Chapter V. Unyamuezi
On my questioning him about the Nile, Snay still thought the N'yanza was the source of the Jub river[FN#8] as he did in our former journey, but gave way when I told him that vessels frequented the Nile, as this also coincided with his knowledge of navigators in vessels appearing on some waters to the northward of Unyoro. In a great hurry he then bade me good-bye; when, as he thought it would be final, I gave him, in consideration of his former good services to the last expedition, one of the gold watches given me by the Indian Government. I saw him no more, though he and all the other Arabs sent me presents of cows, goats, and rice, with a notice that they should have gone on their war-oath before, only, hearing of my arrival, out of due respect to my greatness they waited to welcome me in. Further, after doing for Manua Sera, they were determined to go on to Ugogo to assist Salem bin Saif and the other merchants on, during which, at the same time, they would fight all the Wagogo who persisted in taking taxes and in harassing caravans. At the advice of Musa, I sent Maula's son off at night to tell the old chief how sorry I was to find the Arabs so hot-headed I could not even effect an arrangement with them. It was a great pity; for Manua Sera was so much liked by the Wanyamuezi, they would, had they been able, have done anything to restore him.
Next day the non-belligerent Arabs left in charge of the station, headed by my old friends Abdulla and Mohinna, came to pay their respects again, recognising in me, as they said, a "personification of their sultan," and therefore considering what they were doing only due to my rank. They regretted with myself that Snay was so hot-headed; for they themselves thought a treaty of peace would have been the best thing for them, for they were more than half-ruined already, and saw no hope for the future. Then, turning to geography, I told Abdulla all I had written and lectured in England concerning his stories about navigators on the N'yanza, which I explained must be the Nile, and wished to know if I should alter it in any way: but he said, "Do not; you may depend it will all turn out right;" to which Musa added, all the people in the north told him that when the N'yanza rose, the stream rushed with such violence it tore up islands and floated them away.
I was puzzled at this announcement, not then knowing that both the lake and the Nile, as well as all ponds, were called N'yanza: but we shall see afterwards that he was right; and it was in consequence of this confusion in the treatment of distinctly different geographical features under one common name by these people, that in my former journey I could not determine where the lake had ended and the Nile began. Abdulla again - he had done so on the former journey - spoke to me of a wonderful mountain to the northward of Karague, so high and steep no one could ascend it. It was, he said, seldom visible, being up in the clouds, where white matter, snow or hail, often fell. Musa said this hill was in Ruanda, a much larger country than Urundi; and further, both men said, as they had said before, that the lands of Usoga and Unyoro were islands, being surrounded by water; and a salt lake, which was called N'yanza, though not the great Victoria N'yanza lay on the other said of the Unyoro, from which direction Rumanika, king of Karague, sometimes got beads forwarded to him by Kamrasi, king of Unyoro, of a different sort from any brought from Zanzibar. Moreover, these beads were said to have been plundered from white men by the Wakidi, - a stark-naked people who live up in trees - have small stools fixed on behind, always ready for sitting - wear their hair hanging down as far as the rump, all covered with cowrie-shells - suspend beads from wire attached to their ears and their lower lips - and wear strong iron collars and bracelets.
This people, I was told, are so fierce in war that no other tribe can stand against them, though they only fight with short spears. When this discourse was ended, ever perplexed about the Tanganyika being a still lake, I enquired of Mohinna and other old friends what they thought about the Marungu river: did it run into or out of the lake? and they all still adhered to its running into the lake - which, after all, in my mind, is the most conclusive argument that it does run out of the lake, making it one of a chain of lakes leading to the N'yanza, and through it by the Zambezi into the sea; for all the Arabs on the former journey said the Rusizi river ran out of the Tanganyika, as also the Kitangule ran out of the N'yanza, and the Nile ran into it, even though Snay said he thought the Jub river drained the N'yanza. All these statements were, when literally translated into English, the reverse of what the speakers, using a peculiar Arab idiom, meant to say; for all the statements made as to the flow of rivers by the negroes - who apparently give the same meaning to "out" and "in" as we do - contradicted the Arabs in their descriptions of the direction of the flow of these rivers.