CHAPTER XII. RECOVERED.

The sun had risen when I woke. I had slept, and, horrified as the idea flashed upon me that she must be dead, and that I had not been with her, I started up. She lay upon her bed, pale as marble, and with that calm serenity that the features assume when the cares of life no longer act upon the mind, and the body rests in death. The dreadful thought bowed me down; but as I gazed upon her in fear, her chest gently heaved, not with the convulsive throbs of fever, but naturally. She was asleep; and when at a sudden noise she opened her eyes, they were calm and clear. She was saved! When not a ray of hope remained, God alone knows what helped us. The gratitude of that moment I will not attempt to describe.

Fortunately there were many fowls in this village; we found several nests of fresh eggs in the straw which littered the hut; these were most acceptable after our hard fare, and produced a good supply of soup.

Having rested for two days, we again moved forward, Mrs. Baker being carried on a litter. We now continued on elevated ground, on the north side of a valley running from west to east, about sixteen miles broad, and exceedingly swampy. The rocks composing the ridge upon which we travelled due west were all gneiss and quartz, with occasional breaks, forming narrow valleys, all of which were swamps choked with immense papyrus rushes, that made the march very fatiguing. In one of these muddy bottoms one of my riding oxen that was ill, stuck fast, and we were obliged to abandon it, intending to send a number of natives to drag it out with ropes.

On arrival at a village, our guide started about fifty men for this purpose, while we continued our journey. That evening we reached a village belonging to a headman, and very superior to most that we had passed on the route from M'rooli: large sugarcanes of the blue variety were growing in the fields, and I had seen coffee growing wild in the forest in the vicinity. I was sitting at the door of the hut about two hours after sunset, smoking a pipe of excellent tobacco, when I suddenly heard a great singing in chorus advancing rapidly from a distance towards the entrance of the courtyard. At first I imagined that the natives intended dancing, which was an infliction that I wished to avoid, as I was tired and feverish; but in a few minutes the boy Saat introduced a headman, who told me that the riding ox had died in the swamp where he had stuck fast in the morning, and that the natives had brought his body to me. "What!" I replied, "brought his body, the entire ox, to me?" "The entire ox as he died is delivered at your door," answered the headman; "I could not allow any of your property to be lost upon the road. Had the body of the ox not been delivered to you, we might have been suspected of having stolen it." I went to the entrance of the courtyard, and amidst a crowd of natives I found the entire ox exactly as he had died. They had carried him about eight miles on a litter, which they had constructed of two immensely long posts with cross-pieces of bamboo, upon which they had laid the body. They would not eat the flesh, and seemed quite disgusted at the idea, as they replied that "it had died."

It is a curious distinction of the Unyoro people, that they are peculiarly clean feeders, and will not touch either the flesh of animals that have died, neither of those that are sick; nor will they eat the crocodile. They asked for no remuneration for bringing their heavy load so great a distance; and they departed in good humour as a matter of course.

Never were such contradictory people as these creatures; they had troubled us dreadfully during the journey, as they would suddenly exclaim against the weight of their loads, and throw them down, and bolt into the high grass; yet now they had of their own free will delivered to me a whole dead ox from a distance of eight miles, precisely as though it had been an object of the greatest value.

The name of this village was Parkani. For several days past our guides had told us that we were very near to the lake, and we were now assured that we should reach it on the morrow. I had noticed a lofty range of mountains at an immense distance west, and I had imagined that the lake lay on the other side of this chain; but I was now informed that those mountains formed the western frontier of the M'-wootan N'zige, and that the lake was actually within a march of Parkani. I could not believe it possible that we were so near the object of our search. The guide Rabonga now appeared, and declared that if we started early on the following morning we should be able to wash in the lake by noon!

That night I hardly slept. For years I had striven to reach the "sources of the Nile." In my nightly dreams during that arduous voyage I had always failed, but after so much hard work and perseverance the cup was at my very lips, and I was to drink at the mysterious fountain before another sun should set - at that great reservoir of Nature that ever since creation had baffled all discovery. I had hoped, and prayed, and striven through all kinds of difficulties, in sickness, starvation, and fatigue, to reach that hidden source; and when it had appeared impossible, we had both determined to die upon the road rather than return defeated. Was it possible that it was so near, and that tomorrow we could say, "the work is accomplished?"

The 14th March. - The sun had not risen when I was spurring my ox after the guide, who, having been promised a double handful of beads on arrival at the lake, had caught the enthusiasm of the moment. The day broke beautifully clear, and having crossed a deep valley between the hills, we toiled up the opposite slope. I hurried to the summit. The glory of our prize burst suddenly upon me! There, like a sea of quicksilver, lay far beneath the grand expanse of water, - a boundless sea horizon on the south and southwest, glittering in the noonday sun; and on the west, at fifty or sixty miles' distance, blue mountains rose from the bosom of the lake to a height of about 7,000 feet above its level.

It is impossible to describe the triumph of that moment; - here was the reward for all our labour - for the years of tenacity with which we had toiled through Africa. England had won the sources of the Nile! Long before I reached this spot, I had arranged to give three cheers with all our men in English style in honour of the discovery, but now that I looked down upon the great inland sea lying nestled in the very heart of Africa, and thought how vainly mankind had sought these sources throughout so many ages, and reflected that I had been the humble instrument permitted to unravel this portion of the great mystery when so many greater than I had failed, I felt too serious to vent my feelings in vain cheers for victory, and I sincerely thanked God for having guided and supported us through all dangers to the good end. I was about 1,500 feet above the lake, and I looked down from the steep granite cliff upon those welcome waters - upon that vast reservoir which nourished Egypt and brought fertility where all was wilderness - upon that great source so long hidden from mankind; that source of bounty and of blessings to millions of human beings; and as one of the greatest objects in nature, I determined to honour it with a great name. As an imperishable memorial of one loved and mourned by our gracious Queen and deplored by every Englishman, I called this great lake "the Albert N'yanza." The Victoria and the Albert lakes are the two Sources of the Nile.

The zigzag path to descend to the lake was so steep and dangerous that we were forced to leave our oxen with a guide, who was to take them to Magungo and wait for our arrival. We commenced the descent of the steep pass on foot. I led the way, grasping a stout bamboo. My wife in extreme weakness tottered down the pass, supporting herself upon my shoulder, and stopping to rest every twenty paces. After a toilsome descent of about two hours, weak with years of fever, but for the moment strengthened by success, we gained the level plain below the cliff. A walk of about a mile through flat sandy meadows of fine turf interspersed with trees and bush, brought us to the water's edge. The waves were rolling upon a white pebbly beach: I rushed into the lake, and thirsty with heat and fatigue, with a heart full of gratitude, I drank deeply from the Sources of the Nile. Within a quarter of a mile of the lake was a fishing village named Vacovia, in which we now established ourselves. Everything smelt of fish - and everything looked like fishing; not the "gentle art" of England with rod and fly, but harpoons were leaning against the huts, and lines almost as thick as the little finger were hanging up to dry, to which were attached iron hooks of a size that said much for the monsters of the Albert lake. On entering the hut I found a prodigious quantity of tackle; the lines were beautifully made of the fibre of the plantain stem, and were exceedingly elastic, and well adapted to withstand the first rush of a heavy fish; the hooks were very coarse, but well barbed, and varied in size from two to six inches. A number of harpoons and floats for hippopotami were arranged in good order, and the tout ensemble of the hut showed that the owner was a sportsman.

The harpoons for hippopotami were precisely the same pattern as those used by the Hamran Arabs on the Taka frontier of Abyssinia, having a narrow blade of three-quarters of an inch in width, with only one barb. The rope fitted to the harpoon was beautifully made of plantain fibre, and the float was a huge piece of ambatch-wood about fifteen inches in diameter. They speared the hippopotamus from canoes, and these large floats were necessary to be easily distinguished in the rough waters of the lake.

My men were perfectly astounded at the appearance of the lake. The journey had been so long, and "hope deferred" had so completely sickened their hearts, that they had long since disbelieved in the existence of the lake, and they were persuaded that I was leading them to the sea. They now looked at the lake with amazement - two of them had already seen the sea at Alexandria, and they unhesitatingly declared that this was the sea, but that it was not salt.

Vacovia was a miserable place, and the soil was so impregnated with salt, that no cultivation was possible. Salt was the natural product of the country; and the population were employed in its manufacture, which constituted the business of the lake shores - being exchanged for supplies from the interior. I went to examine the pits: these were about six feet deep, from which was dug a black sandy mud that was placed in large earthenware jars; these were supported upon frames, and mixed with water, which filtering rapidly through small holes in the bottom, was received in jars beneath: this water was again used with fresh mud until it became a strong brine, when it was boiled and evaporated. The salt was white, but very bitter. I imagine that it has been formed by the decay of aquatic plants that have been washed ashore by the waves; decomposing, they have formed a mud deposit, and much potash is combined with the salt. The flat sandy meadow that extends from the lake for about a mile to the foot of the precipitous cliffs of 1,500 feet, appears to have formed at one period the bottom of the lake - in fact, the flat land of Vacovia looks like a bay, as the mountain cliffs about five miles south and north descend abruptly to the water, and the flat is the bottom of a horseshoe formed by the cliffs. Were the level of the lake fifteen feet higher, this flat would be flooded to the base of the hills.

I procured a couple of kids from the chief of the village for some blue beads, and having received an ox as a present from the headman of Parkani in return for a number of beads and bracelets, I gave my men a grand feast in honour of the discovery; I made them an address, explaining to them how much trouble we should have been saved had my whole party behaved well from the first commencement and trusted to my guidance, as we should have arrived here twelve mouths ago; at the same time I told them, that it was a greater honour to have achieved the task with so small a force as thirteen men, and that as the lake was thus happily reached, and Mrs. Baker was restored to health after so terrible a danger, I should forgive them past offences and wipe out all that had been noted against them in my journal. This delighted my people, who ejaculated "El hamd el Illah!" (thank God!) and fell to immediately at their beef.

At sunrise on the following morning I took the compass, and accompanied by the chief of the village, my guide Rabonga, and the woman Bacheeta, I went to the borders of the lake to survey the country. It was beautifully clear, and with a powerful telescope I could distinguish two large waterfalls that cleft the sides of the mountains on the opposite shore. Although the outline of the mountains was distinct upon the bright blue sky, and the dark shades upon their sides denoted deep gorges, I could not distinguish other features than the two great falls, which looked like threads of silver on the dark face of the mountains. No base had been visible, even from an elevation of 1,500 feet above the water level, on my first view of the lake, but the chain of lofty mountains on the west appeared to rise suddenly from the water. This appearance must have been due to the great distance, the base being below the horizon, as dense columns of smoke were ascending apparently from the surface of the water: this must have been produced by the burning of prairies at the foot of the mountains. The chief assured me that large canoes had been known to cross over from the other side, but that it required four days and nights of hard rowing to accomplish the voyage, and that many boats had been lost in the attempt. The canoes of Unyoro were not adapted for so dangerous a journey; but the western shore of the lake was comprised in the great kingdom of Malegga, governed by King Kajoro, who possessed large canoes, and traded with Kamrasi from a point opposite to Magungo, where the lake was contracted to the width of one day's voyage. He described Malegga as a very powerful country, and of greater extent than either Unyora or Uganda. . . . South of Malegga was a country named Tori, governed by a king of the same name: beyond that country to the south on the western shore no intelligence could be obtained from any one.

The lake was known to extend as far south as Karagwe; and the old story was repeated, that Rumanika, the king of that country, was in the habit of sending ivory-hunting parties to the lake at Utumbi, and that formerly they had navigated the lake to Magungo. This was a curious confirmation of the report given me by Speke at Gondokoro, who wrote: "Rumanika is constantly in the habit of sending ivory-hunting parties to Utumbi."

The eastern shores of the lake were, from north to south, occupied by Chopi, Unyoro, Uganda, Utumbi, and Karagwe: from the last point, which could not be less than about two degrees south latitude, the lake was reported to turn suddenly to the west, and to continue in that direction for an unknown distance. North of Malegga, on the west of the lake, was a small country called M'Caroli; then Koshi, on the west side of the Nile at its exit from the lake; and on the east side of the Nile was the Madi, opposite to Koshi. Both the guide and the chief of Vacovia informed me that we should be taken by canoes to Magungo, to the point at which the Somerset that we had left at Karuma joined the lake; but that we could not ascend it, as it was a succession of cataracts the whole way from Karuma until within a short distance of Magungo. The exit of the Nile from the lake at Koshi was navigable for a considerable distance, and canoes could descend the river as far as the Madi.

They both agreed that the level of the lake was never lower than at present, and that it never rose higher than a mark upon the beach that accounted for an increase of about four feet. The beach was perfectly clean sand, upon which the waves rolled like those of the sea, throwing up weeds precisely as seaweed may be seen upon the English shore. It was a grand sight to look upon this vast reservoir of the mighty Nile, and to watch the heavy swell tumbling upon the beach, while far to the southwest the eye searched as vainly for a bound as though upon the Atlantic. It was with extreme emotion that I enjoyed this glorious scene. My wife, who had followed me so devotedly, stood by my side pale and exhausted - a wreck upon the shores of the great Albert lake that we had so long striven to reach. No European foot had ever trod upon its sand, nor had the eyes of a white man ever scanned its vast expanse of water. We were the first; and this was the key to the great secret that even Julius Caesar yearned to unravel, but in vain. Here was the great basin of the Nile that received EVERY DROP OF WATER, even from the passing shower to the roaring mountain torrent that drained from Central Africa towards the north. This was the great reservoir of the Nile!

The first coup d'oeil from the summit of the cliff 1,500 feet above the level had suggested what a closer examination confirmed. The lake was a vast depression far below the general level of the country, surrounded by precipitous cliffs, and bounded on the west and southwest by great ranges of mountains from five to seven thousand feet above the level of its waters - thus it was the one great reservoir into which everything MUST drain; and from this vast rocky cistern the Nile made its exit, a giant in its birth. It was a grand arrangement of Nature for the birth of so mighty and important a stream as the river Nile. The Victoria N'yanza of Speke formed a reservoir at a high altitude, receiving a drainage from the west by the Kitangule river, and Speke had seen the M'fumbiro mountain at a great distance as a peak among other mountains from which the streams descended, which by uniting formed the main river Kitangule, the principal feeder of the Victoria lake from the west, in about the 2 degrees S. latitude: thus the same chain of mountains that fed the Victoria on the east must have a watershed to the west and north that would flow into the Albert lake. The general drainage of the Nile basin tending from south to north, and the Albert lake extending much farther north than the Victoria, it receives the river from the latter lake, and thus monopolizes the entire headwaters of the Nile. The Albert is the grand reservoir, while the Victoria is the eastern source, the parent streams that form these lakes are from the same origin, and the Kitangule sheds its waters to the Victoria to be received eventually by the Albert, precisely as the highlands of M'fumbiro and the Blue Mountains pour their northern drainage direct into the Albert lake. The entire Nile system, from the first Abyssinian tributary the Atbara in N. latitude 17 deg. 37 min. even to the equator, exhibits a uniform drainage from S.E. to N.W., every tributary flowing in that direction to the main stream of the Nile; this system is persisted in by the Victoria Nile, which having continued a northerly course from its exit from the Victoria lake to Karuma in lat. 2 degrees 16' N. turns suddenly to the west and meets the Albert lake at Magungo; thus, a line drawn from Magungo to the Ripon Falls from the Victoria lake will prove the general slope of the country to be the same as exemplified throughout the entire system of the eastern basin of the Nile, tending from S.E. to N.W.

That many considerable affluents flow into the Albert lake there is no doubt. The two waterfalls seen by telescope upon the western shore descending from the Blue Mountains must be most important streams, or they could not have been distinguished at so great a distance as fifty or sixty miles; the natives assured me that very many streams, varying in size, descended the mountains upon all sides into the general reservoir.

I returned to my hut: the flat turf in the vicinity of the village was strewn with the bones of immense fish, hippopotami, and crocodiles; but the latter reptiles were merely caught in revenge for any outrage committed by them, as their flesh was looked upon with disgust by the natives of Unyoro. They were so numerous and voracious in the lake, that the natives cautioned us not to allow the women to venture into the water even to the knees when filling their water jars.

It was most important that we should hurry forward on our journey, as our return to England depended entirely upon the possibility of reaching Gondokoro before the end of April, otherwise the boats would have departed. I impressed upon our guide and the chief that we must be furnished with large canoes immediately, as we had no time to spare, and I started off Rabonga to Magungo, where he was to meet us with our riding oxen. The animals would be taken by a path upon the high ground; there was no possibility of travelling near the lake, as the cliffs in many places descended abruptly into deep water. I made him a present of a large quantity of beads that I had promised to give him upon reaching the lake; he took his departure, agreeing to meet us at Magungo with our oxen, and to have porters in readiness to convey us direct to Shooa.

On the following morning not one of our party could rise from the ground. Thirteen men, the boy Saat, four women, and we ourselves, were all down with fever. The air was hot and close, and the country frightfully unhealthy. The natives assured us that all strangers suffered in a similar manner, and that no one could live at Vacovia without repeated attacks of fever.

The delay in supplying the boats was most annoying; every hour was precious; and the lying natives deceived us in every manner possible, delaying us purposely in the hope of extorting beads.

The latitude of Vacovia was 1 degree 15 min. N.; longitude 30 degrees 50 min. E. My farthest southern point on the road from M'rooli was latitude 1 degree 13 minutes. We were now to turn our faces towards the north, and every day's journey would bring us nearer home. But where was home? As I looked at the map of the world, and at the little red spot that represented old England far, far away, and then gazed on the wasted form and haggard face of my wife and at my own attenuated frame, I hardly dared hope for home again. We had now been three years ever toiling onwards, and having completed the exploration of all the Abyssinian affluents of the Nile, in itself an arduous undertaking, we were now actually at the Nile head. We had neither health nor supplies, and the great journey lay all before us.

Notwithstanding my daily entreaties that boats might be supplied without delay, eight days were passed at Vacovia, during which time the whole party suffered more or less from fever. At length canoes were reported to have arrived, and I was requested to inspect them. They were merely single trees neatly hollowed out, but very inferior in size to the large canoes on the Nile at M'rooli. The largest boat was thirty-two feet long, but I selected for ourselves one of twenty-six feet, but wider and deeper.

Fortunately I had purchased at Khartoum an English screw auger 1 1/4 inch in diameter, and this tool I had brought with me, foreseeing some difficulties in boating arrangements. I now bored holes two feet apart in the gunwale of the canoe, and having prepared long elastic wands, I spanned them in arches across the boat and lashed them to the auger holes. This completed, I secured them by diagonal pieces, and concluded by thatching the framework with a thin coating of reeds to protect us from the sun; over the thatch I stretched ox-hides well drawn and lashed, so as to render our roof waterproof. This arrangement formed a tortoise-like protection that would be proof against sun and rain. I then arranged some logs of exceedingly light wood along the bottom of the canoe, and covered them with a thick bed of grass; this was covered with an Abyssinian tanned ox-hide, and arranged with Scotch plaids. The arrangements completed, afforded a cabin, perhaps not as luxurious as those of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's vessels, but both rain- and sun-proof, which was the great desideratum. In this rough vessel we embarked on a calm morning, when hardly a ripple moved the even surface of the lake. Each canoe had four rowers, two at either end. Their paddles were beautifully shaped, hewn from one piece of wood, the blade being rather wider than that of an ordinary spade, but concave in the inner side, so as to give the rower a great hold upon the water. Having purchased with some difficulty a few fowls and dried fish, I put the greater number of my men in the larger canoe; and with Richarn, Saat, and the women, including the interpreter Bacheeta, we led the way, and started from Vacovia on the broad surface of the Albert N'yanza. The rowers paddled bravely; and the canoe, although heavily laden, went along at about four miles an hour. There was no excitement in Vacovia, and the chief and two or three attendants were all who came to see us off; they had a suspicion that bystanders might be invited to assist as rowers, therefore the entire population of the village had deserted.

At leaving the shore, the chief had asked for a few beads, which, on receiving, he threw into the lake to propitiate the inhabitants of the deep, that no hippopotami should upset the canoe.

Our first day's voyage was delightful. The lake was calm, the sky cloudy, and the scenery most lovely. At times the mountains on the west coast were not discernible, and the lake appeared of indefinite width. We coasted within a hundred yards of the east shore; sometimes we passed flats of sand and bush of perhaps a mile in width from the water to the base of the mountain cliffs; at other times we passed directly underneath stupendous heights of about 1,500 feet, which ascended abruptly from the deep, so that we fended the canoes off the sides, and assisted our progress by pushing against the rock with bamboos. These precipitous rocks were all primitive, frequently of granite and gneiss, and mixed in many places with red porphyry. In the clefts were beautiful ever-greens of every tint, including giant euphorbias; and wherever a rivulet or spring glittered through the dark foliage of a ravine, it was shaded by the graceful and feathery wild date.

Great numbers of hippopotami were sporting in the water, but I refused to fire at them, as the death of such a monster would be certain to delay us for at least a day, as the boatmen would not forsake the flesh. Crocodiles were exceedingly numerous both in and out of the water; wherever a sandy beach invited them to bask, several monsters were to be seen, like trunks of trees, lying in the sun. On the edge of the beach above high-water mark were low bushes, and from this cover the crocodiles came scuttling down into the water, frightened at the approach of the canoe. There were neither ducks nor geese, as there were no feeding-grounds: deep water was close to the shore.

Our boatmen worked well, and long after dark we continued our voyage, until the canoe was suddenly steered to the shore, and we grounded upon a steep beach of perfectly clean sand. We were informed that we were near a village, and the boatmen proposed to leave us here for the night, while they should proceed in search of provisions. Seeing that they intended to take the paddles with them, I ordered these important implements to be returned to the boats, and a guard set over them, while several of my men should accompany the boatmen to the reported village. In the meantime, we arranged our angareps upon the beach, lighted a fire with some drift-wood, and prepared for the night. The men shortly returned, accompanied by several natives, with two fowls and one small kid. The latter was immediately consigned to the large copper pot, and I paid about three times its value to the natives, to encourage them to bring supplies on the following morning.

While dinner was preparing, I took an observation, and found our latitude was 1 degree 33 minutes N. We had travelled well, having made 16 minutes direct northing.

On the first crowing of our solitary cock, we prepared to start; - the boatmen were gone!

As soon as it was light, I took two men and went to the village, supposing they were sleeping in their huts. Within three hundred paces of the boats, upon a fine turfy sward, on rising ground, were three miserable fishing huts. These constituted the village. Upon arrival, no one was to be found: the natives had deserted. A fine tract of broken grassland formed a kind of amphitheatre beneath the range of cliffs. These I scanned with the telescope, but I could trace no signs of man. We were evidently deserted by our boatmen, and the natives had accompanied them to avoid being pressed into our service.

On my return to the canoes with this intelligence, my men were quite in despair: they could not believe that the boatmen had really absconded, and they begged me to allow them to search the country in the hope of finding another village. Strictly forbidding any man to absent himself from the boats, I congratulated ourselves on having well guarded the paddles, which there was no doubt would have been stolen by the boatmen had I allowed them to remain in their possession. I agreed to wait until 3 P.M. Should the boatmen not return by that hour, I intended to proceed without them. There was no dependence to be placed upon these contradictory natives. Kindness was entirely thrown away upon them. We had Kamrasi's orders for boats and men, but in this distant frontier the natives did not appear to attach much importance to their king: nevertheless, we were dependent upon them. Every hour was valuable, as our only chance of reaching Gondokoro in time for the boats depended upon rapidity of travelling. At the moment when I wished to press forward, delays occurred that were most trying.

Three P.M. arrived, but no signs of natives. "Jump into the boats, my lads!" I cried to my men; "I know the route." The canoes were pushed from the shore, and my people manned the paddles. Five of my men were professional boatmen, but no one understood the management of paddles except myself. It was in vain that I attempted to instruct my crew. Pull they certainly did; but - ye gods who watch over boats! - round and round we pirouetted, the two canoes waltzing and polking together in their great ball-room, the Albert N'yanza. The voyage would have lasted ad infinitum. After three hours' exertion, we reached a point of rock that stretched as a promontory into the lake. This bluff point was covered with thick jungle to the summit, and at the base was a small plot of sandy beach, from which there was no exit except by water, as the cliff descended sheer to the lake upon either side. It poured with rain, and with much difficulty we lighted a fire. Mosquitoes were in clouds, and the night was so warm that it was impossible to sleep beneath the blankets. Arranging the angareps upon the sand, with the raw oxhides as coverlets, we lay down in the rain. It was too hot to sleep in the boat, especially as the temporary cabin was a perfect mosquito nest. That night I considered the best plan to be adopted, and resolved to adapt a paddle as a rudder on the following morning. It rained without ceasing the whole night; and, at break of day, the scene was sufficiently miserable. The men lay on the wet sand, covered up with their raw hides, soaked completely through, but still fast asleep, from which nothing would arouse them. My wife was also wet and wretched. It still rained. I was soon at work.

Cutting a thwart in the stern of the canoe with my hunting-knife, I bored a hole beneath it with the large auger, and securely lashed a paddle with a thong of raw hide that I cut off my well-saturated coverlet. I made a most effective rudder. None of my men had assisted me; they had remained beneath their soaked skins, smoking their short pipes, while I was hard at work. They were perfectly apathetic with despair, as their ridiculous efforts at paddling on the previous evening had completely extinguished all hope within them. They were quite resigned to their destiny, and considered themselves as sacrificed to geography.

I threw them the auger, and explained that I was ready to start, and should wait for no one; and, cutting two bamboos, I arranged a mast and yard, upon which I fitted a large Scotch plaid for a sail. We shoved off the boat; fortunately we had two or three spare paddles, therefore the rudder paddle was not missed. I took the helm, and instructed my men to think of nothing but pulling hard. Away we went as straight as an arrow, to the intense delight of my people. There was very little wind, but a light air filled the plaid and eased us gently forward.

Upon rounding the promontory we found ourselves in a large bay, the opposite headland being visible at about eight or ten miles' distance. Should we coast the bay it would occupy two days. There was another small promontory farther in shore; I therefore resolved to steer direct for that point before venturing in a straight line from one headland to the other.

Upon looking behind me, I observed our canoe consort about a mile astern, amusing herself with pointing to all parts of the compass - the lazy men not having taken the trouble to adapt the rudder as I had ordered them.

We travelled at about four miles an hour, and my people were so elated that they declared themselves ready to row, without assistance, to the Nile junction. The water was perfectly calm, and upon rounding the next promontory I was rejoiced to see a village in a snug little bay, and a great number of canoes drawn up on the sandy beach, and others engaged in fishing. A number of natives were standing on the sand close to the water's edge, about half a mile from us, and I steered directly towards them. Upon our close approach, they immediately sat down, and held up their paddles above their heads; this was an unmistakeable sign that they intended to volunteer as boatmen, and I steered the boat upon the beach. No sooner had we grounded, than they rushed into the water and boarded us, most good-humouredly pulling down our mast and sail, which appeared to them highly absurd (as they never use sails); and they explained that they had seen on the other side the headland that we were strangers, and their chief had ordered them to assist us. I now begged them to send six men to the assistance of the lagging canoe; this they promised to do, and, after waiting for some time, we started at a rattling pace to pull across the wide bay from point to point.

When in the centre of the bay we were about four miles from land. At this time a swell set in from the southwest. While at Vacovia I had observed, that although the mornings were calm, a strong wind generally arose at 1 P.M. from S.W. that brought a heavy sea upon the beach. I was now afraid that we should be subject to a gale before we could reach the opposite headland, as the rising swell betokened wind from the old quarter, especially as dark thunderclouds were gathering on the western shore.

I told Bacheeta to urge the rowers forward, as our heavy canoe would certainly be swamped in the event of a gale. I looked at my watch: it was past noon, and I felt sure that we should catch a south-wester by about one o'clock. My men looked rather green at the ominous black clouds and the increasing swell, but exclaimed, "Inshallah, there will be no wind." With due deference to their faith in predestination, I insisted upon their working the spare paddles, as our safety depended upon reaching the shore before the approaching storm. They had learnt to believe in my opinion, and they exerted themselves to their utmost. The old boat rushed through the water, but the surface of the lake was rapidly changing; the western shore was no longer visible, the water was dark, and innumerable white crests tipped the waves. The canoe laboured heavily, and occasionally shipped water, which was immediately baled out with gourd shells by my men, who now exclaimed, "Wah Illahi el kalam betar el Hawaga sahhe!" (By Allah, what the Hawaga says is true!) We were within about a mile and a half of the point for which we had been steering, when we could no longer keep our course; we had shipped several heavy seas, and had we not been well supplied with utensils for baling, we should have been swamped. Several bursts of thunder and vivid lightning were followed by a tremendous gale from about the W.S.W. before which we were obliged to run for the shore.

In a short space of time a most dangerous sea arose, and on several occasions the waves broke against the arched covering of the canoe, which happily protected her in a slight degree, although we were drenched with water.

Every one was at work baling with all their might; I had no idea that the canoe could live. Down came the rain in torrents, swept along with a terrific wind; nothing was discernible except the high cliffs looming through the storm, and I only trusted that we might arrive upon a sandy beach, and not upon bluff rocks. We went along at a grand rate, as the arched cover of the canoe acted somewhat as a sail; and it was an exciting moment when we at length neared the shore, and approached the foaming breakers that were rolling wildly upon (happily) a sandy beach beneath the cliffs. I told my men to be ready to jump out the moment that we should touch the sand, and to secure the canoe by hauling the head up the beach. All were ready, and we rushed through the surf, the native boatmen paddling like steam engines. "Here comes a wave; look out!" and just as we almost touched the beach, a heavy breaker broke over the black women who were sitting in the stern, and swamped the boat. My men jumped into the water like ducks, and the next moment we were all rolled in confusion on the sandy shore. The men stuck well to the boat, and hauled her firmly on the sand, while my wife crawled out of her primitive cabin like a caddis worm from its nest, half drowned, and jumped upon the shore. "El hamd el Illah!" (thank God!) we all exclaimed; "now for a pull - all together!" and having so far secured the boat that she could not be washed away, I ordered the men to discharge the cargo, and then to pull her out of the lake. Everything was destroyed except the gunpowder; that was all in canisters. But where was the other canoe? I made up my mind that it must be lost, for although much longer than our boat, it was lower in the water. After some time and much anxiety, we perceived it running for the shore about half a mile in our rear; it was in the midst of the breakers, and several times I lost sight of it; but the old tree behaved well, and brought the crew safe to the shore.

Fortunately there was a village not far from the spot where we landed, and we took possession of a hut, lighted a good fire, and wrapped ourselves in Scotch plaids and blankets wrung out, while our clothes were being dried, as there was not a dry rag in our possession.

We could procure nothing to eat, except a few dried fish that, not having been salted, were rather high flavoured. Our fowls, and also two pet quails, were drowned in the boat during the storm; however, the drowned fowls were made into a stew, and with a blazing fire, and clean straw to sleep upon, the night's rest was perhaps as perfect as in the luxury of home.

On the following morning we were detained by bad weather, as a heavy sea was still running, and we were determined not to risk our canoes in another gale. It was a beautiful neighbourhood, enlivened by a magnificent waterfall that fell about a thousand feet from the mountains, as the Kaiigiri river emptied itself into the lake in a splendid volume of water. This river rises in the great marsh that we had crossed on our way from M'rooli to Vacovia. In this neighbourhood we gathered some mushrooms - the true Agaricus campestras of Europe - which were a great luxury.

In the afternoon the sea subsided, and we again started. We had not proceeded above three miles from the village, when I observed an elephant bathing in the lake; he was in water so deep, that he stood with only the top of his head and trunk above the surface. As we approached, he sunk entirely, only the tip of his trunk remaining above the water. I ordered the boatmen to put the canoe as close to him as possible, and we passed within thirty yards, just as he raised his head from his luxurious bath.

I was sorely tempted to fire, but remembering my resolve, refrained from disturbing him, and he slowly quitted the lake, and entered the thick jungle. A short distance beyond this spot two large crocodiles were lying upon the beach asleep; but upon the approach of the canoe they plunged into the water, and raised their heads above the surface at about twenty-five paces. I was uncertain about my Fletcher rifle, as it had been exposed to so much wet; therefore, to discharge it, I took a shot at the nearest crocodile just behind the eye. The little rifle was in perfect order - thanks to Eley's "double waterproof central firecaps," which will resist all weathers - and the bullet striking the exact spot, the great reptile gave a convulsive lash with his tail, and turning on his back, with his paws above the water, he gradually sunk. The native boatmen were dreadfully frightened at the report of the rifle, to the great amusement of their countrywoman, Bacheeta, and it was with difficulty that I persuaded them to direct the canoe to the exact spot. Being close to the shore, the water was not more than eight feet deep, and so beautifully clear, that I could, when just above the crocodile, perceive it lying at the bottom on its belly, and distinguish the bloody head that had been shattered by the bullet. While one of my men prepared a slip-knot, I took a long lance that belonged to a boatman, and drove it deep through the tough scales into the back of the neck; hauling gently, upon the lance I raised the head near to the surface, and slipping the noose over it, the crocodile was secured. It appeared to be quite dead, and the flesh would be a bonne-bouche for my men; therefore we towed it to the shore. It was a fine monster, about sixteen feet long; and although it had appeared dead, it bit furiously at a thick male bamboo which I ran into its mouth to prevent it from snapping during the process of decapitation. The natives regarded my men with disgust as they cut huge lumps of the choicest morsels and stowed them in the canoes; this did not occupy more than a quarter of an hour, and hurrying on board, we continued our voyage, well provided with meat - for all who liked it. To my taste nothing can be more disgusting than crocodile flesh. I have eaten almost everything; but although I have tasted crocodile, I could never succeed in swallowing it; the combined flavour of bad fish, rotten flesh, and musk, is the carte de diner offered to the epicure.

That evening we saw an elephant with an enormous pair of tusks; he was standing on a hill about a quarter of a mile from the boats as we halted. I was aided to resist this temptation by an attack of fever: it rained as usual, and no village being in the neighbourhood, we bivouacked in the rain on the beach in clouds of mosquitoes.

The discomforts of this lake voyage were great; in the day we were cramped in our small cabin like two tortoises in one shell, and at night it almost invariably rained. We were accustomed to the wet, but no acclimatisation can render the European body mosquito-proof; thus we had little rest. It was hard work for me, but for my unfortunate wife, who had hardly recovered from her attack of coup de soleil, such hardships were most distressing.

On the following morning the lake was calm, and we started early. The monotony of the voyage was broken by the presence of several fine herds of elephants, consisting entirely of bulls. I counted fourteen of these grand animals, all with large tusks, bathing together in a small shallow lake beneath the mountains, having a communication with the main lake through a sandy beach; these elephants were only knee deep, and having been bathing they were perfectly clean, and their colossal black forms and large white tusks formed a beautiful picture in the calm lake beneath the lofty cliffs. It was a scene in harmony with the solitude of the Nile Sources - the wilderness of rocks and forest, the Blue Mountains in the distance, and the great fountain of nature adorned with the mighty beasts of Africa; the elephants in undisturbed grandeur, and hippopotami disporting their huge forms in the great parent of the Egyptian river.

I ordered the boatmen to run the canoe ashore, that we might land and enjoy the scene. We then discovered seven elephants on the shore within about two hundred yards of us in high grass, while the main herd of fourteen splendid bulls bathed majestically in the placid lake, showering cold streams from their trunks over their backs and shoulders. There was no time to lose, as every hour was important: quitting the shore, we once more paddled along the coast.

Day after day passed, the time occupied in travelling from sunrise to midday, at which hour a strong gale with rain and thunder occurred regularly, and obliged us to haul our canoes ashore. The country was very thinly inhabited, and the villages were poor and wretched; the people most inhospitable. At length we arrived at a considerable town situated in a beautiful bay beneath precipitous cliffs, the grassy sides of which were covered with flocks of goats; this was Eppigoya, and the boatmen that we had procured from the last village were to deliver us in this spot. The delays in procuring boatmen were most annoying: it appeared that the king had sent orders that each village was to supply the necessary rowers; thus we were paddled from place to place, at each of which the men were changed, and no amount of payment would induce them to continue with us to the end of our voyage.

Landing at Eppigoya, we were at once met by the headman, and I proposed that he should sell us a few kids, as the idea of a mutton chop was most appetizing. Far from supplying us with this luxury, the natives immediately drove their flocks away, and after receiving a large present of beads, the headman brought us a present of a sick lamb almost at the point of natural death, and merely skin and bone. Fortunately there were fowls in thousands, as the natives did not use them for food; these we purchased for one blue bead (monjoor) each, which in current value was equal to 250 fowls for a shilling. Eggs were brought in baskets containing several hundreds, but they were all poultry.

At Eppigoya the best salt was produced, and we purchased a good supply - also some dried fish; thus provisioned, we procured boatmen, and again started on our voyage.

Hardly had we proceeded two hundred yards, when we were steered direct to the shore below the town, and our boatmen coolly laid down their paddles and told us that they had performed their share, and that as Eppigoya was divided into four parts under separate headmen, each portion would supply rowers!

Ridiculous as this appeared, there was no contesting their decision; and thus we were handed over from one to the other, and delayed for about three hours in changing boatmen four times within a distance of less than a mile! The perfect absurdity of such a regulation, combined with the delay when time was most precious, was trying to the temper. At every change, the headman accompanied the boatmen to our canoe, and presented us with three fowls at parting; thus our canoes formed a floating poultry show as we had already purchased large supplies. Our live stock bothered us dreadfully; being without baskets, the fowls were determined upon suicide, and many jumped deliberately overboard, while others that were tied by the legs were drowned in the bottom of the leaky canoe.

After the tenth day from our departure from Vacovia the scenery increased in beauty. The lake had contracted to about thirty miles in width, and was decreasing rapidly northward; the trees upon the mountains upon the western shore could be distinguished. Continuing our voyage north, the western shore projected suddenly, and diminished the width of the lake to about twenty miles. It was no longer the great inland sea that at Vacovia had so impressed me, with the clean pebbly beach that had hitherto formed the shore, but vast banks of reeds growing upon floating vegetation prevented the canoes from landing. These banks were most peculiar, as they appeared to have been formed of decayed vegetation, from which the papyrus rushes took root; the thickness of the floating mass was about three feet, and so tough and firm that a man could walk upon it, merely sinking above his ankles in the soft ooze. Beneath this raft of vegetation was extremely deep water, and the shore for a width of about half a mile was entirely protected by this extraordinary formation. One day a tremendous gale of wind and heavy sea broke off large portions, and the wind acting upon the rushes like sails, carried floating islands of some acres about the lake to be deposited wherever they might chance to hitch.

On the thirteenth day we found ourselves at the end of our lake voyage. The lake at this point was between fifteen and twenty miles across, and the appearance of the country to the north was that of a delta. The shores upon either side were choked with vast banks of reeds, and as the canoe skirted the edge of that upon the east coast, we could find no bottom with a bamboo of twenty-five feet in length, although the floating mass appeared like terra forma. We were in a perfect wilderness of vegetation: On the west were mountains of about 4,000 feet above the lake level, a continuation of the chain that formed the western shore from the south: these mountains decreased in height towards the north, in which direction the lake terminated in a broad valley of reeds.

We were told that we had arrived at Magungo, and that this was the spot where the boats invariably crossed from Malegga on the western shore to Kamrasi's country. The boatmen proposed that we should land upon the floating vegetation, as that would be a short cut to the village or town of Magungo; but as the swell of the water against the abrupt raft of reeds threatened to swamp the canoe, I preferred coasting until we should discover a good landing place. After skirting the floating reeds for about a mile, we turned sharp to the east, and entered a broad channel of water bounded on either side by the everlasting reeds. This we were informed was the embouchure of the Somerset river from the Victoria N'yanza. The same river that we had crossed at Karuma, boiling and tearing along its rocky course, now entered the Albert N'yanza as dead water! I could not understand this; there was not the slightest current; the channel was about half a mile wide, and I could hardly convince myself that this was not an arm of the lake branching to the east. After searching for some time for a landing place among the wonderful banks of reeds, we discovered a passage that had evidently been used as an approach by canoes, but so narrow that our large canoe could with difficulty be dragged through - all the men walking through the mud and reeds, and towing with their utmost strength. Several hundred paces of this tedious work brought us through the rushes into open water, about eight feet deep, opposite to a clean rocky shore. We had heard voices for some time while obscured on the other side of the rushes, and we now found a number of natives, who had arrived to meet us, with the chief of Magungo and our guide Rabonga, whom we had sent in advance with the riding oxen from Vacovia. The water was extremely shallow near the shore, and the natives rushed in and dragged the canoes by sheer force over the mud to the land. We had been so entirely hidden while on the lake on the other side of the reed bank that we had been unable to see the eastern, or Magungo shore; we now found ourselves in a delightful spot beneath the shade of several enormous trees on firm sandy and rocky ground, while the country rose in a rapid incline to the town of Magungo, about a mile distant, on an elevated ridge.

My first question was concerning the riding oxen. They were reported in good order. We were invited to wait under a tree until the presents from the headmen should be delivered. Accordingly, while my wife sat under the shade, I went to the waterside to examine the fishing arrangements of the natives, that were on an extensive scale. For many hundred feet, the edges of the floating reeds were arranged to prevent the possibility of a large fish entering the open water adjoining the shore without being trapped. A regular system of baskets were fixed at intervals, with guiding fences to their mouths. Each basket was about six feet in diameter, and the mouth about eighteen inches; thus the arrangements were for the monsters of the lake, the large bones of which, strewed about the vicinity, were a witness of their size. My men had just secured the half of a splendid fish, known in the Nile as the "baggera." They had found it in the water, the other portion having been bitten off by a crocodile. The piece in their possession weighed about fifty pounds. This is one of the best fish in the lake. It is shaped like the perch, but is coloured externally like the salmon. I also obtained from the natives an exceedingly good fish, of a peculiar form, having four long feelers at the positions that would be occupied by the limbs of reptiles; these looked like rudiments of legs. It had somewhat the appearance of an eel; but, being oviparous, it can have no connexion with that genus. The natives had a most killing way of fishing with the hook and line for heavy fish. They arranged rows of tall bamboos, the ends stuck firmly in the bottom, in a depth of about six feet of water, and about five or ten yards apart. On the top of each was a lump of ambatch-wood about ten inches in diameter. Around this was wound a powerful line, and, a small hole being made in this float, it was lightly fixed upon the point of the bamboo, or fishing rod. The line was securely attached to the bamboo, then wound round the large float, while the hook, baited with a live fish, was thrown to some distance beyond. Long rows of these fixed rods were set every morning by natives in canoes, and watchers attended them during the day, while they took their chance by night. When a large fish took the bait, his first rush unhitched the ambatch-float from the point of the bamboo, which, revolving upon the water, paid out line as required. When entirely run out, the great size and buoyancy of the float served to check and to exhaust the fish. There are several varieties of fish that exceed 200 lbs. weight.

A number of people now arrived from the village, bringing a goat, fowls, eggs, and sour milk, and, beyond all luxuries, fresh butter. I delighted the chief, in return for his civility, by giving him a quantity of beads, and we were led up the hill towards Magungo.

The day was beautifully clear. The soil was sandy and poor, therefore the road was clean and hard; and, after the many days' boating, we enjoyed the walk, and the splendid view that lay before us when we arrived at Magungo, and looked back upon the lake. We were about 250 feet above the water level. There were no longer the abrupt cliffs, descending to the lake, that we had seen in the south, but the general level of the country appeared to be about 500 feet above the water, at a distance of five or six miles, from which point the ground descended in undulations, Magungo being situated on the summit of the nearest incline. The mountains on the Malegga side, with the lake in the foreground, were the most prominent objects, forming the western boundary. A few miles north there appeared to be a gap in the range, and the lake continued to the west, but much contracted, while the mountain range on the northern side of the gap continued to the northeast. Due north and northeast the country was a dead flat, and far as the eye could reach was an extent of bright green reeds, marking the course of the Nile as it made its exit from the lake. The sheet of water at Magungo being about seventeen miles in width, ended in a long strip or tail to the north, until it was lost in the flat valley of green rushes. This valley may have been from four to six miles wide, and was bounded upon its west bank by the continuation of the chain of mountains that had formed the western boundary of the lake. The natives told me that canoes could navigate the Nile in its course from the lake to the Madi country, as there were no cataracts for a great distance, but that both the Madi and the Koshi were hostile, and that the current of the river was so strong, that should the canoe descend from the lake, it could not return without many rowers. They pointed out the country of Koshi on the west bank of the Nile, at its exit from the lake, which included the mountains that bordered the river. The small country, M'Caroli, joined Malegga, and continued to the west, towards the Makkarika. The natives most positively refused to take me down the Nile from the lake into the Madi, as they said that they would be killed by the people, who were their enemies, as I should not be with them on their return up the river.

The exit of the Nile from the lake was plain enough, and if the broad channel of dead water were indeed the entrance of the Victoria Nile (Somerset), the information obtained by Speke would be remarkably confirmed. Up to the present time all the information that I had received from Kamrasi and his people had been correct. He had told me that I should be about twenty days from M'rooli to the lake; I had been eighteen. He had also told me that the Somerset flowed from Karuma direct to the lake, and that, having joined it, the great Nile issued from the lake almost immediately, and flowed through the Koshi and Madi tribes. I now saw the river issuing from the lake within eighteen miles of Magungo; and the Koshi and the Madi countries appeared close to me, bordering it on the west and east. Kamrasi being the king, it was natural that he should know his own frontier most intimately; but, although the chief of Magungo and all the natives assured me that the broad channel of dead water at my feet was positively the brawling river that I had crossed below the Karuma Falls, I could not understand how so fine a body of water as that had appeared could possibly enter the Albert lake as dead water. The guide and natives laughed at my unbelief, and declared that it was dead water for a considerable distance from the junction with the lake, but that a great waterfall rushed down from a mountain, and that beyond that fall the river was merely a succession of cataracts throughout the entire distance of about six days' march to Karuma Falls. My real wish was to descend the Nile in canoes from its exit from the lake with my own men as boatmen, and thus in a short time to reach the cataracts in the Madi country; there to forsake the canoes and all my baggage, and to march direct to Gondokoro with only our guns and ammunition. I knew from native report that the Nile was navigable as far as the Madi country to about Miani's tree, which Speke had laid down by astronomical observation in lat. 3 degrees 34 minutes; this would be only seven days' march from Gondokoro, and by such a direct course I should be sure to arrive in time for the boats to Khartoum. I had promised Speke that I would explore most thoroughly the doubtful portion of the river that he had been forced to neglect from Karuma Falls to the lake. I was myself confused at the dead water junction; and, although I knew that the natives must be right - as it was their own river, and they had no inducement to mislead me - I was determined to sacrifice every other wish in order to fulfil my promise, and thus to settle the Nile question most absolutely. That the Nile flowed out of the lake I had heard, and I had also confirmed by actual inspection; from Magungo I looked upon the two countries, Koshi and Madi, through which it flowed, and these countries I must actually pass through and again meet the Nile before I could reach Gondokoro. Thus the only point necessary to swear to, was the river between the lake and the Karuma Falls.

I had a bad attack of fever that evening, and missed my star for the latitude; but on the following morning before daybreak I obtained a good observation of Vega, and determined the latitude of Magungo 2 degrees 16 minutes due west from Atada or Karuma Falls. This was a strong confirmation that the river beneath my feet was the Somerset that I had crossed in the same latitude at Atada, where the river was running due west, and where the natives had pointed in that direction as its course to the lake. Nevertheless, I was determined to verify it, although by this circuitous route I might lose the boats from Gondokoro and become a prisoner in Central Africa, ill, and without quinine, for another year. I proposed it to my wife, who not only voted in her state of abject weakness to complete the river to Karuma, but wished, if possible, to return and follow the Nile from the lake down to Gondokoro! This latter resolve, based upon the simple principle of "seeing is believing," was a sacrifice most nobly proposed, but simply impossible and unnecessary.

We saw from our point at Magungo the Koshi and Madi countries, and the Nile flowing out of the lake through them. We must of necessity pass through those countries on our road to Gondokoro direct from Karuma via Shooa, and should we not meet the river in the Madi and Koshi country, the Nile that we now saw would not be the Nile of Gondokoro. We knew, however, that it was so, as Speke and Grant had gone by that route, and had met the Nile near Miani's tree in lat. 3 degrees 34 min. in the Madi country, the Koshi being on its western bank; thus, as we were now at the Nile head and saw it passing through the Madi and Koshi, any argument against the river would be the argumentum ad absurdum. I ordered the boats to be got ready to start immediately.

The chief gave me much information, confirming the accounts that I had heard a year previous in the Latooka countries, that formerly cowrie shells were brought in boats from the south, and that these shells and brass coil brackets came by the lake from Karagwe. He called also several of the natives of Malegga, who had arrived with beautifully prepared mantles of antelope and goatskins, to exchange for bracelets and glass beads. The Malegga people were in appearance the same as those of Unyoro, but they spoke a different language.

The boats being ready, we took leave of the chief, leaving him an acceptable present of beads, and we descended the hill to the river, thankful at having so far successfully terminated the expedition as to have traced the lake to that important point Magungo, which had been our clue to the discovery even so far away in time and place as the distant country of Latooka. We were both very weak and ill, and my knees trembled beneath me as we walked down the easy descent. I, in my enervated state, endeavouring to assist my wife, we were the "blind leading the blind;" but had life closed on that day we could have died most happily, for the hard fight through sickness and misery had ended in victory; and, although I looked to home as a paradise never to be regained, I could have lain down to sleep in contentment on this spot, with the consolation that, if the body had been vanquished, we died with the prize in our grasp.

On arrival at the canoes we found everything in readiness, and the boatmen already in their places. A crowd of natives pushed us over the shallows, and once in deep water we passed through a broad canal which led us into the open channel without the labour of towing through the narrow inlet by which we had arrived. Once in the broad channel of dead water we steered due east, and made rapid way until the evening. The river as it now appeared, although devoid of current, was an average of about 500 yards in width. Before we halted for the night I was subjected to a most severe attack of fever, and upon the boat reaching a certain spot I was carried on a litter, perfectly unconscious, to a village, attended carefully by my poor sick wife, who, herself half dead, followed me on foot through the marshes in pitch darkness, and watched over me until the morning. At daybreak I was too weak to stand, and we were both carried down to the canoes, and, crawling helplessly within our grass awning, we lay down like logs while the canoes continued their voyage. Many of our men were also suffering from fever. The malaria of the dense masses of floating vegetation was most poisonous; and upon looking back to the canoe that followed in our wake, I observed all my men sitting crouched together sick and dispirited, looking like departed spirits being ferried across the melancholy Styx. The river now contracted rapidly to about 250 yards in width about ten miles from Magungo. We had left the vast flats of rush banks, and entered a channel between high ground, forming steep forest-covered hills, about 200 feet on either side, north and south: nevertheless there was no perceptible stream, although there was no doubt that we were actually in the channel of a river. The water was clear and exceedingly deep. In the evening we halted, and slept on a mud bank close to the water. The grass in the forest was very high and rank; thus we were glad to find an open space for a bivouac, although a nest of mosquitoes and malaria.

On waking the next morning, I observed that a thick fog covered the surface of the river; and as I lay upon my back, on my angarep, I amused myself before I woke my men by watching the fog slowly lifting from the river. While thus employed I was struck by the fact, that the little green water-plants, like floating cabbages (Pistia Stratiotes, L.), were certainly, although very slowly, moving to the west. I immediately jumped up, and watched them most attentively; there was no doubt about it; they were travelling towards the Albert lake. We were now about eighteen miles in a direct line from Magungo, and there was a current in the river, which, however slight, was nevertheless perceptible.

Our toilette did not take long to arrange, as we had thrown ourselves down at night with our clothes on; accordingly we entered the canoe at once, and gave the order to start.

The woman Bacheeta knew the country, as she had formerly been to Magungo when in the service of Sali, who had been subsequently murdered by Kamrasi; she now informed me that we should terminate our canoe voyage on that day, as we should arrive at the great waterfall of which she had often spoken. As we proceeded the river gradually narrowed to about 180 yards, and when the paddles ceased working we could distinctly hear the roar of water. I had heard this on waking in the morning, but at the time I had imagined it to proceed from distant thunder. By ten o'clock the current had so increased as we proceeded, that it was distinctly perceptible, although weak. The roar of the waterfall was extremely loud, and after sharp pulling for a couple of hours, during which time the stream increased, we arrived at a few deserted fishing huts, at a point where the river made a slight turn. I never saw such an extraordinary show of crocodiles as were exposed on every sandbank on the sides of the river; they lay like logs of timber close together, and upon one bank we counted twenty-seven, of large size; every basking place was crowded in a similar manner. From the time we had fairly entered the river, it had been confined by heights somewhat precipitous on either side, rising to about 180 feet. At this point the cliffs were still higher, and exceedingly abrupt. From the roar of the water, I was sure that the fall would be in sight if we turned the corner at the bend of the river; accordingly I ordered the boatmen to row as far as they could: to this they at first objected, as they wished to stop at the deserted fishing village, which they explained was to be the limit of the journey, farther progress being impossible.

However, I explained that I merely wished to see the fall, and they rowed immediately up the stream, which was now strong against us. Upon rounding the corner, a magnificent sight burst suddenly upon us. On either side the river were beautifully wooded cliffs rising abruptly to a height of about 300 feet; rocks were jutting out from the intensely green foliage; and rushing through a gap that cleft the rock exactly before us, the river, contracted from a grand stream, was pent up in a narrow gorge of scarcely fifty yards in width; roaring furiously through the rock-bound pass, it plunged in one leap of about 120 feet perpendicular into a dark abyss below.

The fall of water was snow white, which had a superb effect as it contrasted with the dark cliffs that walled the river, while the graceful palms of the tropics and wild plantains perfected the beauty of the view. This was the greatest waterfall of the Nile, and, in honour of the distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society, I named it the Murchison Falls, as the most important object throughout the entire course of the river.

The boatmen, having been promised a present of beads to induce them to approach the fall as close as possible, succeeded in bringing the canoe within about 300 yards of the base, but the power of the current and the whirlpools in the river rendered it impossible to proceed farther. There was a sandbank on our left which was literally covered with crocodiles lying parallel to each other like trunks of trees prepared for shipment; they had no fear of the canoe until we approached within about twenty yards of them, when they slowly crept into the water; all excepting one, an immense fellow who lazily lagged behind, and immediately dropped dead as a bullet from the little Fletcher No. 24 struck him in the brain. So alarmed were the boatmen at the unexpected report of the rifle that they immediately dropped into the body of the canoe, one of them losing his paddle. Nothing would induce them to attend to the boat, as I had fired a second shot at the crocodile as a "quietus," and the natives did not know how often the alarming noise would be repeated. Accordingly we were at the mercy of the powerful stream, and the canoe was whisked round by the eddy and carried against a thick bank of high reeds; - hardly had we touched this obstruction when a tremendous commotion took place in the rushes, and in an instant a great bull hippopotamus charged the canoe, and with a severe shock striking the bottom he lifted us half out of the water. The natives who were in the bottom of the boat positively yelled with terror, not knowing whether the shock was in any way connected with the dreaded report of the rifle; the black women screamed; and the boy Saat handing me a spare rifle, and Richarn being ready likewise, we looked out for a shot should the angry hippo again attack us.

A few kicks bestowed by my angry men upon the recumbent boatmen restored them to the perpendicular. The first thing necessary was to hunt for the lost paddle that was floating down the rapid current. The hippopotamus, proud of having disturbed us, but doubtless thinking us rather hard of texture, raised his head to take a last view of his enemy, but sank too rapidly to permit a shot. Crocodile heads of enormous size were on all sides, appearing and vanishing rapidly as they rose to survey us; at one time we counted eighteen upon the surface. Fine fun it would have been for these monsters had the bull hippo been successful in his attempt to capsize us; the fat black woman, Karka, would have been a dainty morsel. Having recovered the lost paddle, I prevailed upon the boatmen to keep the canoe steady while I made a sketch of the Murchison Falls, which being completed, we drifted rapidly down to the landing place at the deserted fishing village, and bade adieu to the navigation of the lake and river of Central Africa.

The few huts that existed in this spot were mere ruins. Clouds had portended rain, and down it came, as it usually did once in every twenty-four hours. However, that passed away by the next morning, and the day broke discovering us about as wet and wretched as we were accustomed to be. I now started off four of my men with the boatmen and the interpreter Bacheeta to the nearest village, to inquire whether our guide Rabonga had arrived with our riding oxen, as our future travelling was to be on land, and the limit of our navigation must have been well known to him. After some hours the people returned, minus the boatmen, with a message from the headman of a village they had visited, that the oxen were there, but not the guide Rabonga, who had remained at Magungo, but that the animals should be brought to us that evening, together with porters to convey the luggage. In the evening a number of people arrived, bringing some plantain cider and plantains as a present from the headman; and promising that, upon the following morning, we should be conducted to his village.

The next day we started, but not until the afternoon, as we had to await the arrival of the headman, who was to escort us. Our oxen were brought, and if we looked wretched, the animals were a match. They had been bitten by the fly, thousands of which were at this spot. Their coats were staring, ears drooping, noses running, and heads hanging down; all the symptoms of fly-bite, together with extreme looseness of the bowels. I saw that it was all up with our animals. Weak as I was myself, I was obliged to walk, as my ox could not carry me up the steep inclination, and I toiled languidly to the summit of the cliff. It poured with rain. Upon arrival at the summit we were in precisely the same parklike land that characterises Chopi and Unyoro, but the grass was about seven feet high; and from the constant rain, and the extreme fertility of the soil, the country was choked with vegetation. We were now above the Murchison Falls, and we heard the roaring of the water beneath us to our left. We continued our route parallel to the river above the Falls, steering east; and a little before evening we arrived at a small village belonging to the headman who accompanied us. I was chilled and wet; my wife had fortunately been carried on her litter, which was protected by a hide roofing. Feverish and exhausted, I procured from the natives some good acid plums, and refreshed by these I was able to boil my thermometer and take the altitude.

On the following morning we started, the route as before parallel to the river, and so close that the roar of the rapids was extremely loud. The river flowed in a deep ravine upon our left. We continued for a day's march along the Somerset, crossing many ravines and torrents, until we turned suddenly down to the left, and arriving at the bank we were to be transported to an island called Patooan, that was the residence of a chief. It was about an hour after sunset, and being dark, my riding ox, who was being driven as too weak to carry me, fell into an elephant pitfall. After much hallooing, a canoe was brought from the island, which was not more than fifty yards from the mainland, and we were ferried across. We were both very ill with a sudden attack of fever; and my wife, not being able to stand, was, on arrival at the island, carried on a litter I knew not whither, escorted by some of my men, while I lay down on the wet ground quite exhausted with the annihilating disease. At length the remainder of my men crossed over, and those who had carried my wife to the village returning with firebrands, I managed to creep after them with the aid of a long stick, upon which I rested with both hands. After a walk, through a forest of high trees, for about a quarter of a mile, I arrived at a village where I was shown a wretched hut, the stars being visible through the roof. In this my wife lay dreadfully ill upon her angarep, and I fell down upon some straw. About an hour later, a violent thunderstorm broke over us, and our hut was perfectly flooded; we, being far too ill and helpless to move from our positions, remained dripping wet and shivering with fever until the morning. Our servants and people had, like all natives, made themselves much more comfortable than their employers; nor did they attempt to interfere with our misery in any way until summoned to appear at sunrise.

The island of Patooan was about half a mile long by 150 yards wide, and was one of the numerous masses of rocks that choke the river between Karuma Falls and the great Murchison cataract. The rock was entirely of grey granite, from the clefts of which beautiful forest trees grew so thickly that the entire island was in shade. In the middle of this secluded spot was a considerable village, thickly inhabited, as the population of the mainland had fled from their dwellings and had taken refuge upon the numerous river islands, as the war was raging between Rionga and Kamrasi. A succession of islands from the east of Patooan continued to within a march of Karuma Falls. These were in the possession of Rionga, and a still more powerful chief and ally, Fowooka, who were the deadly enemies of Kamrasi.

It now appeared that after my departure from M'rooli to search for the lake, Ibrahim had been instructed by Kamrasi to accompany his army, and attack Fowooka. This had been effected, but the attack had been confined to a bombardment by musketry from the high cliffs of the river upon the people confined upon one of the islands. A number of men had been killed, and Ibrahim had returned to Gondokoro with a quantity of ivory and porters supplied by Kamrasi; but he had left ten of his armed men as hostages with the king, to act as his guard until he should return on the following year to Unyoro. Ibrahim and his strong party having quitted the country, Fowooka had invaded the mainland of Chopi, and had burnt and destroyed all the villages, and killed many people, including a powerful chief of Kamrasi's, the father of the headman of the island of Patooan where we were now staying. Accordingly the fugitives from the destroyed villages had taken refuge upon the island of Patooan, and others of the same character. The headman informed us that it would be impossible to proceed along the bank of the river to Karuma, as that entire line of country was in possession of the enemy. This was sufficient to assure me that I should not procure porters.

There was no end to the difficulties and trouble in this horrible country. My exploration was completed, as it was by no means necessary to continue the route from Patooan to Karuma. I had followed the Somerset from its junction with the lake at Magungo to this point; here it was a beautiful river, precisely similar in character to the point at which I had left it at Karuma: we were now within thirty miles of that place, and about eighteen miles from the point opposite Rionga's island, where we had first hit upon the river on our arrival from the north. The direction was perfectly in accordance with my observations at Karuma, and at Magungo, the Somerset running from east to west. The river was about 180 to 200 yards in width, but much obstructed with rocks and islands; the stream ran at about four miles per hour, and the rapids and falls were so numerous that the roar of water had been continuous throughout our march from Murchison Falls. By observations of Casella's thermometer I made the altitude of the river level at the island of Patooan 3,195 feet; thus from this point to the level of the Albert lake at Magungo there was a fall of 475 feet - this difference being included between Patooan and the foot of Murchison Falls: the latter, being at the lowest estimate 120 feet, left 355 feet to be accounted for between Patooan and the top of the falls. As the ledges of rock throughout the course of the river formed a series of steps, this was a natural difference in altitude that suggested the correctness of the observations.

At the river level below Karuma Falls I had measured the altitude at 3,996 feet above the sea level. Thus, there was a fall from that point to Patooan of 801 feet, and a total of 1,276 feet in the descent of the river from Karuma to the Albert N'yanza. These measurements, most carefully taken, corroborated the opinion suggested by the natural appearance of the river, which was a mere succession of cataracts throughout its westerly course from Karuma.

To me these observations were more than usually interesting, as when I had met my friend Speke at Gondokoro he was much perplexed concerning the extraordinary difference in his observation between the altitude of the river level at Karuma Falls, lat. 2 degrees 15', and at Gebel Kookoo in the Madi country, lat. 3 degrees 34', the point at which he subsequently met the river. He KNEW that both rivers were the Nile, as he bad been told this by the natives; the one, before it had joined the Albert lake - the other, after its exit; but he had been told that the river was NAVIGABLE from Gebel Kookoo, lat. 3 degrees 34', straight up to the junction of the lake; thus, there could be no great difference in altitude between the lake and the Nile where he met it, in lat. 3 degrees 34'. Nevertheless, he found so enormous a difference in his observations between the river at Karuma and at Gebel Kookoo, that he concluded there must be a fall between Karuma and the Albert lake of at least 1,000 feet; by careful measurements I proved the closeness of his reasoning and observation, by finding a fall of only 275 feet more than he had anticipated. From Karuma to the Albert lake (although unvisited by Speke), he had marked upon his map, "river falls 1,000 feet;" by actual measurement I proved it to be 1,275 feet.

The altitudes measured by me have been examined, and the thermometer that I used had been tested at Kew, and its errors corrected since my return to England; thus all altitudes observed with that thermometer should be correct, as the results, after correction by Mr. Dunkin, of the Greenwich Royal Observatory, are those now quoted. It will therefore be interesting to compare the observations taken at the various points on the Nile and Albert lake in the countries of Unyoro and Chopi - the correctness of which relatively will be seen by comparison: -

1861. 
    Jan. 22. Rionga's island, 80 feet above the Nile . . . 3,864 
    Jan. 25. Karuma, below the falls, river level Atadaj. . 3,996 
    Jan. 31. South of Karuma, river level on road to M'rooli 4,056

1864. 
    Feb. 21. M'rooli lat. 1 degree 38' river level . . . . . . 4,061Ft. 
    Mar. 14. Albert N'yanza, lake level . . . . . . . . . . . 2,720Ft. 
    April 7. Island of Patooan (Shooa Moru) river level. . . . 3,195Ft.

By these observations it will be seen that from M'rooli, in lat. 1 degree 38' to Karuma in lat. 2 degree 15', there is a fall of sixty- five feet; say MINUS five feet, for the Karuma Falls equals sixty feet fall in 37' of latitude; or allowing for the great bend of the river, twenty miles of extra course, it will be equal to about sixty statute miles of actual river from M'rooli to Atada or Karuma Falls, showing a fall or one foot per mile. From M'rooli to the head of the Karuma Falls the river is navigable; thus the observations of altitudes showing a fall of one foot per mile must be extremely accurate.

The next observations to be compared are those from Karuma Falls throughout the westerly course of the river to the Albert lake: - 
    River level below Karuma Falls . . . . . . . . 3,996 feet 
    Rionga's island 3,864 - 80 feet cliff . . . . . 3,784 
     = 212 fall. to the west. 
    River level at island of Patooan (Shooa Moru). 3,195 
     = 589 fall. from Rionga's island. 
    Level of Albert lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,720 
     = 475 fall. from Patooan to lake. 
    From Karuma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,276 fall.

These observations were extremely satisfactory, and showed that the thermometer (Casella's) behaved well at every boiling, as there was no confusion of altitudes, but each observation corroborated the preceding. The latitude of the island of Patooan by observation was 2 degrees 16': we were thus due west of Magungo, and east of Karuma Falls.