CHAPTER XVI. KAMRASI'S ADIEU.
Although we were in good health in Shooa, many of the men were ill, suffering generally from headache; also from ulcerated legs; - the latter was a peculiar disease, as the ulcer generally commenced upon the ankle bone and extended to such a degree that the patient was rendered incapable of walking. The treatment for headache among all the savage tribes was a simple cauterization of the forehead in spots burnt with a hot iron close to the roots of the hair. The natives declared that the water was unwholesome from the small stream at the foot of the hill and that all those who drank from the well were in good health. I went down to examine the spring, which I found beautifully clear, while the appearance of the stream was quite sufficient to explain the opposite quality. As I was walking quietly along the bank, I saw a bright ray of light in the grass upon the opposite side; in another moment I perceived the head of a crocodile which was concealed in the grass, the brightness of the sun's reflection upon the eye having attracted my attention. A shot with the little 24 rifle struck just above the eye and killed it; - it was a female, from which we extracted several large eggs, all with hard shells.
The shooting that I had while at Shooa was confined to antelopes; of these there was no variety excepting waterbuck and hartebeest. Whenever I shot an animal the Shooa natives would invariably cut its throat, and drink the hot blood as it gushed from the artery. In this neighbourhood there was a great scarcity of game the natives of Lira described their country as teeming with elephants and rhinoceros; a fine horn of the latter they brought with them to Shooa. There is only one variety of rhinoceros that I have met with in the portions of Africa that I have visited: this is the two-horned, a very exact sketch of which I made of the head of one that I cut off after I had shot it. This two-horned black rhinoceros is extremely vicious. I have remarked that they almost invariably charge any enemy that they smell, but do not see; they generally retreat if they observe the object before obtaining the wind.
In my rambles in search of game, I found two varieties of cotton growing indigenous to the country: one with a yellow blossom was so short in the staple as to be worthless, but the other (a red blossom) produced a fine quality that was detached with extreme ease from the seeds. A sample of this variety I brought to England, and deposited the seed at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. A large quantity was reported to be grown at Lira, some of which was brought me by the chief; this was the inferior kind. I sketched the old chief of Lira, who when in full dress wore a curious ornament of cowrie shells upon his felt wig that gave him a most comical appearance, as he looked like the caricature of an English judge. The Turks had extended their excursions in their search for ivory, and they returned from an expedition sixty miles east of Shooa, bringing with them two donkeys that they had obtained from the natives. This was an interesting event, as for nearly two years I had heard from the natives of Latooka, and from those of Unyoro, that donkeys existed in a country to the east. These animals were the same in appearance as those of the Soudan; the natives never rode, but simply used them to transport wood from the forest to their villages; the people were reported as the same in language and appearance as the Lira tribe.