CHAPTER XII. LIVINGSTONE'S OWN STORY OF HIS JOURNEYS, HIS TROUBLES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS.
It is a principle with Livingstone to do well what he undertakes to do; and in the consciousness that he is doing it, despite the yearning for his home which is sometimes overpowering, he finds, to a certain extent, contentment, if not happiness. To men differently constituted, a long residence amongst the savages of Africa would be contemplated with horror, yet Livingstone's mind can find pleasure and food for philosophic studies. The wonders of primeval nature, the great forests and sublime mountains, the perennial streams and sources of the great lakes, the marvels of the earth, the splendors of the tropic sky by day and by night - all terrestrial and celestial phenomena are manna to a man of such self-abnegation and devoted philanthropic spirit. He can be charmed with the primitive simplicity of Ethiop's dusky children, with whom he has spent so many years of his life; he has a sturdy faith in their capabilities; sees virtue in them where others see nothing but savagery; and wherever he has gone among them, he has sought to elevate a people that were apparently forgotten of God and Christian man.
One night I took out my note-book, and prepared to take down from his own lips what he had to say about his travels; and unhesitatingly he related his experiences, of which the following is a summary:
Dr. David Livingstone left the Island of Zanzibar in March, 1866. On the 7th of the following month he departed from Mikindany Bay for the interior, with an expedition consisting of twelve Sepoys from Bombay, nine men from Johanna, of the Comoro Islands, seven liberated slaves, and two Zambezi men, taking them as an experiment; six camels, three buffaloes, two mules, and three donkeys. He had thus thirty men with him, twelve of whom, viz., the Sepoys, were to act as guards for the Expedition. They were mostly armed with the Enfield rifles presented to the Doctor by the Bombay Government. The baggage of the expedition consisted of ten bales of cloth and two bags of beads, which were to serve as the currency by which they would be enabled to purchase the necessaries of life in the countries the Doctor intended to visit. Besides the cumbrous moneys, they carried several boxes of instruments, such as chronometers, air thermometers, sextant, and artificial horizon, boxes containing clothes, medicines, and personal necessaries. The expedition travelled up the left bank of the Rovuma River, a rout/e/ as full of difficulties as any that could be chosen. For miles Livingstone and his party had to cut their way with their axes through the dense and almost impenetrable jungles which lined the river's banks. The road was a mere footpath, leading in the most erratic fashion into and through the dense vegetation, seeking the easiest outlet from it without any regard to the course it ran. The pagazis were able to proceed easily enough; but the camels, on account of their enormous height, could not advance a step without the axes of the party clearing the way. These tools of foresters were almost always required; but the advance of the expedition was often retarded by the unwillingness of the Sepoys and Johanna men to work.
Soon after the departure of the expedition from the coast, the murmurings and complaints of these men began, and upon every occasion and at every opportunity they evinced a decided hostility to an advance. In order to prevent the progress of the Doctor, and in hopes that it would compel him to return to the coast, these men so cruelly treated the animals that before long there was not one left alive. But as this scheme failed, they set about instigating the natives against the white men, whom they accused most wantonly of strange practices. As this plan was most likely to succeed, and as it was dangerous to have such men with him, the Doctor arrived at the conclusion that it was best to discharge them, and accordingly sent the Sepoys back to the coast; but not without having first furnished them with the means of subsistence on their journey to the coast. These men were such a disreputable set that the natives spoke of them as the Doctor's slaves. One of their worst sins was the custom of giving their guns and ammunition to carry to the first woman or boy they met, whom they impressed for that purpose by such threats or promises as they were totally unable to perform, and unwarranted in making. An hour's marching was sufficient to fatigue them, after which they lay down on the road to bewail their hard fate, and concoct new schemes to frustrate their leader's purposes. Towards night they generally made their appearance at the camping-ground with the looks of half-dead men. Such men naturally made but a poor escort; for, had the party been attacked by a wandering tribe of natives of any strength, the Doctor could have made no defence, and no other alternative would have been left to him but to surrender and be ruined.
The Doctor and his little party arrived on the 18th July, 1866, at a village belonging to a chief of the Wahiyou, situate eight days' march south of the Rovuma, and overlooking the watershed of the Lake Nyassa. The territory lying between the Rovuma River and this Wahiyou village was an uninhabited wilderness, during the transit of which Livingstone and his expedition suffered considerably from hunger and desertion of men.