« ForrigeFortsett »
OUR SOLITARY SITUATION.
lower jaw-bone ornamented, buried, and a tomb-house built over it. The hands and hair of kings' officers are preserved in a similar manner. The umbilical cord of male children is buried inside the doorway, and those of females outside, as was the custom also at Zanzibar. We had not much sickness while at Unyoro, but there were some cases of tertian fever and dysentery. Amongst the inhabitants there were no remarkable diseases; the only complaint of the men was that their progeny did not always live; they could not have the number of children they wanted— a fact which can only be explained by the poverty of their diet and the abuses of polygamy.
Our situation was little better than that of a prisoner in a solitary cell. We certainly had our “ morning post” after breakfast—the king's messenger —but there was seldom any news, and the day hung heavily. No one was allowed to visit us but these postmen coming to ask how we had passed the night. Natives from interesting countries all round would visit the king, but we could not see them ! Dances and parties went on, and we could not attend them. Rain was felt as a relief, as it employed one in reading the gauge every morning. The insects at night were interesting, particularly a species of glowworm half an inch long, seen amongst the roots of the grasses. If placed upon the hand or sleeve, it travelled quickly, throwing out a constantly twinkling light at shorter intervals than the firefly, which also was
We slept in separate huts. Mine was occupied by my two servants, who, though only screened from me, talked incessantly to themselves or to me, and sometimes got up to eat in the middle
PREPARATIONS FOR LEAVING UNYORO.
of the night. The head - servant was an intelligent Seedee, named Uledi. On asking his opinion as to copal, which is used as varnish, he said it was not the production of an insect, although an insect is always seen inside ; but is a formation from the roots of decayed trees, called “nango,” plentiful in Utumbee.
The march to the north from the capital of Unyoro was effected, as before mentioned, by sending Bombay and Mabruk in charge of some northern men, with a letter to find out whether Petherick was upon the Nile with boats for us. Kamarasi would not hear of our accompanying them : besides which, he said that, when we did leave, he meant to keep five men of each of the three races we should pass through, as hostages, till he heard of our safe arrival! After many days of suspense, on the 1st of November, when working at some lunars, a gun was fired in the direction of the king's house, then another was heard. In the distance a man, it was reported, was seen with trousers on. Bombay; and his dress was hailed by us as a substantial proof that he had come in contact with civilisation. For a moment there was a feeling of disappointment, as if we had nothing further to do. Our expedition seemed over, and we tried to scan or predict the far-distant future. What would be our next duty ? What our destiny?
In gratitude to Kamarasi, we sent him everything we could possibly give away, asking whether he had any objections to our leaving. He replied that a couple of our Zanzibar Seedees, with their guns, must be left with him, as he required them to deceive his enemies into believing that we were still his guests. Many other excuses about the unsafe state of the road
It was 300
WE PADDLE DOWN THE KUFFO.
were laid before us, but Speke's suaviter in modo, no less than his fortiter in re, won the day. A parting souvenir of two spears was sent him by the king, and on the 9th November we glided down the river Kuffo.
The banks of the river were lined with crowds shouting and waving adieus as we shot down the stream. Amongst them was a woman conspicuously dressed, and recognised by our men as a maid of honour, who generally sat at the feet of the king. She was the only female of rank we had seen, and she seemed plain and flat-featured. Her dress of yellow bark-cloth was striped with black, and her hair was dressed in a ridge-like form, after the fashion of the Uganda court. We enjoyed excessively the boating down stream, going at the rate of four miles an hour, and driving fish before us. The Kuffo was so broad that two “ gigs” might race abreast of each other. The sides seldom admitted of landing, being margined with rushes and reeds, hiding completely the country behind them. Delightful to us was the prospect of the water route !
JOURNEY FROM UNYORO CAPITAL TO AN EGYPTIAN CAMP,
NOVEMBER 9 TO DECEMBER 3, 1862 - FLOATING ISLANDS ON THE NILE - RIVER SCENES AND CANOE CHASE THE PEOPLE CIVIL AND HOSPITABLE-DWELLINGS AND ORCHARDS OF THE NATIVES-WATERFALLS AT KARUMA-FISHING AND HIPPOPOTAMUS TRAP FERRY THE NILE, AND CROSS AN UNINHABITED FOREST-JOIN AN ENCAMPMENT OF TURKS.
My first sail on the river Nile—the White Nile—was made upon this journey, but my companion, Captain Speke, had sailed on it at Urondogani. We entered it on this occasion in a log canoe, a few miles below Kamarasi's residence, at the point where the Kuffo joins it; and we floated upon its sacred waters during a portion of four days, making the rest of the journey to the Falls of Karuma by land, along the left bank. Though the mode of transit was not dignified, the water route was extremely pleasant, from its novelty and interest. Having emerged from the channel of the smaller stream, we suddenly found ourselves in a large lake, to all appearance without an outlet, being surrounded by rushes; and without a pilot it would have been hard for us to guess which direction to take. After
FLOATING ISLANDS IN THE NILE.
proceeding for an hour the scene changed: we were upon a river a thousand yards wide, and in certain parts so large that we had a sea horizon. The waters struggling past myriads of moving and stationary islands, made the navigation very exciting, particularly when a strong head-wind blew, and hippopotami reared their heads in the water. Having passed these, there was no perceptible current; but by watching the floating islands rolling round and round like a tub in the water, we saw that the stream moved about a mile an hour. These islands were perfect thickets of growing ferns, creepers, small trees, &c., hiding one-third of the stems of the lofty papyrus rush. It occurred to me at the time, seeing such masses of these islands, some being twenty yards in length, that the delta of the Nile could easily be accounted for by an accumulation of their sediment. During a smart breeze, with all their vegetation yielding, and lying over to the wind, they looked like a fleet of felucca-rigged vessels racing, and continually changing their relative positions. No sight could have been more striking as the crests of the waves dashed against them, and the sky looked black and stormy. It was a beautifully wild picture; the slender stems of the tall papyrus, with their feathery tops, now erect, then waving to and fro, or crouching before the sudden blast, as if prepared for a spring.
By the third day all the islands had disappeared ; they had melted away into floating fragments, or had got ashore, and lay over-wrecks—the leaves and fronds drooping in shapeless disorder.
Where the river was above 500 yards wide, the colour of the water in the centre was quite muddy from the freshes; that of the sides a clear brown. The