Chapter XII. Palace, Uganda - Continued
20th. - I became dead tired of living all alone, with nothing else to occupy my time save making these notes every day in my office letter-book, as my store of stationery was left at Karague. I had no chance of seeing any visitors, save the tiresome pages, who asked me to give or to do something for the king every day; and my prospect was cheerless, as I had been flatly refused a visit to Usoga until Grant should come. For want of better amusement, I made a page of Lugoi, a sharp little lad, son of the late Beluch, but adopted by Uledi, and treated him as a son, which he declared he wished to be, for he liked me better than Uledi as a father. He said he disliked Uganda, where people's lives are taken like those of fowls; and wished to live at the coast, the only place he ever heard of, where all the Wanguana come from - great swells in Lugoi's estimation. Now, with Lugoi dressed in a new white pillow-case, with holes trimmed with black tape for his head and arms to go through, a dagger tied with red bindera round his waist, and a square of red blanket rolled on his shoulder as a napkin, for my gun to rest on, or in place of a goat-skin run when he wished to sit down, I walked off to inquire how the Kamraviona was, and took my pictures with me.
Lugoi's dress, however, absorbed all their thoughts, and he was made to take it off and put it on again as often as any fresh visitor came to call. Hardly a word was said about anything else; even the pictures, which generally are in such demand, attracted but little notice. I asked the Kamraviona to allow me to draw his pet dog; when the king's sister Miengo came in and sat down, laughing and joking with me immoderately.
At first there was a demur about my drawing the dog - whether from fear of bewitching the animal or not, I cannot say; but instead of producing the pet - a beautifully-formed cream-coloured dog - a common black one was brought in, which I tied in front of Miengo, and then drew both woman and dog together. After this unlawful act was discovered, of drawing the king's sister without his consent, the whole company roared with laughter, and pretended nervous excitement lest I should book them likewise. One of my men, Sangoro, did not return to camp last night from foraging; and as my men suspect the Waganda must have murdered him, I told the Kamraviona, requesting him to find out; but he coolly said, "Look for him yourselves two days more, for Wanguana often make friends with our people, and so slip away from their masters; but as they are also often murdered, provided you cannot find him in that time, we will have the Mganga out."
21st. - Last night I was turned out of my bed by a terrible hue and cry from the quarter allotted to Rozaro and his Wanyambo companions; for the Waganda had threatened to demolish my men, one by one, for seizing their pombe and plaintains, though done according to the orders of the king; and now, finding the Wanyambo nearest to the road, they set on them by moonlight, with spear and club, maltreating them severely, till, with reinforcements, the Wanyambo gained the ascendancy, seized two spears and one shield as a trophy, and drove their enemies off. In the morning, I sent the Wakungu off with the trophies to the king, again complaining that he had turned my men into a pack of highwaymen, and, as I foresaw, had thus created enmity between the Waganda and them, much to my annoyance. I therefore begged he would institute some means to prevent any further occurrence of such scenes, otherwise I would use firearms in self-defence.
Whilst these men were on this mission, I went on a like errand to the queen, taking my page Lugoi with the liver medicine. The first object of remark was Lugoi, as indeed it was everywhere; for, as I walked along, crowds ran after the little phenomenon. Then came the liver questions; and, finally what I wanted - her complaint against my men for robbing on the road, as it gave me the opportunity of telling her the king was doing what I had been trying to undo with my stick ever since I left the coast; and I begged she would use influence to correct these disagreeables. She told me for the future to send my men to her palace for food, and rob no more; in the meanwhile, here were some plantains for them. She then rose and walked away, leaving me extremely disappointed that I could not make some more tangible arrangement with her - such as, if my men came and found the gate shut, what were they to do then? there were forty-five of them; how much would she allow; etc. etc. But this was a true specimen of the method of transacting business among the royal family of Uganda. They gave orders without knowing how they are to be carried out, and treat all practical arrangements as trifling details not worth attending to.