Chapter XVII. Unyoro
Bombay then, finding the king very communicative, went at him for his inhospitality towards us, his turning us back from his country twice, and now, after inviting us, treating us as Suwarora did. On this he gave, by Bombay's account, the following curious reason for his conduct: - "You don't understand the matter. At the time the white men were living in Uganda, many of the people who had seen them there came and described them as such monsters, they ate up mountains and drank the N'yanza dry; and although they fed on both beef and mutton, they were not satisfied until they got a dish of the 'tender parts' of human beings three times a-day. Now, I was extremely anxious to see men of such wonderful natures. I could have stood their mountain-eating and N'yanzi-drinking capacities, but on no consideration would I submit to sacrifice my subjects to their appetites, and for this reason I first sent to turn them back; but afterwards, on hearing from Dr K'yengo's men that, although the white men had travelled all through their country, and brought all the pretty and wonderful things of the world there, they had never heard such monstrous imputations cast upon them, I sent a second time to call them on: these are the facts of the case. Now, with regard to your accusation of my treating them badly, it is all their own fault. I ordered them to advance slowly and pick up food by the way, as there is a famine here; but they, instead, hurried on against my wishes. That they want to see and give me presents you have told me repeatedly - so do I them; for I want them to teach me the way to shoot, and when that is accomplished, I will take them to an island near Kidi, where there are some men [his refractory brothers] whom I wish to frighten away with guns; but still there is no hurry, - they can come when I choose to call them, and not before." Bombay to this said, "I cannot deliver such a message to Bana; I have told so many falsehoods about your saying you will have an interview to- morrow, I shall only catch a flogging"; and forthwith departed.
13th. - More disgusted with Kamrasi than ever, I called Kidgwiga up, and told him I was led to expect from Rumanika that I should find his king a good and reasonable man, which I believed, considering it was said by an unprejudiced person. Mtesa, on the contrary, told me Kamrasi treated all his guests with disrespect, sending them to the farther side of the N'yanzi. I now found his enemy more truthful than his friend, and wished him to be told so. "For the future, I should never," I said, "mention his name again, but wait until his fear of me had vanished; for he quite forgot his true dignity as a host and king in his surprise and fear, merely because we were in a hurry and desired to see him." He was reported to-day, by the way, to be drunk.
As nothing could be done yesterday, in consequence of the king being in his cups, the Wakungu conveyed my message to-day, but with the usual effect, till a diplomatic idea struck me, and I sent another messenger to say, if our residence was not changed at once, both Grant and myself had made up our minds to cut off our hair and blacken our faces, so that the king of all kings should have no more cause to fear us. Ignoring his claims to imperial rank, I maintained that his reason for ill-treating us must be fear, - it could be nothing else. This message acted like magic; for he fully believed we would do as we said, and disappoint him altogether of the strange sight of us as pure white men. The reply was, Kamrasi would not have us disfigured in this way for all the world; men were appointed to convey our traps to the west end at once; and Kidgwiga, Vittagura, and Kajunju rushed over to give us the news in all hast lest we should execute our threat, and they were glad to find us with our faces unchanged. I now gave one cow to the head of Dr K'yengo's party, and one to the head of Rumanika's men, because I saw it was through their instrumentality we gained admittance in the country; and we changed residence to the west end of Chaguzi, and found there comfortable huts close to the Kafu, which ran immediately between us and the palace.
Still our position in Unyoro was not a pleasant one. In a long field of grass, as high as the neck, and half under water, so that no walks could be taken, we had nothing to see but Kamrasi's miserable huts and a few distant conical hills, of which one Udongo, we conceive, represents the Padongo of Brun-Bollet, placed by him in 1§ south latitude, and 35§ east longitude. We were scarcely inside our new dwelling when Kamrasi sent a cheer of two pots pombe, five fowls, and two bunches of plantains, hoping we were now satisfied with his favour; but he damped the whole in a moment again, by asking for a many-bladed knife which his officers had seen in Grant's possession. I took what he sent, from fear of giving offence, but replied that I was surprised the great king should wish to see my property before seeing myself, and although I attached no more value to my property than he did to his, I could not demean myself by sending him trifles in that way. However, should he, after hearing my sentiments, still persist in asking for the knife to be sent by the hands of a black man, I would pack it up with all the things I had brought for him, and send them by a black man, judging that he liked black men more than white.