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238

THE CATTLE OF THE COUNTRY.

mitted to be taken by M'tessa. The dwellings were not different from those already described, but each had over its doorway a diamond-shaped charm of rush, hung horizontally, and generally stuck with feathers.

The cattle seen in the low grazing country were almost “prize” animals. They were made hornless when young—not by sawing off the horns of grownup animals, as still barbarously practised in Scotland, but by searing with a hot iron. They were most docile, handsome creatures. The general colour was grey,

their faces and inside the ears black; they had little or no hump, and were larger in bulk than an Ayrshire cow. The cowherds were the lanky Wahuma, called here Waheema, who might be seen tending herds of several hundreds at a time. These people were never afraid to come out and look at our caravan, even when it passed their ring fences in a secluded tract of country several miles away from any cultivation. The Waganda, on the contrary, on meeting us, would fly off the road, leaving whatever they might be carrying to be plundered by our followers. This difference in the two races is accounted for by the Wahuma never being made slaves, although their women are very much prized for their beauty as wives. M'tessa had given orders that we and our escort were to receive sixty cattle and ten loads of butter. Half-a-dozen cattle were first brought as an offering. Those made over to our Waganda disappeared the first night, and as ours, having been tied up, were all safe, we were called magicians. When the number was completed, our share was marked by squaring their tails, so as to distinguish them from those taken by the Waganda. During the night they

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were placed within a fence made to surround the only door of a hut occupied by a M’nyamuezee, Manua, who constituted himself their guardian. On receiving an order to slaughter one, our table-knives were called into requisition because the common country knife had no guard to it, and was not considered lawful. The Seedees, though knowing nothing of the Mohammedan religion, the majority not being circumcised, were much more particular on those occasions, and offered more opinions than a “moulvie," or Mussulman priest, would. “The animal must lie facing a proper direction;

“a certain man must officiate,” &c. The tracks of elephants and buffalo were numerous, but none of the animals were seen; neither did we shoot any lions, but we heard them at night. It was not a roar, neither was it the sound a lion makes in a menagerie; at the time I considered it to be no more alarming, even to a novice, than if one were to blow through a cow's horn. Two zebra were shot by Speke, and eaten by the Waganda escort, and the skins, being the property of royalty, were simply left in a hut, the proprietor of which was bound to have them conveyed to the palace. Pallah, hartebeest, and other antelope were seen or shot, and might have been hunted on horseback at certain seasons. The n’jezza, whose horns curved over the brow, was new to us. None of these animals were ever seen in herds; a dozen together would be considered a large number. As it was also a great cattle country, the natives tried to trap the lion by means of a number of logs raised high on end. When the animal came under them for the bait of a live goat, all the logs, guided by piles on either side, fell in a mass, crushing him, somewhat after the

240

INGENIOUS FOOT-TRAP.

fashion of the triangle of sticks and stones adopted in the Himalayas to kill tigers, leopards, or bears. Never having seen the contrivance in this form, my curiosity was raised to enter; luckily some Seedees called out in time to tell me of my danger. Three of our cows were less fortunate ; one was killed, becoming food for our Waganda escort, because the Seedees would not touch it, and two were dragged from under the logs much bruised. The natives were eager sportsmen, netting the smallest or largest antelope, which they ate or conveyed alive to their king. Nets were made of beautiful soft and strong fibre, from the aloe generally.

A most simple, ingenious foot-trap for wild buffalo we observed here for the first time. It was set generally at salt-licks, where these animals were known to scratch the ground, and consisted of two small circles of wood, placed immediately one over the other; between them a quantity of stout acacia thorns pointed to a common centre; all were lashed strongly together, and the trap, when completed, was several inches larger than a buffalo's foot. This was fitted over a hole made in the ground, and a noose (attached to a block of wood) laid over it, and concealed with earth. On the buffalo putting his foot upon it, the trap fastens, and the more he struggles the tighter the noose be

The former king of Uganda was said to have kept a large menagerie of animals caught in this way.

Birds were not numerous; the cannibal vulture of Uganda, now that we had left the capital, was a rare bird. Guinea-fowl and florikan were the only gamebirds observed, the grass being too tall to discover partridge, &c. An owl of very handsome plumage, weighing six pounds, was shot. A graceful bird on

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the wing-a new goatsucker—with a single feather of each wing twice his own length, and since named Cosmetornis Spekii, skimmed amongst the plantain trees at night. These long feathers probably sweep up flies as they float behind him.

Fish were not to be had on this route, although cruives or basket-traps, the shape of an Egyptian water-jar, and made of flags or papyrus, were constantly found in the houses of the people. The way of placing them was as follows :—Two long parallel ditches, six feet apart, were cut in a swamp; here and there their waters were made to communicate. At these points the baskets were laid on their sides, and the fish driven into them, whence there was no escape.

While detained at Karee receiving a portion of the cattle ordered to be given us by the king, we had several exhibitions of the temper of the people. As was customary, we took possession of their houses, and dwelt in them for eight days. This so exasperated them, that, on our Seedees going to fetch water, or leaving camp, they were threatened; a spear was thrown, and one of our men, named Karee, was killed. No redress could be obtained till the king had been communicated with.

. His reply was, “ Allow it to pass over for the present, and when the villagers have returned to their houses I will send a party to seize them all.” The night previous to our leaving, two huts occupied by Seedees were set on fire—the natives throwing in a bunch of burning straw at the doorway. Egress through the flames was impossible; but, having secured their guns, they cut their way through the side of the hut, losing a bayonet and their bark-cloths. Precautions were taken against any further alarm;

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242

THE ARMS OF THE WAGANDA.

and, on leaving in the morning, after they had fired the hut, our Waganda escort took a delight in burning down all the houses they had occupied. The spear that had been thrown at our men was brought in as a trophy; its handle was 7 feet long, having a blade of 16 inches. This is the size of the common Waganda spear; and one wonders that they ever throw it, as you can always see it coming, and get out of its way. With guns unloaded, no ordinary Seedee would have a chance with a M'ganda, his movements through the tall grass are so rapid. Our men got to know this after the death of poor Karee, who had been the spokesman of the camp. He was a tailor by trade, and had made several suits, after English and Arab patterns, for the king, who never paid him his bill-namely, four cows. His body was buried by moonlight, in a grave dug with bayonets,the men remarking that they never saw such a march as ours was, we did not even carry a hoe. The truth was, they had lost or thrown away all our pioneer implements. The men were very crestfallen on the night of this death, the younger Seedees being afraid to carry the body, and the older remarking, “Suffr maqueesha,” “ Oh, the march is now done for.”

The villagers had a dread of keeping anything left behind by our men.

An old bit of calico was brought us by a woman, accompanied by two servant-girls carrying m’wenge and plantain for us. thised in our loss of Karee, and, having accepted a present of beads, thanked us in the most gentle way by moving her hands and slowly repeating in a soft low tone the word "n'yans,” thanks. Her attendants then fell upon their knees, and bashfully, with down

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