CHAPTER XII. LIVINGSTONE'S OWN STORY OF HIS JOURNEYS, HIS TROUBLES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS.
On leaving this hospitable region in the early part of December, 1866, the Doctor entered a country where the Mazitu had exercised their customary marauding propensities. The land was swept clean of provisions and cattle, and the people had emigrated to other countries, beyond the bounds of those ferocious plunderers. Again the Expedition was besieged by pinching hunger from which they suffered; they had recourse to the wild fruits which some parts of the country furnished. At intervals the condition of the hard-pressed band was made worse by the heartless desertion of some of its members, who more than once departed with the Doctor's personal kit, changes of clothes, linen, With more or less misfortunes constantly dogging his footsteps, he traversed in safety the countries of the Babisa, Bobemba, Barungu, Ba-ulungu, and Lunda.
In the country of Lunda lives the famous Cazembe, who was first made known to Europeans by Dr. Lacerda, the Portuguese traveller. Cazembe is a most intelligent prince; he is a tall, stalwart man, who wears a peculiar kind of dress, made of crimson print, in the form of a prodigious kilt. In this state dress, King Cazembe received Dr. Livingstone, surrounded by his chiefs and body-guards. A chief, who had been deputed by the King and elders to discover all about the white man, then stood up before the assembly, and in a loud voice gave the result of the inquiry he had instituted. He had heard that the white man had come to look for waters, for rivers, and seas; though he could not understand what the white man could want with such things, he had no doubt that the object was good. Then Cazembe asked what the Doctor proposed doing, and where he thought of going. The Doctor replied that he had thought of proceeding south, as he had heard of lakes and rivers being in that direction. Cazembe asked, "What can you want to go there for? The water is close here. There is plenty of large water in this neighbourhood." Before breaking up the assembly, Cazembe gave orders to let the white man go where he would through his country undisturbed and unmolested. He was the first Englishman he had seen, he said, and he liked him.
Shortly after his introduction to the King, the Queen entered the large house, surrounded by a body-guard of Amazons with spears. She was a fine, tall, handsome young woman, and evidently thought she was about to make an impression upon the rustic white man, for she had clothed herself after a most royal fashion, and was armed with a ponderous spear. But her appearance - so different from what the Doctor had imagined - caused him to laugh, which entirely spoiled the effect intended; for the laugh of the Doctor was so contagious, that she herself was the first to imitate it, and the Amazons, courtier-like, followed suit. Much disconcerted by this, the Queen ran back, followed by her obedient damsels - a retreat most undignified and unqueenlike, compared with her majestic advent into the Doctor's presence. But Livingstone will have much to say about his reception at this court, and about this interesting King and Queen; and who can so well relate the scenes he witnessed, and which belong exclusively to him, as he himself?
Soon after his arrival in the country of Lunda, or Londa, and before he had entered the district ruled over by Cazembe, he had crossed a river called the Chambezi, which was quite an important stream. The similarity of the name with that large and noble river south, which will be for ever connected with his name, misled Livingstone at that time, and he, accordingly, did not pay to it the attention it deserved, believing that the Chambezi was but the head-waters of the Zambezi, and consequently had no bearing or connection with the sources of the river of Egypt, of which he was in search. His fault was in relying too implicitly upon the correctness of Portuguese information. This error it cost him many months of tedious labour and travel to rectify.
From the beginning of 1867 - the time of his arrival at Cazembe's - till the middle of March, 1869 - the time of his arrival at Ujiji - he was mostly engaged in correcting the errors and misrepresentations of the Portuguese travellers. The Portuguese, in speaking of the River Chambezi, invariably spoke of it as "our own Zambezi," - that is, the Zambezi which flows through the Portuguese possessions of the Mozambique. "In going to Cazembe from Nyassa," said they, "you will cross our own Zambezi." Such positive and reiterated information - given not only orally, but in their books and maps - was naturally confusing. When the Doctor perceived that what he saw and what they described were at variance, out of a sincere wish to be correct, and lest he might have been mistaken himself, he started to retravel the ground he had travelled before. Over and over again he traversed the several countries watered by the several rivers of the complicated water system, like an uneasy spirit. Over and over again he asked the same questions from the different peoples he met, until he was obliged to desist, lest they might say, "The man is mad; he has got water on the brain!"
But his travels and tedious labours in Lunda and the adjacent countries have established beyond doubt - first, that the Chambezi is a totally distinct river from the Zambezi of the Portuguese; and, secondly, that the Chambezi, starting from about latitude 11 degrees south, is no other than the most southerly feeder of the great Nile; thus giving that famous river a length of over 2,000 miles of direct latitude; making it, second to the Mississippi, the longest river in the world. The real and true name of the Zambezi is Dombazi. When Lacerda and his Portuguese successors, coming to Cazembe, crossed the Chambezi, and heard its name, they very naturally set it down as "our own Zambezi," and, without further inquiry, sketched it as running in that direction.