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CASUALTIES OF THE EXPEDITION.
Rahan, interpreter, Private servants and
Elo porters of the interior,} Carrying our kit and
Twenty-five Belooch soldiers escorted us for the first thirteen stages, and we had the under-mentioned casualties during the journey :
Private Peters dead;
The daily stages have been so well and so fully described by Captain Speke that I shall not dwell upon them, but merely mention a few incidents descriptive of our life in the interior, and the fauna we observed. To accomplish this distance of 500 miles in 71 travelling days, of from 1 to 25 miles per day on foot, took us all the months of October, November, December, and twenty-five days of January, struggling against the caprices of our followers, the difficulties of the countries passed through, and the final desertion of our porters.
There being no roads, merely a rough track, no beasts of burden nor conveyances of any kind in the country, our whole kit was put into loads of 50 and 60 lb. each, without lock or key, and the porters paraded up and down with them a whole day trying
their weight-a ludicrous scene of confusion and squabbling. Their captain, distinguished by a high head-dress of ostrich plumes stuck through a strip of scarlet flannel, seeing all ready, led the caravan in single file with great dignity during the march. The pace was never more than three and a half miles per hour. When the captain put down his load for as many minutes as he thought necessary, the rest, a gang
of naked, woolly-haired negroes, with only an airy covering of goat-skin in front, would also stop and refresh themselves with pipes, snuff, grain, dancing, and singing choruses. Generally there was an argument to settle how long the march should continue; and many were the excuses found for a halt, no water ahead being a common one. Once camped, and the loads stacked amidst cries of “Bomah !” or ring-fence, and “Posho !” or food, the first concern with every one was to receive his day's wages, consisting of either a portion of cloth or one necklace of beads, while we retired to tents seven feet square, which were generally sheltered under a tree, with the kit and natives all round us, a motley crew. If we had that day arrived at the headquarters of a sultan, an officer would call saying his master must have so many cloths, with various other articles, and he must himself have so many more. Strong arguments and menaces would follow, and it sometimes took several days to the conference, as the sultan would be reported absent, or, more often, tipsy. However, once settled, if no porters absconded, we were free to proceed on our journey. I
may here remark that nothing can exceed the noise and jollity of an African camp at night. We, the masters, were often unable to hear ourselves talk for
THE RIVER KINGANI.
the merry song and laughter, the rattle of drums, jingling of bells, beating of old iron, and discordant talk going on round our tents. No Hindoo dare be so rude in your hearing, but an African only wonders that
you don't enjoy the fun. We passed through three distinct countriesUzaramo, Usagara, and Ugogo. Now at Kazeh we were in Unyamuezi—translated “Country of the Moon.” Our interpreters had been Africans speaking Hindostanee, and seemed to learn the dialects as they went along, their native Kisuahili tongue being to them a useful basis. The four countries were not
governed by one king, but divided into provinces, each from 20 to 30 miles across; and each had its despot ruler, the terror of travellers, who were forced to pay whatever tax was demanded without reference to any scale. The aristocrats or chiefs lived in no greater luxury than the poor, although they had a revenue from fines, taxes, a tusk of every elephant killed or found dead in their province, and the produce of large herds of cattle and of farming.
On leaving the coast our path ran up a broad, flat, dry valley of grass and trees for twenty marches. At the ninth stage, from a ridge of rising ground composed of small pebbles in rotten sandstone, we saw distant hills to the north-west, and had a good view of the sluggish, winding Kingani, which we did not altogether lose sight of till the thirteenth march. We crossed the East African chain at an elevation of 4750 feet, and got into Ugogo, a plateau without a river, and its “neeka” or deserted land requiring abundant rain to make it look at all green. These hills were tame in general outline; the flora also was poor. We
next hailed with delight the country of Unyamuezi, where water was abundant, oozing from under rocks on the surface or from outcropping rock; and there was a pleasant confiding air of homeliness and repose in the people, so different from those worthless races we had found such trouble in passing through
The climate, with wind behind us on the march, was cooler and less creative of thirst than that of India. Our dress was an English summer one; no turbans
ere necessary; the evenings were delightfully cool; the sun seldom set in a haze, and one morning of mist, the 24th January, was the only one we had. At night, feeling quite secure from attack, we never slept in our clothes, but covered ourselves with from one to five thin blankets, according to the elevation. During the last week of November, previous to the regular rains, our camp at Ugogo suffered from heavy north and west gusts of wind, which set in at 9 A.M., or from duststorms lasting two or more hours. In December the rain for the time would almost crush our little single canvass tents, but it afterwards imparted to the air that delightful freshness of the “cold season” in the Punjab. Fine, however, as this country appeared to us, nearly all suffered from an acclimatisation fever, which rapidly undermined our strength. The five Tots were sent back from its effects; all were martyrs to it, suffering from pains in the head, eyes, and limbs—ague, perspirations, drowsiness, startled sleep, and delirium. The only remedies in our power or skill were calomel and jalap, quinine, the first thing in the morning, and strong soup or hot grog when in store. The following is the report, 27th October
1860, and about the same number of men were in hospital every morning:
William, 10 laud., 2 quinine.
2 quinine each.
This does not include the doses given to natives in camp, who had the greatest faith in the medicinechest, often sitting round us as it was administered, and asking for the dregs of the glass ! We had an amputation case. The men were practising with their rifles at a suspended bottle, and Rahan blew off one of his middle fingers, and came bellowing with rage
into camp, saying, “Look here what I have suffered by being induced to come upon this horrible journey! My life-blood is running,” &c. He had evidently been drinking. No time was to be lost. I thought from the first that I should have the operation to perform, and Speke requested me to do it. I overcame the feeling of reluctance, and asked for a knife. The Sheikh’s razor performed a beautiful flap operation, taken from the inside of the hand, and covering the knuckle. Rahan shrank at first from it, crying out most lustily, and abusing us and Baraka for having brought this misfortune upon him. At last he said, “Go on: do it.” When half through, he pulled away his hand, and gave a tremendous scream; but with great coaxing the affair was finished; and, without having tied up any arteries, in a very few days he had the use of his hand, and recovered his temper.
We never could understand the disease that was