« PreviousContinue »
“ Ma tutta insieme poi tra verdi sponde
In profondo canal l'acqua s'aduna,
Tasso. African travel in the heroic ages art to bring out the infinitude and of Bruce, Mungo Park, and Clap- rude magnificence of nature. A few
A perton, had a prestige which lived donjon-ruins upon the hills would through two generations; and, as is enable it to compare with the most the fate of things sublunary, came to admired prospects of the Rhine, and an untimely end. The public, sati- with half-a-dozen white
kiosks, minaated with adventure and invention, rets, and latticed summer-houses, it suffers in these days of “ damnable would almost rival that gem of crealicense of printing" from the hu- tion, the Bosphorus, . mours of severe surfeit. It nauseates Pangany. in the hole," and its the monotonous recital of rapine, smaller neighbour Kumba, hug the treachery, and murder; of ugly sav
left bank of the river, upon a strip ages--the mala gens, as was said of shore bounded by the sea, and a anent Kentish men, of a bona terra hill-range ten or eleven miles dis-of bleared misery by day, and ani- tant. Opposite are Bueny and Mzimo mated filth by night, and of hunting Pia, villages built under yellow sandadventures and hairbreadth escapes, stone bluffs, impenetrably covered lacking the interest of catastrophe. with wild trees. The river, which It laments the absence of tradition separates these rival couples, may be and monuments of the olden time, 200 yards broad. The mouth has a the dearth of variety, of beauty, of bar and a wash at low tide, except
Yet the theme still con- at the south, where there is a narrow tinues to fulfil all the conditions of channel, now seven or eight-in Capattractiveness set forth by Leigh tain Owen's time, twelve-feet deep. Hunt. It hath remoteness and ob- The entrance for vessels—they lie scurity of place, difference of custom, snugly opposite the town—is difficult marvellousness of hearsay. Events and dangerous : even Hamid, most surpassing, yet credible; sometimes niggardly of niggard Suris, expended barbaric splendour-at least luxu- a dollar upon a pilot. At low water riance of nature; savage contentment, the bed of this tidal stream shrinks. personal danger and suffering, with a During the rains, swelling with hillmoral enthusiasm. And to the writer, freshes, it is almost potable; and when no hours are more fraught with smil- the sea flows, it is briny as the main. ing recollections — nothing can be The wells produce heavy and brackish more charming than the contrast be- drink ; but who, as the people say, tween his vantage-ground of present will take the trouble to fetch sweeter ease and that past perspective of The climate is said to be healthy in wants, hardships, and accidents, upon the dry season, but the long and sewhich he gazes through the softening vere rains are rich in fatal bilious medium of time.
remittents. We arose early in the morning after Pangany boasts of nineteen or arrival at Pangany, and repaired to twenty stone houses. The remainder the terrace for the better enjoyment is a mass of cadjan huts, each with of the view. The vista of the river- its wide mat-encircled yard, wherein with low coco-groves to the north, all the business of life is transacted. tall yellow cliffs on the southern side. The settlement is surrounded by a a distance of blue hill, the broad thorny jungle, which at times harstream bounded by walls of verdure, bours a host of leopards. One of and the azure sea, dotted with diobo- these beasts lately scaled the high lites, or little black rocks—wanted terrace of our house, and seized upon nothing but the finish and polish of a slave-girl. Her master, the burly
backwali, who was sleeping by her fuse the seventy or eighty, savages side, gallantly caught up his sword, who every evening besiege his door ran'into the house, and bolted the with cries for grain, butter, or a little door, heedless of the miserable cry, oil. Besides Zanzibar rafters, which
B’ana, help me!” * The wretch are cut in the river, holcus, maize, was carried to the jungle and de- and ghee, Pangany, 'I am told, exvoured. The river is equally full of ports annually 35,000 lb. of ivory, alligators, and whilst we were at 1750 lb. of black rhinoceros' horn, Pangany a boy disappeared. When and 16 of hippopotamus' teeth. asked by strangers why they do not After the dancing ceremony arose shoot their alligators, and burn their a variety of difficulties, resulting wood, the people reply that the former from the African travellers' twin bring good-luck, and the latter is a banes, the dollar and the blood-feud. fort to which they can fly in need. Pangany and Bueny, like all settleCocos, arecas, and plantains, grow ments upon this coast, belong, by a about the town. Around are gardens right of succession,
to the Sazzid, or of papaws, betel, and jamlis; and Prince-Regnant of Zanzibar, who consomewhat further, lie extensive plan- firms and invests the governors and tations of holcus and maize, of sesa- diwans. At Pangany, however, mum, and other grains. The clove these officials are par congé d'élire flourishes; and, as elsewhere upon selected by Kimwere, Sultan of the coast, a little cotton is cultivated Usembara, whose ancestors received for domestic use. Beasts are rare. tribute and allegiance from Para to Cows die after eating the grass; goats the sea-board. On the other hand, give no milk ; and sheep are hardly Bueny is in the territory of the procurable. But fish abounds. Poul- Wazegura, a violent and turbulent try thrives, as it does all over Africa; heathen race, inveterate slave-dealers, and before the late feuds, clarified cow- and thoughtlessly allowed by the butter, that one sauce” of the outer Arabs to lay up goodly stores of East, was cheap and well-flavoured. muskets, powder, and ball. Of course
Pangany, with the three other vil- the two tribes, Wasumbara and lages, may contain a total of four thou- Wazegura, are deadly foes. Moresand' inhabitants — Arabs, Moslem over, about a year ago, a violent inSawahili, and heathens. Of these, testine feud broke out amongst the female slaves form a large propor- Wazegura, who, at the time of our tion. Twenty Banyans manage the visit, were burning and murdering, lucrative ivory trade of the Nguru, kidnapping and slave-selling in all Masai, and Chhaga countries. These directions. The citizens of Pangany, merchants complain loudly of their therefore, hearing that pagazi, or porters, who receive ten bearers of a letter from the Sazzid dollars for the journey, half paid of Zanzibar to Sultan Kimwere, down, the remainder upon return; marked out for us the circuitous and the proprietor congratulates him- route via Tangate, where no Wazeself if, after payment, only 15 per gura could try their valour. We, on cent run away. The Hindoos' pro- the other hand, wishing to inspect fits, however, must be enormous. I the Pangany River, determined upon saw one man to whom twenty-six proceeding by the directest line along thousand dollars were owed by the its left or northern bank. The timid people. What part must interest and townsmen had also circulated a recompound-interest have played in port that we were bound for Chhaga making up such sum, where even and Kilimanjaro; the Masai were Europeans demand 40 per cent for "out,” the rains were setting in, and monies lent on safe mortgage and they saw with us no armed escort. bottomry! Their only drawback is They resolved, therefore, not to acthe inveterate beggary of the people. company us; but not the less did Here the very princes are mendi- each man expect as usual his gift of cants; and the Banyan dare not re- dollars and bribe of inducement.
* B'ana means Sir," or Master," and is also prefixed to pames. Muigni is the equivalent of the Arabic Sazzid-a prince not a descendant of the Prophet.
The expense of the journey was too oriental for our tastes. We reeven a more serious consideration. fused, however, the Muigni’s demand In these lands the dollar is almighty. in his own tone. Following their If deficient, you must travel alone, prince, the dancing diwans claimed unaccompanied at least by any but a fee for permission to reside; as they blacks, without other instrument but worded it, “el adah” – the habit ; a note-book, and with few arms; you based it upon an ancient present must conform to every nauseous cus- from Colonel Hamerton; and were in tom; you will be subjected, at the manifest process of establishing a most interesting points, to perpetual local custom which, in Africa, bestoppages; your remarks will be well- comes law to remotest posterity. We nigh worthless; and you may make flatly objected, showed ourletters, and, up your mind that, unless one in a in the angriest of moods, threatened million, want and hardship will con- reference to Zanzibar. Briefly all duct you to sickness and death. This began to beg bakhshish; but I is one extreme, and from it to the not remember any one obtaining it. other there is no golden mean. With Weary of these importunities, we abundance of money-certainly not resolved to visit Chogway, a Beloch less than £5000 per annum-an ex- outpost, and thence, aided by the ploring party can trace its own line, jemadar who had preceded us from paying off all opposers ; it can study Pangany, to push for the capital. whatever is requisite; handle sextants village of Usumbara. We made in presence of negroes, who would preparations secretly, dismissed the cut every throat for one inch of brass; "Rianni,” rejected the diwans who and by travelling in comfort, can wished' to accompany us as spies, secure a fair chance of return. Either left Said bin Salim and one Portus from Mombas or from Pangany, with un rescort of one hundred match locka house of "Meriko, the polvernor, who
to watch in men, we might have marched through had accompanied' his Muigni to Zanthe Masai plunderers to Chhaga and zibar, and, under pretext of a short Kilimanjaro. But pay, porterage, shooting excursion, hired a long
. and provisions for such a party, would canoe with four men, loaded it with have amounted to at least £100 per the luggage required for a fortnight, week: a month and a half would and started with the tide at 11 A.M. have absorbed our means. Thus it on the 6th of January 1857. was, gentle reader, that we were First we grounded; then we were compelled to rest contented with a taken aback; then a puff of wind yisit to Fuga.
drove us forward with railway speed; Presently the plot thickened.
plot thickened. then we grounded again. At last Muigni Khatib, son of Sultan Kim- we were successful in turning the were, a black of most unprepossessing first dangerous angle of the river. physiognomy, with a "villanous trick Here, when sea-breeze and tide meet of the eye, and a foolish hanging of the “ buffing stream”—as usual at the nether lip," a prognathous jaw, the mouths of African rivers the wind garnished with cat-like mustaches is high and fair from the interiorand cobweb beard, a sour frown, and navigation is perilous to small craft. abundant surliness by way of dignity, Many have filled and sunk beneath dressed like an Arab, and raised by the ridge of short chopping waves. El Islam above his fellows, sent a After five miles, during which the message directing us to place in his stream, streaked with lines of froth, hands what we intended for his gradually narrowed, we found it father. This chief was travelling to barely brackish ; and somewhat furZanzibar in fear and trembling. He ther, sweet as the celebrated creek. had tried to establish at his village, water of Guiana. Kirore, a Romulian asylum for run- And now, while writing amid the away slaves, and, having partially suc- soughing blasts, the rain and the ceeded, he dreaded the consequences. darkened air of a south-west monThe Beloch jemadar strongly urged soon, I remember with yearning the us privily to cause his detention at bright and beautiful spectacle of the islands; a precaution somewhat those African rivers, whose loveli
ness, like that of the dead, seems en- lew's scream, or by the breeze rusthanced by proximity to decay. We ling the tree-tops, whispering among had changed the amene and graceful the matted foliage, and swooning sandstone scenery, on the sea-board, upon the tepid bosom of the wave. for a view novel and most character- Amid such scenes we rowed and istic. The hippopotamus now raised poled till the setting sun spread its his head from the waters, snorted, cloak of purple over a low white gazed upon us, and sank into his cliff, at whose base the wave breaks, native depths. Alligators, terrified and on whose hoary head linger by the splash of oars, waddled down venerable trees, contrasting with the with their horrid claws, dinting the underwood of the other bank. Here slimy bank, and lay like yellow logs, lies the Pir of Wasin, a saint describmeasuring us with small, malignant, ed by our Beloch guide as a very green eyes, deep set under warty angry holy man.” "A Sherif of pure brows. Monkeys rustled the tall blood, he gallantly headed, in centrees. Below, jungle-men and wo- turies gone by, his Moslem followers,
flying from Pangany when it was “So withered, and so wild in their attacked by a ravenous pack of Inattire,
fidels. The latter seem to have had That look not like th' inhabitants o' th’ the advantage in running. They earth,
caught the Faithful at these cliffs, and And yet are on't"
were proceeding to exterminate them, planted their shoulder-cloths, their when mother earth, at the Sherif's rude crates, and coarse weirs, upon prayer, opening wide, received them the mud inlets where fish abounded.
in her bosom. This Pir will not The sky was sparkling blue, the allow the trees to be cut down, water bluer, and over both spread or the inundation to rise above his the thinnest haze, tempering raw
tomb. Moreover, if the devotee, after tones of colour to absolute beauty. cooking food at the grave in honour On both sides of the shrinking stream of its tenant, ventures to lick fingers a dense curtain of many-tinted vegeta
napkins are not used in East tion,
Africa-he is at once delivered over
to haunting jinns. The Belochies “ Yellow and black, and pale and hectic red,"
never pass the place without casting
a handful of leaves, a bullet, or a shadowed swirling pools, where the few grains of powder, into the stream. current swept upon the growth of The guide once told, in the voice of intertwisted fibres. The Nakhl el awe, how a Suri Arab, doubtless taintShaytan, or Devil's Date, eccentric in ed with Wallali heresy, had expressfoliage and frondage, projected grace- ed an opinion that this Pir had been fully curved arms, sometimes thirty a mere mortal, but little better than and forty feet long, over the wave. himself; how the scoffer's ship was This dwarf-giant of palms has no wrecked within the year; and how trunk, but the mid-rib of each branch he passed through water into jehanis thick as a man's thigh.
num-fire. Probatum est. Defend us, watery margin large lilies of snowy Allah, from the Sins of Reason ! brightness, some sealed by day; others, The tide, running like a mill-race, wide expanded, gleamed beautifully compelled our crew to turn into a against the dark verdure and the little inlet near Pombui, a stockaded russet-brown of the bank-stream. village on the river's left bank. The In scattered spots were interwoven people, who are subject to Zanzibar, traces of human presence; tall arecas Hockedout to welcome their strangers, and cocos waving over a now im- laid down a bridge of coco-ribs, penetrable jungle ; plantains, sugar- brought chairs, and offered a dish of cane and bitter oranges, choked with small green mangos, here a great wild growth, still lingered about the luxury. We sat under a tree till homestead, blackened by the mur- midnight, unsatiated with the charm derer's fire. And all around reigned of the hour. The moon rained molten the eternal African silence, deep and silver over the dark foliage of the saddening, broken only by the cur- wild palms, the stars were as golden
lamps suspended in the limpid air, garrison ever suffers from sickness; and® Venus glittered diamond-like and the men, dull as a whaler's crew, upon the front of the firmament. abhor the melancholy desolate situThe fire-flies now sparkled simultan- ation. The frequent creeks around eously over the earth ; then, as if by are crossed by tree-bridges. The walk concerted impulse, their glow vanish- to Pangany, over a rugged road, oced in the glooms of the ground. At cupies from five to six hours, yet few our feet lay the black creek; in the but the slaves avail themselves of the jungle beasts roared fitfully ; and proximity. A stout snake-fence surthe night wind mingled melancholy rounds the hill-top, crested by the sounds with the swelling murmuring cadjan penthouses of these Bashi of the stream.
Buzuks: its fortifications are two The tide flowing about midnight, platforms for matchlockmen planted we resumed our way.
on high poles, like the Indian “Maythen became a sable streak between chan. The Washenzy savages somelofty rows of trees. The hippopo- times creep up at night to the huts, tamus snorted close to our stern, and shoot a few arrows, set fire to the the crew begged me to fire, for the matting, and hurriedly levant. When purpose of frightening Sultan Momba we visited Chogway, the Wazegura -a pernicious rogue. At times we were fighting with one another, but heard the splashing of the beasts as they did not molest the Belochies. they scrambled over the shoals; at South of the river rises a detached others, they struggled with loud hill, “ Tongway Muanapiro,
,” called grunts up the miry banks. Then in our charts Gendagenda,” which again all was quiet. After a pro- may be seen from Zanzibar. Here tracted interval of silence, the near rules one Mwere, a chief hostile to voice of a man startled us in the the Bashi Buzuks, who, not caring deep drear stillness of night, as though to soil their hands with negro blood, it had been some ghostly sound. At make their slaves fight his men, 2 A.M., reaching a clear tract on the even as the ingenuous youth of Eton river-side — the Ghaut or landing- sent their scouts to contend at cricket place of Chogway - we made fast with the ambitious youth of Rugby. the canoe, looked to our weapons, Fifty stout fellows, with an ambiand, covering our faces against the tious leader and a little money, might heavy clammy dew, lay down to soon conquer the whole country, and snatch an hour's sleep. The total establish there an absolute monardistance rowed was about 13.5 miles. chy.
We began the next morning with These Beloch mercenaries merit an inspection of Chogway, the Bazar, some notice. They were preferred, to which we were escorted by the as being somewhat disciplinable, by jemadar with_sundry discharges of the late Sazzid Said, to his futile matchlocks. It was first occupied blacks and his unruly and self-willed about five years ago, when Sultan Oman Arabs. He entertained from Kimwere offered Tongway or Mer- 1000 to 1500 men, and scattered inga—a lofty peak in the continuous them over the country in charge of range to the north-west--with cheap the forts. The others hate themgenerosity, as a mission-station to
divisions even amongst Dr Krapf. The position is badly children was the ruler's policy-and chosen, water is distant, the rugged nickname them “Kurara Kurara. eoil produces nothing but vetches The jemadar and the governor are and manive, and it is exposed to rarely on speaking terms. Calling miasma when the inundation sub- themselves Belochies, they are mostly sides upon the black alluvial plain from the regions about Kech and below the hillock. Commanding, Bampur. They are mixed up with a however, the Southern Usumbara rabble-rout of Affghans and Arabs, road, it affords opportunity for Indians and Sudies,t and they speak something in the looting line. The half-a-dozen different languages.
To sleep! to sleep !-"rárá" being the Beloch mispronunciation of lálá. + The pure negro is universally called “Sudy” in Western India