was convinced that he lied. Several times the ape-man approached
The shore, near which they spent two nights, was covered with reeds and papyrus. Wishing to obtain the latitude by the natural horizon, they waded into the water some distance towards what was reported to be a sand-bank, but were so assaulted by leeches, they were fain to retreat; and a woman told them that in enticing them into the water the men only wanted to kill them. The information gathered was that this lake was nothing in size compared to another in the north, from which it is separated by only a tongue of land. The northern end of Shirwa has not been seen, though it has been passed; the length of the lake may probably be 60 or 80 miles, and about 20 broad. The height above the sea is 1800 feet, and the taste of the water is like a weak solution of Epsom salts. The country around is very beautiful, and clothed with rich vegetation; and the waves, at the time they were there breaking and foaming over a rock on the south- eastern side, added to the beauty of the picture. Exceedingly lofty mountains, perhaps 8000 feet above the sea-level, stand near the eastern shore. When their lofty steep-sided summits appear, some above, some below the clouds, the scene is grand. This range is called Milanje; on the west stands Mount Zomba, 7000 feet in height, and some twenty miles long.
Their object being rather to gain the confidence of the people by degrees than to explore, they considered that they had advanced far enough into the country for one trip; and believing that they could secure their end by a repetition of their visit, as they had done on the Shire, they decided to return to the vessel at Dakanamoio island; but, instead of returning by the way they came, they passed down southwards close by Mount Chiradzuru, among the relatives of Chibisa, and thence by the pass Zedi, down to the Shire. The Kroomen had, while we were away, cut a good supply of wood for steaming, and we soon proceeded down the river.
The steamer reached Tette on the 23rd of June, and, after undergoing repairs, proceeded to the Kongone to receive provisions from one of H.M. cruisers. We had been very abundantly supplied with first-rate stores, but were unfortunate enough to lose a considerable portion of them, and had now to bear the privation as best we could. On the way down, we purchased a few gigantic cabbages and pumpkins at a native village below Mazaro. Our dinners had usually consisted of but a single course; but we were surprised the next day by our black cook from Sierra Leone bearing in a second course. "What have you got there?" was asked in wonder. "A tart, sir." "A tart! of what is it made?" "Of cabbage, sir." As we had no sugar, and could not "make believe," as in the days of boyhood, we did not enjoy the feast that Tom's genius had prepared. Her Majesty's brig "Persian," Lieutenant Saumarez commanding, called on her way to the Cape; and, though somewhat short of provisions herself, generously gave us all she could spare. We now parted with our Kroomen, as, from their inability to march, we could not use them in our land journeys. A crew was picked out from the Makololo, who, besides being good travellers, could cut wood, work the ship, and required only native food.
While at the Kongone it was found necessary to beach the steamer for repairs. She was built of a newly invented sort of steel plates, only a sixteenth of an inch in thickness, patented, but unfortunately never tried before. To build an exploring ship of untried material was a mistake. Some chemical action on this preparation of steel caused a minute hole; from this point, branches like lichens, or the little ragged stars we sometimes see in thawing ice, radiated in all directions. Small holes went through wherever a bend occurred in these branches. The bottom very soon became like a sieve, completely full of minute holes, which leaked perpetually. The engineer stopped the larger ones, but the vessel was no sooner afloat, than new ones broke out. The first news of a morning was commonly the unpleasant announcement of another leak in the forward compartment, or in the middle, which was worse still.
Frequent showers fell on our way up the Zambesi, in the beginning of August. On the 8th we had upwards of three inches of rain, which large quantity, more than falls in any single rainy day during the season at Tette, we owed to being near the sea. Sometimes the cabin was nearly flooded; for, in addition to the leakage from below, rain poured through the roof, and an umbrella had to be used whenever we wished to write: the mode of coupling the compartments, too, was a new one, and the action of the hinder compartment on the middle one pumped up the water of the river, and sent it in streams over the floor and lockers, where lay the cushions which did double duty as chairs and beds. In trying to form an opinion of the climate, it must be recollected that much of the fever, from which we suffered, was caused by sleeping on these wet cushions. Many of the botanical specimens, laboriously collected and carefully prepared by Dr. Kirk, were destroyed, or double work imposed, by their accidentally falling into wet places in the cabin.
About the middle of August, after cutting wood at Shamoara, we again steamed up the Shire, with the intention of becoming better acquainted with the people, and making another and longer journey on foot to the north of Lake Shirwa, in search of Lake Nyassa, of which we had already received some information, under the name Nyinyesi (the stars). The Shire is much narrower than the Zambesi, but deeper, and more easily navigated. It drains a low and exceedingly fertile valley of from fifteen to twenty miles in breadth. Ranges of wooded hills bound this valley on both sides. For the first twenty miles the hills on the left bank are close to the river; then comes Morambala, a detached mountain 500 yards from the river's brink, which rises, with steep sides on the west, to 4000 feet in height, and is about seven miles in length. It is wooded up to the very top, and very beautiful. The southern end, seen from a distance, has a fine gradual slope, and looks as if it might be of easy ascent; but the side which faces the Shire is steep and rocky, especially in the upper half. A small village peeps out about halfway up the mountain; it has a pure and bracing atmosphere; and is perched above mosquito range. The people on the summit have a very different climate and vegetation from those of the plains; but they have to spend a great portion of their existence amidst white fleecy clouds, which, in the rainy season, rest daily on the top of their favourite mountain. We were kindly treated by these mountaineers on our first ascent; before our second they were nearly all swept away by Mariano. Dr. Kirk found upwards of thirty species of ferns on this and other mountains, and even good-sized tree-ferns; though scarcely a single kind is to be met with on the plains. Lemon and orange trees grew wild, and pineapples had been planted by the people. Many large hornbills, hawks, monkeys, antelopes, and rhinoceroses found a home and food among the great trees round its base. A hot fountain boils up on the plain near the north end. It bubbles out of the earth, clear as crystal, at two points, or eyes, a few yards apart from each other, and sends off a fine flowing stream of hot water. The temperature was found to be 174 degrees Fahr., and it boiled an egg in about the usual time. Our guide threw in a small branch to show us how speedily the Madse-awira (boiling water) could kill the leaves. Unlucky lizards and insects did not seem to understand the nature of a hot-spring, as many of their remains were lying at the bottom. A large beetle had alighted on the water, and been killed before it had time to fold its wings. An incrustation, smelling of sulphur, has been deposited by the water on the stones. About a hundred feet from the eye of the fountain the mud is as hot as can be borne by the body. In taking a bath there, it makes the skin perfectly clean, and none of the mud adheres: it is strange that the Portuguese do not resort to it for the numerous cutaneous diseases with which they are so often afflicted.
A few clumps of the palm and acacia trees appear west of Morambala, on the rich plain forming the tongue of land between the rivers Shire and Zambesi. This is a good place for all sorts of game. The Zambesi canoe-men were afraid to sleep on it from the idea of lions being there; they preferred to pass the night on an island. Some black men, who accompanied us as volunteer workmen from Shupanga, called out one evening that a lion stood on the bank. It was very dark, and we could only see two sparkling lights, said to be the lion's eyes looking at us; for here, as elsewhere, they have a theory that the lion's eyes always flash fire at night. Not being fireflies--as they did not move when a shot was fired in their direction--they were probably glowworms.
Beyond Morambala the Shire comes winding through an extensive marsh. For many miles to the north a broad sea of fresh green grass extends, and is so level, that it might be used for taking the meridian altitude of the sun. Ten or fifteen miles north of Morambala, stands the dome-shaped mountain Makanga, or Chi-kanda; several others with granitic-looking peaks stretch away to the north, and form the eastern boundary of the valley; another range, but of metamorphic rocks, commencing opposite Senna, bounds the valley on the west. After streaming through a portion of this marsh, we came to a broad belt of palm and other trees, crossing the fine plain on the right bank. Marks of large game were abundant. Elephants had been feeding on the palm nuts, which have a pleasant fruity taste, and are used as food by man. Two pythons were observed coiled together among the branches of a large tree, and were both shot. The larger of the two, a female, was ten feet long. They are harmless, and said to be good eating. The Makololo having set fire to the grass where they were cutting wood, a solitary buffalo rushed out of the conflagration, and made a furious charge at an active young fellow named Mantlanyane. Never did his fleet limbs serve him better than during the few seconds of his fearful flight before the maddened animal. When he reached the bank, and sprang into the river, the infuriated beast was scarcely six feet behind him. Towards evening, after the day's labour in wood-cutting was over, some of the men went fishing. They followed the common African custom of agitating the water, by giving it a few sharp strokes with the top of the fishing-rod, immediately after throwing in the line, to attract the attention of the fish to the bait. Having caught nothing, the reason assigned was the same as would have been given in England under like circumstances, namely, that "the wind made the fish cold, and they would not bite." Many gardens of maize, pumpkins, and tobacco, fringed the marshy banks as we went on. They belong to natives of the hills, who come down in the dry season, and raise a crop on parts at other times flooded. While the crops are growing, large quantities of fish are caught, chiefly Clarias capensis, and Mugil Africanus; they are dried for sale or future consumption.
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