« ForrigeFortsett »
BLACKSMITH AT WORK.
27th. The Journal of the last two days may perhaps possess some interest to the reader, as it introduces him to Ukulima, the sultan, in whose place I was detained one hundred and nine days. It is as follows:
“ 26th May.—Speke keeps the larder well filled. Last night, three guinea-fowl and a large tree-goose. I went early amongst the Watusi ; handsome people, beautiful rounded small heads, prominent large eyes, thin noses, rather compressed upper jaws; all so clean and trim; no resemblance to the dirty Wezee, who are coarse and mannerless in comparison. They make their own baskets of osier-like twigs, with a sharpened spear, and work with their feet very neatly. They got a cow down by pulling its hind-legs to a post, and then carefully washed its eye, which had been injured. The blacksmith was working amongst them making wire anklets from long rods of iron; bellows very small, of wood, with cane handles, which a man worked up and down. The hammer was a massive mason's chisel : they worked squatting. A whole family were very curious to hear the tick of my watch. The fighting Watuta had one open-field combat with the Watusi, and obtained a victory over them; both are afraid of each other. I see that the slaves of the Wezees are very well dressed, and treated with great kindness, never doing but what they choose: quite different from slaves at Zanzibar, where, as Bombay tells me, they would be made to work all day, and, by some, be made to steal all night. The orthodox custom at Zanzibar is five days' labour for master, and two days' for the slave himself. Rehan (the new cook) came to say “there was no grease to roast with.' 'What are you to roast ?' He pointed
to his breast. You ought not to roast a brisket.' He brought a tongue, hump, and double brisket, smelling, all of which had been boiled yesterday, and now he wanted to roast the brisket already done.
“27th.—Bombay and I march with 38 porters to make a start of it to Nunda, in Ukuni, and to see Sultan Ukulima. Distance was eight miles through a very pretty country, with rocks jutting out fantastically, and lying now and then one on another; cultivation all the way. Sighted the village when within a mile of it; quantities of spring water coming down from a rocky height to our right. After we had entered the first milk-bush enclosure, there were several cleanly-swept windings. Village nearly empty. A heavy old man sitting on a stool with half-a-dozen men round him, induced me to say “Yambo;' he returned it, and I went looking for a house. Came to the palace, a very high round hut, smelling strongly of goats and cattle. I asked permission to live here, and the old man, who proved to be the sultan, said, “Doogoh yango'—*Come along, my brother. Sweeping out the verandah of goat-dung, my bed was soon made. The sultana, a fat, fair, gentle old lady, welcomed me with both hands as if I had been her son. so surprised at the bedding as she sat upon it, and everything she saw, saying "Eeh, eeh !' and nodding her head : indeed, all were surprised. Bombay got some pombé; the drunken old sultan himself carried a basket-cup of it. He drank first (through a straw), and then I had some, and very good it was.
Then he drank again, and I drank again, laughing heartily. People in hundreds came. I went to sleep, though
drums beat all day in honour of the arrival. Their politeness was remarkable; they retired as I sat down at meals. Milk very dear, and got with great difficulty. Lads excited with drums, jumping in the air, and flying about. Did not see old man for the rest of the day; he was in a state of pombé !
VILLAGE LIFE AT UKUNI, MAY 27 TO SEPTEMBER 12, 1861—THE
COUNTRY WELL CULTIVATED AND WOODED—THE SEASONS,
WOMEN AT HARVEST-COINAGE AND MANUFACTURES.
To commence with the country around, I may state that its general elevation above sea-level is 3260 feet. All the lands run southwards, and are cleared for cultivation, while the low hills are well wooded, their ridges capped with huge masses of rounded rock, some single blocks forty and fifty feet in height, balanced on each other, or forming gorges and passes between one valley and another. The village of the smaller sultan of Roongwa, seven miles to the N.W., has some remarkably pretty landscapes in its neighbourhood. Upon gently-swelling lands gloomy peaked masses of granite rise amidst the dense foliage, reminding one of a baronial castle at home, with its parks and clumps of trees. Sometimes large water
cavities are seen in those boulders; one contained sweet pure water in a basin fifty feet in circumference and six to eight feet deep, which had been worn out by the crumbling of ages.
During the months of June, July, August, and twelve days of September, we had but one or two slight showers of rain (in July), which were preceded by dull cloudy weather every night, that prevented our seeing a comet in the constellation of Ursa Major. The sun rose and set in a haze, which obscured the sky for 40°. During the day, unless the regular S.S.E. wind blew very hard, a veil of mist lay about. This wind from the S.E. was very unhealthy, making every one sneeze, and giving hard coughs and colds. It generally began about 8 A.M.; but by the 12th of September it changed to a more easterly direction, and brought with it beautiful clear weather. The June mornings were piercingly cold, and at night the naked boy who looked after the calves might always be seen sleeping with his head pillowed upon them to keep himself warm, and our Seedees would lie out for the night with a sheet-covering, and a blazing fire at their backs. By the end of June the trees had shed their leaves. Nothing but evergreens were interesting in the forest; the grasses had been burnt; the fields lay in fallow baked in the sun, or were of powdered dust, where cattle had trodden : the aspect was decidedly wintry. In August the trees began to bud, and the grasses, where they had been set on fire, were sprouting with fresh leaves. I have alluded to the S.E. wind being unhealthy-not a man of us escaped it. Speke suffered most dangerously from its effects while separated for three months from me. His