warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/iovannet/public_html/explorion/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Samuel White Baker

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!

We were prisoners on the island of Patooan, as we could not procure porters at any price to remove our effects. We had lost all our riding oxen within a few days; they had succumbed to the flies, and the only animal alive was already half dead; this was the little bull that had always carried the boy Saat. It was the 8th April, and within a few days the boats upon which we depended for our return to civilization would assuredly quit Gondokoro. I offered the natives all the beads that I had (about 50 lbs.) and the whole of my baggage, if they would carry us to Shooa direct from this spot.

IT appeared that Kisoona was to be headquarters until I should have an opportunity of quitting the country for Shooa. Therefore I constructed a comfortable little hut surrounded by a courtyard strongly fenced, in which I arranged a Rakooba, or open shed, in which to sit during the hottest hours of the day.

In the history of the Nile there was a void: its Sources were a mystery. The Ancients devoted much attention to this problem; but in vain. The Emperor Nero sent an expedition under the command of two centurions, as described by Seneca. Even Roman energy failed to break the spell that guarded these secret fountains. The expedition sent by Mehemet Ali Pasha, the celebrated Viceroy of Egypt, closed a long term of unsuccessful search.

Kamrasi, thus freed from his invaders, was almost stupefied with astonishment. He immediately paid me a visit, and as he entered the courtyard he stopped to look at the flag that was gaily fluttering above him, as though it were a talisman. He inquired "why the Turks were awed by an apparent trifle." I explained that the flag was well known, and might be seen in every part of the world; wherever it was hoisted it was respected, as he had just witnessed, even at so great a distance from home and unsupported, as in Unyoro.

The primary object of geographical exploration is the opening to general intercourse such portions of the earth as may become serviceable to the human race. The explorer is the precursor of the colonist; and the colonist is the human instrument by which the great work must be constructed - that greatest and most difficult of all undertakings - the civilization of the world.

It was the middle of November - not the wretched month that chills even the recollection of Old England, but the last of the ten months of rain that causes the wonderful vegetation of the fertile soil in Equatorial Africa. The Turks were ready to return to Shooa, and I longed for the change from this brutal country to the still wilder but less bloody tribe of Madi, to the north.

In March, 1861, I commenced an expedition to discover the sources of the Nile, with the hope of meeting the East African expedition of Captains Speke and Grant, that had been sent by the English Government from the South via Zanzibar, for that object. I had not the presumption to publish my intention, as the sources of the Nile had hitherto defied all explorers, but I had inwardly determined to accomplish this difficult task or to die in the attempt.

The hour of deliverance from our long sojourn in Central Africa was at hand; it was the month of February, and the boats would be at Gondokoro. The Turks had packed their ivory; the large tusks were fastened to poles to be carried by two men, and the camp was a perfect mass of this valuable material. I counted 609 loads of upwards of 50 lbs. each; thirty-one loads were lying at an outstation: therefore the total results of the ivory campaign during the last twelve months were about 32,000 lbs., equal to about 9,630 pounds when delivered in Egypt. This was a perfect fortune for Koorshid.

Syndicate content