Chapter XV. March Down the Northern Slopes of Africa

Kari - Tragic Incident there - Renewals of Troubles - Quarrels with the Natives - Reach the Nile - Description of the Scene there - Sport - Church Estate - Ascend the River to the Junction with the Lake - Ripon Falls - General Account of the Source of the Nile - Descend again to Urondogani - The Truculent Sakibobo.

7th to 11th. - With Budja appointed as the general director, a lieutenant of the Sakibobo's to furnish us with sixty cows in his division at the first halting-place, and Kasoro (Mr Cat), a lieutenant of Jumba's, to provide the boats at Urondogani, we started at 1 p.m., on the journey northwards. The Wanguana still grumbled, swearing they would carry no loads, as they got no rations, and threatening to shoot us if we pressed them, forgetting that their food had been paid for to the king in rifles, chronometers, and other articles, costing about 2000 dollars, and, what was more to the point, that all the ammunition was in our hands. A judicious threat of the stick, however, put things right, and on we marched five successive days to Kari - as the place was afterwards named, in consequence of the tragedy mentioned below - the whole distance accomplished being thirty miles from the capital, through a fine hilly country, with jungles and rich cultivation alternating. The second march, after crossing the Katawana river with its many branches flowing north-east into the huge rush-drain of Luajerri, carried us beyond the influence of the higher hills, and away from the huge grasses which characterise the southern boundary of Uganda bordering on the lake.

Each day's march to Kari was directed much in the same manner. After a certain number of hours' travelling, Budja appointed some village of residence for the night, avoiding those which belonged to the queen, lest any rows should take place in them, which would create disagreeable consequences with the king, and preferring those the heads of which had been lately seized by the orders of the king. Nevertheless, wherever we went, all the villagers forsook their homes, and left their houses, property, and gardens an easy prey to the thieving propensities of the escort. To put a stop to this vile practice was now beyond my power; the king allowed it, and his men were the first in every house, taking goats, fowls, skins, mbugus, cowries, beads, drums, spears, tobacco, pombe, - in short, everything they could lay their hands on - in the most ruthless manner. It was a perfect marauding campaign for them all, and all alike were soon laden with as much as they could carry.

A halt of some days had become necessary at Kari to collect the cows given by the king; and, as it is one of the most extensive pasture- grounds, I strolled with my rifle (11th) to see what new animals could be found; but no sooner did I wound a zebra than messengers came running after me to say Kari, one of my men, had been murdered by the villagers three miles off; and such was the fact. He, with others of my men, had been induced to go plundering, with a few boys of the Waganda escort, to a certain village of potters, as pots were required by Budja for making plantain-wine, the first thing ever thought of when a camp is formed. On nearing the place, however, the women of the village, who were the only people visible, instead of running away, as our braves expected, commenced hullalooing, and brought out their husbands. Flight was now the only thought of our men, and all would have escaped had Kari not been slow and his musket empty. The potters overtook him, and, as he pointed his gun, which they considered a magic-horn, they speared him to death, and then fled at once. Our survivors were not long in bringing the news into camp, when a party went out, and in the evening brought in the man's corpse and everything belonging to him, for nothing had been taken.

12th. - To enable me at my leisure to trace up the Nile to its exit from the lake, and then go on with the journey as quickly as possible, I wished the cattle to be collected and taken by Budja and some of my men with the heavy baggage overland to Kamrasi's. Another reason for doing so was, that I thought it advisable Kamrasi should be forewarned that we were coming by the water route, lest we should be suspected and stopped as spies by his officers on the river, or regarded as enemies, which would provoke a fight. Budja, however, objected to move until a report of Kari's murder had been forwarded to the king, lest the people, getting bumptious, should try the same trick again; and Kasoro said he would not go up the river, as he had received no orders to do so.