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RESPECT PAID TO AN OLD CANOE.
greatest depth was eighteen feet, which it preserved, with a hard bottom, till within a boat's length of the side, where it became nine feet deep, with a bottom of mud. As it narrowed between steep banks to 200 yards, there was no impediment to landing ; the waters then became of a uniform dark colour, and were shallower, flowing with a current of about half a mile an hour. We landed daily to sleep ashore, and had to pass through a long channel of water vegetation, as the sides in most places where the river was of such immense width were walled in by a depth of reeds, rushes, and convolvuli. An interesting custom amongst the boatmen was observed as we paddled past an old pensioned canoe of huge size which lay in the rushes. A boatman patted my shoulder, and then sprinkled water upon the veteran boat. I did the same, which pleased the natives, who never pass it without paying this mark of respect.
Many fine scenes were come upon at reaches and bends of the river. One with a precipitous doubleconed hill called M'kungurru, on the right bank, was remarkably pleasing, the river sweeping majestically round its wooded heights. This hill was reckoned to be 800 feet above the water, and for a long distance it served as a prominent landmark. The Kidi side of the river was undulating, wild, and uninhabited, covered with handsome trees overspread with a network of flowering creepers, then, in the month of November, in rich bloom, and presenting every contrast of colour. It was the hunting-ground of the Wanyoro and Kidi people.
We had some exciting chases after canoes seen on the river, the king having given the officials who were
CHASING CANOES ON THE NILE.
in charge of us orders to procure food by seizing any provisions they might find. Immediately any canoe came in sight, all our energy was applied to the oars. The “chase” on seeing us would double and race with all his might, till, finding it hopeless, he would strike his colours by standing up in his canoe, when a yell of delight burst from the conquerors, though still several hundred yards from the prize. No sooner did we come in contact than the prize was at once rudely boarded. Bark-cloths, liquor, beads, and spears were taken and concealed by our Wanyoro followers, while the poor owner looked on powerless. The sequel, however, was delightful : the Seedees, of their own accord, recovered all the stolen property from the hands of the Wanyoro, and restored it to the proper owners, who then laughed with ourselves at the joke.
The largest canoe carried a ton and a half, and was hollowed out of the trunk of an immense tree-not made of planks, like those on the Victoria Nyanza. Our kit was placed in the centre, or formed a seat for us at the bow or stern. Some cows we had received from the king were sent by the land route, and had to pass through a boisterous people, who twice tried to plunder them. While a few goats were in charge of my valet Uledi, four Wachopeh threw their spears at him. He could not see the men coming on account of the long grass, but he captured a spear and a stick, losing none of his herd, thus showing his tact and bravery. He carried an unloaded gun, with ten rounds in his pouch ; also a spear, which he broke by throwing at the enemy. We fortunately caught another thief driving away our goats to the jungle. Two of our men brought him into camp with his arms
WARNINGS DURING A MARCH.
tied behind, and a rope round his neck. On seeing him each Seedee took a savage delight in slapping his face, and then covering his body with a mixture of mud, ashes, and water. They also tortured him by binding his body tightly with cords ; but during the night, though the door-screen was fastened, his comrades came and released him.
When marching across country, we required aid from the inhabitants as porters, but they showed great unwillingness, never agreeing until their women or cattle were seized. Kidjweega had the king's orders to collect a force of forty men as our guard. He had, however, much difficulty in procuring even half the number, the natives making excuses that the country of Kidi was dangerous to pass through. Our route was thus rendered circuitous, as we had to zigzag from village to village in order to obtain relays of porters. Even when the distance to the nearest village was only a mile or two, most of them insisted on being relieved, and the more refractory were compelled to carry loads by our seizing their spears. On the line of march they were lively and polite enough. When any obstacle occurred on the path, such as a sharp rock or hole, they, with their disengaged hand, would slap their thigh to warn those behind them to look out. No remark was made, merely this simple signal given. The Seedees had a different mode of giving warning: they called out “ Mwiba,”—that is, thorn ; “cimo," hole; or “jiwee,” rock.
To return to the Nile, its scenes and sports. One day's journal notes “four hippopotami, two crocodile, two dead fish, and numerous small gulls,” seen in and
BEASTS, BIRDS, AND FISHES.
over the waters as we glided down the stream. The hippos required sharp shooting, as they seldom gave us time for an aim, sinking their heads the moment the boat was steadied. The natives harpoon them with barbed irons stuck loosely upon heavy poles longer than capstan-bars; and use trimmers of “solah," or pith-wood, attached by long ropes to the barbs. It must require expert swimmers to get up to a hippo in the water and deliver the thrust. We saw small gulls flitting about and darting at them. The dead scaly fish upon the water were about seven pounds weight, the shape of a thick short cod, but with a well-forked tail, above which, as Speke observed, there was a small rounded fleshy fin, like that seen on salmon or trout. The boatmen eagerly picked those up that floated along, even though they were stale. We could not account for their being found dead, except that they had been poisoned by the decayed matter which filled the river. At every place where a creel-trap was set, our men pulled in to extract the fish, but got little for their trouble. One morning we had some
Macquareh” for breakfast, and enjoyed them very much; they had as little bone as a sole, and tasted like trout. Where the banks were high and covered with trees, monkeys occasionally jumped from bough to bough, and did not seem alarmed even within sight of habitations. They were grey, with long tails, white beards and eyebrows, black faces and ears. The largest birds were the Batteleur eagle and the Buceros : the former, when seen soaring and circling in the heavens, resembles a bat in figure, and has a black body, with the wings white underneath ; the Buceros is a large black bird, walking awkwardly about
the cultivated grounds, having short legs, and his three toes almost of equal length.
The people were generally civil and hospitable, sending us small presents of their produce—plantain, or perhaps a goat; but they did not relish our passing through their country, and they gave up their houses with great reluctance. This was no wonder, for our Unyoro escort plundered wildly like the Waganda, and escaped capture by running away. On one occasion they cunningly got up an alarm in camp, and took the opportunity, when the inhabitants were in a state of fright, to seize their property. But in districts where the population was numerous, all turned out to look at us, rejoicing most heartily, leading the way in a crowd, shouting and saluting. Some of our men became so drunk from their good wine, taken while resting in the middle of a march, that the natives tried, by applications of water, to bring them to their senses. They actually wished to carry one man, and never attempted to rob him of his clothes or gun, which he kept brandishing about. We were addressed indiscriminately as Wazoongo (white men), M’kama (sultan), Nyanswengeh, and Witchwezee. Those who knew us best used the two former titles, while others spoke of us as Nyans-wengeh, meaning, probably, strangers, sailors, or Nyanza men.
The women wore a sort of double kilt, as if a short one had been put over a long one. Some had tightfitting leggings of iron beads, as bright as steel, and very becoming on their fine limbs. The quantity of brass wire round some of their arms surprised me. It seems that their husbands take ivory to the mart of Karague, and exchange it with the Wazeenja or people