Chapter XIII. Palace, Uganda - Continued
18th. - To-day I visited Kaggao with my medicine-chest. He had a local disease, which he said came to him by magic, though a different cause was sufficiently obvious, and wanted medicine such as I gave Mkuenda, who reported that I gave him a most wonderful draught. Unfortunately I had nothing suitable to give my new patient, but cautioned him to have a care lest contagion should run throughout his immense establishment, and explained the whole of the circumstances to him. Still he was not satisfied; he would give me slaves, cows, or ivory, if I would only cure him. He was a very great man, as I could see, with numerous houses, numerous wives, and plenty of everything, so that it was ill-becoming of him to be without his usual habits. Rejecting his munificent offers, I gave him a cooling dose of calomel and jalap, which he drank like pombe, and pronounced beautiful - holding up his hands, and repeating the words "Beautiful, beautiful! they are all beautiful together! There is Bana beautiful! his box is beautiful! and his medicine beautiful!" - and, saying this, led us in to see his women, who at my request were grouped in war apparel - viz., a dirk fastened to the waist by many strings of coloured beads. There were from fifty to sixty women present, all very lady-like, but none of them pretty. Kaggao then informed me the king had told all his Wakungu he would keep me as his guest four months longer to see if Petherick came; and should he not by that time, he would give me an estate, stocked with men, women, and cattle, in perpetuity, so that, if I ever wished to leave Uganda, I should always have something to come back to; so I might now know what my fate was to be. Before leaving, Kaggao presented us with two cows and ten baskets of potatoes.
19th. - I sent a return present of two wires and twelve fundo of beads of sorts to Kaggao, and heard that the king had gone to show himself off to his mother dressed Bana fashion. In the evening Katunzi, N'yamasore's brother, just returned from the Unyoro plunder, called on me whilst I was at dinner. Not knowing who he was, and surprised at such audacity in Uganda, for he was the first officer who ever ventured to come near me in this manner, I offered him a knife and fork, and a share in the repast, which rather abashed him; for, taking it as a rebuff, he apologised immediately for the liberty he had taken, contrary to the etiquette of Uganda society, in coming to a house when the master was at dinner; and he would have left again had I not pressed him to remain. Katunzi then told me the whole army had returned from Unyoro, with immense numbers of cows, women, and children, but not men, for those who did not run away were killed fighting. He offered me a present of a woman, and pressed me to call on him.
20th. - Still I found that the king would not send his Wakungu for the Unyoro expedition, so I called on him about it. Fortunately he asked me to speak a sentence in English, that he might hear how it sounds; and this gave me an opportunity of saying, if he had kept his promise by sending Budja to me, I should have despatched letters to Petherick. This was no sooner interpreted than he said, if I would send my men to him with letters in the morning he would forward them on, accompanied with an army. On my asking if the army was intended to fight, he replied, in short, "First to feel the way." On hearing this, I strongly advised him, if he wished the road to be kept permanently open, to try conciliation with Kamrasi, and send him some trifling present.
Now were brought in some thirty-odd women for punishment and execution, which the king, who of late had been trying to learn Kisuahili, in order that we might be able to converse together, asked me, in that language, if I would like to have some of these women; and if so, how many? On my replying "One," he begged me to have my choice, and a very pretty one was selected. God only knows what became of the rest; but the one I selected, on reaching home, I gave to Ilmas, my valet, for a wife. He and all the other household servants were much delighted with this charming acquisition; but the poor girl, from the time she had been selected, had flattered herself she was to be Bana's wife, and became immensely indignant at the supposed transfer, though from the first I had intended her for Ilmas, not only to favour him for his past good services, but as an example to my other men, as I had promised to give them all, provided they behaved well upon the journey, a "free-man's garden," with one wife each and a purse of money, to begin a new life upon, as soon as they reached Zanzibar. The temper of Meri and Kahala was shown in a very forcible manner: they wanted this maid as an addition to my family, called her into the hut and chatted till midnight, instructing her not to wed with Ilmas; and then, instead of turning into bed as usual, they all three slept upon the ground. My patience could stand this phase of henpecking no longer, so I called in Manamaka, the head Myamuezi woman, whom I had selected for their governess, and directed her to assist Ilmas, and put them to bed "bundling."
21st. - In the morning, before I had time to write letters, the king invited me to join him at some new tank he was making between his palace and the residence of his brothers. I found him sitting with his brothers, all playing in concert on flutes. I asked him, in Kisuahili, if he knew where Grant was? On replying in the negative, I proposed sending a letter, which he approved of; and Budja was again ordered to go with an army for Petherick.
22d. - Mabruki and Bilal, with Budja, started to meet Petherick, and three more men, with another letter to Grant. I called on the king, who appointed the 24th instant for an excursion of three days' hippopotamus-shooting on the N'yanza.