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cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his headman,

system 2023-12-06 05:34:35489122249

Leaving the vessel opposite Chibisa's village, Drs. Livingstone and Kirk and a number of the Makololo started on foot for Lake Shirwa. They travelled in a northerly direction over a mountainous country. The people were far from being well-disposed to them, and some of their guides tried to mislead them, and could not be trusted. Masakasa, a Makololo headman, overheard some remarks which satisfied him that the guide was leading them into trouble. He was quiet till they reached a lonely spot, when he came up to Dr. Livingstone, and said, "That fellow is bad, he is taking us into mischief; my spear is sharp, and there is no one here; shall I cast him into the long grass?" Had the Doctor given the slightest token of assent, or even kept silence, never more would any one have been led by that guide, for in a twinkling he would have been where "the wicked cease from troubling." It was afterwards found that in this case there was no treachery at all, but a want of knowledge on their part of the language and of the country. They asked to be led to "Nyanja Mukulu," or Great Lake, meaning, by this, Lake Shirwa; and the guide took them round a terribly rough piece of mountainous country, gradually edging away towards a long marsh, which from the numbers of those animals we had seen there we had called the Elephant Marsh, but which was really the place known to him by the name "Nyanja Mukulu," or Great Lake. Nyanja or Nyanza means, generally, a marsh, lake, river, or even a mere rivulet.

cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his headman,

The party pushed on at last without guides, or only with crazy ones; for, oddly enough, they were often under great obligations to the madmen of the different villages: one of these honoured them, as they slept in the open air, by dancing and singing at their feet the whole night. These poor fellows sympathized with the explorers, probably in the belief that they belonged to their own class; and, uninfluenced by the general opinion of their countrymen, they really pitied, and took kindly to the strangers, and often guided them faithfully from place to place, when no sane man could be hired for love or money.

cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his headman,

The bearing of the Manganja at this time was very independent; a striking contrast to the cringing attitude they afterwards assumed, when the cruel scourge of slave-hunting passed over their country. Signals were given from the different villages by means of drums, and notes of defiance and intimidation were sounded in the travellers' ears by day; and occasionally they were kept awake the whole night, in expectation of an instant attack. Drs. Livingstone and Kirk were desirous that nothing should occur to make the natives regard them as enemies; Masakasa, on the other hand, was anxious to show what he could do in the way of fighting them.

cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his headman,

The perseverance of the party was finally crowned with success; for on the 18th of April they discovered Lake Shirwa, a considerable body of bitter water, containing leeches, fish, crocodiles, and hippopotami. From having probably no outlet, the water is slightly brackish, and it appears to be deep, with islands like hills rising out of it. Their point of view was at the base of Mount Pirimiti or Mopeu-peu, on its S.S.W. side. Thence the prospect northwards ended in a sea horizon with two small islands in the distance--a larger one, resembling a hill-top and covered with trees, rose more in the foreground. Ranges of hills appeared on the east; and on the west stood Mount Chikala, which seems to be connected with the great mountain-mass called Zomba.

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.

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