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THE ARMS AND HUTS OF THE WANYORO.

293

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der from house to house singing; and are occasionally rather importunate beggars, refusing to leave without some present. A set of them lived near us at Unyoro,

and seemed to have cattle of their own, so that they do not entirely depend upon begging for subsist

The natives all respect them very much, never refusing them food when they call, and treating them as religious devotees. Any one may join their number by attending to certain forms; and the family of a Bandwa does not necessarily follow the same occupation. I knew one of them the captain of a band of soldiers. This whole country was once occupied by people of this class, called Wichwezee, who, according to tradition, suddenly disappeared underground !

The arms used by the Wanyoro were the poorest we had anywhere seen. Bows and arrows are unknown, although their neighbours at Karague make them their chief weapon.

The spear is small and weak, with a thin six-feet-long handle of ordinary wood. Excellent spear - heads are hawked for sale in the southern borders, but the Waganda, a richer people, buy them up. A party of soldiers, wretched representatives, dashed into our camp one day to rescue us from the Waganda. They wore each a handkerchief of bark-cloth tied round the head, high in front like a Highland bonnet, and dirty rags of the same material covered their loins. Bead ornaments round the neck were worn by such as possessed means to obtain them. Others wore flattened pellets, larger than garden-peas, made of polished iron or ivory, and strung round the ankles.

The huts or hovels of the country were wretched; but there was this excuse for the people, that no wood

294

THE PRODUCTS OF UNYORO.

grew in that out-of-the-world corner—and most of the habitations seen by us were temporary.

Their floors were never swept, but bedded with grass, which, when it became soiled, was left there to rot like a dunghill

, and fresh grass laid over it: vermin of every description swarmed.

The cultivation is carried on chiefly by women, who cut up the stiff soil with an iron hoe, and plant the various crops.

We missed the shady plantaingroves of that garden of African neatness—Uganda. No fruit of any description is grown near the palace. Coffee is brought from Uddoo. The vegetables are pumpkin, sweet potato, and the grains sorghum, sessamum, ooleyzee, and the other ordinary varieties. The bread and porridge made from these grains are miserable; and butter being scarce, and no plantain to moisten the flour, we had very poor fare. The cowries were the chief coin of the country; two hundred of them bought a small bag of flour; and in selling the meat of a sick cow to enable us to buy fowls (for thirteen cowries each), we obtained ten foondo, or one thousand cowries. The natives were sometimes induced to sell butter by our making up necklaces with alternate-coloured beads. A string of these five times round the neck purchased three-quarters of a pound of butter, which was brought neatly tied in the broad fresh green leaves of the sorghum. We had fallen upon the man who procured this treat for us in a simple manner. Seeing him pass, his body glistening with grease, we accosted him, and gave him the commission which he executed so well. Our men killed a cow as food for themselves and us every third or fourth day. The natives, on hearing that meat

A BLACKSMITH'S SHOP.

295

was for sale in our camp, would bring their flour, tobacco, or sweet potato to barter. In this

way

sufficient variety was generally to be had, and both parties were accommodated. We could obtain milk daily from our own cows, though they were but poor milkers.

murwa.

The intoxicating drink sent us pretty often by the king was called m’wengé, and made from the millet

Kamarasi's officer, on presenting a jar of it, would say, he “had brought it with the king's compliments,” and that “we should find it as pure as water," but it tasted like the dregs of a beer-cask, and I wonder how his highness could get tipsy upon such coarse spirit. . The person who brought the jar always went through the form of tasting it, and the vessel was never required to be returned, as was the case in Uganda. Near the king's residence a market for this “grog,” and for meat, fowls, firewood, &c., was held almost daily, our servants calling the place a bazaar;

but we were never allowed to cross over the Kuffo river to inspect it.

A visit to the blacksmith's shop in any country always repays one, and there the gossip is usually heard. In Africa it seems to be the same, and idlers always lounged about the Unyoro blacksmith's. The “shop” was a ten-feet-high awning made of the stalks of sorghum. One lad sat on the ground and blew a double-handled and double-nosed bellows, the air from which passed through a detached earthen tube upon the live charcoal. Two men squatted naked all but a leathern waist-cover, hammering, talking, and smoking all at the same time. Their anvil was a flat boulder, and the hammers bolts of iron, the shape of large

296

AMUSEMENTS AND SUPERSTITIONS.

chisels. The only other instruments were bent sticks as pincers, and a wooden handle like that used at home for a firing-iron. One man had three iron hoes in various states of preparation; the other was making needles. When the bellows-boy forgot his duty staring at me, and allowed the fire to get too brisk, the smith gave him a lecture, and some water from a brush of straw damped the flame.

One of the commodities which, being rare, we much enjoyed, was salt, brought from Kivro, a place to the north-west upon the Lake Lweet-an-zigeh, and which was perfectly pure in colour and taste. The natives there are said to extract it from the soil by boiling and evaporation.

The amusements of the people are few, but our Seedees remarked that the dancing of Unyoro was superior to what they were accustomed to see at Zanzibar. We had the opportunity of seeing a few of their dances, at which the men wore all the beads and shells they seemed to possess, and, forming a circle, sang and clapped their hands while going through some graceful figures. The nights were often enlivened by soft-sounding duets coming from the harmonicon and drum played across the river.

Superstition is prevalent, from the king to his lowest subject. Some straws out of the thatch of a house occupied by an enemy of Kamarasi's were to be brought us, that, bewitched by our supernatural powers, they might bring calamity upon their owner, who lived miles away. When our rain-gauge was missed, at the hour for observing it, the theft was communicated to the king, who sent a one-eyed man with a cow's horn in his hand to detect the thief. The horn was capped

VARIOUS SUPERSTITIONS.

297

over with a rag of bark, and had an iron bell tinkling from its top. This instrument was shaken roughly in the face of each of our Seedees as they sat down ; all seemed to change colour at the suspicion, and the old man proceeded to the spot where the gauge had been taken from. He found it lying a short way off. A hyena had removed it, as his tracks were visible. This did not shake the faith of our men, but only the more strongly confirmed their belief in the “black art. Manua wore wood tied round his ankle, which he had received from some of his Waganda cronies, who told him it was a charm against snake-bites. Upon Bombay ridiculing him, he sharply replied, “Why do you

take medicine from the Bana or Sahib? my charm answers the same purpose.” At cross roads we several times came upon a dead frog or fowl; and in such places, if the party is wealthy enough, a goat is laid. The animals are split open, with some plucked grass beside them, and are placed there for the purpose of curing any sick member of a family. Wonderful stories were related of a dog having a single horn, and of the horn being long preserved by one of the king's officers, and used, when war broke out, to be stepped over by the troops as a good omen previous to going into action. One superstitious belief struck us as very remarkable—that Kamarasi, if he chose, could divide the waters of the lake! It seemed a long-enduring and far-spread tradition from the time of Moses.

No funeral was ever seen by us in Africa, and human bones were remarkably rare. The dead are buried somewhere near the house or under the cattle-fold. The body is wrapped in bark-cloth or the skin of a

The king's corpse is dried with heat, and the

COW.

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