGSTONE AND HIS DISCOVERIES.                               241

  CHAPTER XIX.

  FROM THE ALBERT N'YANZA TO FOUEIRA.                                262

  CHAPTER XX.

  DEPART FROM FOUEIRA.--INTERVIEW WITH KING RIONGA.--THE PLATEAU
      OF CENTRAL AFRICA.--EXPLORATIONS OF THE NIGER.                 275

  CHAPTER XXI.

  TRAVELS OF DR. ROHLFS.--THE TSETSE-FLY.--THROUGH UNYORO.           293

  CHAPTER XXII.

  THE MARCH THROUGH UGUNDA.--ARRIVAL AT KING M'TESA'S PALACE.        306

  CHAPTER XXIII.

  CEREMONIES AT M'TESA'S COURT.--THE TELEPHONE IN AFRICA.            321

  CHAPTER XXIV.

  AT M'TESA'S COURT.--VISIT TO THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.--ASTONISHING
      THE KING.                                                      334

  CHAPTER XXV.

  AN EXCURSION ON THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.                              349

  CHAPTER XXVI.

  RIPON FALLS.--THE OUTLET OF THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.                  361

  CHAPTER XXVII.

  RETURN TO RUBAGA.--FAREWELL TO M'TESA.--VOYAGE DOWN THE
      VICTORIA N'YANZA.                                              375

  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  THE ALEXANDRA NILE.--FRED'S DESCRIPTION OF THE WEST COAST
      OF AFRICA.                                                     388

  CHAPTER XXIX.

  A DESCRIPTION OF SOUTH AFRICA.--ENGLISH COLONIES.--OSTRICH
      FARMING.                                                       404

  CHAPTER XXX.

  RESUMING THE MARCH.--MIRAMBO'S COUNTRY.--HUNTING
      ZEBRAS.--DESCRIPTION OF THE SOKO.                              418

  CHAPTER XXXI.

  TO MIRAMBO'S CAPITAL.--STANLEY'S WORK ON THE LIVINGSTONE.          431

  CHAPTER XXXII.

  UNYAMYEMBE.--AMONG THE ARABS.--MARCHING TOWARD THE COAST.          449

  CHAPTER XXXIII.

  INCIDENTS OF THE JOURNEY TO THE COAST.--CONCLUSION.                463



ILLUSTRATIONS


  The Heart of Africa.                                   _Frontispiece._
  Map of Africa.                                          _Front Cover._
  Map of Central Africa.                                   _Rear Cover._
  "The Carriage is Ready!"                                            13
  Fred's Quandary.                                                    14
  The First Shave.                                                    14
  Camp and Caravan.                                                   17
  A Group of Porters.                                                 19
  Dr. Schweinfurth Ascending the Nile.                                22
  An African Horizon.                                                 23
  A Village in "the Dark Continent."                                  23
  The Native at Home.                                                 25
  Arab Slave-traders.                                                 27
  A Slave-gang on the Road.                                           28
  Baker's Expedition Crossing the Desert.                             30
  "The Forty Thieves."                                                33
  View on the Bahr-el-Azrek.                                          35
  Pilgrims on the Road to Mecca.                                      36
  The Guide in the Desert.                                            37
  A Mirage in the Desert.                                             39
  Sunrise on the Sea of Sand.                                         40
  Scene at the Wells.                                                 41
  Mountain Pass in the Desert.                                        42
  Dragging a Crocodile to Land.                                       45
  Securing a Supper.                                                  47
  The Home of Behemoth.                                               49
  An African River Scene.                                             50
  A Narrow Escape.                                                    51
  Hippopotamus Spears.                                                52
  Spearing the River-horse.                                           53
  A Berber Arab.                                                      55
  Sheep of Berber.                                                    56
  View in the Atbara Valley.                                          58
  An Ethiopian King.                                                  60
  Arrival at Khartoum.                                                61
  Elephants at Home.--Shaking a Fruit-tree.                           63
  Profiles of Dinka Negroes.                                          65
  Bringing a Slave to Market.                                         66
  Trees near the River.                                               68
  View near the Edge of the Town.                                     69
  Preparing Dinner.                                                   70
  Baker's Expedition Leaving Khartoum.                                71
  A Village Scene.                                                    72
  The Heart of Africa.                                                73
  A Bird of the White Nile.                                           75
  An Ambatch Canoe.                                                   76
  An Adventure on the Nile.                                           77
  Speke and Grant in Central Africa.                                  79
  Group of Gani Men.                                                  81
  Karuma Falls, on the Victoria Nile (Somerset River).                83
  View of Fashoda.                                                    85
  Scene on the White Nile above the Sobat.                            86
  Hauling a Steamboat through a Canal Cut in the Sudd.                88
  Nests of White Ants.                                                91
  A Herd of Antelope.                                                 93
  A Slave-making Ant, Magnified.                                      94
  Colonel Long's Great Snake.                                         96
  Python Seizing its Prey.                                            98
  Head of a Dinka Bull.                                               99
  Sectional View of Dinka Hut.                                       100
  A Dinka Cattle-yard.                                               101
  A Sheep without Wool.                                              102
  A Dinka Village near the White Nile.                               104
  Ceremony at Gondokoro on its Annexation to Egypt.                  107
  Austrian Mission-house at Gondokoro.                               108
  View of Gondokoro, from the River.                                 109
  Colonel Abd-el-Kader.                                              110
  Bari Arrows and Elephant-spear.                                    112
  Baris Stealing Cattle from the Garrison at Gondokoro.              113
  African Drums.                                                     115
  The Nile below Afuddo.                                             116
  A Nyam-Nyam Girl.                                                  117
  Entrance of the Lake.                                              118
  Nyam-Nyam Warriors.                                                119
  Elephant Coming to Drink.                                          121
  Elephants Hunted in the Water.                                     123
  The Navigable Nile above the Last Cataracts.                       125
  Saddle-donkeys.                                                    126
  Marching through the Bari Country.                                 127
  Camp Scene.                                                        129
  One of the Cooks.                                                  130
  The Second Day's March.                                            131
  Fishing Village in an African Lake.                                133
  Stampeding the Caravan.                                            134
  Halting-place near a Pond.                                         135
  Hippopotamus Attacking a Raft.                                     137
  A Night Attack by a River-horse.                                   138
  Tying Up Ivories for the March.                                    140
  Removing a Village.                                                141
  A Nyam-Nyam Dog.                                                   142
  Singular Head-dress of a Nyam-Nyam.                                144
  Hut for Boys.                                                      145
  A Nyam-Nyam Granary.                                               145
  An Akka Warrior.                                                   146
  Dr. Schweinfurth's Pygmy.                                          147
  Standing for his Portrait.                                         148
  Crossing a Marsh.                                                  149
  A Wet Road.                                                        150
  A Snake in Camp.                                                   152
  Scene near Afuddo.                                                 153
  A Caravan of an Ivory-trader.                                      156
  An Ivory Porter.                                                   158
  The Central African Steamer _Khedive_.                             161
  Winwood Reade's Ox and Hammock Train.                              163
  Near the Shore of the Lake.                                        165
  Crossing a Small Stream.                                           166
  An Attraction for a Hyena.                                         168
  Attack in an Ambuscade.                                            170
  Two of our Porters.                                                172
  Antelope of the Shooli Country (Female).                           173
  Antelope of the Shooli Country (Male).                             174
  A Village Headman.                                                 176
  An African Magician Superintending the Slaughtering of an Ox.      177
  A Native Ferry.                                                    178
  Net-hunting by the Shooli Tribe.                                   180
  Driving Game before a Prairie Fire.                                182
  The River Bank.                                                    184
  Frank's Bird.                                                      185
  Rocky Hills.                                                       185
  Great Rock near the Camp.                                          186
  Peculiar Table-rock in the Bari Country.                           187
  Baker's Battle with the Slave-dealers.--Charge of the
      Egyptian Soldiers.                                             190
  Crossing a Plain.                                                  192
  Fort Fatiko.                                                       193
  Ground-plan of the Fort.                                           194
  View from the Rock-fort of Fatiko.                                 195
  Camp where Captain Speke was Detained.                             197
  N'samma Antelope.                                                  199
  Charge of a Lioness.                                               201
  A Dangerous Position.                                              204
  Frank's Discovery: a "Rogue" Elephant.                             206
  Navigation under Difficulties.                                     208
  An Unpleasant Acquaintance.                                        210
  The Victoria Nile at Rionga's Island.                              211
  Interview between Baker Pacha and Rionga.                          213
  Water-bottle.                                                      214
  Gourds of different Shapes.                                        215
  Lake Scene in Central Africa.                                      216
  Scene on the Shores of Lake Tanganyika.                            218
  A Lake Village.                                                    220
  Lake Fishes of Central Africa.                                     221
  A Fisherman Ready for Work.                                        222
  A Fish-basket.                                                     223
  A Village Chief.                                                   224
  Native Heads.                                                      225
  On the Shore of the Lake.                                          226
  An Island in the Lake.                                             228
  A Flock of Cranes.                                                 230
  Fred's Second Prize.                                               231
  A Pair of Kingfishers at Home.                                     232
  Fish-eagle on a Hippopotamus Trap.                                 233
  Central African Yam.                                               235
  Potato and Yam Fields.                                             235
  The Kilnoky.                                                       236
  Young Polypterus.                                                  237
  Lake Mohrya, with Villages.                                        238
  A House in the Water.                                              239
  Ideal Representation of a Swiss Lake-village.                      240
  Livingstone's House at Zanzibar.                                   241
  David Livingstone.                                                 242
  Chuma and Susi.                                                    244
  Page from Livingstone's Last Journal.                              246
  The Last Mile of Livingstone's Journey.                            248
  Livingstone Entering the Hut where he Died.                        249
  Fording a Swollen River.                                           250
  A Lion Killing Livingstone's Donkey.                               251
  "Goree," or Slave-stick.                                           252
  Manner of Fettering a Gang of Slaves.                              253
  Slavers Avenging their Losses.                                     254
  Quilimane, at the Mouth of the Zambesi.                            255
  View on the Navigable Part of the Zambesi.                         257
  The Great Falls of Mosi-oa-tunya.                                  259
  Bird's-eye View of Mosi-oa-tunya.                                  261
  Caravan Crossing a Plain.                                          263
  Scene in an African Village.                                       264
  Crossing a River on a Fallen Tree.                                 266
  Goatsucker ("Cosmetornis Spekii").                                 267
  A Camp near the Hills.                                             269
  Kawendé Surgery.                                                   270
  A Pair of Sham Demons.                                             272
  An African Band of Music.                                          273
  Sham Demons Ready for Business.                                    274
  View on the Road.                                                  276
  The King's Residence.                                              277
  Kabba Rega's Attack and Defeat.                                    279
  Thatched Hut in Rionga's Village.                                  280
  The Country Back from the River.                                   281
  Crossing a River in Unyoro.                                        283
  Effect of a Long Rain in Africa.--Animals Seeking Safety.          285
  Sunset on Lake Tchad.                                              287
  Scene on the Niger at Say.                                         288
  View of Kabara, the Port of Timbuctoo.                             289
  Timbuctoo, from the Terrace of the House Occupied by Dr. Barth.    291
  A Village on the Guinea Coast.                                     294
  Scene near Lake Tchad.                                             295
  An Amazon of Dahomey.                                              297
  1, the Tsetse; 2, the same, Magnified; 3, its Proboscis.           299
  Colonel Long's Battle at M'rooli.                                  301
  Colonel Long's Companions at M'rooli.                              302
  A Group of Kidi Men.                                               303
  A Substitute for the Horse.                                        304
  Approaching Camp.                                                  305
  A Queen of Ugunda Dragged to Execution.                            307
  Kamrasi's First Lesson in the Bible.                               308
  Mountains in the Distance.                                         310
  Villages in the Hilly Country.                                     312
  Flag of Ugunda.                                                    313
  Long's First Visit to M'tesa.                                      315
  Ugunda Boy.                                                        316
  View of M'tesa's Palace from Doctor Bronson's Zeriba.              318
  A Warrior of Ugunda.                                               319
  View of Rubaga from the Great Road.                                320
  A Reception at the Court of King M'tesa.                           323
  A Tree of Ugunda.                                                  324
  A Daughter of King M'tesa.                                         325
  King of Ugunda Retiring.                                           327
  Native of Ugunda, with Hunting Spear.                              328
  The King's Musicians.                                              329
  Visitors in the Zeriba.                                            330
  Captain Speke Attending a Review of the Ugunda Troops.             332
  Henry M. Stanley.                                                  335
  On the Road to the Lake.                                           336
  Ugunda Boat.                                                       338
  View of Murchison Creek.                                           339
  Hills Back from the Lake.                                          340
  "Elephant's Foot," or "Gouty-limbed," Tree.                        341
  Trees and Climbing Plants in Central Africa.                       343
  Charging a Retort in a Gas Factory.                                345
  Diagram of Gas-works.                                              346
  Frank's Gas-retort.                                                347
  Seeing the Show.                                                   348
  M'tesa's Idea for Crossing Africa.                                 350
  Returning from an Excursion.                                       351
  The King's Slaves Carrying Fuel and Cutting Rice.                  353
  An African Drum-corps.                                             354
  Lake Scenery in Central Africa.                                    356
  Kambari Fish.                                                      357
  Fred's Experiment in Cooking Fish.                                 359
  On the Lake.                                                       360
  Jack.                                                              361
  Ripon Falls: the Nile Flowing Out of the Victoria N'yanza.         363
  A Group of Hippopotami.                                            365
  Ready for Business.                                                366
  Trouble in the Rhinoceros Family.                                  367
  Bad for the Dog.                                                   368
  Rhinoceros Heads.                                                  369
  Speke Delivering the Spoils of his Hunt to King Rumanika.          372
  In Captivity.                                                      373
  Village and Villagers.                                             376
  An Unpleasant Encounter.                                           377
  Antelopes among the Marshes near Usavara.                          380
  Native of Unyamwezi.                                               382
  Natives of the Islands.                                            384
  Boats for Lake Navigation.                                         385
  An African Soko.                                                   386
  Arms and Ornaments.                                                387
  View of the Uplands in Karagué.                                    389
  The _Lady Alice_, in Sections.                                     390
  Native Village on the Gold Coast.                                  392
  Cape Coast Castle.                                                 394
  Monrovia, Liberia.                                                 395
  Free Town, Sierra Leone.                                           396
  A Street in Coomassie.                                             397
  A Village in Ashantee.                                             398
  "Young Guinea".                                                    399
  Fantee Gentleman and Soldier.                                      400
  The Burning of Coomassie.                                          401
  A Belle of the Guinea Coast.                                       402
  View of Elmina, on the Gold Coast.                                 403
  Native of Cape Colony.                                             405
  Emigrating to the South African Wilderness.                        406
  The "March of Civilization."                                       407
  Scene in the South African Diamond Mines.                          409
  Driving a Flock of Ostriches.                                      411
  The Ostrich and its Hunters.                                       412
  Hunting under Disadvantages.                                       415
  What Fred hoped for.                                               416
  The Ostrich's Natural Enemy.                                       417
  One of the Guides.                                                 419
  A Royal Residence in Unyamwezi.                                    420
  War Dance of Mirambo's Followers.                                  422
  Natives Bringing Provisions for Sale.                              423
  A Protected Village.                                               425
  The Zebra at Home.                                                 426
  An African Tembé.                                                  428
  Manyuema Hunters Killing Sokos.                                    429
  Rocks by the Wayside.                                              431
  Crossing a Stream.                                                 432
  Weapons of the Natives.                                            433
  Man of Massi Kambi.                                                434
  Hill-country near Mirambo's Capitol.                               435
  Porters and Woman and Child of Usagaru.                            436
  Hut at Kifuma.                                                     437
  Stanley's Voyage on the Livingstone.--Battle with the Natives.     439
  Frank Pocock, Stanley's Companion on the Livingstone.              440
  Stanley's Expedition Recuperated and Re-clad after Crossing the
      "Dark Continent."                                              441
  Trading Station on the West Coast of Africa.                       443
  Curious Head-dress.                                                444
  The Height of Fashion.                                             445
  The First Cataract of the Livingstone.                             447
  Stanley's Expedition Descending the Livingstone.                   448
  A Deserter Brought Back.                                           450
  A Native Guard.                                                    451
  Said bin Amir's House.                                             452
  Getting Ready for the Road.                                        454
  Halting-place under a Sycamore.                                    455
  A House in Unyamyembe.                                             456
  Unyamwezi Heads.                                                   457
  Members of the Caravan.                                            458
  Grinding Meal for Supper.                                          459
  Storehouse for Grain.                                              460
  An African Ferry.                                                  461
  Crossing a Plain.                                                  462
  A Pond by the Wayside.                                             464
  Capturing a Leopard.                                               465
  Ugogo Heads, with Distended Ears.                                  466
  Women of Ubudjwa.                                                  467
  Crossing a River on a Fish-weir.                                   468
  Camp on the Edge of the Makata Swamp.                              469
  View of Zanzibar from the Sea.                                     471
  From Bagamoya to Zanzibar.                                         473



CHAPTER I.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY.--FROM CAIRO TO KOROSKO.


[Illustration: "THE CARRIAGE IS READY!"]

"The carriage is ready, gentlemen!"

"Has all the baggage been sent to the boat?"

"Yes, sir," was the reply; "all except the case of instruments that you
wished to keep with you."

"All right!" was the cheery response. "We are ready to start, and will
not keep the carriage waiting."

This conversation occurred on the veranda of a hotel at Cairo, the
capital of Egypt, and once renowned as the City of the Caliphs. The
first speaker was Ali, a bright boy of Abyssinian birth, and formerly a
slave, while the second was Doctor Bronson, a gentleman whose name is
familiar to all readers of "The Boy Travellers in the Far East." By his
side were Frank Bassett and Fred Bronson, the youths who were guided
through Asia by the good Doctor, and had made the journey to Egypt and
the Holy Land in his company.

[Illustration: FRED'S QUANDARY.]

Frank and Fred could hardly be called youths any longer, as Frank was
quite as tall as the Doctor, while Fred was only an inch or two less in
stature. The boys who set out one morning for Japan and China had now
grown to be young men; but Frank insisted that they were still boys, and
should so consider themselves till they had passed their majority. There
had been some badinage between them relative to that momentous period in
a young man's existence when he makes his first essay with a razor.
Frank had depicted his cousin seated in front of a mirror, uncertain
whether to shave or dye, while Fred had retorted with a caricature in
which a cat and a cream-jug had prominent places. We will comply with
the wishes of Frank and call them "boys" during the journey they are
about commencing.

[Illustration: THE FIRST SHAVE.]

The carriage drove rapidly along the broad street leading to Boolak, the
landing-place of the Nile steamboats, and frequently called the Port of
Cairo. The boys were familiar with the scenes of this busy thoroughfare
and paid little attention to them, as their thoughts were occupied with
the journey of which this ride was the beginning. As they passed the
Museum of Antiquities, Frank recalled to Fred their first visit to that
interesting place, and the delightful hours they had spent in studying
the souvenirs of Ancient Egypt. "If we were not pressed for time," he
added, "I would greatly like to stop there a little while, just to
refresh my memory."[1]

[1] For a description of the Museum at Boolak and the monuments of
Ancient Egypt, see "The Boy Travellers in Egypt and the Holy Land."
Published by Harper & Brothers, 1882.

The steamer was lying at the river-bank, and the smoke from her funnel
told that she was about ready for departure. As our friends stepped on
the deck of the boat they were met by their dragoman, who told the
Doctor that all the heavy baggage had been stowed below, while the light
articles needed on the voyage would be found in their cabins.
Consequently, our friends had little to do for the half-hour that
intervened before the departure of the steamer. The Doctor went to the
hold to give a glance at the bales and boxes deposited there, and then,
accompanied by Fred and Frank, made a tour of the cabins, to make sure
nothing had been forgotten. The dragoman was a trusty servant, but
Doctor Bronson had learned from practical experience that perpetual
vigilance is an important requisite for travelling in wild countries.

The Nile voyage was not a new one to our friends, and as the story of
their adventures has already been told in a previous volume, we will not
repeat them here. As we are in the land of the Arabian Nights we will
borrow the Enchanted Carpet and wish our friends at the landing-place at
Korosko, about half way between the first and second Cataracts of the
Nile.

"One, two, three, and here we are!"

It was early one forenoon when the steamboat stopped in front of
Korosko, and the youths were permitted to step to the shore. Abdul, the
dragoman, had arranged by telegraph with a merchant of Korosko for the
temporary storage of the baggage of the party and for a lodging-place
for the travellers, until camels could be obtained for their journey
over the Desert. The merchant was at the landing to meet them, with a
force of some thirty or more porters to place the baggage on shore and
carry it to his warehouse, a hundred yards away. In spite of the large
number of men it required several hours for landing, and storing
everything. A journey into the interior of Africa is a serious affair,
as the traveller requires a great many things which are not needed in
most other countries.

"We are going where there are few resources," said the Doctor to his
young friends weeks before, when they were making their plans for the
journey, "and unless we would suffer we must be well provided at
starting.

"First of all, we need money, just as we need it for travel in any other
country."

"Of course we do," said Frank; "but there are no bankers in Africa, and
our letters of credit will be of no use."

"But we can take plenty of gold and silver," said Fred, "and perhaps we
shall want a few camel-loads of copper coin."

"Even that will not answer," replied Doctor Bronson, with a smile, "as
the coin of civilized lands is unknown in Africa."

"What must we carry, then," Frank asked, "if bankers' credits are of no
use, and coin does not circulate?"

"We must carry the money of Africa," was the reply, "and here it is."

Frank took the sheet of paper the Doctor held in his hand and read aloud
to his cousin:

"'Beads of different kinds and colors, put up and labelled, so that the
contents of each package can be known at a glance. Every tribe of
negroes in Africa has tastes of its own, and beads that find ready
circulation in one region are worthless in another.

"'Cotton cloths of different kinds, white, gray, striped, and in all the
colors and combinations of the rainbow.

"'Gaudy handkerchiefs, and the gaudier they are the better for purposes
of trade. In packing them for transportation they should be placed in
the bales with the cloths, which should also be made up in assorted
lots, so that when a bale is opened several kinds of goods may be
displayed.

"'Pocket-mirrors, copper wire, in rolls and of different sizes; small
tools, fish-hooks, cheap watches, brass jewellery, mechanical toys,
sleigh-bells, knives, hatchets, and other edged tools that can be easily
carried and handled.'"

"Something to amuse the natives is next on the list," the Doctor
remarked, as Frank paused for a moment, "and it is often of great
advantage to amuse them."

"'A dozen musical boxes of small size, and one large one, playing
several tunes,'" continued Frank, reading from the paper.

"I suppose the small ones are for presents," said Fred, "and the large
one is to be exhibited on great occasions, when we have company?"

"Exactly so," replied the Doctor; "it will be a convenient means of
entertaining savages, especially when we cannot converse with them. You
observe that I have included in the list of desirable things a
magic-lantern and a telephone, with half a mile of wire and all the
apparatus complete. They are easy to carry, and their performances will
be as interesting as those of the music-boxes."

"'Cloth, beads, caps, tools, toys, and trinkets are what we need for
traffic with the natives and paying our expenses,"' read Frank as he
turned the sheet of paper. "Now we come to what we want for our own
use."

[Illustration: CAMP AND CARAVAN.]

"'Tea and coffee, in air-tight cans of not more than a pound each, so
that they will not be spoiled by the climate: preserved meats and
vegetables, sugar, spices, pepper, sauces, vinegar, matches, soap,
candles, and a few other things, the fewer the better. Everything we
carry must be enclosed in tin cases, so as to protect it from dampness,
as the climate of Central Africa is ruinous to all articles that absorb
moisture.

"'Rifles, shot-guns, and pistols, with plenty of ammunition. The rifles
and shot-guns of the Remington system, using fixed ammunition.'"

One of the boys asked what was meant by "fixed ammunition."

"The cartridges are made up," the Doctor explained, "and are all ready
for use. The powder is in a shell of copper or brass, with the explosive
cap in one end and the bullet or shot firmly wedged in the other. The
cartridges are impervious to water, and can be kept a long time without
detriment."

"We must have a large quantity," said Frank, "and even then we might
find our supply running short, with no chance of renewal."

"Certainly that might happen," was the reply, "and we can guard against
it by having a few dozens of steel shells made like the copper ones, and
with nipples for ordinary percussion-caps. These shells can be reloaded
many times. We can carry powder in tin canisters, caps in boxes, and
moulds for casting bullets, and then, with a few bars of lead in our
possession, we shall be independent of fixed ammunition from the
factories.

"We will have one heavy rifle, carrying a very large ball, for shooting
elephants, and a special supply of ammunition to fit it. The rest of the
rifles will be all alike, so that there will be no trouble about getting
hold of the wrong ammunition when starting out for a day's hunt. The
same will be the case with the shot-guns, and we will observe a similar
rule in regard to the revolvers."

Frank next read a list of medicines intended for the maladies to which
human nature is ordinarily liable. Last and greatest of all was
"sulphate of quinine." The quantity seemed altogether out of proportion
to the rest of the stock, and he naturally asked Doctor Bronson why he
carried so much of it.

"Africa is a land of fevers," replied the Doctor, "and has a bad
reputation among travellers on this account alone. The equatorial rains
make the climate exceedingly moist, and the exhalations from the soil
are detrimental to the health of all Europeans. We shall be likely to
suffer from fevers, and you know that quinine is the great remedy for
fever. It has saved many a life, and its absence has caused many a
death. When we begin our journey we must each of us carry a small supply
of the drug in our pockets, and be ready to use it intelligently. Each
must be able to administer it to the other; and our personal servants
should be instructed how to act whenever they see us suffering from the
hot-blooded visitor. We will have more talk on this subject when we
approach Central Africa."

Then came a list of clothing, tents, camp equipage, and kindred things
that would be needed. Frank remarked that Africa must be a land of rain,
or they would not require so many water-proof garments, and Fred added
that it was not as hot as it was reputed to be, or they would not carry
so many blankets. The Doctor explained that in the elevated regions of
Africa the nights were almost always cool, even though the days might be
sultry, and the traveller who ventured there without plenty of warm
covering was liable to suffer.

The last entry on the paper was, that no package should weigh more than
fifty pounds. Fred asked the reason for this rule, as he had understood
a camel could carry seven or eight hundred pounds' burden without
difficulty, provided he was in good condition and of full size.

"That is true," said Doctor Bronson, "but we can't go all the way with
camels. In the interior of Africa our baggage must be carried by
porters; and the load for a man is limited to sixty pounds, and ought
not to exceed fifty. Of course it sometimes happens that elephants'
tusks and other articles weigh more than sixty pounds, but for such
burdens the strongest men are selected, and a higher price is usually
paid.

[Illustration: A GROUP OF PORTERS.]

"These porters are known as 'pagazi,' and are a necessary adjunct of
every expedition in the interior of Africa. Sometimes it is impossible
to procure a sufficient number, and the traveller may be delayed weeks
or months while waiting for them. On the road they must be watched very
carefully, to see that they do not desert with their burdens; and, in
order to prevent this, the rear of a caravan must be brought up by a
trusty guard. A great part of the troubles of all African explorers is
due to the pagazi, and more than one expedition has been completely
broken up by their misconduct.

"Sometimes they desert in a body, and the traveller who has gone to
sleep, with a hundred or more porters in his employ, has risen in the
morning to find his camp deserted and not a man to be found. In this
dilemma he must wait till new porters can be hired, or he may be obliged
to destroy a large part of his goods."

"Wouldn't it be possible for him to sell them to some of the native
chiefs in such an emergency, instead of destroying them?" one of the
boys inquired.

"Perhaps he could do so," the Doctor answered; "but he would obtain a
very small price for them, as the chiefs would know he was in a great
strait and must be rid of them. Such a practice would encourage
desertions, as the local chiefs would be in collusion with the porters,
and no traveller could get through in safety. It is an invariable rule
with the Portuguese and Arab traders in Central Africa to destroy all
goods that they are unable to carry by reason of the desertion of their
pagazi. It is their only way of insuring themselves against certain loss
in future journeys, and they are very particular in observing it."

Frank asked if they were to have any scientific instruments, such as
were usually carried by explorers in strange countries. Doctor Bronson
replied that they would certainly do so, but he had not yet made out his
list of what would be wanted.

"For the first part of our journey," said the Doctor, "we shall be in a
region that has been explored sufficiently, so that its principal
geographical positions are known, and there will be very little occasion
for instruments. But later on our route will be much like a voyage on
the ocean, and we must find out 'by observation,' as the navigators say,
where we are. For this purpose we can imagine that we are going on a
ship, and must have the instruments that a ship usually carries."

"I understand," said Fred. "We will have a quadrant or a sextant for
ascertaining the position of the sun, just as a captain does at sea. But
will the irregular line of the land serve us for a horizon, as the line
between sea and sky serves the mariner?"

"Certainly not," answered the Doctor, with a smile; "and to meet this
difficulty we employ the artificial horizon."

"How is it made?" one of the youths inquired.

"It is a very simple affair," the Doctor answered; "it is nothing but a
horizontal mirror, and is constructed in two or three ways. It may be an
ordinary mirror or looking-glass, in a frame adjusted upon screws and
set round with spirit-levels, so that it can be brought to the proper
position, or it may be a basin of mercury. A tub of water may be made to
answer in an emergency, but it is not easy to get a reflection from it
of sufficient distinctness for purposes of observation. With the
artificial horizon and a sextant the altitude of the sun or of a star
may be readily obtained. Half the angular distance between a star and
its image in the artificial horizon is equal to the altitude of a star
above the real horizon."

"But there's another trouble," said Frank. "At sea the navigator knows
the run of his ship by means of the log, as we learned when we crossed
the Pacific Ocean in our journey to Japan and China. How are we to
'throw the log' when travelling on land?"

"That is an easy matter," was the reply. "We will have several
pedometers, or instruments for counting the steps. They are about the
size of an ordinary watch, and worn in the pocket in the same way. Every
step taken by the wearer is registered, and by knowing the length of our
steps we can get very near the distance travelled. The pedometer is only
approximative, and not exact, and the same is the case with the log on a
ship.

[Illustration: DR. SCHWEINFURTH ASCENDING THE NILE.]

"A famous African explorer, Dr. Schweinfurth, once had the misfortune to
lose his instruments and all the records of his journey by fire. For six
months after that calamity he counted his footsteps, noting hundreds by
means of his fingers, and making a stroke in his note-book on reaching
five hundred. The second five hundred was recorded by making a reverse
stroke on the previous one, so as to form a cross, and in this way at
the end of a day's journey every thousand steps he had taken was shown
by a cross. He thus made account of a million and a quarter paces in the
six months that he continued the practice.

"Dr. Schweinfurth says that the steps of a man are a more accurate
standard of measurement than those of an animal. The camel, when urged
to its full speed, does not increase the number of his paces but their
length; while those of a man, at whatever rate he walks, are about the
same. He suggests that any one may satisfy himself on this point by
measuring his own footsteps in moist ground. He will find them varying
very little, no matter what the rate of speed. Dr. Schweinfurth says his
steps varied, according to the nature of the road, from twenty-four to
twenty-eight inches, and we may set this down as the average step of a
man of medium height.

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN HORIZON.]

"In addition to sextants and pedometers, we will have a complete
apparatus for taking photographs, with plenty of dry plates, sensitive
paper, and the other necessary materials; then we must have a stock of
compasses, barometers, and thermometers; and we must not forget an
anemometer, an instrument for measuring the force of the wind. One of
our compasses must be an azimuth, which resembles the marine compass,
but has a more accurate graduation, and is provided with vertical
sights, so that the variation of the needle may be detected. This is
done by observing the position of a star through the sights, and
comparing its azimuth, or point on the horizon, with the direction of
the needle. The position of the star being known, the computation is
easy."

Doctor Bronson explained that the instruments, tents, fire-arms, and
personal outfits could not be procured in Egypt, but must be ordered
from London or Paris. The bulk of the provisions might be obtained in
Cairo or Alexandria, but the character of the supplies could not always
be relied upon. Consequently it was decided to make the list as complete
as possible and ship everything from the English and French capitals, so
that they would not be delayed at Cairo. Of course there would be some
deficiencies, and these could be filled from the Cairo market before the
date of departure. The plan was carried out without accident.

We have seen our friends on their way to Central Africa, and have now
landed them safely at Korosko.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE IN "THE DARK CONTINENT."]



CHAPTER II.

LEAVING KOROSKO.--EARLY EXPLORERS OF THE NILE VALLEY.


The preparations for leaving Korosko required several days. Camels were
to be hired, loads distributed, and drivers and servants engaged. A
great many small details consumed the time of our friends, from the hour
of their arrival till their departure. Twenty camels were engaged,
sixteen for baggage and four for riding purposes, three of the latter
being for the Doctor and the boys, and one for the dragoman. The boy Ali
was assigned to a place on one of the baggage camels, as he was
considered too young to have a saddle animal all to himself.

Twenty camels make a respectable procession, and the boys were in high
glee when they saw their beasts of burden drawn up in line, ready for
departure. Fourteen of the baggage camels were sent away one evening,
and our friends started early the following morning with the rest of the
train. This included their saddle camels and the two animals that
carried the things they would need on the journey from day to day.

A glance at the map of Nubia will show a great bend in the Nile between
Korosko and Aboo Hamed. Boats ascending the river and following this
bend often consume three or four weeks, while the ride over the Desert
can be made in from six to nine days. There are three cataracts in this
part of the river. They are impassable except during the rise of the
Nile, and even then their ascent is a tedious and expensive affair.
Consequently the principal route of travel and commerce is through the
Desert.

There was no trouble in keeping the road, as it is well known to the
guides and camel-drivers, and is annually traversed by great numbers of
people. The dragoman, Abdul, had been over the route repeatedly,
sometimes with small parties, and on two occasions with expeditions that
the Egyptian Government had sent to the Upper Nile and the lake regions
of Central Africa. Frank and Fred were greatly interested in the details
of these expeditions, and listened eagerly to Abdul's account of them
and the difficulties of transporting heavy articles over the Desert
sands.

[Illustration: THE NATIVE AT HOME.]

At their first halt on the journey from Korosko, Abdul told them of his
experience with the expedition of Sir Samuel Baker, for the suppression
of the slave-trade in the Soudan country, some years ago, which was
about as follows:

"In 1869-70 Sir Samuel Baker was sent by Ismail Pacha, Khedive of Egypt,
to suppress the slave-trade in the regions where we are now going. In
order that he should do so effectively he was provided with a small
army, and a suitable equipment of steamers for navigating the river,
together with a large stock of goods for opening legitimate trade. Most
of the slave-traders were Arab subjects of the Khedive, and their centre
of business was at Khartoum."

Fred asked how many men were engaged in the business.

"As to that," said Abdul, "it is not easy to say. The merchants of
Khartoum had organized a sort of military force for capturing the
negroes and bringing them to market, and one of them was reported to
have twenty-five hundred men in his pay. They were armed and drilled
like soldiers, though not very thoroughly disciplined, and were divided
into companies sufficiently strong to overpower any African village, and
make prisoners of such of the inhabitants as they wished to carry to
market. Altogether, it was thought that fifteen thousand subjects of the
Khedive had left their honest occupations and were engaged, directly or
indirectly, in the slave-trade."

"They must have occupied a great deal of country," said Frank, "for so
many of them to be engaged in the traffic."

[Illustration: ARAB SLAVE-TRADERS.]

"That is true," replied Abdul. "Every trader had a district to himself,
and his men were divided into companies, with a chain of stations or
military posts. They could thus hold sway over an immense area. One
slave-trader named Agad controlled a region containing ninety thousand
square miles, and another had a territory nearly as large.

"There was an agreement among the traders that they would not disturb
each other's territory; they sometimes got into trouble and fought among
themselves, but this was not often, as they had quite enough to do to
kill and capture the natives. Each man in his own region could do what
he chose, and the business had all the horrible features that the
slave-trade has everywhere."

One of the boys asked how many slaves were taken from Central Africa
every year, and where the slaves were carried.

[Illustration: A SLAVE-GANG ON THE ROAD.]

"It was estimated by Sir Samuel Baker," replied Abdul, "that not less
than fifty thousand slaves were carried every year from the interior to
the sea-coast, or kept in the camps of the slave-traders. The capture of
fifty or a hundred slaves means the destruction of one or more villages,
and the death of fifty or a hundred innocent persons while the
destruction is going on. The traders induce tribes that would otherwise
be at peace to make war on each other, by agreeing to buy all the
prisoners. Whole districts are depopulated, life and property are
insecure, and for every slave that is brought away it is safe to say
that three or four of his kindred have been killed or die of starvation.
It was a noble impulse of the Khedive to put an end to this state of
affairs and remove the stigma of slave-dealing from his country."

"But they still have slavery in Egypt, do they not?" inquired one of the
boys.

"Yes," was the reply, "slavery exists here, as Egypt is a Moslem
country, and the Koran expressly allows it. But the form is growing
milder every year, as the government does not protect it. Under Ismail
Pacha a man might keep slaves, but if they ran away from him he could
not call the police to assist in their capture, as he formerly was able
to do. If they chose to stay away they could do so, without fear of
being taken back; the result was that every slave-owner was obliged to
treat his human property so kindly that there would be no inducement to
leave him. Traffic in slaves is not permitted, and consequently the
institution is not flourishing, and will soon disappear altogether.

"The efforts of Livingstone, Stanley, and other travellers in Central
Africa have done much to throw light on the slave-trade, and to persuade
some of the African kings and chiefs to abandon it. The only Europeans
who encourage it at all now are the Portuguese traders, who have their
stations on the east coast of Africa, and even their support to it is
generally given in an underhand way. The most extensive slave-dealers
are the Arabs, who are not troubled by any religious scruples on the
subject, and find a market for their captives among people of similar
belief with themselves.

"When we get fairly into Central Africa you will probably see something
of the system of slavery; so we'll drop the subject now, and I'll tell
you how Baker's expedition was fitted out.

"Baker received the rank of Pacha, with absolute authority for four
years, from April 1, 1869, and was instructed to subdue the countries
lying south of Gondokoro, suppress the slave-trade, and introduce a
system of regular commerce; open the great lakes near the equator to
navigation, and establish military and commercial posts throughout the
captured country.

"Baker had already been in Central Africa and travelled in the region of
the lakes, and consequently he knew something of the difficulties he
would encounter. He made grand preparations, which consumed so much
time, and were followed by so many delays, that nearly a year elapsed
before he left Khartoum for the south."

Fred asked if the expedition went up the Nile by way of Korosko, or by
another route.

"Part of it went that way," said Abdul, "and the rest by Suakim, on the
Red Sea. From Suakim there is a road across the Desert to Berber, in
Abyssinia. Berber is on the Nile, and from there the river is navigable
to Khartoum. I was with the part of the expedition that ascended the
Nile, so that I am familiar with Korosko and the route to Aboo Hamed.
Khartoom, at the junction of the Blue and White Nile, was selected as
the point of departure, and all the supplies for the expedition were
sent there.

[Illustration: BAKER'S EXPEDITION CROSSING THE DESERT.]

"Everything had to be carried over the Desert, and it was an immense
affair, I assure you. Six steamboats were sent from Cairo, and three
others for navigating the lakes were brought from England, and carried
in sections, so that they could be put together at the points where
wanted. The boilers of the steamers were found too heavy to be
transported on the backs of camels, and it was necessary to mount them
on wheels, to which camels were harnessed.

"Hundreds of camels were required for carrying all this material, and
when the train was on the march it covered the Desert for miles and
miles. It was necessary to have many extra camels, to guard against the
breaking down of any of the loaded ones, as the loss of a single piece
of a boat or its machinery might render all the rest of little or no
use.

[Illustration: "THE FORTY THIEVES."]

"The military part of the expedition comprised about sixteen hundred
soldiers, with two batteries of artillery; but so many of the soldiers
were found unfit for duty, that half of them were sent back or left
behind at Khartoum. Baker finally selected forty men to serve as a
body-guard, and they proved to be excellent soldiers, and of more use
than all the rest that had been sent to serve him. This small force of
picked men was known as 'The Forty.' They were not of the best
character, and some of their performances when off duty caused them to
be called 'The Forty Thieves' by the English-speaking members of the
expedition.

"It was expected that there would be much opposition among the merchants
of Khartoum when they learned the object for which Baker Pacha had been
sent to the Soudan. Of course it would not do for them to declare open
hostility, but they could hinder the enterprise in various ways. When
Baker arrived at Khartoum he found that the traders had sent away all
the boatmen, as they knew the expedition could not move without boats.
The police and military were employed to hunt them up, and of course
much valuable time was lost in so doing.

"When they finally got away from Khartoum they had two steamers and
thirty-six sailing-boats. The steamers had each a sailing-boat in tow,
and on one of these boats was the commander of the expedition,
accompanied by his wife, Lady Baker, and the officers of his staff.

"I was with the officers on the other boat, and the two steamers pushed
along, with their tows, leaving the sailing craft to follow as fast as
they could. We went up what is called the White Nile. Khartoum is at the
junction of the Blue and White Nile, the landing-place being on the
former stream. The Blue Nile was long supposed to be the principal
branch of the river. It was explored by Bruce, who traced it to its
source, and thought he had found the spot where the Nile takes its
rise."

Frank remarked that one of his school-books contained a picture of Bruce
standing by the side of a spring not more than a yard across, from which
a rivulet was flowing.

Fred said he had read something about Bruce, and was sorry he had
forgotten exactly what it was.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE BAHR-EL-AZREK.]

"Perhaps I can help you," responded Doctor Bronson. "James Bruce was
born at Kinnaird, in Scotland, in 1730, and died there in 1794. He was
educated for a lawyer, but never practised his profession. His tastes
ran in the direction of Oriental languages and literature, and after
studying them for some years he was appointed Consul-general for
Algiers. He remained there for two years, and then travelled in Tunis,
Tripoli, Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, spending nearly five years in
Egypt and Abyssinia in an effort to find the sources of the Nile. The
Bahr-el-Azrek, or Blue Nile, was then supposed to be the main stream,
and Bruce followed it to its source.

"When this work was accomplished he returned to England, to tell the
story of his discovery. It was published in 1790, under the title,
'Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile, in the Years 1768-73,' and
was in five quarto volumes."

"He must have become famous as soon as the book appeared," one of the
boys remarked.

"Unfortunately for him," replied Doctor Bronson, "his statements were
questioned, and he received far more abuse than praise. Some of his
accounts were set down as absolute falsehoods, and Bruce died four years
later, before the imputation had been disproved. Subsequent travellers
have confirmed the truth of his narrative, and given Bruce an honored
place on the roll of African explorers."

"Was Bruce the first white man who ever saw the head-springs of the Blue
Nile?" Frank asked.

"No," was the reply; "they were visited by the Portuguese missionary,
Paez, in the sixteenth century, but no detailed account of his journey
was ever published in our language. He went to Abyssinia in 1603, where
he founded a mission, and remained until his death, in 1622. He was in
great favor with the King, whom he accompanied on his military
expeditions, and it was on one of these journeys, in 1618, that he
visited the springs of the Blue Nile. The account was published in
Paris, in 1667, under the title, 'Dissertation touchant l'Origine du
Nil,' and may be regarded as the earliest work of an explorer of the
mysterious river."

"How about Herodotus and Strabo?" said Fred.

"They can hardly be called explorers of the Nile," the Doctor answered,
"as they made no attempt to ascend the river. Neither of them went
beyond the first cataract, or at any rate Strabo did not, and the
accounts of both writers are largely composed of what they gathered from
others rather than what they saw with their own eyes. Their works are
the best that have come down to us from their time, and we learned at
the site of Memphis how a passage in Strabo's writings gave Mariette Bey
the clew which led to the discovery, in 1860, of the Apis Mausoleum.[2]

[2] "The Boy Travellers in Egypt and the Holy Land," p. 131.

"After Bruce," the Doctor continued, "the next traveller of note in the
upper regions of the Nile was Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss
professor, who was educated at Leipzig and Göttingen, and devoted the
best part of his life to the exploration of Africa. He is thought to
have been the first European not a Moslem to visit Mecca, and at the
time of his death, at Cairo, in 1817, he was planning an expedition to
the sources of the Niger. He travelled in Nubia and portions of
Abyssinia, but did not penetrate so far inland as Bruce had gone before
him. Much of the time he went in the disguise of an Arab, sometimes as a
merchant, and sometimes as a sheikh, and he was enabled to do this by
his perfect knowledge of Arabic. I think I told you something about his
visit to Mecca while we were coming up the Red Sea, on our way from
India to Egypt."

Both the youths recalled the brief account which the Doctor had given
them of the perils of a journey to Mecca, and the names of those who had
succeeded in reaching there. The mention of Mecca drew from Abdul an
anecdote which illustrated the danger of attempting to travel among
fanatical Moslems under the pretence of being of their religion.

"Several years ago," said he, "I was at Jeddah, the port of Mecca, at
the time of the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Mohammed. A steamer from
Suez brought a crowd of pilgrims, and I happened to be at the
landing-place when they came on shore.

"There was a tall man among them whom I took for a Syrian Moslem, and my
belief was confirmed when he spoke to me in Arabic, with just the accent
I had heard at Jerusalem and Damascus. We talked a few minutes, and he
then walked away, and I never suspected him to be anything but a pious
Moslem, on his way to Mecca.

"As soon as he left me another pilgrim spoke to me, and said the tall
man was an impostor.

"'How do you know?' I asked.

"'Because,' said the other, 'I have watched him saying his prayers on
the way from Suez, and he has twice missed the proper motions of his
hands when he bows toward Mecca. Once he placed his prayer-rug at least
a quarter of the way round from where it should have been, and once he
put his left foot down first when kneeling.'

"It was very certain the man was not a Moslem, as he would not make
these mistakes if he had been brought up in the religion of the Prophet.
I hastened after him, told what I had heard, and warned him of his
danger. His character was already known; he would be sure to be pointed
out, his deception known, and he would never return from Mecca, if,
indeed, he succeeded in getting there.

"He looked astonished for a moment, and acknowledged that he was neither
a Syrian nor a Moslem. He was a German traveller, who had spent several
years in Moslem countries, spoke Arabic fluently, and had conceived the
design of going to Mecca. With this object in view he had learned the
Moslem forms of prayer, so as to pass himself off for one of 'the
faithful,' but it seems he had not been sufficiently careful as to the
details. He thanked me for my caution, abandoned his trip to Mecca, and
concluded to go to Central Africa instead. What befell him subsequently
I never knew."

From this point the conversation wandered to various subjects, until one
of the party dropped asleep and another followed his example. This
occurrence led to a postponement of the story of Abdul's adventures with
Sir Samuel Baker, as it was advisable for all the members of the party
to get all the sleep they could when the opportunity offered. They
followed the native custom of travelling in the morning and afternoon,
and resting during the hottest part of the day.

[Illustration: PILGRIMS ON THE ROAD TO MECCA.]



CHAPTER III.

FROM KOROSKO TO ABOO HAMED.--THE NILE AGAIN.--ADVENTURE WITH A
CROCODILE.


[Illustration: THE GUIDE IN THE DESERT.]

The Desert journey from Korosko is not an affair to be undertaken
carelessly and without thoughtful preparation. The distance is about two
hundred and fifty miles, and is traversed in eight days. It is necessary
to carry water in goat-skins all the way, as there is only one well or
spring on the route, and the water from it is undrinkable by man, and
only endurable by the powerful stomach of the camel. Of course, the
supply was used very sparingly; washing, except in sand, was quite out
of the question, and as none of the party had a fondness for the
sand-bath, they made no ablutions till reaching the Nile once more,
except to moisten their eyes in the morning. The skins of water were
distributed upon the camels, and each of the travellers had a small skin
hanging at his saddle-bow for a daily supply. By the advice and example
of the Doctor each of the boys had an extra skin of water hidden in his
baggage, and its existence was carefully concealed from the Arab
drivers. These fellows are inclined to improvidence, and had they known
of this private provision they would have been certain to count it as
part of the regular supply, and expect to draw upon it.

The heat of the Desert and the glare of the sun incline the traveller to
thirst, and perhaps the knowledge of the necessity for economy is an
additional incentive to it. Human nature has curious ways, and the
desire for a thing generally increases in proportion to the difficulty
of procuring it. Frank and Fred found that the fact of the scarcity of
water, and the necessity of limiting their use of the precious fluid,
increased their longing for it. At first they yielded by taking
occasional draughts, but very soon they decided upon the old expedient
of chewing a bit of leather or some other hard substance, to create a
flow of saliva to moisten their lips. With a little self-denial, aided
by the above practice, they soon conquered their thirst, and were able
to get along nearly as well as the Arabs who accompanied them. Frank
intimated that the warmth of the water, and the flavor of goat-skin
which it soon acquired, had a material influence in lessening his desire
for it.

The dreary waste of sand was partially relieved here and there by ranges
of hills or low mountains, but they were barren as the rest of the
Desert, and therefore made comparatively little variation in the
landscape. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the sun poured its
blistering rays upon the travellers during all the time it was above the
horizon. In the morning and evening the heat was not intense, but in the
middle of the day it was like the blast of a furnace.

At first the jolting of the camels was disagreeable, but in a little
while the boys became accustomed to it, and tried to believe they were
enjoying themselves. The camels of easiest motion are selected for
riding purposes, and the youths were fortunate in their animals, which
had been chosen by Abdul. Frank had a very tall and powerful camel,
while Fred was on one little more than two-thirds the size of Frank's.
The two animals were friendly to each other, but not to their riders,
and the boys soon abandoned the attempt to establish social relations
with their beasts of burden. "You may possibly be on good terms with
them after a while," said Abdul, "but you must be patient. You could
hardly expect it under a fortnight, and we ought to be in Aboo Hamed
before that time. Most camels hate Europeans instinctively, but are
docile with Arabs, just as mules are said to dislike white men and
prefer the society of negroes."

[Illustration: A MIRAGE IN THE DESERT.]

On the second day of their journey Frank happened to look ahead, and to
his great surprise saw a beautiful lake, surrounded by groves of trees.

He shouted to Frank, and then to the Doctor and Abdul, who were riding
just behind them.

Abdul quickened the pace of his camel, and was soon at Frank's side.

"You told us there was no water on the road," said Frank, "and there is
a lake right before us. I suppose it is filled with salt-water, and
therefore doesn't count."

"Worse than salt-water," responded Doctor Bronson, who joined them. "It
isn't water at all, but a mirage."

"Of course it is," Frank exclaimed, with a laugh; "I ought to have known
better than be deceived by it."

"You are not the first to be deceived by it," said Abdul, "and it has
been the cause of many deaths on this very route. Men have wandered from
the road, confident that they were on the borders of a lake or river,
and have fallen exhausted to die on the ground. Colonel Long, in his
account of his travels in Central Africa, tells of a regiment on its
march from Korosko across this desert. The men saw these lakes of water
formed by the mirage; deceived by the illusion and maddened by thirst,
they broke from the ranks, in spite of the protests of their guide, and
went in search of water. They found their error too late, as most of
them perished of exhaustion and thirst."

"Look at the graves along the road, and the bleaching bones of the
camels," said the Doctor, "and you will understand the perils of the
journey over the desert."

It was as Doctor Bronson suggested; the way was marked by thousands of
skeletons of the faithful beasts of burden that had fallen in the
service of their masters; and here and there, at painfully frequent
intervals, were the graves of men who had perished of thirst or of the
excessive heat. Even if no other landmarks existed, these would be
sufficient to indicate the road.

The evening journey was continued till a late hour, and the boys were
surprised to find that the desert air, so scorching during the day, was
of a chilliness suggesting frost at night. Doctor Bronson recalled to
them their experience in India, where there was often a sensible change
of temperature in going from sunshine into shadow, and said it was a
noticeable feature of the desert that it did not retain at night any
appreciable portion of the heat poured upon it during the day. "It is
fortunate for man that such is the case," he added, "as the coolness of
the night enables us to recuperate from the exhaustion of the sweltering
temperature of daytime."

[Illustration: SUNRISE ON THE SEA OF SAND.]

The wells or springs to which allusion has been made are about half way
from Korosko to Aboo Hamed. They are shallow pools of exceedingly bitter
water, quite unfit for men to drink, but not injurious to camels. Doctor
Bronson tasted the water, and said the bitterness was caused by sulphate
of magnesia, commonly known as Epsom salts. Frank and Fred were curious
to try it, but their curiosity was easily satisfied. A few drops on the
tongue made a burning sensation, which did not show a disposition to go
away immediately.

The tents were pitched a short distance from the wells and close to an
encampment of Arabs, who were spending two or three days there to
refresh their camels. Around some of the pools there was a little
vegetation, but not enough to furnish a good meal for a hungry animal;
there were a few stunted palms in the valley, and the lines on the sand
showed that at some former time a river flowed there. The camels drank
freely of the water, and evidently understood that they must lay in a
supply for the rest of the journey to the Nile.

[Illustration: SCENE AT THE WELLS.]

They left the wells early in the morning, and after a few hours found
themselves on a broad, sandy plain, where the thermometer at two o'clock
in the afternoon stood at 100°. It was the greatest heat they had found
since leaving the Nile. Frank kept the record of the temperature, and
reported to the Doctor each evening the result of his observations. In
the morning it was chilly; the Arabs shivered in all their wrappings,
and our friends sought shelter in their overcoats for the early part of
the ride, but invariably laid them aside when the sun was a couple of
hours above the horizon. By noon they were in their lightest garments,
and so continued till evening, when the air grew cool again.

There was a daily variation of not far from forty degrees between the
highest and lowest readings of the thermometer. The lowest record was
50°, and the highest 100°; but these did not occur on the same day. The
boys were not slow to understand why the Doctor had made such a liberal
provision of blankets, and were greatly obliged to him for his
forethought.

As they approached the Nile, Frank and Fred vied with each other to get
the first glimpse of the great river. The mirage was all around them,
and the boys were several times deceived by it, until Abdul came to
their assistance.

"I will give you a rule," said he, "by which you can always tell a real
lake or river from an imaginary one. In a mirage the imaginary lake is
of the same color as the sky above it, while the Nile is of a deeper
blue. You will rarely, if ever, find the sky and water of the same hue
when the sun is shining, and this is the only time when the mirage
appears. With this simple rule in mind, you are not likely to be
deceived."

[Illustration: MOUNTAIN PASS IN THE DESERT.]

While they were talking Fred made good use of his eyes, and suddenly
pointed ahead to a little cleft in the line of rocky hills. There was a
strip of blue which did not resemble the sky in color, and he felt
certain it was the Nile.

"You are right," said Abdul, "and that is the Nile. We will make our
camp to-night on its banks."

Soon a fringe of palm-trees came into sight; the blue streak increased
to a broad expanse of water, and the line of palms into a grove. Then
they came among fields of beans and other green things, and before
sunset they stood on the bank of the river, and drank freely of the
water, which Ali brought them in a large bowl. It was a great
improvement upon the warm and strongly flavored water which had been
their only resource for eight long days, and they both declared it the
sweetest draught they had ever taken.

"You can understand now, better than ever before," said the Doctor, "why
the Arabs seem to worship the Nile, and why the ancient Egyptians
regarded it as a divinity. Without it all this part of Africa would be
like the desert we have just passed, and existence here would be
impossible."

"And I understand, too," responded Fred, "why the Arab conception of
Paradise abounds in rivers of never-failing water. Mohammed wrote from
his own experience, as he lived among the deserts of Arabia."

An Arab merchant, with whom Abdul was acquainted, came to offer the
shelter of his house to the strangers; but they preferred their tents,
and told the dragoman to thank him for his offer and decline it. Frank
proposed a swim in the river, which was seconded by Fred. Abdul
suggested the possibility of an interview with a crocodile, and the swim
was indefinitely postponed. Crocodiles are numerous in this part of the
river, and in fact all the way from the second Cataract to the
equatorial lakes. They are by no means timid, and the stranger should
think twice before venturing into the river.

Abdul told the boys that it was not unusual for crocodiles to be counted
by dozens on the sand-banks in the upper Nile; on one occasion he saw
more than fifty together, and they did not show a disposition to slide
into the water till he was within twenty yards of them. Sometimes, when
boats were overturned in the river, the unfortunate victims of the upset
were eaten by the hideous reptiles; and they occasionally came close to
the bank and seized women or girls who were filling water-jars from the
stream.

Of course the youths were seized with a desire to shoot a crocodile, and
eagerly asked the Doctor if there would be an opportunity for a hunting
expedition. Doctor Bronson said they would remain a day at Aboo Hamed,
and he had no objection to their trying their skill if the game could be
found.

Abdul went in search of his merchant friend, and the business was soon
arranged. There was a sand-bank a little way up the river, where the
crocodiles came out to sun themselves, and he thought they could get a
shot or two by going there on the following morning.

Their sleep that night was disturbed by dreams of monster saurians.
Frank waked with a start, under the impression that he was being
swallowed feet foremost by a crocodile; he found, on coming to his
senses, that the blankets had rolled away from his feet and allowed the
cold air to fall on them, and it was the change of temperature that had
given him the impression of being devoured. Fred dreamed of falling into
the water from a boat, and finding himself where the river was full of
hungry crocodiles; the reality was that he had rolled from his couch,
and upset a water-jar which Ali had placed ready for his use in the
morning.

After breakfast they left for the crocodile hunt, the party consisting
of Frank and Fred, with Ali, the latter going as interpreter. One of the
camel-drivers went along, and there were at least a dozen Arabs who
followed, in the hope of earning or begging something from the young
hunters.

When they reached the sand-bank a single crocodile was seen by one of
the Arabs, who pointed it out to the youths. A friendly dispute
followed, to determine who should have the first shot, which would
probably be the only one. The choice fell upon Frank, and, as soon as it
was determined, he motioned the others to remain quiet while he crept
slowly in the direction of the prize.

Armed with his rifle, he went slowly along the sand till within about
sixty yards of the crocodile; at this moment the creature raised his
head and looked around, but as Frank lay perfectly still the proximity
of danger was not discovered. The reptile settled to sleep again, and
when he had been lying quiet a couple of minutes Frank advanced as
before.

The eye and the shoulder are the only vulnerable points of the
crocodile. As the eye was closed its position was not easy to make out,
and so Frank determined on shooting at the shoulder. He took deliberate
aim and fired.

The crocodile gave one convulsive motion and stretched himself on the
sand. Evidently Frank's shot had been well aimed.

The youth was about to run forward to examine his game, but was
restrained by a shout from Ali, telling him to wait for the Arabs. They
came up at the top of their speed.

"They say you must be careful," said Ali, "as the crocodile may not be
dead. He will lie quite still awhile, and when you don't expect it he
thrashes his tail round and opens his jaws."

Thus cautioned, Frank went more slowly, accompanied by the rest of the
party. To make the thing certain, Fred put a bullet through the
crocodile's eye, and Frank added another from the opposite side. At each
of these shots there was a slight movement of the creature's muscles,
but nothing that appeared dangerous.

The boys told the Arabs they might do what they pleased with the
carcass. It was of very little consequence, as the flesh is not fit to
eat, but the skin and teeth can occasionally be sold to a traveller who
desires to take home a trophy, and has not been fortunate in bagging any
game of his own. While one of them went for a rope the rest sat down and
waited; the boys followed their example, hoping another crocodile would
show himself, and give Fred a chance to try his skill; but nothing
appeared.

[Illustration: DRAGGING A CROCODILE TO LAND.]

When the man returned with the rope the party set at work to drag their
prize to the solid ground. They were very cautious in approaching him,
but finally managed to get the rope around his neck. As soon as they
commenced pulling, the legs and tail began to move, the tail swinging
from side to side in a way that would have been dangerous to any one
within its reach.

The men hauled away vigorously, and, despite the opposition of the
crocodile, they soon removed him from the narrow strip of sand and had
him safe on the main bank. A blow from a hatchet finished the work of
the boys, and the crocodile lay dead on the ground. By means of the rope
his length was ascertained, and then the youths returned to the village.

They told the story of their adventure to the Doctor, who measured the
rope, and found that the crocodile was only a few inches short of
fifteen feet long.

"It's a very good one," said Abdul, "but I've seen 'em eighteen or
twenty feet long. The great fellows are no more dangerous than the
smaller ones, as a crocodile ten feet long can drag a man under water
and hold him there till he is drowned."

[Illustration: SECURING A SUPPER.]

Abdul said that one day, while the men of Baker Pacha's party were
working among some masses of reeds that the river had piled up, they
felt something moving under their feet. They got away from the spot as
soon as possible, and a moment afterward the head of a crocodile was
thrust up from below. His body was tangled in the reeds, and before he
could get free the men attacked him. He was unable to use his tail, and
so was at their mercy; "and you may be sure," he continued, "nobody has
any mercy for a crocodile. Besides, the men were negroes from the Soudan
country, and, unlike the Arabs, they had no scruple in eating the flesh.
They made short work of him, and had a good supper that night, in
addition to the sport of killing their natural enemy."

Abdul said that the number of natives killed by crocodiles every year
along the upper part of the Nile must be quite large. Every few days a
death from this cause occurs in nearly every town or village. The
careless habits of the people are greatly in the crocodile's favor, and
he has no scruples about taking them as near his heart as the position
of his stomach will permit. When a large crocodile is killed and
dissected the proof of his misdeeds is generally discovered, in the
shape of anklets and other silver ornaments worn by his unfortunate
victims, and which remain of course undigested.

The crocodile does not eat his game on the spot where he captures it;
his habit is to drag it to a secluded place and take his time in
devouring it. In this respect he differs from his marine cousin, the
shark, who bolts his prey at once, and then, like Oliver Twist, looks
around for more.



CHAPTER IV.

BERBER AND SHENDY.--HUNTING THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.--TERRIBLE REVENGE OF AN
ETHIOPIAN KING.


The adventure with the crocodile had consumed the entire forenoon, and
the boys were ready for a well-earned rest of a couple of hours. In the
afternoon they crossed the Nile to the island of Mokrat, which lies
opposite Aboo Hamed, and is about twenty miles long. The fields of
cotton, beans, dourah, and other Egyptian products were in marked
contrast to the desert, and the dark-green foliage of the palm and
sycamore trees were a grateful sight to the eyes of the young travellers
after their eight days' travel where no verdure could be seen. Frank
said the only green things in the desert were themselves, but the Doctor
told him the joke was old enough to be allowed to rest. "Bayard Taylor
made it in 1851," he remarked, "and nearly every traveller since his
time has repeated it."

While they were crossing the stream on their way to the island a
crocodile showed his head close to them, but immediately disappeared
from sight. Fred thought he must have heard of their slaughter of one of
his kindred, and therefore showed prudence in going away. He was in no
danger, as they had left their rifles at Aboo Hamed, and were quite
without the appliances for capturing a fresh prize.

Abdul said they might possibly see a hippopotamus, and, in the hope of
finding one, he took them to a part of the island where these amphibious
beasts are said to come ashore. There were several broad tracks in the
sand, and one of the natives showed where his field had been seriously
injured by these disagreeable visitors.

The visit to the spot naturally led to stories of the chase of these
animals. Doctor Bronson had never hunted the hippopotamus, but he
informed the boys concerning the character of the beast and his place in
natural history. "He is a curious product of nature," said the Doctor,
"and his name comes from two Greek words meaning 'river-horse.' The name
describes him very fairly, though not accurately. He makes his home in
the river, but can hardly be ranked with the horse. His head reminds
one of the hog, while the body resembles, to some extent, that of the
ox. His motions are generally sluggish, but he possesses great strength,
which he is not slow to use.

[Illustration: THE HOME OF BEHEMOTH.]

"He lives upon vegetable food, and his feet are provided with toes
instead of hoofs. In the daytime he remains concealed in the water, or
among the reeds, and his depredations in search of food are committed at
night. He is the 'behemoth' of the Bible, and his common name among the
people where he abounds is 'sea-cow.'"

"He is more valuable than the crocodile," continued the Doctor, "and
likewise he is more dangerous to pursue. The crocodile is harmless,
unless you come within reach of his tail or jaws, and when attacked, his
whole effort is to get away. The hippopotamus will show fight when
attacked, particularly if it happens to be a mother with young."

"I'll tell you about a fight with one," said Abdul, "as soon as the
Doctor has finished with his description of the animal."

"The flesh of the sea-cow resembles pork," Doctor Bronson continued.
"The skin is tough and thick, and is made into those terrible whips
which are called _courbashes_ by the Arabs, and are used all over
Africa. It can also be used for the soles of sandals and boots, and for
helmets, shields, and other defensive things. It is not easy to send a
bullet through it, and an old hippopotamus is nearly as impenetrable as
the side of a locomotive engine. The teeth are valuable, as they are an
excellent ivory, and for some purposes surpass the tusk of the elephant.
So much for the value of the hippopotamus; and now for the story of
Abdul's fight with one."

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN RIVER SCENE.]

"Twenty years ago," said the dragoman, "there were more of these animals
here than now, and there were also more crocodiles. In the neighborhood
of Khartoum the river was full of them, and if you went out just at
daybreak, in certain localities, you might see dozens of them in a
single morning. The crocodile and the hippopotamus do not get along well
together, and sometimes they have savage fights; but more frequently
they mind their own business, and you may see them swimming peaceably
side by side. Where both are so well able to take care of themselves
they are not very likely to quarrel.

"The river full of these animals and the air full of birds made a very
lively picture. Anybody who was fond of hunting could get all the sport
he wanted.

"One morning I went out with an English gentleman whom I had accompanied
from Cairo. He was an excellent shot, and on his way up the river had
killed no less than seven crocodiles, which he secured, in addition to
at least a dozen that had escaped into the water after being mortally
wounded. He was anxious to kill a hippopotamus, and I promised to give
him the opportunity.

"We went quietly along till we reached one of their haunts, where we
brought the boat to land. Creeping through the reeds, I caught sight of
a large sea-cow eating her breakfast and quite unconscious of danger. I
beckoned to the gentleman, who came forward cautiously to get a good
position for firing.

"He worked around till he thought he had the proper aim and then fired.
His shot was not fatal, and she turned with a roar that was something
like the squeal of a hog, though much deeper and louder.

"At the same moment I saw her calf, which had been lying on the ground,
and then I knew she would face and fight us. If she had been without
young, her first move would have been to rush for shelter in the water.

"I stumbled and fell, but was up again in an instant. Luckily for me the
hippopotamus is clumsy on land though quite agile in the water, and I
was getting nicely out of the way when my foot caught in a tangle of
reeds and I was down again.

[Illustration: A NARROW ESCAPE.]

"This time the animal reached me, and opened its great jaws as if to
swallow me at one gulp. I thought I was lost, but at that moment another
bullet from the gentleman's rifle called her attention the other way.

"Another bullet followed, and then the beast turned toward the water;
but she had been struck in a vital part, and fell before getting to the
river. The calf did not run away, but stayed by its mother. It was too
large for us to capture alive, and so we killed it, or rather the
Englishman did. We had a good deal of trouble getting the boatmen to
help us carry the prizes to the bank, as they were all afraid of being
attacked if they ventured away from the water.

"At another time two Englishmen went out in a boat with a negro who was
to ferry them over the river. While they were crossing they wounded a
calf. The little fellow bellowed at the top of his voice and his mother
made a rush at the boat, dragging the stern under water and giving them
a narrow escape from drowning; but in attacking the boat she raised
herself half out of water, so that they had good aim at her at very
close range. A couple of bullets made her loosen her hold on the boat
and drop again into the river.

"In the interior of Africa," Abdul continued, "the natives hunt the
hippopotamus in two or three ways. They set pitfalls for him so that a
heavy spear falls on his back when he is travelling along a path in
search of food. When he has found a good feeding-ground in somebody's
field, and has spent the night there, he is liable to come again the
next night, and so the natives feel pretty certain of securing him when
they set a trap. But it has to be arranged very skilfully, as he is a
cautious brute, and very apt to discover the disturbance of the bushes
or trees.

[Illustration: HIPPOPOTAMUS SPEARS.]

"Another mode of hunting them is with the spear, and for this purpose it
is made with a very strong barb that will hold in the skin, and has a
handle eight or ten feet long. Three or four of the natives get on a
raft of reeds and float slowly along in perfect silence till they reach
the spot where the hippopotamus is supposed to lie.

"The animal when undisturbed is generally found with his nose just
above the water, while his body is concealed beneath it and resting on
the bottom of the river. The raft drifts along till it touches the nose
of the sleeper; he rises up and brings his back above the surface, so
that his assailants have good aim at it.

[Illustration: SPEARING THE RIVER-HORSE.]

"Down come the heavy spears into his thick hide; the barbs get good hold
under the skin, and then the natives paddle the raft to land, and fasten
the ropes of the harpoons to the nearest trees or to a strong stake
hastily driven into the ground.

"The animal is their prize, as he cannot tear out the harpoons or break
the ropes, and his enemies are out of his reach. They sit down and wait
for him to exhaust his strength by struggling, and then he can be
finished with spears and knives, as they are unprovided with fire-arms.
I have seen several of these animals captured in this way; the only
danger is that he may upset them before they have taken the ropes to
land and made them fast."

By the time Abdul's story was ended the boat was back at the
landing-place in front of Aboo Hamed, and in a few minutes the boys were
once more in their tents. Their excursion had given them a keen relish
for supper, which consisted of a stew of mutton from a sheep which Abdul
had bought before they started for Mokrat. Whenever it was possible to
obtain food by purchase they did so, and preserved their canned
provisions against such times as they should need them in the heart of
Africa.

They had expected to go by river from Aboo Hamed to Berber, but
unfortunately there was no boat to be hired, and therefore a new bargain
was made with the camel-drivers to continue the journey by land. The
boys had become accustomed to the Arab mode of travel, and did not
particularly regret the absence of a boat. The dragoman told the Doctor
that they would get along faster and cheaper with the camels than with a
boat, as there was a cataract to be passed about half way on the route,
where they would be subject to delay and the inevitable demand of the
natives for backsheesh. The day's halt had refreshed the camels and
their riders, and early the second morning the procession wound along
the road as gayly as it had departed from Korosko.

Much of the way the route was along the bank of the Nile, sometimes in
the desert sands, and sometimes among rich fields where the natives were
at work attending to their crops, or lying idle in the warm sun.
Occasionally a bend of the stream caused the caravan to take a short cut
of several hours among rocky ridges or over stretches of yellow sand
that reflected a painful glare to unprotected eyes. The camp was made
each night on the bank of the Nile, and generally in the neighborhood of
a village. The inhabitants were miserably poor, and it was difficult to
buy anything more than a few vegetables and eggs, and possibly a lean
and unattractive chicken. The natives are heavily oppressed with
taxation, and frequently their goods are taken from them by the Egyptian
officials, and they receive no payment in return. Several times they
fled as our friends approached, and it was not an easy matter to assure
them they would not be harmed.

Several times the party had glimpses of gazelles that abound in this
region, but have been hunted so much that they are very shy. Frank and
Fred were eager for a gazelle hunt, but it was not deemed advisable to
halt the caravan sufficiently long to accommodate them. Their chances of
success were very slight, from the wildness of the game and their
inexperience, and a very little argument induced them to postpone the
chase till they were more certain of bringing something home that would
make a good dinner. Abdul told them there were formerly wild asses in
the Wady El-Homar; they subsisted on the hard, thorny grass that grows
there, but were very fleet and shy, so that they were rarely caught
except by stratagem. The wady, or valley, is a pass among the hills
which come down to the river in long ridges, and are destitute of water
except in the season of rains.

As they approached Berber the sterility of the scene diminished, though
the travellers were not out of the desert until near the city. On the
other side of the river the fields stretched away for a long distance,
and Frank remarked that the picture reminded him of the delta of the
Nile in the neighborhood of Cairo. They met or passed crowds of people
going between Berber and the surrounding villages, many on foot, and
others mounted on camels and donkeys, the latter being the most
numerous. As they passed the mud walls and entered the city, the
attention of our youthful friends was centred on the people rather than
on the architecture of the place. The houses were not unlike those of
the towns of Lower Egypt, but the inhabitants were quite different in
appearance, and both Frank and Fred remarked that they were in a new
country.

[Illustration: A BERBER ARAB.]

The people were of a darker color than those they had seen farther down
the river. Three-fourths of them were Nubians and Ethiopians of various
tribes and kinds, and the remainder included Arabs from the desert,
soldiers from Cairo and Alexandria, a few Copts and native Egyptians,
and a small number of individuals whom it was very difficult to
classify. Berber is the centre of a considerable trade with the Lower
Nile and the coast of the Red Sea on one hand, and the Upper Nile and
Central Africa on the other; consequently, its streets are the
meeting-place of many tribes that roam over a large extent of country.

Abdul told the boys that Berber had a population of about twenty
thousand, and was formerly the capital of the Ethiopian kingdom of the
same name. It is an important military point, and the government
generally keeps a garrison of not less than a thousand soldiers in the
fort which commands the town. These troops are intended less for the
protection of the place than as a terror to the surrounding tribes, who
sometimes show signs of insubordination, and are kept in order by the
military presence.

Frank thought the fort was not of much consequence, as its walls were of
mud and brick, and could be battered down in a short time by a small
army with artillery. Doctor Bronson said there was little probability
of an army coming against it, as it was in the hands of the only
military power in all that part of Africa. The fort was intended as a
defence against the natives, and the few cannon they possessed were of
antiquated pattern, and no match for the modern weapons of the Egyptian
army.

[Illustration: SHEEP OF BERBER.]

Outside the walls were several encampments of caravans from Suakim, on
the Red Sea, and from the country to the southward. The bank of the Nile
was lined with boats, some loading or unloading their cargoes, and
others lying idle and waiting for patrons or crews. Negotiations were
opened with the owner of one of the largest boats for the transportation
of Doctor Bronson's party to Khartoum. Before any conclusion was reached
the business was brought to an end by the arrival of a steamboat from up
the river, and the announcement that she would return a couple of days
later.

"For once we have found the Oriental policy of delay in our favor," the
Doctor remarked, when telling the boys of the arrival of the steamer.
"If the owner of that boat had been an Englishman or an American he
would have closed the transaction in an hour or so, and we should have
been obliged to go with him, or pay for breaking the contract. But he
sat down and smoked his pipe, on the first interview and the second,
without saying a word about business, and by the time he was ready for a
third consultation I knew all about the steamboat, and had no farther
need of his services."

The steamer belonged to the Egyptian government, and before the Doctor's
party could be allowed to travel by it the permission of the Governor
of Berber was necessary. Fortunately, they were provided with letters
from the high authorities at Cairo, and the permission was easily
obtained.

The baggage had been stored in the warehouse of a French merchant, to
protect it from weather and thieves. As soon as the arrangements were
completed for passage up the river the boxes and bales were taken to the
steamboat and snugly stowed in the hold. As was naturally expected in
this land of delays, the boat did not leave until a day after the
appointed time, and the Doctor considered himself fortunate to get away
so soon.

Aided by the wind from the north she breasted the current of the Nile,
and very soon the mud walls of Berber were left behind. The banks of the
river showed signs of greater fertility than our friends had seen on
their ride from Aboo Hamed; groves of palm-trees were numerous, and
there were many fields of grain, cotton, and other growing things. Abdul
said there had been great suffering in this region at different times,
owing to bad government. At one time the Governor-general of the Soudan
had caused the natives to be plundered, in order that he might secure a
larger taxation than usual. Many villages were abandoned, the people
fleeing to the interior to escape persecution, and neglecting
agriculture altogether. When he passed up the river with Baker Pacha's
expedition the country was almost destitute of inhabitants, and for
miles and miles where formerly were prosperous villages not a native
could be seen.

The land here, like that lower down the Nile, is kept fertile by
irrigation. The sakkiehs, or water-wheels, are turned by oxen, and their
creaking is the reverse of musical. In some places they seem to form a
continuous line along the banks, and in a distance of less than a mile
Frank counted thirty-seven sakkiehs at work, besides nearly as many more
lying idle. This part of the Nile might be made one of the most
productive parts of Egypt, and it is to be hoped that a better
government will control it than has been its ill-fortune since the days
of Mohammed Ali to the present time.

[Illustration: VIEW IN THE ATBARA VALLEY.]

Abdul called the boys to look at the Atbara River.

"It is noticeable," said the Doctor, "as the first tributary of the Nile
above its entrance into the Mediterranean. For fifteen hundred miles
this great river does not receive so much as the tiniest brook, a
condition of things without parallel with any other river of the world."

"The Atbara rises in Abyssinia," said Abdul, "near the base of two lofty
mountains called Abba-Jaret and Amba-Hai. They are not far from the
coast of the Red Sea, and one of the head streams of the Atbara is said
to start as though intending to reach the coast, when it suddenly turns
and flows toward the Nile. It is called Atbara only in the lower part of
its course; higher up it is known as the Tacazze, and it runs through a
country that would be very productive if it contained people to
cultivate it."

A short distance above the mouth of the Atbara they passed Damer, a town
situated on the point of land between the Nile and its tributary stream.
Abdul said it was not unlike Berber, but smaller, and they were not
losing much in passing it without stopping.

They stopped a couple of hours at Shendy, to take in fuel for the
steamboat, and the delay was utilized by our friends to obtain a glimpse
of the town. As they walked through the streets, formed by rows of mud
houses, with here and there a building of more pretentious character,
the Doctor told his young companions of a terrible incident in its
history.

"Shendy was formerly the capital of the Soudan country," said the
Doctor, "and had an important trade with Darfoor and other countries of
Central Africa. After the conquest of Egypt Mohammed Ali sent his son,
Ismail Pacha, to demand the submission of Mek Nemr, the King of
Ethiopia, who ruled at Shendy, and had received the nickname of 'The
Leopard,' on account of his ferocity.

"Ismail Pacha made his camp outside the walls of Shendy, and sent for
the king to come to see him. He demanded hay for his horses and camels
and food for his troops. The king said it was impossible to meet the
demand, as his people were poor and the season had been very bad.

"The Egyptian became angry and struck the king over the head with the
stem of his chibouk. The king bowed his head, as if frightened, and said
his people should bring all that was asked for, and more besides.

"All night long the king's people were busy bringing hay for the horses
and camels and piling it around the camp. The largest heaps were in
front of the tents of the Pacha and his officers, and they remarked that
the Ethiopian king had evidently been thoroughly frightened into
submission, and would hereafter be obedient to his rulers.

"At daybreak there was a change of the scene.

"Suddenly the whole circle of forage was in a blaze. Ismail Pacha and
his officers and soldiers attempted to save themselves by flight. As
they ran from the flames that threatened them they were met by the
lances of hundreds of Ethiopian warriors, who gave them the alternative
of being speared or roasted.

"Not one of all the party escaped. When Mohammed Ali heard of the death
of his son he sent an army to destroy Shendy, and not leave one stone
standing on another. The town was razed to the ground, but 'The Leopard'
was not seized; he fled into the interior, and never fell into the hands
of the Egyptians. This happened in 1822. A new town was started on the
site of the old one, but it has never gained its former greatness. The
capital of the country was moved to Khartoum, and that place has become
the centre of trade on this part of the Nile."

The spot where Ismail Pacha met his death at the hands of the ferocious
King of Ethiopia was pointed out by Abdul. The boys looked in vain for
any traces of the camp, but the dragoman assured them there could be
little doubt of the locality, and none as to the correctness of the
story.

[Illustration: AN ETHIOPIAN KING.]



CHAPTER V.

LIFE IN KHARTOUM.--DEPARTURE FOR GONDOKORO.


From Shendy to Khartoum there was little change of landscape. The
country increased in fertility, and Abdul informed the travellers that
they were every hour getting farther into the region of periodical
rains. The grasses grew without irrigation, and, only the strip of land
near the river, where beans and other garden products were raised,
required artificial watering. The people keep large flocks of sheep and
goats, and our friends had practical knowledge of this fact in the ease
with which they could purchase mutton at the landing-places. Mountains
appeared in the distance, and were a great relief to the eye after the
flat and wearisome plains.

Frank and Fred were watching for the junction of the Blue and White
Nile. Before coming in sight of the point where the rivers unite they
became aware of its proximity by the appearance of the water. The White
Nile was of a grayish color, while the other stream was several degrees
darker in hue. Doctor Bronson said he was reminded of the confluence of
the Ohio with the Mississippi, or of the latter river with the Missouri.
There is an island just below the point of land where Khartoum is built,
and boats may pass from one river to the other above this island. There
is usually very little current through the channel, so that the actual
junction is considerably farther down.

[Illustration: ARRIVAL AT KHARTOUM.]

The man at the helm directed the steamer up the Blue Nile, and turned
her prow toward a stone embankment in front of several large buildings.
There were two or three groups of these buildings, and as the boat
steamed onward Abdul described them to the strangers. "On the left,"
said he, "is the Governor's palace, and close by it are the residences
of the principal officials; to the right are other government buildings,
and then farther away are the habitations of the foreign consuls and
other persons of distinction. The front of Khartoum is more attractive
than the interior, and if you want to retain the best impression of the
place you would do well not to go on shore at all."

This did not suit the desires of our young friends, and they declined
asking the captain of the boat to pass Khartoum without stopping.
Probably he would have laughed at the request, or gravely referred it to
the commanding officer on shore.

The steamer stopped at the foot of the stone embankment, and as soon as
the plank was out the three travellers mounted the steps to the top of
the low bluff. Abdul and Ali remained to look after the baggage and
arrange for its storage, while Doctor Bronson went to call upon Mr.
Jenquel, a German merchant, to whom he had letters of introduction. Mr.
Jenquel was out at the time; but his partner received the strangers
kindly, and speedily arranged for their being comfortably lodged during
their stay. There is no hotel at Khartoum, and travellers are obliged to
hire lodgings or accept the hospitality of the few Europeans living in
the place.

They took a stroll through Khartoum in company with their new-found
friend, and saw many things to attract their attention. The street near
the river was well shaded with palm and other trees, and they passed
several gardens of citron and orange trees, whose fruit seemed to invite
immediate plucking and devouring. They found the older part of the town
made up of narrow and crooked streets, and had several narrow escapes
from being knocked down by camels that moved along the way as if it
belonged to no one but themselves. After dodging several times to
avoid the ponderous beasts Frank asked where they came from, and what
they were carrying.

"They are mostly from the Atmoor, or desert of Korosko," was the reply,
"and their burdens consist of European goods intended for the African
market."

"These goods are about the same as we are carrying for paying our way in
Africa," said the Doctor. "Cotton cloths, beads, knives, small tools,
and a lot of toys and gewgaws constitute the staple of African supplies.
The merchants in Khartoum fit out the wandering traders, and send them
into the interior for ivory, gum, ostrich feathers, and the other
products of the country that will bear a high rate of transportation.
The chief article is ivory, and the trade of Khartoum sometimes amounts
to a million dollars a year in ivory alone. Latterly it is said to have
declined, owing to the diminished number of elephants and the difficulty
of capturing them.

[Illustration: ELEPHANTS AT HOME--SHAKING A FRUIT-TREE.]

"From present indications," the Doctor continued, "the elephant seems
destined to follow the fate of the buffalo in America and disappear
before many years. Formerly he was pursued only by the natives, who were
unprovided with fire-arms and relied upon their spears and arrows, and
also on pitfalls and other rude contrivances. His sagacity enables him
to elude the latter, except in rare instances, and his great strength
was in favor of his safety from primitive weapons. But since the white
man has entered the field, and especially since the invention of rifles
that kill at long distances, and carry explosive bullets, the days of
the elephant are numbered. Strength and sagacity are of little avail
against modern weapons and their murderous accessories, and if the
elephant survives the American bison, it is only because the African
continent has been settled more slowly than our own.

"If you look on the map you will see that Khartoum is at the end of the
caravan route from Kordofan and Darfoor; consequently some of the camels
you have been dodging may have come from those countries as well as from
the desert of Korosko. Then there is the route by the river, both south
and north, and also along the Blue Nile. It is the intention of the
Egyptian government to bring the Soudan railway to Khartoum, and it is
not impossible that a decade or so hence we may travel in a Pullman car
from Cairo to the spot where we are now standing."[3]

[3] Since writing the above the author has received a letter from the
American Consul-general at Cairo, in which it is stated that in
consequence of the insurrection in the Soudan provinces the English
government has been called upon to act with Egypt in restoring the
authority of the latter country. Foreseeing the great difficulties in
carrying troops and stores across the Desert to Khartoum, England is
seriously considering the question of a railway between Suakim, on the
Red Sea, and Berber, on the Nile. In addition to its political
importance, the line would have great commercial advantages, as it would
afford an outlet for the rich region between Khartoum and the equatorial
lakes.

"Just think of it!" exclaimed Fred; "riding by railway to Central
Africa, only fifteen degrees north of the equator, and in the land of
elephants and crocodiles!"

His meditations were brought suddenly to an end by an encounter with
another string of camels, followed by several negroes, who were closely
watched by a swarthy Arab, armed with a large whip.

[Illustration: PROFILES OF DINKA NEGROES.]

"Those men are slaves," whispered their guide; "though the Arab in
charge of them would declare he knew nothing about them if you should
ask him. They come from the southern country, and are of the tribe of
Dinka negroes. The Dinkas are greatly liked as slaves, and bring a
higher price than those from other tribes.

"You see they are not tied together, or in any way restrained; but if
they should try to run away they would get some sharp blows of the whip,
and the Arabs that are loitering about would hinder their escape. The
police would not interfere to assist either party. The slave has few
friends, while all the Arabs are interested in keeping up the commerce,
and are therefore the natural enemies of the captive.

[Illustration: BRINGING A SLAVE TO MARKET.]

"When the slave caravans are on the road the men and women are tied
together, and frequently have wooden yokes around their necks, to keep
them from running away. Carrying these heavy burdens, they move with
difficulty, and their strength is so much exhausted that they are
completely under the control of their captors."

A couple of hours among the narrow streets of the old part of Khartoum,
where their nostrils were constantly assailed by vile smells from the
wretched drains, were quite enough for our friends, and they returned to
the river bank. Their guide told them that the city was notoriously
unhealthy, owing to its bad drainage. It had been fatal to a great many
Europeans, and of late years the government had endeavored to remedy the
evil, but had not succeeded altogether. The population is a mixed lot of
Arabs, Turks, Jews, Berbers, negroes, and Europeans. The latter are
principally Greeks and Italians, engaged in selling European products to
the native merchants, and some of them keep small shops for vending
spirits and canned edibles.

Altogether, Khartoum has a population of about thirty thousand, and is
said to be steadily increasing with the growth of trade in Central
Africa. Before the destruction of Shendy it was a place of little
importance; but when the capital of the Soudan was transferred to
Khartoum, in 1822, it rose rapidly in importance, and has been greatly
helped by its geographical position.

Returning to the establishment of Mr. Jenquel, they found that
gentleman, who received them cordially, and said they must dine at his
house, which was a short distance from his place of business. Dinner
would be ready in an hour, and meanwhile he would show them how he lived
in Khartoum.

They went to the house at once, and their host said they might take his
dwelling for a fair specimen of the best class of houses in Khartoum. It
stood in a yard or garden about five hundred feet square, and surrounded
by a mud wall eight or nine feet high, and nearly half as thick. The
house was nearly two hundred feet square, with a court-yard in the
centre; the part of the building nearest the entrance was two stories
high, but the remainder was only one story. Stairways are objectionable
in hot countries, as the exertion of climbing is too much for human
endurance, and elevators have not yet penetrated into Africa. The upper
story was occupied by Mr. Jenquel and his amiable wife, while the
ground-floor contained the dining-room and two or three apartments for
visitors, together with the kitchen and the quarters of the servants.
All the rooms were large and airy, and were fitted partly in European
and partly in Arab style. There was a wide balcony surrounding the upper
story, and it formed an agreeable lounging-place in the coolest hours of
the day.

Mrs. Jenquel proved to be a most charming lady, who spoke German and
English with equal fluency. She had been only a short time in Khartoum,
and was evidently not over-charmed with the place. She said there were
only two European ladies besides herself in the city. There were no
theatres, balls, parties, or other amusements, and altogether there was
a great deal of monotony in the life she led. It was a relief to her
when strangers came to visit them, and she welcomed with delight the
presence of Doctor Bronson and the intelligent youths who accompanied
him.

Dinner was served in European style, the principal dish being roast
mutton, preceded by soup and fish--the latter a species of salmon from
the Blue Nile--and followed by a liberal supply of fruits. Among the
latter were delicious oranges from the garden of the host, together with
tamarinds, dates, custard-apples, and grapes. Our friends had made the
acquaintance of the custard-apple in India, and found the product of
Khartoum in no way inferior to that of Asia.

Abdul came to announce that their lodgings were ready, and the baggage
had been carefully landed and stored as previously arranged. When the
proper time arrived they said "good-night" to their kind entertainers,
and followed the dragoman to the house that had been secured for them.

[Illustration: TREES NEAR THE RIVER.]

It was not unlike the residence of Mr. Jenquel, though considerably
smaller, and belonged to a merchant, who had gone to Cairo on business,
and was not averse to the occupation of his house by suitable tenants
during his absence. Half a dozen servants remained in charge, so that
Doctor Bronson and the boys found themselves comfortably lodged, and as
much at home as though the place was their own. Abdul was installed as
chief manager, and the promise of a liberal backsheesh made everything
right with the regular servants of the house.

The party remained nearly two weeks at Khartoum, as the preparations for
departure could not be made in a hurry. They were now at the last
outpost of civilization, and their next move would carry them into the
wilderness. The boys readily fell into their new life, and were very
soon as familiar with Khartoum as though they had resided there a decade
or two.

They rose early every morning, and were generally off by sunrise for a
ride in the country around Khartoum. Sometimes they were mounted on
horses which Abdul had hired from a merchant who kept a large stable
close to their residence, and sometimes on camels, that were readily
procured from one of the encampments of the caravans. They found the
horses less fatiguing than the "ships of the desert;" but occasionally
they were treated to half-wild steeds, exceedingly hard on the bit, and
having a strong tendency to run away with their young riders. One
morning they had a lively run of nearly two hours on the broad plain
south of Khartoum, their horses going at full gallop, and evidently in
the mood for exercise. When they came to pull up their restive beasts
they were nearly thrown from the saddles; and Frank said he could see no
indications that his horse was wearied from the long race. Abdul said
the horses came from Darfoor, and were anxious to get back again. They
were fine animals, and worthy of all the praise bestowed by the Arabs on
their favorite steeds. Fred afterward read the account which Bayard
Taylor gives of his ride over this very plain, when he left his
attendants far behind, though they were mounted on swift dromedaries,
and made every exertion to keep close at his heels. The youth was
decidedly of opinion that the animal he rode in the race with his cousin
was in every respect the equal of the famous red stallion of the
Austrian consul.

[Illustration: VIEW NEAR THE EDGE OF THE TOWN.]

The middle of the day was generally passed within doors, on account of
the heat; the afternoon was devoted to business and visits, if any were
to be made, and to walks in the town or along the banks of the two
rivers which have their place of meeting just below the city. Then there
were letters and journals to be written, maps to be studied, books to be
read, and in various ways the time slipped pleasantly away.

Fortunately for our friends, it happened that a government steamer was
about to leave Khartoum with despatches for the Governor of the post at
Gondokoro. By means of a telegram from the authorities at Cairo, and the
judicious use of backsheesh in certain quarters, it was arranged that
Doctor Bronson's party could take passage on this steamer. There was
some difficulty about the baggage, as the captain of the boat (an
Egyptian Arab) said it was impossible to carry it in addition to what
was already ordered on government account.

[Illustration: PREPARING DINNER.]

Abdul invited the captain to dine with him, and the dinner was the best
that could be prepared. It lasted until a late hour. Before it was over
the whole matter was arranged, and the captain said he would carry the
baggage of the party, even if he was obliged to stow it in his own room.
The conversation was in Arabic, and we are therefore unable to say how
the business was settled; but as Abdul excused himself once during the
dinner, and asked the Doctor for five hundred francs in gold, it is fair
to suppose that the negotiations were not unconnected with backsheesh.

As they steamed away from Khartoum, Abdul said their solitary boat was
quite a contrast to the fleet of Baker Pacha when he started from the
same point for his famous expedition to suppress the slave-trade.

[Illustration: BAKER'S EXPEDITION LEAVING KHARTOUM.]

"Baker's expedition, as I before told you," said Abdul, "had two
steamers and thirty-six sailing boats; and each of the steamers had a
couple of dahabeeahs, or sailing-boats, in tow. It was a grand sight as
we swept past the town, the steamers leading, with their tows, and the
sailing-craft driving ahead with the strong north wind. Salutes were
fired from the batteries in front of the palace, and the decks of our
boats were crowded with men watching till the single minaret of Khartoum
was lost in the distance.

"The steamers pushed on with their tows, leaving the rest of the fleet
to follow, and made the best of their way to Fashoda, the government
post in the Shillook country, six hundred and eighteen miles by the
river from Khartoum. Fashoda is the first place where we shall stop,
except to take in wood for our engines, unless we meet with an accident
that is not down in our programme."

Frank and Fred watched the example of the soldiers of Baker's expedition
and kept their eyes on the minaret of Khartoum till it faded and was
blended with the horizon. Then they turned to look at the country around
them.

Their prow was pointed to the south, save where the windings of the
river caused a temporary change of their course. The shores on either
side were low, and generally flat, with here and there clumps of trees
and little patches of grass. They were still in the region of the
desert, but it was not altogether barren, like the great Atmoor of
Korosko. Flocks of ducks and geese flew in the air or settled in the
nooks along the shore; and now and then the ibis, the sacred bird of the
Egyptians, showed his tall form on the sand-banks. Occasionally a
crocodile lay basking in the sun, or the snort of a startled
hippopotamus would be heard close to the boat.

In the night the clear sky was studded with stars, and the youths
lingered long on deck, studying the various constellations. The north
star was nearly sunk to the horizon behind them, while in front the
Southern Cross sparkled in all its glory, and recalled memories of their
voyage from Singapore into the Java Sea. Once more they were approaching
the equator, but with far greater difficulties before them.

The steamboat held her course during the night, and in the morning our
friends opened their eyes on a change of scene.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE SCENE.]

The monotonous plain had been left behind, and they were in a region of
hills. More than this, the region was no longer a desert. The hills were
studded with trees, and on the banks of the river there was a succession
of forests and cultivated fields, quite unlike the picture presented
below Khartoum. Droves of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats were
numerous, and the conical huts of the natives had no resemblance to the
flat-roofed dwellings of Lower Egypt.

Occasionally a train of camels was visible, wending its stately way
along, and making a sharp contrast to the droves of diminutive donkeys
peculiar to this part of the Nile. Where the boat went close to the
banks the boys several times discovered monkeys playing among the
branches of the trees, and Frank would have made no objection if they
had halted long enough to capture one of the amusing beasts. A
mountain-range appeared in the distance; the vegetation steadily
increased in luxuriance; and the boys became fully aware that they were
nearing THE HEART OF AFRICA.

[Illustration: THE HEART OF AFRICA.]



CHAPTER VI.

AMONG THE SHILLOOK NEGROES.--ARRIVAL AT FASHODA.--EXPLORERS OF THE NILE.


On the second day from Khartoum, Doctor Bronson told the boys they were
in the country of the Shillooks. The natural inquiry that followed this
announcement was,

"Who are the Shillooks?"

"They are a large tribe of negroes, living along the White Nile,"
replied the Doctor, "and are thought to number nearly, if not quite,
three millions. For more than two hundred miles their villages are
scattered along the river, forming an almost continuous line. They live
partly by hunting and fishing, and formerly they made quite a revenue by
selling slaves to the dealers who came from Khartoum and other parts of
Egypt.

"They made war upon neighboring tribes farther back from the river, and
sold their prisoners into slavery; and sometimes they sold their own
people. It was not unusual for a Shillook to sell his own children when
a good price was offered, especially if his family was large and his
affairs were not prosperous."

Frank asked if they could land among the Shillooks and see how they
lived. Doctor Bronson said it was not altogether safe to go among them,
as they have been badly treated by the Turks and Egyptians, and are not
specially friendly.

As the Doctor was speaking the steamer rounded the point of an island,
and the dragoman called their attention to a number of conical huts of
grass among the low trees near the shore. "That is a Shillook village,"
said Abdul, "and several of the inhabitants are standing by the edge of
the river."

The boys ran below for their glasses, and were back again in a few
moments. They made out the negroes to be tall, well-formed men, most of
them fully six feet in height, and entirely without clothing, with the
exception of two, who had strips of cloth around their waists. Abdul
said the full dress of the Shillooks was a waist-cloth and a string of
beads, but they were not always particular about arraying themselves.

[Illustration: A BIRD OF THE WHITE NILE.]

Back of the village was a field of cotton and another of beans, and
there was every indication that the Shillooks had a fertile soil to
cultivate. Abdul said their products were the same as near Khartoum, but
they had very few fruit-trees, and their gardens were not carefully
tilled.

The steamer stopped near one of the villages to take wood, and after a
consultation with the captain Abdul said the boys could go on shore, but
must not wander from the immediate vicinity of the boat. The Shillooks
are apt to be treacherous, and sometimes a lance or an arrow is sent
from the bushes when there is nothing to indicate the presence of
danger. When kindly treated their confidence is easily secured, but
they have been subject to so much ill-usage at the hands of the
slave-dealers that it is no wonder they are suspicious.

They are said to be honest in their dealings, though excellent hands at
a bargain, and as ready to tell a deliberate falsehood as the most
accomplished shopkeeper in London or New York. They have no
manufactures, and the articles most in demand among them are cheap
cotton cloths and pieces of iron, from which they make the heads of
their spears. As the steamboat neared the landing several natives
paddled out to meet it, and the boys were much interested in the rafts,
which the Shillooks manage with a great deal of skill.

"Those rafts are made from the ambatch plant," said Abdul. "It is a reed
like the bamboo, with hollow spaces between the joints, and is very
light and strong. The ambatch narrows toward the top, and to make a raft
of the plants all that is necessary is to fasten a couple of dozen of
them together at the ends and turn the smaller extremity upward.

[Illustration: AN AMBATCH CANOE.]

"The ambatch raft or canoe," he continued, "is in use all along the
White Nile, and it would be difficult to find a more serviceable craft.
It cannot be sunk, and if a man balances himself properly there is
little danger of an upset."

"They are useful in war as well as in peace," remarked Doctor Bronson,
who was listening to the conversation. "Dr. Schweinfurth, in the account
of his travels in Africa, tells how he was pursued by a whole fleet of
Shillook canoes, and had a very narrow escape. He said not less than
three thousand canoes were in motion along the river and pursuing the
boat on which he was travelling.

[Illustration: AN ADVENTURE ON THE NILE.]

"The wind left them while the canoes were approaching, and for a while
his position was very critical. Only the previous year five boats,
coming down the river on their way to Khartoum, had stopped at the
village they were passing and endeavored to buy some provisions. The
natives brought fowls, honey, and other things to sell, and while the
negotiations were going on a large fleet of canoes suddenly came around
the point of land and attacked the strangers.

"The captain of one boat and a sailor from another managed to escape by
jumping into the river and swimming to a place of concealment among the
reeds. The rest of the party, some eighty in all, were killed, and the
vessels were plundered and burned.

"Of course this incident was fresh in the mind of Dr. Schweinfurth, and
you can imagine his despair when the wind ceased while the canoes were
approaching. But 'all's well that ends well:' the wind suddenly blew
again, their sail was unfurled, and they were carried out of danger in a
little while. The disappointed Shillooks returned to the shore, and
nothing more was seen of them.

"Bayard Taylor visited the Shillooks in his journey here in 1852," the
Doctor continued. "He came from Khartoum, with a single boat, manned by
half a dozen sailors, and accompanied only by his dragoman. The only
arms he carried was an old pistol, and he was represented by the captain
of the boat to be a son of the Sultan of Turkey, who had come on a
peaceful visit to the chief of the Shillooks."

Frank asked if he was kindly received by them.

"They were very surly at first," said Doctor Bronson, "and came down to
the river-bank armed with spears and clubs. After some parley their
chief stepped forward and asked if he wanted to fight. Mr. Taylor
declared he was anxious for peace, and for that reason had come on shore
without arms. The chief was not assured of his good intentions for some
time, and there was an angry controversy among the men, which threatened
for a while to result in open hostility; but nothing of the kind was
attempted. Mr. Taylor stayed a couple of hours on shore, and just as the
Shillooks began to show a familiarity bordering on insolence he suddenly
returned to his boat and steered down the river the way he had come."

"Then this was the southern limit of his journey, was it not?" Fred
asked.

"Yes; he came to the island of Aba, which lies about latitude 12° north,
or two hundred and fifty miles from Khartoum. He was very anxious to
push on to the south, but his contract with the owner of the boat was
only for a journey to this island. At that time the highest point on the
Nile to which any Europeans had ascended was about latitude 4° north, or
four hundred and eighty miles beyond the island of Aba. Nothing was
known about the sources of the Nile, and the general impression among
geographers was that the river rose at the base of Mount Kilimandjaro,
in the third degree of south latitude. Some geographers had thought it
possible that the Nile flowed from Lake N'yassi, but the idea was
generally rejected. 'Since Columbus first looked upon San Salvador,'
wrote Mr. Taylor in his journal, 'the earth has but one emotion of
triumph left in her bestowal, and that she reserves for him who shall
first drink from the fountains of the White Nile, under the snow-fields
of Kilimandjaro.'"

"What great progress has been made since Mr. Taylor's time in the
exploration of Africa!" Frank exclaimed, as the Doctor finished his last
remark.

"Yes," was the reply, "the progress in the last half of the nineteenth
century has been greater than in the preceding twenty centuries. From
the days of Herodotus--two thousand years ago--till within the present
generation exploration of the valley of the Nile had accomplished very
little. Syene, at the first Cataract of the Nile, was a city in the days
of the ancient dynasties of Egypt; three thousand years ago the kingdoms
of Ethiopia flourished, and their rulers had a prominent place in
history. Time and time again men sought in vain to solve the mystery of
the source of the Nile, and it was reserved for men of our day to make
the great discovery."

One of the boys asked to whom the honor belonged of ascertaining the
source of the Nile.

"That question is a conundrum," replied the Doctor, with a smile, "and a
conundrum that needs an explanation before answering. The honor belongs
to several explorers, and not to one alone. Each has made discoveries
peculiarly his own, and these discoveries have supplemented the work of
the rest.

"As I have before told you, it was long supposed that the Blue Nile was
the parent stream, and its sources were ascertained by James Bruce. The
error of this belief was set forth after the death of Bruce, as the
White Nile was found to be of greater volume than the Blue, and was
explored to a point more distant from the junction of the two streams
than were the springs of the Blue Nile. Mohammed Ali sent three
expeditions to find the sources of the White Nile, but they failed in
their efforts. Private expeditions were sent every few years, but with
the same results. The heat, the fevers, the hostility of the natives,
the difficulty of penetrating marshes and tropical forests, all
conspired to frustrate their efforts. The first expedition of Mohammed
Ali reached latitude 6° 30' north; the second went to 4° 42' north; and
the third stopped at about 5° north. Dr. Knoblecher, in 1849, went to
4° 10' north, which was farther than any one else had gone. Miani, an
Italian traveller, went to a point about 3° 32' north, and about the
same time Dr. Schweinfurth explored the Bahr-el-Gazal, one of the
tributaries of the White Nile, in the expectation that it might turn out
to be the main stream. Miss Tinné, a Dutch lady, also explored that
river, and spent more than a year in its valley."

"What!" exclaimed one of the youths, "a lady going on an expedition in
Africa! She must have been fond of adventure. Who was she?"

"Miss Tinné was born in 1835, and was the daughter of a baroness, who
had a large fortune. She was fond of travel, and in 1861 went to Cairo
with her mother. She was so enamored of the East that she determined to
remain there, and announced to her friends that she should not return to
Europe to live. In 1862 she started from Khartoum with a steamboat,
several sailing-boats, a large party of attendants, and so many beasts
of burden of various kinds that the natives everywhere believed she was
the daughter of the Sultan of Turkey. The only Europeans of her party
were Dr. Steudner and Baron Von Henglin, and also her mother. The latter
died of fever, and so did Dr. Steudner, before the return to Khartoum,
which occupied some fourteen months after the departure of the
expedition.

"Miss Tinné on this journey explored the Bahr-el-Gazal, and made a great
many notes and observations, which have been very useful to those who
followed her. She had previously visited the White Nile as far as
Gondokoro, and altogether she passed nearly three years in the work of
exploration. In 1869 she organized an expedition at Tripoli, intending
to pass through Moorzook and Bornoo, and reach the Nile by way of
Kordofan, a route which up to that time had never been followed by a
European. She had fifty attendants and seventy camels on this
expedition, and her only European companions were two Dutch sailors.
From Moorzook she went on a side-journey to the country of the Touaregs,
and was treacherously murdered by her escort. The sailors who
accompanied her were also murdered, and her native attendants were sold
into slavery.

"Let us return to the exploration of the White Nile," said Doctor
Bronson. "While these discoverers were at work from the north others
were approaching the Nile from the south, and it was from that direction
the great secret was revealed. In 1856 Captains Speke and Burton, of the
British army, started from Zanzibar for a journey into Africa, and on
the 30th of July, 1858, Captain Speke discovered the Victoria N'yanza.

"N'yanza is a native word, meaning lake, and, reduced to English, the
body of water discovered by Speke may be called the Victoria Lake of
Africa. Captain Speke was alone at the time of the discovery, his
companion Burton being engaged in an exploration farther to the south.
Speke was of the opinion that the lake he had found was the source of
the Nile, but was unable to find its outlet, and so demonstrate the
correctness of his theory.

[Illustration: SPEKE AND GRANT IN CENTRAL AFRICA.]

"In 1862 he revisited the lake, accompanied by Captain J. W. Grant, and
this time he explored its northern part and found its outlet. A large
river flowed northward from the lake, and at its head was a cataract, to
which the explorer gave the name of Ripon Falls. The stream is now known
on the maps as the Victoria Nile, or Somerset River, and may be
considered the beginning of the great river of Egypt."

"Then the Nile has its beginning at the outlet of the Victoria N'yanza?"
said one of the boys.

"Not exactly," was the reply. "The Somerset River, or Victoria Nile,
flows northward into another lake, the Albert N'yanza, discovered in
1864 by Sir Samuel W. Baker. The Albert N'yanza is smaller than the
Victoria N'yanza, and its outlet is the White Nile, on which we are now
travelling.

[Illustration: GROUP OF GANI MEN.]

"You know what the showman said when the little girl asked which were
the monkeys and which the hyenas?"

"Yes," said Frank: "'Whichever you please, my dear. You pays your money,
and you takes your choice.'"

"It is somewhat that way with the origin of the Nile," answered the
Doctor. "If the Victoria N'yanza is the source of the great river, you
can give the credit of its discovery to Captain Speke; and if the outlet
of the lake is technically the head of the river, the honor is divided
between Speke and Grant. If the Albert N'yanza, and not the Victoria, is
the source of the Nile--since the Bahr-el-Abiad, or White Nile, issues
from it--then you must set Speke and Grant aside and award the palm of
merit to Sir Samuel Baker."

"But how about the rivers that flow into the Victoria N'yanza?" said
Fred. "There must be several affluents of the lake, and the largest and
longest of them might be called the true source of the Nile."

"That is a matter which is not yet fully determined," was the reply.
"Stanley circumnavigated the Victoria N'yanza in 1875, and found several
streams flowing into it; but, as they have not all been traced to their
sources, we cannot say with exactness which is the longest. Until this
point is settled there will be a question in the minds of some very
exact people as to the source of the Nile, but for all practical
purposes the matter is determined already. To my way of thinking the
Victoria N'yanza is the source of the Nile; and it is hardly worth our
while to consider the streams that feed it, unless one of them should be
found to be larger than all the others, as in the case of the Somerset
River, flowing into the Albert N'yanza.

[Illustration: KARUMA FALLS, ON THE VICTORIA NILE (SOMERSET RIVER).]

"There is another lake, called Tanganyika, which lies south of the
Victoria N'yanza, and was discovered by Burton and Speke in February,
1858. It was supposed that this lake discharged into the Victoria
N'yanza, and this supposition was sustained by Dr. Livingstone against
the opinions of other geographers. It is known that the level of
Tanganyika is lower than the Victoria and Albert lakes, and therefore it
cannot be the source of the Nile."

The conversation came to an end as the plank was put to the shore, and
the party stepped from the boat in the country of the Shillooks.

The natives straggled slowly to the landing-place, but were evidently
averse to an intimate acquaintance with the strangers. The majority were
in the same airy costume that the boys had observed through their
glasses, but some of them had added a veneering made of a paste of ashes
mixed with water. This did not enhance their beauty; but as it was a
fashion among them, and they evidently considered it correct, the
strangers had no business to object. A few had rubbed their faces and
necks with red ashes, which gave a ferocious tinge to their
countenances, and was evidently regarded as an indication of bravery.

Nearly every one wore an armlet of metal or untanned leather above the
elbow, and the most of the crowd were armed with spears. Some had
strings of beads around their necks, and one, who seemed to have
authority, was decorated with beads larger than those of his companions.

The boys endeavored to make a trade for some of the arm-rings and
spear-heads, but did not meet with much success. The natives refused to
part with their spears, and the Doctor said that, like most savages,
they probably had a superstition about selling their weapons, believing
that by so doing they would bring misfortune upon themselves and their
tribes. After some bickering, however, Frank secured an arm-ring of
metal, while Fred bought one made of elephant-hide. The price in each
case was a string of small beads, but the offers were refused half a
dozen times before they were accepted. Trade is a slow business among
people to whom time has no value.

The whistle of the steamer brought the negotiations to an end, and in a
few minutes the boat was under way again. Nothing of moment occurred
from this point to Fashoda, the first military post above Khartoum, and
the station of a _mudir_, or provincial governor. It is situated on a
bluff sloping gently from the river. The Egyptian portion is surrounded
by a mud-wall, and contains comfortable barracks for the officers and
soldiers. There is a Shillook village just outside, the conical huts
forming a marked contrast to the flat roofs of the substantial buildings
erected by the government.

[Illustration: VIEW OF FASHODA.]



CHAPTER VII.

AN ANTELOPE HUNT.--GUINEA-WORMS, WHITE ANTS, AND GREAT SNAKES.


The steamer remained a day at Fashoda, and then proceeded on her voyage,
her next halting-place being at the mouth of the Sobat, which is an
affluent of the White Nile, and has its source in the mountains near the
Indian Ocean. Its water is considered superior to that of the Nile for
drinking purposes, and a supply was taken on board for the use of the
passengers and crew.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE WHITE NILE ABOVE THE SOBAT.]

They now entered a succession of marshes and low ground, where the river
frequently divided into several channels, and was often partially
blocked with great masses of weeds and other tropical vegetation. A
short distance above the Sobat, Frank and Fred had their first view of a
wild elephant, or rather of a troop of half a dozen or more. They were
not at all disturbed by the proximity of the steamer. One was lying
comfortably on the ground, and the rest stood watching the boat while
it passed up the stream a few hundred yards from them. On the opposite
bank of the river was a Shillook village, and beyond it the dry grass
was burning furiously and sending up a vast column of smoke. The boys
were much excited over their view of the elephants, and greatly wished
they could land and take a shot at the beasts. Doctor Bronson told them
they would have an opportunity to hunt elephants before many days, and
with this assurance they were contented.

Elephants roam the country on both banks of this part of the Nile, but
they are less numerous than farther up the valley. They are hunted for
their ivory by the natives, and occasionally the white man gets a chance
at them. Every year they increase in scarcity and in shyness, so that
the stranger's chance of sport among this huge game is not very good.
Occasionally they visit the fields of the natives during the night, and
do a great deal of damage by trampling down the crops and eating the
growing plants. The negroes take advantage of their depredations to make
pitfalls for them, and in this way a large elephant sometimes finds
himself a prey to the hunter.

As they ascended the Nile above the mouth of the Sobat, Abdul pointed
out the spot where the "sudd" formerly obstructed the river, and caused
great inconvenience.

The sudd had been mentioned before, but only briefly, and one of the
youths asked Abdul to describe it to them.

"From here to Gondokoro," said Abdul, "a distance of nearly eight
hundred miles, you will find the White Nile running through a series of
marshes and lowlands; in many places it spreads out over a wide area,
and forms a large number of channels among islands of greater or less
extent. You have already observed that the grass and reeds come drifting
with the current, and occasionally masses of them form to such an extent
that they take the shape of floating islands.

"This floating stuff sometimes becomes caught and imprisoned at low
water, and it remains there, growing day by day, till the annual flood
brings down so large a current that it is swept away. One year the flood
was not sufficient to remove it, and it remained from one season till
the next.

"Then it increased till it fairly drove the river from its bed, or
rather caused it to spread out and form new channels. It became a bog,
through which the water percolated or ran in unknown channels, and
furnishing a foundation for masses of vegetation, that sprung up and
flourished under the effect of tropical heat and moisture.

"This state of affairs continued for six or eight years, and the White
Nile apparently ceased to exist, by reason of the great dam of reeds and
other plants that choked the channel and made navigation impossible.
This dam was the sudd of which we have been speaking.

[Illustration: HAULING A STEAMBOAT THROUGH A CANAL CUT IN THE SUDD.]

"It remained here when Baker Pacha ascended the Nile on his expedition
for the suppression of the slave-trade. His advance was retarded for
many months by the sudd; he was obliged to cut channels through it, and
then haul his boats along from one strip of open water to another. Many
of his men died from exposure and hard work in passing the sudd, and
there were fears at one time that it would cause a total abandonment of
the expedition.

"The sudd was full of insects, that caused great suffering to all
concerned, and the air at all times was thick with mosquitoes. One of
the most dreaded pests was the 'guinea-worm,' that embeds itself in the
feet or ankles, and produces a disagreeable and often dangerous sore.
This worm is peculiar to the tropics, and is justly feared by all
persons liable to its attacks. It makes a slight puncture in the
skin--generally in or near the foot--and lays its eggs there. They are
hatched in from two months to a year, and the puncture is so minute that
its presence is not known until the eggs are developed."

One of the boys asked if the worm ever caused the death of the person
attacked.

"Generally he escapes with a dreadful sore, that may be months in
healing," said Doctor Bronson, who was standing near; "and not
unfrequently he loses the foot or leg where the sore is developed. If
the worm can be removed without breaking, and before it has created more
than a small sore like a pimple, no serious harm results; but the
operation is difficult, and requires great care on the part of both
doctor and patient."

"How is it performed?" Frank asked.

"When the vesicle breaks," the Doctor answered, "the end of the worm
shows itself and hangs outside. It is gently pulled and coiled round a
piece of linen or a small stick, like a section of a toothpick, and then
fastened over the wound with sticking-plaster and a compress. Twice a
day the performance is repeated, and as much as possible of the worm is
coiled away. It takes all the way from a fortnight to three or four
months to remove a worm in this way. The worms vary from six inches to
three yards in length, and their circumference is about that of small
wrapping-twine. If a worm is broken in the process of extraction it is
liable to cause inflammation, fever, deformities, loss of the limbs,
mortification, and death. So you see it is not to be trifled with."

"What a terrible scourge!" said one of the boys. "I shall take good care
not to go into the water in the region where this worm abounds."

"It has been known and mentioned in ancient as well as in modern
writings," the Doctor continued; "and some authorities argue that the
'fiery serpents' which attacked the Israelites in the wilderness were in
reality guinea-worms."

"How could that be?" Fred exclaimed. "They could not be anything like
serpents; and, besides, the pictures we have of the events of the Exodus
show that the Israelites were bitten by something larger than the little
threads you have described."

"That is quite true," was the reply; "but bear in mind that the pictures
in our books were not made at the time, but many centuries afterward.
The words in the original Hebrew--which are translated in our version as
'fiery serpents'--refer unmistakably to something which caused an
inflammatory wound, and do not describe the serpent any farther than
this. By the Greeks the _Filaria_, or guinea-worm, was reckoned among
the serpents, on account of its form as well as the results of its bite;
and those who have studied the subject say that the theory is supported
by the natural conditions of the country through which the Israelites
passed, while the mortality among them can be accounted for by their
ignorance of the proper treatment. From a scientific point of view, if
not from a popular one, the subject is an interesting study."

[Illustration: NESTS OF WHITE ANTS.]

Doctor Bronson paused, as his attention was drawn to some conical mounds
on the shore near which they were passing.

"They are ant-hills," said the Doctor, after a brief survey. "They are
made by the white ants, which are found in various parts of Africa, and
display considerable skill in the construction of their homes."

The steamer halted for wood at a point close to several of the mounds,
and thus gave the youths an opportunity to examine them. They found the
ant-hills varying in height from six to ten feet, and composed of a
yellowish earth, nearly as hard as brick, and quite capable of resisting
the action of the rain.

Abdul said the ants used the yellow earth below the black soil on the
surface. Their first move was to swallow it, and thus mix it with an
albuminous matter from their bodies, so as to give it the character of
cement. Then the substance was formed into the mound which rose above
the level of the highest floods. When the river is low the black soil is
uncovered, and the ants roam in the vicinity of the mounds; but at the
time of the inundation the entire country is under water, with the
exception of the mounds, which stand out like small islands.

[Illustration: A HERD OF ANTELOPE.]

From this point the ant-hills were numerous, and at the next
halting-place a group of antelopes was seen, with one of its number
stationed on a mound as a sentry. Finding the boat would be there a
sufficient time to permit the experiment, Doctor Bronson determined to
capture the sentinel, as an addition to the table of the steamer. Armed
with his rifle, he started on foot, carefully keeping several ant-hills
in range of the one where the sentry was standing, and never allowing
himself more than a glimpse of the creature's horns.

The sentinel did his duty thoroughly, and gave the Doctor no little
trouble to approach without being discovered. Creeping slowly from hill
to hill, he at last reached one about two hundred yards from that where
the sentinel stood. The animal was motionless, with the exception of
his head, which he turned from side to side occasionally, so as to take
in the entire horizon. His side was toward his enemy, so that he offered
an excellent mark. The rest of the herd was grazing near; but as the
sentinel was larger and a better prize than any of his companions, the
Doctor made no change of intention, and took aim at the one he had first
marked as his own.

The shot had its effect. As the smoke cleared away the antelope sunk to
its knees for an instant, and then rolled to the ground, where it lay,
quite dead. The balance of the herd fled, and the hunter, after
reloading his rifle, ran forward to survey the effect of his shot.

Mounting to the summit of the ant-hill, he waved his handkerchief three
times, which had been agreed upon to announce a successful shot. As soon
as the signal was seen four men were sent from the boat to carry away
the game. The boys walked out to meet the Doctor and congratulate him on
his morning's work, and also to see the dead antelope. Frank pronounced
him "a beauty," and Fred said he was the finest animal of the kind he
had ever seen.

"His scientific name is _Damalis Senegalensis_," said Doctor Bronson,
"and he belongs to the family _Antilopeæ_, of which there are many
varieties. Africa has more of them than the rest of the world together,
and they surpass all others in beauty and numbers. There are no
antelopes in Madagascar or Australia. There are a few varieties in Asia,
and only one each in Western Europe and America. Look at the one I have
just killed; it will weigh at least four hundred pounds when dressed,
and if you measure him at the shoulder, as you would a horse, you will
find he is nearly five feet high. I doubt if any one ever saw so large
an antelope as this in America."

Frank made note of the fact that the prize which had fallen to the
Doctor's rifle had a skin which glistened like that of a carefully-kept
horse, and was in excellent condition. The face and ears were black, and
there was a strip of black along the shoulder and down the back and
legs. The tail was longer than that of the American antelope, and had a
tuft of hair at the end.

After looking at the antelope, and seeing him dressed and quartered, the
boys tried to break into one of the ant-hills, in order to examine the
interior. They found it nearly as hard as stone, and as they had brought
no pickaxes or other digging tools from the steamer they soon abandoned
the effort. Abdul said they would find the inside full of passages,
leading to a chamber in the centre, where the ants made their home
during the season of floods. The ants are divided into workers,
soldiers, and idlers, and thus Frank thought they evinced an affinity
with the human race. Doctor Bronson told him the workers were much more
numerous than the soldiers; the latter were five or six times as large
as the workers, and had powerful jaws, with which they could bite
severely.

Fred asked if these ants were "slave-makers." He had read of
slave-making ants, and thought, naturally enough, that in the land of
the human slave-hunter and slave-owner the ants might follow the example
of their betters.

"These are not the slave-makers," was the reply, "or at any rate it has
not been clearly demonstrated that they indulge in the practice of
maintaining involuntary servants. The one known as a slave-maker is a
red ant, somewhat smaller than the one before us. His habits have been
studied, so that there is no doubt of his slave-holding propensities.

[Illustration: A SLAVE-MAKING ANT, MAGNIFIED.]

"These red ants go out in large numbers and make war upon a species of
black ant that lives in the same region with themselves. When they have
conquered the settlement they invade the nest of their victims and carry
away the eggs or cocoons containing the undeveloped young; these they
transport to their own nest, and they also take along a sufficient
number of the black ants to take care of the young as they are hatched.
It is exactly the same as if a party of slave-hunters should invade a
negro village and carry off all the infants they could find, together
with enough of the negro women to feed and care for the young prisoners.
The captive ants hatched in the nest become slaves as soon as they are
large enough to work, and whether the old ones are retained when the
children no longer require their attention has not been ascertained."

"What a curious piece of information!" exclaimed one of the boys. "It
sounds like a fiction, but I suppose the naturalists have removed all
doubts concerning it."

"Yes," answered Doctor Bronson; "you can read of it in any work on
natural history where the habits of ants are set forth."

By the time they reached the boat she was ready to move on, and in a
little while the scene of the antelope hunt was left behind.

In this part of the Nile few sailing or other boats were seen.
Occasionally the natives were on the water with their canoes or their
rafts of reeds, such as we have already seen, but they almost invariably
propelled these diminutive craft by means of oars. Once in a while the
boat of a trader from Khartoum was passed, and in one place a dozen or
more of these craft were assembled in front of a native village. Abdul
said they were probably waiting the arrival of a convoy of ivory from
the interior, and it might be they were taking in a few slaves, in
addition to the other products of the country.

But though there was a scarcity of boats and other signs of commerce
there was no lack of animal life. Frank was looking out from the deck of
the steamer as it turned a bend in the river; suddenly he saw a large
animal not twenty yards away, standing where it had apparently been
drinking, at the edge of the river. As it caught sight of the boat it
sprung up the bank and disappeared in the thicket, giving vent to an
angry roar as it moved away.

"That was a lion," said Abdul, who happened to be looking in the same
direction, "and you will see more of his race as we proceed. Lions are
quite numerous in this part of the country, and in fact all over Africa,
and if you want to hunt them you can easily do so. And there are
leopards and other carnivorous animals here," he continued, "and several
varieties of serpents."

Fred asked if they were in the region of the huge pythons, that were
said to be large enough to swallow a man.

"We are not quite far enough for that," was the reply, "but you might
see some very good ones here if you went to the snaky localities.
Serpents ten or fifteen feet long exist here, but you must go nearer the
equator to find them of twenty feet.

"The natives say that a man should always cross his legs like a figure
four when he goes to sleep at night, otherwise he is liable to be
swallowed by a python. He is said to do his work so quietly that he does
not wake his victim, and can only be foiled in his attempt when the man
crosses his legs as I have described, and prevents both feet being taken
in at once."

"If you want a good story of an adventure with a snake," said Frank,
"let me tell you of Colonel Long's experience as he narrates it."

Fred agreed to be a good listener, and so Frank settled into his chair
and began the thrilling tale:

[Illustration: COLONEL LONG'S GREAT SNAKE.]

"Colonel Long says he was one day seated in his camp at Foueira, near
the borders of the Albert N'yanzi, when he saw several men approaching
with what he at first supposed was the trunk of a tree. It proved to be
a large boa-constrictor, or python, which had just been killed close to
the hut where he slept at night. It measured thirty feet in length, and
in diameter was the size of a child. One of his men had said that a huge
snake came every night to suck the cows in the camp; but the colonel had
taken the narrative as an apocryphal 'snake-story' and given it no
attention. The night before, his men were seated around the fire in the
hut next his own, and suddenly fled in terror at the sight of an
enormous head looking at them from an opening in the wall of the hut,
and at the same time countless small serpents were gliding at their
feet.

"The cause was now apparent, the colonel says: the boa had laid its eggs
on the outer wall of the hut, where they were hatched by the heat of the
atmosphere, and the mother had come there to meet them at the time of
their hatching. A strict and somewhat nervous watch was kept through the
night, but without any result. The next morning the snake was
intercepted while looking for its young, and despatched with several
charges of shot in its head and body. Colonel Long says that after that
incident he went to bed every night with the thought of the possibility
of being strangled in his sleep by one of these horrible visitors.
Luckily for him, and for us, there was no intimate friend of her
snakeship to pay him a call and seek revenge for her death."

Fred asked if the bite of the python was poisonous. Doctor Bronson
explained that the python belonged to the family of constrictors, like
the black snake of New England, and its bite was harmless. "It seizes
its prey with its mouth," said the Doctor, "but only for the purpose of
holding it. At the same instant it throws its folds about its victim and
crushes it with the immense power of its constricting muscles. Next it
proceeds to cover it with saliva, and then begins the process of
swallowing, which may occupy several hours.

"The swallowing is done by the contraction of the muscles of the head
and neck, aided by the teeth, which hook backward, so that when anything
has once entered it cannot be withdrawn. If a serpent of this species
begins to swallow anything that cannot be carried down it will choke to
death, and skeletons of pythons have been found with the skeletons of
deer, goats, buffalo, or other horned animals, in their jaws. The horns
had caused them to stick on the way, and as the snake could not let go
for a fresh hold he perished by strangulation, as a punishment for his
imprudence.

"Do not confound the python with the anaconda," said the Doctor, in an
explanatory tone. "The python belongs to the Old World, and the anaconda
to the New; the latter is found in Central and South America, in the
region of the tropics, while the former inhabits Africa and Asia. The
name 'boa' belongs to the entire family; but some of the naturalists say
it does not properly include the anaconda, which is amphibious in its
character, while the boa is not. However, that is a point so fine that
it is hardly worth our discussion, and we are not likely to become so
intimate with the snakes as to pass an opinion upon it."

[Illustration: PYTHON SEIZING ITS PREY.]



CHAPTER VIII.

THE DINKAS AND BARIS.--GONDOKORO.--ANNEXATION TO EGYPT.


The day after the incident of the lion Frank was looking over the
country with his glasses, and discovered what he supposed to be a
cluster of ant-hills of a new kind. Scanning them closely for some
minutes, he finally determined that they were not ant-hills, but the
huts of a village. Being somewhat uncertain on this point, he appealed
to the Doctor.

"You are right," was the reply, "they are the huts of a native village."

[Illustration: SECTIONAL VIEW OF DINKA HUT.]

"But they are different in shape from the Shillook huts we have been
seeing as we ascended the river."

"Yes, they are different in shape, and they belong to another tribe of
negroes. We are now in the country of the Dinkas, of whom we have
already spoken.

"The Dinkas are mainly on the east bank of the Nile, and their
possessions extend quite a distance into the interior. The actual area
of their country is unknown, as it has never been surveyed, and only a
few travellers have explored it. The Dinkas are taller and finer in
appearance than the Shillooks, and are a brave, hardy people. Their
faces are more intelligent than those of the Shillooks, and altogether
they are superior to their neighbors. Like the Shillooks, they are fond
of veneering their skins with ashes, which gives them a brownish hue,
and the favorite bed of the Dinka is a pile of ashes, with a stick of
wood at one end, on which his neck can rest. When the ashes are washed
away their skins are of inky blackness, and the Dinka may be fairly set
down as one of the darkest of his dark race."

Fred wished to know how they lived.

"As to that," replied Doctor Bronson, "their ways of life are not much
unlike those of the Shillooks, except that they are more peaceful. They
have large herds of cattle, and are eminently a pastoral people. They
cultivate the soil to quite an extent, and they move their villages
occasionally in search of pasturage for their herds.... There:
observe the bank of the river with your glass and you will see one of
their herds, which is evidently coming down to allow the cattle to
drink."

[Illustration: HEAD OF A DINKA BULL.]

Frank looked to where a dark spot seemed moving over the plain. As soon
as he had adjusted his glasses he descried the drove that the Doctor had
pointed out.

There were hundreds of cattle in the herd, which moved at a dignified
pace, under the control of two or three dozen men, who were clothed only
in long lances, if a lance may be called an article of wearing apparel.
Frank remarked the nakedness of the Dinkas, and the Doctor informed him
that among this people the wearing of clothing is considered effeminate,
and only the women are dressed with anything more than oil and ashes.
The Dinkas call the Nubians "women," because they wear clothing,
although it is not much, and a true Dinka would allow himself to be
frozen to death rather than put on a garment to keep his body
comfortable. "But they do not consider it effeminate," continued the
Doctor, "to seek the shelter of their huts when the cold wind blows, and
in this way they get along without much suffering."

Abdul had been among the Dinkas, and said their herds of cattle would
astonish the boys if they could see them. "Why," said he, "I have seen
many a herd of ten thousand animals, and one of two thousand is
considered small. They have large yards, or corrals, where the beasts
are driven at night, to prevent their straying, and also to protect them
from the attacks of wild beasts. The cattle are much like those you saw
in the neighborhood of Khartoum. They live entirely on the wild grass,
and in dry seasons are apt to suffer from scanty pasturage.

[Illustration: A DINKA CATTLE-YARD.]

"A cattle-yard among the Dinkas, when the herds are driven in for the
night, is an interesting and also a noisy spot. Each animal has his
place, where he is tied to a strong peg driven into the ground; and the
herdsmen have the same trouble as herdsmen everywhere else in managing
the refractory portion of the drove. Once in a while a man is trampled
under their feet or gored by their horns. The absence of clothing is in
favor of these cattle-drivers, as they are able to get around with more
agility than if they were encumbered with garments. The cows are milked
only once a day, and their yield is surprisingly small.

[Illustration: A SHEEP WITHOUT WOOL.]

"In addition to their horned cattle the Dinkas have great numbers of
sheep and goats. But, unlike the sheep of Northern climes, they do not
have any wool."

"Why should they," said Fred, "when they live in a country where they
don't need it? Nature adapts herself to the conditions of the climate."

"If that is the fact," retorted Frank, "Nature has not been true to
herself in some cases that I could mention. For instance, she ought to
have given the natives of London, where it rains so much, a cuticle like
a rubber overcoat; and if she had skinned them with regular Goodyear or
Macintosh garments, pockets and all, she would have done a good thing."

"Quite right," replied his cousin; "and while she was about it she might
have given the New Yorker a double covering of mosquito-netting and
buffalo robes, so that he could provide for his tropical summers and his
arctic winters. When you talk about the rain of England you may offset
it against the terrible variations of the thermometer in New York."

"But about the Dinka sheep," said Abdul. "They have a sort of shaggy
mane on the neck and shoulders, but the hair on the rest of the body,
including the tail, is quite short. This style of covering makes them
look like small buffaloes, and when you see one you almost require to be
told that you are looking at a sheep, and not at some other animal.
Their color is white or a dirty brown, and sometimes they are spotted or
'brindled.' The goats are not unlike the goats of other countries, but
they grow quite large, and are usually very thin in flesh.

"It is a curious circumstance that the Dinkas do not slaughter their
cattle, but have no scruple about eating beef when the animal is killed
by accident or is the property of somebody else. They reckon their
possessions in cattle, just as we do in money, and a man who has no
horned property is indeed poor. Neither do they kill their sheep, and
the goat is the only domestic animal that they slaughter for food. In
their currency one cow equals thirty goats. Goats take care of
themselves, and require very little attention, but the cattle must be
herded and watched. Wild beasts occasionally carry off their goats, but
the loss is so slight that it is not heeded.

[Illustration: A DINKA VILLAGE NEAR THE WHITE NILE.]

"Their huts are made of thatched grass, and larger than those of the
Shillooks. The people take considerable pains to keep their dwellings
clean, and in this respect are rather better than the majority of the
natives of Africa."

Frank thought their habit of sleeping in ashes was not an agreeable one.
Abdul said the practice had at least one merit, as it drove away a good
many insects that make sleeping disagreeable on many parts of African
soil. "I have suffered less from fleas and other small game in the
Dinkas' huts," said he, "than among the Shillooks or the other tribes
that I have seen. They are a hospitable race, and their cooking is not
to be despised. They live on the flesh of goats and on fish caught from
the river, and they make several nice dishes of milk and farinaceous
products. Their manners at table are as polite as in Europe, and their
way of eating is more like yours than that of the Arabs."

"Do they have cups and saucers, plates, knives and forks, and other
table things, as we do?" one of the youths asked.

"Not by any means," was the reply, "as they have few manufactures, and
their dishes are principally gourds and shells. This is the way they eat
at their meals:

"A large dish of cooked farina is placed on the ground, and the party
sits down around it, each one having a gourd-shell full of milk or
butter. When all is ready, the oldest person or the one highest in rank
pours some of his milk on the farina; then with a spoon he eats as much
as he likes, and passes the dish to the next. The first pours his milk
only on the part he touches, and the second follows his example, and
thus they take their turns till all are supplied. I think you will agree
that this is a much neater way than that of the Arabs, who all sit
around and thrust their fingers into the same dish, even though they are
scrupulously careful to wash their hands before and after, and also
several times during the meal."

"I remember reading in Dr. Schweinfurth's book," said Frank, "that he
often entertained Dinka ladies of rank in his tent, and was surprised at
the way they fell into European manners. He used to serve them with his
foreign dishes, and they sat on his chairs; they handled his forks and
spoons as though accustomed to them all their lives, and carefully
washed everything when through with it and put it in its proper place."

With the study of the curious people through whose country they were
passing, with frequent sights of crocodiles and river-horses, occasional
shots at cranes and other birds, and a goodly amount of sleep whenever
the mosquitoes would permit, the youths did not find the time hanging
heavy on their hands. Finally, one afternoon they were told that
Gondokoro was in sight, and their steamboat voyage was about to end.

The arrival at Gondokoro was a grateful relief from the marshes and
lowlands through which our friends had travelled for nearly a thousand
miles. As they approached this point they saw mountains in the distance,
and found the little settlement on a bluff, or high bank, ten or twelve
feet above the river. Frank hoped they had said farewell to the swarms
of mosquitoes that had been pestering them for many days, but the Doctor
brought him no grain of comfort in replying that the mosquito had the
whole of Africa for his domain, and they could only be rid of his
presence by leaving the country.

Frank asked for the history of Gondokoro, and received the following
information, which he duly recorded in his note-book:

"Gondokoro is in the territory of the Bari negroes, and on the right
bank of the White Nile; it is in latitude 4° 54' north and longitude 31°
46' east, and in a hot and unhealthy country. It was formerly a station
of the ivory traders, and was occupied only two months in the year,
during their annual visits to the Upper Nile valley. The tropical rains
last about three-fourths of the year, and render the air very moist and
the vegetation vigorous. The grass is so luxuriant that the buffaloes
are concealed by it, and the reeds on the banks of the lagoons near the
river grow to a height of twenty-five or thirty feet.

"It was formerly an important depot of the slave-traders, and when Baker
Pacha came up the Nile to abolish their traffic he took possession of
Gondokoro in the name of the Khedive, and annexed the country to Egypt."

"Yes," said Abdul, to whom Frank read the notes he had made, "the
ceremony of annexation was very interesting.

"Baker had decided to change the name of the place to Ismailia, in honor
of the Khedive, and the ceremony was fixed for the morning of May 26,
1871. A tall flag-staff had been erected for supporting the Egyptian
colors on the highest point of land overlooking the river, and all the
trees and bushes were cleared away, so that the ground was as smooth as
a lawn.

"The troops, to the number of twelve hundred, marched from their
quarters at six in the morning and formed a square near the flag-staff,
one side consisting of a battery of ten guns, ready to fire a salute.

[Illustration: CEREMONY AT GONDOKORO ON ITS ANNEXATION TO EGYPT.]

"When all was ready the official proclamation announcing the annexation
of the country to the Khedive's dominions was read at the foot of the
staff, and as the last sentence was uttered, the flag was run to the top
of the pole and immediately fluttered in the breeze. The officers waved
their swords, the soldiers presented arms, and the battery fired a royal
salute. The natives had been invited to witness the ceremony, and they
came in large numbers. When the artillery was fired they were greatly
astonished, as few of them had ever heard anything of the kind before,
and their surprise was increased when the troops indulged in a sham
battle, during which they fired about ten thousand rounds of blank
cartridges. They were not at all friendly to the annexation, as they had
been persuaded by the slave-traders that the movement was intended for
their oppression, and they would all be carried into captivity."

Frank continued his notes on the history of the place:

[Illustration: AUSTRIAN MISSION-HOUSE AT GONDOKORO.]

"The Austrian government established a mission at Gondokoro in 1853, and
built a church of bricks which were made of the clay found in the
neighborhood. The mission was discontinued in 1858, and of twenty
missionaries that went there to preach the Gospel to the natives
thirteen died of fever, two of other diseases, and two others went away
with their health so broken down that they died soon after reaching
Khartoum. The natives tore down the mission church and pounded the
bricks into dust, which they mixed with oil; they anointed their bodies
with the paste, which they pronounced an excellent substitute for red
paint. All missionary efforts were abandoned, to the great delight of
the slave-traders, who had found them interfering with their business.

"From that time down to the arrival of Baker, in 1871, the town resumed
its former condition and appearance, as a station of the ivory-merchants
and slave-traders. There was no law in Gondokoro, and very little order,
and if anybody chose to commit a crime there was hardly a probability
that he would be punished for it. Everybody who went there for any
purpose other than trading was regarded as a nuisance, and the merchants
were not slow to excite the natives against him.

[Illustration: VIEW OF GONDOKORO, FROM THE RIVER.]

"Baker erected a line of earthworks for the defence of the place, and
built warehouses for keeping his goods and military stores. After his
departure some of the buildings erected by him were pulled down, and the
material became scattered and lost. The military station was made on the
bank of a small stream which enters the Nile at this point, but it is
too shallow to admit steamers and sail-boats, which are consequently
moored to the bank of the river."

[Illustration: COLONEL ABD-EL-KADER.]

Our friends were cordially received by the commandant of the post,
Colonel Abd-el-Kader, who had served with Baker in the famous
expedition, and was highly complimented by that gentleman for his zeal
and efficiency. The colonel invited them to his quarters, and as soon as
the greetings were over he assigned them a place where their tents could
be erected. The youths were not at all sorry to exchange their quarters
on the steamer for their canvas houses, whose qualities they had tested
in the journey from Korosko to Berber. Frank declared he was rapidly
becoming an Arab, and thought it not at all improbable that he would
prefer a tent to a substantial dwelling-place for the rest of his life.
Fred said he would wait a while before declaring himself, as he was a
long way from renouncing the comforts of a home in New York or any other
civilized city.

"Be careful about one thing," said the colonel as they left his
quarters; "remember you are now in the country of the white ants, and
they will eat anything except iron. They have even been known to gnaw
holes in a stove-pipe, if some of my officers tell the truth, and it is
currently reported that they have ruined our best grindstone. Everything
not enclosed in tin or something stronger is subject to their teeth, and
you must be constantly on the lookout for them."

The boys promised to be careful, and as they watched the landing of
their stores they gave directions to Abdul, forgetting that he had been
in the country before and knew all about it. The goods were properly
stowed, those not enclosed in tin cases being hoisted on posts, to hold
them clear from the ground, and the feet of the posts placed in pots of
water. At night when the boys retired they were obliged to be careful of
all their garments and hoist them out of reach. Of course it happened
that the second night one of them forgot the necessary precaution, and
left his boots on the floor of the tent. In the morning he found they
had been riddled by the ants and were no longer water-proof, and their
usefulness as coverings for the feet had passed away. He was more
careful in future, and learned to appreciate the ants at their true
value as destroyers.

Almost everything except metals yields to the teeth of these insects.
Ordinary timber, carefully dried and painted, is attacked by them, and
it was not unusual to find them devouring the gun-stocks of the soldiers
or the wood-work of machinery and implements of daily use. One of the
officers found his sword-belt had been eaten on a hook where he hung it
during the night, and there was hardly a garment belonging to the men of
the garrison that had not suffered in some way from the pests. Fred
recalled some familiar words of 'Pinafore' relative to sisters, cousins,
and aunts, and wondered if the author had the ants of the Soudan in mind
when he penned the now antiquated lines.

The youths were interested in studying the natives of the country around
Gondokoro, and the information they obtained was carefully recorded in
their journals. We are permitted to make the following extracts, which
will save us the trouble of referring to the explorers of Africa who
have written about these savages:

"Gondokoro is in the country of the Baris, a race of negroes somewhat
resembling the other tribes of the Nile, but differing from them in
language and customs. They have large herds of cattle, like their
neighbors the Dinkas, and, like them, they till the soil to some extent,
though the raising of cattle is their chief occupation. Doctor Bronson
says they raise a good deal of mischief as well as cattle, and have
given no end of trouble to travellers and to the military expeditions
that have been sent among them. The Austrian missionaries were unable to
do anything with them, and their labors of several years among the Baris
and the sacrifice of valuable lives did not make a single earnest
convert to Christianity.

[Illustration: BARIS STEALING CATTLE FROM THE GARRISON AT GONDOKORO.]

"They occupy a territory about ninety miles long by seventy wide, its
greatest extent being from north to south. They have no king or any
other person whom they recognize as a ruler. The country is divided into
districts, and each district has a chief, who does not acknowledge the
authority of any other. The result is they have occasional wars among
themselves, but these troubles do not last long. They are implacable
enemies, and famous for their treachery, and they look upon every
stranger as a spy or intriguer. They have suffered considerably from the
raids of the slave-traders, who plundered their villages and carried the
prisoners into captivity; but when Baker Pacha came among them, with the
avowed object of suppressing the slave-trade, they were hostile to him,
and remained so till after his departure. They stole his cattle,
attacked his camp, killed his soldiers, and did everything in their
power to drive him from the country and stop the work for which he went
among them.

"The country of the Baris is a fine region for grazing, and admirably
adapted to the support of their herds of cattle. It is diversified with
park-like stretches of grass-lands, interspersed with extensive forests
of the finest timber, and occasionally rises into mountain-ranges two or
three thousand feet high. Rivers rise among these mountains and flow to
the Nile, and they are sufficiently numerous to give the country a good
supply of water, except in the season of drought.

"Most of the soil is fertile, and produces abundantly when tilled. The
mountains contain iron ore of excellent quality, which the natives
reduce and work into weapons and other things. They have very skilful
blacksmiths, and some of the products of their skill would be no
discredit to the best workmen of an English or American shop. We have
seen spear-heads, knives, arrow-points, and similar things from their
hands, and they were fashioned as perfectly as though turned in a lathe
or stamped by a machine.

[Illustration: BARI ARROWS AND ELEPHANT-SPEAR.]

"Some of the arrow-points have barbs below the head, so that the weapon
when driven into the flesh of an animal will have no chance of being
drawn out, and there are several forms of these arrows. Then they have
elephant-spears weighted with a ball of iron, so that a hunter may drop
them from a tree upon the unsuspecting animal that passes beneath him.
They have learned the process of hardening their iron, though they
have not yet discovered how to convert it into steel. It is certainly
good enough for all their uses, and the supply is inexhaustible."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Since writing the above we have been to a Bari village about five miles
from Gondokoro, and had the opportunity of inspecting their dwellings.
The village consists of conical huts, which resemble those of the Dinkas
in outward appearance; the inside is different, as it has an inner
circle, with a low opening. We had to crawl on our knees to enter one of
the huts, as the door was only two feet high. When we got through we
stood up, but had to stoop again to get to the inner circle, which has
an opening no higher than the door.

"Contrary to our expectation we found the inside of the huts perfectly
clean, and we voted unanimously that the Bari women are good
house-keepers, for they do all the work about the dwellings. The walls
are of wattles, or reeds, and small withes woven together. The outside
of the hut is thatched with grass, and the inside is plastered with
cement made from the clay of the ant-hills mixed with ashes, and worked
into a paste with water. Outside of the hut there is a little
court-yard, with a fence around it, and paved with the same kind of
cement that we saw on the walls. This yard is carefully swept every
morning, and no dirt is allowed to gather there in the course of the
day.

"Most of the huts had granaries near them, and we were told that some of
the villages had large granaries in common. The granaries are made of
wicker-work, plastered with cement, and standing on posts of stone or
cement, so that they cannot be damaged by the white ants.

"Every village has a large _zeriba_, or cattle-yard, where their herds
are driven at night for safety. The one we saw was made of posts of a
very hard wood, much like ebony, and one of the very few woods that the
white ants will not devour. The posts were six or eight inches in
diameter, and sunk into the ground, so as to form a stockade about eight
feet high. The spaces between the posts were interlaced with thorny
bushes, and would form an admirable defence against an enemy armed with
Bari weapons.

"Near the house of the sheik or chief we passed an open shed, near which
a drum was suspended. Abdul said the drum belonged to the sheik, and no
one is allowed to touch it except by his orders. It was shaped somewhat
like an egg with a slice cut off from one end, and was evidently
hollowed from a log of wood.

"Abdul explained that the Baris place great reliance on their drums, and
have a system of signals for them, so that information can be readily
conveyed. One kind of beat calls the fighting-men together for war,
another summons them to a council, and another tells them to go in a
certain direction to meet an enemy. The signal for war is sounded from
one village to another, so that the whole country can be under arms in a
very short time. It is not unlike a telegraph in its operations, and may
be very well compared to the bugle and drum calls in a civilized army.

"Every morning the drum is beaten to give the signal for milking the
cows, and when the work is done another signal sends the herds to
pasture. A similar call is given for bringing them in at night, and it
is said that the cattle know the different sounds of the drum just as
well as their masters do.

"The dress of the Bari men is much like that of the Dinkas--a veneering
of ashes, and a spear or lance. The women wear aprons of leather, but
the men go quite naked, and consider clothing a mark of effeminacy. One
reason of their disrespect for Europeans is the fact that the latter
wear clothing, and they invariably speak of the Egyptian officers as
'Turkish ladies,' because they are clothed from head to foot."

[Illustration: AFRICAN DRUMS.]



CHAPTER IX.

AN ELEPHANT HUNT.--MARCHING SOUTHWARD FROM GONDOKORO.


There was enough to do and see at Gondokoro and in the neighborhood to
occupy several days, but our friends were not the less mindful of the
necessity for departure. Doctor Bronson consulted Colonel Abd-el-Kader
on the subject, and was soon able to lay before the youths a
satisfactory plan for their future movements.

"Above here," said the Doctor, "we cannot go with the steamer, on
account of the rapids in the river, that render it impassable for any
but the smallest boats. The Nile becomes narrower, and the hills close
in upon it so that it does not at all resemble the Nile of Lower Egypt
and Nubia. It has the characteristics of a river flowing among
mountains, and in the places where the fall is insufficient to create a
rapid or cataract the stream is anything but a sluggish one.

[Illustration: THE NILE BELOW AFUDDO.]

"The rapids occur at intervals for a distance of about a hundred and
twenty miles above Gondokoro by land, and perhaps a hundred and fifty by
the course of the stream. Then we come to a place known as Afuddo by the
natives, and also by geographers, though the latter generally speak of
it as 'Miani's Tree.'"

"Why does it have the latter name?" one of the youths asked.

"Because," was the reply, "it was the point reached by Miani, an Italian
traveller, who explored this part of Central Africa, and was driven back
by the natives through the intrigues of the slave-traders. He returned
despondent to Khartoum, and subsequently undertook an exploration of the
Bahr-el-Ghazal, where he died. It is a great misfortune that he perished
before the history of his explorations had been given to the world, as
he had visited regions hitherto unexplored by any traveller.

[Illustration: A NYAM-NYAM GIRL.]

"Miani penetrated the country of the Nyam-Nyam dwarfs, and brought away
two specimens of that curious race. I happened to be in Cairo at the
time of their arrival. They were sent there after Miani's death, and
were subsequently forwarded by the Khedive, Ismail, to the King of
Italy, the sovereign of the dead explorer. They were perfectly-formed
and adult men, but little more than four feet in height. A Dinka negro
who accompanied them said he had been in the country of the dwarfs, and
very few of the inhabitants were taller than the ones we were
examining.[4]

[4] In the spring of 1874, through the courtesy of Ismail, Khedive, the
author had the opportunity of seeing the two dwarfs mentioned above.

"Above Afuddo, or Miani's Tree," said the Doctor, "the rapids come to an
end, and the Nile is navigable to its exit from the Albert N'yanza.
There is one place in the rapids where the river is narrowed to a
hundred yards, and the water dashes along so furiously as to threaten
destruction to any craft that ventures upon it. At certain stages of the
river boats may pass with the current, but it is quite impossible to
make headway against it.

[Illustration: ENTRANCE OF THE LAKE.]

"The point where the Nile becomes navigable again is in latitude 3° 32'
north, near the mouth of the Asua River. It is less than a hundred miles
from there to the lake, and the river flows through a beautiful and
populous country.

"Suppose the Soudan railway was finished, and in operation from Wady
Halfa to Khartoum, see how easily we could open navigation into the
heart of Africa," said the Doctor, rising as he spoke, and pointing
toward the south.

[Illustration: NYAM-NYAM WARRIORS.]

"From Khartoum to Gondokoro the Nile is navigable, as we have just
demonstrated by making the journey on a steamboat. A railway of a
hundred and twenty miles, from Gondokoro to Afuddo, would bring us to
the point where the Nile is navigable to the Albert N'yanza, and another
railway, of less than a hundred miles, would connect the Victoria
N'yanza with the Albert N'panza. Thus the interior of Africa could be
opened up to travel and commerce by steam by the construction of two
hundred and odd miles of railway, in addition to the Soudan line.

"But we haven't the railway along with us at present," he remarked as he
resumed his chair, "and must put up with the means at our command. They
are primitive in their character, but others have managed with them, and
so can we."

Frank asked how their baggage would be carried from Gondokoro, as they
would not be able to follow the river, on account of the rapids.

"We must have it carried by men," the Doctor answered, "and here will
begin our experience with African porters."

"They have camels and elephants in abundance in Africa," said Fred, "and
it seems strange that they rely upon human muscle for transporting their
burdens. When camels are so abundant lower down I wonder they don't have
them here; besides, we are in the land where the elephant runs wild in
the woods, and is never domesticated, as he is in Asia. Is there any
reason why they shouldn't use him?"

"The African elephant is much fiercer than the Asiatic," was the reply,
"but there is no good reason why he should not be tamed and used like
his brother in Hindostan. African elephants were domesticated in ancient
times, and even in the present century they have taken kindly to
captivity. The famous 'Jumbo,' which has been the delight of children in
England and America, is an African elephant, and he was captured when
very young. You can readily know an African elephant from an Asiatic one
by his ears; they are at least three times as large, and the lower point
reaches to his leg. On a large elephant of the African variety the ear
will be five feet long by four in width. In South Africa it is sometimes
used as a sledge, and serves its purpose admirably."

[Illustration: ELEPHANT COMING TO DRINK.]

The conversation was interrupted by Abdul, who came to announce a herd
of elephants coming down to the river, a little above the town. They had
evidently been disturbed by the natives, and were endeavoring to find a
place of safety.

Doctor Bronson seized his elephant rifle, which had only been unpacked
the day before, and started without a moment's delay. Abdul followed
with the ammunition-case, and the two boys accompanied the Doctor.

Outside the camp they were passed by Colonel Abd-el-Kader on horseback,
on his way to take a shot at the huge game. The colonel dashed on ahead
of them, and was at the bank of the river when they were little more
than half the distance.

The soldiers came running from the camp, and the elephants took the
alarm and tried to turn on their tracks; but they found themselves
surrounded and their retreat cut off. Their only way of escape was by
swimming the river to an island about a hundred and forty yards away.
They were all fine old elephants, and each one a "tusker," so that they
would be valuable prizes to their captors.

Following their leader, they dashed into the water before either of the
hunters was within shooting distance. The colonel dismounted from his
horse just as the last of the herd entered the river. The elephant swims
so low that no vulnerable part of him is exposed, and therefore the
hunters could only stand and wait till the frightened animals had
reached the opposite bank.

[Illustration: ELEPHANTS HUNTED IN THE WATER.]

Fortune was against the elephants, as the bank was so steep that they
could not climb it, but were obliged to break it away by digging with
their tusks and feet. They are accustomed to this sort of thing, and in
a little while had broken away great masses of the earth and formed a
sloping ascent up which they could climb. The delay gave the colonel and
Doctor Bronson a chance to get their weapons in readiness, and as the
first of the elephants emerged from the river the colonel took a shot at
him.

The bullet took effect in the animal's head, causing him to turn partly
around and expose his side to the Doctor. The latter took instant
advantage of the position and fired. The elephant fell into the water
and floated down the stream.

The second elephant that climbed the bank was served in the same way,
but it took five bullets to bring him down instead of two. The distance
was too far for good work, and the third elephant escaped without
serious injury, as he did not present a good mark. The colonel's rifle
became unserviceable on account of the sticking of a cartridge; the
Doctor found his shoulder considerably bruised by the recoil, and
concluded that two elephants were quite enough for one morning's work.
However, he tried another shot at the third elephant, and by this time
the herd had broken the bank sufficiently to allow them to mount the
land and make their best paces for the woods.

Frank asked the Doctor why he did not keep on firing till the last of
the herd had gone.

"Well," replied that gentleman, "an elephant rifle is no toy to handle,
and two or three shots in rapid succession are about as much as one
desires. Sir Samuel Baker had a similar experience with a herd of
elephants, and was quite satisfied with a couple of prizes. He says that
his rifle was sure to kill an elephant when fired at short range, and
half kill the man that held it. Once his rifle was thrown out of his
hands a distance of several yards by the force of the recoil, and an
Arab hunter who tried to use it had his collar-bone broken by the blow."

The attention of the party was now turned to securing the carcasses of
the slaughtered elephants. They were floating down the stream with the
current, and men were sent with ropes and boats to bring them to land.
This was not a work of great difficulty, though it required much
expenditure of muscle, as the bodies were large and unwieldy. The body
of the elephant floats on the water, while that of the hippopotamus
sinks as soon as it is killed; but it rises again in a few hours, when
the gases within have distended the stomach.

Crowds of natives had flocked to the river and witnessed the slaughter,
and they lent ready hands to the soldiers to secure the prizes. They are
very fond of the flesh of the elephant, and the work of the morning gave
them sure promise of an abundant feast.

"We will have an African dinner such as you have never tasted," the
Doctor remarked as they returned from the hunt.

"What is that?" one of the youths asked.

"We will have an elephant's foot roasted, _à la Afrique_." was the
reply. "As soon as the cook is ready you may see how it is prepared."

The tusks of the elephants were secured, and also the feet. Colonel
Abd-el-Kader offered two of the tusks to Doctor Bronson as his share of
the proceeds of the chase, but the latter politely declined them, and
said he and the boys would be content with three of the smaller teeth,
which they could keep as souvenirs. The soldiers took as much of the red
flesh of the animals as they desired for their cooking-pots, and then
left the rest for the natives. The colonel took one of the feet, the
Doctor another, and the others were given to the officers of the
garrison. The Doctor explained to the boys that the foot of the elephant
is considered the finest part of the animal, and regarded as a great
delicacy by all African epicures.

The boys went with Abdul to witness the preparations for cooking their
dinner. Herewith we give the account which Frank made of the
performance:

"A hole was dug about three feet deep; over this they kindled a fire of
reeds and bushes, and kept it burning at a great rate for two hours or
more. By this time the hole was full of hot ashes and embers, and the
ground around it was heated to a high degree. Then the foot of the
elephant was thrown into the hole and some of the ashes were raked over
it; another fire was kindled above it, and was kept up for two or three
hours longer.

"All through the afternoon there was a mass of hot embers and ashes
around and over that elephant's foot, which did as good work as the best
oven ever invented. Dinner was served about five o'clock, and came
smoking hot to the table. The coals and ashes were raked away, and the
new style of roast joint was found to be cooked to perfection. The skin
was removed by chopping with a hatchet, and revealed something
resembling the interior of a game-pie, but not so dark in color. The
muscles of the foot had a gelatinous character, and the action of the
heat had cooked them to a condition of tenderness which made them very
toothsome.

"There is no civilized dish to which we can compare it, and therefore we
must adopt Fred's suggestion, to let the elephant's foot stand alone. We
had some doubts at first, but have none at present; our appetites are
appeased, and when we next secure an elephant in our hunting excursions
we shall dine on his feet."

Over the dinner-table the consideration of the route to the south was
resumed.

"The colonel tells me," said Doctor Bronson, "that a detachment of
soldiers is about to leave Gondokoro for Foueira, on the banks of the
Victoria Nile. We can go with it to that point, or we can stop at
Afuddo, where there is a station, garrisoned by a company of soldiers,
under command of a captain. You remember that when Baker Pacha came with
his expedition he brought a steamer in sections, which he intended for
the navigation of the Albert N'yanza.

"Owing to the impossibility of securing the necessary carriers Baker was
unable to transport his steamer to Afuddo, and returned without
accomplishing this part of his mission. But his successor, Colonel
Gordon (Gordon Pacha), had better luck, and early in 1876 the steamer
and two iron life-boats were launched on the waters of the White Nile
above the last rapids. On the 8th of March of that year Mr. Gessi, one
of Gordon's officers, started with the steamer and the two iron boats
and ascended to the lake.

"The boat was named the _Khedive_, in honor of the ruler of Egypt. It
was a craft of one hundred and eight tons and twenty horse power, and
will ever be memorable as the first steam-propelled vessel on the lakes
of Central Africa.

"With these boats Mr. Gessi explored the lake, which he reported about
one hundred and forty miles long by fifty in width, containing numerous
islands, and bounded by magnificent forests. It is shallow on the
southern shore, where the country is flat, but on the west the land is
mountainous and the water deep. The little fleet went to Magungo, on the
eastern shore, where the Victoria Nile empties into the lake, twenty-two
miles below Murchison Falls. Afterward the steamer ascended the river to
the foot of the falls, finding plenty of water and easy navigation. The
flag of Egypt was hoisted at Magungo, and the country was occupied in
the name of the Khedive.

[Illustration: THE NAVIGABLE NILE ABOVE THE LAST CATARACTS.]

"Now," the Doctor continued, "the fleet of Mr. Gessi is at the mouth of
the Asua River, or rather at Afuddo, and the colonel says it is at our
service, provided we pay the expenses of running the steamer. We can go
with the detachment of troops that I have mentioned, and they will be
necessary to protect us through the hostile country which lies between
Gondokoro and Afuddo. But at that place we will not need its care any
longer, as the natives are friendly, though it will be well for us to
retain a small escort, to guard against accidents. He will arrange for
the escort, and there is no doubt that the captain of the post at Afuddo
will give us all the aid we need.

"There is one disadvantage in going with the detachment instead of
venturing out alone: carriers are not easily procured in large numbers.
We shall want at least a hundred for ourselves and our baggage, while
the detachment of soldiers will need at least twice that number. Three
hundred men are not always to be had by calling for them, while a single
hundred might be easily procured. I told you before we left Cairo that
the carrier question was the most troublesome one for an African
explorer, and you must make your minds up to be patient and submit
cheerfully to delays, if they must and will come."

Both the youths agreed that they would emulate the example of Job and
refrain from grumbling, however great the provocation. With this
understanding the party broke up, and its members were soon in bed. It
was the fashion to retire early in Gondokoro, so as to be up with the
first blush of morning and enjoy the cool hours of the day.

The colonel sent out men to hire carriers, but there were few to be had.
It looked as though the travellers might be indefinitely delayed at the
outset; and just as they were beginning to feel uneasy a caravan arrived
from Foueira, with four hundred porters, bringing loads of ivory and
other interior products.

Here was a piece of good-fortune! The porters were not wanted any longer
by their employers, and it took only a short time to arrange for them to
carry the baggage of the entire party to Afuddo and Foueira, after they
had been allowed a couple of days to be paid off and to rest from their
fatigues. The time was spent in getting the loads in readiness, and on
the morning of the third day the long and mixed procession started on
its way.

[Illustration: SADDLE-DONKEYS.]

About half the soldiers were in advance, and the rest brought up the
rear. Between them, and stretching over a long distance, was the line of
porters with their loads, the commander of the detachment on horseback,
and our three friends similarly mounted. The three horses had been
bought at a high price by the Doctor, who had also secured as many
donkeys. It was decided that the latter would make acceptable mounts in
case of accident to the larger animals, and in the mean time they could
be ridden by Abdul and Ali, or made useful for carrying baggage.

The families of the soldiers made quite a crowd by themselves. It is the
custom of the soldier in Africa to be accompanied by his wife, except on
the most difficult marches; and though the European officers in the
Khedive's service have protested repeatedly, they have never been able
to break it up. Altogether the procession extended a mile or more, and
appeared powerful enough to take care of itself against any ordinary
enemy.

[Illustration: MARCHING THROUGH THE BARI COUNTRY.]

An important part of the procession was a drove of cattle. Frank called
it the purse of the expedition, as the animals were intended to be used
in payment of the services of the porters, as well as for supplying beef
on the road. As before stated, they are the circulating medium in
certain parts of Africa, and when frightened and at full speed they
_circulate_ with great rapidity. They have the faculty of disappearing
as easily as the bank-notes and coins of more civilized countries, and,
like them, may be regarded as blessings that brighten as they take their
flight.

The cattle gave some trouble to their drivers, and not infrequently
broke up the line of march by dashing across it and scattering the
travellers in all directions. The horns of the beasts were not pleasant
objects to contemplate, especially at the moments when there was a
prospect of being impaled on them.

The country became quite rough as the column advanced, and in a few
hours after their departure from Gondokoro the travellers found
themselves among mountains two or three thousand feet high. Frequently
they came to ravines, and it was in these places that delays were caused
by the cattle, as they could not be driven rapidly. The camp was made
after a march of about ten miles. The tents were pitched under some
wide-spreading trees, and Frank remarked what a pity it was the trees
could not be induced to march along with them, for the grateful shelter
they would afford against the heat of the sun at noon.

The natives had hovered in the vicinity of the line of march in order to
secure any one of the herd of cattle that might stray from its keepers.
But no such good-fortune befell them, as the herd preserved its
integrity during the entire day, and was driven to the temporary
_zeriba_ for protection during the night.

According to the custom of African travellers all the baggage was piled
in front of the tents of the owners, and the boxes and bales were
carefully counted before the porters were dismissed. This is an
important requirement, and the traveller who neglects it even for a
single occasion is liable to be the victim of plunder. The boxes
containing the rifles, ammunition, and the most precious articles should
be housed within the tents, and only the ordinary freight left outside.
Even there a guard is always placed over it, and the greatest
watchfulness is constantly needed.

[Illustration: CAMP SCENE.]



CHAPTER X.

A FISHING EXCURSION.--ENCOUNTERING A HIPPOPOTAMUS.--THE COUNTRY OF THE
NYAM-NYAMS.


The party was awake at an early hour, and there was no rest for anybody
after daylight. The camp had been made close to a small lake that was
said to abound in fish. One of the soldiers was an expert fisherman, and
our friends were surprised to learn that they were to have fresh fish
for breakfast. Frank asked Abdul how it happened, and the dragoman
proceeded to enlighten him.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE COOKS.]

"You see," said Abdul, "that the lake where these fish were caught is
the head of a small stream that runs into the Nile, and when it is full
of water the fish run up from the river. They stay here and grow. Some
of them are large enough when they leave the Nile, but, whether large or
not, they are sure to grow bigger by staying in the lake."

Fred wished to know what kind of fish they were.

"There are several kinds," was the reply, "but the most important are
the boulti and the baggera. They are a species of perch, and very fine
eating. The boulti rarely weighs more than five pounds, but the baggera
grows to an enormous size, and often exceeds a hundred pounds in weight.
The largest I ever saw tipped the scale at a hundred and fifty-two
pounds, but I have heard of their reaching two hundred and more.

[Illustration: THE SECOND DAY'S MARCH.]

"They may properly be called fishes of the Upper Nile and its
tributaries. They are found in the Lower Nile, where they are hardly fit
to eat. Travellers who have tasted them at Cairo and below the first
cataract pronounce them worthless, but they should come here to eat
them, where the flavor is delicious. The case is the same all the world
over, and a fish that is excellent in one part of a river is worthless
in another."

"I can give you a good illustration of that," said the Doctor. "In
Oregon the salmon ascend the Columbia River from the sea. The most of
the fish continue up the Columbia, and the rest turn into the
Willamette, a smaller river, on which Portland is situated. The salmon
of the Columbia are considered among the finest of their species in the
world, while those of the Willamette are of very poor quality. It is the
same on the Colorado River: the fish of the upper part are excellent,
while the same species lower down the stream are worthless.

"We have an abundance for this morning, and it is a pity we cannot keep
the surplus till we want it. They preserve the boulti here by splitting
it down the back, salting it a few hours, and then smoking it over a
wood fire. Thus prepared it will keep good a couple of days; but if it
is wanted for a long time it must be smoked and dried in the sun till it
is like a piece of board."

Frank was curious to know how the fish were taken, and so it was
arranged that he and Fred should accompany the fisherman on the first
opportunity. It happened that very evening, as there was a lake near the
second camp very much like the first.

On his return Frank told Doctor Bronson how the work was performed. "The
fisherman is a Nubian," said he, "and learned his business on the Lower
Nile, in his own country. He can swim like a duck, and is so black that
a piece of charcoal wouldn't make a mark on him. I thought he would
catch the fish with a hook, or perhaps a spear, but he didn't; he used a
net, and it was a pleasure to see him throw it.

"He laid his casting-net across his arm, and waded out till the water
was up to his waist: he does not seem afraid of the crocodiles, though
the lake is full of them. Abdul said the man had a charm that protected
him; he always wore it around his neck, and as long as it was in its
place he was safe.

[Illustration: FISHING VILLAGE IN AN AFRICAN LAKE.]

"When he reached a spot which he considered favorable he threw his net
so that it described an exact circle as it struck the water. The leaden
weights carried it straight to the bottom, and the fish within the
circle were surrounded.

"As soon as it fell the water was agitated, showing that a good cast had
been made. The man hauled away as fast as possible, so as to prevent the
fish from escaping by burrowing beneath the leads. The depth of water
was a little more than the height of the sides of the net, so that the
floats on the top were drawn under the surface.

"There was a lively splashing as the net came in toward the shore, and
it seemed as though the fish would break through and get away. They
didn't do it, though, as the net was strong, and the meshes were too
close to allow any but the very smallest to pass through. When the net
came fairly on the sand where we were standing it was a pretty sight.
There were thirty-six boulti, none of them less than a pound in weight,
while nearly a third weighed over four pounds apiece.

"The catch at that one throw made a good load for two men. Another throw
of the net secured a dozen fishes equal to the first, and a third throw
brought nothing at all. And as we thought we had done a good piece of
work we came back to camp, and did not attempt to secure any more finny
game.

"On our return Abdul said they had a way of fishing in a lake near
Gondokoro with some nets that were brought there by Baker Pacha. They
had a stop-net to keep the fish from running into the bulrushes at the
end of the lake. This stop-net was nearly five hundred feet long, and
fastened to stakes set at intervals of a few yards, and the ends were
brought around like the points of a bow.

"After the stop-net was set the lake was swept by a drag-net, hauled by
men in two boats, one at each end. As it approached the stop-net and the
ends met, the fish were imprisoned, and there was a tremendous dashing
in the water. The men sometimes became as excited as the fish, though
in a different way; but the most of the party had their wits about them
and did not lose their heads--and the fish. As many as four hundred
fishes were taken in this way at a single swoop, and some of them
weighed forty or fifty pounds. These big fellows were baggera, and
sometimes they were almost the only fish that were caught."

[Illustration: STAMPEDING THE CARAVAN.]

The same care was observed as on the first day's march to prevent the
straying of the cattle and the dispersal of the column. There was some
trouble with the animals early in the afternoon, on account of the
persistence of a portion of the herd in trying to turn back to
Gondokoro. One of the largest of the herd lost his temper and made a
furious charge at the column of porters. For a time the march was
suspended, as the porters dropped their burdens and fled, and it was not
an easy matter to persuade them to return to their work. The offending
beast was converted into beef, when the party halted for the evening,
and in this form his presence was much more agreeable than when he was
carrying himself around on the hoof.

[Illustration: HALTING-PLACE NEAR A POND.]

About noon they halted near a little pond, which looked as though it
would be a good place for a bath. Frank and Fred were desirous of trying
the water, but were dissuaded by Abdul, who told them it was full of
_sangsues_, or blood-suckers, which were not an agreeable adjunct of a
bath. Frank recalled his experience in Ceylon, where he was occupied for
half an hour after coming out in removing the leeches that clung to
him. "And besides," he remarked, "we haven't the blood to spare, even
though we don't mind the trouble of removing these African
postage-stamps."

The donkeys were not so tender of skin or feelings, and walked straight
to the water as soon as they were released from their work. Whether the
leeches tried their skill at blood-letting on these animals we are
unable to say, but if they did they probably abandoned the effort after
a few trials.

The third day brought the line of march in the neighborhood of the Nile,
owing to a bend which the river makes to the eastward. The old route to
Foueira avoided the river altogether, but the new one followed its banks
for a short distance, a circumstance by no means undesirable to the
travellers. The Nile had become to them like an old friend, and Fred
declared that he felt unhappy whenever he could not see it. No doubt he
would recover from the feeling, just as he could become accustomed to
the absence of a personal friend; but for the present he wished the Nile
ran all the way through Africa, and he could follow it till their
journey was at an end.

As they came near the river they saw several natives fishing from their
rafts of ambatch reeds, such as we have already described. Some were
lying quietly near the shore, while others were paddling about or
floating with the current. Several river-horses were visible, but they
were such a common sight in this part of the Nile that nobody gave them
the least attention.

Frank and Fred were standing on the bank, and happened to be looking at
a raft which carried two men. Evidently one of them was blind, as his
eyes were closed, and he carried no oar or paddle.

Close by them was a hippopotamus of more than ordinary size, and Fred
remarked that the raft seemed to be going directly for him.

"The man at the stern doesn't see the beast," said Frank, "or he
wouldn't be likely to run the risk of disturbing him."

"I think so too," replied his cousin, "for they haven't anything to make
a fight with, and if the 'hippo' attacks them they're in great danger."

[Illustration: HIPPOPOTAMUS ATTACKING A RAFT.]

Just as he spoke the bow of the raft touched the back of what Fred
called the "hippo," and evidently touched him with considerable force.
The animal turned, as Frank had predicted, and attacked the frail vessel
with his enormous jaws.

It was a brief combat, and an unequal one. The man at the bow was, as
they afterward learned, stone-blind, and therefore unaware of the
danger that threatened him. The beast seized him with the quickness of a
flash, overturning the raft and upsetting the other man into the water.
The victim of the attack was killed instantly. Other boats and rafts
went to the rescue of the man struggling in the water, and he was saved
from the crocodiles, with which the stream abounds.

The hippopotamus went away unmolested, as the natives had no weapons
that could make an impression on his thick hide. Doctor Bronson called
for his heaviest rifle, but before he secured it the monarch of the
river was safe below the waters.

Abdul said that when Baker was ascending the Nile with his expedition
they had considerable trouble with these animals; on several occasions
they attacked the small boats at the stern of the larger ones, and
seemed to regard them as personal enemies.

[Illustration: A NIGHT ATTACK BY A RIVER-HORSE.]

"One night," said Abdul, "we were all awakened by a tremendous
splashing close to the boat, and the cry arose that a hippo was about
attacking us. We ran on deck as fast as we could, and saw a hippo
dashing about furiously, and throwing the water in all directions. We
were lying close to a mud-bank, with the dahabeeah moored stem and
stern; consequently one side was exposed to the river, and the beast had
full tilt at it whenever he wanted.

"He upset one of the boats as though it didn't weigh an ounce, and then
he seized the other in his jaws and tried to crunch it. Mr. Baker was
roused with the rest, and sent his servant for a rifle. He brought the
rifle, but not the ammunition, and so the hippo had another chance at
the boats while the man was gone a second time. The night was clear and
the moon was up, so that the beast was distinctly visible.

"The ammunition came, and then Mr. Baker took a shot at our enemy, but
the fellow dashed about so much that it was a hard matter to get good
aim. The spot where you can put a bullet in is very small, and unless
you strike exactly on the place your shot is wasted.

"The first ball didn't seem to stop him, and three or four more only
made him more furious. He rocked the dahabeeah with his blows, and it
seemed at one time that he would make a hole in her side. After six or
eight shots he acted as though he didn't like the business. He went up
to the bank, lay down in the mud, and his body was covered with the mud
so that only his snout could be seen.

"We all thought he would die, and after waiting nearly half an hour we
went to bed.

"We had just got fairly to sleep when he came at us again, as though he
hadn't been hit at all. Mr. Baker gave him half a dozen bullets of the
largest size, and among them were two explosive ones, that should have
torn great holes in his flesh if they burst at the right moment. He went
away after striking against the boat and trying to smash it, and then he
came back once more, after a rest of a quarter of an hour.

"This time he got all he wanted and a trifle more. He was a determined
fighter, and evidently considered our presence an intrusion on his
domain. After the final shots at him he stretched himself on the bank,
and died there before daylight.

"In the morning we had a council of war over the hippo, and took note of
the shots it had required for settling him. Here is the result:

"Three shots in the flank and shoulder, and four in the head. One of the
head shots had broken his lower jaw, another passed through his nose
and, passing downward, cut off one of his tusks. Mr. Baker said his body
was covered with frightful scars of wounds received in his battles with
animals of his own species, and there were several wounds still
unhealed. One scar was about two feet long and two inches deep, and
showed that his antagonist must have given him a lively turn before the
fight was over. He was the worst of his kind I ever saw or heard of, and
all the party were glad he had been killed. Perhaps the other hippos in
the neighborhood were not at all sorry to part with him."

In the afternoon they came to an encampment of ivory merchants, or
rather to a village where several traders had a station for collecting
their goods preparatory to starting for Gondokoro. The natives had
brought in two or three dozen tusks of ivory, which were paid for in the
usual currency of the country--beads, cloth, trinkets, and other
"suc-suc," as goods for the African trade are called.

[Illustration: TYING UP IVORIES FOR THE MARCH.]

The boys were interested in looking at the piles of ivory lying on the
ground and the men engaged in tying them up for transportation. The
smaller tusks were tied in bundles of two or three, generally two,
placed with the large end of one against the small end of the other, and
then wrapped securely with strips of bark. The large tusks were wrapped
singly, as they would make a load for one man, and sometimes a tusk of
medium size was wrapped with a small one. To tie a bundle two men sat on
the ground, and while one held the tusks firmly in place the other
affixed the wrappings.

The village consisted of a dozen or more huts, like enormous hay-cocks.
They were made with a thick thatch of grass resting on a light but
strong frame, and the work was so arranged that the thatch could be
removed without difficulty, and leave the frame uncovered. This form of
construction is found very convenient when it becomes necessary to move
a village. The thatch is stripped off and thrown away, and the light
frame, mounted on the heads of four or five negroes, is borne away as
easily as though it were no more than a large basket.

[Illustration: REMOVING A VILLAGE.]

A day or two later our friends met one of these moving villages, and the
youths had the opportunity of seeing the Africans on their march. Four
men were carrying a house; one was dragging a bundle of withes used for
interlacing the framework of the dwelling; another, with a long stick,
was driving a couple of cows; another drove a sheep that was held by a
string to prevent its straying; while two women carrying baskets brought
up the rear. These people have few possessions, and therefore their
changes of residence are easily performed. Doctor Bronson said he was
reminded of the migrations of the roving Indians of the western part of
the United States, where a village may be transferred from one spot to
another at an hour's notice and leave scarcely a trace behind, except in
the places where the tents had been pitched, and the piles of ashes
where fires were kindled.

One evening, while they were discussing their route and estimating the
time it would take them to reach "Miani's Tree," Frank asked if they
would go near the country of the Nyam-Nyams, the curious people
described by the Italian explorer.

"I am sorry to say it is out of our route," replied the Doctor. "It lies
far to the west of where we are going, and therefore all that we learn
about it we must take from others, and not from our own observation."

"You said that the Dinka negro whom you saw at Cairo told you that the
Nyam-Nyams rarely exceeded the height of the two dwarfs brought away by
Miani," one of the boys remarked.

"Exactly so," was the reply; "but because the negro made that assertion
is no reason why we should accept it. However truthful the negro may be
in his civilized condition in America, he is not always absolutely
veracious in his native wilds. For 'conspicuous inexactness' it would
not be easy to find his superior.

"The same negro said it would take a year's travel from Khartoum to
reach the country of the Nyam-Nyams. He certainly exaggerated
considerably in that assertion, as a quarter of the time would be
sufficient for the journey, provided there were no more than the
ordinary delays. However, he may have included the hinderances which
sometimes come from the unwillingness of a tribe to let strangers move
on without a residence of a month or so among them. This is the custom
in several parts of Africa, and many explorers have been greatly
inconvenienced by it.

[Illustration: A NYAM-NYAM DOG.]

"Dr. Schweinfurth travelled among the Nyam-Nyams, and, while he does not
make them so small as Miani represents them, he says they are not as
large as the majority of the African race. He took the measurements of
many of their men, and the tallest stature he found was five feet ten
and a half inches. The upper part of the figure is long in proportion to
the legs, and this peculiarity gives a strange character to their
movements, though it does not impede their agility in their war-dances
and in athletic sports.

"He compares their complexion to the hue of a cake of chocolate. There
are some variations of the color, but the ground-tint is always an
earthy red in contrast to the bronze tinge of the Ethiopian races of
Nubia. They are accustomed to make tattoo-marks upon their faces, and
sometimes on other parts of their bodies, but do not practise this
disfigurement as much as the natives of some of the South Sea Islands."

Frank asked if they were as frugal in the matter of clothing as some of
the people they had seen in their journey up the Nile.

"They are not very lavish with their garments," was the reply, "but they
wear more of them than do the Shillooks or the Dinkas.

"Sometimes they wear a sort of tunic made of the bark of a tree, but
their usual apparel consists of the skins of animals. They are not sewn
together, but suspended from a girdle at the waist, and the finest and
most beautiful skins are selected in preference to those of a sombre
hue. The chiefs and other persons of high rank are allowed to cover
their heads with skins, but the more ordinary mortals must rely upon
straw hats or their natural thatch of woolly hair.

"They devote much time and trouble to the ornamentation of their hair,
and sometimes a man will spend an entire day in the arrangement of his
head-dress for a grand occasion, and sit up all night to save it from
derangement. The hair is braided and twisted in a variety of ways, and
Dr. Schweinfurth says it would be difficult to discover any kind of
plaits, tufts, or top-knots which has not already been tried by the men
of the Nyam-Nyams.

[Illustration: SINGULAR HEAD-DRESS OF A NYAM-NYAM.]

"He describes a coiffure which he pronounces the most remarkable he had
ever seen. The head of the owner was encircled by a series of rays, like
the glory in the picture of a saint; these rays were made of the man's
own hair, which had been drawn out in little tresses and stretched over
a hoop, which was ornamented around the edge with cowrie-shells. It was
held in place by four wires; these wires could be removed at night, in
order that the hoop might be folded back and allow the victim to lie
down to sleep. The inner ends of the wires were fixed to a conical
straw-hat, ornamented with a plume, and this hat was kept in its proper
position by means of numerous hair-pins.

"They are fond of decorating their hair with a string of the incisor
teeth of the dog; this is stretched along the forehead just at the edge
of the hair, in the shape of a fringe, and the effect is not at all
disagreeable even to the European eye. Then they hang on their breasts
ornaments cut out of ivory in imitation of a large circle of lions'
teeth, and you can readily understand that such a decoration makes a
noticeable contrast with their dark skins. They care little for glass
beads, and reject nearly all the varieties of those articles as
worthless."

Fred wished to know how large was the country of the Nyam-Nyams, and
what was their mode of life.

"The term Nyam-Nyam does not properly belong to them," said the Doctor,
"but is the name by which the Dinkas describe them. It means 'eaters,'
or 'great eaters,' and refers to the cannibalism which prevails among
them."

"If they are cannibals," Fred remarked, "I'm not at all sorry not to
form too intimate an acquaintance with them. It would be pleasant to
dine with the king, but I should object to his dining with me in the
fashion the cannibals have of receiving strangers."

"They are not the worst of cannibals," the Doctor continued, "and their
principal sustenance is obtained from vegetable products, and from the
chase. They are great hunters, and the men are supposed to be constantly
occupied with hunting or fighting, while the women till the fields and
perform all the labor of the house. They have generally a fertile soil,
and what they raise from it is obtained with very little exertion.

"The name by which they call themselves is 'Zandey,' and, in addition to
the Dinka appellation of Nyam-Nyams, they are variously called Manyanya,
Madyaka, Kakkarakka, Kunda, and Babungera by their neighbors. Their
country lies between the fourth and sixth degrees of north latitude, and
covers an area of about fifty thousand square miles, between Darfoor and
the valley of the Congo. The population is estimated at about two
millions; but, of course, this is only an estimate, as they have no
organized government, and never heard of taking the census.

"They are not familiar with fire-arms, their weapons being spears,
knives, and clubs; and in their fighting expeditions every man carries a
large shield--nearly large enough to cover him. Their only domestic
animals are dogs and chickens, and both of these animals are useful as
food. Dog's flesh is considered a great delicacy, and many of the
wealthiest of the natives have a regular system of fattening dogs for
their tables.

[Illustration: A NYAM-NYAM GRANARY.]

"They have granaries for storing their grain, and sometimes a single
family will have two or three of these warehouses. They are constructed
with a wide thatch for keeping off the heavy rains that fall
periodically, and are mounted on posts covered with cement, so that they
will not be eaten away by insects. The houses are grouped in little
villages, and generally placed with a view to being near land that is
easily cultivated; they are nearly always of a conical shape, like those
of the Shillooks, and provided with strong doors, to prevent attacks
from wild beasts. There are small huts, with bell-shaped roofs and
narrow doors, where the boys sleep at night. The door is at least three
feet above the ground, so as to insure the safety of the youngsters
against lions and other disagreeable visitors.

[Illustration: HUT FOR BOYS.]

"While among the Nyam-Nyams, Dr. Schweinfurth saw a good many hunters
and soldiers of the Akkas, a tribe of negroes occupying a region which
he was unable to visit. He succeeded in obtaining one of these curious
people, and brought him down the Nile, but, unfortunately, he died at
Berber, on his way to Cairo. The Akkas are probably the smallest people
of Central Africa, and are sometimes mentioned as a race of pygmies."

[Illustration: AN AKKA WARRIOR.]

"Perhaps they are the nation of dwarfs, instead of the Nyam-Nyams,"
Frank observed.

"They are certainly more entitled to the name than their neighbors," was
the reply. "The one which Dr. Schweinfurth brought to Berber was four
feet seven inches high. Six full-grown men that he measured were only
four feet ten inches, and from all he could learn a man of five feet or
more was uncommon."

[Illustration: DR. SCHWEINFURTH'S PYGMY.]

"But are there not other tribes of Africans of about the same
proportions?" one of the youths asked.

"Certainly," said Doctor Bronson, "and they seem to extend nearly across
the continent under the line of the equator, though not entirely so.
They are not dwarfs in the ordinary meaning of the word, but simply a
people of diminutive stature. They are generally of a lighter
complexion than the true Ethiopian, and with some of them the body is
more or less thickly covered with hair. Some travellers have described
them as only three or four feet high, but their statements are
unconfirmed. The Bushmen of South Africa are of the same reduced
proportions as the Akkas, and the measurements we have of them are
almost identical with those taken by Dr. Schweinfurth among the Akkas."

One of the boys asked Doctor Bronson what his opinion was concerning the
origin of these little people. The Doctor replied that he could do no
better than quote from the learned explorer from whom he had taken the
account of the Nyam-Nyams:

"Scarcely a doubt can exist but that all these people, like the Bushmen
of South Africa, may be considered as the scattered remains of an
aboriginal population now becoming extinct; and their isolated and
sporadic existence bears out the hypothesis. For centuries after
centuries Africa has been experiencing the effects of many
immigrations. For thousands of years one nation has been driving out
another; and, as the result of repeated subjugations and interminglings
of race with race, such manifold changes have been introduced into the
conditions of existence that the succession of new phases, like the
development in the world of plants, appears almost, as it were, to open
a glimpse into the infinite."

[Illustration: STANDING FOR HIS PORTRAIT.]



CHAPTER XI.

ARRIVAL AT AFUDDO.--DIVISION OF ROUTES.--FRANK'S DEPARTURE.


[Illustration: CROSSING A MARSH.]

The weather in the early part of the march from Gondokoro was fine, but
Abdul predicted that it was too beautiful to last. Sure enough, it came
on to rain one morning, and Frank pronounced it the "wettest rain" he
had seen for some time. It poured as though great flood-gates had been
opened in the sky, and rendered the ground so soft that the feet of the
horses sunk out of sight in the mud. Occasionally the way led over
marshes, which were not difficult to cross in the dry season, but when
soaked with water they became anything but agreeable. It was dangerous
to remain on horseback, owing to the liability to stumbling of the
animals, and in such places our friends were obliged to dismount and
make their way on foot.

[Illustration: A WET ROAD.]

Macintosh coats were useful, but even these garments could not keep out
the moisture, which penetrated every little crevice where there was the
least chance of an entrance. Luckily the rain was a warm one, and nobody
suffered any inconvenience from the temperature. As long as a
reasonably high temperature can be maintained there is no great
suffering, beyond the liability to contract fevers and other diseases,
but when the traveller has cold and wet combined his condition is
pitiable. The boys maintained their spirits by laughing as they picked
their way among the mud-holes, and a stranger would have thought they
were enjoying the weary tramp. It was not at all pleasing; but the
youths argued that "what can't be cured must be endured," and the best
way of enduring the discomfort was to keep up the pretence of enjoying
it.

The rain had the effect of driving the mosquitoes to shelter, so that,
while drenched with the downpour, the boys were temporarily relieved
from the necessity of fighting those tiny destroyers of the traveller's
peace; but it brought out many leeches, especially in the marshy ground,
and the porters occasionally halted to free their limbs from these
annoyances. Frank asked if it would bring them a visitation of snakes,
and was glad to learn from Abdul that most of the African snakes are not
fond of rain, and would probably stay at home, unless called out on
urgent business.

The tents were pitched on the dryest spot that could be found, and the
travellers sought their shelter before all the pegs had been driven into
the ground. The earth had been levelled a little, partly to form a
floor, and partly to remove the moist earth of the surface, and nobody
had given any attention to a hole near the roots of a bush which had
been cut away in the levelling process.

Frank was busy with his toilet-bag, when he thought he felt a movement
of the earth under his feet. He stepped a little to one side to see what
it meant, and very soon found out.

The head of a snake appeared from beneath the ground, and a pair of eyes
contemplated the youth with an expression anything but friendly. Frank
then remembered the hole in the ground to which we have alluded, and was
not long in concluding that they had camped over the residence of a
serpent. Fortunately, he was close to the entrance of the tent, and
instantly converted it into an exit.

He shouted for Abdul, and as that individual appeared the story of the
intrusion was quickly narrated. The servants were called, and soon
despatched the snake. Fred observed that it was not much of a snake, as
it was only seven feet long, which was a tiny affair for Africa. Frank
retorted that when snakes were under consideration the measurement was
of little consequence, as he had an antipathy to the whole family, big
and little. They unanimously decided that the location of the tent was
undesirable, as the contents of the hole were unknown. "We don't want to
be seeing snakes all night," said Frank, "and we shall be pretty likely
to do so unless we change our base."

[Illustration: A SNAKE IN CAMP.]

The tent was moved a dozen yards or so, and if there were any more
snakes in that hole they had no occasion to complain of disturbance.
Another snake was killed close to the camp, and altogether it seemed as
if their lines had not fallen in pleasant places.

The snakes were not without their uses, as they were carried off by some
of the black soldiers of the detachment, and soon found their way into
the cooking-pot. Abdul said there were not many snake-eaters in the
detachment, but enough of them to make any ordinary serpent come handy.
"The flesh," said he, "is as sweet as that of a chicken, and it is only
prejudice that keeps us from trying it."

Of course the incident led to anecdotes of a snaky character, and
between dinner and the hour of retiring there were many wonderful
narrations. The precaution of sleeping with the legs crossed or
stretched wide apart was again enjoined upon the youths, in case they
wanted to save themselves from pythonic deglutition. Abdul repeated a
tale he had heard of a snake on the banks of Tanganyika Lake that used
to swallow the natives when they paddled their rafts near his lair. He
was large enough to take in man and boat at a single gulp, and the boats
seemed to aid his digestion instead of injuring it.

Ali said that in his country the antelopes were so large they would be
mistaken for elephants, except for their shape; and his statement was
verified by another narrator, who declared that in his native place the
goats were provided with trunks like elephants, while the chickens had
heads and necks like serpents, and could inflict a bite which was
instantly fatal. Another disciple of the marvellous told of cats larger
than cows, and mice like bull-dogs, and he averred that his brother had
been in a country where the flies were used as horses, and a strong fly
could carry a man five or ten miles without lighting down for a rest.

The next day the weather was better, but the necessity of drying the
camp equipage prevented an early start. Everybody rejoiced at the
reappearance of the sun, and the horses and donkeys seemed to share in
the pleasure of the return of the clear sky.

In the last camp before they reached Miani's Tree, Doctor Bronson told
the youths he had a plan for their future movements which he had been
carefully considering for several days, and would now unfold to them.

"It is this," said the Doctor: "from Afuddo we have a choice of two
routes to the country of King M'tesa--one by land, and one by water. If
the steamer is in running order we can explore the Albert N'yanza,
making the circuit of the lake, and ascending the Somerset River, or
Victoria Nile, to Murchison Falls, twenty-two miles above the river's
mouth.

"The other route is altogether by land, through the M'rooli country, to
Foueira, the station of the Egyptian troops where our detachment is
going.

"Now, what I have been considering is for our party to divide, and thus
cover both routes. Frank and Abdul can continue with the soldiers to
Foueira, while Fred and I will go with the steamer to Murchison Falls.
We can meet either at the Falls or at Foueira. In the former case Fred
will come down the river to join us, and in the latter we will ascend
the river route, to meet him at the station."

Both boys were delighted with the proposition. They were sorry to be
separated after having travelled so long together, but they realized
that the time would not be long, and they would be using their eyes to
better advantage than if they both continued on one route.

"You can describe the lake," said Frank to his cousin, "and I will tell
about the journey by land. Abdul and I can get along all right, I think,
and we shall be well protected by the soldiers. You ought to have an
escort as well as I, and I presume the Doctor will arrange all that with
the commander."

[Illustration: SCENE NEAR AFUDDO.]

The new plan was the subject of a good deal of conversation between the
youths at every opportunity for the rest of the march to Afuddo. On
their arrival at that point they were eager to learn if the steamer was
in good condition for the voyage, and their first inquiry was concerning
her.

"The steamer is all right," said the Doctor, as soon as he had delivered
his letter to the officer in command of the post. "She is lying at
Duflé, the point whence Mr. Gessi started for the first steam voyage on
the Albert N'yanza, and we can have her ready to leave in a very short
time."

There was some unwelcome intelligence concerning the land route to
Foueira. The Shooli and Umiro people, through whose territory the road
passes, had recently shown signs of hostility. They had attacked several
trading caravans, and while some had defended themselves successfully,
others had been broken up or compelled to retreat. There was a prospect
that Frank and Abdul might see some fighting if they continued with the
land party, and Fred suggested that it might be better to abandon that
route and all go by steamer.

Frank opposed this change of plan, and said he was quite willing to take
the risk of the land journey. He felt that the troops would be able to
take care of themselves if they were attacked. He believed that the
Remington rifle, in the hands of a soldier, would be a safe defence
against a thousand native spears and arrows. He argued farther that he
did not come to Africa to expect travel would be as safe as at home, and
it would indicate a faint heart if he should be frightened by the mere
rumor of trouble.

Doctor Bronson asked the youths to defer their decision till he could
confer with the officer in command of the post at Afuddo, and also with
Captain Mohammed, under whose escort they were travelling. The
conference was held early the next morning, and the boys anxiously
awaited the Doctor's report concerning it.

"We had a long talk over the troubles among the Shoolis and Umiros,"
said the Doctor as he returned to their tents, "and the reports are not
encouraging. Still, I am of opinion that there is no great danger, since
the soldiers are well armed and disciplined. They will not attack the
natives unless seriously threatened by them, as their instructions are
not to make trouble, but to act only on the defensive.

"Therefore I see no good reason why Frank should not continue as we had
proposed. Perhaps Fred and I will go with him the first day's march, and
if no serious intelligence comes in that time he can continue. If actual
war has been declared he can turn back and accompany us by the lake
route."

The question having been settled, the party at once proceeded to divide
the baggage and make the necessary arrangements for the two journeys.
The division was easily accomplished, as all the cases were marked and
numbered according to a list, of which each of the travellers and also
the dragoman had a copy. Frank took only what was needed for his
journey, including a good supply of ammunition and a couple of rifles
for himself and Abdul, so that they could do their share of fighting in
case of necessity. All the heavy baggage, and such things as were
intended for use at King M'tesa's court and after the visit to that
monarch, went by the steamers, as the easiest and safest mode of
transport.

The most of the day was consumed in the arrangement, and it was not till
late in the afternoon that Frank and Fred had an opportunity to take a
stroll around the village near which their camp had been placed.

It was a collection of huts much like those of the other villages they
had seen on the route, and consequently there was nothing new for them
to look at. Outside the village were a few fields and gardens, and the
boys remarked how easily the region might be made to produce abundantly.
The soil had an appearance of great fertility, and under the rude
cultivation of the natives the fields had a luxuriant aspect. "It is a
land," said Fred, quoting from Bishop Heber,

  "'Where every prospect pleases,
    And only man is vile.'"

"Yes," answered Frank, "and if it ever comes under European management
it can be made the seat of an important commerce. All the products of
the tropics flourish here; and when the natives learn to be industrious,
and adopt the habits and customs of civilization, they can compete
successfully with the people of similar lands in Asia."

[Illustration: A CARAVAN OF AN IVORY-TRADER.]

The conversation was interrupted by the appearance of a caravan coming
from the south, and straggling very irregularly along the road. Fred
pronounced it the most motley crowd he had seen since leaving Gondokoro,
and Frank immediately produced his note-book to take down the
characteristics of the group.

"The riding animals," said he, "are oxen and donkeys, instead of horses.
Each of the ox-riders has a child clinging on the rump of his steed,
while the donkeys are ridden by negroes, armed with rifles and sabres.
Two men on foot carry the flags of the leader, and these are unfurled
whenever a band of natives is encountered. Then there are goats and cows
following the procession, and the rear is brought up by the ivory
porters with their burdens."

[Illustration: AN IVORY PORTER.]

They followed the caravan, which passed close to their tents and
proceeded to some huts a few hundred yards beyond. There the burdens of
the porters were deposited, and for a time the scene was decidedly
animated.

Abdul joined the youths as they were looking at the caravan, and
explained to them that it belonged to one of the wandering traders such
as we have already described. "He is the agent of one of the firms at
Khartoum," said the dragoman, "and, from the number of burdens he has
just brought in, he has evidently made a successful tour. The children
that you saw are doubtless intended as merchandise quite as much as the
ivory. Though slavery has been abolished here the merchants do not
hesitate to indulge in it, and the government officials frequently
connive at their so doing. But it is diminishing every year, and will
dwindle steadily as the power of the government increases."

"What great risks are taken, and what hardships men undergo," said Fred,
"in search of ivory! They traverse Africa, encountering its fevers, and
its dangers from beasts and men and serpents; they make long journeys
where there are few of the comforts of life, and suffer all kinds of
privations, and all in pursuit of wealth to be derived from the tusk of
the elephant. The men who bring the ivory from the African wilds are
only a little less to be pitied than the huge animal that yields it."

"The difference in their case," his cousin retorted, "is, that their act
is voluntary, while that of the elephant is sorely against his will. He
has no desire to surrender his tusks, especially when his life must be
surrendered at the same time, while they could seek some other
employment."

"I have been looking up the subject of ivory," responded Fred, "and find
that the elephant hasn't a monopoly of the business. The tusks of the
hippopotamus, the walrus, the narwhal, and some other animals are
included under the name of ivory, and have nearly the same uses."

"But not exactly the same," was the reply. "Several high authorities
contend that the name only belongs properly to the product of the
elephant, which has a different composition from that of other animals.
A cross-section of an elephant's tusk has the appearance of circular
lines, intersecting each other, so as to form lozenge-shaped figures
with curved boundaries; this feature exists in no other kind of tusk,
and is the distinguishing mark of elephant ivory.

"There is a vegetable ivory which is used for making small articles, but
it is too soft to wear well, and tarnishes very easily. It is the kernel
of a nut that grows in Peru and New Granada. The tree is a species of
palm, and the ivory corresponds to the meat of the familiar cocoa-nut.
Perhaps somebody will invent a process for converting the cocoa-nut into
ivory, and then the article will be a good deal cheaper than it is."

"What would be the use?" said Fred. "Haven't we several imitations of
ivory already? Have you forgotten celluloid?"

"Quite true," replied Frank; "but then celluloid, while greatly
resembling ivory, is far from equalling it. Men who play at billiards
say the balls made of celluloid have a dead sound when struck, and that
the same is the case with all other imitations. However, there is no
doubt that celluloid can take the place of ivory for many uses, and the
elephants ought to have a mass meeting, and send a vote of thanks to the
man who invented it."

"Perhaps I've got a question you can't answer," said Fred. "What is the
composition of ivory?"

"I've informed myself on that point," replied Frank, with a smile.
"Ivory contains twenty-four per cent. of animal matter, sixty-four of
phosphate of lime, a little more than eleven per cent. of water, and the
balance is carbonate of lime and other insignificant ingredients. The
water and animal matter are dried away by long exposure, and for this
reason ivory is apt to turn yellow and change its form. Billiard-balls
require to be turned occasionally to correct these changes. They
generally shrink or expand more in the direction of the width of the
tusks than in that of their length, and consequently the makers of these
articles are accustomed to shape them roughly at first, and then keep
them for months in a warm room before finishing.

"A gentleman who has studied the statistics of the ivory trade says the
total amount of ivory imported into Great Britain during the nine years
from 1873 to 1881 inclusive was 5286 tons. The whole number of tusks
being known, the average weight per pair can be easily ascertained. This
average is put at forty pounds, which is above rather than below the
true weight. Assuming this to be correct, the 5286 tons of ivory
represent 296,016 pairs of tusks, and consequently the same number of
elephants, that have died long ago or have been slaughtered in later
times to supply the demands of luxury for the past nine years. At this
rate of destruction it will be seen how rapidly this noble animal must
disappear, and how surely ivory will become a thing of the past. The
highest price paid at a recent sale in Liverpool for the best African
ivory was at the rate of $6740 per ton, or more than three dollars per
pound.

"If," concluded Frank, "you want another lecture on ivory please give me
fair warning, so that I can get my information in proper shape."

They returned to camp just as dinner was announced. Of course the chief
topic of conversation was the proposed exploration of the Albert N'yanza
and the land journey to Foueira.

[Illustration: THE CENTRAL AFRICAN STEAMER "KHEDIVE."]

The next morning the boys accompanied Doctor Bronson on a visit to the
_Khedive_, the steamer in which the voyage on the Albert N'yanza was to
be made. They found a handsome boat, of the dimensions already given,
and propelled by a screw instead of paddles. It had two masts, so that
sails could be spread in case the engines were disabled; and it had an
awning extending the entire length of the deck, to shelter its
passengers from the heat of the tropical sun. Below deck there were
several comfortable cabins, and there were quarters for the crew, and a
well-fitted galley for the cook's use. Altogether they were pleased with
the boat, and Frank began to wish that he had not been so persistent
about making the journey by land. But an instant's reflection drove away
the thought, and he was firmer than ever in his purpose.

The _Khedive_ was all ready for service, and only needed to be
provisioned and supplied with the necessary fuel for working her
engines. A Scotch engineer, named Cameron, was in charge of her, with a
couple of Arab assistants. He was quite willing to be employed, and
declared himself heartily weary of lying idle for six months, waiting
for something to do, and constantly expecting orders that never came.

Doctor Bronson told him to get ready as soon as he liked; and in order
that there could be no mistake about it he showed his authority from the
government officials at Cairo, and also those from the commander of the
district at Gondokoro. Mr. Cameron said he would have the provisions and
fuel on board in a couple of days, provided he had the assistance of the
commander of the post to compel the people to work. They needed a little
urging, he said, and the best way of urging them was to put them under
the guard of a file of soldiers.

Our friends were well aware that the two days would grow to four or
five, as nothing is ever done in Africa in the time agreed upon. So it
was decided that Frank should continue his journey with the escort,
which was to leave the next day, and the Doctor and Fred would accompany
him for the first day's journey, as agreed. This would cause no
detention of the boat, as their baggage could be put on board in a few
hours when the _Khedive_ was in readiness.

They were off in good season in the morning, and made their camp in a
pretty little valley, close by a brook that reminded the boys of a
similar stream near their birthplace. The next morning the good-byes and
good wishes were pronounced, and the travellers turned away from each
other. There were tears in their eyes as their hands met in a farewell
clasp; their utterance was so choked by the lumps in their throats that
the words they forced out were indistinct. Africa is a land of dangers
and uncertainties, and perhaps they were destined not to meet again.

No wonder there was sadness at the separation, or that Frank regretfully
parted with friends he loved so well, and by whom he was warmly
cherished. At last the windings of the road hid them from view, and he
turned resolutely with his gaze directed toward the equator.



CHAPTER XII.

DEPARTURE OF THE TWO EXPEDITIONS.--IN THE SHOOLI COUNTRY.--ATTACKED IN
AN AMBUSCADE.


The horses were sent with Frank, as they would be of no use in the
steamboat journey, and it was arranged that they should be at Murchison
Falls in exactly a month from the date of departure from Afuddo, if
everything went well. Captain Mohammed said a month would suffice for
the journey, if they had no detentions on the road. To cover
contingencies, an allowance of eight days was added to the above period,
so that it was agreed to meet on the thirty-eighth day, unless prevented
by some unforeseen circumstance.

Fred had wondered how the Doctor and himself would return to Afuddo from
their day's journey with Frank. The horses were to leave them, and he
saw no alternative but a pedestrian journey, to which he was not at all
inclined. Satisfied that Doctor Bronson had considered the case, and
made proper provision for it, he asked no questions, though he could not
help revolving the subject in mind.

The morning of their departure for the return to Afuddo solved the
mystery.

A large ox, with wide horns, that suggested impalement to any one who
insulted their wearer, was led up for the Doctor, and a similar beast
for the youth. The animals were saddled and bridled, the bridle passing
through the cartilage of the nose, which is the weak point of the bovine
race, and an excellent holding-ground for a driving-rein. As Fred looked
at it he remembered how he had seen savage bulls held in check by a ring
through the nose, and concluded that the Africans knew what they were
about when they harnessed their saddle-oxen in this way.

"I remember now," he exclaimed, "reading about Anderson and Livingstone
riding on oxen in their African journeys. Anderson says he rode one ox
more than two thousand miles. He became much attached to his horned
steed, and declared that he preferred the ox to the horse."

[Illustration: WINWOOD READE'S OX AND HAMMOCK TRAIN.]

"Yes," replied the Doctor; "oxen are not as fast as horses, but they
will endure more, and keep fat where a horse would starve. Where there
is plenty of food a horse is to be preferred, but in a country where the
herbage is scant, and you must travel day after day and week after week,
the ox is the superior animal. He is slow but sure in his movements, and
will get over rough ground better than a horse. Winwood Reade says he is
sulky and revengeful, but this is contrary to the testimony of other
travellers. Mr. Reade had some saddle-oxen in his train, but his
favorite mode of riding was by hammock, on the shoulders of porters.

"I had arranged for porters with hammocks to carry us back to Afuddo in
case the oxen failed to arrive. But they are here all right; and as
everything is ready we will mount and be off."

Early in the afternoon they were once more in their camp on the banks of
the Nile, and discussing the plans for departure up the river.

As Doctor Bronson had predicted, the two days of preparation were
extended to four, and it was not till the fifth day that they were ready
to start. All the baggage was carried on board in the evening, and the
two explorers slept on deck, beneath the awnings. The cabins were too
hot for comfort, and so full of mosquitoes that several smudges and a
vigorous use of brooms and switches could not expel them. The deck was
much more agreeable, and it was voted that, while the cabins might be
useful as dressing-rooms, they were undesirable for lodging-places.

The steamer was off about nine o'clock in the morning, and headed
against the strong current of the Nile in the direction of the Albert
N'yanza. Late in the afternoon a bend of the stream revealed the
widening that betokened the entrance of the lake, and in a little while
the _Khedive_ was afloat on the waters of the lowest of the lakes that
form the head-waters of the mysterious river of Egypt.

We will leave the _Khedive_ and her passengers and return to Frank, whom
we left on his southward travels a day beyond Afuddo. His journal will
tell the story of his experiences.

"I had a sad heart all day after parting from my friends," said the
youth in his note-book, "and was unable to see much beauty in the
landscape. The country was well but not richly timbered, and I observed
that the road ascended steadily as we moved away from the river. We
passed many villages, all of the same general appearance, and I began to
be weary of the succession of grass-thatched huts. The people looked at
us indifferently, and sometimes came out to beg or try to sell us some
of the products of their little fields. They did not display any
hostility, but Abdul said we were not yet in the country where we might
look for opposition.

[Illustration: NEAR THE SHORE OF THE LAKE.]

"Our camp was made in a small valley, and close by a ravine that was
easily turned into a cattle-yard. A fence of African thorns was built
across each end of the ravine, and as the sides were too steep for the
cattle to climb easily they did not climb at all. The guard around the
camp was doubled, for fear of accident, and Captain Mohammed said he
should have a double guard every night till we arrived at Foueira.

"There was an alarm during the night, caused by one of the guards
discharging his rifle at a hyena that came near him. Everybody turned
out, in expectation that a fight was on hand; but when the cause of the
disturbance was explained we soon went to bed again. I thought the guard
should be reprimanded for his act, but Abdul said he was commended for
his watchfulness; and when I heard the explanation I thought he was
right after all.

"Abdul said that a few years before, at one of the posts in the Bari
country, the sentinel on duty at a certain point was found dead one
morning, and the indications were that he had been strangled. His gun
and all his equipments were gone, and there was no trace of the
assailant. The next night another man was killed at the same place, and
the third night the guard was doubled.

"Nothing happened there that night, nor was there anything worthy of
note when the guard consisted of more than one man. But whenever the
sentinel was alone he was strangled, and the same thing happened at two
or three points where sentinels were stationed.

"The men had orders to fire at anything suspicious, but somehow they did
not seem to have suspected anything till too late.

"One night a man went on duty, and received the usual orders to fire at
anything suspicious, and to stop any man that came near him.

[Illustration: CROSSING A SMALL STREAM.]

"'I shall fire at the least thing, whether suspicious or not,' was his
reply. 'If I hear a leaf rustling when I think it should not do so, I
shall fire, and I hope not to be punished for it.'

"The captain said he might do exactly as he liked; and with this
understanding he went to his post.

"The relief had been gone nearly an hour when the report of his gun was
heard. The guard immediately went to see what was the trouble; and as
they reached the place they saw the soldier dragging the body of a Bari,
which was partially dressed in the skin of a hyena.

"The mystery was explained. Hyenas are so common in this part of Africa
that nobody pays any attention to them, and a soldier on duty would
never dream of discharging his gun at one of these beasts. The negroes
had taken advantage of this circumstance to kill the guards around the
camp.

"The soldier said that the relief-guard was not out of sight before he
saw a hyena come over the crest of the hill close by and look in his
direction. He thought nothing of the circumstance, as the hyenas were
constantly prowling around the camp in search of food; the intruder
imitated perfectly the motions of the creature, and he never suspected
it was anything else.

"'They will laugh at me,' he said to himself, 'if I shoot at a hyena,
and I shall be ridiculed all through the camp. The captain gave me
permission to shoot in case a leaf rustled, or there was the least sound
more than ordinary, and I should do so. But a hyena is so ordinary, and
such a common sight around the camp, that I won't throw away a shot on
him.'

"While thinking in this way he kept his eye fixed on the beast, which
appeared to be circling slowly around, and moving in the direction of a
bush close to his post. As he watched he thought he observed a step that
was not exactly like that of a hyena. The creature was not more than
twenty paces from him, and advancing very slowly, as it paused to turn
with its nose every bit of offal, every stick and small stone that lay
in its way, as if on the keen hunt for food, and paying no attention to
the presence of the soldier.

"To make certain that there was no deception the soldier stamped on the
ground with his foot and hissed loudly. The hyena darted back, as though
frightened, but he soon reappeared in quest of food.

"'I'll fire, anyway,' said the soldier to himself; and when the hyena
was again within about twenty paces he suddenly turned and discharged
his rifle at the animal.

"The beast of prey shrieked in a very human manner, and instantly
straightened out its limbs in a way still more human than its cry of
agony had been. The soldier reloaded his rifle, and then went to look at
the result of his shot.

"He found an athletic young negro, armed only with a long knife, and a
strong cord a couple of yards in length. The secret was explained.

"The negro could imitate the motions of the hyena, and the animal was in
the habit of coming so close to the camp that nobody gave him any
attention. In this way he could get within a few feet of the soldier,
and directly behind him; watching the chance to throw his cord around
the sentinel's neck, he was able to strangle his victim without raising
an alarm. Ever since that time the soldiers of the Egyptian service are
allowed to fire at hyenas that come within twenty yards, if there is any
reason to believe they are in a hostile region.

"The next night a trap was set for Mr. Hyena, in case he should come
around the camp, and he fell into it. There was a report of a gun, but
it was some little distance from the lines, and did not wake anybody.
The hyena suffered more than anybody else.

[Illustration: AN ATTRACTION FOR A HYENA.]

"Abdul told me how it was managed, and certainly it was a trap that
would catch any ordinary beast, unsuspicious of evil intentions on the
part of his neighbors.

"A gun was placed at the foot of a tree, the butt resting on the ground,
and the muzzle elevated at an angle of about forty degrees. It was
loaded heavily, as nobody was expected to have his shoulder broken by
the recoil, and then a piece of meat was placed on the muzzle, with a
string attached and leading down to the trigger. The arrangement was
such that the disturbance of the meat would discharge the gun and send
the contents into anything that happened to be in front of the muzzle.

"A hyena came along during the night, and the result was very bad for
him as he attempted to appropriate the meat, and fell a victim to his
appetite. His head was nearly blown from his body, and he must have had
it close to the muzzle of the weapon at the moment of the discharge.

"Nothing important happened on the second or the third day. We heard no
more of any hostilities till the morning of the fourth day, when we
reached a village, where only a few people were to be seen. There was
not a woman or child present--always a bad sign in Africa.

"When the natives are bent on mischief, or expect trouble of any kind,
they send their families out of sight. This is invariably the case when
they meditate an attack on a camp. They come in under pretence of
desiring to trade, and at a given signal the fight begins. Experienced
travellers in Africa always observe the composition of a group of
natives, and keep their rifles in readiness, if it consists only of men.

"Captain Mohammed ordered the soldiers to load their guns, and be very
watchful during the march. Twenty rounds of cartridges were distributed
to each man, and other cases of ammunition were ready to be opened if
they should be wanted.

"A little before noon we came to a stream which it was necessary to
cross by fording. The banks were lined with tall reeds, and Abdul
remarked that it was an excellent place for an ambuscade. Hardly had he
spoken before an arrow whizzed from the reeds and narrowly missed one of
the men who was entering the water preparatory to wading over. Evidently
there was trouble in store for us.

"Twenty soldiers were sent ahead to clear the way. They advanced slowly,
as it was impossible to see any distance among the bushes, and it was
quite possible for an enemy to be within a few feet of you without being
discovered.

[Illustration: ATTACK IN AN AMBUSCADE.]

"The natives were not slow to appear, and only a few shots had been
fired before a hundred dusky forms were visible, moving rapidly among
the tall reeds. Each man carried a spear and a shield, and some had bows
and arrows. Luckily they had not yet been able to procure fire-arms, or
they might have made our march very uncomfortable.

"The rude weapons of the negro were no match for the Remington rifle,
and in less than half an hour the space around the ford was cleared of
our enemies. The worst feature of the business was the promise it made
of delays, and perhaps a good deal of fighting, before we could reach
the end of our journey.

"One of the negroes was wounded slightly in the foot, which prevented
his running away, though the matter was not at all serious. He fell into
our hands, and the captain at once sent for an interpreter and
questioned the man as to the reason of the attack.

"The negro explained that his people, the Shoolis, had recently suffered
considerably from the slave-hunters who had come to destroy their
villages and carry the prisoners into slavery. Consequently war had been
declared against all men coming from Khartoum or Gondokoro under the
pretence of buying ivory, and our expedition would not be likely to get
to the Victoria Nile without a great deal of trouble.

"This was serious news indeed, and as soon as we reached a good place
for making a camp we halted and spread the tents. We wanted a spot that
could be easily defended in case of attack. In order to protect
ourselves we threw up a line of thorn-fences, completely inclosing the
camp. There is nothing better than a fence of thorns to hold off these
negroes; they wear no clothing, except an antelope-skin over the
shoulders, and consequently have a profound respect for the stout thorn
that grows in this country, and has a point like that of a
darning-needle.

"Captain Mohammed decided to remain in camp till he could have an
interview with the chief of the region through which we desired to pass.
He thought he could convince the chief that we were his friends, as we
had come to suppress slavery instead of protecting the business. The
best way of coming to the negotiation would be to send for the chief and
wait patiently till he came to camp. Luckily he was not far off, and the
messengers departed immediately. According to the custom of the country
they carried presents, to assure him that no treachery was intended.

"I wanted to go on a hunting excursion the next day, but the captain
said he would not permit it, as it would be dangerous. The natives would
certainly attack me, and they had every advantage, by the facility with
which they could conceal themselves in the grass or behind the trees.

[Illustration: TWO OF OUR PORTERS.]

"So there was nothing to do but wait and keep within our lines.
Fortunately, we did not have a long delay, as the hostile chief was
easily found, and came to camp a little past noon--a promptness not at
all characteristic of his country. I was permitted to be present at the
interview, and observed the dress and manners of the chief.

"He was a finely formed man, about fifty years old, well built and
muscular, and evidently in robust health. The Shoolis are not as tall in
stature as the Shillooks or Dinkas, but have better figures. Sir Samuel
Baker calls the men of the tribe the best proportioned that he saw in
Africa, and other travellers confirm his opinion. The women are rather
short in stature, but equally muscular with the men.

[Illustration: ANTELOPE OF THE SHOOLI COUNTRY (FEMALE).]

"The dress of the chief consisted of an antelope-skin thrown across his
shoulders, and covering the lower part of his body like a scarf. This is
the usual garment of the Shoolis, and, as the tribe is a numerous one,
and the clothing does not last long, there is a great slaughter of
antelopes every year to keep up the supply. The chief's followers were
clad exactly like himself; but his robe was larger and finer than the
rest, and he carried a spear with a tuft of feathers at the end, the
weapons of his followers being without decoration.

[Illustration: ANTELOPE OF THE SHOOLI COUNTRY (MALE).]

"They all came, to the number of twenty or more, to the tent of the
captain; and as there were nearly as many of ourselves at the
conference, the tent was not large enough to hold us. So we adjourned to
the shade of a tree outside, where a carpet was spread for the chief,
while his followers stretched upon the grass around him. Captain
Mohammed, his two aids, and myself sat in camp-chairs directly in front
of the chief, and the interpreters and the dragoman stood near us.

"The conference opened by a statement of grievances by the chief, who
said that the slave-dealers had plundered his villages and carried
away his people, and he had determined to prevent farther intrusion if
possible. To this end he had ordered that all the roads entering his
territory should be guarded, and any men who ventured to come in from
the north should be driven back. He was acting in accord with the tribes
farther south, and also with the more powerful Kaba Rega, King of
Unyoro. War had not actually been declared; but, unless there was a
certainty of better treatment by the merchants from Gondokoro, they
would admit no more Egyptians, and the posts at Fatiko and Foueira would
be attacked.

"His story took some time in the narration, on account of the necessity
of frequent pauses to allow the interpreter to translate. As soon as he
had finished Captain Mohammed replied with the assurance that the
Egyptians were friends of the Shoolis, and the great desire of the
Khedive at Cairo was to put an end to slavery and the slave-trade.

"The chief was not altogether pleased with this reply, as his people
have no particular objection to the slave-trade, so long as it is
conducted without violence, and especially when they are the gainers
thereby. If they could be protected while plundering their neighbors and
making prisoners to sell on their own account, they would regard slavery
as a divine institution; but when the tables are turned and the Shoolis
are the prisoners and the merchandise, the matter has a different
aspect. It reminds me of the school-boy story of the goring of the ox.

"Captain Mohammed saw how his speech was received, and therefore, like a
wily Arab, hastened to change it. He assured the chief that we had not
come to disturb them, but to protect them from all enemies, white and
black alike, and that as long as the power of Egypt was recognized the
Shoolis should not be carried into slavery.

"This was more agreeable to the views of the savage, and the
negotiations went on more smoothly.

"Coffee was served, and the chief drank it eagerly. A second and then a
third cup was handed to him, and the beverage had the effect of making
him more inclined to listen to reason. The result was that the terms of
peace were arranged, and the captain and the chief became 'blood
brothers.' Blood brotherhood is a peculiarity of Africa, and is
described by Livingstone, Baker, and other explorers.

"The men who are to become related in this way make slight punctures in
each others arms, and then swallow a drop of the blood that flows from
the wound. The ceremony is not a pleasing one to look at, and I do not
care to be present a second time. It occupied only a few moments, and
quite likely both parties were glad to have it over as soon as possible.

"The chief agreed to order his people to cease hostilities; but, as it
would take a certain time to convey the intelligence through his
country, it would be best for us to wait a couple of days where we were.
The captain protested that the delay would be inconvenient, as we had a
good many mouths to feed, and the consumption of provisions was serious.

"'I will show you how to get fresh provisions,' said the chief. 'There
is to be a grand hunt to-morrow, and you shall see it, and have a share
of the proceeds.'

"Then he told us that the hunt was to come off the next day, a few miles
to the east of our camp, and he invited us to go. I was very glad he did
so, as it gave me a chance to see something of which I had read in
Baker's account of his expedition, as well as in the works of other
travellers. The Shoolis are great hunters; in fact, their country is so
full of game that they have every reason to be fond of the chase."



CHAPTER XIII.

FRANK ON A HUNTING EXCURSION.--DRIVING THE PLAIN WITH FIRE.


While we were getting ready for the hunt Abdul told me something that
rather surprised me. He said the game-laws of Africa were as exact as
those of England, at least in many parts of the country, and that their
infringement often led to severe punishment. There are large areas of
country, with very few inhabitants, which are much like the
game-preserves in England. The animals run at large, and are undisturbed
except at certain seasons of the year, when the grand hunts take place.
Then the natives assemble for the chase, and the hunt is conducted on a
grand scale. The ground is the property of certain chiefs or large
owners, and a part of the proceeds of the hunt belongs to them.

"In this region the favorite mode of hunting is by means of nets. Every
man has a net of strong cord. It is about forty feet long and eleven
feet deep, with meshes six inches square. The hunt is under the
direction of a chief, who arranges and controls it from beginning to
end, and everybody is subject to his orders.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE HEAD-MAN.]

"Several days before the hunt the big drum is sounded in the village of
the chief of the tribe, to call the head-men of the other villages
together; when all are assembled the day of the hunt is announced, and
the place where the people are to meet is agreed upon. Then the head-men
depart, each to his own village, and the news is scattered as fast as
possible.

"Sometimes a chief gives a grand entertainment before the hunt, but in
this instance he didn't do so. On such occasions he slaughters several
oxen for feeding his guests, and brews a large quantity of native beer
for them to drink. An important personage in such affairs is the
sorcerer, who secures good-luck by certain magical performances. Unless
he practices his incantations it is believed that no game will run into
the nets; and, besides, accidents might happen to some of the party if
they did not have his good offices beforehand.

"The negro tribes of Central Africa are great believers in the power of
magic. Their sorcerers are invoked frequently to discover stolen
articles, to heal the sick, and perform other practical work which we
usually give to the police or the doctor, and they also exercise the art
of rain-makers. Perhaps you never heard of a rain-maker?

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN MAGICIAN SUPERINTENDING THE SLAUGHTERING OF AN
OX.]

"Well, he is generally an old man, and carries a lot of charms about
him, together with a horn or whistle, which he blows to create rain in
seasons of drought, or to stop it when it falls too heavily. If the rain
does as he commands it he claims all the credit; but if it does not obey
he attributes his ill-luck to certain evil spirits over whom he has no
control. If the person who calls him can afford it he generally orders
an ox or some other animal to be killed, so that he can make his
divinations after the manner of the ancient Romans, by examining the
heart of the slaughtered beast. As he is sure to be presented with
choice pieces of the meat, it is not improbable that he has an eye to
his own welfare in issuing his commands.

"The rain-maker is held in great respect by all the people, and
consequently it is well for all travellers to make friends with him at
once. The chief with whom we had the interview was accompanied by his
sorcerer, whose badge of office was a cow's horn, which he carried over
his shoulder, and a whistle suspended from his neck. The whistle was a
wooden one, of rather primitive construction, and not very loud in
sound. I won the heart of the magician by giving him a hunting-whistle
of bright pewter, and a little harmonicon such as you can buy at any
toy-shop. The old fellow had some trouble to manage the harmonicon
between his thick lips; but after a few trials he got along very well,
and was evidently highly delighted with the result.

"Captain Mohammed supplemented my gift with a tin fish-horn, and then
the rain-maker's joy was complete. He appeared confident of bringing
rain from the ground instead of the sky, if necessary, and did not
hesitate to promise a fine day for the hunt. His office has some risk
about it, as he is liable to lose his place and head in case he does not
make the weather to suit his chief; though he can generally excuse
himself in the way I have related by attributing the failure to the
influence of evil spirits.

[Illustration: A NATIVE FERRY.]

"I am forgetting the hunt while talking about the rain-maker and his
performances. We started long before daylight, having sent forward the
servants to get breakfast ready on the bank of a small river that lay in
our way. Some native boats were there to ferry us over, and our horses
were sent to a ford a mile or more up the stream, and then brought down
again to meet us at the place of breakfasting. By this plan we made a
considerable saving of time, as it would have caused much delay if we
had waited in camp for breakfast, and we should have had a needless ride
of a couple of miles if we had crossed by the ford.

"We reached the place appointed for the rendezvous, and found hundreds
of the natives there in advance of us, though it was only seven o'clock
in the morning. There was a small cloud in the sky, and the old
rain-maker at once set about showing us how he could drive it away. A
few blasts on his tin horn and a dozen shrill notes on the pewter
whistle had the desired effect: the cloud melted under the heat of the
sun, and the magician looked at us with a proud and satisfied air. What
might have happened if the cloud had increased and the day been a wet
one, I shudder to think of, as the Shooli chief was bent on giving us a
good time, and would have been sadly disappointed and very angry if the
weather had been unfavorable.

"There had been no rain for some days, and under the hot sun of Central
Africa the grass and ground had become quite dry. This was an important
consideration, as the plan of hunting included the burning of the grass
over a considerable extent of ground, so as to drive the game in the
direction of the nets.

[Illustration: NET HUNTING BY THE SHOOLI TRIBE.]

"The men were all ready with their nets and spears, and at a signal they
moved to the designated spot, and formed the barrier which was to stop
the game. The nets were supported by sticks, and each net was attached
to the adjoining one; the number was large enough to form a fence more
than a mile long, and in the shape of a semicircle; each native was
concealed behind his own net by means of a screen, made by tying
together the tops of the grass till a sort of inverted fan was formed.
When the nets had been placed, and the hunters concealed behind their
screens, there was nothing to indicate the presence of man, and even the
net could not be seen on account of the high grass.

"The ends of the net came to the bank of a brook about thirty feet wide,
but its centre was at least a quarter of a mile from the stream. The
women and children, of whom there were great numbers, formed a sort of
hedge from the ends of the net for a considerable distance, in order to
direct the game into the fatal snare.

"The captain and I had brought our rifles, and the chief assigned us to
places behind a couple of ant-hills. We were each followed by
gun-bearers with extra weapons, in case of accident to our own, and the
captain cautioned me not to fire unless I was quite sure that none of
the negroes were in line of my shot and liable to be hurt.

"When everything was ready the chief of the hunt blew a whistle, and the
signal was repeated by a man stationed four or five hundred yards away.
Then it was repeated by another and another, and so on, till it was
carried at least half a dozen miles to windward.

"Ten minutes after the signal was given we saw a column of smoke
rising on the horizon, and it was joined by other columns of smoke as
far as we could see. Then I saw the whole plan of the hunt: the game was
to be driven by the fire in our direction, and the net was to enable the
hunters to use their spears. We with the rifles had been stationed far
enough from the nets to prevent the possibility of our injuring any of
the men behind them. The captain was opposite one of the ends, and I was
near the other; and we were to shoot at anything liable to escape the
nets, and especially were we to use our weapons upon lions or other
dangerous beasts.

"The rule of the hunt was, that each man was to have all the game killed
within the limits of his net. This seemed fair enough; but it sometimes
happened that an animal speared by one hunter ran into the net of
another before he fell; and this gave rise to disputes, which were
appealed to the chief. Captain Mohammed said that if there was any
trouble about the decision the chief took the game to himself, and thus
prevented any one from feeling hurt at seeing what he considered his
prize given to one of his neighbors. There is also an allowance of a
hind-quarter of each animal killed to the owner of the land.

"The place where I stood was not far from the brook before mentioned;
and in order that I should not be seen I stuck some bushes in the top of
the ant-hill, hoping that my white hat would not scare away any of the
game. The fact is, the animals on such occasions are so frightened that
they pay little attention to man, but are entirely occupied with running
away.

"I waited rather impatiently for a chance to shoot something. Presently
an antelope came bounding over the crest of the ridge, but he was too
far off for me to give him a bullet. Then came others, and I had the
good-fortune to send one over.

[Illustration: DRIVING GAME BEFORE A PRAIRIE FIRE.]

"How my hand trembled as I saw a lion running almost in my direction,
and felt certain he would pass near enough to give me a fine shot! I
brought my rifle to my shoulder, and just as I was on the point of
firing I saw a native rise from the grass directly in line beyond the
prize I had marked for my own.

"I allowed the lion to pass, but took a shot at a hartbeest, and brought
him to the ground. Some buffaloes turned aside, avoiding the nets, and
the natives did not try to stop them. They prefer that buffaloes should
give their nets a wide berth, and are not at all pleased to encounter a
lion. A rhinoceros passed near where Captain Mohammed was stationed, but
too far off for a shot, and he went through the net as a circus-rider
passes through a paper hoop.

"I managed to shoot three antelopes and as many hartbeests before the
smoke became so thick that it was difficult for me to see. I wondered
what I would do when the fire reached me, but did not have any occasion
to trouble myself about it. The flames reached the brook and then
stopped, and in a little while the smoke blew away, and left the ground
all blackened by the fire that had passed over it.

"The hunt was fairly successful, and nobody had any reason to complain,
as the natives got enough antelopes to supply them for some time.
Captain Mohammed killed six; and these, with what I had shot, were a
good addition to our supplies. The chief said the meat belonged to us by
right, as the animals would have escaped the net from running so far to
one side. Some of the antelopes seemed to understand the business; they
had been hunted that way so often that when they reached the bank of the
brook and saw the people, they knew the net was on the other side, and
did not cross. They turned and ran either down or up the stream, and
took the chances of being speared or shot while escaping.

"We had the meat taken to camp after delivering to the owner of the land
the quarter which was his right. Instead of taking a fourth of each
animal, according to the custom of the country, he accepted one whole
antelope out of four, which amounted to exactly the same thing, and
saved the trouble of division. We sent to the chief several presents,
which were more than the equivalent for the game we secured--at least,
they must have been so in his eyes, though in reality their value was
very small. There was a large knife, such as you can buy in the shops
for half a dollar, and several pieces of jewellery--not made at
Tiffany's. He was much pleased with his gifts, and we are convinced that
his friendship is secure.

"Many natives came into camp the next day, and sometimes they were so
numerous that their visits were a little irksome. We managed to amuse
them by getting out a mechanical organ, which was wound up as fast as it
ran down, so that we had a steady strain of music through the entire
day.

"We had several popular airs played by the organ, and probably it was
the first time they were ever heard among the Shoolis. It made no
difference what was performed, and the negroes were equally delighted
with the grand march from 'Faust,' or Little Buttercup from 'Pinafore.'
Several times they formed a circle and danced to the music; they did not
keep step with any sort of exactness, and their dancing was little more
than an excited whirl. I realized the force of what Stanley and other
explorers have said, that a band of music would be better than a
company of sharpshooters for escorting a traveller through the greater
part of the 'Dark Continent.'

[Illustration: THE RIVER BANK.]

"In the afternoon I went to a river a mile or so from camp, intending to
catch some fish. The banks of the stream were covered with reeds for
quite a distance back on each side, and the only way of getting to the
surface was by means of a narrow channel through the reeds to the
cleared ground. A canoe made from the trunk of a tree was the only
conveyance, and as it was not capable of carrying more than four
persons, and was very easily overturned, I did not think it wise to
venture out. So I returned fishless, but had the satisfaction of
shooting a couple of birds on the way back. They had a marked
resemblance to the guinea-fowl of Africa, having a tuft on the top of
the head and a tail which spreads like a fan. They appeared on our table
at dinner, and were a toothsome addition to our larder.

[Illustration: FRANK'S BIRD.]

"True to our arrangement with the chief, we resumed our march on the
second morning after the hunt, and found no farther opposition, though
we did not relax our vigilance in the least degree. The rifles of the
men were loaded and ready for work, and each soldier had the same number
of cartridges as before. It is a rule of African explorers to trust to
no promises on the part of a native farther than the moment they are
made. Undoubtedly we do injustice to many by following this rule, but if
there is any mistake it is on the side of safety. There is so much
treachery among them that, sooner or later, the man who gives them his
confidence is liable to betrayal. It was the invariable custom of
Stanley to sleep in his own tent or hut, and never accept the invitation
to be lodged by any chief or king whom he happened to be visiting.

"In the afternoon of our march we started several antelopes and other
game animals, but they were so frightened at our appearance that they
ran away as fast as antelopes can possibly run. I can't say what speed
they made, but it was altogether too much for us to think of following.

[Illustration: ROCKY HILLS.]

"The country here is very pretty, not heavily wooded and not a level
plain; there are hills in the distance, both on the east and west, and
in the south is a chain of mountains that seem to threaten to stop our
march. Sometimes we cross open areas of a mile or more, with a few trees
scattered here and there, and again we come to stretches of forest of a
density that would require a path to be cut if one did not already
exist.

"There are a good many brooks and tiny rivers running through the
region, so that it is well watered, and the traveller is in no danger of
suffering from thirst. Some of the streams are sluggish and run through
marshy ground, but the most of them remind you of an American brook
gliding over sand and pebble, and occasionally rippling merrily down a
rapid descent. I never supposed there was such a temperate region in
Africa; but when I remember that we are four thousand feet above the
level of the sea, and on the great plateau of Central Africa, my
surprise ceases.

[Illustration: GREAT ROCK NEAR THE CAMP.]

"One of our camps was made under the shelter of a great rock, which had
a deep pool on the surface. We could hardly believe the story till we
climbed the rock and saw for ourselves, and there, sure enough, was the
pool.

"'There is a rock just like this on the route to Zanzibar,' said Abdul,
'and it was visited by Cameron in his journey across Africa.'

"'Yes,' said the captain, 'and there is the same story about that rock
as there is of the one we are on.'

"'What is that?' I asked.

"'They say that an elephant was once drowned in the pool while
attempting to drink from it.'

"I looked around, and quietly remarked to Captain Mohammed that I could
hardly believe an elephant was ever drowned in the pool.

"'Oh, certainly,' he answered. 'The water is very deep, and an elephant
might easily be drowned in it.'

"'Of course that might be,' I replied, 'provided the elephant was here.
But will you explain how he could climb up this rock, which is steeper
than the roof of a house, and has required us to use both feet and hands
to ascend?'

"The captain said he never thought of that, and quite agreed with me
that no elephant could be drowned in the pool. Then we went down by
the same path we had ascended. I slipped in the descent, and had an ugly
fall, but fortunately was caught by one of the soldiers who accompanied
us. If he had not been where he could grasp me I should have been
fortunate to escape without serious injury.

[Illustration: PECULIAR TABLE-ROCK IN THE BARI COUNTRY.]

"Speaking of high and curious rocks, I am reminded of one in the Bari
country, which was visited by Baker Pacha.

"It is near the base of a mountain called Regiaff, and consists of a
large, flat stone supported on a pedestal, very much like the
centre-table of a parlor in America. It is a slab of syenite that must
have become detached as the mountain decomposed. It is so large that the
natives often seek shelter beneath it from the rain or the noonday sun,
and their cattle find it a comfortable resting-place. The pedestal is of
clay, and the broad roof over it protects it from the weather, so that
it has remained unharmed for many centuries.

"The natives have a superstition that any one who sleeps beneath this
stone will die in a short time. The belief probably arose from some one
having been killed by the fall of a fragment from the lower surface.
Several large pieces are partly detached, and a very slight disturbance
would cause them to tumble to the ground.

"The measurement of this wonderful stone is as follows:

                                     Ft.  In.
  Length of slab                     45    4
  Breadth of slab                    45    8
  Thickness from above to below       4    9
  Height from ground                 10    5
  Diameter of clay pedestal          23    0

"The same formation of rock as the one above described can be seen at
Monument Creek, in the neighborhood of Manitou, Colorado. When the earth
beneath the slab is partly worn away the stone protects it from the
weather, and thus these natural tables are formed. The pedestals of the
Manitou table-rocks are formed of a coarse sandstone, while the tables
are of mica schist. Both of them are subject to the action of the
elements, and since the country has been known to the white man there
has been a considerable disintegration of the rocks. Some of them are
quite large, but I never heard of one equalling that at Regiaff."



CHAPTER XIV.

ARRIVAL AT FATIKO.--THE MARCH CONTINUED.--FRANK'S ANTELOPE HUNT.


While the party was in camp, waiting for the order to move, the
conversation naturally turned on previous experiences of travellers in
the same region.

Abdul said the Shoolis were generally regarded as a friendly race. They
usually treated travellers kindly, and welcomed the peaceable merchant
who brought goods to exchange for ivory. They had suffered frequently
from the raids of slave-dealers, and their occasional hostility to
strangers arose from this fact.

They are a credulous people, under ordinary circumstances, and sometimes
can be made to believe things that are not to their advantage. For
example, at the time of Baker's expedition for suppressing the
slave-trade the slave-dealers managed to convince the Shoolis that the
real object of Baker was to capture the whole tribe and carry it into
captivity. In this way they brought about an alliance between the
Shoolis and themselves, and made an attack upon Baker, with the
intention of destroying his entire force.

"This was the way of it," said Abdul. "The slave-dealers had a camp near
Fatiko, and were pretending to be doing as Baker wished, but all the
time they were plotting against him. They had gathered quite a band of
natives, and when Baker approached with only his little company of the
so-called 'Forty Thieves' they felt confident of destroying them.

"Baker sent one of his officers to demand that Aboo Saood, the chief of
the slave-dealers, should come to him and explain certain things. The
chief said he would do nothing of the sort, and sent back an insulting
message. Thereupon Baker advanced with his men to within two or three
hundred yards of the slavers' camp.

"There he stopped, and sent another messenger, who was insulted, as the
other had been. As he left the camp some of the slavers fired several
shots in the direction of 'The Forty,' so that there was no doubt of
their intentions.

[Illustration: BAKER'S BATTLE WITH THE SLAVE-DEALERS.--CHARGE OF THE
EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS.]

"This was enough. The bugler was ordered to sound the charge, and away
went the line of trained soldiers right in the direction of the group of
tents that formed the camp. The slave-dealers and their allies opened
fire upon the column, and it looked for a few moments as if they would
all be cut down before reaching the camp.

"Not a man halted or hesitated. They kept straight on, and the battle
was over in less time than it would take you to write the story I am
telling. The soldiers burned the huts, and made complete work before
they stopped; they captured three hundred cattle and all the goods
belonging to the camp, and released half as many slaves. Not a soldier
of the forty was killed, and only seven of them were wounded.

"One of the first shots fired at the slave-dealers was by Baker himself;
it was aimed at one of the hostile chiefs, Wat-el-Mek, and the bullet
cut off one of the fellow's fingers, and destroyed the gun he had in his
hands. He was taken prisoner, and brought into camp, and a more
thoroughly frightened man was never seen.

"Wat-el-Mek declared that he had only acted under the orders of Aboo
Saood, and supposed he was doing right. He carried a great many charms
about him, and believed they were certain to protect him from harm. He
had been in a hundred fights before, and never received so much as a
scratch. His superstitious nature led him to believe that his injury was
due directly to Divine interposition, which was the only thing that
could have power over his charms and incantations.

"The story went about among the officers and soldiers that Baker had
determined to cut off the man's finger and smash his rifle, but not to
kill him, in order to bring him over to the side of the government and
make him useful in future. At any rate, this was the result; he promised
to behave properly if allowed to live, and therefore Baker pardoned him,
and dressed the wounded hand, so that it healed in a little while. The
fellow kept his word, and was always on the side of the government after
that.

"Wat-el-Mek immediately set about organizing a small army of natives to
co-operate with Baker, and a few days later he captured one of the
slave-dealers' camps, and seized all the arms and ammunition it
contained. In this way he proved of great assistance; and as he was very
influential with the natives he soon had them under control, and the
country became peaceful. The slave-dealers found they could not cope
successfully with the Egyptians, and wisely abandoned the attempt."

[Illustration: CROSSING A PLAIN.]

Many of the Shoolis accompanied the party when it moved from camp, so
that the procession was a long one. Where the country was level and open
the column extended for nearly a mile, and Frank devoted some of his
leisure time to making sketches of the scene. Whenever the bugle was
sounded for any purpose the natives in hearing immediately formed a
circle for a dance; and during the halts in the middle of the day or in
camp in the evening they were perpetually asking for music. The bugler
blew himself hoarse in his efforts to supply their demands, and there
was a prospect at one time that even the music-box would go on a
"strike," and refuse to do duty any longer. Happily, it held out, and
Frank said it was a fortunate circumstance that the organ was inanimate,
and therefore incapable of weariness.

There is a post called Fatiko, at the edge of the Shooli country, and
Captain Mohammed said they would halt there for a day to rest the men.
Frank was not at all disinclined to the slight delay, as it would give
him an opportunity to look at the first fort ever built in this part of
Africa. He displayed some impatience to get there, and would have gone
on in advance of the column, if it had been entirely proper and safe to
do so.

Fort Fatiko was built by Baker Pacha, as a defence against the natives,
and as a menace to the slave-dealers. The natives were opposed to its
establishment at first, but soon took very kindly to it when they found
the Egyptian troops were their friends, and moreover were good customers
for the grain and other things they had for sale.

[Illustration: FORT FATIKO.]

The fort was about five hundred feet square, and consisted of a strong
embankment or earthwork on three sides, while the fourth was a high
rock, which was rendered inaccessible on its farther side. The powder
magazine and storehouses were on this rock, and there was a flag-staff
on the summit, so that the Egyptian colors were visible for a long
distance. There was a road from each of the three sides of the
earthwork, but none from the rock; so that all entrance and exit was
through the heavy embankment. On the southern side of the rock there was
a strong _zeriba_, where the cattle were driven at night; and outside
the fort in every direction were fields of grain and garden vegetables,
which were cultivated by the garrison or by the natives. Every soldier
was allowed a small plot of ground for his own use, and the men were
encouraged to add to their scanty pay by the promise of good payment for
whatever they could raise in their gardens.

[Illustration: GROUND-PLAN OF THE FORT.]

The garrison consisted of fifty regular soldiers from Khartoum, and
about a hundred irregulars, under the command of a native chief. The
former were armed with Remington rifles, while the irregulars were
equipped with the ordinary muskets, such as the merchants bring to the
country. The irregulars were not considered entirely trustworthy, and
therefore it was not advisable to give them anything but inferior
weapons. As long as they were faithful they would be more than a match
for twice or thrice their number of the natives that surrounded them, as
their muskets could speedily overpower the spears of the latter, and, in
the event of their treachery, the Remington rifles would soon make an
end of the muskets and the men who held them.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM THE ROCK-FORT OF FATIKO.]

Frank climbed to the top of the rock-fort of Fatiko, and found that the
view from it was singularly striking. The ground away to the south was a
level plain, broken here and there by masses of granite similar to the
one on which he stood. The nearest of these was almost large enough to
entitle it to be called a mountain. A little village was nestled against
its base, and between the village and the fort was the pasture, or one
of the pastures, of the stock belonging to the garrison. Goats and sheep
occupied the nearest portion of the ground, and beyond them were the
horned cattle and horses, grazing under the care of their herders, and
protected by a guard detailed for that purpose.

On the top of the rock there was a platform of considerable extent, its
edge forming a natural rampart, which was a perfect defence against the
negroes, with their barbaric weapons. Of course it would be of little
consequence against artillery; but there is not the remotest chance of
artillery being brought to bear against it, for the simple reason that
the natives have nothing of the kind, and no knowledge of the processes
of working metals beyond that of smelting iron-ore and shaping it into
spear-heads and the like.

A soldier was on duty on the top of the rock, with instructions to
report any approach of caravans, or even of small groups of men, from
whatever direction. The arrival of the escort from Gondokoro made quite
a sensation among the members of the garrison, and those who received
permission came out on the road to meet the new-comers; in fact,
everybody had left except the sentinel on the summit and the men who had
been detailed to relieve him, and Frank thought, under the
circumstances, it would not have been hard work for him to take the
fort, with Abdul's assistance, and keep it for his own use. But he
wisely considered that he would not know what to do with a fort if he
had one. It would be worse than a "white elephant" on his hands, and so
he gave the matter no farther thought, and let the stronghold of Fatiko
remain in Egyptian hands.

Frank ascertained that the fort was 3587 feet above the level of the
sea, and about 300 feet higher than the flat country, which began a few
miles farther on. Captain Mohammed told him that from that point to the
Somerset River the region was sparsely settled, and they would not
encounter many natives. There was no reason to fear hostilities, though
it was reported at the post that the King of Unyoro was at war with one
of his neighbors, and the difficulties between these native monarchs
might possibly make travelling a trifle unsafe.

"The King of Unyoro," said the captain, "is friendly to nobody; he is
treacherous to strangers as well as to neighbors, and, while professing
friendship, is quite likely to be plotting your ruin. He has been taught
several severe lessons, which have made him more respectful, though no
more friendly, than before.

"Speke and Grant were detained some time in Unyoro, and were obliged to
use considerable strategy to get away when they did. Since their visit
a new king is on the throne, but he is much like the former one, though
not so great a beggar. The old king compelled Speke to give him his
watch and chain, and many other things of his personal belongings, in
addition to the presents they had brought him as tribute to an African
ruler."

"I remember," said Frank, "reading in Speke's account of his travels how
the King of Unyoro kept demanding one thing after another, and finally
asked for the finger-rings that Grant was wearing. Everything that was
shown to him he begged for at once, and the only way to silence him was
by saying that in their country the king does not beg, like a common
man.

[Illustration: CAMP WHERE SPEKE WAS DETAINED.]

"He visited their tents one day, and everything he saw he admired, and
what he admired he wanted at once. It made no difference whether an
article would be of any use to him or not: he probably reasoned that if
it was valuable to the white man it must be good, and therefore he
coveted it. One of the most mysterious things to him was a
pocket-compass, as he had been told by his officers that it was a magic
horn, by which the white man could travel anywhere."

"Yes," replied the captain; "the compass has never ceased to be a wonder
to the negroes in the interior of Africa; we are careful not to let them
know its principles, and it is not at all surprising that they cannot
comprehend it.

"Once when I was among the people of the Bahr-el-Azrek I obtained great
control over the chief by the use of the compass. I told him I knew how
to direct myself in the darkest night or in the thickest forest, and
left him to suppose it was done by supernatural aid.

"He disbelieved me; and I then offered to prove the truth of my
assertion. I was to go out in the middle of the plain near his village,
and there be placed under a canopy and blindfolded. His men might walk
me around in a circle, or in any other way, for a quarter of an hour,
and then remove the bandage while I was under the canopy in such a way
that I could not look out. With a magic stone in my hand I would walk in
any direction he indicated, and if I failed I was to forfeit a large
amount of cloth and other things that in Africa are equivalent to money.

"All was arranged to suit the ideas of the chief, and he effectually
prevented my seeing the sun or getting any other indication of my
position. When the bandage was removed I simply looked in my hand, where
the pocket-compass was partially concealed, and as he asked the
direction of the sun I indicated it to him, and also the course I would
take to return to the village. He could not understand it; and as I
allowed him to believe that I worked by magic he had a great respect for
me from that moment."

The expedition left Fatiko the second morning after its arrival, and
continued on its journey to the south. Frank observed that the country
was in many places flat and covered with tall grass, a change that was
not at all agreeable after the undulating region through which they had
been travelling. Abdul said that in the rainy season these flat areas
became marshes, through which it was not at all easy to force one's way.
"You have to do a great deal of wading," said he, "and sometimes the
feet of the porters and animals of a caravan convert the road into a
mass of mud. This was the case when Colonel Long made his journey to
Ugunda; he frequently fell into mud-holes so deep that he was completely
covered and plastered from head to foot, and when he went into camp at
night there wasn't a dry or clean thread about him."

This region is a favorite hunting-ground of the natives, as it contains
few inhabitants, and the wild animals that roam over it are allowed to
have their own way, except in the season of the chase. Hunting can only
be carried on in the dry season, as neither animals nor man can get
about when the rains are falling. The country abounds in game, from the
largest size downward. Herds of elephants are numerous, though less so
than formerly, owing to the persistency of the hunters and the improved
methods of killing the huge beasts since the invention of
elephant-rifles and explosive balls.

An accident to some of the baggage caused a detention of a couple of
hours, and Frank improved the opportunity to go on a tramp of a mile or
more, in the hope of bagging something in the way of game.

Just as he was ready to turn about to go back to camp he saw a couple of
horns above the grass, and, looking closely, traced out the animal to
which they belonged. Motioning to Abdul and the gun-bearer who
accompanied them to keep perfectly quiet, he crept noiselessly forward,
and soon obtained a good position for an effective shot.

He fired, and the animal, after giving a single bound in the air,
tumbled to the ground. While Frank paused to reload Abdul ran forward
and secured the prize.

[Illustration: N'SAMMA ANTELOPE.]

"It's a N'samma antelope," said he, "one of the finest of the many
varieties of antelope in Africa. It is well known to hunters in all the
equatorial regions wherever there are wide plains, and is closely allied
to the hartbeest, which belongs farther south, but is not uncommon
here."

"Yes," responded Frank, "we saw one on the day of the great hunt with
the Shoolis, and I thought this was the same kind of animal when I spied
his horns through the grass."

"The name hartbeest was given to him by the Dutch colonists of the Cape
of Good Hope," said Abdul, "and the proper name for it is kaama. In
scientific works the hartbeest of South Africa is called the _Antilope
caama_, while that of the central and northern regions is the _Antilope
bubalis_."

Frank was rather taken aback by this display of scientific knowledge on
the part of his dragoman. He had found the dragoman unusually
intelligent for his profession, but this dissertation on natural history
was beyond his expectations. He learned, on inquiry, that Abdul had been
using his spare time in examining the books in Frank's possession, and
his latest achievement had been to read up on the antelope question.

The gun-bearer was sent to bring help for transporting the antelope to
camp; but he had not gone far when he met half a dozen men, who had been
sent out to see if their services were wanted. Captain Mohammed knew the
country was full of game, and told the men to start immediately on
hearing Frank's shot.

"Keep a sharp lookout for something more than an antelope," said Abdul
at starting, repeating the caution as they set out for the return.

"It was not far from here," he continued, "that Sir Samuel Baker had a
narrow escape from the jaws of a lioness.

"He was out with a party of natives, who were driving the prairie with
fire, as we did the other day among the Shoolis, and had half a dozen of
the people near him, armed only with spears.

"While his attention was drawn toward an antelope that was moving in his
direction, and promising to give him a good shot, he suddenly discovered
a large lioness rising out of the grass within a few yards of the less
dangerous animal. She came straight toward his position, and he made
ready to fire.

"When she was within forty yards or so he fired, and rolled her over in
the grass; but she was up again in a moment, and charged at two of the
negroes, who managed to evade her jaws.

"Then he fired again at her, and an officer who was with him did
likewise; but all the lead they poured into her sides did not kill her.
She lay down in the grass so that she could not be seen. Her loud
growling revealed her position, and the natives proposed to go with
their spears and stir her up, if Baker would stand by with his guns and
shoot on the first opportunity.

"Baker would not consent to this, as it would place the spearmen in
great danger, since the lioness would certainly charge upon them the
instant a spear was thrown. They sought for the beast, and at length saw
a yellowish mass, into which Baker fired a charge of buckshot, intended
for small antelopes.

[Illustration: CHARGE OF A LIONESS.]

"She sprung out, with a terrific roar, and Baker managed to put in a
couple of shots, but without stopping her. Everybody had to run to keep
out of her reach, and she again disappeared in the grass. Baker then
went in search of her. She was sitting up like a dog, and happened to be
looking in a direction opposite to the side on which he approached. He
crept to within twelve yards of her before firing, and this shot at
close quarters finished the work. She was an unusually large animal, and
her fierceness was quite in proportion to her size."

"It was very brave of the natives to offer to go to where she lay in the
grass and throw their spears," Frank remarked.

"It certainly was," replied Abdul. "Many of these Africans are very
brave, while others display a good deal of cowardice. The Shoolis, for
example, will attack any animal that comes in their way, and, as they
are armed only with spears, they must act at very close quarters to use
their weapons. Occasionally they have severe accidents in their hunting
excursions, and sometimes when a lion runs into their nets he kills or
wounds several of his assailants before he is despatched or escapes."

They reached the camp without farther incident, and in a little while
the men came bringing the meat which was obtained in the morning hunt.
The most of the column was already on the road, and it took only a few
minutes to divide the quarters of the antelope among the porters and
send them to follow the rest. They were instructed to go at once to the
place selected for the noonday halt and deliver their burdens to the
chief cook. That individual understood his business, and Frank made up
his mind for a savory stew when the hour for luncheon should arrive.

During the march an antelope fell to the rifle of the captain, and Frank
managed to get a shot at another, but without effect. A herd of
elephants was seen to the east of their route, but too far away to
render it advisable to pursue them. The wind was blowing from the herd,
and not toward it; had it been otherwise the elephants would have taken
the alarm almost as soon as the column appeared, and the prospect of
reaching them would have been exceedingly doubtful. Like many other wild
animals, the elephant can "take the scent" of man at a surprisingly long
distance, and when he obtains it he generally loses no time in seeking a
place of safety.



CHAPTER XV.

AN ELEPHANT HUNT.--CROSSING THE VICTORIA NILE.--ARRIVAL AT
FOUEIRA.--KING RIONGA AND HIS PEOPLE.


The camp was made at the edge of a forest, and the guides said that the
next day's march would be through a wooded country. In most places the
jungle was very dense, and Frank found it impossible to make much
headway when he ventured from the path. There was a thick undergrowth of
vines and small bushes, which made an excellent hiding-place for all but
the largest animals, and Frank was not surprised to learn that the woods
were full of game. "Only you can't make game of it," said Abdul,
"because it gets away so easily. A wild beast in this forest will see
you long before you can possibly see him, and if he chooses to do so he
can easily get out of your way."

From the forest to the open country again was a pleasant change, but the
guide lost the way once in crossing a plain, and they were obliged to
retrace their steps for a couple of hours. While they were feeling in
ill-humor at the consequent loss of time one of the scouts reported a
herd of elephants a mile or so to windward, and the captain at once
determined to try his hand among them.

Frank and Abdul were sent to the right of where the herd was feeding,
while Captain Mohammed and his gun-bearer went to the left. The plain
was covered with long grass, and there were many small mounds, with
shrubs on their crests, so that they formed admirable places for
concealment. Frank obtained a good position behind one of the mounds,
and the captain was similarly placed, a quarter of a mile away. We will
let Frank tell the story:

"A couple of men had been sent away to the rear of the herd to drive
them in our direction, and we had just fairly settled into our
positions, when the elephants caught the scent of the drivers and begun
to move. Unfortunately for me, they went in the line of the captain, and
I had to sit still without firing a shot. But what I missed the captain
gained, and perhaps he gained more than he wanted.

[Illustration: A DANGEROUS POSITION.]

"Five or six elephants advanced directly toward him, and when they were
not more than forty yards away he fired at the largest. The shot had the
effect of alarming the herd greatly, but without bringing down anything.
The wounded elephant whirled about and roared, and then stood still
among his companions, to see where the danger came from.

"The smell of the powder revealed that their assailant was at the foot
of the mound in front of them, and immediately the herd gathered in line
and prepared to charge. The captain and his gun-bearer would have been
trampled to death in a moment if the elephants had made their charge,
and he was certainly in an awkward predicament.

"They stood in a sideway position, so that he didn't have a fair shot at
the foreheads of any of them. Unless you hit an African elephant square
in the centre of the forehead there is little hope of killing him. The
captain's only safety was in frightening them, and so he fired at the
sides of their heads, and let off two shots in quick succession. This
had the effect of turning them round, and drove them to where I was
concealed in the tall grass, at the foot of another mound.

"I ran the same risk as the captain, but with the difference that the
elephants were frightened and making a straight course over my position
in order to get away. Abdul sprung to his feet and fired, and so did I;
and then we shouted, and kept the shots going, one after the other, till
we made a greater panic even than the captain had created.

"The herd turned again and went back over the plain, and we were safe
for the time. I wanted to follow them up, and so did the captain; but
time did not permit, and we returned to the column, which had been
resting by the roadside while we were absent on our unsuccessful hunt."

Just before dusk, when the caravan halted to go into camp, a solitary
elephant was seen leisurely feeding in the grass not more than three
hundred yards from the road. Frank wanted to have a shot at him, but his
proposal was vetoed by Captain Mohammed as a dangerous performance.

"Don't go near him," said the captain; "he is a 'rogue' elephant, and
one of the most dangerous of his class."

[Illustration: FRANK'S DISCOVERY: A "ROGUE" ELEPHANT.]

Frank remembered hearing about rogue elephants in Ceylon and India, and
asked if there was any difference between the Asiatic and the African
elephant in this particular.

"Not much," was the reply; "though, perhaps, the African when he becomes
a rogue is a trifle more vicious than his Asiatic brother. He is an
elephant that has become separated from his herd and is obliged to roam
by himself. No other elephant will associate with him, and he is an
outcast, who can never hope for restoration to elephantine society. He
is far bolder than any member of a herd, and is always a male, and one
of the finest of his kind. Where another elephant would run away he will
stand up and fight, and his sagacity is quite equal to his strength and
courage."

Frank wished to know why the elephant became a rogue, or solitary
wanderer, and he also asked from what the designation came.

"He is called a 'rogue' in English," was the reply, "because that is the
literal translation of his Indian, Cingalese, and African name. He is a
rogue because of his viciousness and his destructive ways: he comes into
the plantations of the natives and destroys wantonly all that he cannot
eat. Ordinary herd elephants will go away when they have satisfied their
appetites, but a rogue will break down fruit-trees and trample whole
acres of rice or other growing things solely for the pleasure of
destroying them. It is a common remark that one rogue will do more
damage than a dozen herd elephants.

"India is a country, as you know, where caste prevails among the people,
and when a man does certain things, many of them trivial in our eyes, he
loses his rank, or caste. For some things he may be reinstated on
payment of a fine, which is proportioned to the extent of his offence;
but for others there is no restoration, and he remains a pariah, or
outcast, till his death.

"The people of India say that a rogue elephant has done something that
drives him from his caste, and something for which there is no
restoration. He may graze in the neighborhood of a herd, but under no
circumstances will he be admitted to their company; even if he happens
to be driven into a corral and entrapped with them he remains an
outcast. While they are trembling with fear and clasping their trunks in
expressions of grief, charging at the fence of the corral and making
every effort to escape, they will have nothing to do with the rogue.
They drive him away and refuse to permit him to enter their circle, and
when he is bound and dragged off helpless they will assail him unless he
is kept at a respectful distance.

"So don't venture near that rogue elephant," the captain continued, "as
he would turn upon you if your shot was not instantly fatal, and you
could not hope to get off as easily as we did from the whole herd of
honest ones."

As they approached the Somerset River, or Victoria Nile, the ground
became low and marshy, with long stretches of jungle and high grass that
made it impossible to see more than a few yards in any direction, except
upward at the sky. Even then there was not always a clear view, as the
papyrus plants bent over the path and enclosed the travellers in a sort
of natural arch. The opposite or south bank was higher, and consisted of
a series of bluffs, which promised a firm footing. The swamp or marsh
was exceedingly difficult for the horses; they sunk into the mud at
every step, and two or three times Frank was obliged to dismount to
allow his steed to extricate itself from a mud-hole. One of the
dismountings was much more sudden than agreeable, as the youth was
pitched over the animal's head without the least warning.

On the opposite bank was the military post of Foueira, the last station
of the Egyptian troops in Central Africa, and on the borders of the
territory of the King of Unyoro. It was the destination of Captain
Mohammed and his company of soldiers, and for the present the
destination of Frank Bassett. As Frank looked across the river--about a
thousand feet in width--he saw a group of conical huts, surrounded by a
stockade, and displaying the Egyptian flag from the summit of the
central hut. A little to the left was another group of huts; and as a
couple of elephants were standing near it Frank concluded that the
second enclosure must be the stable for the huge beasts.

Several boats were at hand for ferrying the party over the river, but a
difficulty arose concerning the transit of the horses.

The Nile was full of hippopotami and crocodiles, both of them dangerous
enough, and the latter particularly so. To attempt to swim the horses
over would have been certain death to them, as the crocodiles would
have welcomed the animals as rare material for a feast. There was no
raft provided for carrying them, and the only boats were 'dug-outs,'
hollowed from the trunks of trees. They were simply canoes, not over
three or at most four feet in width, and they shook from end to end when
a man stepped into them. But unless the horses could be taken into them,
there was no chance of crossing.

[Illustration: NAVIGATION UNDER DIFFICULTIES.]

Captain Mohammed ordered one of the boats to be brought close to the
bank and held there as firmly as possible. Then weeds and grass were
piled so as to conceal any interval between boat and shore; the
captain's horse was blindfolded with a handkerchief, and, all trembling
with fear, was led into the frail canoe. A man stood by his head to
prevent his jumping overboard with fright, the boatman pushed away, and
a soldier stood in the bow of the boat, shooting at the river-horses, to
keep them at a respectful distance.

Another boat received Frank's horse, and one after another the steeds
were taken over the Victoria Nile in safety. One of them struggled a
little during the transit, and came near upsetting the boat, to the
imminent peril of all concerned. The poor beast was soon quieted, and
seemed to understand that his safety lay in his docility. As for the
others, they hardly moved a muscle, except in the involuntary trembling
caused by fear.

Abdul said that this part of the river was one of the most dangerous, as
it was only at the peril of a man's life that he could venture near the
water. Hardly a day passed that some unfortunate native was not eaten by
the crocodiles, having paid with his life the penalty of carelessness.
Since the post was established at Foueira the crocodiles and hippopotami
have been cleared out to some extent, but the places of those that are
killed are generally taken without much delay.

[Illustration: AN UNPLEASANT ACQUAINTANCE.]

The day of his arrival Frank was strolling by the river not far from the
camp, when he came suddenly upon a "hippo" engaged at his breakfast. The
creature was munching away at the grass as though entirely at home; when
he saw the intruder he gave a loud grunt, followed by a roar, and he
paused in his eating, as if uncertain what to do.

Frank was not uncertain about his duty. He remembered that he wanted to
speak to Captain Mohammed about the prospects of steam navigation on the
Victoria N'yanza; and as there is no time like the present for doing
anything, he made the best of his way to the fort. It is intimated that
he ran, and ran very fast, for the first fifty yards, but we will not be
too particular in our inquiries about his movements. It is probable that
the cause of his alarm retreated to the water as soon as his roar was
over. The river-horse is not brave when on land, and is most to be
feared in the water, as he can move therein quickly, in spite of his
enormous bulk and short limbs.

[Illustration: THE VICTORIA NILE AT RIONGA'S ISLAND.]

Foueira, or Foweera, is a station established by Sir Samuel Baker, a
little more than two degrees north of the equator, and was intended for
the control of the portion of the annexed provinces south of the
Victoria Nile. It is a short distance above Kuruma Falls, and fifteen
miles below a large island known as King Rionga's. At the time the post
was established there was a war in progress between Rionga and the King
of Unyoro, the territory to the south. Rionga was heir to the throne,
but had been set aside by the intrigues of Kabba Rega; he consequently
retired to the island, where he could easily defend himself, and wait
the opportunity for the proper recognition of his rights.

The Egyptians endeavored to establish amicable relations with Kabba
Rega, but were unable to do so. While professing friendship, he
attempted to poison them, and very nearly succeeded; and his troops made
an attack upon Baker's camp at night, and came very near annihilating
the whole party. Baker thereupon returned to Foueira, strengthened the
place, and proceeded to make friends with Rionga. The latter was
recognized as the rightful king of the country, and, in return for the
recognition, he promised to do all in his power to support the Egyptian
authority.

Abdul described to Frank the visit of Baker to Rionga's Island, and the
ceremonies of declaring that he was the real ruler of the country.

Five large boats, hollowed from the trunks of trees, ascended the river
to the foot of the island, while the soldiers of the expedition marched
along the banks. A camp was formed close to the river and opposite the
lower end of the island. The latter appeared to be well cultivated, and
covered with fields of plantains, bananas, and other products of the
country, and there was everything to indicate that the people of the
throneless king were not likely to suffer for want of food.

The river in this region is bordered by forests of tropical trees, and
close to the banks on either side there are dense growths of papyrus,
some of the plants being fifteen or twenty feet high. It is full of the
same sort of animal life as at Foueira, and therefore a bath in its
waters is not to be recommended to any one who is prejudiced against
occupying the stomach of a crocodile. There are several varieties of
fish in the stream, but the work of taking them is not the safest in the
world, on account of the abundance of the saurian monsters;
consequently, the natives are not famous for their piscatorial pursuits.

It was dark before the party was all on shore, and it was not to be
expected that the king could be seen that evening. The next morning a
messenger went for him, carrying a present in the shape of a robe of
embroidered cloth, with a tarboosh and turban. It is not customary, when
calling on a king in any other country, to send him clothes to put on,
but they do these things differently in Africa.

Early in the forenoon a flotilla of boats was seen on the river, and in
a short time it pulled up in front of the camp. Drums were beating and
horns blowing in all directions, as a signal that the great Rionga was
going to see the white man, and the din was kept up till the monarch was
safe on shore.

The soldiers were drawn up in line to receive him, and as he came
forward, accompanied by his ministers and other great men, he was met by
Baker and one of his officers. They shook hands after the European
fashion; and as the king spoke Arabic the conversation was conducted
without the aid of an interpreter. Of course each was very glad to see
the other, and vows of friendship were interchanged; then a cow, a
sheep, and a load of corn were delivered as presents from Rionga, and
the king thanked Baker for the suit of clothes which had enabled him to
make a decent appearance at the reception.

[Illustration: INTERVIEW BETWEEN BAKER PACHA AND RIONGA.]

The interview lasted an hour or more, as there was a good deal to be
said on both sides, and it resulted in an alliance between the king on
the one hand, and the government on the other. The afternoon and evening
were devoted to a feast, for which the king furnished the materials, and
the next morning he and Baker went through the ceremony of exchanging
blood, and thereby becoming the firmest of friends. Two or three days
were occupied in receiving the allegiance of several chiefs who lived in
the neighborhood; and before the expedition returned to Foueira it was
agreed that war should be declared against the usurper, Kabba Rega; and
as soon as the dry season had set in the combined forces would move upon
M'rooli, the stronghold of Rionga's enemy.

Abdul farther said that Rionga was a handsome man, of unusually good
manners, and more intelligent than the majority of his race. He was
copper-colored rather than black, and the same was the case with the
most of his followers, who seemed warmly devoted to him. He had
abandoned all the barbarous practices of the African kings, never
ordering the punishment of death except for the very highest crimes, and
never offering human sacrifices or shedding the blood of subjects or
prisoners. His people lived chiefly on vegetable food, with the addition
of fish caught in the river. They had extensive plantations of bananas
and sweet potatoes; and though they had large flocks of sheep and goats,
they did not eat their flesh, but were contented with the milk. The
poorer classes sometimes live on ants, but do not display any particular
fondness for them; they preferred the products of their gardens; and if
they had plenty of bananas and plantains the ants were not disturbed.

[Illustration: WATER-BOTTLE.]

Frank asked if they had any manufactures. Abdul said they confined their
skill to a few articles of pottery, and some of them were very pretty,
as Frank had opportunity of learning when he looked at several specimens
in possession of the commander of the post. They consisted of water-jars
and pots for cooking purposes, and some of them were ornamented in a
way that would have done credit to a French or English worker in
pottery. Frank admired the water-bottles made from a gourd that grows in
this part of Africa: it has a long and slender neck, and the outside is
very tough and hard, so that it can resist a heavy blow, and is not
readily devoured by the almost omnivorous ants. These gourds are found
everywhere in the Unyoro and Uganda countries, and are useful for all
purposes where liquids are to be carried or kept.

[Illustration: GOURDS OF DIFFERENT SHAPES.]

Abdul said these gourds are trained to take a variety of shapes. Most of
them are unornamented, others decorated with black or red paints, and
the necks are twisted while the gourds are green and soft. They can be
softened in hot water. If broken while receiving the finishing touches
the seams can be closed with thread in a style to be envied by an
accomplished glove-sewer.

The pottery is made from a clay found in river-beds or at the base of
the highest hills. The implements for working it are of the rudest
description, and the natives are not even in possession of the potter's
wheel, which has been known in Egypt and China for thousands of years.
The clay is pulverized by being pounded between stones, and is then
worked into a thick paste to make it sufficiently plastic. The potter
shapes the mouth of a bottle, and then places it to dry in the sun. The
next day he adds an inch or so, and the next day another inch, and in
this way he continues the work till the article is completed.

When ready to be baked seven or eight of the bottles are placed together
and covered with a pile of dry grass, which is set on fire. Only a
gentle heat is needed, and wood-fires are not used, as the high
temperature would crack the bottles. Captain Speke says a good workman
will make four large pots in a day. Their picturesqueness and perfect
shape often surprise the stranger. In some regions the pottery turns
black when baked, while in others it becomes red, on account of the iron
in the soil.

We will leave Frank engaged in the inspection of specimens of African
workmanship, and return to Doctor Bronson and his nephew, whom we left
at the head of the White Nile, beginning the exploration of the Albert
N'yanza.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE ALBERT N'YANZA.--ACCOUNT OF ITS DISCOVERY.--INCIDENTS OF THE FIRST
DAY'S VOYAGE.


[Illustration: LAKE SCENE IN CENTRAL AFRICA.]

The _Khedive_ was headed for the western shore of the lake, or rather
she turned her prow in a westerly direction, as she steamed away from
the head of the Bahr-el-Abiad, or White Nile. Doctor Bronson said that
the village Magungo, at the mouth of the Victoria Nile, was not more
than twenty-five miles away in the opposite direction. Frank looked with
his glass, and easily made out the indentation in the shores of the lake
that marked the point where the river flows into the Albert N'yanza.

As they sat on the deck, sheltered by the double awning above them,
Doctor Bronson told his nephew the history of the discovery of the
Albert N'yanza.

"It is very strange," said he, "that only in very recent times has any
one known of the existence of this lake. Some of the negroes had told
the Arab traders who used to come to Gondokoro for ivory that there was
a great body of water a long distance to the south, but their accounts
of it were very much confused; and farthermore, as there was no prospect
that a lake would yield ivory, the traders paid little heed to the
story.

"When Speke and Grant explored the Victoria N'yanza, in 1862, they heard
of this lake, but were not permitted to visit it. Their information was
not altogether clear, but it was sufficient to convince them that there
was a body of water between the Victoria N'yanza and the lakeless Nile.
They left the Somerset River, or Victoria Nile, at Kuruma Falls, a few
miles below the present station of Foueira, and did not see the river
again until they were between the third and fourth parallels of north
latitude. They were then nearly a hundred miles below the point where we
now are, and, of course, there was no place on their route where a
single glimpse of the lake could be obtained.

"On February 15, 1863, they reached Gondokoro, and met Mr. Baker--the
same Sir Samuel or Baker Pacha whom we have occasion to mention so
often--and told him about the undiscovered lake. Baker determined to
reach it if possible; and after a good deal of difficulty he succeeded
in overcoming the scruples of the natives, and persuaded them to guide
him to the mysterious water."

Fred asked if Mr. Baker ascended the main stream of the Nile to its
head, as they had done.

"Not by any means," was the reply. "In the first place, transportation
by water was out of the question, on account of the falls in the river,
and also owing to the absence of suitable boats even for smooth sailing.
Baker pushed southward, by land, over much the same route that Frank has
now taken. He passed the Victoria Nile into the country of Unyoro,
having a long and tedious journey, and finally reached the lake at a
small fishing village on the eastern shore. This village is marked on
the maps as Vacovia. It is of little practical consequence, but will
always be an important spot to geographers.

"It was on March 14, 1864," continued the Doctor, "that Mr. Baker, who
was accompanied by his wife, reached the shore of the new lake at the
village I have mentioned. He gave the name of Albert N'yanza, in honor
of Prince Albert, to this body of water, and the name has been accepted
by all geographers, and will probably be permanent. You may therefore
record in your note-book that Sir Samuel Baker was the first white man
to see the lake, and that the honor of the discovery was shared by Lady
Baker.

"From the point where he saw it the lake appeared to stretch out to a
vast extent to the south and south-west. On the west, or opposite shore
to where he stood, there was a range of mountains whose tallest peaks
were about seven thousand feet in height.

"Baker was unable to explore the lake as he desired. He only made a
voyage by canoes along the coast as far as the mouth of the Victoria
Nile, which he ascended to Murchison Falls. From there he continued his
journey by land, and did not again see the lake. He found the coast
between Vacovia and Magungo bounded by high cliffs, most of them covered
with trees, but frequently so steep that it would have been difficult or
impossible to climb them. In some places they were almost perpendicular.
If you look with your glass you can possibly make out some of these
rocky headlands in the neighborhood of Magungo."

Fred turned his glass in the direction indicated, and could distinctly
see several bold cliffs that seemed to overhang the lake. They extended
to within a few miles of the point where the Nile emerges from the lake,
when they fell off, and gave place to low and at times swampy ground.

"So much for the early history of the Albert N'yanza, which is known to
the natives as the Luta N'zige. It is a hard word to pronounce, but if
you throw 'n' and 'z' into one sound you can possibly manage it. In
default of doing that you may call it 'Ziggee,' or fall back upon
'N'yanza,' which is much easier, and will do just as well; and if you
are very old-fashioned you may drop 'N'yanza,' the African name for
lake, and say you are steaming on Lake Albert, in Central Africa."

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE SHORES OF LAKE TANGANYIKA.]

Fred asked what was the relation between the Albert Lake and Lake
Tanganyika. He had a general idea of the Victoria N'yanza and its
geographical position, but wanted more information about the other.

"We will get to that by-and-by," said the Doctor, in reply. "Tanganyika
is still a mystery, as its outlet has not been fully determined, though
it is pretty definitely settled that it discharges into the Congo, or
Livingstone, and has no connection with the Nile. In fact, the surveys
show that it is at a lower level than the Albert N'yanza, and
consequently cannot flow into it; and as the Nile does not have any
affluent of consequence north of here, it is impossible that roundabout
stream from Tanganyika comes to it. We will talk more about that when we
reach the scenes of the exploits of Livingstone and Stanley."

As they had an abundance of time for circumnavigating the lake and
reaching Magungo on the day appointed for meeting Frank, the Doctor
concluded not to hurry the steamer, but make an early halt. So he told
the captain to land at the first convenient spot, and they would remain
there through the night.

[Illustration: A LAKE VILLAGE.]

It was at least an hour before sundown when the steamer was anchored
near the shore, where a headland pushed out into the lake and afforded
abundant water for safety. The small boat took Doctor Bronson and Fred
to a little village close to the water. It consisted of several huts in
front of a dense growth of papyrus-plants, and with a few palms rising
from the firm ground beyond. The natives were alarmed at the visit of
the strangers, and started to run away. They naturally took the party
for a slave-stealing expedition, and concluded that their only safety
was in flight.

Our friends were accompanied by two soldiers who had been detailed to
remain with them during their voyage, and return with the steamer to its
point of departure. As a matter of precaution, these soldiers went
wherever our friends did; and as they had seen a good deal of service,
and were familiar with many of the African tribes, they were useful in
numerous ways besides serving as escort.

One of them shouted to the people not to run away, as no harm was
intended, and to indicate that their intentions were not hostile, both
the soldiers placed their guns on the ground and held up their empty
hands. This caused the fugitives to pause; and, after some parleying,
they were convinced of the pacific intentions of their visitors, and
signified their willingness to return, provided they received a certain
number of beads and hatchets as a token of friendship.

A few beads and other trinkets had been brought along from the steamer,
but no hatchets. This circumstance was explained, and led to farther
parleying, and finally to the establishment of friendly relations all
round. The people came back to their village, the presents were
delivered, and in a little while everything was harmonious.

[Illustration: LAKE FISHES OF CENTRAL AFRICA.]

Then the natives offered presents in return. They had very little to
give, as they live entirely by fishing, and their gifts were limited to
the products of the lake. Several fishes were brought forward, one of
them an enormous fellow, weighing little if anything less than two
hundred pounds, and having quite a resemblance to the sturgeon of
American waters. One fish was evidently of the perch family, and another
was a near relation of the bull-head, or cat-fish, of the United States.
The natives said it lived in the mud at the bottom of the lake, and was
caught with a long line baited with a piece of another fish, or with a
large worm that abounded in the soil back of their village.

One of the fishes was said to live entirely on vegetable food, and his
jaws were equipped with teeth not unlike those of a sheep. The abundance
of vegetable matter in the lake evidently gave these specimens of the
finny tribe an easy life of it, as they could never be at a loss for
their dinners. As a result they were large and fat, and their shape did
not indicate either speed or power.

"They don't have everything their own way," said the Doctor as Fred was
examining the specimen. "Everything in nature has its uses, and these
vegetable-eating fishes probably furnish the bulk of the food for their
more voracious companions. If it were not so they would soon fill the
lake, as they would have no kind of struggle for existence. But the
other fishes pursue and devour them, so that their numbers are kept
within proper limits.

"Probably the crocodiles find them good eating, and when they fail to
secure any prey on land the water furnishes them with a support."

[Illustration: A FISHERMAN READY FOR WORK.]

Fred noticed that the fishermen were equipped with spears and nets, and
some of them carried bows and arrows. Their modes of fishing were
various, and according to the particular variety of game of which they
were in pursuit. For some kinds they watched at a good place, and either
speared their prey or pierced it with arrows when it came within reach.
Other kinds were taken in nets, others by lines, as we have already
mentioned, and others were caught by being driven into traps. One kind
of fish that always goes in large schools is secured by driving a school
into a trap made of a line of nets fastened to posts, in the same manner
as the nets which were seen by Frank on his way to Foueira.

[Illustration: A FISH-BASKET.]

A strong wind blew from the southward, so that there was quite a sea of
waves breaking on the exposed points of the coast. Doctor Bronson said
it would be inconvenient for them to make their excursion in a canoe, as
Baker had done, since the waves have little respect for the low sides of
the craft, and they would be constantly liable to a drenching. But the
steamer would not be inconvenienced in the least, as she was proof
against any storm that was likely to arise on the lake.

Fred wanted to stay on shore during the night, but the Doctor said there
were several reasons why they should not do so. It would be quite a
task to bring their tents and set up the camp, as everything would need
to be landed with the small boat; besides, it would be safer on board,
since they could never tell what plots the natives might make against
them if they slept on land. "We should need," he continued, "our
soldiers to watch through the night, while on the steamer the ordinary
lookout is quite sufficient for all purposes. So we will return as soon
as the sun touches the horizon, and if we want to land again in the
morning we can easily do so."

When the sun threw its long shadows over the lake our friends returned
to the landing-place, and were soon on board the steamer. After dinner
the watch was set for the night; one man was to be on duty at a time,
and he would be relieved every two hours. The natives were told that
none of their boats must approach the steamer during the night, and for
greater security she was hauled a few hundred yards farther out from
land.

Fred asked if there was any danger.

"No danger whatever, I presume," said the Doctor; "but we never know, as
I before told you, what schemes may be formed for assailing us. We must
always be watchful; and if we take care in advance we may escape a great
deal of trouble. If the natives see that we are always on guard, they
will not be likely to undertake anything in the way of a surprise; but
if they find that we are careless, they are quite likely to take
advantage of our negligence. Bear in mind that the natives of Africa
have no reason to be specially friendly to the white man; beyond the
suppression of the slave-trade, the visits of the stranger have
generally been to the disadvantage of the negro, and the latter knows
it. As he has a good deal of wickedness to the credit of our race, we
need not be surprised if he seeks revenge when the opportunity is
afforded for it.

"In our voyage on the lake we will treat all the people kindly whenever
we meet them, but at the same time we must avoid giving them a chance to
injure us. When we go on shore Ramen and Bash, the two soldiers of our
escort, will always go with us, and will have their guns loaded and
ready for instant use. We will never allow more than four natives on
board the steamer at any one time, no matter what the occasion, and in
this way we will be on the safe side."

Of course Fred readily acquiesced in the Doctor's arrangements for
their safety. He recalled the accounts of previous travellers in Africa,
and found that the rule was by no means a new one. It is the same that
every careful explorer adopts when travelling among barbarous people, no
matter who they are nor what their reputation is. "Never allow yourself
to be surprised, and then you won't be," is the homely way in which one
traveller has clothed the maxim. It sounds a trifle Hibernian, but it
contains a vast amount of solid common-sense.

Our friends slept undisturbed through the night. The captain reported in
the morning that two boats came near the steamer about mid-night; but as
they did not stop or show the least sign of hostility, it was not deemed
worth while to hail them. Soon after daylight several canoes came off
from the village and surrounded the steamer; each canoe carried from
four to eight or ten persons, among them several women and a few
children. The presence of the women and children was indicative of
peace, but the rule of allowing only four natives on board at once was
not relaxed.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE CHIEF.]

After a while the sound of a drum was heard, and a boat larger than the
rest made its appearance. Ramen said it was the head-man of the village
coming to pay his respects; and in order to prepare for his reception
the natives then on board were sent to their canoes, and no others were
allowed to take their places.

The boat with the village chief came along-side, and the stairs were let
down, so that he could easily reach the deck. He desired to bring a
dozen or more of his followers, and they were equally desirous of
coming; but the chief was informed that the steamer was small, and there
was no room for more than three besides himself. He knew the actual
reason for the refusal, but accepted at once the explanation that had
been given, and ascended the steps.

[Illustration: NATIVE HEADS.]

He was a well-formed negro, about forty years of age, wearing only a
strip of cloth about the waist, and carrying a slender bow, which he
used for killing fish. He kept the bow in his hand as he came on board
the steamer, but was polite enough to leave his arrows behind. His hair
was less curly than is usual with the African; it was liberally oiled,
and a small part of it was gathered in a knot or club at the back of his
head. A similar knot was formed under his chin by the scanty beard that
grew there, and his mouth was shaded by a short mustache; altogether,
his features had quite a European cast, and Fred pronounced him a man of
intelligence, who evidently had a good deal of ferocity when occasion
required or permitted.

The chief was shown around the boat; and, as he had never seen anything
of the kind before, he evinced much astonishment. He regarded the
compass with considerable reverence, and pointed to the charms which
hung upon his breast; evidently he believed they were as potent as the
devices of the white man, or at all events of the same character, and it
was not deemed worth the while to explain the compass to him. The
engines puzzled him greatly, and he was quite unable to understand how
they could be moved by hot water. He looked over the stern at the
propeller, and, after studying it for some time, the idea dawned upon
him.

Making a waving motion with his hand, he pronounced the native word for
"fish."

Fred nodded, and the negro grinned with delight to think he had
understood the operation of the propeller.

He was invited to sit on a chair, but preferred the deck, as a more
comfortable resting-place. He sat there for several minutes while coffee
was brought; he drank eagerly several cups in succession, and ate some
of the English biscuits that were offered. The cups hit his fancy, and
he begged for one of them; but as the supply was limited he was not
accommodated. The Doctor brought out his rifle, and fired two or three
shots in rapid succession, to show how quickly the weapon could be
operated; the result was that the chief shook his head, as if in doubt
whether the gun was of human or diabolic workmanship.

The final sensation was created with an explosive shell. For a few beads
the Doctor bought a large fish that had been brought along-side, and
instructed the natives, through the interpreter, to place it on a raft
of reeds, and tow it about a hundred yards from the steamer and there
leave it.

When they had done as he directed, and retired to a safe distance, he
fired an explosive shell into the body of the fish.

The shell burst as it struck and tore the fish into a shapeless mass.
The chief didn't wish to see anything more of the white man's works, but
retired hastily to his boat. He would hardly wait for the presents which
had been brought out for him, and he took them with a good deal of
reluctance, as though afraid they would blow up and destroy him.

[Illustration: ON THE SHORE OF THE LAKE.]



CHAPTER XVII.

A DAY ON AN ISLAND.--INCIDENTS OF HUNTING AND FISHING.--LAKE-DWELLINGS
OF CENTRAL AFRICA.


From their halting-place, described in the last chapter, our friends
pushed onward without farther delay. The captain of the steamer said
there were many islands in the lake, principally on the western side--a
fact that was not known till quite recently. Baker, Speke, Stanley, and
Long were all unable to make a thorough exploration of the western part
of the Albert N'yanza, and all of them came away with the impression
that what has since proved to be a series of islands was in reality the
main-land.

[Illustration: AN ISLAND IN THE LAKE.]

Some of the islands are inhabited, but the greater number are without
population. The islands were not considered safe from the incursions of
the slave-stealers, and some that formerly were densely occupied had
latterly been entirely deserted. The slavers would send out spies to
learn the situation of an island and the number of persons to be found
there. This being ascertained, they would make a sudden descent, usually
at night, and the frightened negroes could not escape, as their boats
would be in the possession of the robbers. Those who took shelter in the
bushes were soon hunted down or starved out, and their primitive weapons
were no match whatever for the muskets of their enemies whenever they
ventured to fight.

The islanders supported themselves mainly by fishing, though they
generally had small fields of bananas, plantains, yams, potatoes, and
other edible things. They had no goats or sheep, with here and there an
exception, but the most of them had flocks of chickens, and occasionally
a dog was to be seen. The dog is not usually a popular animal with the
African, and the breed is not such as would please a fancier of New York
or London.

It was necessarily slow work to move among the islands with the steamer,
and sometimes an hour or more was consumed in making a single mile.
Soundings were taken every few yards, and where there was any
probability of running aground the small boat was sent ahead to
ascertain the depth of water.

They stopped at some of the islands in order to obtain wood for the
steamer, and, as they were generally obliged to cut it themselves, the
operation of "wooding up" was not a rapid one. On one island they found
several logs that had evidently been thrown on shore by the action of
the waves when the lake was at its highest point. They were well
seasoned by the heat of the tropical sun, and made excellent fuel. The
captain of the steamer said he hoped the other islands on the way would
be equally kind to them, and furnish them with dry wood instead of
green. One of the logs was over five feet in diameter, and nearly a
hundred feet long, and the work of reducing it to fuel for the furnaces
of the boat was no small task.

The island was uninhabited; and as the captain said a couple of days
would be required for his men to cut up the logs they had found and load
the wood on the boat, the Doctor concluded to pass the night on shore.
He ordered the tents to be carried to land and set up where a strip of
gravelly beach, with an acre or so of grass beyond it, made an excellent
site for a camp. The cooking utensils were left on board, as it was not
deemed advisable to make a division of kitchen-work for a single night.
Of course the guns and ammunition were carefully looked after. Ramen and
Bash were in a tent with Ali, close to Doctor Bronson and his nephew,
and they took turns in watching through the night to guard against a
surprise.

As soon as they were landed Fred was eager to make the tour of the
island in search of game. Ramen was sent ahead to see if everything was
right; and as there were no indications of natives, either resident or
transient, a hunting expedition was organized immediately.

[Illustration: A FLOCK OF CRANES.]

They had not gone far before the sharp eyes of the youth discovered
something in motion on the shore a little way beyond them. Peering
through the grass and bushes, and advancing cautiously, he found a flock
of cranes, evidently quite unaware of his proximity. Two of them stood
with their heads bent forward, as if listening for the rustling of the
bushes; another seemed engaged in digesting his breakfast; while the
rest were prodding the ground with their long bills in search of worms.

Fred motioned to the Doctor, to imply that there was something worthy of
a shot, and the Doctor signalled to him to try his skill. In obedience
to the signal Fred continued to creep forward, while the Doctor sat down
to wait for the result.

Soon a shot was heard, and in a few moments Fred came dragging a
magnificent crane which he had secured. With a presence of mind unusual
in a beginner he had selected the finest of the flock for his target.

"Look out for him!" exclaimed Doctor Bronson; "he is not quite dead, and
may do you harm."

As he spoke he placed his foot on the neck of the bird and held it
firmly, while explaining to Fred the reason of his caution.

"The crane family is distinguished for its long bill, which is a
powerful weapon of offence and defence. When wounded it is capable of
dealing heavy blows, and it aims at the eye of whoever or whatever comes
near it. I once knew a gentleman in Missouri who lost an eye, and came
near losing his life, by a blow from a crane. He had wounded a large
crane so severely that it was lying on the ground apparently dead; as he
stooped to pick it up the bird struck him in the right eye, destroying
it instantly, and inflicting a severe wound besides. Instances of the
same kind occur almost every year, and when you fire at these birds you
should be very cautious about approaching any that may fall at your
shot."

Fred said he had looked at the bird before picking it up, and he touched
it with his foot to make sure that it was incapable of harm. Doctor
Bronson replied that the crane will sometimes rouse itself when supposed
to have been killed, and deal severe blows to its assailants; for this
reason it should be approached very cautiously.

The prize was handed over to one of the attendants, and the party moved
on. The flock of cranes had flown away and left no chance for a second
shot; they are very shy, and take alarm at the least noise. Fred was
quite content with the one he had secured. The crane is not worth much
for table purposes, as his body consists mainly of hard muscles, and his
flesh has a fishy flavor on account of his diet.

[Illustration: FRED'S SECOND PRIZE.]

Aquatic birds seemed to be the order of the day, as the next victim of
Fred's shot was a kingfisher, which was perched on a low tree-top close
to the water. He was on the watch for a fish, and did not heed the
approach of the hunters till too late.

[Illustration: A PAIR OF KINGFISHERS AT HOME.]

Doctor Bronson said the kingfisher was to be found in all parts of the
world, and more than a hundred varieties of it had been classified by
naturalists. The largest of them is found in Australia; it is about
eighteen inches long, and feeds in the woods as well as in the water.
Another variety, belonging to South America, has a peculiar scream,
resembling a loud and prolonged laugh, and for this reason it is
sometimes called "the laughing jackass."

"Haven't I read somewhere," said Fred, "that the kingfisher is the
'halcyon' of the ancients, and that its habits and period of hatching
its eggs gave rise to the term 'halcyon days?'"

"Quite likely you have," was the reply, "since such is the case. The
kingfisher has been a familiar bird in all ages, as he is not at all
shy, and, when undisturbed, he will remain until you walk quite close to
him. As his name implies his chief food is fish of his own catching, but
he does not disdain the mouse or other animal small enough for him to
grapple with. Some varieties make their nests in hollow trees, but the
majority dig holes in banks, unless they can find unoccupied ones that
were made by some burrowing animal and abandoned. Whether the bird
appropriates a deserted nest or makes one of its own, it always has it
with the entrance sloping upward, so that the rain cannot enter.
Moisture is fatal to the eggs, and the kingfisher takes good care that
they shall not be injured."

The grass bore indications of the presence of the hippopotamus, or
river-horse; though Fred remarked that he could not properly be called a
river-horse at this point, seeing that he inhabited a lake. It did not
make much difference what he was called, as he was probably quite
indifferent to what was said of him as long as he was left uninjured.

They followed some of the hippo tracks, in the hope of discovering the
animal that made them, but without success. The tracks in every instance
led to the water, and nobody had the slightest desire to go below the
surface to see how the hippo got along.

Just as they were turning back from the last of the traps Fred espied
some birds flying in the air too far off to be worth a shot; he called
the attention of the Doctor to the birds, and the latter, after a brief
glance at them through his glass, said they were fish-eagles.

[Illustration: FISH-EAGLE ON A HIPPOPOTAMUS TRAP.]

"Yes, fish-eagles," as he took another look at them, "and one has just
lighted on the top of a low tree. No, it's a trap for a hippo; and so
the island, if not inhabited, is visited by people who do not live far
away."

Fred wanted to go in pursuit of the eagle, as he desired to preserve its
skin, as a trophy of his skill in hunting; but the Doctor said the
ground was too wet and soft for them to go there. "And besides," he
continued, "there may be some one watching the trap; and, if so, he
might resent our visit and send an arrow or a spear, without waiting for
us to explain our intentions."

The walk was continued a couple of hours or more, but no additional
prizes were secured. There were not many birds among the trees, and the
Doctor said it would be useless to look for deer or similar game on the
island, as none were at all likely to be found there. The animals
couldn't swim there from the main-land, on account of the crocodiles,
and there was no probability that the natives would bring them off in
boats, and endeavor to start a deer-park on private account. There were
few places where walking was at all easy, owing to the abundance of
vines and brushwood. There were occasional patches of grass, but it grew
so high that half the time the travellers could not see at all, and
therefore hunting was quite out of the question.

Soon after their return to camp our friends went on board the steamer
for dinner. They came on shore again as soon as the meal was over, and
prepared to pass the night on land. The evening brought clouds of
mosquitoes that threatened to resent the invasion of the island by
devouring the invaders. But the nets had been spread for their
reception, and they were disappointed in their hopes, if any had been
raised, of tasting American blood. Fred incautiously opened his net to
enter it, instead of crawling underneath, according to the approved
fashion; the result was that he had music all through the night, which
had not been bargained for; but as he was wearied with the walk and
excitements of the day he soon fell asleep, and allowed the mosquitoes
to sup as they liked.

The next morning Fred took a stroll along the shore of the lake in a
direction opposite to that he had taken when hunting cranes and
king-fishers, and it resulted in an important discovery.

He found a field, or badly kept garden, of yams and sweet potatoes. He
was not quite certain as to the former, but there was no doubt about the
sweet potatoes. He ran back to camp to tell the Doctor what he had
found, and the news was immediately sent to the captain of the boat.

While they waited for the captain to join them the Doctor explained to
his nephew what the yam was.

[Illustration: CENTRAL AFRICAN YAM.]

"It is," said he, "the popular name for a considerable number of plants
of the genus _Dioscorea_, and in the southern part of the United States
is applied to light-colored varieties of the sweet potato. The yam is,
practically, a tropical plant, though some of its species are found in
the middle of the temperate zone. In the latter case the tubers or roots
are small and of little value, while the tropical ones often reach a
weight of thirty or forty pounds. It contains a large amount of starch,
and in its component parts it greatly resembles the potato."

Fred asked why it was not possible to have the yam take the place of the
potato in the United States, if it grew so large and was such a good
article of food.

"It is quite possible to do so," was the reply; "but the potato is
easier to cultivate than any yam that will thrive in our latitude. The
great yams grow only in the tropics. The only one that will grow in the
Northern States is the Chinese or Japanese variety, and many experiments
were made with it some years ago, when there was a general failure of
the potato crop.

[Illustration: POTATO AND YAM FIELDS.]

"The Chinese yam has a root two feet or more in length, largest at the
lower end, and going straight down into the ground. The difficulty with
these yams was the trouble of digging out the roots, as their shape and
brittleness prevented their being pulled like beets or carrots; and the
only places where they are now cultivated in America are in the gardens
of gentlemen who are fond of curiosities without regard to the expense."

Some of the yams in the garden they visited weighed fifty or sixty
pounds each, and their shape was like that of a deformed human foot.
Enough of them were taken for the wants of the steamer, and in their
place was left a box containing an equivalent for their value in beads
and brass wire. The captain of the steamer did not think it necessary to
leave anything, but he was overruled by Doctor Bronson, who said he
would have nothing from the garden unless it was paid for; and as the
owner was not present to receive his compensation the articles must be
left where he could find them.

After the yams had been secured our friends turned their attention to
fishing, but without much success, as their implements were limited, and
they did not know the proper localities for the sport. They succeeded in
capturing a few specimens, which were pronounced similar to those they
had seen at the village near the head of the river, and identical with
the fishes found in the upper part of the Nile.

[Illustration: THE KILNOKY.]

There was one which was called _kilnoky_ by Bash and Ramen. It had a
long and broad head, and very powerful fins, and its sides were spotted
somewhat after the manner of a trout. On each side of the mouth and
beneath the jaw there were "feelers," similar to those of the cat-fish,
and the dorsal fin was protected by spines, which required the novice to
exercise caution to avoid being pricked.

[Illustration: YOUNG POLYPTERUS.]

Another fish, which Ramen said was called _besher_ on the Nile and
_gurr_ on the lakes, had a short tail, to balance a long nose, and his
back was covered with curious spines that stood out by themselves.
Doctor Bronson said its proper name was _Polypterus_, and it was to be
found all through Central Africa, according to the information gathered
by Schweinfurth and others.

Fred angled awhile by himself, and caught a couple of fishes which were
pronounced "warr" by one of the soldiers. The youth remarked that they
looked very much like the perch of his native land, as the body of the
fish was of a dark-green color, crossed by stripes of brown.

"They belong to the perch family," said the Doctor, "and so does the
'golo,' or _Lates niloticus_. There are several varieties of perch in
Africa, but these are the most abundant."

During their rest under the tents, while the sun was high in the sky,
the conversation naturally turned upon the African lakes and the people
living around them. Fred asked about the people that inhabit the islands
of other lakes, and also about some tribes that dwell in houses standing
in the water.

[Illustration: LAKE MOHRYA, WITH VILLAGES.]

"I can only refer you to Cameron," said the Doctor, in reply. "He
visited a small lake, in his journey across Africa, where the people
actually live in the water. There are few lakes where this would be
possible, on account of the presence of crocodiles, who would drive to
the land everybody they did not eat. The lake seen by Cameron was called
Mohrya, and lies east of Tanganyika, on the route to the Atlantic Ocean.
It is rather a pond than a lake, as it is only a couple of miles long by
one in width, and lies in a basin surrounded by low hills.

"Cameron tried to obtain boats to take him to these curious dwellings,
but could not do so, as the people on land had none, and the
lake-dwellers were very shy of allowing strangers to visit their houses.
All he could do was to sit on the shore and study them with his
telescope.

[Illustration: A HOUSE IN THE WATER.]

"The huts were built on poles driven into the bed of the lake, and the
floor of each hut was about six feet above the surface of the water.
Boats were kept under the huts, and nets were stretched between the
poles, so that they could be dried by the sun and air. The people live
entirely in these huts, and only come to land to cultivate their
gardens, which lie near the water.

"They go from house to house," the Doctor continued, "by the simple
process of swimming. It is rumored that there are large snakes in the
water, whose bites are poisonous; but Mr. Cameron could see nothing of
them, and evidently the story is untrue, or the people would be more
careful. They keep fowls and goats in their huts, and bring the former
to land to graze, but they always return home with them when night comes
on."

Fred wished to know something of this curious tribe, but the Doctor was
unable to give him farther information. He added, however, that lake
dwellings are of very ancient origin, and are mentioned in history by
Herodotus and other Greek writers.

"Yes," replied Fred, "I have read of them in descriptions of Switzerland
and Ireland, and we saw huts in the water when we were in Siam and
Java."

[Illustration: IDEAL REPRESENTATION OF A SWISS LAKE-VILLAGE.]

"The lake-dwellers of Asia and Africa are modern," said Doctor Bronson,
"but those of Europe disappeared ages and ages ago. All the lakes of
Switzerland once contained villages built on piles, and some of them
were quite extensive. From twenty to fifty villages have been explored
in each of the larger Swiss lakes, and many others in the smaller ones.
Most of them date from the age of stone implements, before the
discovery of metals, and in the remains of the villages many weapons and
utensils of stone are found. One village covered an area of three acres,
and stood on piles or posts of 'hard wood'--beech, oak, and fir--and
most of them ten or twelve feet long. There were about one hundred
thousand of these piles. The village was in the middle of a small lake,
and had a bridge, connecting it with the shore. There are two sets of
piles, one above the other, so that it is evident the village was
occupied at two different periods.

"Another lake was completely surrounded by these dwellings, and among
the relics discovered there are articles of wood, horn, bone, bronze,
and gold. When you visit Switzerland you will see, at Lucerne, Zurich,
and other places, some of the relics brought up from the lakes, and
putting us face to face, as it were, with the people of a prehistoric
age."



CHAPTER XVIII.

DR. LIVINGSTONE AND HIS DISCOVERIES.


When the work of "wooding up" was completed the steamer continued her
voyage. An effort was made to visit the western shore; but at every
halting-place the natives came down in considerable numbers, and their
movements were so threatening that Doctor Bronson did not consider it
judicious to attempt to land. As he was under obligation to the Egyptian
authorities for the use of the steamboat he did not wish to do anything,
however slight, that might lead to hostilities. For this reason he
declined to go on shore where there was the slightest possibility of
trouble with the natives, and contented himself with looking at it from
the deck of the steamer.

While they were sitting under the sheltering awning and studying the
landscape before them Fred asked about the travels and explorations of
Dr. Livingstone.

[Illustration: LIVINGSTONE'S HOUSE AT ZANZIBAR.]

"He was the son of a poor weaver in Glasgow," was the reply, "and
gained the most of his early education at an evening school while
working in a cotton-mill. Afterward he managed to devote his winters to
study, and supported himself by working for the rest of the year. He was
born March 19, 1813, and died May 1, 1873.

[Illustration: DAVID LIVINGSTONE.]

"His family were earnest Presbyterians, and his early training led him
to the study of theology; he combined with it the study of medicine,
and, after devoting himself to these matters for several years, he
offered his services to the London Missionary Society, and was sent to
Africa. He arrived at Natal in 1840, and from that time till his death,
thirty-three years later, his life was devoted to the work of civilizing
and Christianizing the 'Dark Continent.'

"The record of his travels and explorations is in his published volumes,
and in a book entitled 'Livingstone's Last Journals,' which contains the
history of the final years of his life and the melancholy account of his
death."

Fred asked the names of Dr. Livingstone's books.

"During the early years of his missionary work," the Doctor continued,
"he sent a great many documents to England, containing valuable
information of a geographical and scientific character; they were
printed by the London Missionary Society in its journal. But nothing
appeared in book-form till 1857, when he published 'Missionary Travels
and Researches in South Africa.' He visited England to superintend the
publication of the volume, and returned to Africa in 1858.

"Down to that time he had devoted himself to missionary work, and all
his travels and explorations were directly in connection with the effort
to Christianize Africa. In 1858 he went, on behalf of the English
government, and aided by private subscriptions, to explore the southern
part of the great continent.

"On this journey he started from Quilimane, at the mouth of the Zambesi
River, and travelled in a north-westerly direction. For a part of the
route he followed the course of the river, and then turned away from it
to the north, in search of a lake of which he had been told by the
natives. He discovered the lake (Nyassa) in 1859, and explored the
country to the west and north-west of it, and the whole region around
the head-waters of the north-east branch of the Zambesi and its
tributaries.

"The work occupied him till 1863. His wife accompanied him on the
journey, and died in the interior of Africa, in April, 1862. In 1864 he
returned to England, and published 'A Narrative of an Expedition to the
Zambesi and its Tributaries.' Then, as soon as the book was issued, he
made preparations for another expedition, and left England in 1865.

"Nothing was heard from him for more than a year, and in March, 1867, a
report came to England that he had been killed in a skirmish with the
natives on the banks of Lake Nyassa. It was not generally believed, and
in June of the same year an expedition was sent to look for him. It was
under the command of Mr. E. D. Young, and although it did not succeed in
finding him, it obtained information that convinced Mr. Young of the
incorrectness of the report.

"Letters were received in 1869 (more than a year old) from Dr.
Livingstone, so that there was no farther doubt that the story of his
death in the skirmish was incorrect. Another letter came a year later,
and then there was no news for more than twenty months, so that his
friends feared he was no longer alive.

"The New York _Herald_ sent one of its correspondents, Mr. Henry M.
Stanley, to look for Livingstone and to find him, if still alive.
Stanley started from Zanzibar and went to Ujiji, on the shores of Lake
Tanganyika, where he found Dr. Livingstone alive and well, but unable to
travel, for the reason that he had no goods with which to pay his way.
Stanley remained with him from the autumn of 1871 till March, 1872. They
went together to explore the northern part of Lake Tanganyika, to
determine whether it flowed into the Nile. They satisfied themselves
that it was not a tributary of the great river of Egypt, and that the
source of the Nile lay farther to the north.

"On his return to Zanzibar, Stanley sent fresh supplies to Doctor
Livingstone, to enable the latter to complete his explorations. It was
the Doctor's intention to devote a year or more to this work, and then
return to England, to publish his account and reside there permanently.

"But his plans were never carried out, as he died in the field of his
work. After Stanley's return to England another expedition was sent out,
under command of Lieutenant Cameron, to carry supplies to the great
explorer and render him any assistance in its power. Cameron left
Zanzibar in March, 1873, and reached Unyanyembe in the following August.
While he was making preparations for proceeding farther the news of
Livingstone's death reached him in the shape of a letter from Jacob
Wainwright, the doctor's negro servant."

Doctor Bronson paused a few moments before continuing the story.

[Illustration: CHUMA AND SUSI.]

"There are few men in the world," said the Doctor, "who can surpass, or
even equal, Livingstone in securing the affection and devotion of their
followers. In his last expedition, starting from Unyanyembe in August,
1872, he was accompanied by about eighty men, most of them having been
sent from Zanzibar by Stanley. Three of his men had been with him for
eight years, and two others for six years; but the rest were
comparatively new in his service. The three first mentioned were Susi,
Chuma, and Amoda, who joined Livingstone on the Zambesi River in 1864,
and the other two were Mabruki and Gardner, who were hired at Zanzibar
in 1866. The new-comers soon became as zealous as the older ones in
looking out for the welfare of their leader, and during his last
illness, and down to the day of his death, they did all in their power
to make him comfortable.

"Remember that he was a white man, and a stranger in the country. The
negro is not credited with a large amount of honesty by those who have
travelled in Africa; and certainly there are many instances of treachery
and rascality in the stories told by explorers. Dr. Livingstone was
frequently deceived by guides and scouts during his journeys, and he was
plundered by the chiefs, who demanded heavy tributes for the permission
to pass through their country. I have already told you of the constant
difficulties in the way of obtaining porters before starting on a
journey, and of the large number of desertions on the road.

"In his last journey Dr. Livingstone's men remained faithful to the end
of his days, and when he died they embalmed his body and brought it,
with all his journals and every article of his personal property, safe
to the coast. In addition to the difficulty of transporting it for
hundreds of miles through the country, where there were no roads, they
had to meet the superstition of the African tribes on their way, who
have the greatest horror of a dead body, and would have killed every man
of the party if they had known the burden they were carrying. Knowing
what we do of the difficulties and dangers that confronted these
faithful but ignorant men, it is a wonder that they undertook what they
did, and still more wonderful that they succeeded.

[Illustration: PAGE FROM LIVINGSTONE'S LAST JOURNAL.]

"Every scrap of his journals, from the day of his departure from
Zanzibar down to the last line he was able to write, a week before his
death, was preserved and brought home. They show to what straits he was
sometimes reduced for writing materials, as many of his notes are
written on old newspapers sewn together into the shape of books, and he
was often obliged to make his own pencils and ink. His rough notes were
taken in this way, and when he had time for writing in full he copied
them into a larger journal. One of these journals was sent to England,
in care of Mr. Stanley, and delivered to the missionary's family.

"While we are on this topic I may as well tell you of the closing days
of Dr. Livingstone's life.

"There are comparatively few entries in his journal. His men say that
his health was never good from the first day of the journey, and when
they halted at night he was too weak to make many notes. The word 'ill'
occurs frequently on the pages of his diary, and on several occasions it
is the only record of an entire day. For the last few days of his
travels he was unable to walk, and was carried on a 'kitanda,' or
litter, made by his men. It was rudely formed, but strong. It consisted
of a framework seven feet long, with several cross-pieces, and a bed of
grass, on which the sufferer could recline comfortably. It was slung
from a pole, and carried on the shoulders of two men, and in general
appearance was not unlike the palanquin which you saw in India, and was
better for an invalid than the sedan-chair of China.

"In the fac-simile of the last page but one of Livingstone's journal,
you see that his writing is cramped and evidently made with great
difficulty, and the last line refers to his being carried on the
kitanda. The entry on the 21st (of April) mentions his trying to ride,
but he says he was forced to lie down, and they carried him back to the
village, much exhausted.

"His men say that on this morning he mounted his donkey as usual, but
his strength was so far gone that he could not retain his place in the
saddle, and fell fainting to the ground after riding only a short
distance. In this condition he was carried by Chuma, one of his men,
back to the village, and rested during the day. The chief of the
village was very kind to him, and said he could rest there as long as
he pleased, and, when ready to move on, the guides for the road should
be ready.

[Illustration: THE LAST MILE OF LIVINGSTONE'S JOURNEY.]

"It was during this day of resting that his men constructed the kitanda,
and from that time till the 30th of April he was carried upon it. He
died in the village of Ilala, which belonged to a chief named Chitambo.
The Doctor's men say they were kindly treated by Chitambo during all
their stay, and when they left he gave them all the guides and
provisions that they needed."

Fred asked what was the disease which caused the death of the great
explorer.

[Illustration: LIVINGSTONE ENTERING THE HUT WHERE HE DIED.]

"He died from malarial poisoning," replied the Doctor, "as many other
Europeans have died in Africa. He had suffered from it for several
years, and realized that unless he returned to England, to reside there
permanently, he could not hope to recover. As I told you before, he was
intending to do so in the very year in which he died.

[Illustration: FORDING A SWOLLEN RIVER.]

"In one of his journeys Dr. Livingstone travelled an estimated distance
of eleven thousand miles, and the sum of his travels in Africa has been
placed as high as sixty thousand miles. A great part of this was
performed on foot. There were many journeys by river and lake, nearly
always in native canoes, and comparatively few in boats of European
construction, owing to the difficulty of carrying them around cataracts
or other obstructions on the rivers, or making long traverses from one
lake to another. In South Africa, and in some parts of Central Africa,
horses or donkeys may be used for riding purposes; but these animals are
scarce, and quite as liable as their masters to fall victims to the
pestilential fevers of Africa.

"The climate is not by any means the worst enemy of the dumb animals
that accompany the African traveller. Lions prowl around the camps, and
when their presence is quite unexpected they spring from the bushes and
kill the horse or other animal they have marked for their prey with a
single stroke of their powerful paw. Many travellers have lost their
favorite steeds in this way, and in South Africa thousands upon
thousands of oxen have been killed by lions. On the return of Dr.
Livingstone's party to the coast they undertook to bring his riding
donkey, but the poor beast was killed by a lion only a few days' journey
from the spot where the doctor died.

[Illustration: A LION KILLING LIVINGSTONE'S DONKEY.]

"According to custom the men had built a stable for him, where they
thought he would be secure, as it was close to their quarters. In the
middle of the night there was a loud crash that roused everybody: the
men ran out, and found the stable broken and the donkey gone. They set
fire to the grass to make a light, as the night was very dark, and as
soon as the blaze rose up they saw a lion close to the body of the
donkey. They fired at the intruder, and wounded him. He retreated
growling, and the men did not think it prudent to follow. The donkey was
quite dead, and there is no doubt that he was instantly killed when the
lion sprung upon him. The next morning they found a broad track of
blood where the lion had dragged himself along; but as there was the
track of another lion close by it they did not follow the trail far into
the bushes.

"Dr. Livingstone was early impressed with the horrors of the slave-trade
in the interior of Africa, and in all his writings he frequently
referred to the infamous business. In one part of his journal he
describes how he found the dead body of a woman tied by the neck to a
tree. The people of the country told him that she had been unable to
keep up with the caravan, and her master, finding that he must abandon
her, determined to make an example that would frighten the rest. So he
tied her to the tree and left her to die, and whenever any others of his
caravan broke down they met a similar fate or were killed on the spot.
One day some of the doctor's men went a little way from the path and
found a number of slaves yoked together with sticks, and so near death
from starvation that none of them were able to speak.

[Illustration: "GOREE," OR SLAVE-STICK.]

"The 'goree,' or slave-stick, is made from the fork of a small tree. It
is placed on the neck of a negro, and the ends of the fork are fastened
together by an iron rod, riveted at each end; and as the man's hands
are generally tied behind him he has no way of escaping from his bonds.

[Illustration: MANNER OF FETTERING A GANG OF SLAVES.]

"Whenever Dr. Livingstone encountered one of these travelling gangs of
slaves he released them, if the circumstances permitted, and they
generally did. By so doing he roused the hostility of the slave-traders,
who revenged themselves by spreading unfavorable reports concerning him,
and inciting the natives to attack him. Most of his troubles with the
natives were from this cause, and several times his escape from death at
their hands was exceedingly narrow. The slave-traders were too cowardly
to make any open fight with him, and when he met them on the road with
their slaves they generally ran away, and left him to deal with their
human merchandise as he liked.

[Illustration: SLAVERS AVENGING THEIR LOSSES.]

"One of his stories of an encounter with a slave caravan is quite
amusing.

"One day he heard from a native that a gang of slaves on its way to the
coast was coming along the road, and would shortly appear in sight. He
was in a little village where the party was to pass, and so he sat down
and waited for them.

"In a little while the slave-party, a long line of manacled men, women,
and children, came wending their way round the hill into the valley, on
the side of which the village stood. The black drivers, armed with
muskets and bedecked with various articles of finery, marched jauntily
in the front, middle, and rear of the line, some of them blowing
exultant notes out of long tin horns. 'They seemed to think,' says the
doctor, 'that they were doing a very noble thing, and might proudly
march with an air of triumph; but the instant the fellows caught a
glimpse of the English they darted off like mad into the forest--so
fast, indeed, that we caught but a glimpse of their red caps and the
soles of their feet. The chief of the party alone remained; and he,
being in front, had his hand tightly grasped by a Makololo. He proved to
be a well-known slave of the late commandant at Tette, and for some time
our own attendant while there.

"'On asking him,' says Dr. Livingstone, 'how he obtained these captives
he replied that he had bought them; but on inquiring of the people
themselves, all, save four, said they had been captured in war. While
this inquiry was going on he bolted too.

"'The captives were thus left entirely in our hands, and knives were
soon busy cutting the women and children loose. It was more difficult to
cut the men adrift, as each had his neck in the fork of a stout stick,
six or seven feet long, and kept in by an iron rod, which was riveted at
both ends, across the throat. With a saw luckily in our baggage, one by
one the men were sawn out into freedom. The women, on being told to take
the meal they were carrying and cook breakfast for themselves and the
children, seemed to consider the news too good to be true; but, after a
little coaxing, went to work with a will, using the old slave-sticks for
making a fire. Some of the captives were mere children. Two women had
been shot the day before for attempting to untie their thongs, and a man
was killed with an axe because he had broken down with fatigue.'"

In continuing his account of the work of Livingstone, Doctor Bronson
said that the explorer's habit of making on the spot notes of everything
he saw that would be of interest to the English reader had rendered his
books very valuable. Some of his statements were at first received with
a grain of doubt, but his reputation for veracity was soon established.
It was found that wherever there was any inaccuracy of statement in his
reports it was due to his having received the story from some one else.
Truth does not prevail among the people of Africa any more than in other
lands; and the facetious American who enjoys "fooling a reporter," by
gravely telling a lot of falsehoods, which there is no time to
investigate, has his prototype in the wilds of the "Dark Continent."

[Illustration: QUILIMANE, AT THE MOUTH OF THE ZAMBESI.]

"We must," resumed Doctor Bronson, "read his works in order to
appreciate Dr. Livingstone's labors in Central and Southern Africa.
There are notes on natural history, botany, and kindred studies,
together with descriptions of all the people and tribes among whom he
travelled. One day he met a party of honey-hunters, and sat down for a
chat with them. They pointed to a small bird that was quietly resting on
the limbs of a tree near them, and said it was their honey-guide. The
bird attracts the attention of the native by hopping from twig to twig
and calling in the sharpest notes of his voice; when he finds he is
followed he leads the way to a hollow tree or other spot where a swarm
of bees has its home, and as soon as the honey has been taken he regales
himself on the fragments of comb that lie scattered on the ground. This
bird is described in books on natural history, and is said to belong to
the cuckoo family. The natives follow it, in full confidence that it
will lead them to a deposit of honey; but it sometimes happens that they
are conducted to the lair of a lion or other ferocious beast.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE NAVIGABLE PART OF THE ZAMBESI.]

"Livingstone's memory will always be preserved in connection with the
exploration of the Zambesi, and the discovery of the great cataract of
Mosi-oa-tunya, better known as the Victoria Falls of the Zambesi, though
the former name is to be preferred.

"He discovered the falls in 1855, on his first ascent of the valley of
the Zambesi, and the account he gave was so startling that he was
thought to be wandering from the truth. In his second journey, five
years later, he made a detailed examination of the cataract, making
careful measurements of the heights and distances, so that there could
be no mistake. If you look at his book and compare the measurements with
those of Niagara, you can hardly fail to be astonished."

Fred went below to find the volume in question, and soon returned with
it. From Dr. Livingstone's description of the great Falls of the Zambesi
he read the following:

     "On the 9th of August, 1860, we proceeded to see the Victoria
     Falls. Mosi-oa-tunya is the native name, and means smoke-sounding.
     Seongo, or Chongwe, meaning the rainbow, or the place of the
     rainbow, was the more ancient term they bore. We embarked in canoes
     belonging to Tuba Mokoro (smasher of canoes)--an ominous name; but
     he alone, it seems, knew the medicine which insures one against
     shipwreck in the rapids above the falls. For some miles the river
     was smooth and tranquil, and we glided pleasantly over water as
     clear as crystal, and past lovely islands, densely covered with a
     tropical vegetation. But our attention was quickly called from the
     charming islands to the dangerous rapids, down which Tuba might
     unintentionally shoot us. To confess the truth, the very ugly
     aspect of these roaring rapids could scarcely fail to cause some
     uneasiness in the minds of new-comers. It is only when the river is
     very low, as it was now, that any one durst venture to the island
     to which we were bound. If one went during the period of flood, and
     fortunately hit the island, he would be compelled to remain there
     till the water subsided again, if he lived so long. Both
     hippopotami and elephants have been known to be swept over the
     falls, and of course smashed to pulp.

     "After many narrow escapes from being dashed on the rocks we landed
     at the head of Garden Island, which is situated near the middle of
     the river, and on the lip of the falls.

     [Illustration: THE GREAT FALLS OF MOSI-OA-TUNYA.]

     "On reaching that lip, and peering over the giddy height, the
     wondrous and unique character of the magnificent cascade at once
     burst upon us. It is rather a hopeless task to endeavor to convey
     an idea of it in words, since, as was remarked on the spot, an
     accomplished painter, even by a number of views, could but impart a
     faint impression of the glorious scene. The probable mode of its
     formation may perhaps help to the conception of its peculiar
     shape. Niagara has been formed by a wearing back of the rock over
     which the river falls; and, during a long course of ages, it has
     gradually receded, and left a broad, deep, and pretty straight
     trough in front. It goes on wearing back daily, and may yet
     discharge the lakes from which its river flows. But the Victoria
     Falls have been formed by a crack right across the river in the
     hard, black, basaltic rock which there formed the bed of the
     Zambesi. The lips of the crack are still quite sharp, save about
     three feet of the edge over which the river rolls. The walls go
     sheer down from the lips without any projecting crag, or symptom of
     stratification or dislocation. When the mighty rift occurred no
     change of level took place in the two parts of the bed of the river
     thus rent asunder; consequently, in coming down the river to Garden
     Island the water suddenly disappears, and we see the opposite side
     of the cleft, with grass and trees growing where once the river
     ran, on the same level as that part of its bed on which we sail.

     "The first crack is, in length, a few yards more than the breadth
     of the Zambesi, which by measurement we found to be a little over
     eighteen hundred and sixty yards, but this number we resolved to
     retain, as indicating the year in which the fall was for the first
     time carefully examined. The main stream here runs nearly north and
     south, and the cleft across it is nearly east and west. The depth
     of the rift was measured by lowering a line, to the end of which a
     few bullets and a foot of white cotton cloth were tied. One of us
     lay with his head over a projecting crag, and watched the
     descending calico, till, after his companions had paid out three
     hundred and ten feet, the weight rested on a sloping projection,
     probably fifty feet from the water below, the actual bottom being
     still farther down. The white cloth now appeared the size of a
     crown-piece. On measuring the width of this deep cleft by sextant
     it was found, at Garden Island, its narrowest part, to be eighty
     yards, and at its broadest somewhat more. Into this chasm, of twice
     the depth of Niagara Falls, the river, a full mile wide, rolls with
     a deafening roar; and this is Mosi-oa-tunya, or the Victoria Falls.

     "Looking from Garden Island down to the bottom of the abyss, nearly
     half a mile of water, which has fallen over that portion of the
     falls to our right, or west of our point of view, is seen collected
     in a narrow channel twenty or thirty yards wide, and flowing at
     exactly right angles to its previous course, to our left; while the
     other half, or that which fell over the eastern portion of the
     falls, is seen in the left of the narrow channel below, coming
     toward our right. Both waters unite midway, in a fearful boiling
     whirlpool, and find an outlet by a crack situated at right angles
     to the fissure of the falls. This outlet is about eleven hundred
     and seventy yards from the western end of the chasm, and some six
     hundred from its eastern end; the whirlpool is at its commencement.
     The Zambesi, now apparently not more than twenty or thirty yards
     wide, rushes and surges south through the narrow escape-channel for
     one hundred and thirty yards; then enters a second chasm, somewhat
     deeper, and nearly parallel with the first. Abandoning the bottom
     of the eastern half of this second chasm to the growth of large
     trees, it turns sharply off to the west, and forms a promontory,
     with the escape-channel at its point, of eleven hundred and seventy
     yards long, and four hundred and sixteen yards broad at the base.
     After reaching this base the river runs abruptly round the head of
     another promontory, and flows away to the east, in a third chasm;
     then glides round a third promontory, much narrower than the rest,
     and away back to the west, in a fourth chasm; and we could see in
     the distance that it appeared to round still another promontory,
     and bend once more in another chasm toward the east. In this
     gigantic zigzag, yet narrow, trough the rocks are all so sharply
     cut and angular, that the idea at once arises that the hard
     basaltic trap must have been riven into its present shape by a
     force acting from beneath, and that this probably took place when
     the ancient inland seas were let off by similar fissures nearer the
     ocean.

     "The land beyond, or on the south of the falls, retains, as already
     remarked, the same level as before the rent was made. It is as if
     the trough below Niagara were bent right and left several times
     before it reached the railway bridge. The land in the supposed
     bends, being of the same height as that above the fall, would give
     standing-places, or points of view, of the same nature as that from
     the railway bridge; but the nearest would be only eighty yards,
     instead of two miles (the distance to the bridge), from the face of
     the cascade. The tops of the promontories are in general flat,
     smooth, and studded with trees. The first, with its base on the
     east, is at one place so narrow that it would be dangerous to walk
     to its extremity. On the second, however, we found a broad
     rhinoceros path and a hut; but, unless the builder were a hermit,
     with a pet rhinoceros, we cannot conceive what beast or man ever
     went there for. On reaching the apex of this second eastern
     promontory we saw the great river, of a deep sea-green color, now
     sorely compressed, gliding away at least four hundred feet below
     us.

     "Garden Island, when the river is low, commands the best view of
     the Great Fall chasm, as also of the promontory opposite, with its
     grove of large evergreen trees, and brilliant rainbows of
     three-quarters of a circle, two, three, and sometimes even four in
     number, resting on the face of the vast perpendicular rock, down
     which tiny streams are always running, to be swept again back by
     the upward rushing vapor. But, as at Niagara one has to go over to
     the Canadian shore to see the chief wonder--the great Horseshoe
     Fall--so here we have to cross over to Moselekatse's side, to the
     promontory of evergreens, for the best view of the principal falls
     of Mosi-oa-tunya. Beginning, therefore, at the base of this
     promontory, and facing the cataract, at the west end of the chasm,
     there is, first, a fall of thirty-six yards in breadth, and of
     course, as they all are, upward of three hundred and ten feet in
     depth. Then Boaruka, a small island, intervenes, and next comes a
     great fall, with a breadth of five hundred and seventy-three yards;
     a projecting rock separates this from a second grand fall of three
     hundred and twenty-five yards broad--in all upward of nine hundred
     yards of perennial falls. Farther east stands Garden Island; then,
     as the river was at its lowest, came a good deal of the bare rock
     of its bed, with a score of narrow falls, which, at the time of
     flood, constitute one enormous cascade of nearly another half mile.
     Near the east end of the chasm are two larger falls, but they are
     nothing, at low-water, compared to those between the islands.

     "The whole body of water rolls clear over, quite unbroken; but,
     after a descent of ten or more feet, the entire mass suddenly
     becomes like a huge sheet of driven snow. Pieces of water leap off
     it in the form of comets with tails streaming behind, till the
     whole snowy sheet becomes myriads of rushing, leaping, aqueous
     comets. This peculiarity was not observed by Charles Livingstone at
     Niagara, and here it happens possibly from the dryness of the
     atmosphere, or whatever the cause may be which makes every drop of
     Zambesi water appear to possess a sort of individuality. It runs
     off the ends of the paddles, and glides in beads along the smooth
     surface, like drops of quick-silver on a table. Here we see them in
     a conglomeration, each with a train of pure white vapor, racing
     down till lost in clouds of spray. A stone dropped in became less
     and less to the eye, and at last disappeared in the dense mist
     below.

     "Charles Livingstone had seen Niagara, and gave Mosi-oa-tunya the
     palm, though now at the end of a drought, and the river at its very
     lowest. Many feel a disappointment on first seeing the great
     American falls, but Mosi-oa-tunya is so strange it must ever cause
     wonder. In the amount of water Niagara probably excels, though not
     during the months when the Zambesi is in flood. The vast body of
     water, separating in the comet-like forms described, necessarily
     encloses in its descent a large volume of air, which, forced into
     the cleft to an unknown depth, rebounds, and rushes up loaded with
     vapor, to form the three or even six columns, as if of steam,
     visible at the Batoka village, Moachemba, twenty-one miles distant.
     On attaining a height of two hundred, or at most three hundred,
     feet from the level of the river above the cascade this vapor
     becomes condensed into a perpetual shower of fine rain. Much of the
     spray, rising to the west of Garden Island, falls on the grove of
     evergreen trees opposite; and from their leaves heavy drops are
     forever falling, to form sundry little rills, which, in running
     down the steep face of rock, are blown off and turned back, or
     licked off their perpendicular bed up into the column from which
     they have just descended."

[Illustration: BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF MOSI-OA-TUNYA.]



CHAPTER XIX.

FROM THE ALBERT N'YANZA TO FOUEIRA.


The voyage of the lake was completed without any incident of importance.
The time went quickly enough in visits to the islands and occasional
halts on the shore, and a couple of days before the date arranged for
meeting Frank the steamer reached Magungo, and ascended the Somerset
River, or Victoria Nile, to the foot of Murchison Falls.

Frank was not there, but a messenger was waiting with a letter from him.
It briefly told the incidents of his journey from Afuddo to Foueira, and
said that he thought best to remain at Foueira, to make certain repairs
to the packages which were in his care, and had become injured on the
way, and also to keep the porters in readiness for their departure to
the south. Besides, if he went to the falls and returned to Foueira he
would be obliged to go twice over the same road. He preferred to hear of
the journey from the lips of Doctor Bronson and his cousin, rather than
to make it himself, and he hoped they would think his decision a proper
one.

Of course, his action was approved without hesitation, as his absence
from the fort might endanger the safety of their supplies, and there
might be difficulty in having the requisite number of porters when
wanted, if they were not kept steadily under control. Frank had taken
the precaution to send guides that could conduct them to Foueira, a
sufficient number of porters for carrying their baggage, and their
saddle-horses, in charge of faithful grooms.

Everything was unloaded from the steamer and piled on the bank of the
river. It was within a couple of hours of sunset when the work was
completed, and therefore Doctor Bronson determined not to move forward
till the next day, when they would make an early start. The proper
rewards were distributed to the officers and crew of the _Khedive_, and
the Doctor and his nephew slept on board for the last time. They were
roused before daylight by the faithful Ali, though they really had no
occasion to be called, as both were wide-awake when the youth rapped on
the doors of their cabins. The excitement of ending the lake voyage and
again returning to land travel had given Fred a night of wakefulness,
and it is possible that the same causes had had their effect on his more
experienced companion.

The sun was just peering above the horizon when the caravan was ready to
move. As the head of the column of porters turned into the path that led
along the bank of the river the steamer cast off the lines that had held
her to the shore and turned down the stream, on her return to the point
of departure. There was a general hurrahing on shore and on the boat, in
token of farewell. As the _Khedive_ disappeared around a bend of the
river our friends mounted their horses, and a few minutes later were
once more in the depths of the African forest.

[Illustration: CARAVAN CROSSING A PLAIN.]

Between Foueira and Murchison Falls there is a succession of cascades
and rapids. The Albert N'yanza is more than a thousand feet lower than
the Victoria N'yanza, and by far the greater part of this descent is
below Foueira; consequently the road taken by Doctor Bronson and his
nephew ascended considerably. In many places it was so steep that the
horses had no easy task to carry their riders, and the porters found it
necessary to make frequent halts. Most of the way the route was in sight
of the river, or would have been, save for the dense foliage that often
made it difficult to see more than a few yards. Near the cascades and
rapids the ground was so broken that it often became necessary to go
back from the bank a considerable distance to find smooth ground. In a
few places the road led over treeless plains several miles across, but
for the most part it was among forests and hills.

[Illustration: SCENE IN AN AFRICAN VILLAGE.]

There were several villages along the route, but our friends did not
stop long to examine them. They were all of the same pattern--a
collection of grass huts, running to a point at the top, and so heavily
thatched that the heaviest rain of tropical Africa could not penetrate
them. The inhabitants did not appear to have much to do, as they were
generally lying on the ground in front of their dwellings, or seated in
little groups, discussing the news of the day or the politics of the
country. At one village there was considerable excitement, and Fred
suggested that it was probably election-day, and a sharp contest was
going on among the friends of the rival candidates.

The guide talked with some of the people, and learned that it was not
the election of an official, but the advent of a lion in the
neighborhood, that made the commotion. The beast was said to be lurking
in a thicket close by the village, and the natives implored the Doctor
to help them kill the intruder. Fred seconded the proposal; and as the
thicket was not far off, and they could easily reach the camp, even if
delayed an hour or more, they consented.

[Illustration: CROSSING A RIVER ON A FALLEN TREE.]

The guide said it was only a few steps away, but it proved to be half a
mile and more, and, what was worse, there was a small stream in the way,
too wide to step over; it was also too deep for the strangers to ford,
though an easy matter for the natives. But there was a bridge, in the
shape of a fallen tree, and, by careful balancing along its surface, the
party, one by one, reached the other side without accident.

Several of the natives had gone on in advance and surrounded the
thicket, which, fortunately, was not very large. Doctor Bronson and Fred
took their places, about fifty yards apart, where it was thought the
lion would endeavor to escape when roused by the sound of the drums and
other noisy instruments carried by the natives. When all was ready the
signal was given, and the din of the discord began in its full force.

Fred was peering sharply into the bushes to watch for any moving thing;
all at once he caught sight of a yellow mass gliding along close to the
ground, and advancing in his direction. He was satisfied it was the
lion, and made ready to fire at the proper moment.

Fred's motion of his rifle attracted the Doctor's attention, and he too
brought his weapon to the shoulder, and prepared to use it at the first
opportunity.

The lion crept slowly, as if aware of his danger. Fred allowed him to
get within twenty yards of his position, and then discharged the rifle,
after taking careful aim.

The lion gave a bound into the air. He was evidently wounded, but quite
as evidently he was not killed.

Doctor Bronson was a good shot "on the wing," and while the lion was in
the air a bullet from the Doctor's rifle went crashing through his skull
and brought him dead to the ground. There was no need of any farther
shot, and the animal never moved a muscle after he touched the earth.

There was a wild shout from the guides and others who accompanied them,
and in a little while half a hundred and more of the people were around
the dead lion. Great was their delight to find that their enemy had been
slain, and they were ready to give the hunters anything they might ask.
Fred suggested that the skin of the lion would make an admirable trophy.
It was speedily removed, and the fleshy side covered with wood-ashes, to
assist in its preservation. Our friends declined all other rewards for
their services, and returned to the village, where their horses were
waiting.

On their way back to the village, and just after recrossing the stream
on the fallen tree, Fred managed to bring down a bird of a kind he had
never seen before. The Doctor examined it, and remarked that it was
something extraordinary.

[Illustration: GOATSUCKER ("COSMETORNIS SPEKII).]

"It is found in several parts of Africa," said he, "and is ordinarily
called a goatsucker, for the reason that it is erroneously supposed to
obtain milk from goats after the manner of the young kid, and without
the permission of their owners.

"The specimen you have just shot is called the _Cosmetornis Spekii_ by
the naturalists, as it was first described by the traveller Speke. The
seventh pen-feathers are double the length of the ordinaries, the eighth
is twice as long as the seventh, and the ninth is about twenty inches
long. The bird belongs to the same family as the whippoorwill and
night-hawk of North America. It rarely goes out by day, and it was quite
accidental that you were able to secure this specimen."

The chief of the village insisted on their acceptance of a present of
fresh fruit, as a token of friendship. Two enormous bunches of bananas
were handed over to the servants to carry to camp, and then the hunters
took their departure.

[Illustration: A CAMP NEAR THE HILLS.]

When they reached camp they found that the tents had been pitched on a
little plain backed by a range of hills, and just outside a native
village. An awning had been placed for the Doctor and Fred, where they
could recline comfortably, and have the full benefit of the evening
breeze as it swept down from the hills. The people came in with grain
and other things to sell, and there was no scarcity of provisions.

The character of the commerce of the region was shown by an incident
that occurred just after the arrival of our friends, and while they were
occupied in their tents.

A native came into camp leading a boy at the end of a rope. Whenever the
prisoner lagged he received a blow from a stick in the hands of his
cruel master; and just outside the line of tents the boy was the victim
of a sound beating, in order to make him show his best points when on
exhibition.

The negro offered the boy for sale, and asked where was the chief
trader. Ali replied that the chief of the party was a white man, and did
not buy slaves.

The negro did not believe Ali's statement, and repeated his demand to
see the chief.

"I will go and call him," said the boy; "but he is 'Ingleez,' and won't
buy slaves."

At the word "Ingleez" (English) the native comprehended the situation,
and made haste to get out of the camp with his human merchandise. All
through Africa the English detestation of the slave-trade is well known,
and whenever a trader learns of an Englishman being in his neighborhood
he knows that his traffic will receive no countenance. No distinction is
made between English and Americans, as the term "Ingleez" is applied to
all who speak the language of Great Britain. Frank and Fred tried
repeatedly to make the natives understand the difference between English
and Americans, but finally gave up the attempt and allowed themselves to
be classified as "Ingleez." The universal response to their explanations
was, that the strangers spoke the same language and came from beyond the
sea, and therefore there could be no difference between them. Frank said
there had been many differences, particularly in 1776 and 1812; but his
joke was totally lost on his dusky listeners.

The next day's march was through a rough country, the road ascending
steadily as it followed the valley of the river. The caravan passed
several villages, but made no halt at any of them, and the camp for the
night was made near a small stream which flowed into the great river,
less than a mile away. One of the natives brought a fish caught in the
stream. It bore a close resemblance to the trout, and Doctor Bronson
said it was evidently a member of that voracious but wary family. Its
native name was _moora_, and it was said to be found in several of the
smaller streams of that region, but not in the lakes or large rivers.

One of the porters met with a serious accident, and the Doctor's
professional skill was called into play. The man slipped on a sloping
rock, and the fall broke one of the small bones of his right leg. The
natives desired to treat it after their manner, which consisted in
covering the limb with earth, and then building a fire over it, till the
patient howls with agony. He is then released, and the half-roasted
flesh is bound in splints and wound with thin bark, and must take its
chances of healing. The Doctor refused to allow this treatment, and set
the broken limb after the usual manner of American surgeons. Four
bearers were then employed to carry the man on a litter to Foueira; and
they set off an hour in advance of the caravan, so that there should be
no delay.

[Illustration: KAWENDÉ SURGERY.]

The incident recalled the account which Dr. Livingstone gives of the
surgery he once witnessed in the Kawendé country, where the thigh-bone
of a native was smashed by the accidental discharge of a rifle. It was
as follows:

"First of all a hole was dug, say, two feet deep and four in length, in
such a manner that the patient could sit in it with his legs out before
him. A large leaf was then bound round the fractured thigh and earth
thrown in, so that the patient was buried up to the chest. The next act
was to cover the earth which lay over the man's legs with a thick layer
of mud; then plenty of sticks and grass were collected, and a fire
lighted on the top directly over the fracture. To prevent the smoke
smothering the sufferer they held a tall mat, as a screen, before his
face, and the operation went on. After some time the heat reached the
limbs underground; and bellowing with fear, and covered with
perspiration, the man implored them to let him out.

"The authorities, concluding that he had been sufficiently long under
treatment, quickly burrowed down and lifted him from the hole. He was
now held perfectly fast while two strong men stretched the wounded limb
with all their might. Splints, duly prepared, were afterward bound round
it, and we must hope that in due time benefit accrued; but as the ball
had passed through the limb, we must have our doubts on the subject. The
villagers said that they constantly treated bad gunshot wounds in this
way with perfect success."

The march the next day and the next were without incident of
consequence; and as both Fred and the Doctor were anxious to get to
Foueira and meet the companion of their travels through Asia, we will
gratify their wishes and stand within a few miles of the encampment.
Frank had been notified by the porters who brought the wounded man in
advance of the caravan. Immediately on receiving the news he prepared to
go out to meet them; and thus it happened that they saw the young
gentleman riding along the path when the encampment was yet half a dozen
miles away.

The meeting was a happy one for all concerned. The boys ran to embrace
each other, and the Doctor joined them, so that a triangle of happiness
was speedily formed. The natives set up a shout of greeting, partly on
account of the meeting of the white men, and partly on their own behalf.
There was a considerable number of their friends who had accompanied
Frank from the fort, and made haste to remove the burdens from the heads
and shoulders of the weary porters and transfer them to their own. Of
course all had to sit down for a while to exchange gossip. Fully an hour
was taken up with the fraternal meeting, and then the march was resumed.

There was little sleep that night in the camp at Foueira until long
after twelve o'clock. Our friends had a thousand things to say to each
other, and the stories of the last thirty days included a great deal on
both sides. The natives had a festival in honor of the safe arrival of
the party from the lake: it included a dance around the camp-fires, and
a theatrical exhibition, in which some of them were dressed as demons.

[Illustration: A PAIR OF SHAM DEMONS.]

As these demons were said to be curiosities worth examining, Frank and
Fred went out to see them. Frank thought they were more hideous than
anything he had ever seen, and Fred suggested that the African idea of
demons did not run in the line of beauty. One of them had his entire
body covered with a coarse net from the neck down to his feet; his feet
and hands were covered with gloves, and his head was concealed by a sort
of helmet or mask. The net was striped horizontally, so that the man
reminded our friends of a prisoner of Sing Sing, and the gloves and
socks were laced to the rest of the dress, so that not an inch of skin
was anywhere visible.

The man carried a staff in one hand and a bell in the other. He tinkled
the bell constantly, and its sound was a signal that he wanted presents,
which were to be given to a small boy who followed him with a bag. The
other sham demon wore the same kind of clothing. His mask was adorned
with a row of feathers, and the face was hideously painted, while a
fringed hoop was extended around his waist. A brief inspection of these
grotesque figures was sufficient for our friends, who gave some trifling
presents and then returned to their tents.

Abdul said that these sham demons are to be found among many African
tribes, the dress varying according to the fancy of its owner, whose
chief endeavor is to conceal his identity while going through his
performances, and also to make himself as hideous as possible. The men
are analogous to the rain-makers already described, and one of their
duties is to keep the real demons from visiting the fields and villages.
As no two demons can occupy the same place at once, the shams compel the
genuine to move away by monopolizing all the good spots where a demon
might wish to live. The trade is by no means unprofitable, as the
inhabitants pay liberally for their services. Whenever a calamity of any
kind occurs a broad hint is given that the people have been stingy of
late, and thus the real demons have put in an appearance.

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN BAND OF MUSIC.]

Another curiosity of the occasion was the band which furnished the
music. It came in front of the tents and played in honor of the
strangers, who went out to see as well as to listen.

The instruments consisted of hollow gourds, wooden drums, and
_marimbas_. The drums were made of long strips of thin planks, which had
been soaked in hot water to make them flexible. In this condition they
were bent till the ends met, when they were fastened together and
allowed to dry. They were capable of a good deal of noise when used
industriously, and the natives who managed them seemed to give their
whole minds and muscles to the operation.

The hollow gourds were blown upon as one might blow into the end of a
door-key, and produced a sound like the heavy note of a bugle. The least
unpleasant of all the instruments was the _marimba_. It consisted of
small sticks placed over the mouths of gourds, and arranged on a
portable table suspended from the performer's neck. In this position the
sticks were beaten more or less gently, and as they were set to
different notes the sound was a nearer approach to music than that of
the other instruments.

A little of this performance was quite sufficient; and the Doctor
distributed presents to the players and hinted that they could move on.
But they were determined to give him the value of his money, and
continued playing till Abdul came among them and said the _Ingleez_ had
had all they wanted. Even this did not succeed in stopping them, and
they were only induced to discontinue their labors by the promise of
more presents in the morning, coupled with the threat of nothing
whatever in case they made any more noise that night.

[Illustration: SHAM DEMONS READY FOR BUSINESS.]



CHAPTER XX.

DEPART FROM FOUEIRA.--INTERVIEW WITH KING RIONGA.--THE PLATEAU OF
CENTRAL AFRICA.--EXPLORATIONS OF THE NIGER.


Doctor Bronson decided that there was no occasion for a hasty departure
from Foueira, but at the same time he allowed no delay in getting
everything in readiness. Abdul was busy from morning till night,
arranging the packages, organizing the gangs of porters, preparing the
provisions, and doing a hundred other things that were necessary. He was
greatly assisted by Frank and Fred, who acted under the general
direction of Doctor Bronson.

King Rionga came to visit Foueira the day after the Doctor's arrival, so
that our friends had a chance to see the monarch with whom Baker Pacha
became united in the bonds of African brotherhood. He was accompanied by
a dozen or more of his high officials, and a miscellaneous following of
attendants. The king wore a robe of native cloth, made from the bark of
a tree, and beautifully embroidered, while his attendants were arrayed
in the same material, but without any adornment. Each of them carried a
spear, that of the king being a foot longer than the spears of his
officers, and its head was made of gold instead of common iron. The king
expressed his pleasure at meeting the "Ingleez," and invited them to
call at his residence on their way to the south.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE ROAD.]

On the sixth day everything was ready, and just a week after their
arrival at Foueira Doctor Bronson and Fred, accompanied by Frank, whose
stay had been longer than theirs, mounted their horses and set out for
the place where they expected to see King Rionga. He had left his
island, and was at a village about five hours' march from Foueira, on
the road to M'rooli. The village was in a bend of the river a short
distance below the end of the island where the king lived at the time of
Baker's visit.

The caravan of porters had been sent off early in the morning, with
instructions to go into camp in the neighborhood of Rionga's village,
but not too near it, for fear of quarrels with the king's people. Abdul
selected the spot for the camp, with the assistance of one of Rionga's
officers, so that there was a good understanding between them. The king
ordered half a dozen huts constructed for the use of Doctor Bronson and
the youths within a hundred yards of the royal residence, and sent a
messenger out on the road to conduct the party to their temporary abode.

Our friends made their toilets, and sent word to the king that they
would call on him whenever it was his pleasure to give them a reception.
The messenger returned with the announcement that Rionga was ready to
receive them, and they at once proceeded to his "palace."

[Illustration: THE KING'S RESIDENCE.]

In the ordinary meaning of the word it was not much of a palace. It was
a building of a single story in height, with a veranda in front, where
the king enjoyed the air in the afternoon; and the roof was covered with
a mass of turf and thatch, to exclude the heat. Abdul said it was not
the regular residence of Rionga, and therefore was less extensive than
they might have expected. Perhaps it was because the interior was not
well furnished that his majesty did not invite them to enter, but
motioned them to be seated on the veranda. Frank took mental note of the
surroundings, and remarked that the king had a fondness for cows, as he
had a cattle-yard close by, and a couple of feeding and drinking troughs
for his favorite cows were in the space in front of the veranda.

It was not the regular hour for receptions, and it had been intimated to
the king that Doctor Bronson and his young friends were not in the
service of the Egyptian government, and did not wish the ceremony to
have an official character. Only two of the king's officers were
present; but, from certain whisperings and bustling inside the building,
it was evident that several persons were within hearing. Frank caught a
glimpse of a female face peering through the door, and Fred thought he
had a similar view a few moments later.

Coffee was brought in little cups, in the same manner as in Egypt, and
some ripe bananas and other fruits were served. The interview did not
last long, as it was late in the afternoon. When our friends rose to
depart the king asked them to come again on the following morning, when
he would receive them, in the presence of his officers and family.

When they returned to camp they found an ample supply of fruit, milk,
and other things, which had been sent by the king's orders, together
with several jars of "merissa," a fermented drink made from the juice of
the banana. The Doctor said it was like a very poor quality of beer
mixed with weak cider. None of the party cared for it, and as soon as
the messengers who brought it had gone away the jars were handed over to
the negro attendants, who emptied them very speedily. The fruits formed
a very acceptable addition to the stock of provisions, and there was a
great abundance of them, so that everybody about the camp had all he
chose to eat.

Abdul said that the fermented drink made from bananas was to be found
among most of the tribes in Central Africa, especially with those who
lived in villages and were not essentially pastoral in their habits.
During the expedition of Baker in the country of Kabba Rega that
treacherous king sent several jars of merissa one evening as a present
for the soldiers. They drank freely of it, and in a little while it was
reported that all the men had been poisoned.

Baker went immediately to the huts of his soldiers, and found that those
who had drank of the merissa were writhing with pain, and had all the
symptoms of having taken a violent poison. There were at least thirty of
them who were suffering; some were already insensible, and others
scarcely able to breathe. Fortunately, Baker had a large supply of
medicines on hand, and by prompt administration of them he saved the
lives of every one of his followers.

[Illustration: KABBA REGA'S ATTACK AND DEFEAT.]

The next day the object of the king in poisoning the soldiers was
apparent. His troops attacked the Egyptian camp, expecting that the
greater part of his enemies would be dead, or at least unable to fight.
It did not require a long time for them to find out their mistake, as
the soldiers rallied, and not only drove back the assailants, but burned
the town and the house where the king lived. They did not succeed in
capturing the monarch, as he soon discovered how the affair was going
and made good his escape.

The next morning our friends went to repeat their call on the king, who
received them in an open space in front of his house, as the dwelling
was altogether too small for the entire party of his attendants and
royal household. They found him standing in a group of about twenty of
his officers, all armed with spears, according to the custom of the
country, and in much the same dress as they wore at Foueira. The king's
wives and children were present, but somewhat in the background. They
showed great curiosity to have a look at the strangers, but did not
venture beyond the bounds that had been set for them. There was much
craning of necks, and many expressions of "Wah! wah!" which is said to
indicate astonishment or admiration, like the "Oh!" of civilized lands.

The boys wished to "astonish the natives" by bringing out the galvanic
battery and treating some of the attendants of the court to a shock; but
the Doctor said there was hardly sufficient time to do so; and besides,
the instrument would not be entirely new to them. Colonel Long gives an
account of the use of a magnetic battery at Rionga's court, to the great
astonishment of the people, who believed the little instrument endowed
with magical powers. He says that he knocked several of the natives down
with the violence of the shocks, and the performance was received with
shouts of wonder and superstitious awe.

[Illustration: THATCHED HUT IN RIONGA's VILLAGE.]

The Doctor had the forethought to bring along one of the musical-boxes,
which he set in operation, to the delight of everybody, and especially
of the women and boys who gathered around. The effect of the music was
irresistible, and before a dozen notes had been sounded half the
audience were capering around with wild delight. When the performance
was over the box was given to Rionga, and Abdul explained how it should
be wound and set in operation. The king was greatly pleased with the
present, and the dignity of the court was relaxed to allow his officers
to crowd around and look at it. Doctor Bronson said it was probable that
within a week the instrument would be ruined beyond repair, as Rionga
would be likely to endeavor to find out how it was made, and the result
could hardly fail to be as injurious as the attempt of a child to
ascertain the source of the sound in a squeaking doll.

The interview with the king lasted a couple of hours, and then Doctor
Bronson and his young companions made their farewells and started to
leave. Just as they were doing so Ali came to the Doctor's side and
whispered a few words, to the effect that some of the porters refused to
move on, as they wished to remain another day at Rionga's village.

It seemed that the king had sent a supply of merissa to the camp
sufficient for the entire force of porters. Instead of being grateful
for the donation they wanted more, and so had refused to start. They
knew that as long as they remained there the king would be likely to
provide the same quantity of merissa daily, out of respect for their
masters, and of course the latter would be compelled to make indirect
payment with presents.

The Doctor had no idea of allowing his porters to control his movements
in this fashion; and believing the shortest way was the best, he asked
Rionga to tell the men to go on, and that they would not receive any
more merissa.

The desired order was given at once, and the porters obeyed. The
incident delayed the departure of our friends for another half-hour, as
it was necessary to make some presents in return for the favor shown by
the king. A few beads and hatchets were sufficient, and then the
music-box was again wound up and set going, to the renewed delight of
the listeners.

When it was reported that the caravan was under way and the camp
entirely deserted, the ceremony of leave-taking was once more performed.
Doctor Bronson intended to return on foot to his huts, where the horses
were waiting, but the king asked that the animals should be led up and
mounted in his presence. Horses are rarely seen in this part of the
country. The king was familiar with them from having been often to
Foueira, but he desired to treat his wives to the strange spectacle of
Englishmen on horseback.

The steeds were brought up, and held by their grooms till their riders
were ready to mount. Doctor Bronson sprang lightly into the saddle, and
at almost the same instant Frank and Fred did likewise. The "Wah! wah!"
was loud and prolonged, and it was evident that the family of the king
had witnessed something unusual. Frank's horse was unused to the
presence of royalty, and began to dance, as though wishing to throw his
young rider. The youth was not at all alarmed at the performance, and
speedily brought the animal to terms, though not without some rearing
and plunging that caused a repetition of the cries of amazement on the
part of the beholders.

[Illustration: THE COUNTRY BACK FROM THE RIVER.]

On leaving the village the road turned away from the river, and did not
again approach it during the day. The country was undulating, with
occasional level plains, covered with heavy grass, and with belts of
forest similar to that which lines the banks of the river. In the hilly
regions there was little timber, the richest forests lying in the lower
portions, and especially on the borders of streams.

[Illustration: CROSSING A RIVER IN UNYORO.]

A few of the streams flowing from the mountains were sufficiently large
to make their passage a matter of difficulty. There were no boats to be
had at most of the crossings, and the only alternative was to wade or be
carried across on the shoulders of the porters. Where the water was
shallow our friends remained in their saddles and rode over at their
ease; but in some places the bottom was treacherous, and the travellers
did not think it wise to risk a fall. In these localities the horses
were led over, and each rider exchanged the saddle for a seat on the
shoulders of a stalwart negro.

They entered the country of Unyoro, or rather were some miles within its
limits, before they were aware of it. There had been rumors of
hostilities on the part of the Unyoro people before the party started up
the river from Afuddo, but the last intelligence at Foueira showed that
everything was quiet. Two or three villages were passed without halting.
The natives manifested no unfriendliness; but, on the other hand, did
not invite the strangers to stop and visit them.

Near every village there was a yard, where the cattle were driven at
night, the same as we have already seen among the Dinkas and other
tribes along the Nile. They passed some of the herds of cattle grazing
on the hill sides, and the boys observed that the herders in charge of
the stock seemed of a different type from the rest of the natives, being
much lighter in color. They asked Abdul what it meant; and he explained
that the stock-keepers are of a peculiar caste, and descended from the
Gallas, who long ago conquered the country.

"They are called Bohooma," said Abdul, "and none but these people are
allowed to attend the herds. The privilege descends from father to
son; and if the herds are captured by neighboring tribes and carried
off, the herders go with them, and remain in the same employment as
before. They never carry weapons of any kind, or take part in battle,
and nothing but death can separate them from their herds."

As they proceeded south our friends found that the rains were more
frequent, and water-proof garments were constantly needed. Doctor
Bronson had made careful provision for this emergency, so that there was
comparatively little suffering in consequence, save that the humidity of
the climate induced fevers, which did not spare a single member of the
party. The medical knowledge of the Doctor was of great use at this
time, and as there was a plentiful supply of sulphate of quinine in the
medicine-chest, and each of the travellers had a pocket-case constantly
within reach, the suffering was reduced to a minimum.

The boys endorsed the statement of previous travellers that rain and
humidity are the chronic condition of Central Africa. They found the
clouds a relief rather than otherwise, as the rays of the sun are
excessively warm, especially in the middle of the day, when they become
almost insupportable. The high elevation at which they were travelling
made the nights very cold. An abundance of thick clothing prevented
their suffering from the chilly nights, but their porters and attendants
had no such protection, and were wretchedly miserable all the time the
sun was below the horizon.

[Illustration: EFFECT OF A LONG RAIN IN AFRICA.--ANIMALS SEEKING
SAFETY.]

While they were at dinner, on the second evening after leaving Foueira,
the conversation naturally turned upon the peculiarities of the region
they were traversing.

"It is only within the present century," said the Doctor, "that we have
definitely ascertained the geography of the interior of Africa. It was
formerly supposed to be a mountainous region, sloping steadily away to
the sea; and there was a tradition, as I have before told you, of the
great rivers of Africa rising near each other and flowing in different
directions, as the water is carried from the roof of a house.

"The explorations of Livingstone, Burton, Speke, Du Chaillu, Cameron,
Baker, and others have demonstrated that the centre of the continent is
a vast plateau, or table-land, elevated from two thousand to four
thousand feet above the level of the sea. There are mountains in the
centre, and in various parts of this plateau, eight or ten thousand feet
high, and there is a rocky rim or edge nearly all the way around it,
with occasional openings, through which the rivers find their exit."

Frank was pushing aside his tea-saucer, when the Doctor paused and told
him to invert it on the table.

"Now," he continued, "you have in that tea-saucer, bottom upward, a
fairly good picture of the interior of Africa. Let the table where it is
lying represent the ocean surrounding the continent. The rim on which it
rests when right-side up is the mountainous ridge enclosing the central
plateau, and the space in the centre is the plateau, or table-land. The
slope from the ridge to the edge of the saucer is the strip of land
around the coast. It varies greatly, as it is very narrow in some parts
of the continent and quite broad in others. If you break a few notches
at irregular intervals along the ridge you will indicate the depressions
where the rivers pass from the equatorial basin to the great ocean."

Frank was about to make the notches suggested by the Doctor, and thus
complete the model of the "Dark Continent;" but he was checked by Fred,
who suggested that they were a long way from their base of supplies, and
tea-saucers could not be easily replaced. The practical illustration was
consequently deferred indefinitely.

"It is in the central basin," Doctor Bronson farther explained, "that we
find the great lakes which form the sources of the Nile, the
Livingstone, and the Zambesi."

"How about the Niger?" Frank asked. "Does it come from the same basin,
or does it have another origin?"

"The source of the Niger," replied the Doctor, "is far to the north of
the great basin where the three rivers I have named have their origin.
Thus far no European has seen the source of the Niger; it has been most
nearly reached by Winwood Reade, who visited the stream at a point where
it was not more than a hundred yards in width, and probably forty or
fifty miles from where it has its beginning.

[Illustration: SUNSET ON LAKE TCHAD.]

"The Niger was partially explored by the brothers Lander, Richard and
John, in 1830 and 1831; they visited it again in 1832 and 1834, and
endeavored to establish trade with the natives along the lower part of
the river, and also on its tributary, the Benoowe. The latter stream is
sometimes called the Chadda, or Tchadda, as it is supposed to rise in
Lake Tchad; but whether it does so or not is not fully established. The
Niger is properly formed by the junction of the Chadda and the Joliba,
the latter being the more western, and pronounced by those who have seen
it to be longer and larger than the Benoowe."

One of the boys asked if any other Europeans than the Landers and Mr.
Reade had explored the valley of the Niger.

"Yes," was the reply; "in its lower course it has been examined by so
many that the names would make a long list. Near the end of the last
century it was visited by Mungo Park, who was the first explorer of the
upper valley of the Niger, and he went there again in 1805.
Unfortunately for science, he was killed in this second expedition, and
his papers were lost with him. In 1828 a Frenchman named Chaillié sailed
down the river from Jenne to Timbuctoo, and reached Europe in safety.
His account supplied the deficiency left by the death of Park; and in
1853 Timbuctoo was visited by Dr. Barth, a German traveller, who
explored the river from that city to the town of Say, which lies in
latitude 13° 8' south, and longitude 2° 5' east.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE NIGER AT SAY.]

"Barth has left the account of his travels in three large volumes, which
were published in 1857, and described his wanderings from 1849 to 1855.
He died in Berlin in 1865, and is justly regarded as one of the famous
explorers of Africa. His account of Timbuctoo is the best that has
reached us. He had a good opportunity to see the city, as he was
detained there nearly a year by the Sultan, who refused to let him go
on.

"The aggregate length of his journeyings was some fourteen thousand
miles, and the territory he opened to the knowledge of the civilized
world may be roughly estimated at four million square miles. He explored
Lake Tchad and a considerable portion of the valley of the Niger,
settled several questions that were troubling the geographers, and made
a large addition to the knowledge of the Great Desert of Sahara.

"We are wandering from the equatorial basin of Central Africa,"
continued the Doctor; "but while on this subject we may as well have a
peep at Timbuctoo. We must make it in imagination, as there is very
little prospect that any of us will ever get there in person. The French
are talking about a railway from the Mediterranean to Timbuctoo, and
they also propose an inland sea by cutting a canal to flood the
depression of the Sahara desert. Timbuctoo would be near the southern
shore of the proposed sea; but thus far the scheme has ended in nothing
but talk. When the railway is completed, or the lake is formed, we will
think about seeing the city, if, happily, any of us are alive.

"Timbuctoo had been heard of for centuries, but the first European to
visit it was Major Laing, in 1826. Chaillié went there in 1828, and
Barth in 1853; and, as I before told you, the latter has given us the
best account we have had of the city.

"Timbuctoo is smaller than you might suppose from its age and celebrity.
It has a population of about twenty thousand, which is largely increased
at the time of the season of trade, between November and January. The
city is a collection of huts of wood or stone, and there are few
buildings of more than one story in height. There are three great
mosques and several smaller ones. The largest of the mosques rises in
the shape of a pyramid, with a broad base from the south-western corner
of the town.

[Illustration: VIEW OF KABARA, THE PORT OF TIMBUCTOO.]

"Dr. Barth was not permitted to go inside the mosque; but he probably
did not miss much, as the native accounts of it represent the interior
to be quite plain and without ornament. The town is about nine miles
from the banks of the Niger. Its port is called Kabara, and is on a
sandy hill, sloping down to the river. There is a broad basin for boats
at Kabara, which Dr. Barth thought might be artificial, but was unable
to ascertain whether it was so or not.

"The trade of Timbuctoo is chiefly by caravans to Morocco, Algiers,
Tunis, and Tripoli. Ghadames, about three hundred miles south-west of
Tripoli, is the most important outlet for the products of Timbuctoo, and
the most southerly point to which travellers may venture without great
risk.

[Illustration: TIMBUCTOO, FROM THE TERRACE OF THE HOUSE OCCUPIED BY DR.
BARTH.]

"The population of Timbuctoo comprises several varieties of negroes and
Arabs, the latter coming from the desert regions to the north. All are
Moslems of the most fanatical kind, and for this reason the life of a
Christian is not safe in the city if his religion is known. The few
Europeans who have been there went in disguise, and Dr. Barth said his
death would have been a certainty if it had been known that he was
anything but a Moslem."

Here Doctor Bronson was called from the tent by Abdul, who wanted advice
about serving out provisions to the porters. Frank and Fred being left
to themselves, the conversation took a lighter turn, though it did not
leave the strange city they had been hearing about.

"It has been said," Frank remarked, "that the word 'Timbuctoo' has no
corresponding rhyme in our language."

"Haven't you heard," said Fred, "the rhyme that somebody once made for
it? Here it is:

  "'If I were a cassowary,
    On the sands of Timbuctoo,
  I'd eat a missionary--
    Eat his bones and hymn-book too.'"

"I think I can make another rhyme for it," responded Frank. "You
remember the Buck brothers, that spent a summer in our town once, don't
you?"

"Yes," replied Fred, "I remember them well; one was short and stout, and
the other tall and slim."

"Exactly so. Now, how'll this do?

  "Just see how soon I write down
    A rhyme for Timbuctoo:
  We had at one time in our town
    Stout Buck and Slim Buck too."

"Very good!" exclaimed his cousin. "But I can do as well as that without
half trying. Wasn't President Buchanan sometimes called 'Old Buck,' by
way of familiarity?"

"I believe he was," Frank answered.

"That being the case," said Fred, "he will do for a rhyme like this:

  "To James Buchanan came a letter
    From the King of Timbuctoo:
  That monarch said, 'I can't do better
    Than write Old Buck and Jim Buck too.'"

"That will do," was the response; "and here's another to match it:

  "Sim and I went to the races,
    By the coach from Timbuctoo:
  When we went to book our places
    I said to him, 'Please, Sim, book two. '"

Fred tried to compose something else on the subject, but the power of
rhyming left him, and he gave up the attempt just as the Doctor returned
from his conference with Abdul.



CHAPTER XXI.

TRAVELS OF DR ROHLFS.--THE TSETSE-FLY.--THROUGH UNYORO.


"There's another brave explorer of the valley of the Niger," said Doctor
Bronson as he resumed his seat after the conference with Abdul, "whom we
should not omit from the roll of honor."

"I know to whom you refer," said Frank.

"Who is it?" Fred asked.

"Dr. Gerhard Rohlfs," was the reply. "He is a German traveller, born
near Bremen, in 1834, who graduated in medicine, and afterward entered
the French army, and obtained the highest distinction open to a
foreigner. His service was mostly in Algeria, where he learned the
Arabic language, and in 1861 went to Morocco, where he assumed the
character of a Moslem, and travelled a long distance in the Sahara
desert."

[Illustration: A VILLAGE ON THE GUINEA COAST.]

"Quite right," said the Doctor, as Frank paused. "It was in that first
exploration he was treacherously attacked and robbed by his guides in
the desert, who left him for dead on the sands, with a broken arm. In
1864 he again travelled in Morocco, and a year later he started from
Tripoli, in the disguise of an Arab, and went to Lagos, on the Gulf of
Guinea, by way of Moorzook and other cities in that part of Africa. He
passed Lake Tchad, and continued to the Niger, which he partially
explored, together with the river Benoowe, which has already been
mentioned. His name is familiar to many people in America, as he visited
the United States in 1875, and lectured there on his travels.

"He tells some interesting stories of his adventures," the Doctor
continued, "while travelling in disguise. He had managed to make the
Grand Shereef of Morocco his friend, and he secured letters that caused
him to be received with distinguished honors in most of the towns and
cities that he visited. As he spoke Arabic fluently, and knew all the
Moslem prayers by heart, his religious faith was not often called in
question. Occasionally, however, he was open to suspicion, and as he was
among the most fanatical Moslems his life was in great danger.

"At Tidikelt he was received very kindly by the prince to whom he had
several letters of introduction. One day a Touareg sheik came to him and
said,

"'I am a prince of the Touaregs; I have been in Paris, and know the
whole country of France, and I know the Sultan of the Christians. I know
you, and have seen you; you are a Christian, and a Frenchman or an
Englishman.'

"Rohlfs assured the man that he was neither French nor English; but the
latter was so certain about it that he went to the Prince of Tidikelt
and stated his suspicions that Rohlfs was a French spy, who had come to
see what the land contained. Fortunately, the prince did not believe
him; and when Rohlfs spoke about the matter the prince replied that he
was certain he would not have been able to get a letter of
recommendation unless he had been a Moslem. He added, 'If a Christian
should come into our land provided with letters from the Sultans of
Stamboul and Morocco, I should at once hand him over to the people, for
we don't want any Christians here.'

"The answer was not at all encouraging, as it showed the great danger he
was in. He would gladly have left at once, but could not do so, as the
mere fact of his trying to escape would only strengthen the suspicion
against him. So he put on a brave front, and by the practice of his
medical skill and careful attendance to the religious ceremonies he
managed, in the course of a month or so, to get on friendly terms with
everybody once more. Then he continued his journey, and in due time
reached the regions where Christians were safe.

[Illustration: SCENE NEAR LAKE TCHAD.]

"In his journey from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Guinea Dr. Rohlfs
had many narrow escapes, not only from the hostility of the natives, but
from fevers and other diseases which have caused the death of so many
explorers. In the neighborhood of Lake Tchad, during the period of the
inundation of the flat country surrounding it, he was obliged to travel
for several days where the water was five or six inches deep, and
frequently he was forced to wade where it rose to his waist. He suffered
much from fever caught in this region; and so unhealthy was the locality
that several of his Arab companions died from the diseases contracted
there. He was the first European to make the complete journey over the
route he followed, and it was nearly two years from the time he started
from Tunis till he arrived at the Gulf of Guinea.

"After leaving the Niger he traversed a part of the kingdom of Dahomey,
but did not visit its capital. Do you know for what Dahomey is famous?"

"Yes," replied Fred; "at least, I know one thing which travellers have
mentioned--it has an army of women instead of men."

[Illustration: AN AMAZON OF DAHOMEY.]

"Not exactly an army of women instead of men," said Doctor Bronson, "but
an army of both. The Amazons, as the feminine warriors are generally
termed, are in a separate division; and, according to Captain Burton,
who has visited the country, they take precedence and insist that they
shall be called men. They have officers of the same rank as the other
portion of the army, and these officers are always of their own sex.
There are about three thousand of these Amazons, and they are armed, as
far as possible, with the same weapons as the men. They are said to be
the bravest portion of the army, and are the great reliance of the king
whenever a fortified place is to be attacked."

One of the boys asked how they were recruited.

"As to that," was the reply, "the whole population is liable to military
duty, and the king can call to arms every person in his dominions who is
able to enter the military ranks. Before a girl can be married she is
taken before the king, and if he likes her looks she is at once enlisted
for a soldier, and that is the end of the proposed match. The Amazons
are not allowed to marry, and any man who asks one of them to do so is
in danger of losing his head. Most of them are so old and ugly that
they are not in danger of any one falling in love with them. Captain
Burton says they are generally larger than the men, more capable of
enduring fatigue, and, as far as his observation went, they make better
soldiers.

"There is a good deal of romance about the kingdom of Dahomey," the
Doctor continued. "It is a country with less than half a million
inhabitants, few manufactures, little commerce, and under the rule of a
treacherous and tyrannical king. Human sacrifices were formerly very
frequent, but within the last twenty years they have been mostly
suppressed, through the influence of the British, who invaded the
country in consequence of an insult to their consul at Lagos. The
country abounds in wild beasts of nearly all the kinds known in Africa,
and it is said that the boa-constrictor in Dahomey grows to an enormous
size. We are not likely to visit the country, and so it will not make
much difference to us whether they are large or not."

The conversation was again interrupted by Abdul, who came to say that he
thought one of the horses was suffering from the bite of the tsetse-fly,
and was afraid they might lose it.

"I have been fearing for some time," said the Doctor, "that as soon as
we entered the region of the tsetse-fly we should lose the horses. We
are not fairly in its range at present, and I hope the report that the
horse has been bitten by one of these pests is incorrect."

The incident naturally changed the topic of discussion. Doctor Bronson
gave a brief account of one of the dreads of all African travellers. It
will be found more fully described in the first volume of Dr.
Livingstone's travels.

[Illustration: 1, THE TSETSE. 2, THE SAME, MAGNIFIED. 3, ITS PROBOSCIS.]

"The tsetse-fly," said the Doctor, "is scientifically known as _Glossina
morsitans_; it is about the size of the common house-fly, and is of a
brownish color. It is very quick in its movements, and will evade the
most dexterous attempts to capture it with the hand except in cool
mornings or evenings, when it is less agile than at other times. Its
bite causes the death of the ox, the horse, and the dog. A remarkable
feature about it is that, while it is fatal to oxen and cows, it is
perfectly harmless to calves until after they are weaned."

"How is it that men can travel where this fly abounds, if its bite is so
deadly?" one of the boys asked.

"Because," was the reply, "its bite is no more injurious to man than is
that of a mosquito. It causes a slight itching, just as does the sting
of a mosquito, and that is all.

"The horse is the most ready victim of the tsetse-fly. It comes in
swarms sometimes, and lights on the back of a horse by hundreds. There
is no known remedy for its bite, and in less than a week the animal will
die.

"The sting is not a sensible one to the horse or ox, and very often an
animal may be bitten without being aware of it. In a few days there are
symptoms of a cold; the eyes and nose throw off quantities of mucus,
swellings appear under the jaws and elsewhere, the poor beast begins to
grow thin, as if starving, and finally dies of exhaustion.

"The period for the disease to perform its work varies from one week to
eight or ten weeks, and sometimes longer. It is a singular circumstance
that, while oxen, dogs, and horses are killed by it, the donkey and mule
escape altogether. Sheep perish from the bite of the tsetse, while the
goat is unharmed; and it does not seem at all injurious to any of the
wild animals of Africa. In the valley of the Zambesi there are whole
districts where the natives can keep no domestic animals except goats;
and it sometimes happens that, while one bank of a river is infested by
the deadly fly, the other will be wholly free from it, and cattle may
graze there in safety.

"When the natives are about to pass with their cattle through a tsetse
region they endeavor to do so on a cold night, when the fly is quiet;
and they take the precaution of smearing their animals with a paste made
from ashes and other substances, so that the tsetse cannot bite through
it. Inoculation does no good; and, until some remedy is discovered, many
portions of Africa will be uninhabitable to those who desire to keep
oxen and horses."

It turned out that the bite on the horse was not that of the dreaded
tsetse, and so the animals were safe for the present at least.

It was getting late, and the conference came to an end with the
dissertation on the deadly flies of Africa. The Doctor closed by saying
that there was an insect in the western part of Africa whose bite has
somewhat the same effect on man as the tsetse on the ox, though not
likely to be as fatal.

"It is called the tampan," said he, "and bites between the fingers or
toes in preference to other places. It varies from the size of a pin's
head to that of a small pea, and abounds in the native huts. Natives do
not suffer much inconvenience from its bite, but with Europeans there
follows a swelling and itching of the wound; then come fever and some of
the symptoms of cholera, and the fever occasionally results in the death
of the victim. Happily, this insect does not abound in many parts of the
country."

It rained most of the time during the night, and the next morning the
ground was so wet that the caravan did not get under way till a late
hour.

In the afternoon they passed close to M'rooli, a large village of
Unyoro, situated where the river widens into the appearance of a small
lake. A few hours later they crossed the Kafou River, where the water
was up to the saddle-girths of the horses, and required the porters to
use a good deal of caution in wading over it. Doctor Bronson said it was
from this point of the main route that Baker turned aside along the
banks of the Kafou when he went to discover the Albert N'yanza.

"Colonel Long describes a battle which he had in front of M'rooli," the
Doctor remarked while they were resting by the side of the path; "and it
must have been where we see the river widening out that the fight took
place.

"He was the first white man to descend the river from the Victoria
N'yanza, and he did so in spite of the opposition of the natives. He
discovered a lake, since called Lake Ibrahim, between here and the
Victoria N'yanza, and as he approached M'rooli he saw a great number of
canoes, full of natives armed with spears. They were stretched in a
double line across the stream in such a way as to prevent its passage
except by fighting, and their number was so large as to make the chance
of victory very small for him and his few men.

[Illustration: COLONEL LONG'S BATTLE AT M'ROOLI.]

"There were five hundred natives against Long and his two soldiers; the
natives were armed with spears and bows and arrows, while the others had
breech-loading rifles of the best systems. They laid their cartridges
ready, so as to fire as fast as possible, and Long ordered his two boats
to be lashed together, and the Egyptian flag hoisted at the stern of the
one occupied by himself; then he advanced. The negroes called out for
him to stop, and when he refused to do so the battle began.

"The power of the white man's weapons over those of the savage was never
more clearly shown than in this light. Long used a rifle carrying
explosive shells, which shattered the sides of the boats, throwing the
men into the water, and completely putting an end to their thoughts of
fighting in the effort to save their lives.

[Illustration: COLONEL LONG'S COMPANIONS AT M'ROOLI.]

"In little more than an hour the battle was over. Four hundred and fifty
cartridges had been expended by Long and his two soldiers, and the river
was practically clear of their enemies, as most of the boats had been
sunk, and the remainder returned to the shore. A large crowd gathered on
the land and pursued along the banks; but they could do no harm, as the
river was wide enough to enable the strangers to keep out of reach of
the weapons of their enemies.

"The report of this battle was received at Cairo before Colonel Long
arrived there. The Khedive sent him a letter of congratulation for his
skill and bravery, and promoted him to a high office in the Egyptian
service. The two soldiers received the decoration of the Order of the
Medjidieh and the rank of sergeant-major in the army."

[Illustration: A GROUP OF KIDI MEN.]

Soon after moving on from the point where Long's adventures at M'rooli
were narrated the party met a group of men in a style of dress which was
new to the boys. The principal garments, and by far the most valuable
part of the wardrobe, consisted of rings made of brass wire. These rings
were around the arms of the wearers in three places--at the wrist,
elbow, and shoulder--and also around the neck, which was enclosed so
stiffly as to remind the Doctor of the stocks formerly worn as a
fashionable adornment in England and America, and not yet altogether out
of use. The men carried spears and shields, and some of them had their
ears decorated with enormous rings of brass.

Frank recognized them as Kidi men, from the description in Speke's book,
and the illustration accompanying it. Kidi is on the other side of the
Nile, and these men come over the river to pay tribute to the King of
Unyoro, who has a sort of nominal control over them.

Kidi is said to be an excellent hunting-ground, especially for large
game, and the boys regretted that there was no time to visit it. Abdul
said the natives hunted elephants in a way not common in other parts of
Africa. At Fred's request he described the process.

They have a spear with a long blade, sharp on both sides, and fastened
to a short handle of iron, in the shape of a pear, so as to make it very
heavy. Armed with these spears, men climb into trees where the herd can
be made to pass, and when all is ready other men go out to drive the
animals in the desired direction. As the elephants pass beneath the
trees the heavy spears are dropped upon them. The hippopotamus is
sometimes killed in the same way, but more frequently by the trap
already described.

[Illustration: A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE HORSE.]

The road lay through a swampy region, and the rains caused many of the
holes to be filled with water, so that the travelling was none of the
best. In many places it was not safe to remain on the horses, and a good
part of the way was made on foot by the Doctor and his young companions.
Doctor Bronson said that if this kind of road continued it would be
necessary to walk altogether, or be carried on litters, after the custom
of Africa.

The horses began to show signs of fatigue, and indicated very plainly
that the climate of Central Africa was not suited to their constitution.
Their temper was not at all improved, though perhaps this was due quite
as much to their treatment by their grooms as to the climate of the
country. Frank said his horse never omitted an opportunity to kick at
him, and it was preferable to approach the animal at the head rather
than at the heels. The Doctor said it would be something never before
accomplished to take a horse all the way across Africa, and if they
succeeded in getting their steeds beyond the southern end of the
Victoria N'yanza they would have done something to be proud of.

They had many speculations as to the possibility of escaping the tsetse,
which had already given them an alarm, though happily a false one. Fred
proposed to envelop his horse in a garment of antelope-skin, or
something equally impervious to the sting of the fly. The Doctor
suggested that he would have a hard time to make the horse understand
the use of this new covering, and if he was compelled to wear it
constantly the health of the beast would be endangered almost as much as
by the fly.

On the whole, they concluded not to borrow too much trouble about the
future, but to take as good care as possible of the animals that carried
them and hope for the best. Both boys gave strict orders to their grooms
and other servants to keep a sharp watch for the tsetse, and report the
first indication of its presence. It was agreed that when there was
reason to believe it was among them the native precautions should be
adopted, and if any new measures could be devised they would be tried on
the first occasion.

[Illustration: APPROACHING CAMP.]



CHAPTER XXII.

THE MARCH THROUGH UGUNDA.--ARRIVAL AT KING M'TESA'S PALACE.


The rest of the march through Unyoro was without incident of
consequence, as the people were neither hostile nor familiar. The
caravan avoided the villages, as the natives were sure to make
exorbitant demands for the privilege of passing through their land, and
if their requests were not heeded they would endeavor to "get even" by
begging. All travellers in Unyoro have found the people persistent in
begging. They take the example from their chiefs, and consequently their
practice is not to be wondered at. Speke was plundered in this way of
nearly all the property in his possession while passing through Unyoro,
and he had barely enough left to take him to a station where he could
find relief. Everything that the chiefs saw they wanted; and if the
stranger was not prompt to display all his wares they lost no time in
asking for them.

From Unyoro the party entered Ugunda, the country of King M'tesa, who is
considered by Stanley and Long the most progressive ruler in Central
Africa. Formerly a pagan, and indulging in the most horrid practices in
the way of sacrifices, he became a Moslem, and was subsequently
converted to Christianity by Mr. Stanley. We have already mentioned this
conversion and the doubts as to its earnestness. Of late years two
English missionaries have been residing near the court of M'tesa, and
they report that he received their teachings kindly, and told them he
should be glad if his people could be induced to give up idolatry.

[Illustration: A QUEEN OF UGUNDA DRAGGED TO EXECUTION.]

At the time of Speke's visit the king was quite ignorant of
Christianity, and followed the idolatrous practices of his ancestors. He
caused his attendants to be put to death on the slightest pretext, and
sometimes on no pretext whatever. The fancy seized the king to order
some one to be executed, and the order was obeyed. Speke said hardly a
day passed that he did not see one of the queens led to execution by
order of the king, and no one dared say a word in remonstrance. A cord
was tied around her wrist, and she was dragged away by one of the court
attendants, who did his duty zealously, not knowing when his own turn
would come. Sometimes there were several of these executions in a single
day, and it seems a wonder that there should have been any population
left in the country.

Speke tried to persuade the king to consider the doctrines of
Christianity, but without success. He had better fortune with Kamrasi,
then King of Unyoro, though not much. The king wanted to look at the
Bible, and accordingly Speke and Grant went to an audience with him, and
carried a copy of the sacred book.

[Illustration: KAMRASI'S FIRST LESSON IN THE BIBLE.]

Speke endeavored to show the origin of the people in that part of
Africa, and their identity with the Ethiopians of Scripture. He began
with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Then he described the Flood, and how
the descendants of Ham were black, and undoubtedly the parents of the
Africans. When he had finished his account the king took the book and
began to count the leaves. He had an idea that each leaf represented a
year since the Creation, and he thought that if he counted the leaves he
might ascertain the age of the world.

When he was about a quarter through he was told if that was what he
desired he must count the words, and then he abandoned the task and
closed the book. This was the extent of Speke's lesson in the Bible to a
pagan king. Kamrasi had already robbed him of a good part of his
property; and as the robberies and extortions continued without any
abatement, it is evident that the teaching of the doctrines of
Christianity had no material effect.

Before leaving Foueira, Doctor Bronson sent a messenger to M'tesa to
announce his coming and to ask permission to visit the capital. It was
agreed that the messenger should return with the king's answer, and wait
at the frontier for the arrival of the Doctor's party. When they reached
the frontier the messenger had not returned, and the Doctor was in some
doubt as to the best course to pursue. He did not like to wait there,
and thus lose valuable time; and, on the other hand, he feared it would
be discourteous to advance without authority into the dominions of a man
who might consider himself insulted, and had it in his power to stop the
march altogether.

He finally determined to move on, but to send another messenger, who
would intercept the first and make him hasten back to meet the
travellers. In case they should have no word by the time they were
within two days' march of the king's residence, they would then stop
until the royal mandate had been secured.

Happily they were not delayed, as they met the messenger before reaching
the point where it had been determined to halt. The permission to go to
the king's residence had been granted, and the messenger brought a
document in Arabic to that effect. With that indifference to time for
which the Africans are noted, his majesty had taken several days to act
upon a matter that could have been disposed of in a few minutes.

The country was much like that over which they travelled from Foueira to
the frontier of Unyoro--grassy plains, alternating with stretches of
forests, and occasional swamps that rendered locomotion difficult. There
was an abundance of game, and if our friends had been inclined to the
chase they might have bagged a goodly number of elephants, with no end
of deer and smaller animals. Doctor Bronson thought it would not be
judicious to delay their advance in order to hunt the elephant, which
they were not in pursuit of for ivory; and, furthermore, it might not be
satisfactory to the king to have his game killed without permission. But
he had no hesitation concerning the antelopes and other edible beasts,
and for the greater part of the time the larder was well supplied with
venison, so that the preserved meats and vegetables were rarely touched.

There was hardly a day without rain; it began usually about an hour
before sunset, and frequently fell with great fury till ten or eleven
at night. Then the clouds cleared away, the sun rose bright in the
morning, and by waiting a couple of hours our friends found the roads
endurable. But in spite of the heat of the sun the water collected in
the hollows, and there was altogether more wading and floundering
through the mud than was to the taste of any member of the party.

[Illustration: MOUNTAINS IN THE DISTANCE.]

As they approached the capital of Ugunda the boys observed that there
was a great deal of red clay in the soil, and whenever it was wet with
the rain it showed an adhesiveness equal to the best qualities of glue.
The king had ordered the roads swept for their advance, but the sweeping
was more figurative than real; the path was cleared of fallen trees or
other obstructions, but the absence of brooms was more conspicuous than
their presence. In some places the path ascended hills two or three
hundred feet high, but for the most part it was along the lowlands,
since the natives are not at all fond of climbing when they can avoid
it.

[Illustration: VILLAGES IN THE HILLY COUNTRY.]

The agricultural tendencies of the inhabitants were shown by the
abundance of banana groves, some of them covering hundreds of acres, and
producing enormous quantities of the well-known fruit. The banana is
almost the sole resource of the people. They eat it raw or
steamed--generally in the latter form, unless it is thoroughly ripe;
they dry and pound it into a sort of coarse flour, for making bread,
puddings, and soup; they press out the juice for making pombé, or
banana-cider, as already described; and they boil the young shoots and
eat them, as we eat spinach or cabbage. The land which yields a ton of
potatoes will yield forty-four tons of bananas, and the surface
necessary for supporting one man when planted with wheat will support
twenty-five men when planted with bananas. What wonder is it that a
population which can grow the banana is not inclined to industry?

Nearly every night the camp was made in or near a banana grove, and for
a few beads or other commodities the party was allowed to gather all it
wanted for its use. Sometimes the owner of a grove would see a chance to
make something out of the transaction, and demand an exorbitant price;
but he was generally brought to terms by a reference to the king,
coupled with a judicious hint that the strangers were on their way to
visit M'tesa. One frightened native offered the products of his garden
for nothing, and was quite unwilling to accept payment for what was
taken.

The last camp was made about ten miles from the royal residence, and
just after the tents had been spread a messenger came from the
"kahotah," or minister of state, to announce that his majesty had
ordered a zeriba, or enclosure of huts, to be prepared for the visitors,
and it would take at least a day to perform the work. The kahotah came
shortly after the messenger, and went into camp about two hundred yards
away. He declined to see Doctor Bronson or either of the youths, as they
must first be presented to the king, but he sent an interpreter to find
out all he could concerning them.

The real object of the delay was to ascertain exactly who and what the
strangers were, so that the proper ceremonies could be observed for
their reception. The kahotah told the interpreter that he would gladly
meet the strangers, but the etiquette of the country prevented, and
there is nothing for which the Africans are greater sticklers than this
matter of etiquette. Royal courts are pretty nearly alike all over the
world.

The kahotah brought some presents from the king to Doctor Bronson: part
of them he delivered through his interpreter; but, after the custom of
his country, he kept the greater portion himself. Abdul said the kahotah
was a very important personage with the king, as he not only filled the
office of minister of state, but also that of cook. All the dishes eaten
by his majesty were prepared by the kahotah's own hands, so as to reduce
the chance of poisoning; and as the kahotah was required to eat of every
dish in the presence of his majesty before the latter touched it, he
was pretty sure that no strychnine or other injurious substance had a
place in it.

The delay of a day was utilized by a general brushing up of clothing and
brightening of brass adornments, in order to make the entry into the
capital of Ugunda as imposing as possible. Abdul went to see the kahotah
and arrange the details of the procession to do honor to all concerned.

It was decided that the camp would be moved to a point within a mile of
the capital, and there located for the night. At nine in the morning a
column would be formed, consisting of the body-guard of the king, or,
rather, a delegation from it; then a detachment of the royal troops,
armed with muskets and lances; then the flags of Ugunda, Egypt, and the
United States would be carried side by side, and followed by Doctor
Bronson and the two youths; then would come the escort of the strangers,
and the porters, with the presents for the king. The remainder of the
Doctor's porters would remain in camp till the ceremony was concluded,
when they would follow the Doctor to the zeriba which had been prepared
for him.

Fortunately for everybody, there was no rain on the evening preceding
the entry; and though the sun rose bright and clear, it was not quite as
warm as usual. The road this time had really been swept, and, as it was
fully twenty feet wide, it was better entitled to the appellation of
road than anything our friends had yet seen in Central Africa. The
king's troops were preceded by what was supposed to be a band of music.
It kept up a steady din of horns and drums, without the least attempt at
melody, and the instrumental part of the performance was aided by
imitations of the crowing of cocks and the cries of various birds and
animals.

[Illustration: FLAG OF UGUNDA.]

The flag of Ugunda proved to be of white and red, there being three
times as much of the latter as of the former; and it was ornamented at
the end with tassels of monkey-skin, cut from those parts where the hair
was longest. This was probably the first occasion of the American flag
being carried with that of Ugunda, and the boys were naturally proud of
the event.

The horses attracted more attention than did their riders, for the
simple reason that they were far more interesting as curiosities. White
men were not uncommon in Ugunda, especially since the residence there of
two English missionaries, but horses were rarely seen. Colonel Long was
the first to ride a horse into Ugunda; and probably, up to the date of
Doctor Bronson's visit, not more than half a dozen in all had escaped
the dreaded tsetse and reached the region of the Victoria N'yanza. Many
of the people had never seen a horse, and some of them believed that
horse and man were one, and expressed great astonishment when the riders
dismounted.

[Illustration: LONG'S FIRST VISIT TO M'TESA.]

When Colonel Long visited Ugunda and approached the palace, the king
sent a messenger to ask that he would ride to the gate, in order that
his majesty might see the animal on which he was mounted. The colonel
gathered his reins and dashed down the slope of a hill to where the king
was standing with his harem, who fled in terror at the apparition. The
horse slipped and stumbled in a depression of the road, but quickly
recovered; the colonel rode by at full speed and returned to the hill,
amid the shouts of the assembled crowd. When he dismounted there was a
rush of frightened men, as they had supposed till then that he was a
Centaur.

Since that event the king and his people have been enlightened to some
extent, but horses are still regarded with veneration, and are more
strange in the eyes of the people than the elephant is in ours.

On the arrival of our friends the king was in front of his palace, which
stands on the top of a gently sloping hill, commanding a fine view of
the country for a considerable distance. At the foot of the slope a
messenger requested the party to halt till the royal group had taken its
position. The delay enabled the crowd to have a good look at the
strangers, and it is fair to suppose that Frank and Fred returned the
inspection with interest. The boys were favorably impressed with the
intelligent appearance of the faces around them; they said they could
readily understand why Ugunda was the most advanced of the Central
African countries, and had been the first to welcome the missionary and
his work.

A messenger came from the king to request the party to advance, and,
amid the renewed din of horns and drums, it moved on once more. About
fifty yards from where the king stood it halted, and then the Doctor and
the boys dismounted, and left their horses in charge of the grooms.
Under the guidance of the court interpreter they walked forward; their
names were shouted in loud tones; they advanced to the king and
bowed; the king inclined his head very slightly, in recognition of their
obeisance, and the ceremony was over.

The formal presentation was to take place the next day, in the king's
palace, and in the mean time the strangers were to be allowed to rest.
The presents intended for the king were deposited in the zeriba prepared
for the Doctor, to which the entire party was immediately conducted by
the kahotah, who now showed himself for the first time.

[Illustration: UGUNDA BOY.]

Several attendants were sent by the king to wait upon the Doctor and his
young friends. Abdul said the best use to be made of them was to lodge
them in one of the huts, and require as little service as possible from
them. Their real office was to see and report upon everything that the
strangers had and did, and particularly to tell what they possessed
which could be of use to the king. Consequently, whatever the Doctor had
which he did not wish to be called on to present to his majesty was kept
carefully out of sight; and though the attendants repeatedly intimated
that they would like to examine the contents of certain boxes and bales,
they were not accommodated.

The zeriba prepared for the Doctor was on the side of a hill fronting
the one on which the palace stood. It was the same which was occupied by
Stanley, Long, and others, and is supposed to be in readiness at any
time for the reception of distinguished visitors. There were a dozen or
more huts inside a palisade: one, larger than the rest, was the special
residence of the Doctor, and two others close by had been hastily thrown
together for the boys. The other huts were for the dragoman, servants,
and escort; and the attendants, who had been sent to keep watch, were
instructed to order more huts erected if necessary. The construction of
a house in Central Africa is an affair of only an hour or two, and the
number could be multiplied indefinitely till all the space was
occupied.

[Illustration: VIEW OF M'TESA'S PALACE FROM DOCTOR BRONSON'S ZERIBA.]

Frank busied himself in the afternoon in making a sketch of the scene
from the front of their encampment. The picture included the slope of
the hill, covered with conical huts, and divided into little gardens. A
broad road led up the hill and around to the summit, and in order to
reach the entrance of the palace it was necessary to follow this bend of
the road.

A few trees were scattered along the sides of the hill, but the
vegetation was not abundant. Abdul explained that the most of the wood
had been cut away for fuel, and the king was not inclined to have many
trees around his residence, as they would give shelter to an enemy in
case of hostilities. Wood was a scarce article in the capital of Ugunda,
and Doctor Bronson soon found it necessary to ask the king for a detail
of men to supply them with fuel. In spite of the position of the place
(less than thirty miles from the equator), the nights were cool, in
consequence of the great elevation above the level of the sea.

The instruments were set up, and the latitude and longitude of Rubaga,
the name of M'tesa's capital, was obtained by the Doctor as follows:
Lat., 0° 21' 19" north; long., 32° 44' 30" east; elevation by barometer,
not far from forty-five hundred feet. Atmosphere humid, and climate
unhealthy for Europeans.

Frank found his sketch was a work of difficulty, as the natives crowded
around and watched each stroke of the pencil with feverish anxiety, and
with many expressions of wonder. Two of the attendants, armed with
spears, were in front of the hut where he was occupied with his drawing;
they kept up an incessant chatter in a language he could not understand,
but their frequent glances in his direction showed that he was the
subject of conversation. When he had finished one of them examined the
sketch with great care, and immediately started for the palace, with the
intention, no doubt, of informing his royal master what the young man
had been doing.

The natives displayed a great deal of curiosity: they not only examined
all inanimate things belonging to the party, but pulled at their
clothing, took their caps from their heads, and were never weary of
pulling at their hair, as if wishing to ascertain what made it so free
from kinks. It was frequently necessary to repress their eagerness; but
everything was done with such good-nature that it was difficult to get
angry with them. Frank suggested that they shut the gates of their
zeriba and admit nobody unless he had business inside; but the Doctor
said it would be best not to do so. There would be a better chance of
studying the people if they could come and go as they liked, and,
besides, it would make a more favorable impression on the king, who
would certainly be informed of all that occurred.

[Illustration: A WARRIOR OF UGUNDA.]

While Frank made his sketch of the hill of Rubaga, Fred induced one of
the warriors to stand for his portrait, which the youth put upon paper,
the man remaining motionless as a statue for at least half an hour.

Under the drawing he wrote the following notes:

"He is a handsome, well-formed negro, not an inch less than six feet in
height, and with a head that resembles John M'Cullough dressed for
Othello. His left arm is quite bare, and supports the triangular shield
which is a part of his military equipment. It is a light frame, covered
with dried hide and decorated with pieces of monkey-skin, to which the
hair still clings. Knotted and fastened over his right shoulder he has
two garments like cloaks; one is made of bark-cloth of a yellowish
color, and the other of the skins of very young antelopes, sewn together
as skilfully as the best operator of New York or London could perform
the work. His ankles are encircled with rings of brass wire, his hair is
closely cut, with a parting on one side, and his feet are without shoes.
He has two spears over his right shoulder, as his official position
requires him to be armed in this way. The customary weapon of the
Wagunda, as the people of the country are called, is a single spear; and
a person of any rank whatever would injure his reputation if he went
abroad without it."

The king sent presents of bananas, rice, fruit, and jars of pombé,
together with a large jar of milk, as he knew from experience that the
foreigners were fond of that article. He sent a high official to ask if
anything else was wanted. Doctor Bronson thanked the officer, both in
words and with a present, and told him their needs were all supplied.
The officer hid the Doctor's present under his cloak and went away, but
soon returned with the announcement that the king would hold court the
following morning and receive the strangers. As they were already
informed of this arrangement, the Doctor suspected that it was a device
to extort another present, and therefore paid no farther attention to
it.

[Illustration: VIEW Of RUBAGA FROM THE GREAT ROAD.]



CHAPTER XXIII.

CEREMONIES AT M'TESA'S COURT.--THE TELEPHONE IN AFRICA.


The ceremonies at court on the following day proved to be of a most
interesting character, and were thus described by Frank in his journal:

"We were ready at the appointed time, each of us wearing a suit of
spotless white. We were accompanied by Abdul and three servants, the
latter carrying our chairs. The officer who came to escort us said the
king was engaged in hearing the reports of his ministers, and would be
pleased to receive us. Of course we took that as a hint to move, and
were off at once.

"The audience-chamber may be described as an exaggerated hut of the
Ugunda pattern, with a broad opening at one side. It has a double roof
over the entrance, the outer one projecting like the eaves of a house,
and supported by posts, that somewhat impede the view, though not to any
great extent. Both roofs are covered with thatch, and a fire would make
sad havoc in a short time.

"Places had been reserved for us on both sides of the oblong block which
served as a royal seat. Doctor Bronson and myself were motioned to sit
on the right of his majesty, while Fred and Abdul were placed to the
left. They were a little farther back than we, so that the side of the
door-way hid a good deal of the outside spectacle from their sight. The
Doctor, Fred, and I were seated on our camp-chairs, while Abdul remained
standing by Fred's side, and close to where the courtiers and
cup-bearers came when they had anything to offer to the king.

[Illustration: A RECEPTION AT THE COURT OF KING M'TESA.]

"M'tesa sat on a block of wood that resembled a large door-step, and was
covered with skins of several wild animals, that of a leopard being
uppermost and in the centre. His feet just touched the matting which lay
upon the ground in front of him, and he sat for the most of the time as
motionless as though being photographed, and with his hands folded on
his lap. A little distance from him were several attendants squatted on
the mat and waiting for his orders.

"On the ground outside, and seated in the same way as the slaves, was a
semicircular group of courtiers, perhaps a hundred in all. At the left
of the king, and just outside the door of the audience-room, were three
or four men, wearing red caps, like the Turkish fez. They were
ferocious-looking fellows, and each had a small cord twisted round his
cap, which told plainly what their duties were.

"I looked at them carefully out of the corner of one eye as they kept
their gaze rigidly on the face of M'tesa. What do you suppose they were?

"These ferocious men were the court executioners, and down to the time
of Stanley's visit, in 1876, their duty was to strangle such persons as
were designated by their royal master. These victims were taken from the
group of courtiers or by-standers, and every man who went to the
ceremonies at M'tesa's court was liable to be offered up as a sacrifice
at the end of the performance. Sometimes ten victims, sometimes five,
and sometimes as many as thirty, were strangled in a single morning by
the king's order, as an offering to the gods who presided over the
destinies of the kingdom of Ugunda.

"All is changed now since M'tesa has embraced Christianity, thanks to
the labors of Stanley. The executioners have little to do in their
former profession, and their service now is in the less ferocious work
of serving as messengers or pages. Occasionally a criminal is put to
death by royal command, but the custom of sacrifices has been abandoned,
and probably forever.

"Speke found M'tesa a savage, with all the horrid rites of paganism in
full sway. Stanley found him a Moslem, wearing the Arab dress, and
requiring his court-officers to do likewise, but still retaining some of
his pagan customs. We find him a Christian, and with Christian
missionaries at work in his dominions. He has abandoned much of his
former haughtiness and acquired the manners of Europe far more than we
had reason to expect. His courtiers are no longer in the habit of
rubbing their necks when they wake in the morning, to ascertain if their
heads are still on their shoulders.

"Formerly it was the custom for everybody who approached the king to lie
prostrate on the ground and wriggle up to his place, taking care not to
expose the soles of the feet either in advancing or retiring. To do this
was to offer great indignity to his majesty, and many a man has lost his
head in punishment for not being handy with his foot.

"The prostration is no longer required. The courtiers advance, with the
head bowed slightly, very much as they might approach a sovereign in
Europe, and they deliver what they have to say without any sign of
cringing. The courtiers squat or sit on the ground as they used to, and
they continue to be particular about the soles of their feet. You cannot
expect a complete change in manners in a single decade.

[Illustration: A TREE OF UGUNDA.]

"When the king had finished the ordinary business of the court he turned
to his minister of state and asked about the strangers. The minister
explained, what the king probably had learned already, that the
strangers had come from a far country to look upon the ruler of the
kingdom of Ugunda. They had brought presents of great value for this
mighty king, and it gave them great pleasure to be present at his court.

"Then the king turned toward us, but continued to address the minister,
saying he was glad to welcome the strangers, and hoped they would enjoy
their stay in his dominions.

"Abdul translated the king's words, and thanked his majesty on behalf of
Doctor Bronson and his two companions--rather, I should say, he thanked
the kahotah who delivered the speech to the king. The latter then gave
the signal, the drums sounded, and the ceremonies were over. The
courtiers rose from their sitting postures and backed away from the
enclosure in front of the hall, and only the guards and a few of the
high officials remained.

"As soon as the place was cleared the king rose and stepped down from
his throne. We immediately rose from our seats and waited his pleasure.

"He gave a slight nod to his prime-minister; the latter advanced, and
introduced us, very much as we might be introduced to a private
gentleman in his residence. We bowed as he did so. The king took Doctor
Bronson's hand for an instant, and just glanced at Fred and myself, as
we were probably too young for him to give us any serious attention.

"I can't do better, nor even as well, in the way of a personal
description, than Stanley has done in his book, 'The Dark Continent.'
Therefore I will quote from page 195 of the first volume:

     "'_April_ 7, 1876.--In person M'tesa is tall, probably six feet one
     inch, and slender. He has very intelligent and agreeable features,
     reminding me of some of the faces of the great stone images at
     Thebes, and of the statues in the museum at Cairo. He has the same
     fulness of lips, but their grossness is relieved by the general
     expression of amiability, blended with dignity, that pervades his
     face, and the large, lustrous, lambent eyes that lend it a strange
     beauty, and are typical of the race from which I believe him to
     have sprung. His color is of a dark-red brown, of a wonderfully
     smooth surface. When not engaged in council, he throws off
     unreservedly the bearing that characterizes him when on the throne
     and gives rein to his humor, indulging in hearty peals of laughter.
     He seems to be interested in the discussion of the manners and
     customs of European courts, and to be enamored of hearing of the
     wonders of civilization. He is ambitious to imitate as much as lies
     in his power the ways of the white man. When any piece of
     information is given him he takes upon himself the task of
     translating it to his wives and chiefs.'

[Illustration: A DAUGHTER OF KING M'TESA.]

"The above description will answer perfectly for to-day. Stanley saw
much more of the king than we have seen, not only in an official but in
a social way, and he makes a pleasing picture of the court of Ugunda at
the time of his visit.

"Stanley says the king could not sound the letter 'n' distinctly, and
consequently made the explorer's name into 'Stamlee.' Though pronouncing
the name of his guest repeatedly, he could never hit the proper sound.
But if the king has trouble with foreign words, he may console himself
with the thought that the foreigners have equal difficulty with the
language of Ugunda. It is full of consonant sounds, and its vowels are
few. The name of the king requires two consonants to be sounded
together, and it is no slight task for the European tongue to get
through "M'Tesa" without danger of choking. As far as we can observe,
there are many words in the language which present the same
difficulties, and Fred says anybody who comes to Ugunda to stay ought to
bring some iron clasps to hold his jaws in place while talking.

"When the king stepped from his throne he dropped his own language and
spoke in Arabic, and we saw at once there was no farther need of an
interpreter. In a few polite phrases he said he was glad we had come to
Ugunda, and hoped many of our countrymen would follow our example.

"'It is a long and difficult journey,' he added, 'and we have not much
besides our lakes and hills to show you. We appreciate it when you come
so far, and if there is anything you specially wish to see, it shall be
shown.'

"Doctor Bronson mastered all the Arabic he could speak, and thanked the
king for his offer.

"'We wish to see the Victoria N'yanza,' said the Doctor, 'and to learn
what we can about your majesty's country.'

"The king answered that we should have all we wished, nodded his head
just the least in the world, and looked away. Then he suddenly turned
around toward the Doctor again, and said he would send him any
provisions he might need for his men.

[Illustration: KING OF UGUNDA RETIRING.]

"He walked away, followed by his court officers. He has a dignified,
almost haughty, manner of walking, and reminded me of Captain Speke's
description of his striding off with two spears in his right hand, while
with his left he led his favorite dog, which seemed to imitate the walk
of his master. This peculiar step is supposed to represent the walk of
the lion, which is the beast to which the king loves to be compared.

"We walked slowly back to our zeriba, followed by a large crowd that
pressed curiously around us. Their attentions were sometimes
inconvenient, but nobody intentionally offered any affront.

"We had not reached our quarters more than ten or fifteen minutes before
the presents which the king had promised us began to arrive.

"There were bags and jars, bundles and baskets, almost without number.
They contained samples, and large ones, too, of nearly all the edible
things produced in the country. There were potatoes, yams, bananas
(green and ripe), eggs, chickens, milk, melons, tomatoes, cocoa-nuts,
cassava flour, banana flour, pombé, and several varieties of fruits
unknown to us. We have the products of the tropics and some of those of
the temperate zone, and if the king's bounty continues there is no
danger that we will starve in Ugunda.

"Now was the time to send our presents to the king, the etiquette of the
court requiring that they shall be made as soon as possible after an
interview. Accordingly we despatched Abdul with the cloth, beads,
jewellery, hatchets, knives, and other things of that nature which we
had intended for M'tesa, and with the announcement that we had some
other things to deliver in person and explain their uses, whenever it
pleased his majesty to receive them.

[Illustration: NATIVE OF UGUNDA, WITH HUNTING SPEAR.]

"Abdul returned with a message from the prime-minister that the king
would receive us and our presents the next morning, at a less formal
assemblage than the one we had attended that day. Soon after his return
there came an additional present, in the shape of five cows, twenty
sheep, and as many goats, which were intended to supply our camp with
fresh provisions.

"The cattle resemble the Durham breed of England, and are the finest
animals of the kind we have seen in Africa. They are kept mainly for
their milk, as the Wagunda rarely eat beef; their diet is principally
vegetable, with the occasional addition of the flesh of sheep, goats,
and chickens. The king has large herds of cattle, and he sometimes sells
them to the Arab traders, who take them to regions where such animals
bring higher prices than in Ugunda.

"The next morning we went to deliver the presents, having received
notice that his majesty was ready to receive us. We found him in the
open space in front of his audience-hall, accompanied by his wives and
court officials--about fifty of the latter, and at least a hundred of
the former. Fred and I thought that a hundred wives was a good many, but
Abdul said there were at least as many more whom we did not see.

"M'tesa is a very pleasant man when in the midst of his family, and he
laughed and talked with them as freely as if he had not been king at
all, but only an ordinary citizen. Of course we could not understand
what he said, as we don't know ten words of the language; but, to judge
by the laughter that followed his remarks, there must have been a good
deal of fun in them.

"Our porters deposited the presents in a spot indicated by the
prime-minister and then retired. We opened the parcels, and Doctor
Bronson gave the things to M'tesa one after the other as the wrappings
were removed.

"He was particularly desirous to obtain fire-arms, and we gave him a
double-barrelled sporting gun of the Remington system, loading at the
breech, and capable of being fired very rapidly. Then we gave him a
rifle, with a case of explosive balls, which he immediately proceeded to
test by firing one of them into a tree, where it exploded with great
force and threw splinters of wood in every direction.

[Illustration: THE KING'S MUSICIANS.]

"A music-box was wound and set in operation. The king was familiar with
music-boxes, as they had been brought by previous travellers. His wives
showed the greatest delight at the sound which the instrument produced,
and two or three of his little daughters could hardly remain quiet while
the tunes were being played.

"We couldn't show the magic lantern, as it was in the daytime, but we
brought out the telephone, and stretched about a hundred yards of wire
from one side of the open space to the other. When the connections had
been made and everything was ready, we asked his majesty to make an
experiment with the strange machine.

"Doctor Bronson and Abdul went with the king to one end of the line,
while Fred and I stood by the prime-minister at the other, with Ali to
serve as our interpreter.

[Illustration: VISITORS IN THE ZERIBA.]

"Under the directions of the Doctor, M'tesa spoke through the
instrument, and immediately received a response from our end of the
wire. The voice of the minister seemed to be close to his ear, and he
looked around, with an angry expression on his face, as if he believed
there was some trick about it.

"The kahotah was so far off that he could only be heard by shouting, and
then the king spoke again through the telephone.

"The kahotah responded immediately. To say the king was astonished is to
express very mildly his mental condition.

"In some doubt as to what was going on, he called one of his daughters,
a little girl about eight or nine years old, who spoke Arabic fluently,
and sent her to our end of the line. Evidently he thought it possible
that the minister might be in collusion with us, and therefore he called
the girl, as he knew she had not seen us till that morning, and had not
spoken a word to any of our party.

"She talked with her father both in their native language and in Arabic.
As soon as they began speaking Doctor Bronson walked away a few yards
from the king's side, so as not to overhear the conversation; and Fred
and I walked away from the little girl in the same manner.

"They talked there for nearly half an hour, and then the king asked if
we could do the same thing at a greater distance.

"We told him we could talk that way farther than he could possibly
travel in a whole day.

"'Can you talk from my palace to your zeriba?'

"'Certainly,' the Doctor answered. 'We will do so to-morrow, if it is
your majesty's pleasure.'

"It was agreed that the next morning, at the same hour, we should have a
conversation between the king's palace and the zeriba, and with this
understanding the interview came to an end. The king was going to review
one of his regiments, and asked us to see it, and of course we accepted.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN SPEKE ATTENDING A REVIEW OF THE UGUNDA TROOPS.]

"We found the troops just outside the palace yard, where the hill slopes
away to the south. There were eight or nine hundred men, armed with
spears and shields; they stood in a sort of irregular line, and at a
signal from their officers a dozen soldiers came forward and went
through the exercise of handling their spears in an imaginary battle. It
was the same performance as described by Captain Speke at the time of
his visit. The king would like to have an army of soldiers drilled and
armed after the European fashion, but thus far he has not been able to
obtain the weapons. He has about five hundred muskets, bought from Arab
traders and others, and has formed a body-guard, commanded by a former
soldier of the Egyptian army. These men are armed with the muskets just
referred to, and as they have been fairly drilled they make a creditable
appearance.

"The two missionaries who have been living in Ugunda, but happen to be
absent at this time, say that their efforts to teach the king the
principles of Christianity have been somewhat retarded by his eagerness
to obtain a plentiful supply of arms and ammunition. He thinks that to
be a good Christian he ought to be able to shoot all his enemies, and
some of his arguments have puzzled the missionaries not a little to
answer.

"'You want me to be Christian,' he says to them, 'and you don't give me
what belongs to a Christian king. The countries that you come from and
tell about have great armies, with the best kind of guns, and plenty of
them; and why shouldn't I have the same? You say your queen is a good
woman and a true Christian, and you told me the other day that she has a
great army and navy, to do just what she wishes; and you told me that
other countries had just the same, and they are all Christian. I want to
be Christian too, and be able to conquer the whole of Africa with my
army.'

"It is easy to see that this line of argument must have been a
troublesome one to the missionaries. We shall try our best to explain
the matter if the king speaks to us about it, but are not altogether
sure that we can remove his perplexity.

"When the review was over we returned to our zeriba. The afternoon was
devoted to arranging for the telephone performance, and for this purpose
we asked the prime-minister to have some poles erected where the wire
could be stretched. He made some difficulty about it; but when we told
him that the performance could not come off without it, he sent for the
poles, and had them put up as we desired. We stretched the wire about
twelve feet above the ground, and asked to have orders that no one
should touch the poles or the wire. Abdul said there was not the
slightest fear of a disturbance of our apparatus, as the natives
believed it was something supernatural, and not one would go near it,
through fear that his life would pay the forfeit.

"In the morning the king was ready at the appointed time, and sent word
that he would commence the 'magic talk.' We made the same division of
our numbers as at the first experiment, Doctor Bronson and Abdul
attending to one end of the line, while Fred and I, with Ali, managed
the other. It was necessary to do this in order to prevent any
derangement of the apparatus through the eagerness or ignorance of the
natives.

"About half the number of the officials of the court were sent to the
zeriba, together with a dozen or more of the king's wives and daughters.
The king, at his end of the line, talked a few moments with one and then
with another, until he was completely satisfied that there was no
trickery about the mysterious wire and the boxes at the ends. The
teachings of his childhood returned to him in contemplating the
telephone: he at once attributed it to the spirits, and evidently
regarded us as magicians of the highest rank.

"When the performance was over he ordered a fresh supply of presents to
be sent to our zeriba. We were fearful that he would want to retain the
telephone; but he was evidently afraid of it, and felt relieved when the
wire was removed, and the whole apparatus had been packed away in the
cases where it belonged."



CHAPTER XXIV.

AT M'TESA'S COURT.--VISIT TO THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.--ASTONISHING THE
KING.


Continuing our acquaintance with M'tesa, King of Ugunda, it will be
interesting to hear the story of the conversion of that monarch to the
religion of Europe and America.

[Illustration: HENRY M. STANLEY.]

On page 202 of the first volume of "The Dark Continent," Stanley says as
follows:

     "Since the 5th of April I had enjoyed ten interviews with M'tesa,
     and during all I had taken occasion to introduce topics which would
     lead up to the subject of Christianity. Nothing occurred in my
     presence but I contrived to turn it toward effecting that which had
     become an object to me--viz., his conversion. There was no attempt
     made to confuse him with the details of any particular doctrine. I
     simply drew for him the picture of the Son of God humbling himself
     for the good of all mankind, white and black; and told him how,
     when he was in man's disguise, he was seized and crucified by
     wicked people who scorned his divinity, and yet, out of his great
     love for them, while yet suffering on the cross, he asked his great
     Father to forgive them. I showed the difference in character
     between him whom white men love and adore, and Mohammed, whom the
     Arabs revere; how Jesus endeavored to teach mankind that we should
     love all men, excepting none, while Mohammed taught his followers
     that the slaying of the pagan and the unbeliever was an act that
     merited Paradise. I left it to M'tesa and his chiefs to decide
     which was the worthier character. I also sketched in brief the
     history of religious belief, from Adam to Mohammed. I had also
     begun to translate to him the Ten Commandments; and Idi, the
     Emperor's writer, transcribed in Kigandi the words of the Law, as
     given to him in choice Swahili by Robert Feruzi, one of my boat's
     crew, and a pupil of the Universities Mission at Zanzibar."

While Stanley was engaged in impressing the truths of the Christian
religion upon the mind of this African king, there came one day the
announcement that a white man was approaching from the north. The
stranger came, and proved to be Colonel Linant de Bellefonds, of the
Egyptian army, and at that time attached to the Soudan division, under
command of Gordon Pacha. Colonel Linant met Mr. Stanley at M'tesa's
palace, and the religious conversations were continued in his presence
from time to time. His arrival was a material assistance to Stanley in
converting the king; "for, when questioned," says Stanley, "about the
facts which I had uttered, and which had been faithfully transcribed, M.
Linant, to M'tesa's astonishment, employed nearly the same words, and
delivered the same responses. The remarkable fact that two white men who
had never met before, one having arrived from the south-east, the other
having emerged from the north, should, nevertheless, both know the same
things and respond in the same words, charmed the popular mind without
the 'burzah' (court), and was treasured in M'tesa's memory as being
miraculous."

In another place Stanley makes honorable mention of the poor Moslem
laborer, Muley bin Salim, who converted M'tesa from the paganism in
which Speke left him, and taught him the faith of Islam. Believing that
one conversion could be followed by another, Stanley determined to build
on the foundation laid by Muley bin Salim, by destroying the king's
faith in Islam and teaching him the doctrines of Jesus of Nazareth.
Colonel Linant, in his journal, makes an extended allusion to the good
accomplished by Stanley, and the hours which they both devoted to the
religious instruction of the king.[5]

[5] Colonel Linant de Bellefonds remained several weeks at M'tesa's
court, and then returned to Gondokoro, which he reached in safety. In
the month of August of the same year, while on another expedition, he
was massacred, with his entire party of thirty-six men, most of whom
were of the original "Forty" that accompanied Baker in his Soudan
campaign.

Doctor Bronson and his young friends made several excursions in the
neighborhood of Rubaga, and from the tops of the hills they enjoyed many
charming views of the country. The region is one of the prettiest in
Central Africa. There are few open plains or stretches of level land, as
in the Unyoro country, and the marshes that make other parts of Africa
so unhealthy are practically unknown. There is a succession of low
hills, backed in the distance by ranges of mountains, and from most of
the hill-tops the broad surface of the Victoria N'yanza is visible.
Between all the ranges of hills there are brooks flowing down to the
lakes, and as the rains are frequent in this part of the continent there
is rarely any lack of water.

The boys were eager to look upon the Victoria N'yanza, and not only to
look upon it, but to ride over its surface. The second day after their
exhibition of the powers of the telephone to the king an excursion was
made to Usavara, the station of the fleet of King M'tesa, at the head of
a small bay which opened out from the lake.

[Illustration: ON THE ROAD TO THE LAKE.]

It was about ten miles from Rubaga to Usavara. The king had caused a
fine road to be made from his palace to the lake. This road is ten or
twelve feet wide, and suitable for carriages, though no wheeled vehicle
had ever traversed it up to that time. Our friends made the journey on
horseback, and were delighted with their ride. They realized the
correctness of Stanley's description, who said it carried him through
jungle and garden, forest and field. There were groves of bananas,
plantains, and other products of Ugunda agriculture. There were forests
of tamarind, mimosa, gum, and other trees; and there were plantations of
the _ficus_, from whose bark the cloth for the national dress of the
people is made. The villages of dome-like huts formed an almost
continuous line, or would have done so if the dense foliage had not
concealed the most of them from sight.

Up the slopes and then down again the road took its meandering way, and
from each of the hill-tops a nearer view of the lake was obtained. The
sky was clear, and the heat at times severe, but it was relieved in some
measure by the foliage of the trees and by the breeze that blew from the
lake.

They were accompanied by a high officer of M'tesa's court, who was
instructed to show everything they wished to see. As they desired to
inspect some of the royal canoes, the officer sent an order to the place
where they were kept, and in a little while half a dozen boats came
dashing through the water.

[Illustration: UGUNDA BOAT.]

The boats were of a construction different from anything the youths had
ever seen. They were built with high, projecting prows, rising up like
the neck of a swan, and ornamented with a tuft of feathers and the horns
of an antelope. Some of the boats were hollowed from the trunks of
trees, while others were made of strips of planks fastened to frames. In
either case the sides were braced by means of cross-pieces, and the
largest of the boats had planks and canes laid upon the braces, so as to
form a deck. Frank compared the Ugunda boat to the Japanese sampan; but
Fred pointed out the difference in the height of the prows, and also the
fact that the sampan had a sort of cabin at the stern, which was not so
in the Ugunda craft.

The men paddled instead of rowing, and Abdul said the use of oars as we
employ them in America was almost unknown in Central Africa. The paddles
were neatly cut from thin planks, and each paddle had a straight handle,
terminating in a spoon-shaped point, hollowed a little, to give it a
better hold on the water.

Evidently the king's rowers knew their business, as they propelled their
craft through the water at an astonishing speed. Time was kept by a
steersman, who sung a monotonous chant, and the paddles rose and fell in
perfect unison. The boats were brought to the side of a little wharf
which extended to where the water was six or eight feet deep, and a
landing stage, consisting of a raft of reeds, furnished convenient
access to the craft.

Doctor Bronson and the youths were invited to enter one of the boats for
a ride down the bay. In a few minutes they were under way, at a speed of
at least six miles an hour, propelled by the strong arms of the sailors
of M'tesa's fleet. Where they entered the boat the bay was quite narrow.
Doctor Bronson said it was the body of water to which Speke gave the
name of Murchison Creek, while the water farther down was named
Murchison Bay, in order to identify it with the creek.

[Illustration: VIEW ON MURCHISON CREEK.]

Several boats were out on the water, and the scene was an animated one.
All of them were careful to keep out of the way of the king's craft,
and therefore the course was kept as straight as a sunbeam, except where
it became necessary to make slight deviations in consequence of the
winding of the shores. An hour's rowing brought them to a village which,
the officer explained, was one of the king's stations when he wanted to
enjoy himself on a fishing excursion, or when preparing for a battle
with his enemies on the other side of the lake. M'tesa has a powerful
enemy on the eastern shore, and not unfrequently they try the strength
of their boats against each other. One of these wars was in progress at
the time of Stanley's visit, and the great explorer was able to render
material assistance to M'tesa, and thereby win his friendship.

They did not go far enough down the bay to get a full view of the lake,
as the distance was not less than twelve miles, and time did not permit.
Frank and Fred were somewhat disappointed, but Doctor Bronson told them
they would doubtless have the opportunity of traversing the lake in a
few days, and therefore have all the fresh-water navigation they wanted.

[Illustration: HILLS BACK FROM THE LAKE.]

A little before sunset they went back to the point from which they
started, and spent the night in some huts the king had ordered set apart
for their use. The next morning they returned to Rubaga by another and
longer route, which gave them a good view of the country around the
capital of Ugunda. Everywhere were the villages, with their conical
huts, half-concealed among the trees; and the numerous plantations of
bananas and other edible things showed that the natives had no idea of
starving. The boys observed that most of the work in the fields was
performed by women. Abdul said the men were required by the king to
serve as soldiers or boatmen, but a large number of them had very little
to do from one month's end to another.

[Illustration: "ELEPHANT'S FOOT," OR "GOUTY-LIMBED," TREE.]

Fred called attention to some trees with very large trunks in proportion
to their limbs. He remarked the curiously formed stump, and said he
should call the tree by the name of "elephant foot," for the want of one
which would be more descriptive.

"That is the name it is known by," said Abdul in reply. "Some of the
native tribes call it the 'elephant's foot,' and it is also known as the
'gouty-limbed.' It belongs to the calabash family, and grows, as you
observe, on the poorer kind of soil. It takes up its location where most
of the other tropical trees decline to grow."

Everywhere they went the villagers came out to look at the strangers,
and, as at Rubaga, the horses attracted more attention than their
riders. One of them showed signs of illness, and just as they reached
the capital his strength gave way, and he was unable to stand. He lay
down in front of the hut that formed his stable, and in spite of every
exertion his keepers could not persuade him to get up and go inside.

In the morning he was somewhat better. It was impossible to decide
whether he was the victim of the dreaded tsetse-fly, or was simply
suffering from some equine ailment which could be cured by rest and
attention. All agreed that he must be kept as quiet as possible, and
whatever excursions were undertaken for the present must be made without
him. As a matter of precaution, it was decided that all three of the
horses should be kept in their stables for the remainder of the stay at
Rubaga.

In the afternoon the king sent for the Doctor and the youths to come to
an audience. They went accordingly, and the Doctor carried, as a present
to his majesty, a field-glass of great power--one of the best that could
be found in London or Paris.

M'tesa was greatly pleased with the gift, and suspended the interview in
order to try its powers. After devoting half an hour to levelling the
glass upon the huts and people within range and observing the effect, he
remarked that the glass and the "magic talker" ought to enable him to
see and hear everything in Rubaga without going away from home. He asked
if the white man could make glasses with which they could see in the
dark. The Doctor was about to answer in the negative, but a hint from
Frank caused him to give an evasive reply and promise to show something
new in a day or two.

When the experiments with the field-glass were ended M'tesa entered into
familiar conversation with the Doctor, and, among other questions, asked
if he was acquainted with "Stamlee."

Doctor Bronson answered that he knew Stanley, having met him many times
in New York and other places. The king had very little idea where New
York was situated, and his chief concern was to know that the two were
acquainted.

"Then if you know Stamlee," said he, "I suppose you will want to do just
as he did?"

"Certainly," said the Doctor, though with some misgivings, as he feared
he might be obliged to follow Stanley's example and assist the king to
subdue some of his enemies.

He was set at ease immediately by the king, who said he was at peace
with all his neighbors, and therefore there would not be the same
difficulty in going to the "Running N'yanza" as there was in Stanley's
time. The Doctor took the hint at once, and said they wished to visit
the "Running N'yanza," or the place where the river leaves the great
lake.

"Well," answered M'tesa, "you shall go to the Running N'yanza in a few
days, and I will give you boats to go with. You can come back by land,
and the porters will meet you at the falls."

Thus the plan of an excursion to the outlet of the Victoria N'yanza and
the visit to Ripon Falls was completed in a few minutes. Speke had great
difficulty in getting there at all; Long was obliged to ask many times
before he received permission to go there, and then he had to fight his
way down the river; and Stanley only succeeded in reaching the falls by
accompanying the king on a warlike expedition against one of his
rebellious tribes.

The "Running" or "Flowing N'yanza" is the name given to a river; while
"n'yanza," without any prefix, simply means water, and may apply to any
body of that liquid, from the contents of a drinking-cup up to one of
the great lakes, or even the ocean. This general use of the word was
sometimes confusing, but by degrees our friends came to understand it;
and as for the Running N'yanza, there could be no mistake about that.

[Illustration: TREES AND CLIMBING PLANTS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.]

Before they left the royal presence the king hinted that if the white
men had anything for seeing in the dark he would like to have it
produced. At Frank's suggestion, an appointment was asked for the
evening of the second day from that date, as it would be necessary to
unpack some of the cases and make arrangements which could not be
hurried.

The king gave the desired appointment, and the strangers went to their
zeriba. Fred was puzzled to know what Frank intended to do, and as soon
as they were out of hearing of the king he asked his cousin what he
meant by hinting that they could enable his majesty to see in the dark.

"Perhaps we cannot literally make him see in the dark," Frank
responded, "but we can go quite the distance in that direction. We'll
show him something he has never seen yet."

"What is that?"

"Gas."

"Where'll you get it?" Fred inquired.

"Make it ourselves," was the reply. "We haven't the New York Gas-Works
at hand, but we'll get up a substitute."

Fred made no reply, as he was well aware Frank had made his plans, or he
would not be so confident. Frank continued that he would explain his
process as soon as they reached the zeriba. He added that he should want
Fred to help him, and the latter immediately promised to do everything
he could to make the experiment successful.

"You know," said Frank, as soon as they were seated in their zeriba,
"how gas is made for illuminating purposes?"

"Certainly I do," was the reply, "for I learned that when I studied
chemistry."

"Just run over the process," Frank suggested.

"Let me see," responded his cousin. "The coal is baked in retorts, which
are generally made of clay. They are closed up tight as soon as the coal
is put in, and the hot fire beneath them causes the coal to give out its
gas, which is carried away by iron pipes."

"All right so far," said Frank.

[Illustration: CHARGING A RETORT IN A GAS FACTORY.]

"The retorts are set in a framework of brick, and look like small ovens.
The coal is put in with a long shovel, and after the retort is closed it
is baked four or five hours, when it is drawn out and replaced by a
fresh charge.

"The gas goes from the retorts to the purifier, which consists of a
series of pipes surrounded by water. It travels through these pipes till
it is thoroughly cooled and gives up the tar and other impurities
contained in it; then it passes through water and water-spray, to wash
away ammonia, another impurity; next it is forced through powdered lime,
to remove the sulphur contained in it; and then it goes to the
gasometer, whence it is carried in pipes to the places where it is to be
consumed."

[Illustration: DIAGRAM OF GAS-WORKS.]

"That's the whole story," responded Frank; "and I am going to make gas
on a small scale to amuse the king. We cannot make our gas as pure as it
is made in a large establishment, but we'll get it up so as to answer
our purpose."

With this understanding the boys went to work, and before night they had
accumulated most of the materials needed for their performance. From one
of the boxes Frank took a coil of rubber pipe and a slender
"drop-light," which he had brought along, with the consent of the
Doctor. A reflector, to be placed on this burner, was made by cutting an
empty provision-can so as to form a cone, and carefully cleaning the
surface of the tin on the inside. A small hand-mirror was mounted on a
pivot, so that it could be used for turning the light on any desired
point, and another mirror was arranged to be hung in front of the light
and rotated at will.

Half a dozen jars, with narrow mouths and covers to fit, were obtained
by the efforts of Abdul, and also a quantity of soft clay, for closing
them hermetically when desired. A couple of old gun-barrels were bought
from a native, to serve as tubes to carry the gas from the retorts to
the tub of water which was to serve as a purifier. A jar placed in this
water with its mouth downward was the gasometer, or receiver, and then
the apparatus was pronounced complete.

"But how'll you manage to take your gas from the receiver to the king's
palace?" said Fred.

"Oh, that's easy enough," was the reply. "You know we have a lot of
rubber bags for carrying things in and preserving them from the moisture
of the climate. We will make a small hole in the gas-receiver, and fill
the bags one after the other by placing them over this hole, which we
can plug with a cork when we want to close it.

"We can tie the mouths of the bags tight enough to prevent much loss,
and in this way carry the gas to the palace. The rubber tube will make
the connection from the bag to the burner. We can get sufficient
pressure by having a man sit on the bag while we are using the light;
and when we exhaust a bag, and want to replace it with a fresh one, we
can easily make some excuse for suspending operations a few moments."

"But you haven't any bituminous coal of the kind used for making gas,"
said Fred. "I suppose you've thought of that, and will use charcoal?"

"That is what I shall do," was the reply. "These people make charcoal,
as you know, and use it for smelting and working iron. I have told Abdul
to get us a good lot of charcoal for to-morrow morning, when we will
start our gas-works; and if we have no accident we shall be ready for
the performance when the evening comes around."

[Illustration: FRANK'S GAS-RETORT.]

The next day both the youths were occupied with their work, and they had
made such careful preparations that their impromptu apparatus succeeded
admirably. The charcoal proved a very fair substitute for hard coal, and
Fred remembered his boyish experiment at gas-making by filling the bowl
of a common tobacco-pipe with charcoal, closing it with clay or putty,
and then placing it in the fire. In a few moments a stream of gas
issued from the stem of the pipe, and instantly ignited when a burning
match was held in front of it.

In the evening the party repaired to the palace, on receiving word from
the king that he was ready to see them. They were accompanied by the
requisite number of porters for carrying their gas apparatus and
music-box, and also the magic lantern, which they had determined to
exhibit before making the experiments with the gas, and to prevent a
complete disappointment in case the latter should fail. A small space
was given to the boys at one end of the audience-hall, and in a very
short time they arranged their magic lantern and the screen which was to
display the pictures. The king was there, with his wives and officers,
so that the place was well filled. Frank whispered to Fred that it would
be well to put out a placard announcing "Standing-room only!" and Fred
intimated that the door-keeper should refuse admission to all who had
not secured seats in advance.

"What a lot of money we could make," said Frank, "if we had reserved the
whole house and put the tickets in the hands of the speculators!"

"Yes," responded Fred; "but remember, this isn't a republican country;
and perhaps the king would call his executioners, and discourage future
speculators by decapitating ours."

"Let's invite him to New York, to break up the ticket ring," was the
reply. "Then it might be possible once in a while to get a seat in a
theatre without paying a premium for it."

"We'll talk that over some other time," said Fred. "If the show is
ready, let's go ahead with it."

They exhibited a varied collection of pictures with the lantern, which
greatly amused the king, and set his officers and the rest of the party
in an uproar of wild delight. The music-box had been wound up; it was
started at the same moment as the first picture was shown, and there was
a general belief in the audience that music and lantern were one.

When this part of the affair was ended the gas apparatus was put in
operation. It roused the curiosity of the king, who was thoroughly
convinced that the white men knew the secret of making air burn, as he
examined the bags and pipe, and was satisfied they contained nothing but
air. The reflectors answered their purpose very well, and threw light in
any direction the king suggested. On the whole, the boys had reason to
congratulate themselves on the success of the affair, and they greatly
regretted that, owing to force of circumstances, the brilliant
engagement was to terminate with only one performance.

The close of the entertainment literally "brought down the house."
Everybody was invited outside to witness the grand finale, which
consisted in sending up a paper balloon, carrying a Chinese lantern. As
the light rose toward the sky some of the women and children actually
fell down in terror at the strangeness of the occurrence, and it
required all the persuasive powers of the king to convince them that no
harm would ensue from the magic of the white man.

[Illustration: SEEING THE SHOW.]



CHAPTER XXV.

AN EXCURSION ON THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.


The next morning our friends went to another audience with the king, who
expressed his gratification at the exhibition of the magic lantern and
the gas-light, and said nothing of the kind had ever been seen in
Ugunda. It was easy to observe that his respect for the white man was
steadily increasing. He asked if such things were common in the land
they came from. Doctor Bronson said that in America and England whole
cities were lighted by "burning air" like that which had been forced
from the mysterious bags, and men rode among the clouds in contrivances
such as had been sent up with the lantern attached to it. M'tesa was
inclined to be sceptical on this point, and said if that was the case
the white man ought to travel across Africa in air-ships, instead of
walking long distances over the rough hills and through interminable
forests.

[Illustration: M'TESA'S IDEA FOR CROSSING AFRICA.]

Just before they started from the zeriba Fred had been reading Jules
Verne's "Five Weeks in a Balloon," which describes an imaginary journey
across Africa in an air-ship, which could be made to go wherever its
occupants desired, and to rise and descend at will. The copy in Fred's
possession was full of illustrations of the supposed adventures of Dr.
Ferguson and his two companions in a trans-African voyage. The volume
happened to be in his pocket at the time of the visit to the king, and,
at the Doctor's suggestion, he produced it when M'tesa made the
suggestion last mentioned.[6]

[6] "Five Weeks in a Balloon" is an excellent compendium of African
travel down to the time it was written. While it abounds in imaginary
adventures of the most exciting character, it comprises an admirable
description of the geography, people, animals, and vegetable productions
of the central portion of the "Dark Continent."

The Doctor took the book and handed it to the king. The latter opened
it, and gazed with astonishment on the pictures which passed before his
eyes. There were the very air-ships he had suggested; there were the
mountains and lakes of Africa, its wild animals, its forests, and
everything to indicate that his country had been traversed by the
wonderful vehicles.

For some minutes he gazed on the revelation, and could scarcely believe
his eyes. When he came to the illustration of the scene where the anchor
of the balloon is caught in the mouth of an elephant, which tows the
travellers at a rapid rate, he laughed heartily.

"Only the white man would think of having an elephant to draw him in
that way," said M'tesa. "The white man can do everything."

Seeing the great interest of M'tesa in the book, Doctor Bronson
intimated that he could keep it. The volume was immediately handed to
one of the officers, and the business of the visit went on.

The king referred to his promise to send the party to the Victoria
N'yanza, and the point where it discharges its waters to send them down
to the sea. He asked how far they wanted to go.

"We would like to visit Ripon Falls," said the Doctor, "and return from
there to your majesty's capital."

"Very well," replied M'tesa. "You can go to the falls in the boats I
will give you, and then you can come back by land, as I said before. I
will send the porters to meet you at the falls," he continued, "and an
escort to make the road safe when you come back."

Doctor Bronson suggested that they could return the same way as they
went. They could come back in the boats, which would be obliged to
return in any event, and therefore they could bring the party without
any serious effort.

The suggestion seemed to strike the king favorably, though he received
it with some surprise, which Abdul explained by the fact that all the
white men who had ever been in Ugunda seemed unwilling to travel the
same route twice. It was therefore natural for the king to suppose that
the strangers would prefer returning by the land route, which would be a
new one to them, rather than make the water journey a second time. This
would have been the case with Doctor Bronson and the youths, but they
had learned that the land journey between Ripon Falls and Rubaga was a
very difficult one, without any new and interesting features, and
therefore they favored the return by water, as it would be easier and
far less expensive. Besides, it would be a considerable saving of time
to them, and they were anxious to continue their journey to the south as
soon as possible.

Accordingly it was settled that they would leave as soon as they were
ready, and the king would give them a sufficient number of boats for the
journey. All the goods and provisions they did not require could be
stored at Rubaga, to await their return, and the king would see that
everything was safe. With this understanding the audience ended and our
friends retired.

[Illustration: RETURNING FROM AN EXCURSION.]

The rest of the day was devoted to arranging their goods and selecting
such as they wished to carry. Doctor Bronson told the boys they would
take all their fire-arms and most of the ammunition. The most valuable
of the goods were also carried along, together with their tents and camp
equipage, and Frank remarked that they had a fairly good supply for
continuing their journey through Africa without returning to Rubaga.

"That is precisely what I want," replied the Doctor. "M'tesa is
friendly, and I have not the slightest doubt of his sincerity, but we
can't say what will happen. He is the king, and cannot stand guard in
person over our property, and his men are not the most honest in the
world. Besides, there is a constant liability to war among these African
potentates, and we might find it inconvenient to return here after
getting on the waters of the lake."

"I understand," said Frank. "We desire to be so situated that the
dishonesty of the men who watch our property in our absence, and a
sudden declaration of war between M'tesa and some other ruler, cannot
wreck our expedition completely."

The Doctor assented, and on this basis the work of selection went on. By
the time it was ended there was not much left to select, except the most
bulky and least valuable articles.

The next morning Doctor Bronson sent Abdul to the king with an
appropriate present, and asked that the porters might be sent to carry
the goods to Usavara. He had already despatched twenty men, in charge of
Frank, with the instruments, camp equipage, and several boxes of
ammunition. There would have been no difficulty about engaging the
entire number for the work, but it was thought the king would prefer to
show his authority by ordering his subjects to be at the service of the
white men.

By the afternoon of the next day everything they wanted was at Usavara,
and ten boats had been assigned to their use for the journey to the
falls and back. The king had given the necessary orders, but according
to the custom of Africa it was necessary for the Doctor to make a
bargain with the head-men of the boats, who were to receive payment in
cloth, brass wire, beads, and other currency of Ugunda, very much as if
they had not been in the service of the king at all.

[Illustration: THE KING'S SLAVES CARRYING FUEL AND CUTTING RICE.]

They passed the night in the huts which had been assigned to them by the
king, and bright and early the next morning the work of loading the
boats was begun. Doctor Bronson had promised the captains an extra
present if they would hurry matters as much as possible, and he
certainly had no cause of complaint. The boatmen were assisted by a gang
of the king's slaves, who were brought from a neighboring field, where
they had been carrying fuel and cultivating rice. Though M'tesa had
become a Christian he had not reached the point of looking upon slavery
as at all incompatible with his new religion. He not only kept a large
number of slaves, most of them captives taken in wars with his
neighbors, but he had no objection to dealing in human merchandise
whenever he could make a good bargain. When he was told that it was not
proper for a Christian to hold slaves, or buy and sell them, he
replied that a good deal of the slave-trade of Africa was owing to the
encouragement of Christian nations, and asked if there had never been
any slaves in England and America. He even made quotations from the
Bible in support of his theory, and threw several difficulties in the
way of a free discussion of the subject.

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN DRUM-CORPS.]

By the middle of the forenoon everything was ready, and the signal was
given for departure. There was a good deal more noise in the signal than
had been bargained for, as it was made by a band of music of twenty
pieces--rather a monotonous array, and a noisy one, as each piece was a
drum. Every drummer played with all his might. Time was kept by a
leader, who stood in front of the musicians, with a smaller and lighter
drum than any of the rest. Frank said it reminded him of the way in
which the celebrated Strauss conducts an orchestra, by making free use
of a violin instead of confining himself to a baton.

The drums lay upon the ground, and had a strong resemblance to a battery
of mortars ready for siege operations. Fred thought the performance
could be improved by charging each drum with a few pounds of powder and
firing the whole lot at once, as a grand finale.

Down the creek and into the bay went the ten large canoes, the men
keeping time by a monotonous chant, and paddling steadily along, though
not so fast as did the crew of the boat that took them on their first
excursion on the waters of Lake N'yanza. Doctor Bronson and Abdul took
the lead in the first boat, while Frank and Fred brought up the rear in
the last. This was thought to be the best arrangement for preserving
order and preventing straggling. Before starting from Usavara Doctor
Bronson had numbered the boats, and affixed a placard to each for its
identification, his own boat being "number one," while that of the
youths became naturally "number ten." The men in each boat very soon
caught the monosyllable by which their craft was known, and it was
amusing to hear them calling out the numerals that distinguished them
from others. It was their first lesson in the language of the
foreigners.

They descended the bay to the lake and turned in the direction of the
outlet of the great water. Looking away to the south and east was like
gazing on the ocean, as the opposite shores were entirely hidden from
view. A breeze rippled over the water and raised a little swell, but it
was not sufficient to interfere with the progress of the boats or the
comfort of their occupants. The rowers wore nothing but their
waist-cloths, and it concerned them very little to receive a drenching;
but it was otherwise with the strangers, who were arrayed in suits of
white linen, and would have presented an appearance the reverse of
dignified, if their garments had been washed by an impertinent wave.

We will now glance at the characteristics of the lake.

The Victoria N'yanza is situated directly under the equator, extending
from 2° 24' south latitude to 0° 21' north. As before stated, it was
discovered by Captain Speke in 1858, who travelled along its western and
northern shores a few years later, but was unable to follow the entire
line around it. In 1875 Stanley circumnavigated it, and made a careful
survey of nearly all its bays and indentations. He estimates the area to
be not far from twenty-one thousand five hundred square miles, and fixes
its elevation at four thousand one hundred and sixty-eight feet above
the level of the sea. Speke made it three thousand three hundred and
eight feet, but Stanley's observation is probably the correct one, as it
is supported by Baker, who found the Victoria Nile at M'rooli four
thousand and sixty-one feet above sea-level.

Leaving out the indentations, the lake is nearly of a circular form. Its
length from north to south is about one hundred and fifty miles, and its
breadth perhaps twenty miles less. The natives say it is very deep, but
Stanley's observations do not confirm their theory, as he found it
shallow in most places where he took soundings.

Frank observed that the water of the lake was not clear. It had a
dirty-white color, something like that of the Nile, but when taken into
a glass the color almost entirely disappeared. The boys tasted of the
water, and found it perfectly good and sweet; and so much did it meet
their approval that they drank again and again.

[Illustration: LAKE SCENERY IN CENTRAL AFRICA.]

"No one can doubt that this is the source of the Nile," said Fred, "if
he is familiar with the water of the river, and then drinks from the
lake. The taste, or rather the sweetness, is exactly the same."

"Yes," answered Frank, "and the Persian conqueror who forbade his
soldiers to ask for wine when the water of the Nile could be procured
would have included that of the Victoria N'yanza, if he had known of its
existence."

"And they wouldn't have been restricted in the least," replied Fred, "as
all the armies of the world might drink from the lake without affecting
it. Twenty thousand square miles of water ought to be a good source of
supply."

Frank was looking over the side of the boat, and suddenly spied a large
fish darting away, as if frightened by the strange apparition of the
craft above him.

Of course this incident roused the curiosity of the youths to know
something of the finny products of the lake. Ali questioned the boatmen,
and learned that there were several kinds of fishes in the lake. Some of
them grew so large that it took two men to handle one of them, and it
sometimes happened that a man who grappled a fish of this sort was
dragged under water by it.

The boatmen said there was another fish in the lake, which occasionally
grew to the size of a boy. Frank intimated that it was important to know
what size of boy was referred to. It might be anywhere from five pounds
up to two hundred-weight--a very wide margin on which to base a
calculation.

With some difficulty Ali learned that a boy of eight or ten years was
meant, and with this explanation the answer was considered satisfactory.

[Illustration: KAMBARI FISH.]

The captain of the boat opened a parcel and drew from it a dried fish,
which formed part of their provisions. He said it was known as "samaki
kambari," and lived in the mud at the bottom of the shallow bays and in
the small creeks flowing into the lake. It was caught in great numbers,
and dried over a fire and in the sun, very much as herrings are dried in
other countries.

Another lake fish that was described is the "sama-moa," which grows to a
length of twenty inches, and belongs to the shad family. It is covered
with scales, and its body is more slender than that of the American
shad. The dorsal fin extends from the centre of the back almost to the
tail, and the body is full of bones. At the place where they spent the
night one of these fish was served up for supper, and proved a toothsome
morsel.

Frank thought he could make a "planked shad" out of the new fish. The
next morning he tried his hand at amateur cooking, and his effort was
fairly successful. The fish was split and nailed to one side of a short
plank taken from an old boat on the shore. In this position it was
exposed to the fire, and properly seasoned while the cooking process
went on. When it was served up both the Doctor and Fred were unanimous
in declaring it delicious, and proposed that Frank should be installed
as cook for the remainder of the excursion. The young gentleman declined
the proffered honor, and said he could not have the heart to throw their
Arab _cuisinier_ out of employment. The fact was he had been baked
nearly as much as the fish he had prepared, and was in no mood for
repeating the experiment.

"Well," said Fred, "if you won't accept the office of cook I'll tell you
what I'll do. We'll 'turn and turn about,' as they say at home, and I'll
cook the fish at the next camp."

"All right," Frank responded. "I'll agree to take turns with you until
you are tired of the business."

With this understanding the topic of conversation was changed. During
the day more fish were obtained, and when they halted at night Fred
proceeded to try his hand at cooking.

He told Abdul to bring several flat-topped stones and heat them in the
fire. The stones were taken from the water, as they were cleaner than
those on dry land, the latter being covered with moss and other tropical
products.

"Now I'll show you how we used to cook fish in the Adirondacks," said
Fred, with a dignified air. "You will find the flavor delicious,
provided the fish are good for anything, to start with.

"When the stone is hot we brush off all the ashes and lay the fish upon
it, first wrapping it in a leaf. Another and smaller stone laid above it
will bake the fish in a way that is superb, and preserves all the
flavor."

[Illustration: FRED'S EXPERIMENT IN COOKING FISH.]

The stones were duly heated, and the fishes were spread out according
to Fred's directions. The coffee-pot was in front of the fire, and the
frying-pan was sizzling in the old-fashioned way, when suddenly there
was an explosion that sent Fred and his trout in different directions,
put Frank to a hasty flight, overturned the coffee-pot, and made a mess
of things generally.

Luckily nobody was hurt, though there was quite a scare all around. The
negroes who witnessed the performance were of the impression that the
white men were trying some new experiment in keeping with the telephone
and the magic lantern, and therefore took the explosion as a matter of
course. They were less moved by the incident than were the white
men--perhaps in consequence of having been farther from the fire at the
moment of the explosion.

"How did it happen?" said Fred, in open-mouthed wonder, as soon as he
had gathered himself together.

"I can't imagine," said Frank; "but anyway it seems as though your new
process of cooking was not a brilliant success. You won't hold office as
cook very long."

"Not if the dinner is going to blow up in this way every time," was the
reply. "But I'd like to know how it happened."

"The explanation is very simple," said the Doctor, who had been called
from his tent by the explosion. "The stones came from the lake, where
they have been lying for centuries. They contained cells filled with
water, and as the stones were heated the water was turned to steam.
Hence the blow-up."

Fred decided that he would make no farther experiments in teaching the
uneducated African the mysteries of American cookery. Frank made a
sketch of the scene, with a few exaggerations, and said he believed a
similar incident was narrated in "Porte Crayon's" account of a journey
in the mountains of North Carolina.

[Illustration: ON THE LAKE.]



CHAPTER XXVI.

RIPON FALLS.--THE OUTLET OF THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.


As they approached the northern end of the lake they passed a high hill,
which was marked on the chart as "Jack's Mount." Referring to Stanley's
account of his voyage around the lake, they ascertained that the hill
received its name in honor of one of the four-footed companions of that
explorer.

[Illustration: JACK.]

When Stanley left England he took, as members or _attachés_ of his
expedition, five dogs, three of which died before he reached Ugunda.
"Jack" and his companion, "Bull," were the survivors when they arrived
near this mountain. A wild cow that had been given by one of the chiefs
behaved so badly that Jack deemed it his duty to correct her; but she
was not to be intimidated. In the struggle for control the unfortunate
dog was gored to death. Stanley says: "He died regretted by all who had
known his many good qualities. His companion, Bull, when he beheld his
poor mate stretched out still and dead, also expressed, as clearly as
canine nature would allow, his great sorrow at his lamentable fate.
Grave and deliberate, from years and long travel, he walked round the
body two or three times, examining it carefully, and then advanced to
me, with his honest eyes wide open, as if to ask, 'What has caused
this?' Receiving no answer, he went aside and sat down, with his back
toward me, solemn and sad, as though he were ruminating despondingly on
the evils which beset dog and man alike in this harsh and wicked world."

The little flotilla turned northward after passing Jack's Mount, and
entered a bay, from which the Victoria Nile flows out of the lake. This
bay is known on the map as Napoleon Channel, and is ten or twelve miles
wide at its entrance. A large island lies across the opening, and during
the wars between M'tesa and the people of Usoga it has been occupied
repeatedly by both the hostile armies; consequently, it is not a
desirable place of residence for peacefully-inclined natives, and at the
time our friends made their excursion to Ripon Falls it was quite
deserted. They landed on the island, and from some of the fields a
goodly supply of yams and other vegetables was obtained, without the
necessity of paying for them.

The bay narrowed as the party advanced to the north; and, after a few
miles had been made from the end of the island, the men ceased rowing,
and allowed the boats to drift with the current, which became stronger
every minute.

The boys were eager to catch the first glimpse of Ripon Falls, and Frank
asked if there was a column of spray to indicate their location, as
there is at Niagara and other great cataracts of America.

"You are not likely to see anything of the kind," replied the Doctor,
"as the river makes a descent of only a few feet. The cataract is so
small that the natives frequently pass it in their canoes, though not
without danger."

"The natives call the place 'The Stones' instead of 'Falls,'" said
Abdul, "for the reason, I suppose, that the river passes over the
stones, or rocks, which stretch across it. The descent is about twelve
feet in the ordinary state of the river, and diminishes to not more than
nine feet in the season when the rains are not falling."

The river narrowed to a width varying from four to six hundred yards.
The banks were hilly, and covered with dense forests in some places, but
presenting open spaces like clearings at frequent intervals. There were
villages on both banks, though none of any great extent. The natives
came out to gaze on the flotilla, but offered no opposition, or gave any
indication of more than ordinary interest in the intrusion. Back of the
villages were banana-fields and groves of cocoa-trees, and moored in
front of each village were several boats, together with nets and other
equipments for fishing.

Where a rocky point jutted into the river the boats came to land. A
scramble over the neck of this peninsula and through tangled vines and
low bushes brought the travellers to the bank of the river again, and
close to Ripon Falls.

Running rather than walking down the narrow path, Frank and Fred reached
the river side by side so exactly that neither could claim precedence.
Here they were at last at what may be called the head of the Nile,
until the tributaries of the Victoria N'yanza are traced to their
sources.

[Illustration: RIPON FALLS: THE NILE FLOWING OUT OF THE VICTORIA
N'YANZA.]

They sat down on the sloping bank, close to a little hut belonging to
some of the native fishermen, and studied the picture which was unfolded
to their eyes.

The river at the falls was not more than five or six hundred feet in
width, and the passage of the water was barred by several islands, which
recalled to the youths the broken sheet of water at Niagara.

"We will call the big one in the centre Goat Island," said Frank, "and
try to think we are looking at Niagara again."

"That's all right," replied his cousin; "but what shall we do with the
other two islands? They must have names of their own, or they'll feel
slighted."

Frank thought a moment, and then suggested the names of Mary and Effie.

Fred assented, and thus the islands at Ripon Falls received their
appellations in honor of two young ladies who were far away. But it is
doubtful if future geographers will recognize them, and thus far the
names have not appeared on any chart of the lakes of Central Africa.

While the conversation was going on the youths were busy with their
sketch-books, and soon had creditable pictures of the falls; then they
watched the fish leaping the cataract, and the natives securing them
with spears.

[Illustration: A GROUP OF HIPPOPOTAMI.]

Every little while the head of a hippopotamus was seen rising in the
water below the falls, and Frank thought it would be a nice thing to get
out the rifles and have a hunt for this noble game. With the Doctor's
consent, he took a shot at one of the huge fellows, but with no better
luck than to see his bullet strike the water about six inches from the
mark. As far as the hippo was concerned it was a timely warning, which
he heeded by disappearing immediately.

Abdul said the place was a good one for crocodiles, and that the natives
were very cautious about venturing into the water. Once in a while it
happened that a fishing-boat was overturned; and if it was well out in
the river at the time of the accident, the unfortunate natives were
seized by these terrible scourges of the Nile before they could reach
the shore.

"We are about forty miles a little north of east from M'tesa's palace,"
said Abdul; "and if there was a good road we could easily get back in a
couple of days. But the country is marshy, with a very thick growth of
bushes, so that travelling is slow and disagreeable. There used to be a
good supply of game through this region, but it has been killed off to
quite an extent since the king came into possession of rifles and
shot-guns in place of the old weapons of Africa.

"Elephants were formerly very troublesome here, and the natives were
unable to protect their banana plantations from their ravages. A herd of
wild elephants may wander all around a plantation, and if they have
never tasted bananas a very slight fence will keep them off; but when
the taste for this food has been created they seem unwilling to live on
anything else, and will run great risks to obtain it."

"There is one animal of Africa we have not yet made much acquaintance
with," said one of the youths.

"What is that?" the other asked.

"The rhinoceros," was the reply.

"We are not in the region where he most abounds," said Abdul, "though he
is not by any means unknown here. His proper country is South Africa,
and he formerly flourished nearly down to the Cape of Good Hope. The
settlement of the country drove him to the interior along with the
elephant, the lion, and other noble game; and now the rhinoceros must be
sought in the interior wilds, and is not always found when sought."

"This is a good place to have a talk about him," said the Doctor, as
they sat on the bank near the falls and watched the water pouring
through its contracted channel; "and perhaps we may have a chance to
shoot at one of these thick-skinned creatures before we leave the
neighborhood of the highest cataract of the Nile.

[Illustration: READY FOR BUSINESS.]

"Scientifically considered," the Doctor continued, "the rhinoceros may
be set down as an ungulate mammal, secondary only to the elephant in
point of size among terrestrial animals. He is distinguished by his
horn, which is supported on the end of the nose, but not connected with
it, as it comes away with the hide, to which it and its broad base
entirely belong."

"His horn is a powerful weapon, I believe?" said one of the boys.

"It is one of the most powerful weapons belonging to any animal,"
replied Doctor Bronson, "as it is more conveniently situated for use
than the tusks of an elephant or the horns of a bull.

"With his horn he can kill an elephant, and frequently does it. The
elephant and rhinoceros in a wild state are enemies, and when they meet
there is pretty sure to be a fierce battle, resulting in the death of
one, and perhaps both, of the adversaries. But when domesticated they
are quite friendly, and instances have occurred wherein two of these
beasts have shown great affection for each other. The rhinoceros at
home is a savage brute; he does not wait to be assaulted, but often
begins an attack upon peaceful travellers: sometimes he will travel a
long distance with the evident intention of making a disturbance.

"Dr. Livingstone is an excellent authority on the rhinoceros, as he had
many opportunities of seeing him at home. He says that among some of the
tribes he visited in South Africa a man is obliged to kill a rhinoceros
before he is allowed to marry and be considered more than a youth.
Probably the custom has been changed in the last few years, owing to the
scarcity of these animals, and the impossibility of finding enough of
them to meet the wants of the rising generation."

Frank asked the size of the rhinoceros, and whether or not he was quick
in his movements.

"As to the figures," answered the Doctor, "we learn, on the authority of
those who have hunted him, that the white rhinoceros of Africa will
sometimes measure fourteen feet from nose to tail, and his girth often
exceeds eleven feet. His horn will sometimes be five feet long, but much
more frequently it is about three feet. One variety of the rhinoceros
has a double horn, the second one being a little back from the first and
considerably shorter--frequently nothing more than a protuberance.

"Gordon Cumming says that, notwithstanding his short legs and generally
unwieldy body, the rhinoceros is quick in his movements, and a horseman
can scarcely overtake him. Another hunter says he can dart like
lightning, and in strength is unsurpassed by any animal of the forest.
There is an old story that a rhinoceros was once sent as a present to
the King of Portugal. One day in a rage he destroyed the ship on which
he was being transported, and the sailors had great difficulty to escape
in the boats. When we think of the frail construction of ships two or
three centuries ago and the strength of the rhinoceros, we can hardly
treat the story as a gross fabrication."

"You mentioned the white rhinoceros a moment ago," said one of the boys.
"Is he more dangerous than his black brother?"

"He is the larger but the less offensive of the two," said the Doctor,
in response to the question. "The black one will attack without
provocation, while the white rhinoceros, though the larger, asks to be
let alone, and only shows fight when compelled to defend himself.

[Illustration: TROUBLE IN THE RHINOCEROS FAMILY.]

"The black rhinoceros is ready to attack man, elephant, or lion without
warning, and sometimes, when he is anxious for a fight, he will get one
up with his own brother or a near relative. It is a providential
circumstance that his eye is small, and so badly placed that he cannot
see with ease. If he had good eyesight he would be vastly more dangerous
than he is.

[Illustration: BAD FOR THE DOG.]

"Mr. Oswell, an African hunter and explorer, who discovered Lake
N'gami, tells how he was one day walking quietly to camp, when he saw
two large rhinoceroses feeding on the plain. At sight of him the animals
advanced in his direction, and he stopped and took aim at one of them.
He knew that a shot in the forehead of the rhinoceros has no worse
effect than to tickle him, as though it were the touch of a fan; but, as
the beast might be angry at being struck with a fan, he is liable to
resent a shot on his skull. Mr. Oswell did not get a chance to fire at a
vulnerable point, and as the animals continued to approach he determined
to try a run past them, trusting to their bad eyesight to enable him to
escape.

"He brushed close to one of them in his rush to escape, but a loud snort
told him he had been seen. He turned and fired, and the next moment felt
himself impaled on the animal's horn.

"His next sensation was that of being on the back of a pony which was
led by one of his men. He angrily inquired why they were not following
the track of the beast; but hardly had he spoken before he discovered
that his hand, which had been resting on his side, was full of clotted
blood, and he met his men, who had come from camp to bury him. He didn't
need burying just then, but the wound required some time to heal, and he
carried the scar for the rest of his life.

[Illustration: RHINOCEROS HEADS.]

"When Anderson killed his first rhinoceros he was wild with delight.
Immediately on approaching his prostrate game he plunged his knife into
its back, to ascertain if it was fat. The natives warned him not to
repeat the experiment, as a short time before a native had done the same
thing and got into serious trouble. The rhinoceros had been stunned
instead of killed. The stroke of the knife revived him, and he rose and
ran toward the river, with the unfortunate native clinging to his back.

"The situation was anything but pleasant for the man, who dared not
spring to the ground, for fear of being transfixed by the brute's horn,
and ran the risk of being drowned if he stayed where he was till the
river was reached. Happily the rhinoceros paused long enough to allow
somebody else to send a shot that settled him and released the native
from his free but involuntary ride."

"His case reminds me," said Fred, "of a question I once heard proposed
for a debating society in the country."

"What is that?" said Frank.

"'If a man is holding a tiger by the tail, which is the best for his
personal safety--to hold on or let go?'"

"A good deal might be said on both sides of that question," the Doctor
remarked, "but perhaps the tiger would not permit a prolonged
discussion. In one way the native on the rhinoceros had the advantage of
the tiger man."

"How was that?"

"Why, the tiger might devour his caudal retainer, while the rhinoceros
would not do so with his rider. He is strictly graminivorous, and never
touches flesh to eat it. He devours grass, young trees, and similar
things, and in this respect has quite a resemblance to the hippopotamus,
whose cousin he is sometimes called."

One of the boys asked if it was really true that the hide of the
rhinoceros was impervious to bullets, except in a few places. The Doctor
explained that an ordinary musket-ball, fired at a distance of fifty
yards and more, had no effect, and even a rifle-ball might be deflected
from most parts of this tough-hided beast. "It is no use to fire at the
head with anything less than a cannon," he continued. "The only
vulnerable point is about three inches behind the shoulder, and when a
bullet is planted there at the proper angle it penetrates the lungs and
causes death almost instantaneously.

"The natives hunt the rhinoceros by driving him into pitfalls, and then
piercing him with hundreds of spears. By the time they are through with
the business he is stuck so full of the weapons that he resembles a
gigantic porcupine, with quills on a colossal scale. The slaughter of a
rhinoceros is a formidable affair with them, and they look with wonder
on the weapons of the white man and the comparative ease with which this
powerful animal is brought down by it.

"One day, while Captain Speke was in the country of King Rumanika, he
asked the monarch to allow him to hunt the rhinoceros. Of course the
king was glad to have him do so, and sent two of his sons to manage the
affair. They went to a thicket where the rhinoceros was said to abound,
and as soon as Speke had taken up a good position the beaters went to
work to drive out the game.

"They roused up a fine old rhinoceros, which paused close to where the
hunter was standing, and enabled him to creep up and give the beast a
shot in the side. The animal trotted off, bleeding internally, and soon
lay down and gave a chance for a finishing shot. A little time afterward
three others were started; two of them were bagged by Speke, who ordered
the heads cut off and sent to the king, as proofs of what the white man
could do.

[Illustration: SPEKE DELIVERING THE SPOILS OF HIS HUNT TO KING
RUMANIKA.]

"Speke then went home to breakfast. As soon as he was through with his
meal he went to meet the king, who was just examining the trophies of
the hunter's prowess. For a man to kill three of these huge beasts
simply to get up an appetite for breakfast was too much for the king's
equanimity, and he gave vent to his astonishment and admiration in no
measured terms.

"'This must have been done with something more potent than powder,' his
majesty exclaimed; 'neither the Arabs nor N'anaji, although they talk of
their shooting powers, could have accomplished such a great feat as
this. It is no wonder the English are the greatest men in the world.'

"Before we drop the topic of the rhinoceros," said the Doctor, "I must
tell you about his horn, and some of the fables connected with it.

"It was formerly gravely stated that the horn of the rhinoceros was
ordinarily flexible, like the trunk of an elephant, and became stiffened
into a weapon only when the beast was enraged. The story probably arose
from the fact, as I have before stated, that the horn is not attached to
the nose, but rests on a basis of bone connected with the skin.

"The horn of the beast is a good substitute for ivory in some of its
uses, and brings about half its price. It is used for making cups and
other ornaments, and for the handles of knives and similar things.
Shavings and scrapings of the horn were supposed to cure children of
spasms and convulsions, and in former times it was supposed that cups of
this material would detect the presence of poison. Several writers have
affirmed this, and I believe the superstition still prevails among the
Dutch settlers in Cape Colony. To show how this idea once prevailed let
me quote from Kolbe, a German traveller and naturalist, who visited
South Africa about two hundred years ago, and published an account of
what he had seen in his wanderings.

"'This horn,' he says, 'will not endure the touch of poison. I have
often been a witness of this. Many people of fashion at the Cape have
cups turned out of this rhinoceros-horn; some have them set in silver,
and some in gold. If wine is poured into one of these cups it
immediately rises and bubbles up, as though it were boiling; and if
there be poison in it the cup immediately splits. If poison be put into
one of these cups it in an instant flies to pieces. Though this matter
is known to thousands of persons, yet some writers have affirmed that
the rhinoceros horn has no such virtue.'"

"There's a word in our language," said Fred, "which begins with the
letter L, which might apply to Kolbe, the German traveller. But it isn't
altogether a polite one, and so we'll call him a deliberate romancer."

"He ought to have a niche by the side of Sir John Mandeville and others
of his kind," said Frank. "Sir John describes the cotton-plant as having
eyes, ears, and horns, and bleating like a sheep; and he tells how he
successfully tried the experiment of raising young diamonds from a pair
of old ones, with other interesting experiences, which are set down with
sober earnest.

"But you must remember," said the Doctor, "that in the time of these old
travellers they had everything their own way, as they were in no danger
of contradiction. Besides, the spirit of the age demanded something
marvellous, and if a traveller came home and told the story of his
journey without filling it with goblins, fairies, dragons, and similar
impossible things, he was charged with having seen nothing, and quite
likely his neighbors would assert that during all the time of his
pretended absence he was remaining quietly at home.

"Nowadays the world is so well known that the romancing traveller is
speedily detected, and his fictions meet a deserved exposure. Explorers
follow each other so rapidly that no untruthful story can remain long
without contradiction, and we may fairly conclude that the day of the
marvellous in travellers' tales has substantially ended."

[Illustration: IN CAPTIVITY.]



CHAPTER XXVII.

RETURN TO RUBAGA.--FAREWELL TO M'TESA.--VOYAGE DOWN THE VICTORIA
N'YANZA.


[Illustration: VILLAGE AND VILLAGERS.]

Our friends crossed to the other bank of the river and made a short
excursion into the Usoga country. They visited several of the native
villages, but saw nothing remarkable in any of them. Abdul said it would
not be altogether safe to go far from the bank of the Nile, as the
natives had a reputation for treachery; and though they were at peace
with M'tesa they had no great love for him, and might not hesitate to
make trouble for his guests.

A little before nightfall they returned to the falls, and crossed the
river again to the other shore. The camp had been formed on the southern
side of the point, where the boats were brought to land in descending
from the lake. As a matter of precaution the boats were partly drawn on
shore, so that they could not be carried away by stealth during the
night. The boys slept within sound of the falls, and they both agreed in
the morning that the rippling of the waters was the most agreeable music
they had heard for many a day.

Just about daybreak they were roused by Ali, who crept softly to their
side and said there were suspicious movements among the natives on the
opposite bank, and the Doctor had given orders for them to be awakened.
They were up in an instant and seized their rifles, prepared to enter
into a fierce battle and repel an attack of the blood-thirsty natives of
Central Africa.

The alarm proved to be of brief duration. It turned out that the natives
had no hostile intentions--at least, they disclaimed anything of the
kind--but the movements on the bank were caused by their driving their
stock down to be watered. To prove the truth of their declaration, a
large herd of cows and oxen soon made its appearance and crowded into
the water, as if suffering from thirst.

The cattle having drank their fill the herd was driven back, and soon
disappeared altogether. Abdul said it was all very well for the natives
to declare that their intentions were pacific, but he observed they all
carried spears, and many of them were equipped with shields and
battle-lances, as though they expected to do something more than take
care of domestic cattle. Probably the fact that the party from Rubaga
was on the alert, and had their boats drawn up in a secure place,
prevented an attack. The people of Usoga have had sufficient
acquaintance with the weapons of the white man to know they could not
cross the river in face of the rifles of Doctor Bronson and his party
without suffering severely in the minutes required for the transit.

The forenoon was passed in camp. A little past the meridian the baggage
that had been unloaded was again placed in the boats, and the flotilla
headed for Uvima Island, which had been selected as the place for
passing the night. Several canoes were out on the Usoga side of the
river, but they kept at a respectful distance, though two of them
followed the party an hour or more as they held their course along the
channel. The same precautions were observed as on the previous night,
and if the natives had any idea of making an attack and capturing a lot
of valuable property they were sadly disappointed. At all events, they
showed discretion in holding aloof. They would have met a warm
reception, but the warmth would have been of a character they did not
desire.

[Illustration: AN UNPLEASANT ENCOUNTER.]

Just before starting to continue the journey one of the Doctor's boats
paddled away to the eastward a few hundred yards, to let the Usoga
people know they were not afraid of them. Evidently the others had the
same idea, as two of their boats paddled out from the shore, the men
shouting in accents the reverse of friendly. The boats met in the middle
of the channel, and for a few moments oars and spears were brandished,
and there was good promise of a fight. The Doctor told Abdul to shout
with all his might to call back the boat and prevent any bloodshed. For
a little while it looked as though he would be unable to do so, and it
became necessary to fire a few shots in the air. This had the desired
effect, the one party taking it as a signal of recall, and the other as
an intimation that hostilities would provoke a free use of the dreaded
rifles.

The boat came back, and after a sound lecturing from the Doctor, and
promises "not to do so again," its captain was ordered to take his place
in line for the return to Rubaga.

There was no incident of consequence on the return to Usavara. The
flotilla was arranged in a manner varying somewhat from that of the
outward journey. As they were going toward home there was no fear that
anybody would stray from his position, and consequently Ali and Abdul
were placed in the leading boat, while our three friends were in the one
that brought up the rear. They were thus able to talk over their plans
for the future, and utilize the time of the voyage far better than if
they had been in different boats.

Of course the boys were eager to know what plan the Doctor had formed
for their route from Rubaga, and as soon as they were fairly under way
he proceeded to gratify their curiosity on the subject.

"We will leave the boats at Usavara," said he, "and go at once to Rubaga
to thank the king for his kindness, and ask him to put us under farther
obligations. Have you ever heard a definition of 'gratitude' that is not
to be found in any authorized dictionary?"

"I think I have," answered Frank. "It says, 'Gratitude is a lively
anticipation of favors to come.'"

"That is exactly our case," replied Doctor Bronson. "M'tesa has been so
kind to lend us his boats for visiting the falls, that I intend asking
permission to retain them for a voyage down the lake."

"After all," said Fred, "it won't cost him anything to do so, as we pay
all the expenses of the voyage. Besides, he knows he will receive
additional presents if he grants your request, and instead of being out
of pocket he will gain by the transaction."

"I have considered all that," was the response to the youth's remark,
"and see no difficulty, except that he may fear trouble with some of the
rulers beyond his territory. They might regard the arrival of a fleet of
M'tesa's boats as an act of war, and consequently both he and ourselves
might get into trouble. However, we can lay the matter before him, and
he will probably give us an answer the next morning."

"What will we do if he refuses?" Fred asked.

"In that case," replied the Doctor, "we will continue our journey
southward by land. It will be longer and more difficult than if we went
by water, but it will not interfere seriously with our plans if he
declines my request.

"I intend going from here to Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika," the Doctor
continued; "and if you look at the map you can see that it will save
considerable land-travel, if we can follow the lake to its southern
extremity, in the country of Usukuma."

Saying this, he opened the map and pointed out the route followed by
Stanley, and also that of Speke and other travellers. The boys studied
it attentively for several minutes, and in the mean while the Doctor was
busy with several memoranda in his note-book.

We will leave their plans for the present and wait for their development
after the visit to M'tesa.

[Illustration: ANTELOPES AMONG THE MARSHES NEAR USAVARA.]

The boats arrived safely at Usavara, and the Doctor, accompanied by
Frank, started at once for Rubaga to see the king. Fred was left in
charge of the property of the expedition, and it was understood that a
messenger would be despatched immediately in case anything went wrong.
Doctor Bronson was to notify Fred in the same way as soon as the king
made his decision, and it was hoped that the detention, in any event,
would not be more than a week at farthest.

There was bad news about the horses. One had died during the absence of
the party, and the others were suffering from the effects of the
climate, and so feeble that they gave no promise of future usefulness.
The Doctor decided to leave them, and his decision was eminently
sensible, in view of the difficulties of moving them. The donkeys were
all right, and manifested their condition by kicking spitefully whenever
anybody came within range of their heels.

The Doctor sent a messenger to the king announcing his arrival, and was
immediately summoned to an audience with his majesty. It was late in the
afternoon when the audience was held, and it lasted nearly an hour. The
king desired to know all that his visitors had seen and done during
their absence, and the Doctor gave him a full account of everything
that had happened. When he came to the incident of the encounter of the
boats the king was specially pleased to know that hostilities had been
avoided under circumstances that gave such fine promise of a fight. He
said it was all owing to the firmness of Doctor Bronson in recalling the
boat at the critical moment, but he should have expected nothing more,
as the white man was able to do anything.

This was a good time to make the request for the use of the boats to go
to the southern end of the lake. The Doctor was not slow to see his
opportunity, and at once propounded the question.

As had been expected, M'tesa was not prepared to give an answer, but he
promised to do so on the following morning. Then he rose from his seat,
and the audience was over.

The next morning there was a great assemblage in front of the palace,
and an unusual tooting of horns and pounding of drums. It was evident
that the reception at court would be of no ordinary character. In due
time a messenger came to announce that the king was ready for the visit
of his American friends, and they went at once to court.

As they entered the audience-hall they saw a group of men whose dress
showed that they were not people of Ugunda. Abdul whispered that they
were from the south; but there was no time for farther explanation, as
the business of the visit was opened at once by the king.

"You want boats to go to the end of the N'yanza?" said his majesty.

The Doctor answered that such was his wish.

"How many boats do you want?" was the next royal interrogatory.

The Doctor thought that two or three boats, in addition to the ten which
carried him to Ripon Falls, would be quite sufficient.

"Well," answered the king, "we have decided. You shall have the boats;
but you must know it is the first time this request was ever granted."

Frank thought it was probably the first time the request had ever been
made, and therefore the king's assertion was not likely to be at
variance with the truth.

"There is much danger in going the way you wish," continued M'tesa, "as
the people on some of the islands are hostile, and may attack you. If I
should lose my boats and men it would be very serious to me and to you."

There was no denying the correctness of this proposition, and the Doctor
waited for the king to proceed.

[Illustration: NATIVE OF UNYAMWEZI.]

"But I am friendly with the King of Unyamwezi, at the other end of the
N'yanza, and these strange people you see here are a delegation from
him. They arrived here four days ago, and are now ready to go back to
their country. They came by the N'yanza, and their boats will accompany
those that I shall send to carry you and your friends and property."

It naturally occurred to Doctor Bronson that there could not be any
great danger in going by the lake route, if this delegation from
Unyamwezi had just traversed it. But he kept his thoughts to himself,
and continued to do so while the king enlarged upon the perils of the
journey.

It was very evident that M'tesa was bent on driving a sharp bargain. We
must remember that he was a negro and in Africa, and therefore he was
expected to make the most of his opportunities. If he had been a white
man, and in America--a New York hackman, for instance, or the owner of a
baggage-wagon on "moving-day"--he would have been a model of generosity,
and offered the use of his boats for nothing.

During the absence of the party in the excursion to Ripon Falls he had a
chance to think over the situation and make up his mind what he wanted.
He had overcome his fear of the telephone, and from entertaining a
superstitious dread of the "magic talker" he had developed a great
desire for it.

In return for the use of his boats he wanted the telephone instruments,
and desired them arranged so as to connect his audience-hall with his
harem. Then he wanted a certain amount of cloth, brass wire, beads, and
other African trinkets, but more than all else he wanted fire-arms and
ammunition.

As he had already received a shot-gun and a rifle, the latter with a
supply of explosive bullets, Doctor Bronson thought his demand was a
trifle exorbitant. However, a rifle was added to the list of presents,
and also a case of ammunition, and the Doctor promised to send another
rifle by the boats in case he was carried through to Unyamwezi without
accident or delay.

The bargain was concluded by turning the king's attention to the magic
talker and asking him where it should be set up. He designated a place
close to his throne for one end, and his private apartment for the
other; and then the audience ended with an agreement that porters should
be ready to carry the baggage to Usavara the next day, when our friends
would come for their final leave-taking.

Frank and Abdul were occupied for a couple of hours in the afternoon,
aided by several natives, in setting up the telephone-wire and attaching
the instruments to the wall. When it was all arranged the king came into
the audience-hall and talked for some time with his wives at the other
end of the line. Frank cautioned him not to use it too often, lest the
magic should get tired. His great fear was that the apparatus might be
deranged by careless and ignorant handling before its novelty was gone,
and especially before they were out of M'tesa's country.

The final audience was held at eight o'clock the next morning. There
were expressions of good-will on both sides, and the king shook hands
with his departing guests in true European fashion. The porters were all
ready at the Doctor's zeriba, and in less time than our friends had
expected the loads were on the backs of the men and on the road to
Usavara.

It was nearly dusk when they arrived at the lake, and found Fred waiting
to receive them. The loads were piled in front of the huts and placed
under guard for the night. Dinner was served in Fred's tent, and the
orders were given for loading the boats at daylight. Everybody retired
early, so as to be up in good season and get the flotilla under way
before the sun reached the meridian. By eleven o'clock the last load was
in place, the crews were on board, and the signal for departure was
given. They received the same noisy "send-off" as on the day they
started for Ripon Falls, with the exception that there were more drums,
and consequently more of what the drummers were pleased to call music.

The men rowed hard, under the promise of an extra ration of fish if they
would reach Sessé Island before sunset. Doctor Bronson desired to camp
on Sessé for the night, and of course the earlier he could arrive there
the better it would be for the whole party. The captains of the boats
thought it would be a long journey, and proposed stopping at a smaller
island ten miles north of Sessé; but the matter was quickly settled by
Doctor Bronson's proposition of extra rations to the men and a present
for each of the captains. The plan worked so well that it was continued
during the journey, and was always successful.

[Illustration: NATIVES OF THE ISLANDS.]

Sessé is described by Stanley as an island about forty miles long by
twenty in width. The principal canoe-builders and the greater number of
sailors of M'tesa's kingdom live at Sessé. They are blacker than the
people of the main-land, less intelligent, and not at all brave. They
are good sailors, and capable of much endurance, but have so many
superstitions concerning the demons which are supposed to inhabit the
lake that they are easily frightened when there is the least indication
of a storm.

Doctor Bronson was true to his promise, and bought a liberal supply of
fish for distribution among the crews of the boats. They had a grand
festival in the evening, and continued it so late that the Doctor feared
they would be of little use on the next day. But an African has great
digestive and recuperative powers, and the men proved all right in the
morning and ready for fresh work, much to the relief of their employers.

Several broken oars were replaced at Sessé, and, as some of the crews
were a man or two short of their complement, a dozen sailors were
engaged for the voyage to the end of the lake. The Doctor embraced the
opportunity, too, of purchasing an extra supply of bananas, which were
promised to the men on condition of reaching Dumo an hour before sunset,
which they did. Dumo is a small village on the main-land opposite the
southern extremity of Sessé. It belongs to M'tesa's province of Uddu,
and its inhabitants are chiefly engaged in fishing.

[Illustration: BOATS FOR LAKE NAVIGATION.]

During the hour that remained Frank and Fred climbed a rocky hill just
back of the village, having been impelled to do so by a paragraph in
Stanley's book. To the east they had a fine survey of the lake, but
could not make out the opposite shore, so that the view reminded them of
the ocean. On the west they saw a range of hills and a rolling country,
which Frank thought would make an excellent pasture for a large herd of
cattle.

The people of Dumo were civil enough to the visitors, and readily sold
whatever they desired to purchase. Early in the morning the population
was increased by the arrival of a good many natives from the villages a
short distance in the interior. They brought goats, chickens, eggs,
bananas, tobacco, spear-heads, baskets, and other things, to exchange
for fish, either fresh or dried. It turned out, on inquiry, that it was
a _soko_, or market-day; and Frank and Fred considered themselves
fortunate in happening on a market-day in an African village.

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN SOKO.]

Some of the dealers sat on the ground in front of the baskets containing
their wares, while others walked about with their burdens on their heads
or supported in their arms. There was a great deal of chattering and
loud talk, but the utmost good-nature prevailed; and every few moments a
loud laugh was evoked by the witticisms of the natives in conversation,
or by a practical joke played by some of the would-be venders or
purchasers.

Beads were the principal currency, but they were not universal, and
sometimes it happened that a seller would only accept a certain article
that he wanted. Frank was reminded of a story told by Cameron while
trying to hire a boat somewhere on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, and
which is thus related by the explorer:

     "The owner of the boat wished to be paid in ivory, of which I had
     none; but I found that Mohammed ibn Salib had ivory, and wanted
     cloth. Still, as I had no cloth, this did not assist me greatly
     until I heard that Mohammed ibn Garib had cloth, and wanted wire,
     which I, fortunately, possessed. So I gave Mohammed ibn Garib the
     requisite amount in wire, upon which he handed over cloth to
     Mohammed ibn Salib, who in his turn gave the owner of the boat the
     wished-for ivory, and the craft was turned over to me."

"In this little transaction," said Frank, "you can see the use of money.
There was no circulating medium where Captain Cameron was trying to hire
the boat, and consequently a great deal of time was lost in making the
various negotiations."

"You will find," said the Doctor, "that the most of the people of Africa
have some sort of circulating medium; we have already seen how the tusk
of the elephant is a standard of value, and how shells, beads, cloth,
and other African goods have a more or less fixed rate. There are few
places on the continent where it is necessary to traffic in the manner
described by Cameron, and the number is steadily diminishing."

[Illustration: ARMS AND ORNAMENTS.]



CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE ALEXANDRA NILE.--FRED'S DESCRIPTION OF THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA.


From Dumo they continued their course to the southward, passing a
crescent-shaped bay, bordered by a dense forest and backed by a
semicircle of hills. Beyond this bay they turned a headland, and a few
minutes afterward Fred observed that the water was of a darker color
than they had hitherto found it.

"According to the map," said the Doctor, "this is the Bay of Usongora;
the Alexandra Nile empties into it, and its waters, rolling through an
alluvial country, are charged with earthy matter, which gives it the
color you perceive."

Frank wished to ascend the river; but the Doctor said they could not do
so, as it would not be in accordance with their agreement with M'tesa to
attempt any explorations. They passed near enough to the mouth of the
river to see that it was about one hundred and fifty yards wide, and by
the way the water flowed into the lake there was evidently a
considerable volume of it. Stanley ascended the river about three miles,
and said he found the current so strong that his boats made very slow
progress, and he was obliged to give up the attempt.

The plain on each side of the river in the portion near the lake is from
five to ten miles wide, and in the season of high water it is completely
overflowed. The Alexandra Nile is the largest of the affluents of the
Victoria N'yanza; the second largest river flowing into it is the
Shimeeyu, and the two streams together are estimated to be nearly equal
to the volume of water that passes Ripon Falls. Most of the natives call
the Alexandra Nile "the mother of the river at Jinja," or the Ripon
Falls.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE UPLANDS IN KARAGUÉ.]

The kingdom of Ugunda terminates at the Alexandra Nile, which is its
southern boundary; but the kingdoms of Karagué and Usongora, which lie
beyond it, are subject to M'tesa, having been conquered by him during
the early part of his reign. The manners and customs of the people of
the two provinces are much like those of Ugunda; they live principally
by cultivating the banana and other edible things of the tropics, and in
the chase of the lion and elephant they display a good deal of courage.
They are usually hospitable to strangers; but their chiefs are apt to
exact a heavy tribute, in one way and another, from all who pass through
their territory.

Speke found the King of Karagué very obliging, and was plundered much
less than he had expected to be. Other travellers have spoken well of
the country, which they describe as an upland region, diversified with
dense forests and open plains, the latter covered with tall grass, and
giving promise of great fertility. The natives have large herds of
cattle, sheep, and goats; the cattle are said to be of a superior breed,
and their horns grow to an unusual size. A cow's horn was given to Speke
that proved to be three feet five inches long, and nearly nineteen
inches in circumference at the base.

Stanley describes Rumanika, King of Karagué, as a finely-formed man, at
least six feet six inches in height, as the top of the explorer's head
when they walked side by side only reached to the king's shoulders. His
face was long, with a nose of Roman shape, and his profile was decidedly
of a refined type. He was a gentle savage, fond of receiving strangers,
and desirous of supplying all the information they desired. What he
lacked in knowledge he made up in imagination, as he told Stanley of a
race of dwarfs only two feet in height dwelling in the region west of
Karagué, while in Uriambwa there was a race of small people with tails.
He closed his story with the statement that some of his subjects had
seen in those far-off lands a strange people, who had long ears
descending to their feet: one ear formed a mat for the owner to sleep
on, and the other served to cover him from the cold, like a dressed
hide. "They tried to coax one of them to come and see me," said the
king, "but the journey was long, and he died on the way."

From the mouth of the Alexandra Nile our friends continued their voyage
along the coast, halting at islands, or at villages on the main-land,
whenever it was necessary to rest the men or purchase provisions. Frank
wanted to visit Alice Island, which Stanley made famous, but Doctor
Bronson said it was too far out of their track. Alice Island is about
thirty miles from the coast, and directly opposite the large village of
Makongo, and its inhabitants are a timid and inoffensive race of
fishermen.

Fred asked why it was called "Alice" Island.

"Don't you remember," said Frank, "that it was so named by Stanley in
honor of his boat, the _Lady Alice_?"

"Certainly I do," was the reply, "but for the moment I had forgotten it.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had a boat like the _Lady Alice_ for
navigating the lake?"

"Of course it would," responded Frank; "but we haven't anything of the
kind, and are getting along very well with the boats of King M'tesa."

[Illustration: THE "LADY ALICE," IN SECTIONS.]

"The _Lady Alice_," he continued, "was an invention of Stanley, and
served his purpose admirably. She was forty feet long, six feet beam,
and thirty inches deep, built of Spanish cedar, three-eighths of an inch
in thickness. When finished she was separated into five sections, each
of them eight feet long, so that she could be carried by porters from
the coast to the Victoria N'yanza, and from one lake to another. Stanley
launched the _Lady Alice_ on the Victoria N'yanza, which he
circumnavigated. Afterward he made a similar voyage around Lake
Tanganyika; and in the same boat he descended a portion of the Congo, or
Livingstone, till he was compelled to abandon her on reaching the great
falls of that river."

"I remember now," said Fred, "that he went from Alice Island to
Bumbireh, where he had a fight with the natives, and came near losing
his life. That must be Bumbireh right ahead of us, I suppose?"

"Yes," answered the Doctor, to whom the remark was partially addressed,
"that is Bumbireh; but we will not land there, and run the risk of a
reception similar to that of Stanley. We will pass along the channel
between the large island and the main-land, and what we see of Bumbireh
will be from our places in the boat."

They moved steadily down the channel, and the boys made note of the fact
that the island was fifteen or twenty miles long, and that the greater
part of it was densely wooded. Near the water there was a strip of
beach, sometimes broken by shelving rocks. Where the beach was sandy
canoes were frequently visible, the most of them drawn up quite high and
dry out of the water. Groups of natives came down to gaze upon the
passing flotilla, and at one point there was a movement which indicated
a possibility of hostilities. Several natives ran wildly up and down the
sands, gesticulating violently, and evidently calling others to come out
from the huts in the forest and make ready for a fight. Two or three
canoes were pushed into the water, but nobody ventured to attack the
flotilla. The islanders were doubtless restrained by motives of
prudence, as they could easily see the white men in the boats, and they
were well aware that the white men's weapons are not to be despised.

After passing Bumbireh the expedition halted on a small island which was
without inhabitants; but our friends were able to purchase all the fish
they wanted from some boats which they encountered in the vicinity. They
were now at the southern end of the N'yanza, and another day's run
carried them to M'salala, which was at the end of a narrow gulf
extending inland several miles, and was the limit of their boat journey.

We will leave our friends to get on shore, discharge the boats, and
start them on their return to M'tesa, while we repeat some of their
conversation during the voyage.

While they were returning from Ripon Falls to Rubaga, Doctor Bronson
told Fred he would like to have him read up the description of the West
Coast of Africa on the first opportunity, and be able to give a brief
account of it during their southward voyage. The halt at Usavara gave
him the needed time, which he improved to advantage. They were not
provided with a large number of books on that part of the country, but,
fortunately, there were enough for his purpose.

"The West Coast of Africa," said he, "is properly comprised between the
Desert of Sahara and Cape Negro, the latter being about latitude 19°
south. There are three divisions of this region, known as Senegambia,
Upper Guinea, and Lower Guinea, and each of them comprises several
native states, and nearly as many European possessions."

"You can read all that in an encyclopædia or any good geography," said
Frank, with a slight laugh.

"Of course you can," retorted Fred; "but if you don't happen to have
read it, and no one has told you, it is pretty certain to be news to
you."

Frank admitted the correctness of Fred's statement and the story was
continued.

"The English have a settlement at Bathurst, on the Gambia River, and
there are other small settlements near it. There is another settlement,
called Sierra Leone, on a peninsula eighteen miles long by twelve in
width. The Danes and Dutch formerly had settlements along the coast, but
they ceded them to England, the former in 1850, and the latter in 1872.
The Spaniards once held quite an extent of coast, but at present their
only possession is the island of Fernando Po, which they use as a
convict station.

"The Portuguese still have control of a large extent of country--at
least, nominally--and they have several small ports where they do quite
a trade in palm-oil, india-rubber, ivory, gold, and other products of
Africa. They formerly dealt in slaves, but have followed the fashion of
England and abolished the slave-trade--at least, in name. But a great
deal of the traffic is kept up at the present time, the slaves being
taken south from interior stations in the Portuguese possessions and
sold to the Kaffirs, instead of being brought to the coast.

[Illustration: NATIVE VILLAGE ON THE GOLD COAST.]

"The English and French are now the only great nations with settlements
of any consequence in Western Africa. The principal stations of the
French are at Assinee, on the Gold Coast, and at Gaboon, on the river of
the same name. In the north-west they have settlements on the Senegal
River, where they have spent a great deal of money and wasted the lives
of many Frenchmen without much advantage. Quite recently they have made
an effort to establish a colony on the Livingstone, by supporting an
Italian adventurer named De Brazza, who claims to have secured a grant
of territory from a native chief.

[Illustration: CAPE COAST CASTLE.]

"The foreign settlements are chiefly for purposes of trade; and as they
have been placed there in most instances against the will of the
natives, and are liable at any time to be assaulted, they are generally
protected by fortifications. One of the strongest of these is Cape Coast
Castle. The English settled there more than two hundred years ago, and
established themselves on a rocky point, where they were quite safe from
the natives, and could make good resistance to a European foe. The Dutch
had a fortress called Elmina only a short distance from Cape Coast
Castle, and sometimes the garrisons were not on friendly terms, owing to
the different policies pursued by the English and Dutch."

"But you haven't said anything about Liberia," said Frank. "You know
that in the United States we have heard a great deal about Liberia,
which was settled by negroes liberated from slavery in our country and
other parts of America."

"I'm coming to that," replied Fred. "The first settlement of the kind
was Sierra Leone, which was founded in 1787, with a colony of five
hundred destitute negroes sent from London by some charitable people who
wanted to help them along. A few years later one thousand liberated
slaves from Nova Scotia were sent there, and in succeeding years there
was an immigration of several thousand negroes from the West Indies.
When the British cruisers began to capture slave-ships they took all the
captives to Sierra Leone and set them free. That's the way the colony
was peopled, and it now has about forty thousand inhabitants, of whom
only a little more than a hundred are Europeans. It has schools,
churches, a theological college, and other educational institutions, and
the people are as intelligent as those of any European city."

Frank asked what was the religion of the people of Sierra Leone.

"There is a bishop of the Church of England," replied Fred, "and there
are nearly a hundred ordained ministers, but they have not been very
successful in converting the negroes. The most of the inhabitants are
Moslems, and it has been found much easier to convert them to
Mohammedanism than to Christianity.

"Now for Liberia," he continued. "The first settlement in the republic
was made in 1820 by the American Colonization Society, which sent some
emancipated negroes there. A 'declaration of independence' was made in
1847, and the Republic of Liberia was organized much after the form of
the United States. The President holds office four years, the same as
with us; there is a regular staff of cabinet officers, and a Senate and
House of Representatives. The country extends about six hundred miles
along the coast, and has a population of seven hundred and twenty
thousand. Seven hundred thousand of them are aborigines, and the rest
are negroes from the United States, and their descendants.

[Illustration: MONROVIA, LIBERIA.]

"Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, contains about thirteen thousand
inhabitants, and has schools, colleges, churches, and the like, similar
to Sierra Leone. The colony has been fairly prosperous, and the republic
has made treaties of commerce with the principal nations of Europe and
America. If you want to know more about it there are several books which
give its history in detail."

Frank said he had heard quite as much as he was likely to remember, and
with this remark the lesson on the history of the colonies of Sierra
Leone and Liberia came to an end.

The Doctor asked Fred what he had learned relative to the healthiness of
the African coast, or rather of that part of it which was under
discussion.

[Illustration: FREE TOWN, SIERRA LEONE.]

"As to that," replied Fred, "there is no healthiness at all for the
white man, but, 'on the contrary, quite the reverse.' From February to
December, 1871, of the ninety-eight European residents at Free-town, in
Sierra Leone, twenty-four died, and in other years the mortality has
been in nearly the same proportion. Other points along the coast are
pretty nearly as fatal to the white visitor, and also to the negro born
and reared in temperate climates. Strangers soon after their arrival are
attacked with a fever which seems to be caused by the malarious
exhalations from the earth. The fever shows itself by loss of appetite,
pains in the back, severe and long-continued headache, together with
gastric troubles that develop into bilious remittent fever. Sometimes it
yields to medical treatment, but more frequently it develops into the
dreaded African fever, which is marked by intense headache and delirium.
In this stage it is frequently fatal. The negro who escapes can consider
himself acclimated; but the white man is liable to a return of the
disease, as the first attack does not secure him against subsequent
ones."

"A very good lecture on the African fever," said the Doctor. "I don't
think you are likely to encourage emigration in the direction of the
Gold Coast."

Fred bowed his acknowledgment of the Doctor's compliment, and said the
more he read and heard of the West Coast of Africa, the less was his
desire to go there, even for a very brief visit.

[Illustration: A STREET IN COOMASSIE.]

"Now I'll tell you about Ashantee," he continued. "I've been reading
about it in Stanley's 'Coomassie and Magdala,' and other books, and am
ready to set up as an authority on the subject."

Frank nodded his readiness to hear about the land of King Coffee, the
warlike ruler who gave the British government a great deal of trouble in
1874, and who held out till his capital was burned, after the defeat of
his army and his narrow escape from capture.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE IN ASHANTEE.]

"Ashantee," said Fred, "is a kingdom whose boundaries are not very well
defined; it has a population estimated at not less than three millions,
and its government is a despotism of the most arbitrary character.

"The king has the power of life and death over all his subjects; he is
the owner of a great part of the country, and is regarded as the natural
heir of everybody. When a subject dies the king takes everything he
wants, and leaves the rest to the dead man's relatives. He usually shows
his generosity by taking whatever unwrought gold there may happen to be
on the estate, and relinquishes his claims to ornaments, furniture, and
other effects. He collects a tax of twenty per cent. on all gold
manufactured in the country, and in addition to this he has a large
revenue from the mines where the precious metal is obtained."

"The king evidently has a nice time of it," said Frank; "and if ever the
choice of a throne is offered to me I'll keep Ashantee in mind."

"Perhaps you won't care for it so much," Fred answered, "when I tell you
that the king is in constant fear of his life, as he never knows what
plots may be formed for his assassination. Existing only by tyranny, he
is subject to the same rule as other tyrants, and is liable to be
overthrown at any moment.

[Illustration: "YOUNG GUINEA."]

"The two great institutions of Ashantee are slavery and polygamy. Some
rich men own a thousand slaves each, and the king has many thousands of
them at his command. In the matter of marriage he is under restrictions,
as he is only permitted to have three thousand three hundred and
thirty-three wives. No doubt he would like to have more, but the custom
of the country forbids him to do so."

Frank wanted to know if the king went out to walk often, and took his
family along.

"Probably not," replied Fred, "as the wives of the king are really
laborers on his plantations, or at least the most of them are. During
the working season they are scattered where their work is needed, but at
other times they occupy two streets in the capital city, where they are
secluded from the gaze of all except the king and his female slaves. Any
man who looks upon one of them even by accident must suffer death.

[Illustration: FANTEE GENTLEMAN AND SOLDIER.]

"Until the slave-trade was suppressed on the coast of Western Africa,
Ashantee had a thriving business in selling prisoners of war or
disposing of its surplus population, but of late years this commerce has
been cut off, and the country has been restricted to dealings in gold
and other products of the land. It is separated from the coast by the
country of the Fantees, who are hostile to the Ashantees, and frequently
at war with them. On two occasions, when the English have supported the
Fantees in hostilities against the Ashantees, the latter have marched
large armies to the coast and threatened the safety of Cape Coast Castle
and Elmina. Once they actually compelled the British governor to make
terms of peace, and in 1824 they defeated a British army, and killed the
commander and nearly all his officers.

[Illustration: THE BURNING OF COOMASSIE.]

"Things went on in a very unsatisfactory way till 1873, when the Dutch
fort of Elmina and the surrounding possessions were ceded to the
English. The Dutch had paid the King of Ashantee a tribute of £500 a
year, which the English discontinued. Thereupon the king sent an army to
collect it, but he was defeated, though not driven back. In 1874 Sir
Garnet Wolseley was sent there with two thousand English troops. To
these he added a large force of Fantees, with which he invaded Ashantee
and burned Coomassie, its capital city. Two severe battles were fought,
and in the second of them the king commanded in person, and only
retreated after a fight of six hours.

"This is the famous 'Ashantee war' of which we read a few years ago. The
treaty of peace which followed the burning of Coomassie required the
king to pay an indemnity of fifty thousand ounces of gold, keep a road
open to the coast, and abolish human sacrifices."

"I have read about these sacrifices," said Frank. "It is stated
somewhere that at least a thousand slaves were sacrificed every year, in
a certain grove near the king's palace at Coomassie."

"That is the case," replied Doctor Bronson, "and the worst of the story
is not told. It was the custom, on occasions of festivity or
mourning--in fact, on every affair of publicity--to kill a certain
number of victims. If slaves were convenient they were selected to be
offered up; but it often happened that the immediate attendants of the
king were taken at an instant's notice. A traveller tells that one day
two messengers came to inform the king of the discovery of a new
gold-mine, and brought samples of the gold produced by it.

"The king looked at the gold with evident pleasure, and then ordered a
sacrifice in honor of the discovery. The most convenient victims were
the two messengers. They were immediately seized and taken to the
sacrificial grove, where they were given to the Ashantee divinities,
with the customary ceremonies."

[Illustration: A BELLE OF THE GUINEA COAST.]

"What a horrid custom!" exclaimed Frank. "The English did a good thing
for humanity in putting an end to it. Have they ever sent missionaries
among the people?"

"They have done so," was the reply, "but with very poor success. Some
Ashantees have become Christians, but only a very few, and the
missionaries have become discouraged. Quite lately there have been
reports that Moslem missionaries have come from Central Africa and
attempted to convert the Ashantees to their faith. They are said to be
meeting with good success, and possibly before many years the whole
nation will become Mohammedans. Anything is better than the horrid
paganism that formerly prevailed. However much Mohammedanism is behind
Christianity, as Stanley explained to King M'tesa, it is vastly better
than the old religions of Africa, with their wanton disregard of human
life."

"I suppose," said Frank, "that the gold from this part of Africa is the
'Guinea gold' which we often read about?"

"Quite right," was the reply. "Guinea gold was known in Europe long
before gold from America, and the golden guineas of England were made
from it. No guineas are coined now, and the piece of twenty-one
shillings is not in circulation. London tradesmen, especially when
dealing with foreigners, like to reckon prices in guineas, as they can
thereby add five per cent. to their figures, since the stranger does not
always mark the difference between guineas and sovereigns."

The arrival of the boat at the point where the camp was to be made for
the night brought the conversation to an end.

[Illustration: VIEW OF ELMINA, ON THE GOLD COAST.]



CHAPTER XXIX.

A DESCRIPTION OF SOUTH AFRICA.--ENGLISH COLONIES.--OSTRICH FARMING.


Frank determined not to be outdone by Fred in describing parts of Africa
which they were not likely to visit in their journey. At the first
opportunity he opened their limited store of books and proceeded to
inform himself concerning South Africa, or that part of the continent
between the twentieth parallel of south latitude and the Cape of Good
Hope. A day's careful reading gave him a good stock of knowledge, which
he promptly conveyed to his cousin.

"It isn't a very dark region," said he, "as it has been settled and
colonized, and has a good many marks of civilization. It has railways
and stage lines, telegraphs and newspapers, hotels and factories,
together with many other things you would hardly expect to find. It was
once a fine hunting-ground for the great game of Africa, but at present
the wild animals are difficult to find, as the most of them have been
killed or driven off.

"Cumming, Anderson, Baldwin, and others have given us accounts of their
adventures. Some of their stories convey the impression that the country
was once so thickly inhabited by wild beasts that it was impossible to
take a walk before breakfast without encountering a lion or an elephant,
a rhinoceros or a giraffe. That happy time is gone forever, and the
greater part of South Africa is delivered from the dangers that made it
so fascinating to the lovers of destruction.

"To begin with," continued the youthful historian, "the most important
part of South Africa is Cape Colony, better known to us as the Cape of
Good Hope."

[Illustration: NATIVE OF CAPE COLONY.]

"It is important, I suppose," remarked Fred, "because it was settled
before any other part of that end of the continent, and contains the
greatest population."

"Exactly so," responded Frank; "it was settled by the Dutch about 1650,
and, with the exception of a few years, remained in their possession
till 1806, when it fell into the hands of the English. At that time it
had an area of one hundred and twenty thousand square miles, and a
population of sixty-one thousand. Now it covers an area of three hundred
thousand square miles, with a population of more than a million,
according to the figures in Silver's 'Hand-book for South Africa' and
other works."

Fred asked how it happened that the area of the colony had increased so
much since the English obtained possession of it.

"Thereby hangs a tale," replied Frank, "and it is to some extent a tale
of British oppression and cruelty. Previous to the English occupation of
the Cape the colonists consisted of Dutch and French emigrants and their
descendants. The former were known as Boers, from the Dutch word _boer_,
a peasant, while the latter were mostly Huguenots, who had fled to
escape religious persecution. They were never reconciled to the British
rule, and in the year 1835 there was a general movement for emigrating
to the wilderness and founding a republic of their own.

[Illustration: EMIGRATING TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN WILDERNESS.]

"They sold their farms, and with their cattle and household goods moved
to the north of the Orange River and founded an independent colony,
making for themselves new homes in the wilderness. A few years later,
when their colony was fairly established, it was 'annexed' by the
English. Again the Boers emigrated, and again they were annexed, and the
same process was again repeated."

"The nation that proclaims itself the champion of freedom was evidently
opposed to the practice of it on the part of others," said Fred, as his
cousin paused a moment in his story.

"Yes," was the response; "it seems to me, and I believe a good many
Englishmen are of the same opinion, that the conduct of the British
government in its South African policy has been most tyrannical and
utterly regardless of the rights of mankind. Ever since the beginning of
the century it has oppressed the Boers, and refused to allow them to
found colonies of their own. It has made war upon them time and again,
for the sole offence of seeking their independence by emigration. In the
recent troubles known as the 'Transvaal War' the Boers defended
themselves bravely, and secured the admiration of the whole world. Their
foes were compelled to admit the valor of the people who fought in
defence of their rights, and a sentiment rapidly gained ground in
England that the government was engaged in an unjust campaign."

"It was to a certain extent a repetition of the story of the American
colonies, and the war that led to their independence," said Fred.

"In some of its features that was the case, but the result has been that
England has gradually assumed control over all the region of South
Africa. It has appropriated the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free
State, and the Boers have probably learned by this time that farther
migration is useless. Some of the annexations have been under the
pretence of a popular vote of the inhabitants; but the voting has
generally been managed in such a way as to remind me of the story of the
Western town in America that took its census one day when a large
excursion party was there. It was thus enabled, by including all the
excursionists, to show a large population. The English have managed to
confine the voting to the mining districts and the towns where
Englishmen were congregated, while the scattered farmers had no chance
to express their opinions.

"We'll drop the political question and take a glance at the country,"
continued Frank. "In Cape Colony there are four main lines of railway,
one of them more than three hundred miles long, and another is under
construction. The colony of Natal has a line of railway of its own, and
they are building an iron road to connect the capital of the Transvaal
with the ocean. Before the end of the century South Africa will have
lost all the characteristics of the 'Dark Continent,' and be much like
the settled portions of the United States. The exploits of Cumming and
Anderson are as impossible there at present as are those of Daniel Boone
and Kit Carson in our own land.

[Illustration: THE "MARCH OF CIVILIZATION."]

"Look at the map," said he as he spread it before his cousin, "and see
how much it resembles that of a group of our own States." They spent
half an hour or more in pointing out real or fancied similarities as
their eyes ran over the outlines of the colonies and their numerous
subdivisions. Fred was amused with many of the names of towns and
districts, and Frank explained that they were mostly given by the Boers,
and indicated how much those energetic colonists had been concerned in
the settlement and development of the country.

"Here is Pietermaritzburg," said Frank, "the chief town of Natal. It is
compounded of the names of two famous Boer leaders in the struggle for
independence--Pieter Retief and Gert Maritz. And here is
Potscherfstroom, in Transvaal, a town which is intended to commemorate
three popular men among the Boers, by taking a syllable from each of
their names. They were Potgieter, Scherf, and Stockenstroom."

"You can go on through the colonies," said he, "and find many names of
similar origin. Everywhere that you traverse the country and enter the
house of a Boer you will be hospitably welcomed, as soon as it is known
you are not an Englishman; and you will find the host and his family
plain, honest, pious, and industrious. Of course there are exceptions;
but they only, like exceptions everywhere, serve to prove the rule.
There is no people in the world more pious than the Boers. They have
morning and evening devotions, and many of the families are in
possession of the Bibles that their ancestors brought from Europe one or
two hundred years ago.

"South Africa is an agricultural and grazing region, and there are some
curious facts connected with the growth of its industries. Seventy years
ago the Governor of Cape Town threw two wagon-loads of wool into the
sea, because there was no use for it. At present the value of the wool
annually exported from Cape Colony is nearly twenty million dollars.
Diamonds were discovered in 1868 on the banks of the Vaal River, and
afterward in several other districts, and since then the diamond mines
have attracted a great many people. The production has been so great
that the diamond market of the world has been seriously affected. The
precious stones have diminished considerably in value, but, fortunately
for the owners of Brazilian and East Indian diamonds, those from South
Africa are nearly all of them 'off color.'"

[Illustration: SCENE IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN DIAMOND MINES.]

"What do you mean by 'off color?'" Fred asked.

"Why," was the reply, "I mean that they are rather '_on_ color.' The
best diamonds are pure white, but nearly all of those from Africa have a
yellowish tint, which greatly reduces their value. The stones from
Brazil and India are of 'first water,' or colorless, and consequently
their value has not materially suffered; but the case is different with
yellow stones, which have lost three-fourths of their value since the
African fields were opened. It is said there was quite a panic among
the diamond owners when they saw what immense numbers of the stones came
from Africa, and some of them predicted that diamonds would become as
common as garnets or amethysts in a very few years. But of late the
mines are said to have been exhausted, and the industry has greatly
declined.

"Another discovery of South Africa is the ostrich."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Fred. "The ostrich was known long before the
English went to that country, and long before an Englishman ever
existed. I believe it is mentioned in the Bible."

"You didn't hear me through," said Frank. "I was going to say that the
discovery of the possibility of domesticating ostriches and raising
them, as we raise sheep or cattle, was made in South Africa."

"How was that?"

"Down to about twenty years ago ostriches were only known in a wild
state, with the exception of a few that were held in menageries or
otherwise kept as curiosities. Ostrich farming had been tried in
Algeria, but with only partial success, and not to any great extent. The
ostrich feathers which are so much prized, and sell for high figures,
were obtained by hunting the wild birds in their desert homes.

"Two hundred years ago these birds were so abundant in South Africa that
they were often seen within a few miles of Cape Town, and a hunter could
be reasonably certain of all the sport he wanted by going a few miles
into the country. The colonization of the region has caused their
disappearance, and anybody who wants them in a wild state must go to the
deserts north of the Orange River, or to other unsettled portions of the
continent.

"The chase of the wild ostrich is now almost entirely in the hands of
the aboriginals. The feathers obtained in this way are bought by
traders, who go into the wilderness carrying such goods as the natives
will accept. These they barter for the precious feathers, and when they
have finished their traffic they return to the settlements with their
valuable commodity."

"Ostrich feathers command a high price," said Fred, "and I suppose the
dealers find their trade very profitable."

"So they do," Frank replied; "but the wild feathers are growing scarcer
every year, and the traders do not confine themselves to buying them to
the exclusion of everything else. A trader starts off with perhaps half
a dozen wagons laden with guns, powder, blankets, beads, wire, knives,
and other goods that meet the approval of the savage. On his return the
wagons are filled with ivory, hippopotamus teeth, rhinoceros horns, and
a varied lot of skins of wild animals, in addition to ostrich feathers.
Sometimes a single wagon-load will be valued at fifty thousand dollars,
and the larger the quantity of ostrich feathers the greater is its
value."

Fred asked how the feathers were sold, and what was the standard of
their value.

"They are carefully sorted according to their quality, and then sold by
weight. Of course the price varies, like that of any other merchandise,
and the business has its ups and downs, like everything else. The finest
feathers are sometimes sold for three hundred dollars a pound, and two
hundred dollars may be considered a fair price for a first-class
article. The plumes from chickens sell for two or three dollars a pound.
Between the highest and lowest prices, you see, there is a very wide
range."

"And you say the people at the Cape raise ostriches now as they would
raise horses or sheep, do you?" Fred inquired.

[Illustration: DRIVING A FLOCK OF OSTRICHES.]

"Certainly I do," was the reply. "Ostrich farming has become a regular
business, and a good many men have made fortunes by it. The first
experiments were made in 1862. Three years later there were eighty tame
ostriches in Cape Colony, and from that time the business grew very
rapidly. In 1875 there were about fifty thousand birds in the hands of
the farmers of South Africa, and five years later the number had more
than doubled. It began in Cape Colony, and has spread through Natal,
Transvaal, and the Orange River district, and has become a regular
industry, like sheep or cattle raising. The profits are very great, and
attempts are now being made to introduce ostrich farming into the United
States."

Fred asked how the farmers obtained the feathers from the captive birds.

[Illustration: THE OSTRICH AND ITS HUNTERS.]

"Very easily," Frank answered. "In the old way of hunting the ostrich it
was necessary to kill the bird in order to obtain the feathers, and thus
he yielded only a single crop. Under the present system the feathers are
cut off when 'ripe,' and new ones grow in their places. These are cut
off in time, and year after year fresh harvests are made, until the bird
is too old to produce more. The first crop is taken when the bird is a
year and a half old, and is worth about twenty dollars. After that time
the annual yield of a bird is from forty to fifty dollars, and he
continues to produce feathers till he is eighteen or twenty years old."

[Illustration: HUNTING UNDER DISADVANTAGES.]

"Very profitable stock to have on hand," said Fred. "But how does the
ostrich like to have his feathers taken from him?"

"At first he didn't like it, as they were 'plucked' or pulled out with
pincers. At present the 'plucking' process has been abandoned for that
of cutting, which is quite painless. The birds are driven into a yard,
and the keeper goes among them with a pair of nippers, with which he
severs the feathers about two inches from the base. When the birds are
crowded close together they do not know what is being done, and stand
quite still while the cutting is performed. If there are only a few of
them it is necessary to throw a bag over the one that is being operated
on, and he is then unable to make any opposition, or, at all events, he
makes none. Three or four months after the feather has been cut the
stump falls out, or can be easily removed, and then a new feather grows
in its place."

Here the Doctor joined in the conversation, as Frank showed signs of
nearing the end of his stock of knowledge. He informed the youths that
not only was cutting preferable to plucking, on account of its
painlessness, but also because the feathers that were afterward produced
were of a better quality. The new feathers that grew after plucking were
apt to be twisted and distorted, so that they were greatly reduced in
value, while those that grew after the other method were always well
formed. If the farmers were not induced to follow the new system out of
humanity to the bird, they were sure to be with regard to their pockets.

"The tame ostriches run in pastures, under the care of native boys,"
continued Doctor Bronson, "very much as sheep or cattle would under
similar circumstances. They want plenty of space, good food--but not too
much of it--and must be driven to shelter from severe storms. A very
small fence will keep them in bounds, and they will thrive on a soil
altogether too barren for cattle or sheep. A great deal of land formerly
regarded as worthless is now found highly profitable as a home for the
ostrich herds."

"Now, Fred," said the Doctor, "take a scrap of paper and figure up the
profits of an ostrich farm." Fred prepared himself with materials for
calculation, and the results caused his eyes to open with astonishment.

"Let us start with a pair of birds three years old," said the Doctor,
"and see how we come out in ten years.

"Our birds at that age will lay about twenty eggs, and then proceed to
hatch them. For the hatching process they require forty-two
days--exactly twice as long as the common hen--and they take turns in
sitting on the eggs. There is the same uncertainty with ostriches as
with other birds in counting chickens before they are hatched, but we
can fairly hope to get ten chickens from twenty eggs. The ostrich raises
two broods in a year, so that at the end of the year we have twenty
chickens. Next year twenty more, or ten pairs a year from the old birds,
and so on, year after year. Then when the chicks are three years old
they have broods of their own, and then--"

Fred said he must take time to figure up the state of affairs at the end
of ten years, and as the supply of paper was limited he wisely paused
for the present. Any boy who chooses may make the calculation and easily
figure out a fortune for himself and all his partners in the enterprise.
Before Fred was through with the calculation he had determined to
emigrate to the Cape and become an ostrich farmer; or, better still, he
would buy a few thousand acres of land in Arizona, where the country was
said to be admirably adapted to this new and highly profitable industry.

Doctor Bronson dampened his ardor a little by telling him the ostrich
had many enemies, in a domestic as well as in a wild state. "The hyena,
wild-cat, and fox," said he, "have a loving tooth for the egg of the
ostrich, and will often drive the bird from its nest, so that they may
feed on its contents. Crows will drop stones into a nest when the bird
is away for a few moments. This was formerly supposed to be a fiction,
but its correctness has been verified by several observers. The crow
seizes a round pebble from a brook or other place, poises himself over
the nest, and then drops the stone with an accuracy that rarely misses
its object. He follows to the ground immediately after the stone to make
a feast on the broken egg.

"Hawks kill the young chicks, and the birds, old and young, suffer from
various diseases, most of them caused by improper care."

"That is true," said Fred. "My ostrich-eggs shall be hatched
artificially. Natural incubation occupies a period of six weeks."

[Illustration: WHAT FRED HOPED FOR.]

"That's so," chimed in Frank; "the farmers at the Cape use incubators,
invented by Mr. Arthur Douglas. Not only do they get more chickens from
a given number of eggs, but they get three broods a year instead of
two."

"Hurrah!" said Fred, "three broods in place of two; and, besides, we can
defy the crows, and the hyena and his kindred, who rob the nests. We'll
keep the chicks housed till they are too big for the hawks. We'll herd
them carefully, so they sha'n't have any of the distempers that come
from inattention; and as for food, they shall have just what is best for
them. I've heard of feeding ostriches on old boots, pocket-knives, and
similar things; and if mine want anything of the kind I'll buy all the
old boots in New York, and all the cutlery in Connecticut, to give them
a wholesome diet."

The Doctor suggested that nutritious grass for the young birds, and
Indian corn and green food of different kinds for the old ones, was
about all that was needed. Still, he said, they devoured a good many
pebbles, which seemed to serve the same purpose as the gravel in the
gizzard of an ordinary hen. A farmer once found nine hundred and thirty
stones in the gizzard of an ostrich, varying from the size of a pea to
that of a walnut. There were no old boots or pocket-knives among them;
but it has sometimes happened that an ostrich has helped himself to a
button from the coat of an incautious visitor or a diamond pin from his
shirt-front.

Here the conversation ended, and Fred retired to think over his scheme
for supplying the market of New York with ostrich plumes. He told Frank
he might write to Mary and Miss Effie, promising them in a few years all
the feathers they desired, and the prettiest ones, too.

[Illustration: THE OSTRICH'S NATURAL ENEMY.]



CHAPTER XXX.

RESUMING THE MARCH.--MIRAMBO'S COUNTRY.--HUNTING ZEBRAS.--DESCRIPTION OF
THE SOKO.


Our friends landed without accident at M'salala, in Usukuma, which is a
province of Unyamwezi. The best part of a day was consumed in getting
the baggage on shore, setting up the tents, and putting the camp in
order. They expected to remain there for several days, as it was not
possible to hire at short notice all the guides and porters for the land
journey from that point.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE GUIDES.]

The payment of the crews of the boats was a matter of some moment, as
the men had an exalted opinion of the value of their services,
notwithstanding the fact that they were in the employ of King M'tesa,
and had been sent by him to transport Doctor Bronson and his party down
the lake. The captains of the boats threw out hints that they would take
their pay by force if it was not handed over voluntarily. Doctor Bronson
threatened to report the whole affair to the King of Unyamwezi, and
through him to M'tesa, who would be likely to deal very summarily with
the offenders. The dispute was appealed to the Unyamwezi delegation who
had accompanied the party down the lake, and their decision was a good
illustration of the African character.

M'tesa's men thought the Unyamwezi people would be inclined to make the
payment as high as possible, as it was the African policy to make the
stranger contribute freely for the privilege of passing through the
country. In fact, one of M'tesa's captains had a sly interview with the
chief of the delegation, and set forth the situation in glowing terms,
coupled with an offer to give a liberal commission on whatever was
received from the travellers. Abdul happened to learn of this interview,
and as soon as an opportunity was afforded he had a similar conference
with the same individual.

What was said at this conference we are not at liberty to repeat, but
the result was that the members of the delegation argued to themselves
about as follows:

"M'tesa's people are going away, and the strangers will remain among us
for a while and travel through our country. The more they give to
M'tesa's sailors the less they will have to give to us. The people that
go are of much less consequence than those who remain; and besides, they
can't afford to be liberal. As the sailors and their captains are in
M'tesa's employ it would not be honorable for them to accept presents
from strangers, and we therefore decide that they have nothing: they
should go back to their own country with their hands and consciences
equally clear."

Doctor Bronson and the youths laughed heartily when the decision was
reported to them, and the Doctor remarked that these Ethiopian judges
might shake hands with certain occupants of the judicial bench not a
thousand miles from New York.

"Yes," said Frank, "'a fellow-feeling makes them wondrous kind'--to
those who can afford to pay the most for the favors of the honorable
court."

The decision placed the matter fairly in the Doctor's hands. He called
the captains and sailors together, and distributed among them a liberal
amount of cloth, beads, wire, and other African commodities, and then
required that they should start immediately for home. He did not choose
to have them remain longer in his neighborhood, as he realized their
power to make trouble for his party by setting the people of Usukuma
against him.

He added the rifle which he had promised to send to M'tesa in case the
journey was accomplished within a certain time. Just as the boats were
about to leave he presented each of the crews with a supply of
provisions, which had not been bargained for, several jars of merissa,
and an extra lot of cloth for the crew of the boat which had brought the
donkeys. They certainly deserved it, as not a man of them had escaped
with less than a dozen kicks. This unexpected liberality threw them all
into good humor, and as the men paddled off they chanted songs in praise
of the strangers, and hoped they would come again to Africa.

"'All's well that ends well,'" said the Doctor as the last of the boats
disappeared around a bend in the bay. "I was very much afraid we
should have trouble with these people. There was no danger of anything
of the kind as long as we were within reach of M'tesa; but they knew
well enough that we could not get at him again without returning to
Rubaga, which was not at all in our plans."

[Illustration: A ROYAL RESIDENCE IN UNYAMWEZI.]

The delegation started the next morning for the court of the King of
Unyamwezi. They carried a letter from Doctor Bronson, written in Arabic,
and asking permission to visit his capital, and travel through his
country to Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika. It was understood that the party
would start as soon as the necessary porters could be engaged, and would
be likely to meet the messenger with the king's answer somewhere on the
road.

It may be well to explain here that the king they were about to meet was
the famous Mirambo, whose character has not been painted in pleasing
colors by several African travellers. His capital or residence is at
Urambo, about half way between the Victoria and Tanganyika lakes, and he
was formerly looked upon as a blood-thirsty warrior, who exacted
enormous tribute from every caravan that crossed his country.

The story of the trouble is told by Cameron in the account of his
journey across Africa.

There are many Arabs settled in Unyamyembe, about a hundred miles
south-east of Mirambo's capital. They trade in ivory and other African
products, and for a long time Mirambo was on friendly terms with them.
They made frequent exchanges of presents, and he allowed many of the
Arabs to settle in his country, and gave them grants of land for their
villages and, besides, cattle selected from his own herds.

One of the Arabs took advantage of the monarch's good-nature and bought
a large quantity of ivory on credit. When the time came for payment he
evaded the debt, and as Mirambo pressed his claim the rascal laughed at
him for being so foolish as to trust an Arab.

Even a king may get angry when a debtor scorns him. Mirambo did not show
his temper immediately, but asked the Arabs at Unyamyembe to assist him
to collect the debt.

They refused to do so, and then the king took the measure into his own
hands and seized a caravan belonging to a partner of the man who had
defrauded him. This event brought on a war, which lasted for several
years, and gave great trouble, not only to the Arabs, but to all the
white men who attempted to pass that way. Mirambo was an energetic
warrior, who kept constantly on the move, and dropped down suddenly
where he was least expected. Many villages were burned, and thousands of
people were killed on both sides, or captured, and sold into slavery.
The warfare was conducted in the most barbarous manner by the king and
his enemies. The Arabs were as cruel as Mirambo, and there was very
little to choose between them.

[Illustration: WAR DANCE OF MIRAMBO'S FOLLOWERS.]

At the time of Stanley's second journey in Africa to Lake Tanganyika the
war was over, and the king had resumed business relations with his
neighbors. He made terms of friendship with Stanley, and told him that
hereafter any white man or Arab might travel through his territory or
come there to trade, and he would be welcome. Stanley and the king
exchanged presents, and the latter gave his visitor all the guides and
porters he wanted to accompany him on his journey.

The peaceful relations established by Stanley continued at the time
Doctor Bronson and his companions arrived at the southern end of the
Victoria N'yanza. As soon as Mirambo received the letter informing him
of the approach of the strangers, and also the letter of M'tesa
introducing the travellers as his friends, he sent two of his officers
to meet them and conduct them to the capital.

[Illustration: NATIVES BRINGING PROVISIONS FOR SALE.]

Our friends started on their journey three days behind the delegation
which carried the letter to Mirambo. They had no great difficulty in
engaging porters, as the country bordering on the lake is well peopled,
and the natives were quite desirous of earning some of the white man's
cloth and beads. The Doctor's liberality to M'tesa's sailors had been
noised about, and the porters were eager to be employed by a man who
paid for services when an African tribunal had decided that he need not
give anything. They brought various articles for sale, and there was a
liberal offering of whatever the country produced. A couple of riding
donkeys were obtained by Abdul, and also an ox that had been trained to
the saddle. These animals, added to what they had brought from Rubaga,
served to mount the entire party, including Abdul and Ali, and left an
extra donkey for use in case of accident to any of the others.

There was some delay at starting, owing to the tendency of the porters
to seek the lightest loads. The matter was finally arranged by placing
the loads in a row, and then forming the men in line a little distance
away and out of sight of the burdens they were to carry. Then they
marched forward, and each man picked up the load which chance assigned
to him and marched off without a murmur. Frank observed that they were
finely-shaped, muscular fellows, and their countenances showed them to
be quite the equals of the people of Ugunda, if not of a superior
intelligence.

Fred took note of the clothing worn by the porters and others of the
people of Unyamwezi, and remarked that a very little writing was
sufficient to describe it. The principal garment was a cloth around the
loins. Some of the better class had leopard or other skins thrown over
their shoulders; and the boys were told that only a chief or man of high
authority is allowed to wear the hide of a lion. The capture of a lion
was a sufficiently rare occurrence to make the clothing of the chiefs
equal the supply of the skin of the king of beasts.

Doctor Bronson and the boys waited at the camp-ground till the last of
the porters had left with his load and the whole caravan was under way;
then they mounted the donkeys and followed close to the rear, while
Abdul hurried to the front. An Arab named Mohammed had been engaged to
accompany them to Ujiji, as he knew the language of Unyamwezi, and was
familiar with the country between the two lakes. He proved of great
assistance in managing the caravan and keeping the men at a good pace
while on the road. He said he accompanied Stanley from Unyamyembe to
Zanzibar on his first journey; and though he never travelled with
Livingstone he had often seen him.

The road was through a rolling country, greatly resembling the region
between Fatiko and Rubaga. There was the same succession of forests and
open ground, and there were level plains that became pestiferous marshes
during the rainy season. Villages were numerous, and there were many
fields of bananas, plantains, sweet-potatoes, and that peculiar kind of
corn which the Arabs call "sesame."

[Illustration: A PROTECTED VILLAGE.]

Many of the villages had herds of cattle grazing in the vicinity, under
the care of herdsmen. Most of the villages were surrounded with
stockades, and there was at one side of each village a yard with a high
fence, where the cattle were driven at night. The herders were provided
with huts in the middle of these yards, so that they could be
constantly with the animals, for whose safety they were responsible.
The fence was considered a sufficient protection against wild animals,
while the approach of a human foe was sure to bring all the fighting-men
from the village to defend their property. Many of these enclosures had
hedges of a peculiar kind of thorn-bush, that was really more difficult
of penetration than a palisade of trunks of trees. The thorns are cruel
things, two or three inches long, and many of them curved like
fish-hooks. Getting loose from one you get caught on another, and
perhaps on two or three; and a person who enters one of these bushes
unawares will leave behind him the greater part of his clothing,
together with many souvenirs from his skin.

The general direction of the route was toward the south-west, and the
guides said it would take five or six days to reach Mirambo's residence.
If they wanted to hunt on the way they could do so, as the country
abounded in game. Doctor Bronson thought it would not be well to stop
for that purpose, as they would be likely to lose time by doing so; and
besides, it might not suit the fancy of the king if they went to
shooting in his dominions. But there could be no objection to their
killing anything which came in their way, and with this understanding
they continued the journey.

A messenger came from the front with the information that a herd of
zebras was in a valley to the right of the road, and not more than a
quarter of a mile away. With the Doctor's permission Frank and Fred
went in pursuit of the new game, under the guidance of Mohammed, and
accompanied by a couple of natives, who served as gun-bearers.

[Illustration: THE ZEBRA AT HOME.]

They were fortunate enough to get near the zebras without being
"winded," as the slight breeze that blew was directly in the faces of
the young hunters. Three zebras were grazing together, close to a small
grove, and two or three others were visible among the trees. The youths
managed to creep quite close, and each selecting his victim, they fired
at the same instant.

One animal fell on the spot; the other sprang high in the air and ran a
few yards before the bullet brought him to the ground. The boys rejoined
the column, while Mohammed summoned several of the natives who followed
the caravan, and persuaded them to carry the meat to camp.

"He looked much like a striped horse," said Fred, when recounting the
adventure to the Doctor.

"More like a donkey than a horse," said Frank.

"The zebra is more like the donkey than the horse," replied Doctor
Bronson. "It has hairs at the tip of the tail only," he continued, "and
his hind legs are without warts. For these reasons, and also for his
voice and his powerful kick, he has been classed with the donkey, and
you will find him named in the scientific books as the _Asinus zebra_."

"But can the zebra be tamed, and made to work, like his long-eared
cousin?" Fred inquired.

"Yes," responded the Doctor, "he can be domesticated, but not easily. He
is occasionally employed as a beast of burden, but is liable to manifest
the same peculiarities of waywardness and stubbornness as the mule."

"There is everything in a name," he farther remarked, "as you will find
when the game you have killed is brought into camp. The Arabs and all
their followers will eat the flesh of the zebra, and think it excellent;
but they would not touch a bit of horse or donkey to save their lives."

"Perhaps they are not alone in their prejudice," replied one of the
boys. "I am impatient to have a taste of our prizes, but should hesitate
for some time to dine off a donkey or a horse."

The Doctor smiled as he nodded approval of the sentiment of the youth,
and the conversation changed to some other topic.

The camp was made in a little valley, close to a native village. While
they were pitching the tents there was an alarm of "Snake! snake!" and
the Doctor seized his shot-gun to make an end of the unwelcome visitor.
The man who had shouted pointed in the direction of the village, and our
friends hastened there as fast as they could go.

It seemed that a large snake had entered one of the huts, and was making
himself thoroughly at home. He had seized a chicken, and was leisurely
engaged in devouring it. The Doctor was about to shoot his snakeship,
when the owner of the hut begged him not to do so. All he desired was to
have the creature leave the premises, and he would not consent that he
should be harmed.

Mohammed came up while the Doctor was wondering at the native's concern
for the welfare of the serpent. He explained that the people regard the
snake as a sort of ghost or spirit, and if it should be harmed by them
in any way it would be sure to bring about a calamity. "If you had shot
the snake," said the Arab, "it would have been necessary to move the
village immediately, to evade the vengeance of the ghost."

Jackals howled around the camp during the night, but their music did not
interfere with the sleep of our friends. They were up and off in good
time in the morning, and soon entered upon a plain five or six miles
wide, with a few calabash-trees scattered over the level expanse. On the
edge of the plain was a tembé, a building of a kind peculiar to this
part of Africa, and only rarely met with in the regions north of the
equator. Cameron thus describes the first one he saw:

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN TEMBÉ.]

"The tembé is formed simply of walls running parallel, subdivided by
partitions, and having a roof nearly flat, sloping only slightly to the
front. It is usually built to form a square, inside which the cattle are
penned at night. It is about the most comfortless form of habitation
that the brain of man ever devised; and as the huts are shared by the
fowls and goats they are filthy in the extreme, and swarm with insect
life."

The boys entered the tembé only for a few moments, as the caravan was
not allowed to halt, and they did not wish to be left in the rear.
Besides, there was very little to be seen in the place, and the
inhabitants had nothing to sell except a few eggs, which were quickly
bought.

Frank discovered a strange-looking skin hanging to one of the inner
walls of the tembé, and called the attention of his companions to it.
The Doctor regarded it carefully, and then said it was the skin of a
soko.

As soon as they were on the road again Fred referred to the soko, and
asked if they were in the region inhabited by that animal.

"I think he is occasionally found here," was the reply, "but his proper
habitat is on the other side of Lake Tanganyika. At any rate he was seen
there frequently by Livingstone, Stanley, and Cameron, and the Arabs say
that sokos are sometimes killed in the neighborhood of the Victoria
N'yanza."

"Dr. Livingstone has given the fullest account of this denizen of the
African forest, and when we get into camp I advise you to look it up in
his 'Last Journals.'"

Fred followed the Doctor's advice, and from the book in question he read
as follows:

     "Four gorillas, or sokos, were killed yesterday. An extensive
     grass-burning forced them out of their usual haunt, and, coming on
     the plain, they were speared. They often go erect, but place the
     hand on the head, as if to steady the body. When seen thus the soko
     is an ungainly beast. The most sentimental young lady would not
     call him a 'dear,' but a bandy-legged, pot-bellied villain, without
     a particle of the gentleman in him.

     [Illustration: MANYUEMA HUNTERS KILLING SOROS.]

     "His light-yellow face shows off his ugly whiskers and faint
     apology for a beard: the forehead, villanously low, with high ears,
     is well in the background of the great dog-mouth; the teeth are
     slightly human, but the canines show the beast by their large
     development. The hands, or rather the fingers, are those of the
     natives. The flesh of the feet is yellow, and the eagerness with
     which the Manyuema devour it leaves the impression that eating
     sokos was the first stage by which they arrived at being cannibals.
     They say the flesh is delicious. The soko is represented by some to
     be extremely knowing, successfully stalking men and women at their
     work, kidnapping children, and running up trees with them. He seems
     to be amused by the sight of the young native in his arms, but
     comes down when tempted by a bunch of bananas, and as he lifts it
     he drops the child.

     "The soko kills the leopard occasionally by seizing both paws and
     biting them so as to disable them; he then goes up a tree, groans
     over his wounds, and sometimes recovers, while the leopard dies; at
     other times both soko and leopard die. The soko eats no flesh;
     small bananas are his dainties and other fruits. Some of the
     natives believe their buried dead rise as sokos, and one was killed
     with holes in his ears, as if he had been a man. He is very strong,
     and fears guns, but not spears. He never catches women.

     "If a man has no spear the soko goes away satisfied; but if wounded
     he seizes the wrist, lops off the fingers, and spits them out,
     slaps the cheeks of his victim, and bites without breaking the
     skin. He draws out a spear, but never uses it, and takes some
     leaves and stuffs them into his wound to staunch the blood."

Doctor Bronson said it was not positively settled whether the soko was
identical with the gorilla, described by Du Chaillu, and found in the
western part of Africa. Naturalists are of opinion that it is not the
gorilla, but a distinct species of chimpanzee, which Dr. Livingstone was
the first to describe. The men who accompanied the eminent missionary
were shown the specimen of the gorilla in the British Museum. They said
it was not the soko, though closely resembling it, and they believed the
two animals were nearly related to each other.



CHAPTER XXXI.

TO MIRAMBO'S CAPITAL.--STANLEY'S WORK ON THE LIVINGSTONE.


The march to King Mirambo's capital was without any incident of
consequence. When within a few miles of the place they met a delegation,
consisting of one of the officers who had accompanied them down the lake
and two other personages of rank near the king. Doctor Bronson received
them after the customary form--with presents of cloth and beads--and
messengers were sent back to tell the king that his visitors were near.

[Illustration: ROCKS BY THE WAYSIDE.]

As they entered the capital there was a large assemblage along the
principal road leading into the town, and in some places the crowd was
so dense that it was not easy to proceed. In a little while a company of
the king's soldiers cleared the way, and the strangers were conducted to
the presence of the man whom Stanley describes as the "Mars of Central
Africa."

Drums were beaten and hundreds of muskets discharged by the people
around the king, and one might have thought from the uproar that a
battle was in progress. The king met them in front of his palace, which
was a plain building, something in the style of M'tesa's at Rubaga,
though smaller. The king shook hands with our friends in true European
fashion, and said he was glad to see them in his country. He was dressed
in Arab costume, and wore a scimitar at his side. His officers were
similarly clad, and it seemed to Frank and Fred almost as though they
were once more in the presence of M'tesa, so much did the manners of
Mirambo's court resemble that of the ruler of Ugunda.

[Illustration: CROSSING A STREAM.]

Frank endorsed fully the description which Stanley gives of this famous
warrior. "He was the reverse," said the explorer, "of all my conceptions
of the redoubtable chieftain and the man I had styled 'the terrible
bandit.'

"He is a man about five feet eleven inches in height, and about
thirty-five years old, with not an ounce of superfluous flesh about
him--a handsome, regular-featured, mild-voiced, soft-spoken man, with
what one might call a 'meek' demeanor, very generous and open-handed.
The character was so different from that which I had attributed to him,
that for some time a suspicion clung to my mind that I was being imposed
upon; but Arabs came forward who testified that this was indeed Mirambo.
I had expected to see something of the M'tesa type, a man whose exterior
would explain his life and rank; but this unpresuming, mild-eyed man,
of inoffensive, meek exterior, whose action was so calm, without a
gesture, presented to the eye nothing of the Napoleonic genius which he
has for five years displayed in the heart of Unyamwezi, to the injury of
Arabs and commerce and doubling the price of ivory."

Presents were exchanged as tokens of friendship, and then the
conversation turned upon the plans of the travellers. When the journey
to Tanganyika was mentioned Mirambo said it was just then impossible.

This was a piece of intelligence the reverse of pleasing, and Doctor
Bronson proceeded at once to ascertain what it meant.

"I have no objection to your going there," said Mirambo, "but I have
recently received news of war between Uhha and Uvinza, two petty
kingdoms that lie in your way."

The Doctor thought with dismay of the troubles of Stanley and others
with these rapacious rulers, who demanded enormous tribute, and several
times threatened to take by force what they wanted if it was not
voluntarily surrendered.

"If there was no war," continued Mirambo, "you might buy the privilege
of crossing those countries; but at present they have stopped all
commerce, and any caravan attempting to go that way will certainly be
plundered. Your fire-arms would not be so powerful against the
fighting-men as in many parts of Africa, as the most of them are
supplied with muskets, which they have bought from the Arab merchants."

[Illustration: WEAPONS OF THE NATIVES.]

Mirambo farther said that the war was caused by quarrels among the
slave-stealers, and each side was engaged in making as many captives as
possible and selling them to the Arabs. "It will be kept up," said he,
"till they have stolen most of each other's people, and are compelled to
stop for want of more villages to plunder, and more men and women to
carry away."

Mirambo invited the strangers to remain in his country as long as they
liked; and, as their future movements would require a little while for
arrangement, he would give them anything they wanted in the way of
provisions for their men.

The audience then broke up, and our friends went to the camp--which had
been arranged during the interview--to discuss the new turn of events.

[Illustration: MAN OF MASSI KAMBI.]

Abdul and Mohammed were sent to obtain all the information in their
power, and in the course of a couple of hours they returned with a
considerable budget. Mirambo had not exaggerated the state of affairs in
Uhha and Uvinza. Abdul had talked with two Arab merchants who had been
plundered of all they possessed while endeavoring to pass through Uhha.
Their goods were stolen, their porters held for sale as slaves, and they
only escaped by promising to send fifty bales of cloth from Unyamyembe.
A third Arab who accompanied them was held as a hostage, and the King of
Uhha had threatened to put him to death unless the cloth was received
within thirty days.

Under the circumstances it was deemed advisable to abandon the journey
to Lake Tanganyika and proceed to Zanzibar by way of Unyamyembe. Of
course the decision was a great disappointment to Frank and Fred, and
not much less to Doctor Bronson, but all of them had too much philosophy
to grieve over what could not be helped.

"We can do one thing, if we can't do another," said Frank. "We will
question everybody who can give us any information, and perhaps we can
say something about the great lake, even if we don't see it."

Fred agreed to join Frank in the effort to give an account of the
country beyond them, and for a couple of days they attended to little
else than the collection of news concerning it. They talked with the
Arab merchants, read all the books in their possession which had
anything to say about Tanganyika and the Congo, questioned the Doctor,
and in other ways showed that they were not to be set down as
inattentive travellers.

[Illustration: HILL-COUNTRY NEAR MIRAMBO'S CAPITAL.]

They were already aware that the lake was discovered by Burton in 1858,
was partially explored by Stanley and Livingstone a few years later, and
that Stanley in his second visit to Central Africa completed the
circumnavigation. Other investigations were made by Lieutenant Cameron,
and the geographers are able to define the boundaries of the lake very
distinctly. It is about four hundred miles long, and varies from ten to
sixty miles in width; it lies between the third and ninth degrees of
south latitude, and the twenty-ninth and thirty-second degrees of east
longitude. Its position is south-west of the Victoria and Albert lakes,
and north-west of Lake Nyassa, and its shores are for the most part
mountainous.

[Illustration: PORTERS AND WOMAN AND CHILD OF USAGARU.]

The dispute as to its outlet, the Lukuga, was attributed by our friends
to the fact that in the dry season the evaporation is equal to the
amount of water received from tributary streams and the fall of rain, so
that there is no flow whatever from the lake. In the rainy season the
Lukuga becomes an important river, a thousand feet in width, and flowing
with a strong current, while in the dry season a sand-bar is formed
across it, and there is no outflow at all. The Arab traders declared
that this was the case, and so we can understand how Cameron found a
good-sized river where Stanley said there was none, and the flow, if
any, was into the lake rather than out of it.

At his second visit to Ujiji, where he met Livingstone, Stanley observed
that the lake had risen considerably; and a later visitor says that the
bar at the outlet of the lake had broken away, so as to allow the exit
of the water, and the consequent sinking of the lake. All travellers
agree that the shores of the lake are very beautiful, and in most
portions thickly peopled. The principal town is Ujiji, on the eastern
shore, and it will always be famous in history as the place where
Stanley first shook hands with Dr. Livingstone, and offered the relief
which had been sent to the great missionary by the proprietor of the
_New York Herald_.

[Illustration: HUT AT KIFUMA.]

In his second journey Stanley crossed the lake from Ujiji, and plunged
into the wilderness beyond its western shore, in a determination to
reach the Atlantic Ocean by descending the Lualaba River. He believed
the Lualaba flowed into the Congo, and by following its course he could
reach the coast. The country was entirely unknown, as not even the Arab
traders had ever explored it, and no one could tell what the explorer
would encounter. There was a rumor that powerful tribes dwelt on the
Congo, but no one could give an idea of their numbers and strength, or
say whether they would be friendly or hostile.

The work accomplished by Stanley is thus described by an able writer[7]
in _Harper's Magazine_ for October, 1878:

[7] Hon. John Russell Young, now (1883) United States Minister to
China.

     "Stanley gave nine months to the exploration of the Lualaba, or
     rather to the Livingstone, as he called it, and as it must be
     called for all time. Before he went out on this mission we knew
     there were two rivers--the Congo and the Lualaba. We knew that the
     Congo ran into the Atlantic Ocean, but its source was lost in
     cataracts. The Portuguese were content to scatter a few settlements
     about its mouth, and trade for gums and ivory along its banks. But
     it was an unknown river beyond the cataracts. We knew there was a
     river in the middle of Africa called the Lualaba; we knew it had a
     swift current, that it was a river of large volume. But beyond that
     we knew nothing. Some had one theory, others had another.
     Livingstone was convinced that it ran into the Nile, was really the
     source of the Nile; and who would question even the theory of so
     great a master? What Stanley did was to show that the Congo and
     Lualaba were one and the same; that the Congo, instead of losing
     itself among the rapids, was to force itself into the very heart of
     the continent; that the Lualaba, instead of going north and
     submitting to the usurping waters of the Nile, was to turn to the
     west and force its way to the sea; that these two rivers were to
     disappear from the map, and be known as one river--the Livingstone;
     that this river was to be two thousand nine hundred miles in
     length; that for nearly ten degrees of longitude it was to be
     continuously navigable; that its volume was one million eight
     hundred thousand cubic feet a second; that the entire area it
     drains is eight hundred thousand square miles--in other words, that
     here was an immense waterway three thousand miles into the centre
     of Africa, navigable, with the exception of two breaks, which
     engineering science can easily surmount--a waterway into a tropical
     empire, rich in woods and metals and gracious soil, in fruits and
     grains, the sure home of a civilized empire in the years to come.
     As Petermann, the eminent German geographer, put it, Stanley's work
     was to unite the fragments of African exploration--the achievements
     of Livingstone, Burton, Speke, Du Chaillu, Baker, Cameron, of all
     the heroic men who had gone before him--into one consecutive whole,
     just as Bismarck united the fragments of the German people, lying
     about under various princes and dukes, into one grand and
     harmonious empire. Even as Bismarck had created imperial Germany,
     so Stanley created geographical Africa.

     [Illustration: STANLEY'S VOYAGE ON THE LIVINGSTONE.--BATTLE WITH
     THE NATIVES.]

     "There was a battle at the outset at Ruiki River, which had no
     special result except to show the ugly temper of the savages. Then
     came the first cataract--the falls of Ukassa. This seems to be a
     rapid current, like the first cataract of the Nile, and the boats
     and canoes were allowed to float over. A month was passed in these
     explorations, when, on December 6, Stanley came to the country of
     Usongora Meno, inhabited by a powerful tribe. Stanley's party was
     weakened by the fact that his people were suffering from small pox.
     Dysentery came and ulcers, and in three days eighteen of the Arab
     escort died from various diseases, mainly small-pox. Stanley was
     one hundred and twenty-five miles from his starting-place, with
     small-pox affecting seventy-two of his party, when he had another
     battle, the enemy coming in force, and firing poisoned arrows.
     Stanley made a camp, and defended his army as well as he could.
     'Through the night the poisoned arrows flew, and were heard tapping
     trees and huts most unpleasantly.... Two days and two nights we
     bore cruel attacks by land and water. The entire country was
     aroused against us. Bowmen climbed tall trees, and any person
     showing himself in the broad street of the little town became a
     target at once. We were unable to bury our dead or to attend to the
     delirious wounded.' From this difficult position Stanley released
     himself by a successful night foray, cutting away the canoes of the
     attacking party.

     [Illustration: FRANK POCOCK, STANLEY'S COMPANION ON THE
     LIVINGSTONE.]

     "It was necessary, in the eighteen hundred miles from Nyangué to
     the ocean, to pass fifty-seven water-falls and rapids. After the
     river reached fourteen hundred miles, on its journey to the sea,
     it narrowed and ran through close-meeting, uprising banks of naked
     cliffs, or steep slopes of mountains, fringed with tall woods. Here
     the river was as rough and stormy as a sea, sometimes a steep
     glassy fall, sometimes boiling around isles of stone and bowlders,
     sometimes whirlpools and caldrons, the air filled with a roar like
     that of Niagara. This part of the journey, although not more than
     one hundred and eighty miles, required five months to make.
     Stanley, looking back, regards the attempt as insanity. But he had
     resolved to cling to the river, and not to leave it until it bore
     him, whether over smooth beaches or stony bowlders, to the sea. If
     he had gone around the cataract region in a land march he would
     have lessened his journey, avoided fearful hardships, and saved
     lives. But this knowledge he bought for himself and for mankind by
     experience. Hard as was the task, it was better done in this way;
     otherwise there would have been a farther mystery. As it is, we now
     know every mile of the river from the source to the mouth. But the
     perils of these falls were the severest of the trip, and it was
     here that he lost Kalulu, the faithful black boy whom he found in
     Livingstone days and educated in England, and, more than all, his
     last remaining white associate, Frank Pocock.

     [Illustration: STANLEY'S EXPEDITION RECUPERATED AND RECLAD AFTER
     CROSSING THE "DARK CONTINENT."]

     "Stanley, having battled with tempest, disease, and armed enemies,
     now came to a halt, and sent a messenger for relief. Already he was
     within easy marches of the sea, within four days of Embomma. His
     small army had been reduced to one hundred and fifteen souls. His
     message was 'to any gentleman who speaks English at Embomma.' 'We
     are now,' he wrote, 'in a state of imminent starvation.... The
     supplies must arrive within two days, or I may have a fearful time
     of it among the dying.... For myself, if you have such little
     luxuries as tea, coffee, sugar, and biscuit by you, such as one man
     can easily carry, I beg you, on my own behalf, that you will send a
     small supply.... You may not know me by name; I therefore add, I am
     the person who discovered Livingstone in 1871.' This was on August
     6, 1877, and in two days supplies arrived. The letter fell into the
     hands of A. Motta Viega and J. W. Harrison, whose names are worthy
     of remembrance, and Stanley wrote, in an ecstasy of delight over
     'the rice, the fish, and the rum,' the 'wheat bread, butter,
     sardines, jam, peaches, grapes, beer (ye gods, just think of it!),
     three bottles of pale ale, besides tea and sugar!': 'The people cry
     out joyfully, while their mouths are full of rice and fish, "Verily
     our master has found the sea and his brothers, but we did not
     believe him until he showed to us the rice and the rum."... It will
     be the study of my lifetime,' continued Stanley, 'to remember my
     feelings of gratefulness when I first caught sight of your
     supplies, and my poor faithful and brave people cried out, "Master,
     we are saved--food is coming!" The old and the young, the men,
     women, and children, lifted their weary and worn-out frames and
     began to chant lustily an extemporized song in honor of the white
     people of the great salt sea who had listened to their prayers. I
     had to rush to my tent to hide the tears that would issue despite
     all my attempts at composure.' This closed the journey, which,
     beginning at Nyangué, November 5, 1876, lasted nine months and one
     day; and counting from the time he left Zanzibar, the entire
     journey across the 'Dark Continent' occupied nine hundred and
     ninety-nine days, or two years and nine months!"

Stanley went again to Africa in 1879, to establish colonies on the upper
waters of the Livingstone, in the interest of the International African
Society, of which the King of Belgium is president. The object of the
society is to open Africa to trade and civilization, and it has been
liberal in the expenditure of money to accomplish its purposes.

It was near the end of 1879 that Stanley arrived at the mouth of the
Livingstone, with a force of fifteen Europeans, sixty-eight Zanzibaris,
and some twenty or more natives of other parts of Africa. The white
inhabitants on the African coast were hostile to him, as they naturally
feared his operations would interfere with their business.

[Illustration: TRADING STATION ON THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA.]

The native traders, who act as intermediaries between the whites and the
people of the interior, were also opposed, as they did not care to have
Europeans establish trading stations away from the coast; and the same
was the case with the tribes living near the falls of the great river.
Stanley managed to avoid trouble with any of these interests, and at
once began the work of establishing stations and building roads, to open
up the heart of Africa to European traffic.

What he accomplished in three years may be summed up as follows:

He negotiated with the chiefs of the tribes on the river along the
whole line of cataracts for the right to establish stations and build
roads, paying a rental for the ground he occupied, and dealing liberally
with them in every way. He made two hundred miles of road through the
wilderness, carrying it sometimes over mountains and through country
which presented a great many difficulties. In one place his whole force
was occupied twenty-six days in making twelve hundred feet of road
around the flank of a mountain of nearly solid quartz. At each end of
the road there is a permanent station, consisting of a central house or
residence, with numerous huts and storehouses around it, and with fields
and gardens for the production of anything that will grow in the
country.

[Illustration: CURIOUS HEAD-DRESS.]

There are three intermediate stations between the first and the last,
built in the manner just described. The road through its whole length is
about fifteen feet wide, and suitable for wagons of any kind, and it has
been built with a view to permanency. By his exploit in going around the
mountain Stanley received the name of "The Breaker of Rocks," by which
he is now known in all that region.

In his account of the work the great explorer says:

"The weight and labor of our transport may be imagined when I say that
we had no less than two thousand two hundred and twenty-five loads or
packages, each weighing from sixty-five to seventy pounds. We had seven
large store tents, and besides this we had enormous wagons, built on
purpose for us in Belgium, whereon to transport the two steamers and two
large steel boats, with boilers and machinery, which we had brought
with us to put together on the Upper Congo. We had to go over the ground
no less than thirty-three times, and our rate of progress, calculating
the number of days we travelled, was only a quarter of a mile a day.
After eleven months of unceasing toil the two steamers were put together
at the second station above the Isangila cataract, the place where I
left the _Lady Alice_ after her seven thousand mile journey with me in
the Anglo-American expedition across the Dark Continent."

[Illustration: THE HEIGHT OF FASHION.]

From this point the river is navigable for a distance of seventy-four
miles, and the steamers transported the men and material of the
expedition to the foot of the next cataract. Then came more
road-building, then another navigable distance, and then more roads,
till at last the widening of the river was reached, at the foot of
Stanley Pool. From here the great river is navigable nine hundred miles
farther inland; and there are several tributary rivers where steamers
can go. On one of these tributaries a lake has been discovered about
seventy miles long, to which Stanley gave the name of Leopold II., in
honor of the King of Belgium.

The association has now seven steamers on the river: four on the lower
portion, and three above Stanley Pool. By road and river there is now a
direct way of communication between Central Africa and the sea-coast,
where the mails are regularly carried to the officers and men in charge
of the stations and the merchants engaged in business there. In speaking
of his achievements Stanley says as follows:

     "I am ambitious only to leave permanent traces of my work on the
     east side of the Dark Continent. Expedition after expedition has
     followed my track. On the shores of the Victoria N'yanza and on the
     shore of the Tanganyika communities of white men are engaged in
     disseminating what they think beneficial to the dark outcasts of
     this continent. Why should I not hope that the Congo basin
     throughout its vast extent, and the bank of the superb river, will
     be ultimately studded with civilized communities as well? We have
     begun well. Even now Belgians, Germans, English, Americans, Danes,
     Swedes, enlisted in our service, are devoting their best energies
     to accomplish this. So far we have been welcomed by the natives.
     Our object they can appreciate and understand, and they are the
     only ones as yet benefited by it. We have spent a large sum, and
     shall have to spend more yet. For we look upon ourselves as
     husbandmen, tilling and sowing that others may reap. As yet the
     Congo basin is a blank, a fruitless waste, a desolate and
     unproductive area. The energies of its denizens are benumbed. No
     prospect has dawned on them. It has been our purpose to fill this
     blank with life, to redeem this waste, to plant and sow that the
     dark man may gather, to vivify the wide, wild lands so long
     forgotten of Europe. Accursed be he or they who, animated by
     causeless jealousy and the spirit of mischief, will compel us to
     fire our station, destroy our work so auspiciously begun, and
     abandon Africa to its pristine helplessness and savagery."

In our account of Stanley's work in Africa we have gone outside of the
information possessed by Frank and Fred, as the details of his
expedition in behalf of the International Association were not known to
them at the time they were in Africa. We trust the readers of their
narrative will pardon the liberty we have taken, and accept the
assurance that what we have given would have been faithfully chronicled
by "The Boy Travellers," if they had known it in season.

The above apology being accepted, the author will take the reader into
his confidence and show him a personal letter from Stanley, in reply to
an invitation to run over to New York and meet several of his old
friends, who promised to have dinner ready on the day of his arrival. If
any one believes Stanley otherwise than a genial man in his social
relations, he can now have an opportunity to change his opinion:

  "Brussels, November 4, 1882.

     "MY DEAR KNOX,--I have been trying ever so much to cross from
     Europe to the 'land of the free and the home of the brave,' but
     there are so many fetters binding me in this fierce, stirring
     world, that I fear I cannot break them, or even have them loosened
     long enough for the journey. It was my dream in Africa to seek
     repose in lounging--loafing is the New York term--for a spell about
     any town: it really did not matter which. A village would do, so
     that I could rove about unnoticed, and re-gather by degrees a store
     of vitality to replace that which the cruel fever of West Africa
     scorched and almost consumed. I mourn now that my dream cannot be
     realized. When I leave Paris I go to London, which is like 'from
     the frying-pan into the fire,' and then farewell all....

     "As you know, this is winter, and the East Wind strikes me
     everywhere; he catches me round street-corners; at the street-door
     I find him; he waits for me late at night from the warm saloons,
     with bundles of small fevers, coughs, bronchial irritation,
     catarrh, chest complaint. He shrivels me up till there is scarcely
     a resemblance of manhood left in the benumbed wretch.

     "Ah! had it been September, or had it been April, oh, blessed
     Heaven! I should seek the _Alaska_, or the _Werra_, or Bennett's
     _Namouna_.

     "I intend to go presently to Nice, Cannes, Mentone, Andalusia, or
     where? Anywhere, where I can see man other than in an overcoat.

     [Illustration: THE FIRST CATARACT OF THE LIVINGSTONE.]

     "Yet it may be. America is dear, you know--New York has joys, and
     sometimes you do catch men without overcoats. There are good
     dinners there, too, and the Lotos has been ever since it was born
     a most welcome place; and you know, don't you know. ---- himself is
     a host! And when added to him you have the jolly ----, and the
     courteous ----, and amiable ----, and the rest--why, I will come!

     "But no, not yet. I fear the walls of snow in New York--the hilly
     ridges of frozen water, mud-colored and ancient.

     "Some time I will come. And then I will seek you, and revive as
     well as we may the memories of our days in Paris in 1878--good
     dinners, without one unpleasant face; good wine, of a good vintage,
     heightened by the sparkling pleasantries of friendship. Meantime,
     dear old fellow, until we meet, adieu; and whisper, with my regrets
     that I cannot come at present, the sweet hopes that my firm soul
     shall entertain to all our mutual friends, and that I am, now as
     ever,

  "Theirs and yours most faithfully,
  "HENRY M. STANLEY."

[Illustration: STANLEY'S EXPEDITION DESCENDING THE LIVINGSTONE.]



CHAPTER XXXII.

UNYAMYEMBE.--AMONG THE ARABS.--MARCHING TOWARD THE COAST.


Having finished our journey down the Livingstone to the shores of the
Atlantic, in company with Stanley, we will return to our young friends
in Unyamwezi.

Three days sufficed to arrange the plans for their future movements. On
the morning of the fourth day the servants packed the tents and baggage,
and the party was ready to move in the direction of Unyamyembe and
Zanzibar. Previous to starting they made a farewell visit to Mirambo, to
whom they gave additional presents. The king was not to be outdone in
generosity, and ordered his officers to see that they had all the
provisions that would be needed for the journey to Unyamyembe.

Just as they were about to make their farewells to Mirambo, Abdul came
to the Doctor's side and whispered a few words in his ear.

The quick eye of the king saw that something was wrong, and he asked
what was the matter.

Doctor Bronson replied that some twenty or more of the pagazi refused to
move unless they were paid in advance, and they demanded double wages
for the journey before starting.

Evidently the king was accustomed to this sort of thing, as he beckoned
to one of his officers and spoke briefly to him, in a low tone. The
officer left the audience-hall immediately, and Mirambo assumed an
attitude of waiting for something to turn up.

In a quarter of an hour or so there was a commotion outside, and the
officer returned to the royal presence. The whole party followed him
into the open air, and found the rebellious porters, their hands bound
together with strong cords, and a guard of spearmen standing by to see
that none of them escaped.

Mirambo's manner was decisive, and our friends had no reason to complain
of the sluggishness of African justice.

He told the pagazi they would be sold as slaves unless they went
peacefully with the strangers without any pay in advance. Of course
they promised obedience on the instant, and in less than three minutes
the whole matter was arranged. Mirambo added that they might consider
themselves very fortunate if they received any pay at all after such
rebellious conduct.

Abdul marched the men back to camp, accompanied by the guard of
Mirambo's men. At the request of the Doctor a guard was detailed to
accompany them on the road, to keep the porters from straying. More
presents were given to the king for his administration of justice, and
it was agreed that the guard should be paid in cloth and beads on their
arrival at Unyamyembe. The soldiers were delighted at the prospect of
occupation for which they would be paid, as it was not the custom of the
king to waste his property by giving them anything for their services.
One of them told Mohammed that they only received their food and
clothing. As they wore next to nothing, and helped themselves to bananas
and other fruits wherever they could find them, there was reason to
believe that the army of Mirambo was not an expensive one.

[Illustration: A DESERTER BROUGHT BACK.]

During the day one of the porters deserted with his load. The guard went
in search of him, and he was soon brought into camp and led to the
Doctor's tent for punishment. Doctor Bronson dismissed him without
payment. He did not need the man any longer, owing to the reduction of
their supplies by the last batch of presents to Mirambo. The fellow was
overjoyed at the mildness of his sentence, as he had expected to lose
his head for his disobedience.

[Illustration: A NATIVE GUARD.]

A march of five days took the party to Tabora, a town of the province or
district of Unyamyembe, and frequently called by the latter instead of
the former name. It is about three hundred and sixty miles from the
coast in a direct line, and the distance to Zanzibar is reckoned, in
round figures, at five hundred miles. The district was occupied by Arabs
from Zanzibar about forty years ago. They came there to trade, and, by
arrangement with one of the native rulers, they established villages,
planted fields, and became permanent residents. Unyamyembe is a province
of Unyamwezi, and has become a meeting-place of the merchants for all
the central region of Africa. The Arabs have regular and frequent
communication with Zanzibar by means of their caravans, and the lines of
commercial travel diverge from Unyamyembe in all directions. In the busy
season of the year they may be counted by dozens or scores, while at
other times their number will be very small.

Frank and Fred began to think they were returning to civilization when
they saw the commodious houses of the Arabs in Tabora, and the apparent
comfort in which these merchants lived. They had sent forward a
messenger to announce their coming, according to the custom of the
country, and when a short distance from the town they met Said bin Amir,
one of the resident merchants, who had come out to meet them.

The merchant was clad in the flowing robes which proclaimed him a
disciple of Mohammed, and his features were readily distinguishable from
those of the negroes. He invited our friends to his house, and said he
would accompany them to call on the governor as soon as that dignitary
was ready to receive them.

[Illustration: SAID BIN AMIR'S HOUSE.]

The house was a single story in height and covered a considerable area.
Frank and Fred were reminded of some of the houses they visited in
Egypt, and especially of the one where they were lodged at Khartoum. In
fact, it was the finest dwelling they had seen since leaving the capital
of the Soudan provinces, with the possible exception of the palace of
King M'tesa. It was built round a court-yard, and there was a veranda in
front, where they sat in the shade and sipped the delicious coffee which
their host ordered as soon as they were seated.

A message came that the governor was ready to see them, and they went at
once to his residence, escorted by Said bin Amir and one of his friends,
who had dropped in to have a look at the travellers. The governor
welcomed them with the same hospitality they had already experienced
from his loyal subject, and after a short conversation concerning their
plans, and with an offer of assistance in case of need, he escorted them
to the house which was to be their residence during their stay.

It was a commodious dwelling, admirably adapted for lodging the entire
party, with its retinue of servants and other attendants, and with a
large yard, where donkeys could be tied and the porters kept from
straying on the eve of departure. Frank and Fred were delighted to learn
that they were on historic ground, or rather under an historic roof, as
the house where they were quartered was the same which had been occupied
by Livingstone, Stanley, and Cameron during their stay in Unyamyembe.
The walls were of sun-dried bricks, such as are called _adobe_ in
Mexico. The roof was flat, and covered with mud, so that it formed an
admirable lounging-place at the close of the day.

As soon as he had installed them in their temporary home the governor
said they mast dine with him in the afternoon, and meet the principal
merchants of the place. Doctor Bronson hesitated for the moment, as he
thought they would be busy during the entire day with paying off the
porters and guard, who were to go back from this point, and settling
other details of their journey. The governor said there need be no
hurry, as the men would be quite willing to wait till the next day for
their settlement; and besides, some of them would be likely to stray off
during the night, and thus remove the necessity for paying them. This
was an Arab way of regarding the matter which greatly amused the Doctor,
and was heartily enjoyed by Frank and Fred.

The dinner was an excellent one, and consisted of curried chicken, roast
mutton, wheat-cakes, and stewed plantains, together with plenty of milk,
butter, and fruits. Of course they had coffee in true Arab style. The
Arab merchants were not at table with them, but dropped in at the end of
the meal and partook of the coffee and pipes.

The next morning the pagazi and guard were paid off and discharged, and
the governor sent word that he expected they would leave town
immediately. Before noon they were all out of the way, and the governor
came to accompany the three strangers in ceremonious calls upon the
principal merchants whom they had met the evening before at his house.
The calls occupied the entire afternoon; and as it was necessary to eat
and drink at every house they entered, our friends returned from their
visit without any appetite for dinner. Frank said he felt much like a
turkey that has been "crammed" for fattening, and Fred thought he could
forego eating for at least a couple of days. They had done their best to
show their appreciation of the kindness of their hosts, but thought it
would not be conducive to their health to come often to Unyamyembe.

They returned the compliment of the governor by asking him to dinner on
the day after the round of calls. The boys arranged the bill of fare,
with the aid of Abdul, and treated his excellency to several rare
dishes. Whether he liked the plum-pudding, canned oysters, and other
imported luxuries, or only ate them out of politeness, they were unable
to discover; at all events, he appeared to do so, and they could ask no
more.

[Illustration: GETTING READY FOR THE ROAD.]

The ceremonies of introduction being over, they at once set about their
preparations for the journey to the coast. They were aided materially in
their work by the governor and the principal merchants. The smaller
traders threw various obstacles in their way, by inducing the pagazi to
desert after they had been employed and received their retaining fee,
and the matter finally became so serious that the Doctor made complaint
to the governor, who ordered a stoppage of the interference.

Fortunately for their plans several caravans had recently arrived from
the coast, and there was a good supply of porters seeking engagements to
return. One of the merchants was about sending a caravan to Zanzibar
with a quantity of ivory. He proposed to unite with the Doctor's party
in engaging pagazi, and thus prevent the competition that would
inevitably arise if they were both in the market at the same time.
Doctor Bronson accepted the proposal, and in two or three days the
merchant announced that he had all the men needed for both expeditions.

The price of porters varies according to the supply, the demand being
sometimes very high, and at others decidedly low. An important feature
of the contract was, that the men were to be paid on their arrival at
the coast, and not at starting; consequently it would not be necessary
to carry the goods needed for their payment, as the merchant was well
known to the porters, and they readily accepted his guarantee of
responsibility.

[Illustration: HALTING-PLACE UNDER A SYCAMORE.]

The ordinary porters received the equivalent of ten dollars each in
cloth at Zanzibar prices, and were to be paid off at Bagamoya, the port
from which the traders cross to Zanzibar. The ivory-porters received two
dollars extra, in consideration of the peculiar shape of their burdens
and the difficulty of handling them. The largest tusks were slung
between two men, as they were too heavy for a single porter; and these
double porters have a traditional right of refusing to march more than
ten miles a day.

In addition to their wages the porters are to be fed on the road, and
the master of the caravan must be prepared to purchase the necessary
provisions. For this purpose he carries a supply of cloth and beads, and
a great deal of bargaining is required in making purchases. Where the
country is peaceable a trusty man is sent ahead of the caravan to make
arrangements; but if the natives are hostile this cannot be done, as the
messenger would be liable to be waylaid and killed. The road between
Unyamyembe and Zanzibar is now so well known, and so frequently
travelled, that the route is divided into marches, and the natives
derive quite an income from supplying the wants of the caravans. The
expense of feeding a caravan is set down at about five dollars for each
porter, and perhaps twice as much for the _askari_, or Arab soldiers,
who are almost invariably taken along as an escort. Goats and bullocks
supply the meat for feeding the porters, and the vegetable part of their
bill of fare includes sweet-potatoes, manioc, rice, bananas, meal from
wheat and corn, and anything else that the region through which they
pass happens to offer. Occasionally fish are caught from the rivers, and
game is shot in the forest, but they cannot be relied upon as a regular
supply.

[Illustration: A HOUSE IN UNYAMYEMBE.]

And now what do you suppose happened to Frank and Fred?

Without having intended doing so beforehand, they became
ivory-merchants. It happened in this way:

They found, on making an inventory of their goods, that they had
considerably more than was needed for paying the expenses of their
journey to the coast. Of course they desired to sell the surplus, and
found the Arab merchants ready to buy. Money was not available, and they
were obliged to take the currency of the country, which was ivory.

The party became the owner of thirty tusks of ivory, and the property
was consigned to the special care of Frank. The young man took especial
pride in looking after this valuable series of burdens, and announced
his determination to keep it constantly under his eye during the long
journey. Abdul damped his ardor a little by telling him that the
etiquette of African travel would forbid his doing so, and advising the
employment of a trusty man to accompany the porters, and see that the
ivory was properly piled at Frank's tent-door at night.

[Illustration: UNYAMWEZI HEADS.]

Frank adopted the suggestion, and immediately engaged Mohammed for the
post of Superintendent of Ivory Transport. He promised an extra payment
of wages to Mohammed, in case no harm came to any of the tusks on the
journey, and told him to make a similar offer to the porters. Every
night the tusks were piled at his tent-door and carefully counted, and
every morning he saw them safely on the shoulders of their bearers. The
result was that not a porter deserted or gave his load to any one else,
and when they reached Bagamoya Frank distributed in person the promised
rewards.

The united caravan of Doctor Bronson's party and the merchant, Ahmed ibn
Suleyman, numbered a little over three hundred porters, besides an
escort of twenty askari, armed with muskets. Numbers in an African
caravan are both an advantage and the reverse. A large caravan is less
liable to attack than a small one; but, on the other hand, it is much
more difficult to feed while on the road. Many of the places where water
is obtainable consist of small springs, and a large caravan is too much
for their capacity.

[Illustration: Mganga, or Medicine-man. The Porter. The Kirangozi, or
Guide.

Muinyl Kidogo. Mother and Child.

MEMBERS OF THE CARAVAN.]

Our friends were sixteen days in Unyamyembe, and thoroughly enjoyed
their stay. The governor and merchants were unremitting in their
attentions, and kept them constantly supplied with milk, honey, butter,
and other necessaries of daily life, for which it would have been an
affront to offer payment. They consoled themselves with the reflection
that they had disbursed a considerable amount of money, or its
equivalent, in their preparations for departure, and that most of it
would find its way, directly or indirectly, into the pockets of the
Arabs.

Farewell calls were made on the sixteenth day, and on the morning of the
seventeenth there was great excitement around the house where they had
been so comfortably lodged. A long file of porters stood ready for their
burdens; servants were busy with the work of packing; Abdul and
Mohammed were flying here and there, the latter reminding Fred of the
American simile of a dog bitten by a hornet; and Frank was standing
guard over his cherished ivory. It was late in the forenoon before the
last burden was shouldered, and the donkeys were led up for their riders
to mount and be off.

The first day's march is generally a short one, and the present proved
no exception to the rule. The camp was made about five miles away, close
to a small village in the midst of several rice-fields. A great deal of
rice is grown in Unyamyembe, and it is a staple article of food with the
people. Twenty loads were bought for the use of the caravan while
passing through the Kigwa forest, which adjoins Unyamyembe, and does not
produce rice.

Before daylight next morning the camp was roused, a hurried breakfast
was eaten, and a little past six the column was in motion. Frank
described the caravan in his journal, and it is quite possible that he
refreshed his memory by a sly glance at Burton's account of his journey
to Central Africa:

[Illustration: GRINDING MEAL FOR SUPPER.]

"The line of march is taken by the kirangozi, or guide, and any man who
attempts to precede him is liable to a fine. He carries a small flag, to
indicate that the caravan belongs to an Arab merchant, and his dress is
a strange combination of odds and ends of things. For the odds, he has a
head-dress made of a monkey's skin and a bunch of feathers; and for the
ends, he has the tail of a jackal, or some other animal, fastened by
means of a belt around his waist, and appearing as though it grew from
his own backbone. Two or three small gourds or packets, enclosing magic
powders for protection on the road, are also hung at his belt; and he
has a strip of broadcloth, which he sometimes suspends from his neck,
while at others he rolls it carefully into a bundle, to keep it from the
rain.

[Illustration: STOREHOUSE FOR GRAIN.]

"The kirangozi is followed by a favored pagazi, who carries a light
load, and beats a small kettle-drum, shaped very much like an
hour-glass. Immediately behind him are the ivory porters, with their
burdens, wrapped around with leaves and bamboos, partly for protection
of the material, but more especially for convenience in handling. Then
come the bearers of cloth and beads, and then the other porters, laden
with rhinoceros-horns, skins of animals, bags of salt, rice, and other
provisions, together with brass wire, boxes, bags, beds, tents, and
private stores of the merchant and ourselves. Then come the men of the
escort, and then the women and children that invariably accompany the
caravan, but are not allowed to march in the same group as the porters.
The men in charge of the porters are scattered along the line, and the
rear is closed by the masters of the caravan, mounted on their donkeys,
and immediately preceded by the donkeys, laden with burdens.

"The drivers of these animals have a good deal of trouble to keep their
beasts from straying, and at every halt there is a liberal display of
kicking propensities on the part of the four-footed travellers.

"Our column stretches a good half-mile along the road, and, from points
where the whole of it is visible, from a little distance it looks like
an enormous serpent dragging itself slowly over the ground. After a
march of two or three hours there is a halt, and the guide endeavors to
find a place near a pool of water or under the shade of trees. He plants
his flag in the ground and blows a long blast upon a horn. The signal is
understood, and a sort of cheer goes along the entire line. The porters
stack their loads, and lie down on the ground for a quarter of an hour
or so, and some of them take the opportunity to devour a few mouthfuls
of food. In a little while the horn sounds again, and the march is
resumed. We usually embrace the opportunity to complete the breakfast
for which we had only a slight appetite at the early start.

"The march continues till noon, or a little later, and then we stop to
make our camp, and get ready to pass the night as comfortably as we can.
Sometimes we have a long halt at mid-day, and march in the afternoon.
Our movements depend considerably upon the character of the country
where we are travelling, and the distance from one watering-place to
another. Where we halt early the men generally build their own huts,
when they can find the materials; but if the march is late they pass the
night in a village, or in the _krall_, or public lodging-yard. They
consider it a hardship to sleep in the open air, and will not do so if
they can avoid it.

[Illustration: AN AFRICAN FERRY.]

"We have all the varieties of country you can imagine, and perhaps two
or three more. We have level plains and rough hills, dense forests and
wide stretches of open ground, thickets of thorn-bushes and patches of
the softest grass, rough rocks and smooth sand, rivers of varying size
and dry channels, where not a drop of water can be seen, and broad
areas which are beautiful plains in the dry season and trackless bogs
in the period of heavy rains. Happily for us, the country is so well
travelled that its peculiarities are known and the worst places can be
avoided. What we should suffer if we were engaged in an exploration, and
had no guide to show us the way, I shudder to contemplate.

[Illustration: CROSSING A PLAIN.]

"The roads are mere paths, as though made by oxen or goats, and the
engineering in many places is inferior to what we might expect from
those animals. In open country there are frequently four or five lines
parallel to each other for some distance, while in dense forests or
thickets the roads take the form of tunnels under the trees, which are
very inconvenient for the mounted traveller. He finds himself constantly
'bobbing' to save his head from the thorns, and very frequently fails to
do so. The paths are generally plain enough during the dry season, but
in the period of rains they are obliterated by the water, and the
intelligence of the guide is the traveller's sole reliance. Among fields
and villages the paths are enclosed by hedges, and not unfrequently by
tall fences of logs, which are intended to prevent thefts on the part of
the passing caravans."



CHAPTER XXXIII.

INCIDENTS OF THE JOURNEY TO THE COAST.--CONCLUSION.


The journey from Unyamyembe to Bagamoya formerly consumed five or six
months, but is now usually accomplished in eight or ten weeks. Our
friends recorded in their note-books forty-nine marching days and
twenty-one days of delay, making exactly ten weeks in all. Delays are
inevitable in African travel, and they arise from various causes.
Porters fall sick or desert, or are disinclined to go through as fast as
possible; provisions are not always obtainable; donkeys stray from camp,
and require a considerable expenditure of time for hunting them up; the
leaders of the caravan are often detained by fever; rivers and swamps
overflow in wet seasons, and there is a scarcity of water at other
times; and the petty chiefs along the route interpose many obstacles to
one's rapid progress. On the whole, Doctor Bronson considered his party
fortunate to be delayed no more than three weeks on this part of their
route, and their Arab friend said there was rarely an expedition which
went through as quickly as they had done.

The payment of _mhongo_ as tribute for passing through the country is an
established custom of this great route of trade, and many are the
disputes that arise from it. Of course the caravans want to give the
least possible amount, while the chiefs demand exorbitant figures for
the privilege. In some districts the tariff is regulated and understood,
while in others there is no settled rate, and the two contending parties
make the best bargain they can. Frank and Fred were greatly amused at
the disputes over the _mhongo_ question until they lost their novelty.
One of these disputes lasted a couple of days, and at one time there was
a good prospect of a fight for the right of passage. The chief demanded
two hundred cloths and fifty strings of beads as his tribute, and he
refused permission for the party to proceed until the whole amount was
paid. He sent his warriors to cut down trees and blockade the road; and
as the country was admirably suited to an ambuscade our friends were
decidedly at a disadvantage.

The bargaining went on with a great deal of vehemence, the chief
declaring he would not lower his terms a single point, and a little
while later offering to take something less. He finally let them go on
in consideration of forty cloths and five strings of beads. Just as they
were starting he sent several baskets of sweet-potatoes, as an
expression of good-will, and received an old hatchet in return. Fred
suggested that with this implement he might set up as an African George
Washington--not for his inability to tell a lie, but for his zeal in
cutting down trees.

[Illustration: A POND BY THE WAYSIDE.]

One night, in the country of Ugogo, there was an alarm in the camp, and
word was brought to Doctor Bronson that one of their goats had been
seized by a leopard. The natives were afraid to pursue the beast, but
they fired guns and made a great noise, which caused the intruder to
drop his prey a short distance from where he caught it.

Confident that the brute would return, a trap was set for him in the
shape of a spring-gun carefully placed over the dead goat. About an hour
before daylight the gun was discharged, but nobody went near the spot
till morning.

[Illustration: CAPTURING A LEOPARD.]

The ball from the gun had broken the leopard's fore-leg and passed
through his shoulder, so that he had been unable to get far from the
spot; but as the natives approached him he sprang up, with a loud roar,
and fixed the claws of the sound fore-leg in the shoulder of the nearest
man. The latter was so taken by surprise that he did not use his spear,
but his companions came to his rescue and despatched the assailant. The
wounded negro was adjudged to be the rightful owner of the skin of the
leopard. He was consoled for his injury by Frank, who paid a good
price for the trophy. The man continued with the expedition, but his
wounds were not healed for nearly a month. When he was pronounced well
again he came to Frank and expressed his readiness to capture another
leopard for the same price!

The boys endorsed fully the account which Cameron gives of the rapacity
of the chiefs of Ugogo, and their exorbitant demands for tribute; but,
owing to their being in company with the Arab merchant, they escaped
more easily than did the English explorer. They made sketches of some of
the followers of the chiefs, and their attention was particularly drawn
to the habit which these natives have, of piercing their ears.

[Illustration: UGOGO HEADS, WITH DISTENDED EARS.]

"Many of them," wrote Frank in his note-book, "distend the lobes of the
ears so that they serve as pockets for carrying snuffboxes, pieces of
ivory, and other property; and where they are not used for practical
purposes they are decorated with enormous rings of brass wire or other
metallic substances. Sometimes the enlargement is so great that the ears
reach to the shoulders, and frequently they become torn through accident
or long use. If possible, a fresh hole is made in the ear; but if this
cannot be done the ornaments are suspended by means of strings passed
over the head."

[Illustration: WOMEN OF UBUDJWA.]

As an offset to Frank's observation Abdul described the fashion that
prevails among the women of Ubudjwa, a country which was not visited by
our friends, as it lies beyond Lake Tanganyika. They pierce the upper
lip and insert a piece of stone or wood; after wearing it a few days a
larger piece is inserted, and the process is continued till the lip
protrudes a couple of inches, and sometimes more. It gives a hideous
appearance to the face, renders articulation very indistinct, and is
very inconvenient in eating and drinking. Why they do so nobody could
tell, except that it is the fashion. They also tattoo their faces, but
the disfiguration caused by it is almost imperceptible when compared
with the other work of art.

"Fashion is as imperious in Africa as in any other country," Fred
remarked, when Abdul had finished his description of the people who
pierce their lips. "No matter how inconvenient a custom may be, it must
be followed when fashion gives the command. Black man and white man are
alike in this respect, and more especially black woman and white woman.
In the matter of hair-dressing, if in nothing else, we have a good
illustration of what fashion does with its followers. Every country
tries to arrange its hair unlike any other, and the most of them
succeed. Then, too--"

Fred's lecture was cut short by a commotion among the porters, and the
announcement that a snake had crossed their path. The boys went forward
to where the frightened negroes were huddled together and refusing to
move until certain that the snake was out of the way. In a little while
the road was pronounced safe, and the procession moved on. The snake was
probably quite as much alarmed as the men, and lost no time in
concealing himself. Owing to the superstitions of the porters it was
necessary to make a present to his snakeship. Accordingly a quantity of
rice was poured on the ground, at the spot where he was last seen,
before the march was resumed. As the serpent had no use for this sort of
food it is probable that he did not pay it the least attention, or
display any gratitude to the givers.

[Illustration: CROSSING A RIVER ON A FISH-WEIR.]

One of their halts was made on the bank of a river famous for the
abundance of fish in its waters. A liberal supply was bought for the
porters, and during the entire day of the stoppage everybody regaled
himself on finny food till he wished no more. The river was too deep to
be forded, and the crossing was made partly by boats, and partly by
means of an enormous weir, erected for the purpose of trapping fish. The
weir extended about two-thirds the way across, and the rest of the
bridge consisted of a single long and slender pole, resting on the
forked stump of a tree.

The weir was made by setting long poles in the river, and weaving twigs
between them in a sort of basket-work. It was rather risky business
walking on the top of the weir, or on the pole that formed the rest of
the bridge, as a pedestrian might easily lose his balance and topple
into the river. The porters had no trouble in maintaining their
equilibrium, as they are accustomed all their lives to walk or run in
narrow paths, and carry burdens more or less heavy on their heads or
shoulders. Only one of them fell into the water, and it fortunately
happened that his load was of a nature that was not injured by wetting.
The instruments and other valuable things were ferried over, and the
donkeys were forced to swim from bank to bank. When it came the turn
of Frank and Fred to cross they boldly walked over, each carrying a
balancing-pole, after the manner of the circus-performer. Doctor Bronson
said the boat was good enough for him, as he was not inclined to emulate
the acrobat and run the chance of being soaked in the stream.

Frank suggested that it would be a good thing to have a troupe of
trained monkeys to transport burdens across a stream of this sort. The
imitative character of the monkey was well known, and perhaps he could
be induced to copy the example of the negroes, and accompany the
porters, with a burden suited to his size and strength.

Doctor Bronson replied that all efforts to teach habits of industry to
the monkey had failed, and he feared the proposal of his nephew would
never amount to anything. Apropos of the youth's scheme he told the
following anecdote:

"I heard once, in New Orleans," said he, "a story of how a planter
endeavored to have his cotton gathered by monkeys.

"He had a large crop of cotton coming to maturity, and there was a
scarcity of laborers. While studying what to do he thought of the
peculiarities of the monkey and his habits of imitation. Hearing of the
arrival of a ship from South America with a large cage full of monkeys,
he proceeded to buy the entire lot. There were twenty-five healthy
monkeys in the cage, and he immediately shipped them to his plantation.

"He made a nice calculation that, from his superior agility and
dexterity, one monkey ought to pick as much cotton as three negroes.
With a negro to set the example the monkeys would follow the rows in the
field, pick the cotton from the bush, and put it in the bag or basket,
just as the negro did. One negro could manage ten monkeys and show them
how to pick the cotton, and his twenty-five monkeys would be equal to
seventy-five men. Besides, the labor of the negroes would count just the
same as usual, since they would have nothing to do but pick the cotton
and let the monkeys see how it was done.

"The monkeys arrived a couple of weeks before the picking season began,
and for all that time the negroes around the plantation did nothing but
play with their new friends. When the work began the planter found he
was sadly out in his calculations.

"Instead of one negro managing ten monkeys it took at least ten negroes
to manage one monkey, and even under this supervision the beast would
not pick a pound of cotton in a day. The whole enterprise failed
completely, and the monkeys--such of them as could be caught and
re-caged--were sold to a travelling menagerie, at a great discount from
first cost."

[Illustration: CAMP ON THE EDGE OF THE MAKATA SWAMP.]

One of the terrors of the road between Unyamyembe and Zanzibar is the
Makata Swamp--a plain some forty miles wide, with the Makata River
running through it. When dry there is no particular difficulty in
crossing it, but in the season of rains it is a disagreeable expanse of
mud, in which animals and men suffer greatly.

Our party reached the edge of the swamp, and went into camp there for a
couple of days, to give the men a good rest, preparatory to a long
march. It rained on the day of their arrival; but the days in camp were
pleasant, and the heat of the sun caused the water to disappear from the
most of the hollows where it had accumulated.

When they again moved forward the ground was in fairly good condition,
though there were many elephant and rhinoceros tracks in the soft earth,
some of them two or three feet deep. The donkeys and men occasionally
slipped into these holes, and considerable time was lost in unloading
the donkeys, to get them out of their troubles. They reached the river
about dark, and the guide wanted to camp before crossing; but Doctor
Bronson insisted upon getting everything on the other side at once, for
fear it might rain during the night and swell the river to an
inconvenient degree.

There was a rough bridge over the river, which was practicable for men,
but impassable for the donkeys. The little fellows were unloaded and
compelled to swim the stream, much against their will, while their
burdens were carried over the bridge by the porters. Everything was
taken over safely, but it was long after dark before the crossing was
accomplished.

The result showed the wisdom of the Doctor's judgment, as it rained
during the night, and the river rose so that the low banks on each side
were flooded. But the day was fair; the heat again dried up the
accumulated water, and the rest of the swamp was easily traversed.

From the Makata Swamp to Bagamoya there were no farther obstacles to
their progress. The boys were all eagerness to look once more on the
Indian Ocean. Early one afternoon Frank flung his cap in the air and
gave a wild hurrah as the broad water came into sight, and his cheer was
echoed by his cousin. They shouted and shouted again, till the wondering
porters near them had good reason to believe the youths had suddenly
lost their senses.

[Illustration: VIEW OF ZANZIBAR FROM THE SEA.]

Finally, they dropped from their donkey-saddles at Bagamoya, and,
without waiting for their servants to secure the animals, the two young
Americans rushed to the beach, and were soon enjoying the luxury of a
bath in the salt water. The long journey through Africa was at an end!

Several days were required for settling the affairs of the expedition,
paying the pagazi, balancing accounts with Ahmed ibn Suleyman, their
merchant companion; selling the donkeys, whose services were no longer
needed; and disposing of their tents and other camp equipage which had
served its purpose. What could not be sold was given away, and their
faithful servants came in for a liberal share in the distribution. Frank
was specially elated, on counting his tusks of ivory, to find that
everything was all right, and he more than kept his promise to Mohammed
and the porters. Fred grew sentimental over his donkey, and at their
last interview the young gentleman was inclined to embrace the
long-eared animal, but was restrained by the reflection that he might
make a "donkey" of himself by so doing. However, he patted the brute
affectionately, and expressed the hope that he would always have good
masters and plenty of straw to eat.

[Illustration: FROM BAGAMOYA TO ZANZIBAR.]

A couple of _dhows_, or Arab sailing-boats, were engaged for the voyage
to Zanzibar--one by Doctor Bronson for himself and the youths, and the
other by Ahmed ibn Suleyman. Early one morning the dhows set sail in
company, and a run of eight hours carried them to Zanzibar.

Three days later the mail-steamer for England (by way of Aden and Suez)
left the harbor of Zanzibar, with our friends comfortably installed as
passengers. In due time they reached home in safety, and received from
relatives and friends the affectionate greetings they so well deserved.



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[Illustration: Map of Africa]





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