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ON the 13th of December, 1882, having completed all necessary preliminary arrangements, I embarked on the B.I.S.N. Company’s steamer Navarino bound for the East, in which, by the generosity of that enterprising company, I received a free passage. Leaving the steamer at Suez, I enjoyed a run to Cairo, where I had the pleasure of associating with the members of the Geographical Society on the occasion of a farewell dinner to General Stone, who at that time was returning to his native country. Lieut. Weissman, on his way home after his brilliant march across the continent from west to east, was also at Cairo, recruiting his health in the balmy climate of Egypt, before facing the rigours of a German. winter. I had the further satisfaction of meeting with his celebrated countryman, Schweinfurth, from whom I received much kindly attention.

Continuing my way after a most agreeable trip, we touched as usual at that most impressive and picturesque of eastern ports, Aden, and then, after one of the quickest and most enjoyable passages on record, we neared, on the 26th of January, 1883, the now familiar island of Zanzibar. [7]

It was with very different feelings that I now strained my eyes to catch the first glimpse of land through the haze, from those I experienced five years previously when, almost a boy, I wistfully watched for the appearance of the green isle with its long–dreamed–of tropical vegetation and myriad wonders, over which the imagination peculiar to the "untravelled traveller" threw a glamour and fascination, that is, alas! only too often dispelled by the rude facts of experience. Though the waving palm–trees with their rich burden, the clove plantations with their spicy odours, and the grand masses of the mango with their luscious fruit and grateful shade had now been long familiar to me, yet Zanzibar and the main. land were still pleasantly tinted by the glowing lines of fantasy for, to me, here was still a promised land, in which were many desirable nooks for the traveller who should venture in and win–possibility of failure not being allowed to tone down my sanguine hopes.

On the morning of the date just mentioned the S.S. Oriental, commanded by Captain Lewnes, cast anchor in the harbour. Immediately after, a familiar Zanzibar figure–Pira, the active jack–of–all–trades to the Sultan Sayyid Bargash –appeared on deck in the capacity of His Highness’s gossip and harbour–master. Thereafter I proceeded on shore, as in duty bound, to call upon Colonel S. B. Miles, a name not unknown to geographers as a traveller in the Somali country, who at this time was acting as consul–general and political agent for Sir John Kirk, then absent on a well–deserved holiday. I was received at once as an expected and welcome guest by Mrs. Miles, and installed in my old quarters, which I had now occupied so often that they had acquired a distinctly home–like aspect.

I was soon put in possession of all the news which form the main staple of conversation in a place far removed from the exciting arena of European politics. It was with much regret that I learned that Bishop Steere had gone over to the majority. A gentleman of rare talent and tact, he curiously combined High Church proclivities with the characteristics of a man of the world. As head of the Universities’ Mission to East Africa, he performed herculean labours of a singularly varied character, which will ever form the most appropriate memorial of him as a great and good man.

A loss, however, which I felt more immediately than that of Dr. Steere, was that of the well–known Chumah whom I had [8] hoped to have again with me as head–man. He also had died after a short but stirring life, having, in his own special way, done much indirectly to open up Africa to science and commerce.

It was with considerable relief that I heard from Colonel Miles that our Government had addressed the Sultan and recommended me to his good offices. I had been afraid that, as I failed to find a coal–mine for him on the Rovuma, and parted from His Highness on somewhat bad terms, he would do all in his power–and lie could have done not a little–to spoil my travelling. Now, however, I felt pleased to know that if lie did not help me, lie was at least riot likely to make obstacles.

The news about the interior was of no special interest. The missionaries were still as active as ever, and were at least keeping the country open, if riot making many converts. The Belgian Branch of the International African Association hail now ceased making further attempts to pass beyond Tanganyika, and were content to hold on to Karema, which had more than realized all my worst prognostications. Several men had died, and tip to that time the grand hopes of the Association were, without fulfilment. Unyanyemb� had also been given up, though in the most suitable position either for assisting the advancement of civilization and Christianity, or as a centre for the scientific traveller. The Germans, more active and more scientific, had not been quite so idle. Much useful work had been done, though nothing specially noteworthy. A few days after my arrival, tidings arrived from the interior that the astronomer of the German party had reached Lake Leopold, but had died there.

I was, however, more especially interested in hearing about the movements of a German naturalist named Dr. Fischer. This gentleman had spent many years on the coast, and had been commissioned by the Hamburg Geographical Society to penetrate into the very regions for which I myself was bound. It was thought necessary to throw a considerable amount of mystery about his movements–where lie was going and what route lie would adopt. I gathered, however, that he proposed visiting Mount, Kenia and Lake Baringo, penetrating, if possible, beyond to what was then supposed to be the Galla country. Although lie had spent several months in preparation, no one knew anything definite about the proposed expedition till he was ready to start. The first news therefore, of the fact took me not a little [9] aback as I thought of the ground being cut away from my feet in this unexpected manner. I had to console myself with the reflection that the field was large, and that some pickings might after all fall to my share.

Having thus renewed my acquaintance with my friends, and with the familiar places of other days, gathered together the news of the interior, and learned how far light had lately been shed in dark places, I made a commencement in final preparations.

My first business was to secure my head–men, on whom so much depends for the success of an African expedition. In this I was fortunate. There was Makatubu, my able second head–man in my two previous trips. For powers of work, great energy, and general intelligence lie stands inferior to none of all the Wa–swahili I have yet come in contact with. His one great defect is an utter absence of tact in dealing with the men under him. He never can acquire the necessary influence to lead men. But for this I should not have hesitated to place him at the head of my caravan. As it was, I had to relegate him to his old position of second, and place the goods under his special charge.

Casting about for a leader, I was delighted at finding Muinyi Sera, or Manwa Sera, the head–man of Stanley in his journey across the continent. I thought I had secured a prize in this man, who would, I imagined, be likely to have some of the "go" of his distinguished master. I could not have made a greater mistake. He turned out as lazy and unprofitable a personage as could be well conceived, though, to give him his due, he was honest and intelligent, and never attempted to thwart me in any way whatever. He was, however, content–probably through age–to be looked upon as purely ornamental, and was treated accordingly.

I was also somewhat disappointed with Kacheche–Stanley’s much–praised detective, who proved, however, to be not unuseful. For instance, lie was an admirable buyer of food, and as good at distributing it to the men. He had as many strange ways as any heathen Chinee, but for general odd jobs was as good as could be got. Kacheche, therefore, was put at the head of the commissariat and intelligence department.

Next to Kacheche came Barham, or Ali Ngomb� (Ali the bullock). It was a somewhat risky step on my part to put this man in the position of a head–man. In my first expedition lie was a porter, who, while he was without exception [10] one of the best men in my caravan as a worker, was yet the ringleader in all the troubles with the men. He it was who led the mutiny in Uheh� when every man deserted, and at all times he was a thorn in the flesh. Powerfully built, with a, ferocious expression when angry, he was the very beauideal of a savage. He was at once the bully of the caravan and the idol of the men. With such attributes, I concluded that if I could elevate him above the men and cut him off from them by giving him a superior position, I might turn all his good and bad traits in my favour. It was a bold but also a lucky venture. In everything Brahim turned out as I expected. He had a remarkable influence over the men. They were afraid of him, and yet they loved him for his jolly, rollicking disposition. Where formerly he delighted to raise trouble and mutiny, he now became the terror of all cantankerous individuals. The sight of Brahim with a stick was quite sufficient to oil the wheels of caravan life into admirable working order. He occupied the position of my aide–de–camp, my personal road assistant, and hunting companion. A more generally useful man I have never had, and I would not have exchanged him for any ten men in my caravan.

My list of head–men was completed by the addition of Mzee Uledi, an extremely useful man, deft in working with cloth, and expert with goods generally. He formed Makatubu’s assistant in looking after the goods and stores.

On the whole, my caravan leaders were as thoroughly good a set as I could have hit upon, and it gives me great pleasure to state how thoroughly they co–operated with me in every way, striving with zeal, determination, and honesty to make the expedition successful.

It only remains that I should mention another valuable addition made to the caravan in the person of James Martin, a Maltese sailor. On leaving England I had determined on not taking any white man with me, but on my arrival at Zanzibar Martin presented himself with very good certificates of character. He had been over six years in the employment of the C.M.S. Mission at Mombasa, knew Ki–swahili well, and had been thoroughly accustomed to the natives. As he was then out of work, and ready to go for whatever I pleased to give him, I at once resolved to take him, and I am happy to say that I had never reason to regret my decision. Though unable to read or write, he was very intelligent and could talk about ten languages in sailor fashion. In every [11] respect, manners, language, dressing, &c., he was far above the average sailor, and from the first I never scrupled to treat him more as a companion than a servant. Yet he never presumed upon this, but from first to last was most respectful, had no opinions of his own as to what should be done or not done, was ever prompt to carry out orders, and always anxious to do something. To show how well we got on, I might mention the possibly unprecedented fact in African travelling, that we actually never once had an unpleasantness between us. I cannot speak too highly in Martin’s praise, and if it were ever my lot to go back to Africa, I would seek for no better an assistant.

Having completed these important and satisfactory arrangements, it became necessary for me to make a trip to Pangani and Mombasa, so as to acquire some information regarding the routes through the Masai country and the nature of the goods required by the tribes of that region, also to find out whether it would be advisable to take my porters from the coast–towns whence trading caravans depart, or from Zanzibar, the natives of which were quite unacquainted with the region to be traversed, and were looked upon by the people of the interior with great dislike. With these objects in view. I started with Martin and my head–men on the fifth day after my arrival at Zanzibar. Setting sail on the evening of the 1st of February, we found ourselves next morning tacking about in our wretched dhow near the north end of the island, trying in vain to make headway. Towards noon a more favourable breeze sprang up, and, after the usual fit of sea–sickness in crossing the channel, we entered the Pangani River and cast anchor at the town at 3 p.m. On landing, we proceeded at once to the house used by the agents of the Universities’ Mission, who rest here on their way between Zanzibar and their station of Magila, at the base of the U–sambara Mountains. I had been provided with a letter to the Wali, or Governor, but found that he was out of town.

I was fortunate enough, however, to meet Fischer’s head–men, who proved to be communicative. He told me a sad tale of months of delay and of other annoyances sufficient to drive any one mad. Men had deserted wholesale, in spite of the most active assistance of the Wali, backed up with peremptory orders from the Sultan. At that moment there were actually fifty runaways captured and chained in the town, The greater part of a year had thus been consumed, [12] These facts tallied very much with my own knowledge of coast ways, and I mentally concluded not to attempt to organize my caravan at Pangani.

The evening was spent among the Indian merchants, who received me hospitably, and gave me most valuable information regarding the goods required up country.

Next morning, as there was nothing to be gained by a prolonged delay, I set out to walk along the coast to Mombasa, as much to acquaint myself with the general appearance of the country, as in the hope of adding to my knowledge of the requirements of my expedition. Our route lay along the lower of the raised beaches which here skirt the coast. It is but poorly cultivated, and the greater part is occupied by bush, dwarf fan palms, and the dom or doum palm. A six hours’ sharp march over this uninteresting country brought us to the small village of Tangata. I was somewhat disappointed to find that Martin was by no means a good walker and had skinned his heels sadly. We stopped at Tangata for the night, and refreshed ourselves by a bath in the creek.

Getting off the first thing in the morning, we crossed the creek in a canoe to a village on the opposite side, where I was much interested in the return of several porters from a Masai caravan.

A few hours brought us to the important coast–town of Tanga, which is charmingly situated on the upper raised beach, among groves of cocoa–nuts, and with a pretty creek running into the land, which forms a capacious harbour.

On my arrival here, I was compelled, in mercy to Martin, to give up my intention of proceeding further by land, and determined to take to that most atrocious of all transports an East African dhow. One was found to be "ready" to go at once, and I thereupon concluded a bargain. In the evening, having been apprised that when we were ready the dhow was, we marched down to the beach, to have the satisfaction of finding the dhow high and dry; neither sailors, nor sails, nor oars. No explanation of this singular form of readiness being forthcoming, we had to swallow our choler after the customary storming, and retire till midnight, when the tide would be in and float the dhow. On rousing up as arranged, we were informed that there would be no favourable wind till 3 a.m., and so turned in till that hour. Again we waked up with the intention of starting, whereupon it was coolly intimated to us that the dhow would not go at all. [13] As this was clearly an attempt to extort more money, I resolved to show the owner that no true–born Scotchman would stand that kind of thing. I therefore at once took possession of his person, and hauled him up before the Wali, who promptly put him in chains. In my irritation at the provoking delay, I was about to resume my tramp by land, when another Arab appeared, and informed me that for a certain sum he would take me at once, as his dhow was quite ready. After the lesson I had given the other man, I thought there must be some meaning in the word "ready" this time, and closed with the offer. Feeling sure that we were all right now, we once more made for the beach. To my profound disgust, I found that though the dhow was there and ready as far as sailors, sails, &c., were concerned, yet the entire cargo had to be unshipped and ballast put in before it could leave the harbour.

I was now desperate, and executed something like a wardance, which frightened the Arab out of his wits. I would not be beat again. Taking possession of the vessel, I drew out my revolver ostentatiously, made the owner sit down, and warned the crew with fearful scowls not to dare to leave the beach. I then set every man to work, turned out the cargo on the sands, and reloaded with ballast. This occupied us till noon. Then, however, it was found that the wind was blowing too hard from sea to allow of us going out. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to wait till night, keeping watch and ward over sailors, owner, and dhow. In spite of hunger and a broiling sun, we did this most effectually, and when I a.m. arrived, we found we were at last really ready, with everything in our favour. Putting the Arab on shore, we slipped our anchor and stood out to sea.

I have now at one time or another had a considerable amount of experience in dhow–sailing; but this trip, though by no means the longest, was by far the most awful in its varied combination of miseries I am by no means fastidious; I have not a very delicate sense of smell, and my African experiences have not made me over–squeamish; but in this case I must confess neither my senses nor my feelings were proof against the experiences of that dhow voyage. Imagine a curiously. shaped boat capable of carrying about thirty tons, partially decked aft, high in the stern and low in the bow, suggesting to the nervous mind a suicidal tendency in the shape of a determined purpose of diving beneath the first advancing wave. A single mast, fifteen to twenty feet high, [14] supports all unwieldy lateen sail of dimensions enormous compared with the size of the craft, and held by rotten cocoa–nut fibre ropes which not unfrequently startle the crew and passengers–if they do no worse–by breaking and letting their whole burden crash down on deck. The water leaks in at innumerable points, continually requiring several men to bale night and day. Then, from stern to stem, there rises a combination of abominable smells truly sickening. The rotting wood, with its coating of rancid cocoa–nut oil, the accumulated grease and filth of years, the bilge–water, the contents of the cargo, and the effluvia from the perspiring skins of the crowded negroes–all contribute their quota to an effect which words cannot describe. It would be well if only the sense of smell was outraged; but unfortunately that is but one item in the general effect. As one, becomes acquainted with the dhow, and, in a spirit of resignation to the inevitable, lies down to court oblivion ill sleep, he is soon made aware of the existence of a certain very undesirable class of habitues, generally found wherever dirt and filth prevail. A miracle of imperturbability indeed must that man be whom the pertinacious little creatures cannot keep lively. On this occasion they were especially vivacious, doubtless in their excitement at the discovery of a thin. skinned subject–a decided and pleasing variety from the leathery integument of the negro. Still another horror awaited me in the shape of rats. These, finding me "cabined, cribbed, confined," had me, completely at their mercy, and certainly they made a very objectionable use of their opportunities.

Such is a glimpse of my first night’s experience on board the Tanga dhow. In the morning we found we had made very little headway, and were still close to the mouth of a creek, with the wind light. We had hoped to be able to keep inside the reefs, where the water was comparatively smooth, but it soon became apparent that, if we intended to get on, we must go outside. This we did, and not till then did I reach the depths of bodily wretchedness. The rolling sea produced an instant collapse in sickness, and exposed as I was in my helplessness to the pitiless blaze of the tropical sun, I soon felt more dead than alive. In the evening we were still off Pemba, I cursing my luck and regretting that I had ever left terra firma. At sunset matters became somewhat ominous. The wind rose with considerable violence, the darkness was intense, only broken now and then by [15] glaring flashes of lightning. Rain began to fall, and in the darkness and horrid pitching we shipped water till we threatened to swamp. The sails had to be reefed, and then we had literally to trust all to Providence, for, having neither compass nor lights, we knew not how or where we were going. We were, however, only too well aware that we were in the immediate vicinity of most dangerous. coral reefs, and more than once a panic got up as a distant roll of thunder was mistaken for the sea breaking on the coral rock.

After a night of such profound anxiety it was with no slight pleasure that we hailed the dawn. We found, however, that we had got no further than Guasi, and that the wind, though somewhat lighter, was unfavourable. Not liking to give. ill, we tacked about all forenoon in a heavy sea, horribly sick.

In the afternoon the wind again blew hard, and the sea became more and more threatening. There was nothing for it but to put about and at all hazards run the reefs, if we did not want to be swamped. No opening was known to exist, but we resolved to make the attempt to cross somewhere. Keeping in close to the foaming surf, while running before the wind, we at last made out a very slight, though irregular, gap in the line of breakers. Martin, who had been at the helm all the previous night, now resumed his post with set teeth. As we neared the line of white foam, at each succeeding wave every man held his breath and stood as if transfixed, staring upon the thundering waters. At last we were borne headlong in among the reefs. There were a few wild plunges, a fearful roaring, a jar and quiver which communicated an electric shock to every one. We had actually grazed the rock and we drew a long breath of relief as we found ourselves safe inside. Martin declared to me that during six years, ill which lie had monthly traversed that sea, he had never once been so manifestly on the brink of disaster. It was in every respect a hair–breadth escape.

What was now to be done? was the new problem. Though comparatively smooth, the sea was still too rough to allow us to venture close to the beach, and we had neither boat nor canoe. I had, however, made up my mind that, come what might, I would not venture back to sea in that wretched craft. I was prepared, as I heroically suggested to myself, to face the proverbial lion in its den, and do deeds of daring in the face of hostile savages, but I could see no [16] romance in encountering a storm in my state of physical collapse, with that horrible stench pervading the atmosphere. To shore I must get somehow. If swimming had been one of my accomplishments, I should have made no ado about plunging into the sea and standing my chance of reaching terra firma, but unfortunately I was not gifted with that very useful attainment.

At last, however, we sighted a fishing canoe away in the distance, and my man Brahim at once swam ashore with herculean strokes, and went along the beach to bring it.

The canoe, on arrival, was anything but promising. In shape it was not unlike a dog’s bind leg; it leaked dreadfully, and, bale as we might, it kept half full of water. But I was desperate, and ready to clutch at a straw, like any drowning man. In I tumbled, thereafter seating myself, with much satisfaction, waist–deep in water. After undecidedly wobbling about, in a very fearful manner, we did begin to near the shore, which was extremely steep, with the sea breaking heavily. There was a rise on the crest of an advancing wave, then a bump. I sprang out as the canoe disappeared under water, but was immediately swept down by the retreating wave. Vainly I spluttered and struggled, and I was just on the point of being carried helplessly seawards when my ever–ready and faithful –Brahim, hastening to the rescue, delivered me from a watery grave, limp and bedraggled, but devoutly thankful that I had escaped from the indescribable discomforts of the dhow. Feeling assured that in this wild spot there would be neither nymph nor native to disturb me in the most primitive of costumes, I speedily had my clothes on the bushes, while I disported myself in the clear waters of a sheltered cove, and then rested under the grateful shade of a tree, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of being on firm ground once more.

The lengthening shadows soon warned me that dreams of Arcadia would not do in that wild spot. Donning my well–aired garments, therefore, I proceeded, in the manner of the shipwrecked mariner, to seek for food and shelter. We did not wander far before we espied a cocoa–nut grove. This was a promising sign of inhabitants, and on further inspection we were not disappointed. We found some Wa–digo, who soon with hospitable intent were pulling down the half–ripe cocoa–nuts. While from these we drank the refreshing vegetable milk, eggs were boiled, and a plump chicken sputtered over the fire.. There., in the gathering darkness, [17] we sat thoroughly enjoying the quaint and savage scene, and the piquancy of our position. The inner man once thoroughly satisfied, we made our grass beds under the caves of the huts, and soothed by the sighing palm–trees overhead, the myriad voices of the crickets around us, and the roar of the breakers in the distance, we soon fell asleep, to dream of seas under a halcyon spell, untroubled by nightmares of dhows and their contents.

Next morning we got off in the early hours, after duly rewarding our simple hosts, and stepped out merrily through an almost uninhabited region, till we neared the southern branch of the creek which surrounds the island and far–famed town of Mombasa. And here, while we wait for the canoe to ferry us over to the other side, we may say a few words about the history of the place.

Mombasa, or, as it is called by the Wa–swahili, Mvita, has had a marvellously turbulent and lively history. We hear of it as far back as 1331, when, as described by an Arab writer, it was a place of importance, fruitful and flourishing. Somewhat more than two centuries later Vasco di Gaina, in that ever–memorable voyage in which he rounded the Cape and found India, had a very narrow escape of being ship. wrecked on the bar outside the harbour, his pilot having played him false. In a few happy and graphic lines Camoens, in the "Lusiad," describes the geography of the island, and tells how on the "sea–board frontage" were to be seen "noble edifices fairly planned." In those there was sufficient to attract the cupidity of the Portuguese buccaneers of those days, who captured it in 1500 A.D. It did not, however, remain long in their hands, for it had again to be seized five years later, only to be once more retaken by the natives. In 1529 it fell for the third time into the hands of the Europeans, from whom it passed in 1586 under the rule of the Sultan of Stamboul. This was promptly revenged and reversed by the Portuguese. The town was regained, however, only to fall a prey to a savage horde who hailed from the south and called themselves Zimbas. For the fifth time in its history the Portuguese entered into possession, and in 1594, the fort, which still stands, was built. Thirty–six years later Mombasa became independent, only to fall under European rule after a brave and desperate resistance. The Portuguese supremacy was, however, soon to end. In 1660 the Imam of Oman, after a five years’ investment, succeeded in getting possession of the fort, though it was not till 1698 [18] that his son finally drove the Portuguese from the town, where he established an Arab governor.

Up till 1822 the town enjoyed a semi–independence, being ruled by princes of the noble Mazrui clan. It was then threatened by Sayyid Said, ruler of Muskat and Zanzibar. To escape falling under his rule, the inhabitants placed themselves under British protection, the flag being hoisted by Captain Vidal, R.N. His action, however, was not countenanced by the proper authorities, and the protection was withdrawn. In five years four unsuccessful attempts were made by Sayyid Said, and finally by treachery he gained his point.

The island of Mombasa is formed by the division of the picturesque creek which here runs deep into the land terminating at the base of the Rabai Hills. It is in the form of an irregular oval, the greater part of which is a dense bush, very little being cultivated except in the outskirts of the town. There is little of the picturesque or attractive in the scene, a few cocoa–nuts, mangoes, and baobabs being the only conspicuous arboreal forms.

The town, as in the days of Vasco di Gama, is still to be seen on the "sea–board frontage," though the traveller will look in vain for the "noble edifices fairly planned" which aroused the admiration of Camoens. Except the fort and some wells, there is little left to recall the Portuguese occupation. Everywhere ruins of houses and mosques tell the tale of decayed grandeur, of the loss of former spirit, energy, and enterprise. Mud huts are replacing the well–built dwellings of the Mazrui period. The Arabs are leaving the town as rats leave a sinking ship, and a general want of life characterizes the aspect of this ancient and interesting city.

The northern branch of the Mombasa creek forms a splendid harbour, which is protected from the swell of the north–east monsoon by the coral–line bar on which Vasco di Gama was so nearly lost. This barrier, however, makes the passage of outward–bound vessels one of considerable difficulty when the wind is not favourable.

Such, then, was Mombasa, when I found myself, on the 8th of February, crossing the southern branch of its creek. We traversed the island, threaded with necessary care the extraordinary labyrinth which did duty as streets, and finally arrived, fortunately with uncracked skulls, at the baraza of the Liwali. He was a Wahabbee of the strictest school, and [19] had proved a thorn in the flesh to the missionaries at Frere Town, who on their part, it must be confessed, have neither attempted to conciliate the Arab element, nor shown much tact in warding off animosity.

On my arrival we were informed that His Excellency was asleep, and could not be disturbed. This excuse I could not listen to, and ordered the servants to inform him immediately of our arrival with letters from the Sultan, which would shortly arrive by dhow. This had the desired effect, and presently we had the satisfaction of seeing the Liwali appear, beaming with smiles, effusive in his offers of hospitality, and paternal in his greetings. He led me by the hand to a seat, and overwhelmed me with inquiries about my health, K, as if he had known me most intimately for years. While we sipped our sherbet and coffee (the indispensable accompaniments of all such meetings) I apprised him of the object of my visit. He duly desired me to consider him at my service in everything; I had but to speak, and it would be done! [20] With appropriate answers to these pleasing "white lies" the interview was finished.

I now proceeded to the creek, for the purpose of visiting the missionaries at Frere Town. The view of this station across the apparently land–locked creek was most inviting. On the left, from a dense grove of magnificent mangoes, could be seen a snow–white house with iron roofing, well set elf by the dense shade around. Further to the right lay another white house –with flat roof, situated among more airy trees and waving palms. Several edifices of smaller size gave the idea of a charming European settlement, and suggested the mental ejaculation that, however dark and dreary might be the moral and religious outlook, temporally the lines of the missionaries had fallen in pleasant places.

The boat of the governor was at my service, and in a few minutes I was landed in this settlement of freed slaves, who soon were swarming down to the beach to see and welcome me. They looked marvellously comical, especially the ladies, in their European dresses. Amidst a storm of varied salutations,–"Good morning," "Good evening," "Yambo," "Sabalkheir,"– I did the amiable as much as possible, shaking hands and making the customary inquiries. After a brief visit to the house of Mr. H. W. Lane, the Lay Superintendent of the Mission, I returned under the care of the Rev. W. E. Taylor, who, in a characteristic fashion, performed the varied duties of doctor and school superintendent. For convenience in acquiring thoroughly the Swahili and Arab languages, this missionary has cut himself adrift from the settlement, and lives separately in. the town, where he has nightly levees with the Arabs and Wa–swahili, and has deservedly become popular. His house is interesting in many respects. At the landing–place there is an old Portuguese well with ail inscription. Beside it a door leads into a staircase arched over to form a sort of tunnel. This was built ill the days of the brief British occupation of the town when the house above was used as a government residence. It was then occupied for some time by Dr. Krapf, on his first arrival at Mombasa, and up till the time of which I write remained in the hands of the missionaries. Though it is somewhat out of place, I may mention the latest change in ownership. Once more the English flag waves over it, for now it is occupied by Captain Gissing, H.B.M. Consul to Mombasa. It may be noted further that Captains Burton and Speke, on their short trip along the coast, lived in this [21] house for several days, so that in many ways it bids fair to become an historical building.

In the evening the Liwali called, and seemed to be supremely anxious that I should spend at least one day with him, but I was compelled to decline his hospitality.

On the following morning I proceeded in the Liwah’s boat to Jomvu, the station over which the Rev. T. Wakefield. presided. Our way led us round the little point on which Frere Town is situated, through a narrow but picturesque winding passage, into the more open stretch to the west of the island, thence through a dreary waste of mangroves. After a series of windings, we reached the base of the Rabai hills, where Jomvu is situated. Looking around the drear expanse of mangrove swamp, I concluded that here at least was one whose lines had not fallen in pleasant places, for a district more suggestive of fevers and all things evil could not be conceived.

I prepared myself to find in Wakefield. a man weakened and weary, looking forward to the exploration of a better land as a happy change from the ills that flesh was doubtless heir to in this wretched country. Putting on my most lugubrious expression as the most suitable for the occasion, I proceeded to the mission house to greet with due solemnity the mission patriarch of East Africa; for be it known that Mr. Wakefield has lived almost entirely about Mombasa since 1862, when he was despatched by the United Methodist Free Churches to this mission field.

Before reaching the house I was startled by the sounds of hearty laughter. On entering the building and announcing myself, my hand was seized with no weak grasp, and my philosophy upset by a cheery welcome which told of good kings. I looked in vain for the yellow integument and irritable temper which might suggest "liver," the wasted visage and careworn aspect which might speak of weakening fevers. With pleasure I found a lively companion, boiling over with good spirits, full of hearty laughter, puns, and genial stories–in fact, the very prince of African good fellows. In that very temperament, I doubt not, lay the secret of his success in battling with the evil genius of Africa. Drive away care with a merry heart and a sunny disposition; see something jolly in everything, like Mark Tapley, and you may to a large extent drive away disease. Mr. Wakefield, though not as yet especially successful in the gathering together of converts, has nevertheless performed labours of [22] great value, and holds deservedly the first rank of the workers in that mission field. Would that there were more like him! After a pleasant day spent in the company of his amiable wife and himself, I returned to Mombasa, encouraged in my projects.

Next day a dhow was to have left for Zanzibar, but of course didn’t. I employed the day, however, very profitably, making inquiries among the merchants and up–country traders, though their report of things in general was by no means rosy. I visited, on the way to Frere Town, the old Arab graveyard, where are to be seen many interesting monuments of the Mazrui period. On my return to Mombasa, I got permission from the Liwali to visit the fort, which proved to be very interesting. On the following morning, after being loaded with numerous presents of food from the Liwali, I went on board a dhow and set sail. We had all our former experience of smells, but were so fortunate as to have a calm sea and a fair wind, which brought us into Zanzibar within the twenty–four hours. We had been. altogether away only eleven days.

The conclusions I arrived at as the result of my investigations were these:–

(1) That Mombasa, in the circumstances, was the most suitable and desirable point of. departure, more especially as I would have the valuable assistance of the missionaries in making a start.

(2.) That while the coast porters were in some respects by far to be preferred, yet, on the whole, it would be safer to make up my caravan mainly of Zanzibar men. The Zanzibaris were poorer porters; they were accustomed to tribes in no respect similar to the Masai, of whose language they knew less than I did; but it was not to be overlooked that they were acquainted with European ways, ready to form a bargain promptly and to start at a day’s notice. Moreover, what was equally important, I had acquired a thorough knowledge of their peculiarities, and knew in consequence how to make the most of them.

(3) That there was no time to be lost if I wanted to escape the wet season on the coast, of which I had more than enough in the Nyassa Expedition in 1879.

(4.) My investigations made one other thing very clear, and that was, that taking as many men as my funds would permit, I would still be sadly weak in point of numbers for the extremely dangerous country I had to traverse. The [23] gravity and risk of my undertaking I was beginning uncomfortably to realize, and everything seemed to point to the conclusion that each man must be armed with a gun or rifle, if we were to have hope of even getting over the threshold.

Having formulated these ideas to myself, I lost no time in carrying them into effect–an easy matter with my previous experience. Two days after my return to Zanzibar, I had all my goods and stores bought. Three days later saw these made up into the customary loads–the iron, brass, and copper wire coiled and cut into the required size and weight, the beads put into canvas bags, and the cloth into long cylindrical bales,–the whole being covered with mats.

The next business was to enlist men for the journey. In regard to this important matter, however, I had fallen on evil days. The African Association on the Congo had drained off the very best porters in the town. Several large caravans, missionary and otherwise, had just left for the interior, so that there was hardly a good porter to be had. Then the very idea of going to the dreaded Masai country was sufficient to take their breath away. By not a few it was treated as rather too much of a joke to be seriously entertained. To cap the situation, two large caravans were about to be organized for the interior, one for Victoria Nyanza, and another for Karema. The look–out was not encouraging, but I was determined not to be beat. Not a man having presented himself, I offered as an inducement a dollar a month extra for those who gave satisfaction by their behaviour. This brought a few men to my standard; but little progress was made till it became noised abroad that I was prepared to receive whoever offered, no questions asked or certificates required–medical or otherwise. Then, and only then, a flood of vagabondage let itself loose upon me–the blind and the lame, the very refuse of Zanzibar rascaldom, beach–combers, thieves, murderers, runaway slaves, most of them literally rotten with a life of debauchery. There was nothing for it but to take what offered. I must have men, or the semblance of men, and I got them. I felt mightily ashamed of the lot, though I vowed within my inmost soul that I would bring them back to Zanzibar better men, morally and physically, than they left it, if ever I should be able to get them fairly into the country. I required no prophetic inspiration to foresee that the dangers of a most hazardous expedition would be heightened tenfold with such a villainous crew. [24]

I shall not weary the reader by enlarging on the endless annoyances I had in getting these men together and organizing generally. Suffice it to say, that by the hearty cooperation of Martin and my head–men, in less than a fortnight I had got my goods and stores ready, 110 men collected, three Muscat donkeys bought for ambulance purposes, a dhow engaged, and the innumerable other small but necessary items thoroughly considered.

On the 2nd of March, exactly five weeks from the date of my landing at Zanzibar, I had the unspeakable satisfaction of seeing the Victoria Nyanza and Mount Kenia Expedition, minus myself, clearing out of the harbour with a spanking breeze, under the charge of Martin. I remained behind to try to pick up a few of my cut–throats who had failed to appear, and also to see if an attempt of mine to get a few coast porters would bear any fruit. I succeeded in neither object, and three days after Martin left I made my final preparations for leaving the Zanzibar isle. [25]

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