CHAPTER XXVI. ARRIVAL OF M'TESE'S ENVOYS.
ON 15th January, 1873, the sentry on the rock citadel reported a party arriving from the Unyoro road. Shortly after, the reports of guns were heard, and it was made known that envoys had arrived from M'tese, the king of Uganda, together with an escort of natives, and two of my soldiers from Rionga. M'tese's people were armed with guns.
The envoys were quickly ushered into the new divan, which was a circular, lofty building, twenty feet in diameter, neatly plastered, and painted light grey with a mixture of wood-ashes.
Ali Jusef, the principal envoy, was a native of Sishuaali, on the coasts of the Red Sea entrance, and the Indian Ocean. I had several officers who were natives of the same country, including the gallant Ferritch Agha and Said Agha: thus I had excellent interpreters.
The envoys were beautifully clean, in white Bombay cotton clothes, and they were quite civilized, and as intelligent as Europeans. They appeared to have a thorough knowledge of the route to India, and the various tribes along the eastern coast of equatorial Africa.
These people gave me much useful information; and I shall, as usual in this work, simply extract from my journal the exact entry made at the moment whenever I received geographical reports from the natives: thus I shall give to the public the unpolished statements precisely as I heard them; upon which data theoretical geographers may form their own opinions.
"The envoys report, that from Ujiji (pronounced by them Uyeye) you can travel by lake direct to Magungo, the lake being the M'wootan N'zige.
"The Victoria N'yanza is called by two names, 'Sessy' or 'Kurewe.' Although large, it is small in comparison with the M'wootan N'zige"
There was no news of Livingstone; but, according to my request from Masindi, M'tese had sent everywhere in search of him, and he had forwarded my two letters addressed to him in different directions.
The king, M'tese, had written me a letter expressing great friendship, and declaring that when the news of Kabba Rega's treachery had reached him, he had sent an army under General Congow, to be placed at my disposal.
This army was now quartered at Mashudi, (two days' march from Rionga's island, on the road to Masindi) waiting for my orders. M'tese begged me to visit him as soon as possible, as he only had one desire, i.e. "to see my face," and that he "did not wish for presents."
This was a model African potentate; at the same time I could not possibly visit him, as my term of service would expire upon the 1st of April.
I was much disappointed at this impossibility, as M'tese can do more for Central Africa than any other potentate. He behaved well to Speke and Grant, and he had been very true to me.
On 11th February, fresh envoys arrived from M'tese, including my old friend Waysooah, who was as usual dressed very carefully in Indian costume, with a handsomely-worked cotton robe.
M'tese had written me another letter in Arabic, begging me to send him one of my soldiers as my representative, if I could not come personally.
The road was now declared to be practically open between Fatiko and Zanzibar by means of M'tese's friendship.
This excellent man, who was now a Mohammedan, and kept an Arab secretary, had already sent to Ujiji in search of Livingstone, according to my request, and his messengers had returned with the news, "that he had been at Ujiji, and had crossed the lake to the west; since which, nothing had been heard of him."
M'tese's people were still in search of Livingstone. Ujiji was declared to be on the "M'wootan N'zige," i. e. the Albert N'yanza.
I give this information exactly as I received it.
I now wrote a letter to Dr. Livingstone, of which the following is a copy: -
"FORT FATIKO. ("N. lat. 3 degrees 1 minute; E. long. 32 degrees 36 minutes,) "February 13th, 1875.
"MY DEAR LIVINGSTONE,
"M'tese, the king of Uganda, has been searching for you, according to my instructions sent to him in June 1872.
"He also forwarded my letters to be given to you when met with.
"His envoys have now visited me at Fatiko, with the report that M'tese's messengers heard of you as having formerly been at Ujiji; but that you had left that station and crossed the Tanganyika to the west.
"Nothing more is known of you.
"I have sent a soldier with the envoys who convey this letter; he will remain with M'tese. This soldier (Selim) was one of Speke's men, who travelled from Zanzibar to Cairo.
"M'tese will take the greatest care of you. He has behaved very well to the government.
"Since I wrote to you in June, Kabba Rega treacherously attacked me with many thousand men.
"I thrashed him thoroughly, and I have set up Rionga, the old enemy of his family, who is now sheik of the government.
"M'tese sent Congow with several thousand men to assist the troops.
"I trust, my dear Livingstone, that this letter may reach you. Do not come down the lake. It is now well known that the Tanganyika is the Albert N'yanza; both known as the great lake M'wootan N'zige.
"A steamer will, I trust, be on the lake this year.
"Ever yours most sincerely,
"SAM. W. BAKER."
On 13th February, after a few days' pleasant sojourn at Fatiko, M'tese's envoys returned to Uganda, accompanied by my representative, Selim, who, although a private, was a very intelligent Suachli; he had formerly accompanied Speke from Zanzibar. I gave Selim instructions to impress upon M'tese the necessity of assisting Livingstone without a moment's delay.