all fall upon you together and slay you. M'ganwazam is
The cutting up of an elephant is quite a unique spectacle. The men stand remind the animal in dead silence, while the chief of the travelling party declares that, according to ancient law, the head and right hind-leg belong to him who killed the beast, that is, to him who inflicted the first wound; the left leg to bins who delivered the second, or first touched the animal after it fell. The meat around the eye to the English, or chief of the travellers, and different parts to the headmen of the different fires, or groups, of which the camp is composed; not forgetting to enjoin the preservation of the fat and bowels for a second distribution. This oration finished, the natives soon become excited, and scream wildly as they cut away at the carcass with a score of spears, whose long handles quiver in the air above their heads. Their excitement becomes momentarily more and more intense, and reaches the culminating point when, as denoted by a roar of gas, the huge mass is laid fairly open. Some jump inside, and roll about there in their eagerness to seize the precious fat, while others run off, screaming, with pieces of the bloody meat, throw it on the grass, and run back for more: all keep talking and shouting at the utmost pitch of their voices. Sometimes two or three, regardless of all laws, seize the same piece of meat, and have a brief fight of words over it. Occasionally an agonized yell bursts forth, and a native emerges out of the moving mass of dead elephant and wriggling humanity, with his hand badly cut by the spear of his excited friend and neighbour: this requires a rag and some soothing words to prevent bad blood. In an incredibly short time tons of meat are cut up, and placed in separate heaps around.
Sandia arrived soon after the beast was divided: he is an elderly man, and wears a wig made of "ife" fibre (sanseviera) dyed black, and of a fine glossy appearance. This plant is allied to the aloes, and its thick fleshy leaves, in shape somewhat like our sedges, when bruised yield much fine strong fibre, which is made into ropes, nets, and wigs. It takes dyes readily, and the fibre might form a good article of commerce. "Ife" wigs, as we afterwards saw, are not uncommon in this country, though perhaps not so common as hair wigs at home. Sandia's mosamela, or small carved wooden pillow, exactly resembling the ancient Egyptian one, was hung from the back of his neck; this pillow and a sleeping mat are usually carried by natives when on hunting excursions.
We had the elephant's fore-foot cooked for ourselves, in native fashion. A large hole was dug in the ground, in which a fire was made; and, when the inside was thoroughly heated, the entire foot was placed in it, and covered over with the hot ashes and soil; another fire was made above the whole, and kept burning all night. We had the foot thus cooked for breakfast next morning, and found it delicious. It is a whitish mass, slightly gelatinous, and sweet, like marrow. A long march, to prevent biliousness, is a wise precaution after a meal of elephant's foot. Elephant's trunk and tongue are also good, and, after long simmering, much resemble the hump of a buffalo and the tongue of an ox; but all the other meat is tough, and, from its peculiar flavour, only to be eaten by a hungry man. The quantities of meat our men devour is quite astounding. They boil as much as their pots will hold, and eat till it becomes physically impossible for them to stow away any more. An uproarious dance follows, accompanied with stentorian song; and as soon as they have shaken their first course down, and washed off the sweat and dust of the after performance, they go to work to roast more: a short snatch of sleep succeeds, and they are up and at it again; all night long it is boil and eat, roast and devour, with a few brief interludes of sleep. Like other carnivora, these men can endure hunger for a much longer period than the mere porridge-eating tribes. Our men can cook meat as well as any reasonable traveller could desire; and, boiled in earthen pots, like Indian chatties, it tastes much better than when cooked in iron ones.
Magnificent scenery--Method of marching--Hippopotamus killed--Lions and buffalo--Sequasha the ivory-trader.
Sandia gave us two guides; and on the 4th of June we left the Elephant valley, taking a westerly course; and, after crossing a few ridges, entered the Chingerere or Paguruguru valley, through which, in the rainy season, runs the streamlet Pajodze. The mountains on our left, between us and the Zambesi, our guides told us have the same name as the valley, but that at the confluence of the Pajodze is called Morumbwa. We struck the river at less than half a mile to the north of the cataract Morumbwa. On climbing up the base of this mountain at Pajodze, we found that we were distant only the diameter of the mountain from the cataract. In measuring the cataract we formerly stood on its southern flank; now we were perched on its northern flank, and at once recognized the onion-shaped mountain, here called Zakavuma, whose smooth convex surface overlooks the broken water. Its bearing by compass was l80 degrees from the spot to which we had climbed, and 700 or 800 yards distant. We now, from this standing-point, therefore, completed our inspection of all Kebrabasa, and saw what, as a whole, was never before seen by Europeans so far as any records show.
The remainder of the Kebrabasa path, on to Chicova, was close to the compressed and rocky river. Ranges of lofty tree-covered mountains, with deep narrow valleys, in which are dry watercourses, or flowing rivulets, stretch from the north-west, and are prolonged on the opposite side of the river in a south-easterly direction. Looking back, the mountain scenery in Kebrabasa was magnificent; conspicuous from their form and steep sides, are the two gigantic portals of the cataract; the vast forests still wore their many brilliant autumnal- coloured tints of green, yellow, red, purple, and brown, thrown into relief by the grey bark of the trunks in the background. Among these variegated trees were some conspicuous for their new livery of fresh light-green leaves, as though the winter of others was their spring. The bright sunshine in these mountain forests, and the ever-changing forms of the cloud shadows, gliding over portions of the surface, added fresh charms to scenes already surpassingly beautiful.
From what we have seen of the Kebrabasa rocks and rapids, it appears too evident that they must always form a barrier to navigation at the ordinary low water of the river; but the rise of the water in this gorge being as much as eighty feet perpendicularly, it is probable that a steamer might be taken up at high flood, when all the rapids are smoothed over, to run on the Upper Zambesi. The most formidable cataract in it, Morumbwa, has only about twenty feet of fall, in a distance of thirty yards, and it must entirely disappear when the water stands eighty feet higher. Those of the Makololo who worked on board the ship were not sorry at the steamer being left below, as they had become heartily tired of cutting the wood that the insatiable furnace of the "Asthmatic" required. Mbia, who was a bit of a wag, laughingly exclaimed in broken English, "Oh, Kebrabasa good, very good; no let shippee up to Sekeletu, too muchee work, cuttee woodyee, cuttee woodyee: Kebrabasa good." It is currently reported, and commonly believed, that once upon a time a Portuguese named Jose Pedra,--by the natives called Nyamatimbira,--chief, or capitao mor, of Zumbo, a man of large enterprise and small humanity,- -being anxious to ascertain if Kebrabasa could be navigated, made two slaves fast to a canoe, and launched it from Chicova into Kebrabasa, in order to see if it would come out at the other end. As neither slaves nor canoe ever appeared again, his Excellency concluded that Kebrabasa was unnavigable. A trader had a large canoe swept away by a sudden rise of the river, and it was found without damage below; but the most satisfactory information was that of old Sandia, who asserted that in flood all Kebrabasa became quite smooth, and he had often seen it so.
We emerged from the thirty-five or forty miles of Kebrabasa hills into the Chicova plains on the 7th of June, 1860, having made short marches all the way. The cold nights caused some of our men to cough badly, and colds in this country almost invariably become fever. The Zambesi suddenly expands at Chicova, and assumes the size and appearance it has at Tette. Near this point we found a large seam of coal exposed in the left bank.
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