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THE BARI POISON THE STREAMS.

363

was astir at the rattle of the drum in the morning, and marched the whole day, except the three hottest hours, which were spent under shady trees. During the march the colours led the way, no one was allowed to precede them, and a complete cordon of armed Toorkees surrounded the moving mass and kept order. In this way we proceeded across country at a smart pace, allowing no straggling, but making many halts. Sometimes, at several fields distance, or outside their palisaded huts, or under trees, knots of the people watched us. A favourite position with them was to stand on one leg, resting the foot of the other leg against the standing limb above the knee. A spear balanced them more firmly, but the posture would be most uncomfortable to a European. We passed through one body of the men, and they showed no fear till they saw our white faces, when they ran wildly away. While halting to drink and refresh at a stream, after I had quenched my thirst, seeing some large branches of the Euphorbia antiquorum placed in the water with stones over them, I inquired what could be the cause of the branches being so placed, when they replied, “Oh! have you drunk of the water? that plant has been placed there to poison it.” The Toorkees laughed when told that I had been drinking heartily, but as the stream ran as clear as crystal I had no hesitation in partaking of it again, and felt no bad effects. The natives preferred digging holes in the sand of the stream, and drinking from them. The Bari are no doubt a dangerous people. We had two porters wounded by their arrows, of which they carry numbers, and they showed such a front on the occasion

364

PREPARATIONS FOR AN ATTACK.

of my umbrella being accidentally left behind, that, although thirty of our men went back to recover it, they thought it prudent to abandon my old and trusty friend! Our most serious affair with them was on the night of the 14th of February 1863, the day before getting into Gondokoro. A most anxious night it was: we were all lying encamped upon a grassy slope round a large tree within a mile of the Nile, when, having dined, Frij came to us, saying, “Have you heard that the natives are coming to attack us? Mahomed says we must be prepared with our guns for a fight.” “Do you hear that, Speke ?” “ Yes,” was the calm reply. On reflection, we remembered having, shortly after our arrival, seen the porters and Toorkees go to the village and take away a quantity of palisading, and whatever other articles they could carry. The smoke of two guns had also been seen; but whether any natives were killed, the Toorkees would not say. The people had fled at the time, and their return accounted for the present alarm. Darkness soon fell on the camp. We ascertained that the sentries were unusually alert, so we retired to rest ; but about ten o'clock my servant Uledi awoke me, saying that "the natives were about to attack us. Do

you not see their fires ?” Sure enough one-third of the horizon was a flame of burning grass, and my first impression was that we should immediately be surrounded by the spreading fire. The natives screamed and beat drums, and men carrying torches made of grass collected from other villages. We now dressed, placed our rifles by us, and sat watching the scene. Dances in circles were performed to drum-music beaten in the most furious manner, and the women's

WE SEE GONDOKORO IN THE DISTANCE.

365

shrill voices sounded loud' amidst the bargoma and other horns. Overcome at last by sleep we lay down again, and at daybreak awoke to find the rest of the night had passed without further disturbance. This was very fortunate, as had the maps, journals, and collections of our expedition perished on this occasion, the loss to us would have been irreparable. During the night, Captain Mahomed was asked to send them by a bearer to Consul Petherick at Gondokoro, but he replied that no one dare travel at night, and that the fires and dancing we saw were only an intimation that we would be attacked in the morning. Twice the enemy had come up to our camp, but the click of the sentries' gunlocks frightened them away.

We all moved off in a compact mass by daylight of the 15th February, and were not molested, though we passed villages, outcropping rocks, and jungle of low trees, all favouring attack. After proceeding seven miles the features of the country completely changed from highland to lowland. As far as the eye could reach, there was to the north a dreary plain, dotted with the Punjab madar, growing upon firm and heavy sand. As we approached Gondokoro, a white speck was pointed out to us as the keneessa, or church, the spot where the Austrian mission-house stood. Afterwards we could see the masts of Nile boats, the appearance of which increased our excitement-I could have flown to them; and when our band of Toorkees drew up a mile from them to form line and fire a feude-joie, I had great difficulty in submitting to the delay. However, Speke was tolerably cool, and we all marched in together. Entering the first respectable hut we reached, we inquired for our friend Petherick,

366

OUR MEETING WITH BAKER.

and were informed that a gentleman had been there only a few minutes before. The inmates offering to conduct us, we proceeded in quest of the gentleman referred to, and soon had the happiness to see a sturdy English figure approaching. With a hearty cheer, we waved our hats and rushed into the arms, not of Petherick, but of Baker, the elephant-hunter of Ceylon, who had bravely come in search of us. All England, he said—nay, all Europe-believed that we should never get through the tribes! Here we were, however, grateful for our preservation, and grateful also for the sympathy of our kind friends and countrymen. Baker led us to his “diabeah,” or Nile pleasure-boat, and we found him surrounded with many of the comforts of civilised life long denied to us — tea, sugar, coffee, bread, wine, &c. We had had no English news later than August 1860, and now it was February 1863; so that there was much for us to hear of national affairs, as well as matters of private interest. But where was Petherick ? Had he made no preparations for us? or, finding we had not been able to keep to time, had he despaired and given up the search? A handsome diabeah and luggage-boat of his were here, but there were neither letters nor instructions for us. He himself was not at Gondokoro, and had never been there. Instead of co-operating with our expedition, he had gone to his own ivory depot in the west, and only arrived at Gondokoro four days after ourselves. We learned from Baker that kind friends in England had placed £1000 in the hands of Mr Petherick for our succour, and were doubly surprised that he had made no effort to meet us. It was to M. de Bono's men, and not Mr Petherick’s, that we were indebted for our

THE CLIMATE OF THE WHITE NILE.

367

escort. I feel it due to the memory of my companion to state these facts, and to say that I had the same feeling of disappointment which he had, and that our meeting with Mr Petherick was by no means the cordial one we anticipated. Having been previously supplied with all necessaries, and three return boats by Baker for conveying us to Khartoom, we required nothing save a few yards of calico to replace the barkcloth

rags of our twenty Seedees, and this we obtained from the stores of Mr Petherick.

We halted at Gondokoro from the 15th till the morning of the 26th, so that Speke might find the moon in lunar distance for the longitude, which he ascertained to be 31° 46' 9" east, and latitude 4° 54' 5" north. During this dry season it was very hot, the thermometer ranging from 94° to 100° in the shade ; but it was thought a better climate and more pleasant residence than Khartoom, there being only two hot months, January and February, during the year. Between Gondokoro and Khartoom the White Nile is reported unhealthy; and amongst its many European victims was a distinguished French naturalist, Dr Penny, who had explored farther south than any previous traveller. His loss was deeply felt at Khartoom. Many of the servants of the traders were suffering from ulcers, having been in swampy countries; and on the tenth day of my arrival at Gondokoro I had an attack of fever. Nearly all our Seedees had tapeworm disease, contracted on the journey. The animal generally appeared in single white portions, one inch long and one-third of an inch broad. It gave them no pain, nor did it reduce the men in flesh, but it was very inconvenient. Bombay vomited one, which meas

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