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THE RIVER KUFF0— FERTILITY OF THE SOIL.
presented a few small detached hills, the most interesting being in Kidi. They sloped away to the north from a high bluff point at their southern extremity.
Our huts were within a few yards of a sluggish stream, the Kuffo, from Uganda. Its depth, its mudcoloured water, and the tall rushes with which it was fringed on each side, prevented us from seeing the crocodiles with which it is said to swarm. In the third week of October its waters had swollen immensely, and bore along with them islands of the papyrus which it had torn away in its course, and on which I often wished myself embarked, as they were on their way to Egypt. Several times, when a gleam of sunshine broke upon the hills of Kidi, we could see from a height near camp the river Nile, looking like a mirage, but we were prohibited from going nearer it.
While fishing upon the Kuffo I was rather surprised to find that its bottom was pebbly, while its banks were formed of retentive clay, about ten feet in depth, through which no water seemed to percolate. The soil upon the pathways, after it had been thoroughly washed with rain, became of pure white sand, without gravel, and formed a pleasant walk. It was a loam, with from 40 to 70 per cent of clay, and, if closely drained, would make excellent land for growing wheat.
Of the surrounding countries we obtained a good deal of geographical knowledge; for the people here were not afraid, like those about M'tessa of Uganda, to state what they knew. We had fully expected to receive letters from Egypt, but saw only some beads quite new to us, which must have been brought from thither. Until Bombay should return with a letter from a party of Egyptian ivory-traders to the north,
THE NILE AND LUTA-NZIGE LAKE.
we did not feel that the two hemispheres had been thoroughly united by our efforts. Our first move was to make the junction with these traders at Faloro. We were told that the water route was impracticable, and we afterwards found this to be the case, owing to the cataracts on the river between Chopeh and Madi. Were it not for these, our informants told us we might proceed the whole way by water. This intelligence, together with our own observations of the level nature of the country, enabled Speke to map the bend of the Nile, which we were not able to visit, it being entirely off our direct route, and within the province of a rebel chief.
One of the king's officers had travelled to the Masai country, to the east of Kamarasi's, and he said we might do the same, if his king gave us a particular horn filled with charms to be carried at the head of our party. This, with 600 iron hoes, giving two to each chief of a district, would enable us to get through the unexplored country without molestation.
This man also spoke a good deal about the Lweetan-zigeh (the Lŭta-nzigé of Speke), an immense body of water some marches away to the south-west, and extending back towards Karague. He thought we should take twenty days to reach it; but a M'ganda would go the distance in half that time. This is the lake whose position we expect the enterprising Sam Baker to ascertain, as we gave him a map of its general direction, and he would also be enabled to verify the latitude and altitude of that portion of our journey over which he might pass. When last heard of, he had manfully gone back on our track and reached Kamarasi's. God grant that he may be spared to return.
THE CLIMATE OF UNYORO.
Far to the north-west of our position, at Unyoro, are people named Ooreea-Wantu-translated eaters of men, cannibals—the Walæga, perhaps. We saw some of them, but were told they had drunk or tasted the blood of Kamarasi in the same way that Kidjweega and Manua had made brotherhood.
We had a considerable quantity of rain during our stay here. The showers were very partial, appearing to fall from six or seven different points of the heavens at the same moment, while the small river by camp had been rising for three days, though we had no rain. There were no regular prevalent winds at this season ; three violent storms, all from different directions, the north, south-west, and south, were noted.
An observation of the weather, from sunset of the 7th November to 8 P.M. of the 8th, is here given :
Sunset.-A bank of clouds collected in the south-west. Night.-Still and fair. 7 A.M.—Perfect calm ; the grasses arching with the weight of dew. 9 A.M.-—A breath of air. Last night's clouds rising. Clear horizon
from north to east. Noon.—Heavens fleeced over with cloud. Gentle breeze. 3 P.M.—Breeze increased to freshness. Temperature, 82° in the shade. Sunset.-Wind dying away. Heavy clouds over the south horizon. 8 P.M.-Still and calm. Sky half covered with watery clouds.
Every morning and every day seemed alike, only varied by occasional falls of rain. The mornings were dull, with fogs hanging low, the paths wet, and the tall grasses dripping with dew. A fire was very comfortable at night, particularly when the rain trickled through the roofs of our small grass huts. We suffered no inconvenience from the heat, being always sheltered.
We had no sport while here. The king was such a morose autocrat he would not allow us to go beyond our dwellings; but this was no great loss, the country being mostly covered with water. It had been said of this country that the fences of the huts were made of elephants' tusks; but we found that the natives rarely killed the elephant, and when they did, used only the rudest uncertain methods. No pitfalls were seen, merely a heavy wedge of iron suspended from a tree. A leopard-kitten was one day brought us; he had been caught in the rushes, and Speke desired to buy him and make a pet of him, but his owner would take nothing for him in case he should happen to die; if, however, he survived, a present would be acceptable. The little animal seemed to pine away for want of its natural food, and died in a few days, when it was given back to be eaten by its original owner.
The king had a large coarse breed of dogs, foxhound colour, although he never seemed to employ them for any purpose. He wished us to give him a medicine to prevent disease amongst cattle ; but our own soon became affected, and we knew of no remedy. The complaint attacked
animals of all ages; they became thin, with a staring coat, refused food, sometimes frothed at the mouth ; and as certain as they were attacked, although showing no signs of actual distress, their death was inevitable. The natives always ate the carcass, but the meat looked fly-blown and discoloured. Calves appear to suffer from a weakness in the limbs. Our cowherd came, with a fivedays-old calf following him, to our door, asking for a thread to tie round each of its hocks. On being asked what charm this had, the reply was, “Don't you see
FISHING ON THE KUFFO.
that he cannot put his hoofs flatly on the ground; that he is walking upon his toes? This thread will give him strength !” The calf actually did become strong. We found that some meat would not keep beyond a single day; this was not attributed to the heat, but to the man who had performed the operation of killing the cow. “He must be a dirty fellow, sleeping cuddled up with his hands between his knees.” “If Baraka had been there to kill the animal, the meat would have kept for four days.” Goats were never healthy ; the soil stuck between their hoofs, making them foot-sore, dejected, and unable to graze with any apparent satisfaction.
We were unsuccessful in fishing with the hook. The natives had a better system ; they set creels, into which they drove the fish in numbers. At the Ripon Falls, while Speke was there, the Waganda plied to considerable purpose a barbless hook, baited with roasted plantain cut in dice. On trying the fishing in the Kuffo, first with entrails, and afterwards with worms from the mud on the banks of the river, none would take properly, and the stream was too muddy for the fly. Four loads of dried fish, as black as tar, were sent us by the king. Our men did not recognise them, but called them “mamba,” the name for crocodile, because they had large teeth, and were supposed, from the rounded form of two of their fins, to suckle their young. Manua, on being asked to have some, replied that he had never tasted fish, and did not see why he should begin then; our men also had some objection to them; and when the women of the country were shown them, they ran away. In fact, some of these very species were purchased at the