CHAPTER XVI. ARRIVAL AT FATIKO.

ON 6th March, 1872, we started from the bivouac at the base of the Shooa mountain at 6.10 A.M.

The troops were in excellent spirits, the air was fresh and cool in this elevated country, the horses had been well groomed, and the arms and accoutrements had been burnished on the previous afternoon, in order to make a good appearance before my old friends the natives of Fatiko and Shooa.

The bright scarlet uniforms and snow-white linen trousers of 212 men looked extremely gay upon the fresh green grass, which had lately sprung up throughout this beautiful park.

There was no enemy in this country. From a former residence of five months at Shooa, both my wife and myself were well known to the inhabitants, and I felt sure that our arrival would be hailed with gladness. In my former visit I had been a successful hunter, and had always given the flesh to the natives; thus, as the road to a negro's heart is through his stomach, I knew that my absence must have been felt, and that the recollections of past times would be savoury and agreeable.

I had with me a herd of 1,078 cows and 194 sheep. No guard was necessary, and I intrusted the stock to the care of the three boatmen, and my Bari interpreter, Morgian.

The line of march was thus arranged: - Myself, with my wife and Lieutenant Baker, on horseback in advance, preceded by the guard of five of the "Forty Thieves." Then came Colonel Abd-el-Kader and the remaining forty-three, composing the gallant "Forty." After which came the regiment, all necessarily in single file. Then came the baggage with 400 carriers, followed by the herd of cattle.

All our boys were dressed in their scarlet uniforms, and the girls and women generally had dressed in their best clothes. Little Cuckoo as usual carried my small travelling-bag upon his head, and kept his line with the other boys, all of whom assumed an air that was intended to be thoroughly regimental.

In this order the march commenced. The distance was only six miles. This was as lovely a route as could be conceived.

Magnificent trees (acacias), whose thick, dark foliage drooped near the ground, were grouped in clumps, springing from the crevices between huge blocks of granite. Brooks of the purest water rippled over the time-worn channels cut through granite plateaux, and as we halted to drink at the tempting stream, the water tasted as cold as though from an European spring.

The entire country on our left was a succession of the most beautiful rocky undulations and deep verdant glades, at the bottom of which flowed perennial streams. The banks of these rivulets were richly clothed with ornamental timber, the green foliage contrasting strongly with the dark grey blocks of granite resembling the ruins of ancient towers.

We travelled along a kind of hog's back, which formed the watershed to the west. As we ascended, until we reached a large plateau of clean granite of about two acres, we broke upon a magnificent panorama, which commanded an extensive view of the whole country.

On the west, we looked down upon the plains through which we had arrived, and the view stretched far away beyond the Nile, until it met the horizon bounded by the grey outline of the distant mountains.

No one could feel unhappy in such a scene. I trod upon my old ground, every step of which I knew, and I felt an exhilaration of spirits at the fact that I was once more here in the new capacity of a deliverer, who would be welcomed with open arms by the down-trodden natives of this country.

Having descended from the clean plateau of rock, we carefully rode across a slippery channel that had been worn by the sandy torrents of the rainy season, and once more arrived at level ground. We were now on the great table-land of Fatiko.

Upon our left, a mass of bold ruins, the granite skeleton remains of a perished mountain, which formed a shelter from the morning sun, tempted us to halt.

We had thus suddenly appeared upon the greensward of the plateau without the slightest warning to the inhabitants of Fatiko. About a mile before us stood the large station of Abou Saood, which occupied at least thirty acres. On our right we were hemmed in by a wall of granite, sloped like a huge whale, about three-quarters of a mile long and 100 feet high. The southern extremity of this vast block of clean granite was the rocky and fantastic hill of Fatiko crested with fine timber. To our left, and straight before us, was a perfectly flat plain like a race-course, the south end being a curious and beautiful assemblage of immense granite blocks, and groups of weeping acacia.

A large village occupied the base of Fatiko hill ... The bugles and drums sounded "the advance." The echoes rang from the hard granite rock as the unusual sound gave the first warning of our presence.

I had dismounted from my horse, and was watching the slaver's camp with a powerful telescope, as the bugles sounded and the men fell into order.

A number of people ran out of the camp, and stared at the blaze of scarlet uniforms, which must have appeared as a larger force than the reality, owing to the bright contrast of red with the green turf.

In an instant there was confusion in the camp. I soon distinguished immense numbers of slaves being driven quickly out, and hurried away to the south. The slaver's drum beat, and a number of crimson flags were seen advancing, until they halted and formed a line close to the entrance of the village. I now saw natives rushing wildly to and fro in all directions armed with spears and shields.

Some time elapsed before the cattle and baggage arrived. In the meantime I waited, perched on a block of granite, with my telescope, watching every movement. There was no doubt that our sudden appearance had caused intense excitement. I saw men running from the trader's station to the large village opposite, at the foot of the hill.

At length, I observed two men approaching.

We were not yet ready for a general advance, therefore, as the servants and carriers, cattle, fell into order, the band struck up some Turkish airs, which sounded extremely wild and appropriate to the savagely-beautiful scenery around us.

In the meantime the two messengers drew nearer. They were both filthy dirty, and appeared to be clad in dark-brown leather. One man seemed to hesitate, and stood about sixty yards distant, and demanded who we were. Upon hearing from Colonel Abdel-Kader that it was "the Pacha," and that "he need not be afraid," he told us that Abou Saood was at the station, and that he would run back with the news.

The other messenger came timidly forward, until he stood close beneath me. My wife was on horseback by my side.

Can it be possible? MOHAMMED, my old Cairo servant of former years?

The grand dragoman of the lower Nile reduced to this! My wife exclaimed, "Ah, Mohammed, I am very glad to see you; but how wretched you appear!"

This was too much for the prodigal son; he seized my wife's hand to kiss, and burst into tears.

Poor Mohammed! he had gone through many trials since we last met. When I left him in Khartoum ill with guinea-worm in the leg, he was on his way to Cairo; but after my departure he had been tempted by the slave-traders to re-engage in the infamous but engrossing career, and he too had become a slave-hunter. He had never received any pay, as the custom of the slavers was to pay their men in slaves. Mohammed had never been fortunate in his domestic affairs; he was not a favourite of the ladies; thus his female slaves had all run away; his fortune had walked off, and he was left a beggar, with an overdrawn account in slaves.

Mohammed had never been a good English scholar, but want of practice during many years had almost obscured the light of his former learning, which was reduced to the faintest glimmer.

The bugles now sounded the "advance," and we marched forward in admirable order, with the band playing.

In the meantime, several natives had approached, and having recognized Lady Baker and myself, they immediately raced back to the village with the news.

My men looked remarkably well, and the advance into Fatiko was a sight that was entirely new to Central Africa. We were in magnificent order for work, with a hardy disciplined force of 212 men, and a stock of cattle and merchandise that would carry us to any direction I might desire.

This arrival, in such perfect organization, was a fatal blow to the hopes and intrigues of Abou Saood. I was actually among them, in the very nest and hotbed of the slavers, in spite of every difficulty.

Abou Saood came to meet me, with his usual humble appearance, as we neared his station; and he cringingly invited us to rest in some huts that had just been prepared for our reception.

I declined the invitation, and prepared to camp beneath some grand acacias, among the granite rocks, about a quarter of a mile beyond, where I had rested some years ago. I accordingly led the way, until we arrived at a very beautiful spot, among some immense granite blocks, shaded by the desired foliage. Here the word was given "Halt!" and the tent was quickly pitched in a favourable locality.

We were now distant from the junction of the Un-y-Ame river 48 miles, from Lobore 85 miles, and from Gondokoro 165 miles.

Abou Saood ordered his people to bring a number of straw-roofs from his station, to form a protection for the officers. The men quickly housed themselves in temporary huts, and the cattle were placed for the night in a regular amphitheatre of rock, which formed an excellent position.

On 8th March, I reviewed the troops, and having given the natives warning of my intention, I had a sham-fight and attack of the Fatiko mountain. Having fired several rockets at a supposed enemy, the troops advanced in two companies to the north and south extremities of the mountain, which they scaled with great activity, and joined their forces on the clean plateau of granite on the summit of the ridge. The effect was very good, and appeared to delight the natives, who had assembled in considerable numbers. After firing several volleys, the troops descended the hill, and marched back, with the band playing.

The music of our band being produced simply by a considerable number of bugles, drums, and cymbals, aided by a large military bass-drum, might not have been thought first-rate in Europe, but in Africa it was irresistible.

The natives are passionately fond of music; and I believe the safest way to travel in those wild countries would be to play the cornet, if possible without ceasing, which would insure a safe passage. A London organ-grinder would march through Central Africa followed by an admiring and enthusiastic crowd, who, if his tunes were lively, would form a dancing escort of the most untiring material.

As my troops returned to their quarters, with the band playing rather cheerful airs, we observed the women racing down from their villages, and gathering from all directions towards the common centre. As they approached nearer, the charms of music were overpowering, and, halting for an instant, they assumed what they considered the most graceful attitudes, and then danced up to the band.

In a short time my buglers could hardly blow their instruments for laughing, at the extraordinary effect of their performance. A fantastic crowd surrounded them as they halted in our position among the rocks; and every minute added to their number.

The women throughout the Shooli are entirely naked, thus the effect of a female crowd, bounding madly about as musical enthusiasts, was very extraordinary. Even the babies were brought out to dance, and these infants, strapped to their mothers' backs, and covered with pumpkin shells, like young tortoises, were jolted about without the slightest consideration for the weakness of their necks, by their infatuated mothers.

As usual, among all tribes in Central Africa, the old women were even more determined dancers than the young girls. Several old Venuses were making themselves extremely ridiculous, as they sometimes do in civilized countries when attempting the allurements of younger days.

The men did not share in the dance, but squatted upon the rocks in great numbers to admire the music, and to witness the efforts of their wives and daughters.

The men of Shooli and Fatiko are the best proportioned that I have seen; without the extreme height of the Shillooks or Dinkas, they are muscular and well knit, and generally their faces are handsome.

The women were inclined to a short stature, but were very strong and compact. It was singular, that throughout the great Shooli country, of which Fatiko is simply a district, while the women are perfectly naked, the men are partially clothed with the skin of an antelope, slung across the shoulders, and covering the lower part of the body life a scarf. In other countries that I had passed, the men were quite naked, while the women were more or less covered.

After the dance, I was visited by several natives who had known me in former years, among whom was my old guide, Gimoro, who had first led me to Unyoro. Another excellent man named Shoeli now gave me all the intelligence of the country. Both these men spoke Arabic.

It was a repetition of the old story. The country was half-ruined by the acts of Abou Saood's people. The natives were afraid to resist them in this neighbourhood, as every adjacent country had been plundered, and the women and children carried off. Abou Saood had not expected that I could leave Gondokoro; but he had told the Shooli natives to attack me if I should arrive; thus on the day of my appearance, the natives, being ignorant of my presence, had considered the dreaded Pacha must be an enemy, until they had recognized my wife and myself as their old friends.

Upon that day, when I had observed the natives running to and fro with spears and shields, Abou Saood had told them to resist me at once, and he had promised that his people should assist the Fatikos; but when the natives saw our powerful force, they had known that an attack would be useless; they had accordingly sent men to discover our intentions, and these messengers had reported my return to their country in the capacity of Pacha commanding the expedition.

My old friends now assured me, in reply to my explanation of the Khedive's intentions, that the whole country would rally around a good government, and all that the poor people desired was protection and justice. The fact of my return would give confidence throughout the country; and the news had already been carried to the great sheik, Rot Jarma, who had never visited Abou Saood or his people, but who would quickly tender his allegiance to me as the representative of the Khedive.

I told Gimoro and Shooli to inform the headmen, and the people generally throughout the country, of my pacific intentions, and to have no fear now that the government was represented, as it would be impossible that the atrocities committed by the slave-hunters of Abou Saood should recur. At the same time I explained, that in about twenty days the contract entered into between Agad and Co. with the Soudan government would expire, and Abou Saood would be compelled to withdraw all his people from the country, which would then remain solely in the hands of the Khedive.

Throughout the subsequent expedition, I could always rely upon the fidelity of these two men, Gimoro and Shooli.

After their departure to spread the good news far and wide, I had a long conversation with my old servant, Mohammed, who I knew would give me every information respecting the acts of Abou Saood and his people, as he had been among them in these parts for many years.

He told me that my arrival at Fatiko was supposed to be improbable, as the Gondokoro natives were known to be hostile to the government; therefore it would be impossible to transport the baggage. Although the Baris were at war with the government, Abou Saood had about seventy of these natives at Fatiko, armed with muskets, in his employ; thus he was openly in league with the enemies of the Khedive's government.

The report among the slave companies asserted that Abou Saood had been in league with Raoul Bey to frustrate the expedition; thus the conspiracy of the officers headed by Raouf Bey, which I had checkmated, was the grand move to effect a collapse of the expedition, and to leave a clear field for the slave-traders.

"Up to the present time, my arrangements have been able to overpower all opposition."

The success of the corn collection at the moment of the conspiracy was fatal to the machinations of Raouf Bey, and secured me the confidence of the troops.

"The success of every attack that I have personally commanded has clinched this confidence.

"The trader's people are discontented with their leaders; they are without clothes or wages.

"Their parties have been massacred in several directions by the natives. Nearly 500 loads of ivory have been burned, together with one of their stations, by a night attack of the Madi, in which the slave-hunters lost thirty-five killed, and the rest of the party only escaped in the darkness, and fled to the forests.

"Thus I come upon them at a moment when they are divided in their feelings. A dread of the government is mingled with confidence in the arrival of a strong military force, which would be auxiliary in the event of a general uprising of the country."

I found several of my old men engaged as slave-hunters. These people, who had behaved well on my former voyage, confided all the news, and were willing to serve the government. Kamrasi, the former king of Unyoro, was dead, and had been succeeded by his son, Kabba Rega.

Some few of the people of Abou Saood had been on a visit to the king M'tese at Uganda. This powerful ruler had been much improved by his personal communication with the traders of Zanzibar. He had become a Mohammedan, and had built a mosque. Even his vizier said his daily prayers like a good Mussulman, and M'tese no longer murdered his wives. If he cut the throat of either man or beast, it was now done in the name of God, and the king had become quite civilized, according to the report of the Arab envoys. He kept clerks who could correspond, by letters, in Arabic, and he had a regiment armed with a thousand guns, in addition to the numerous forces at his command.

The Arab envoys of Abou Saood had been treated like dogs by the great M'tese, and they had slunk back abashed, and were only glad to be allowed to depart. They declared that such a country would not suit their business: the people were too strong for them; and the traders from Zanzibar purchased their ivory from M'tese with cotton stuffs, silks, guns, and powder, brass-coil bracelets, beads, The beads were exchanged by equal weight for ivory.

"Even at Fatiko the brass-coil bracelets from Zanzibar are now common. Some of Abou Saood's people are actually dressed in Manchester manufactures that have arrived via Zanzibar at Unyoro. This is a terrible disgrace to the Soudan authorities; thus the Zanzibar traders are purchasing by legitimate dealing ivory that should, geographically speaking, belong to Cairo.

"While fair dealing is the rule south of the equator, piracy and ruin are the rule of the north.

"Abou Saood and his people are now in a dilemma. For many years they have pillaged the country, and after having taught the natives to regard cows as the only medium of exchange for ivory, they have at length exhausted the cattle. Thus the transport of their large stock of ivory has for a time become impossible, as sufficient cows cannot be collected for the purpose.

"Every load from Fatiko to Ismailia (Gondokoro) requires two cows; one to Lobore, and another thence to the journey's end.

"By the Nile traders' arrangements, the companies of Abou Saood receive as their perquisite one-third of all the cattle that may be stolen in successful razzias.

"The consumption of cattle by these brigands is enormous. All flour is purchased in exchange for flesh, while flesh is also necessary for food; thus the cow is being eaten at both ends.

"The frightful drain upon the country may be imagined by the following calculation, which is certainly below the truth: -

"If 1,000 loads of ivory must be carried to Ismailia,
2,000 cows are required as payment of carriers;

To capture in a razzia 3,000 cows,
1000 belong to the brigands as their perquisite;
300 are necessary to feed the native carriers and soldiers
_____ during the journey;
3,300 cows are required to deliver 1,000 loads of ivory a
distance of 165 miles, from Fatiko to Ismailia (Gondokoro).

A station of 350 men consumes
daily . . . . 700 lbs.
In addition, they require to
exchange for flour . . . . 350 lbs.
- - -
Daily consumption of flesh . . 1,050 lbs.

"The oxen of the country do not average more
than 170 lbs. cleaned.
2,255 beasts are thus required annually.
- - -
5,555 oxen are necessary to feed and pay for the transport
from a station only 350 strong; according to the
customs of White Nile brigandage.

"It must be remembered that at least a thousand, and sometimes double that number of slaves, are prisoners in each station. All these must be fed. The same principle is adopted in the exchange of flesh for flour; thus the expenditure of cattle is frightful. Not only oxen, but all the breeding cows and young calves are killed without the slightest reflection. No country can support such wilful waste; thus after many years of ravage, this beautiful province has become almost barren of cattle. The central districts occupied by the slave-traders having been denuded of cattle, it has become necessary to make journeys to distant countries."

The slave-hunters of Abou Saood had recently suffered a terrible defeat, at the hands of the warlike tribe of Umiro, which was a just reward for the horrible treachery of their party.

A man named Ali Hussein was a well-known employee of Abou Saood. This ruffian was an Arab. He was a tall, wiry fellow, with a determined but brutal cast of countenance, who was celebrated as a scoundrel among scoundrels. Even his fellows dreaded his brutality. There was no crime that he had not committed; and as his only virtue was extreme daring, his reputation was terrible among the native population.

This fellow had waited upon my orders daily since my arrival at Fatiko.

At the death of the former vakeel of Fatiko, Ali Hussein had succeeded to the command of the station.

He had arranged to make a descent upon the Umiro tribe, about six days' march to the south-east.

He accordingly sent natives as spies, with specious messages to the Umiro, announcing his intention of visiting them to purchase ivory.

With a party increased by volunteers from other stations to a force of about 300 men, he arrived at Umiro.

The simple natives received him gladly, and showed extreme hospitality. The country was thickly populated, and abounded with vast herds of the finest cattle.

After a week's sojourn among the Umiro, during which he had received large presents of elephants' tusks, and seventy head of oxen from the confiding natives, the treacherous ruffian gave an order to his brigands at sunset. They were to be under arms an hour before daybreak on the following morning, to set fire to the adjacent villages of their generous hosts, and to capture their large herds of cattle, together with their women and children.

At the time appointed, while every Umiro slept unconscious of approaching danger, several villages were surrounded, and volleys of musketry were poured upon the sleeping inmates. The straw huts were ignited, and the flames rapidly spread, while a massacre commenced similar to the butcheries to which the slave-hunters were so well accustomed.

The Umiro, thus taken by surprise, and appalled by so dastardly a treachery, were easily defeated. Their children and wives were captured, together with large herds of cattle, which are celebrated for their size. All these were driven in triumph to Fatiko.

The success of this infernal scheme, raised the reputation of Ali Hussein to the highest pitch. The reports of the vast pastoral wealth of the Umiro excited the cupidity of the various companies in the stations of Abou Saood.

It was determined to make a grand attack upon a people, who, in spite of their warlike character, had exhibited a total want of power to resist.

Ali Hussein sent an expedition of about 350 men, in addition to a large number of Fatiko allies. They arrived on the borders of Umiro, within about an hour's march of the villages doomed to pillage. The party was under the command of a notorious ruffian named Lazim, whom I had known during my former exploration.

Upon arrival in the Umiro country, during the night after a forced march, he sent a detachment of 103 men, together with about 150 natives, to attack the villages by a surprise at dawn, and to capture the slaves and cattle in the usual manner.

The party started at the early hour of first cock-crow, while the main body under Lazim waited for the result.

Hours passed, but the company did not return. A few shots had been heard in the distance.

The country was clear and open, but nothing could be seen. There was no lowing of cattle, neither did the heavy clouds of smoke, usual on such occasions, point out the direction of burning villages.

Presently, drums were heard in every direction, the horns and whistles of the Umiro sounded the alarm, and large bodies of natives rushed across the plain to the attack of Lazim's main body.

They had just time to form, and to post the men around the strong cattle kraal, which they had occupied, when the stream of enemies came down upon them.

Upon the open plain, the Umiro had no chance in attacking so well defended a position, and the muskets, loaded with heavy mould shot, told with great effect upon the naked bodies of the assailants.

The Umiro were beaten back with some loss, and the slave-hunters held the position, although in a state of terror, as they felt that some terrible calamity must have befallen the party which had started to surprise the villages.

After dark, a Bari native cried out to the sentries to let him pass. This was a wounded man of their own people, the only survivor of all those who had left the main body on that morning.

The Bari described, that the Umiro, having gained information of the intended attack, had lain in ambush within high withered grass, in which they had awaited the arrival of their assailants.

The slave-hunters were advancing as usual, in single file, along the narrow track through the high grass, unsuspicious of an enemy, when the Umiro rushed from both sides of the ambuscade upon them.

Taken by surprise, a panic seized the slave-hunters, very few of whom had time to fire their muskets before they were speared by the pitiless Umiro, who wreaked wholesale vengeance by the massacre of 103 of Abou Saood's men and about 150 of their allies.

The main body under Lazim were completely cowed, as they feared an overwhelming attack that might exhaust their ammunition. The Umiro had now become possessed of 103 guns and several large cases of cartridges, in addition to those in the pouches of the soldiers.

Night favoured the retreat, and the remnant of the expedition under Lazim returned by forced marches to Fatiko.

The defeat had spread consternation among the various stations, as it followed closely upon the destruction of a station belonging to Abou Saood in the Madi country.

This zareeba had been under the command of a vakeel named Jusef, who had exasperated the natives by continual acts of treachery and slave-hunting. They had accordingly combined to attack the station at night, and had set fire to the straw huts, by shooting red-hot arrows into the inflammable thatched roofs.

These calamities had happened since the arrival of Abou Saood in the Shooli country, and it was he who had given the order to attack the Umiro. His own people, being naturally superstitious, thought he had brought bad luck with him.

It appeared that when Abou Saood had first arrived at Fatiko from Gondokoro, the vakeels of his different stations were all prepared for the journey to deliver the ivory. They had given the cattle obtained in the first attack upon Umiro to the native carriers of Madi and Shooli, and the tusks had been arranged in about 2,000 loads for transport.

The sudden arrival of Abou Saood changed all their plans, as he immediately gave orders to return the ivory to the store huts; he did not intend to deliver it at Gondokoro that year. He also sent a letter to his Latooka station, nine days' march to the north-east, together with a party of eighty men, with instructions to his vakeel to deliver the ivory at the Bohr station below Gondokoro.

He thus hoped to defraud the government out of the two-fifths due to them by contract with Agad. At the same time, he had intended to remain concealed in the interior of the country until I should have returned to England; after which he had no doubt that affairs would continue in their original position.

It may be imagined that my sudden arrival at Fatiko had disconcerted all his plans.

In spite of his extreme cunning, he had over-estimated his own power of intrigue, and he had mismanaged his affairs.

According to the agreement with Agad Co., the representative of that firm, Abou Saood, had contracted to supply the government troops with all provisions at a given price, including even sheep and butter, as he declared that he was in possession of these articles in his various stations. He was also to assist the government expedition in every manner, and to supply not only carriers, but even troops, should they be necessary.

I read this contract to some of his principal men, who fairly laughed outright at the audacity of Abou Saood in subscribing to such utter falsehoods.

Not only had he secretly fraternized with the enemy, instead of assisting the government, but he had cautioned the Baris not to carry our loads, and he had incited the Fatiko natives to attack us. The supply of food was too ridiculous. Instead of giving to the troops, he had been obliged to borrow corn from the government magazines at Gondokoro for his own people, and I had given him 200 cattle to save his men from famine.

The deceit and treachery of this man were beyond belief. He now came to me daily at Fatiko, and swore by the eyes of the Prophet, eternal fidelity. He wished to kiss my hand, and to assure me how little his real character had been understood, and that he felt sure I had been influenced against him by others, but that in reality I had no servant so devoted as himself. He declared that he had only attacked the Shir and stolen their cows in order to supply the government troops with cattle according to contract. (Thus he had the audacity to assert that the government would become the purchaser of cattle stolen expressly for their use.)

In spite of these protestations, he could not explain his reason for having returned the ivory to store, instead of transporting it to Gondokoro. He therefore met the difficulty by a flat denial, as usual, calling upon the Prophet as a witness.

Only a few days of his contract remained, at the expiration of which he should have withdrawn his establishments from the country, according to my written orders that had been given many months ago.

He had entirely ignored these orders, as he had never expected my arrival; therefore he had concealed all such instructions from his people, in the hope that my terms of service would expire fruitlessly at Gondokoro, and that, after my departure, he would have little difficulty in arranging for the future with his friend Raouf Bey, who would most probably succeed to the command.

I at once issued written orders to the vakeels of his different stations, that, at the end of the month Mohurram, the contract with Agad would cease, and that all future action would be illegal.

I gave all employees of Abou Saood due notice, that they must either quit the country, or become respectable subjects.

I granted them permission to settle at Gondokoro, and to commence farms on the fertile islands of the Nile free of all taxation.

Or, should they wish to enter the government service as irregular troops, I offered the same pay as the regulars, with the advantage of an annual engagement.

I met several headmen whom I had known in my former journey. These men found fault with Abou Saood for having left them in the dark respecting the contract with the government; and they at once declared that they should be happy to serve as irregulars at the expiration of the agreement.

There was a great difficulty respecting the ivory, which comprised in all the stations 3,200 tusks.

The cattle that had been given to the native carriers for the transport of the ivory to Gondokoro had only partially been returned by the disappointed Madi. Many of these people had killed and eaten the beasts, and had declared that they had died, when they found the necessity of restoring them.

It was now necessary to move the ivory, together with all the establishments, to Gondokoro. This would require at least 6,000 cows. It was a complete fix. There were no cattle in any of Abou Saood's stations; they had all been consumed; and he now came to me with a request that I would lend him eighty oxen, as his people had nothing to eat.

It was clearly impossible to move the ivory. Thus, in spite of my orders given to Abou Saood about ten months previous, the opportunity of moving had been lost, and the time of departure was reduced to sine die. This was a hopeless condition of affairs. There were no cattle in Abou Saood's possession, and without cows the ivory could not be moved. At the same time, it would be impossible for me to permit him to make razzias upon distant countries, as I had arrived to establish government, and to afford protection to all tribes that would declare their allegiance.

I now discovered that the principal vakeel of Abou Saood, named Mohammed Wat-el-Mek, had only recently started with a large force, by Abou Saood's orders, to invade the Kooshi country on the west side of the White Nile, close to its exit from the Albert N'yanza.

This was a tribe that could not possibly have interfered with Abou Saood; but as the cattle had been exhausted on the east bank of the river, he had commenced a series of razzias upon the west. The Koshi were people with whom friendship should have been established, as they were on the navigable Nile that would eventually be traversed by the steamer, when constructed at Ibrahimeyah. It was thus that all tribes were rendered hostile by the slave-hunters.

Mohammed Wat-el-Mek (son of the king) was the man who had first discovered and opened up the countries south of Gondokoro. This person was a curious but useful character that I had always wished to employ, as he had great power with the natives, and he knew every nook and corner of the country.

I had known him during my former journey, and it appears that he had always wished to serve me in the present expedition. The slave-traders of Khartoum had been determined to prevent Wat-el-Mek from communicating with me; thus, when I had arrived in Khartoum, this important personage was actually there; but he was quickly sent by Abou Saood under some frivolous pretext up the Blue Nile, to keep him out of the way.

On arrival at Gondokoro, he had studiously been retained on the west bank of the river, and his name had been kept so secret, that I had never heard it mentioned. Thus, although both at Khartoum and at Gondokoro Wat-el-Mek had been within a few hundred paces of me, I had always supposed that he was in Central Africa.

Abou Saood now declared that Wat-el-Mek had started many days ago from Fatiko to Koshi; but I subsequently discovered that he had only left Fatiko on the morning of my arrival, and that he was kept waiting at Fabbo station, only twenty-two miles west of Fatiko, for several days, while I had been told by Abou Saood that he had gone to Koshi.

Mohammed Wat-el-Mek was the son of a petty king far away up the Blue Nile, beyond Fazokle.

He had in early life been a serjeant or choush in the Egyptian army; but having an adventurous disposition, he had taken to the White Nile, as the vakeel of Andrea Debono, a Maltese ivory merchant.

Mr. Debono, being a British subject, retired from the trade when the slave-hunting arrived at such a pitch that it became impossible for Europeans to continue business on the White Nile. (The slave trade arrived at such a maximum that all European traders in ivory were driven from the White Nile, including Mr. Petherick, British Consul.)

Debono had amassed a considerable fortune entirely through: the energy of Wat-el-Mek, who had pushed into the interior, and had established his stations with considerable forethought and skill throughout the formerly unvisited Madi country.

Wat-el-Mek was an exceedingly black man, about the middle height, and much pitted with the small-pox. While in the service of Debono, he had commanded the station of Faloro, where he had most hospitably received Speke and Grant on their arrival from Zanzibar. These great travellers were entertained at Faloro during many weeks, and were afterwards conducted by their host to Gondokoro, where I had the good fortune to meet them.

Wat-el-Mek was a very courageous fellow; and although he would not perhaps have been considered a good character at London police court, he was a man who would be most useful to an expedition in Central Africa, where his vicious propensities could be restrained by the discipline of government.

When Speke parted from him at Gondokoro, he presented him with a beautiful double-barrelled gun by Blissett, in addition to other articles.

The worst vice of this man was drinking. When drunk, he could be induced to yield to any absurdity.

However, with all his faults, I should have been glad of Wat-el-Mek to command the irregular force.

In the days when Debono was the proprietor of the Madi station, Wat-el-Mek had been the sole vakeel; and although he was a tyrant, he was not disliked by the natives. Since Debono had sold his stations to the firm of Agad Co., every separate camp was governed by an independent vakeel; thus there were many tyrants instead of one.

These numerous agents acted in opposition to each other in the purchase of ivory. If a native of Fatiko should take a tusk to sell at the station of Fabbo, he would run the chance of being shot upon his return. This system of attempted monopoly was carried out throughout the country, and naturally resulted in anarchy. Although all the vakeels and companies belonged to one firm, they acted as rival traders. Thus, if slaves ran away from one station and took shelter with the natives of a village belonging to the people of another vakeel, an attack would be made upon the village that harboured the runaways, and their women and children would be immediately captured.

This onslaught on the village under the protection of a certain station would be quickly returned by a counter-attack upon a village belonging to the encroaching vakeel. This system was purposely adopted, as it served to divide the country into opposing sections, which prevented the natives from forming a general coalition.

It may readily be imagined that my arrival was hailed with satisfaction by the natives throughout the country. Should a stranger have filled my position, there might have been some suspicion in the minds of the natives, but I had been so well known during my former journey, that the people accepted the new government with thorough confidence.

Wat-el-Mek, who was always the discoverer of unknown lands, had lately visited a new country in the east.

It may be remembered by the readers of "The Albert N'yanza," that shortly before my return from Shooa (only six miles from Fatiko) a new country named Lira had been discovered by the vakeel of Koorshad Agha - "Ibrahim." Poor Ibrahim was dead, otherwise I should have had a good and dependable man.

The Lira country was rich in ivory, but the greatest prize discovered was the presence of donkeys, which are quite unknown in the White Nile districts.

Wat-el-Mek had now penetrated beyond Lira, and had reached the country of Langgo, which was exceedingly interesting.

From the description of the people, it appeared that the portion of the Langgo visited by them was entirely different from the country between Gondokoro and Unyoro.

The expedition HAD CROSSED THE SOBAT RIVER, and had arrived in the Langgo about 130 miles due east of Fatiko. They described the country as similar to portions of the Soudan. Generally, flat plains of the rich grass known as negheel, which never grows high, and is the finest pasturage. The trees were for the most part Soont (Acacia Arabica), which is not met with in the White Nile countries south of the Sobat junction.

The Langgos were an immense tribe, but were, like the Baris, divided under many chiefs. These people were exceedingly large and powerful, and were esteemed as great warriors. They seldom ate flour, but lived upon the milk and flesh of their innumerable herds.

The cattle were as large as those of England, and were celebrated for the extreme size of their horns.

Wat-el-Mek had made a razzia with a very powerful force, collected from all the stations of Abou Saood, and he had succeeded in capturing an enormous number of these fine animals, together with a large herd of donkeys.

These strange cattle would not live at Fatiko, as the herbage was quite different to that to which they had been accustomed. They died in such numbers, that in three months only three or four remained out of as many thousand. Thus all these beautiful beasts were wasted.

The river Sobat was described as flowing from the south, and was known as the Chol. The Asua river is only one day's march or about twenty miles, east of Fatiko. The Sobat is never dry and is reported to be a noble river; this suggests that Speke Victoria N'yanza, or the Bahr Ingo's eastern corner, must have an effluent in addition to the Victoria Nile, that flows from M'tese's capital of Uganda.

Beyond Langgo there is a country called Lobbohr, which is said to possess camels. In the Lobbohr there is a river called Jooba. This is, I believe, the Juba that flows into the Indian Ocean, as the report continues that: "Arabs arrive at Lobbohr mounted upon camels, and armed with swords and pistols, but without guns." Horses and donkeys are also reported to exist in Lobbohr.

There can be no doubt that most important countries lie to the east of Fatiko, and should the story of camels prove correct, there will be no difficulty in opening up a commercial route.

It appears that at Langgo the demand for beads is very great, as the natives work them into patterns upon their matted hair. Ivory has little or no value, and exists in large quantities.

The natives refuse to carry loads, and they transport an elephant's tusk by boring a hole in the hollow end, through which they attach a rope; it is then dragged along the ground by a donkey. The ivory is thus seriously damaged . . . . .

Such was the position of affairs at Fatiko in March, 1872. New and important countries had been investigated, not by explorers or traders, but by the brigands of Abou Saood, whose first introduction was the unprovoked attack and carrying off of slaves and cattle.

Such conduct could only terminate in an extension of the ruin which a similar course had determined in every country that had been occupied by the traders of the White Nile.

I trusted that my arrival would create a great reform, and restore confidence throughout the country. The news had spread far and wide. The scarlet soldiers were regarded as a distinct species, and the report quickly circulated, that the "Pacha's troops were entirely different from any that had hitherto been seen, as their clothes were red, and their muskets were loaded from the wrong end."

I now determined to establish a station at Fatiko, to represent the government during my absence in the south.

Abou Saood had sworn fidelity. Of course I did not believe him, but as the natives had welcomed the government, I could not leave them without protection.

It was therefore arranged with Abou Saood that after the expiration of the contract, all operations should cease. He would simply remain on sufferance in the country, until he should be able to transport his ivory to Gondokoro. This could only be effected by the arrival of carriers from his stations, about 180 miles west of the Nile, in the Makkarika country. His first step would therefore be to communicate with the vakeel Atroosh, who commanded about 600 men in the west station.

I ordered Abou Saood to disarm the seventy Baris who were in his service at Fatiko, as I would not allow muskets to be placed in the hands of natives who were hostile to the government.

This he promised to do, but of course he evaded the order, by returning the arms to the Baris the instant I had departed.

It may appear to the public that having "absolute and supreme power," I was absurdly lenient towards Abou Saood, whom I knew to be so great a villain. I confess to one fault. I should have arrested and transported him to Khartoum when he first arrived at Gondokoro with the cattle stolen from the Shir; which caused the subsequent massacre of the five soldiers of the government.

At the same time that I admit this error, it must be remembered that I was placed in an awkward position.

"Absolute and supreme power" is a high-sounding title; but how was I to exert it?

I was an individual possessing a nominal power, the application of which required extreme delicacy. I was determined to win, and with God's help I did win, but every step necessitated the coolest judgment. Had I adopted severe or extreme measures against Abou Saood, I might have ruined the expedition at commencement.

It was impossible to know who was faithful. There was a general leaning towards his favour among all the officers, with whom he had been in close connection when in Khartoum. He was a man in a high social position in the Soudan, the partner of the great firm of Agad Co., who commanded about 2,500 armed men. He had worked for many years in company with the government, according to his connection by agreement with the governor-general.

I knew that I had him in my power, provided I should be supported by the authorities in Egypt; therefore I gave him line, and occasionally held him tight, as though he had been a salmon on a single gut; but I was determined to land him safe at last, in such a manner that his greatest supporter should be obliged to acknowledge that he had received the fairest play. Abou Saood's Fatiko station was crowded with slaves. His people were all paid in slaves. The stations of Fabbo, Faloro, and Farragenia were a mass of slaves.

I did not enter a station to interfere with these wretched captives, as I knew that such an act would create irretrievable confusion.

I had only 212 men, and I wished to advance to the equator.

Fatiko was in north latitude 3 degrees 01 minutes, and 165 miles from headquarters. Had I attempted to release some thousand slaves from the different stations, I should have required a large military force to have occupied those stations, and to have driven out the whole of the slave-hunters bodily.

If the slaves had been released, it would have been impossible to have returned them to their homes, as they had been collected from every quarter of the compass and from great distances. If I had kept them, I could not have procured food for so large a number: as the stations contained several thousand.

Under the circumstances, I took the wiser course of non-interference with the stock in hand, but I issued the most severe orders respecting the future conduct of Abou Saood's companies. I arranged to leave a detachment of 100 men, under the command of Major Abdullah, to form a station adjoining that of Abou Saood in Fatiko, together with the heavier baggage and the greater portion of the ammunition.

The government would be thus represented by a most respectable and civilized officer, who would give confidence and protection to the country; as I concluded that the prestige of the Khedive would be sufficient to establish order among his subjects, by the representation of one of his officers and a detachment of 100 troops.

I gave orders to Gimoro and Shooli to prepare carriers for the journey to Unyoro.

An untoward occurrence had taken place shortly after our arrival at Fatiko.

As has already been described, the Lobore natives had not only cheated us out of many cows that had been received, for which the carriers had not been forthcoming, but numbers had deserted on the road, which had caused the troops great trouble and fatigue, as they had been obliged to divide among them the abandoned loads. Upon our arrival at Fatiko, the son of sheik Abbio, of Lobore, would have absconded with all his people, had he not been retained by the troops. This man was responsible for the natives who had engaged themselves for the journey.

It would have been the height of imprudence to have permitted the immediate departure of our carriers before I had arranged for the future, thus about eighty were secured by the soldiers, including the sheik's son, from a general stampede that took place.

I ordered them to be disarmed, as I considered that if unarmed, they would not venture alone through the Madi country.

In the evening they were secured by a slight line tied round each man's neck, and connected in gangs of five. A guard was placed over them in addition to the usual sentries.

At about 4 a.m. a signal was given by one of their people. Every man had gnawed through his cord with his teeth during the darkness, and at the concerted cry in a language that no one understood, the entire party, of upwards of eighty men, knocked down the astonished guard, also the sentries, and rushed headlong over the rocks in the direction of Lobore.

It was a natural impulse and a soldier's duty to fire in the direction of the assailants, as the overturned sentries quickly recovered and joined the guard in a volley.

I was up in an instant, and upon arrival at the spot I was informed of the occurrence. It was pitch dark, therefore a lantern was brought, and after a search, three bodies were discovered of the rash and unfortunate Lobore. I was exceedingly sorry that such an event had happened, at the same time I could hardly blame the sentries. I was much afraid that if three were shot dead, others must have escaped wounded, and altogether the affair would have a bad effect at Lobore.

The sheik of Fatiko was named Wat-el-Ajoos. This name had been given him by the slave-hunters, meaning "Son of the old man." His village was not quite half a mile from our camp, and he frequently came to see me with his interpreter, accompanied by his wives.

Upon his first visit I gave him a long blue shirt, together with some yards of Turkey red cambric, to form a waist sash; also a red fez and two razors, with a quantity of beads for his wives.

Fatiko is merely a district of the great country of Shooli, which is governed by the sheik, Rot Jarma. This person had sent word that he intended to visit me, to tender his allegiance to the government.

On 16th March, a wild sound of many horns was the first introduction, and shortly after, a number of his people advanced chanting a peculiar low song, and dancing a solemn slow step. The great sheik came behind them. He was quickly ushered into my presence beneath a shady acacia, close to my tent door. He was perfectly red from head to toes, having been freshly smeared with red ochre and grease for the interview. A well-dressed skin of an antelope was slung across his shoulder, and descending across his loins it constituted his scanty clothing.

His conversation was merely a repetition of the old story being a series of complaints against the slave-hunters. He declared that he had never visited Abou Saood or any of his people, but that when he had heard of my arrival, he had determined at once to offer his allegiance, and he and all adjacent countries would serve the government faithfully, in return for protection and justice.

I assured him that he had nothing to fear from the slave-hunters in future, as I should leave Major Abdullah and a detachment of troops to represent the government during my absence. He was to supply them with corn, and to yield the same obedience to Major Abdullah as he would to me. I gave him nine yards of red cotton cloth, six pounds of beads, two razors, one comb, two horn snakes in boxes, one knife, one burning glass, one zinc mirror, two nickel spoons, three rods of thick brass wire, two finger rings, two pair of ear-rings, two red and yellow cotton handkerchiefs.

The total value of this extensive present was about twenty-one shillings.

Before he had arrived, he had requested that a goat might be sent to be slaughtered at a stream before he should cross over; otherwise bad luck would attend his visit. Of course this was acceded to, and the goat was sacrificed and eaten by his people.

I gave him, according to my usual custom with all sheiks and headmen, seeds of the best Egyptian cotton, tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, water-melons, sweet-melons, barmian, maize,

Before parting, I amused and shocked him with the magnetic battery, and he went away surprised and delighted.

I subsequently discovered that a large quantity of flour, together with some fowls which he had forwarded to me, had been stopped and appropriated by the renowned Ali Hussein. The intriguing spirit of these slave-hunters was extraordinary. It is their custom never to receive a sheik unless he brings a present. He therefore considered that if Rot Jarma should appear for the first time before me empty-handed, I should either not admit him, or perhaps be prejudiced against him; thus he had stolen the customary gift of introduction in order to create ill-will on my part towards Rot Jarma, who had never yet condescended to visit the station of Abou Saood . . . . .

Wat-el-Ajoos, with the assistance of Shooli and Gimoro, had collected 200 carriers, all of whom had received each a cow.

I had assorted the luggage, and although I had not the slightest suspicion of any fighting, nevertheless my ammunition formed a considerable portion of the heavier baggage.

Major Abdullah had received his instructions, and a site had been chosen for his station within a hundred yards of the south extremity of that of Abou Saood. This position was backed by a high rock, upon which I had already commenced to build a powder magazine of solid masonry.

Abou Saood having as usual sworn upon the eyes and head of the Prophet to do all that was right and virtuous, and the natives throughout the country being confident of protection, I prepared for the journey to Unyoro - a distance across the uninhabited prairies of seventy-eight miles from Fatiko, due south.

Our excellent and trusty friend Shooli was to be our guide. Gimoro was prevented from accompanying us owing to a wounded foot.