« ForrigeFortsett »
whom she had not seen or heard of since they were children at their home in Uhiao, fifteen hundred miles distant to the south-east. Both had been captured as slaves in infancy. On seeing her brother the poor woman burst into tears, but did not, through timidity, make herself known the first day, merely leaving a message that he should be asked whether his name was not so-and-so when he was young. The following day her owner came for the brother (called by us Barootee, or Powder), and led him away. Several Seedees went to witness the scene, and I felt much inclined to be equally intrusive. They reported that the girl, who was very like her brother, fell at his feet, got into hysterics, but could not communicate with him, as she had forgotten her native language, and Barootee did not know that of Unyoro. This was the only interview they had. She would willingly have followed him, and she sent him all she could to show her affection-namely, an immense dish of porridge and three fowls boiled into soup! Her husband or owner accompanied us on the march for several days; but Barootee said he had no present to give his sister, and she therefore was left behind.
On the 31st August, a party of Waganda came with an important message from the king that we were to return at once to him, even if we had got within a march of Kamarasi. He had something very particular to say to us, and would allow us to proceed by whatever route we chose. Budja said the order could not be disobeyed, it was imperative; but after four hours' consultation, neither side would yield, except the Seedees, who said, “We go to Uganda whether our masters like it or not.” On being told
they were welcome to leave, but they must not take their guns, as they were Speke's property, they got up abruptly, saying, “The guns are ours, and we march to-morrow with Budja to M'tessa.” They insolently beat the drum at night for a morning's march. Kamarasi seems to have had information of this, for
nearly two hundred men, all armed, were collected y and gathered round our hut next day to resist, if
necessary, any attempt made by the Waganda to take us forcibly away. However, they were not required, as by six o'clock of the morning of the 1st September twenty-eight Seedees deserted with Budja, who took with him the rain-gauge as a present for his king. Thus we were well rid of all the disaffected of our camp, and left simply with Bombay and our best Seedee servants.
2d to 9th September.—The great events of this week were elephant-shooting and our arrival in sight of Kamarasi's residence.
Let us note the former. A number of Wanyoro led the way out of camp to a forest covered with tall grasses like wild oats, and with ordinary-sized shady trees. Mounds of earth, the formation of white ants, were here and there visible. After a time the boughs bore marks as if lightning had struck them, they were broken so wantonly; the grasses underneath were trodden as if they had been passed over by a roller. All the spoors were fresh, so that every moment we expected to see the herd, and not a little excitement prevailed. A low whistle from a sharp-eared Wanyoro made us all exchange glances. He had heard the cracking of branches, and soon, sure enough, about three hundred yards distant, in the open grass, were
the blue backs of about forty elephants. I had never seen such a sight, and Speke wished me to have the first shot; but another herd appeared in an opposite direction, and I preferred going alone, with a single follower carrying a spare gun. Here, whichever way we looked, for three-fourths of the horizon, elephants were seen, all grazing quietly, perfect “lords of the forest," and so unconcerned that I walked boldly upright through the grass to a tree within fifty yards of twenty of them. It was a beautiful sight; all were mothers with their young; none so large as the Indian breed, but short, stumpy, handy-looking animals, with small, long, and uniform tusks. The most game point and the most striking about them was the peculiar back-set of their enormous ears. While waiting to get a close shot by their coming nearer me, I looked round for my man with the second rifle. Master Seedee was nowhere! so putting up my Lancaster rifle, and aiming behind the shoulder of an old female with long tusks, I fired: she merely mingled with her comrades, who stood around in stupid alarm. In an absent fit of gazing, I forgot to reload till they were approaching me. I then changed my position to another tree, within thirty yards of a full-sized animal, whose shoulderblade wrinkles I could trace distinctly, and brought her down on her hind-quarters with a small bullet. Up she got, rushed in amongst some others, who, with tails erect, commenced screeching and trumpeting, dreadfully alarmed, not knowing what was taking place. At last, some head wiser than the others took the lead, and off they all scuttled into thicker cover. I ran after them, but the jungle got so dense that there was some fear I should lose my way, as no one was within
hail. Returning to more open cover, a female elephant was coming diagonally towards me, and she passed so close that I saw her wink her eye; but the bullet behind the shoulder, though delivered at eleven paces, only frightened her into a bowling amble with her tail half cocked. A low whistle now announced Speke close by. He had been trying their heads as well as shoulders, and had no better luck than myself. The Wanyoro guides joined us, as all the elephants had left, and kept saying to us in compliment, “Weewaleh, muzoongoo m'sæja”—You white men are men. The same compliments on our bravery awaited us on our arrival in camp, where we were looked upon as wonderful sportsmen for having gone so near elephants. During the night we heard their wild music, first to the west, then to the north, gradually dying away in the distance. The herd had very wisely marched, taking their wounded along with them.
THE CAPITAL OR PALACE OF UNYORO, SEPTEMBER 9 TO NOVEM
BER 9, 1862, LATITUDE 1° 37' NORTH, LONGITUDE 32° 19' EAST
The country, for a few marches before reaching the residence of King Kamarasi of Unyoro, was gently undulating and evergreen, with tall grass and trees. On the light and higher grounds the grasses grew six feet high, with large panicles which adhered to one's dress. Where the richer soil had been washed down to the low grounds the vegetation was shorter but more luxuriant. Nothing could be more desolate than our encampment at the capital of Unyoro. I can only compare it to a bare and dreary common—not a tree nor a garden to relieve the eye or afford shade from the equatorial sun. The vast plain was covered with tall grass, through which at this season we could not walk without wading, so that we were completely hemmed in by water. The northern half of the horizon