CHAPTER XX. ESTABLISH COMMERCE.

For some time past the natives had commenced a brisk trade with ivory in exchange for all kinds of trifles, which left a minimum profit for the government of 1500 per cent. A few beads, together with three or four gaudy-coloured cotton handkerchiefs, a zinc mirror, and a fourpenny butcher's knife, would purchase a tusk worth twenty or thirty pounds. I calculated all the expenses of transport from England, together with interest on capital. In some cases we purchased ivory at 2,000 per cent. profit, and both sellers and buyers felt perfectly contented.

I am not sure whether this is considered a decent return for an investment of capital among the descendants of Israel; but I am convinced that at the conclusion of a purchase in Unyoro each party to the bargain thought that he had the best of it. This was the perfection of business.

Here was free trade thoroughly established: the future was tinged with a golden hue. Ivory would be almost inexhaustible, as it would flow from both east and west to the market where such luxuries as twopenny mirrors, fourpenny knives, handkerchiefs, ear-rings at a penny a pair, finger signet-rings at a shilling a dozen, could be obtained for such comparatively useless lumber as elephants' tusks.

Manchester goods would quickly supersede the bark-cloths, which were worn out in a month, and, in a few years, every native of Unyoro would be able to appear in durable European clothes. Every man would be able to provide himself with a comfortable blanket for the chilly nights, and an important trade would be opened that would tend to the development of the country, and be the first step towards a future civilization. Unfortunately for this golden vision, the young king, Kabba Rega, considered that he had a right to benefit himself exclusively, by monopolizing the trade with the government. He therefore gave orders to his people that all ivory should be brought to him; and he strictly prohibited, on pain of death, the free trade that I had endeavoured to establish.

The tusks ceased to arrive; or, if any individual was sufficiently audacious to run the risk of detection, he sent word beforehand, by Monsoor (who was known to be confidential), that he would bring a tusk for sale during the darkness of night.

This was a troublesome affair. Annexation is always a difficult question of absolute right, but, as I trust my readers will acknowledge, I had done all that lay in my power for the real benefit of the country. I had to make allowance for the young king, who now had become a vassal, and I determined to observe the extreme of moderation.

It was generally acknowledged that the conduct of the troops was most exemplary. No thefts had been allowed, nor even those trifling annexations of property which are distinguished from stealing by the innocent name of "cribbing." Not a garden had been disturbed; the tempting tobacco plantations had been rigidly respected, and the natives could only regard my troops as the perfection of police. They were almost as good as London police - there were no areas to the houses, neither insinuating cooks or housemaids, nor even nursemaids with babies in perambulators, to distract their attention from their municipal duties.

Among my troops there was an excellent young man, named Ramadan, who was the clerk of the detachment. This intelligent young fellow was a general favourite among our own men, and also among the natives. He had a great aptitude for languages, and he quickly mastered sufficient of the Unyoro to make himself understood.

I arranged that Ramadan should become the schoolmaster, as it would be useless to establish commerce as a civilizing medium without in some way commencing a system of education.

Ramadan was proud at the idea of being selected for this appointment.

There was a son of Kittakara's, of about nine years old, named Cherri-Merri. This nice little boy had paid us many visits, and had become a great favourite of my wife's. He usually arrived after breakfast, and was generally to be found sitting on a mat at her feet, playing with some European toys that were his great delight, and gaining instruction by conversation through the interpreter.

Although Cherri-Merri was a good boy, he possessed the purely commercial instinct of Unyoro. He seldom arrived without a slave attendant, who carried on his head a package of something that was to be SOLD.

He was told that it was bad taste to bring articles for sale to people who had shown him kindness, at the same time no presents would be received. The little trader quickly relieved himself of this difficulty by marching off with his slave and package to the soldiers' camp, where he exchanged his flour or tobacco for metal buttons, which they cut off their uniforms; or for beads, or other trifles which they possessed.

Cherri-Merri was a general favourite, and he was to form the nucleus for the commencement of a school.

The station was now in perfect order. Altogether, including the soldiers' gardens, about three acres had been cleared and planted. Everything was well above ground, and was growing with that rapidity which can only be understood by those who have witnessed the vegetation of the tropics on the richest soil.

English cucumbers, varieties of melons, pumpkins, tomatoes, Egyptian radishes, onions, Egyptian cotton, were all flourishing. Also a small quantity of wheat.

Every cottage was surrounded by a garden; the boys had formed partnerships, and, having been provided with seeds, they had beds of pumpkins already nearly a foot above the ground.

The girls and women-servants were as usual extremely industrious; they also had formed little companies, and the merits of the rival gardens were often warmly discussed.

Three acres of land, thus carefully cultivated, made a very civilized appearance. The cucumber plants had grown wonderfully, and had already formed fruit. Not a leaf was withered or attacked by insects, and both the soil and climate of Masindi were perfection for agricultural experiments. The thermometer generally stood at 62 degrees F at six a.m., and at 78 degrees F at noon. The air was always fresh and invigorating, as the altitude above the sea-level was nearly 4,000 feet.

An industrious population would have made a paradise of this country, but the Unyoro people are the laziest that I have ever seen. The days were passed either in sleep, or by the assembly of large crowds of idlers, who stood at the entrance of the broad, gravelled approach, and simply watched our proceedings.

The only excitement was produced by the sudden rush of Kabba Rega's guards (bonosoora) with big sticks among the crowd, whom they belaboured and chased, generally possessed themselves of the best garments of those who were captured, with which they returned to their quarters, as lawful prizes.

This daring system of thieving was considered as great fun by all those members of the crowd who had escaped; and the unfortunates who had been reduced to nudity by the loss of their garments were jeered and ridiculed by the mob with true Unyoro want of charity.

These bonosoora were an extraordinary collection of scoundrels.

The readers of "The Albert N'yanza" may remember the "Satanic Escort," with which I was furnished by Kamrasi for my journey from M'rooli to the lake; these were bonosoora. I could never learn the exact number that formed Kabba Rega's celebrated regiment of blackguards, but I should imagine there were above 1,000 men who constantly surrounded him, and gained their living by pillaging others.

Any slave who ran away from his master might find an asylum if he volunteered to enlist in the bonosoora. Every man who had committed some crime, or who could not pay his debts, could find a refuge by devoting himself to the personal care of the young king, and enrolling within the ranks of the royal guards. The general character of these ruffians may be easily imagined. They lounged away their time, and simply relieved the monotony of their existence by robbing passers-by of anything that attracted their cupidity.

Umbogo belonged to this celebrated corps, and he informed me that hardly a night passed without some person being murdered by these people, who would always kill a man after dark, unless he yielded up his property without resistance. The great number of vultures that continually hovered over Masindi were proofs of Umbogo's story, as these birds generally denote the presence of carrion. My men had, on several occasions, found bodies lying in the high grass, neatly picked to the bone, which had only recently died.

There was much to be done before the brutal customs of Unyoro could be reformed: and I was by no means satisfied with the conduct exhibited by Kabba Rega. He had promised faithfully that he would send a large force to clear away the high grass by which our station was surrounded; this was never fulfilled, neither could I engage the natives to work for hire.

I had observed for some time past that his people were rapidly extending the town of Masindi, by erecting new buildings upon both our flanks, which, although only a few yards from our clearing, were half obscured by the high grass; thus it appeared that we were being gradually surrounded.

Since the departure of the post with my escort and the irregular levy, nothing was done by the natives, except the usual lounging by day, and drinking and howling, with drums and horns as an accompaniment, throughout the night.

Kabba Rega had always declared that the natives would work for me and obey every order when the slave-hunters should have been expelled from the country. Although the people who were lately a portion of the slave-hunter's company had now been enlisted in the service of government, not one man remained in Masindi, as I had sent them all away to Fatiko, at the particular request of Kabba Rega.

The real fact was, that so long as the slave-trader's people were in the country, both the king and his people knew that we were independent of native guides, as Suleiman's men knew all the paths, from their long experience of the country when engaged in the civil wars. It was considered that in the absence of the new levy of irregulars we should be perfectly helpless to move, as we were dependent upon Kabba Rega for guides.

From the general conduct of the people since the departure of my party with the post to Fatiko, I had a strong suspicion that some foul play was intended, and that, when the 300 native carriers should have taken the people across the Victoria Nile, they would desert them in the night, and return with the boats. I therefore wrote a letter addressed to the second vakeel, Eddrees, ordering him to return at once to Masindi with the entire party if he had any suspicion of treachery.

I concealed this note in a packet of blue cloth, together with a few little presents for Shooli and Gimoro, at Fatiko; but I had written on the brown paper cover of the parcel, instructions that Eddrees or Mohammed, the dragoman, should search the contents, as a letter was hidden within. I gave this packet to Umbogo, telling him that it was a present for Shooli, and begging him to despatch a messenger without delay to overtake the party before they should have crossed the Victoria Nile. The native messenger, to whom I gave a small gratuity, immediately started; thus I should be able to forewarn my people in the event of trouble.

In the afternoon Kabba Rega sent for me to repair the small musical box that I had given him, which was slightly deranged. I replied that, until he fulfilled his agreement to clear the high grass from the neighbourhood, I could not think of attending to any request, as he had broken all his promises.

In half an hour after this answer he sent forty men, under Kittakara, to commence the clearing, as he was in despair about his musical box.

Two native merchants from the distant country of Karagwe, who had been sent by their king, Rumanika, to purchase ivory from Unyoro, had arrived at Masindi. These people were brought to me on 26th May, accompanied by Kittakara, together with Umbogo, the interpreter. I observed that Kittakara was acting the part of spy, to overhear and to report the substance of the conversation. Some excitement had been caused by the report that two travellers were residing with Rumanika, and that these people had arrived from the M'wootan N'zige. I was in hopes that one of these travellers might be Livingstone.

The Karagwe merchants were well-dressed, and very civilized-looking people. They stared upon arrival in the divan, and were shortly seated upon a mat before me.

After some conversation, I questioned them concerning the travellers, and I immediately wrote both questions and replies in my journal, which I now give verbatim.

"Have you personally seen the travellers?"

Answer: "Yes; one is tall, with a long beard and white hair. The other is a very black man (an African), and short."

Question: "How do they eat?"

Answer: "With a knife and fork and plate."

Question: "Have they a compass" (Compass exhibited)?

Answer: "No; but they have a small mirror like those in your possession."

Question: "Do they purchase ivory?"

Answer: "Yes. We are now sent by Rumanika to buy ivory for them."

Question: "Have they a large quantity?"

Answer: "An immense quantity. They have a large house, which is quite full."

Question: "How will they transport it?"

Answer: "They are building a vessel of iron on the M'wootan N'zige, upon the borders of which they are now staying."

Question: "Do they know that I am commanding this expedition?"

Answer: "Yes; they have frequently asked `whether you had arrived;' and they wish to go to Khartoum."

"There is no trace of poor Livingstone in their description. I imagine that some enterprising Portuguese trader is building a ship to trade upon M'wootan N'zige. God help him if he tries to transport his ivory by this route.

"I shall write to Livingstone by the first opportunity. Like all other of my informants, these native merchants told me that the M'wootan N'zige extended to Karagwe, after a long turn to the west. It varied much in width, and at Karagwe it was narrow."

For some days I had conversations with these intelligent people. They brought me two elephants' tusks to sell, as they wished to show Rumanika the quality of goods that were now introduced from the north. I made them a few presents, after the bargain, to create a favourable impression, and I once more cross-examined them upon geographical questions.

Their description of the east shore of the M'wootan N'zige was as follows:

Geographical Information:

"South of Unyoro    is a country   Kabboya;
" " Kabboyu " " Tambooki;
" " Tambooki " " M'Pororo;
" " M'Pororo " " Ruanda;
" " Ruanda " " Baroondi;
" " Baroondi " " Chibbogora;
" " Chibbogora " " Watuta;
" " Watuta " " Manchoonda;"

"Beyond the Machoonda they knew nothing, except that the lake extends for an enormous and unknown distance.

"On the west shore, opposite Kabboyu and Tambooki, is situated the cannibal country of Booamba.

"The route to Karagwe from Masindi, via the M'wootan N'zige (Albert N'yanza), is - take boat from Chibero (a day's long march from Masindi) to M'Pororo - at which spot you leave the boat, and proceed overland in one day to the Karagwe frontier.

"The Kittangide river passes through M'Pororo, N'Kole, and Kishakka, and, after a very winding course, it cuts through Karagwe, and falls into the Victoria N'yanza.

"'Baroondi' must be Speke's 'Urundi;' as I find that many names that he has prefixed with 'U' are here pronounced as 'B.'

"By Speke's map Urundi is in about 3 degrees south latitude. The M'wootan N'zige is therefore known to pass through Ruanda, Baroondi, and the Watuta - or beyond the north end of the Tanganyika Lake.

"This looks as though the Tanganyika and the M'wootan N'zige were only one vast lake bearing different names according to the localities through which it passes."

I have extracted this from my journal, as it was written at the moment that the information was given. I have no theory, as I do not indulge in the luxury of geographical theories; but I shall give my information in the same words in which I received it from the natives. Speculative geographers may then form their own opinions.

From the day when Kabba Rega had denied the possession of the guns and ammunition belonging to the irregular levy, he had never appeared at his new divan, neither had I seen him.

Upon many occasions I had sent to request his attendance, but he was always in the sanctuary of his own private house, or rather establishment of houses; these were a series of enormous beehive-shaped straw and cane dwellings in a courtyard of about an acre, surrounded by a fence, and guarded by many sentries, each of whom had a small but built in the middle of the hedge.

Since the departure of the irregular levy, I had noticed a decided change in the demeanour of the chiefs. Kittiakara, who had been our greatest friend, could never look me in the face, but always cast his eyes upon the ground when speaking or listening.

The food for the troops was obtained with the greatest difficulty, after constant worry and endless applications. It was in vain that I insisted upon the right of paying for a supply of corn; the chiefs replied: "Is not Kabba Rega your son? can a son sell corn to his own father"

At the same time we never had two days' provisions in store, and we were simply living from hand to month. This looked suspicious, as though the troops were to be rendered helpless by the absence of supplies in the event of hostilities.

My few Baris consisted of my good interpreter Morgian, together with three other natives, who had been for some years in the employ of Suleiman. I had kept these people with me, as they knew something about the country and the Unyoros. They were all armed and were tolerably good shots. One of these fellows (Molodi), a native of the Madi country, was extremely useful and intelligent. He now told me that I could never depend upon Kabba Rega, and that he had simply begged me to send the irregulars out of the country in order that I should not hear the truth of his former conduct from them; also, in their absence, I should be quite ignorant of the paths that were now completely overgrown with immensely high grass throughout the country.

An incident occurred on the 31st May which caused me serious anxiety.

The station was in complete order: the cultivation was thriving, and the general appearance of the government settlement was a strong contrast to the surrounding wilderness of high grass, and the large and dirty town of Masindi.

My troops were now without occupation, therefore I instructed Colonel Abd-el-Kader to drill them every morning.

It had been the daily practice of the band to march up and down the broad approach, and to perform nearly opposite Kabba Rega's public divan.

There was no clear place in which the troops could be drilled, except in the public square at the back of Kabba Rega's divan; this was about the centre of the town.

The square was an open space of about two acres, and was the spot at which all public festivities were held, and where, upon many occasions, Kabba Rega delighted to sit, in a large open shed, to witness the absurd performance of his buffoons.

This open space was well adapted for the exercise of a company of troops. I therefore ordered the men on parade, and I accompanied them myself together with Lieutenant Baker.

The band played, as usual, at the head of the company, and we marched through the town to the open square.

Here the troops were put through their musketry drill, and commenced various evolutions.

To my astonishment, I saw the natives hurrying off in all directions. I was perfectly unarmed, as were also the officers (excepting their side arms) and Lieutenant Baker.

Almost immediately the huge war-drum sounded in the house of Kabba Rega, and the dull hollow notes continued to beat the alarm!

In less than ten minutes, horns were blowing and drums were beating in all directions, and with extraordinary rapidity, some five or six thousand men came pouring down from every quarter, fully armed with spears and shields, in a state of frantic excitement, and at once surrounded the troops. Fresh bands of natives, all of whom were in their costume of war, continued to concentrate from every side. The crowd of warriors leapt and gesticulated around my little company of men as though about to attack.

I immediately gave the order to form a square with fixed bayonets. This manoeuvre puzzled the natives extremely.

They danced around the square, within a few feet of the glistening row of bayonet-points, which were lowered so as to form an impenetrable fence.

The officers were of course inside the square. I gave the men strict orders not to fire under any provocation, unless I gave the word of command, and attended by Lieutenant Baker and Monsoor, the latter with his sword drawn, I left the square, and walked into the middle of the crowd, towards the three chiefs, Rahonka, Kittakara, and Matonse, who were all standing with lances in their hands, and apparently prepared for action.

Although the situation was full of meaning, I thought the best policy was to appear amused. At this moment Monsoor struck up with his sword, a lance, which one of the frantic warriors, in the midst of his wild gesticulations, had advanced within a few inches of my back.

The interpreters (many of whom I knew well) were all armed with muskets, and the bonosoora were dressed in their usual fantastic manner when prepared for war; a considerable number were provided with guns.

The slightest accident would have caused a general outbreak of hostilities. I had eighty men on the ground; the remainder of the force were at the station, about three hundred yards distant, where Lady Baker, and all stores and ammunition, would have been in extreme danger, had an attack become general.

I at once walked up to Rahonka and Kittakara, and calling an interpreter, named Kadji-Barri, who was standing near them, dressed in Arab clothes, with his musket in his hand, and his cartouche-belt on his waist, I burst out laughing, and exclaimed: "Well done, Kadji-Barri! this is famously managed; let us have a general dance. Ash Kitiakitri if my band shall play, or will you dance to your own music?"

This was immediately translated to the chiefs, and my demeanour seemed to cause some hesitation. I at once ordered our band to strike up.

The instant that a well-known lively air commenced, I begged them to exhibit some native dance to amuse us. Seeing their hesitation, I inquired whether they would wish to see my men perform? After a few words between Kittakara and Rahonka, the former agreed that it would be better for my men to commence the dance first.

I lost no time in explaining to Kittakara. At that he must at once address the crowd and assure them that the performance about to commence was intended for their amusement, and there was no cause for fear. At the same time, I begged him to order the crowd to stand back, and to afford space for my troops, who were about to advance with the bayonet.

In a loud voice Kittakara gave the necessary explanation.

I ordered the bugler to sound the advance, and the whole band sounded the charge with the bayonet (sinjatre doran).

At the inspiriting call, each side of the square advanced at the double with bayonets at the charge. The crowd, lately so demonstrative, fell quickly back, and, having thus cleared the square, I told Kittakara to order every individual of the crowd to sit down upon the ground.

The great mass of people obeyed the order with the discipline of soldiers, and my troops fell back and re-formed their square as before. The little square, with a single line of front of twenty men, now occupied the centre of the clear space.

I lost no time in inquiring for Kabba Rega, whom I insisted upon seeing. After a short delay he appeared, in company of some of his bonosoora. He was in a beastly state of intoxication, and, after reeling about with a spear in his hand, he commenced a most imbecile attempt at warlike gestures.

Had my eighty men been armed with breech-loaders, I could have mown down hundreds by a fire from the square, had hostilities been forced upon us; but, as the greater portion were armed with old muskets, we might have been overwhelmed by a general rush, when reloading after the first volley.

Kabba Rega was so drunk that he did not appear to recognize me, but he continued to reel about for a short time, and thus to expose his idiotic condition, until his chiefs at length recommended him to retire.

Kittakara now explained that, if I wished to have a general dance, they would prepare a grand entertainment at some future time; but he now begged me to withdraw the troops, as the sun was very hot, and the natives were fatigued.

I assured Kittakara and the chiefs that the people had no cause for fear, and that now that my station was completed I should frequently bring the troops to the public square for musketry drill, as there was no other open space, unless Kabba Rega would order his people to clear away the high grass, which he had so often promised to do.

The band now struck up, and the troops, in single file, marched through the narrow lanes of the crowded town. I walked at their head, and I was much pleased by seeing my little friend, Cherri-Merri, who ran out of the crowd, and taking my hand, he marched with us as a volunteer, and accompanied us to the station.

Upon arrival at the government quarters, I found all hands armed and well stationed for the defence of the divan and powder-magazine, by my wife, who was commandant in my absence. She had placed rockets in readiness to fire the town on the instant of a volley of musketry being heard. My good little officer had also laid out a large supply of spare ammunition, together with every gun, rifle, and pistol, all of which were laid on a table in the divan, ready to repel an attack.

I now sent for Rahonka, who was supposed to be the general of Kabba Rega's forces.

The conduct of little Cherri-Merri was very gratifying, as he had adhered to his true friends in a moment of great uncertainty.

Rahonka shortly appeared. My interpreter, Umbogo, was absent on leave for two days to visit his farm; thus Rahonka was accompanied by Kadji-Barri, who was well accustomed to us, and had often received presents.

I now insisted upon an explanation concerning the sudden beating of the war-drum and the extraordinary assembly of the people armed for war. Rahonka looked foolish and nervous, as though he doubted the chance of a safe retreat. He could not give any satisfactory reason for the hostile display we had so recently witnessed, but he attributed it to the drunken state of Kabba Rega, who had sounded the alarm without any reason.

I assured Rahonka that such conduct would not be permitted; and that if such a scene should occur again, I should not allow the troops to be surrounded by thousands of armed men, in hostile attitudes, without immediately taking the initiative.

Rahonka retired, and in a few minutes we received twenty loads of corn for the troops, as a peace-offering.

Thus ended the month of May, which had nearly closed in bloodshed.

There could be no doubt that an attack upon the troops had been intended; and I could not help admiring the organization of the people, that enabled so large a force to be concentrated upon a given point in a few minutes after the alarm had sounded. My wife, upon whose cool judgment I could always depend, described vividly her apprehensions of treachery. She had witnessed the extraordinary energy which the natives had exhibited in rushing from the neighbouring villages, almost immediately when the war-drum had sounded. They had poured in streams past the station, and had brandished their lances and shields at her as they thronged at full speed within fifty yards of the government clearing.

Fortunately, when the big nogara had sounded, both she and the troops understood the signal, and with praiseworthy speed she had placed every man in position to defend the station. Even the servants and our black boys were armed, and occupied the posts assigned to them. Without these precautions it is highly probable that the station would have been attacked, in which case it might have been at once overwhelmed by so immense a superiority of force.

I felt that on the whole we had narrowly escaped from ruin. My intention, when in the open square, had been to seize a rifle from a soldier, and at once to shoot Kabba Rega had hostilities commenced after his appearance; but, even had we been able to hold our own, with a party of eighty men, we should have lost the entire station, together with all our ammunition, and every soul would have been massacred.

I had serious misgivings for the future. This demonstration looked extremely bad after the departure of my thirty-six men with the post to Fatiko. If Kabba Rega and his people were treacherous, they could easily murder the party whom they were pretending to escort as friends.

On the other hand, I could not conceive why Kabba Rega or his people should be ill-disposed, unless he harboured resentment on account of the discovery of his theft of the muskets and ammunition from the irregulars, which I had forced him to restore.

My Baris and Molodi all declared that he was suspicious because I had pardoned the slave-hunters and received them into government service. This merciless young villain, who had so treacherously murdered his own kith and kin, had no conception of forgiveness; thus he could not understand why I had not killed the slave-hunters when they were once in my power.

There was no doubt that discontent rankled deeply in his heart for some cause or other; as he had never appeared, or received visits, for many days, but had sulkily shut himself up within his own court.

He only went out daily, at a certain time, to collect subscriptions for the pay of his beloved rascals, the bonosoora; but this led him through the town in the opposite direction to our camp, therefore we never saw him.

The collection of alms was a most undignified proceeding. At the hour of his exit from his house, a band of fifes or flageolets struck up a peculiar air which was well known as the signal for preparing to pay for the king's visit. The few notes they played was a monotonous repetition of : -

As his pipes played before him, Kabba Rega called at any houses that he thought proper to select, and received from the inmates of each, a few cowrie shells, which are used as the smallest coin in Unyoro. These shells were afterwards divided among his bonosoora as their daily pay.

My station had not been arranged for defence, as I considered that hostilities in this country could not be possible. Although black human nature is the darkest shade of character, I never could have believed that even Kabba Rega could have harboured treacherous designs against us, after the benefits that both he and his people had received from me. The country had been relieved from the slave-hunters, and my people were actually on the road to Fatiko to liberate and restore to their families about 1,000 women and children of Unyoro. I was about to establish a school. No thefts had taken place on the part of the troops. The rights of every native had been respected. The chiefs had received valuable presents, and the people had already felt the advantage of legitimate trade.

At the same time that hostility appeared impossible, I could not blind myself to the fact of the late demonstration; it would therefore be absolutely necessary to construct a small fort, for the security of the ammunition and effects, which could no longer be exposed in simple straw huts, without protection.

I explained this necessity to my officers and men, all of whom were keenly alive to the evil spirit of Kabba Rega, from whom they expected future mischief.

This miserable young fellow was nearly always drunk; his time was passed in sucking plantain cider through a reed, until he became thoroughly intoxicated. We were, therefore, subject to any sudden order that he might give in a fit of drunkenness.

His people obeyed him implicitly, with that fanatical belief that is held in Unyoro respecting the person who occupies the magic throne (Bamba).

There could be no doubt that he was offended and insulted: therefore, according to the principle in vino veritas, he might pluck up courage to surprise us when least expected.

I determined to build a fort immediately.

I drew a plan of a circular stockade, surrounded by a ditch and earthen parapet. The ditch ten feet wide by seven deep. The diameter from scarp to scarp, sixty feet; diameter of inner circular court, thirty-six feet.

With the assistance of Lieutenant Baker I drew the plan on the ground, and my troops set to work with that vigour which always distinguished them.

There were numerous large trees of the fig tribe in the immediate neighbourhood. This wood was exactly adapted for the purpose, as it was easy to cut, and at the same time it was undying when once planted in the ground. Any log of the bark-cloth tree will take root if watered.

The axes with which the men were provided now came into play, and the clicking of so many tools at work at once surprised the natives. Rahonka, Kittakara, and other chiefs came to inquire concerning our intention.

I explained the necessity of storing the gunpowder in a fireproof building. Only a few days ago several native huts had been burnt; such an accident might endanger our station, therefore I should construct an earthen roof over a building of strong palisades. I explained that should the whole of the ammunition explode, it might ignite and destroy Masindi.

My men thoroughly understood their work. Immense logs, nine feet in length, and many upwards of two feet in diameter, were planted, close together, in holes two feet deep. Any interstices were filled up with smaller posts sunk firmly in the ground. The entrance to the little fort was a projecting passage, about twelve feet long, and only three feet wide, formed of two rows of enormous palisades, sunk two feet six inches in the earth, which was pounded closely down with heavy rammers. This passage was an important feature in the power of defence, as it added to the flanking fire. A reference to the plan will show that the arrangement of this small fort gave us three fireproof rooms for the protection of stores and ammunition, and for the accommodation of the necessary guard. Each of these rooms was formed of the strongest palisades, upon which I arranged a flat roof of thick posts, laid parallel, which were covered with tempered earth and chopped straw for the thickness of a foot.

The earth from the ditch would lie against the outside face of the stockade, at an angle of about 40 degrees from the edge of the ditch to within eighteen inches of the projecting roof: thus the defenders could fire from the strong rooms through the interstices of the upright timbers.

We commenced this fort on the morning of 2nd June, and every palisade was in its place and firmly rammed down by the evening of the 5th; thus, in four days' hard work we had an impregnable protection in a position nearly half-way between the entrance of the main approach and the government divan.

The digging of the ditch was commenced, but this was a longer operation, as we were provided with the light Unyoro hoes, which were not sufficiently powerful to cut through the hard gravel subsoil.

The interpreter, Umbogo, returned on 3rd June. He could not in the least explain the hostile demonstration of 31st May. This added to my suspicion, as Umbogo must have known more than he chose to tell.

On the 4th June envoys arrived direct from M'tese, the king of Uganda, with a letter of welcome, written in Arabic, addressed to myself.

The principal messenger was one of M'tese's headmen, named Waysooa. The commander-in-chief, Congow, had also sent a representative, named Bonneggesah; these people were accompanied by an interpreter named Bokamba.

The envoys were remarkably well-dressed, in Indian clothes, and they appeared quite civilized, as though native merchants of Bombay.

They now delivered their credentials from King M'tese: these were objects that had been given to him many years ago by Speke and Grant. A printed book (Kaffre laws), several water-colour drawings, including a picture of a guinea-fowl and a yellow-breasted pigeon; also a little folding-book with sketches of British soldiers of various regiments. These I carefully examined and returned to the envoys, who wrapped them neatly in a piece of calico as great treasures. (I must acknowledge the important assistance rendered by the King M'tese, which was the result of the good reputation left by my precursors, Speke and Grant.)

The general, Congow, had sent a tusk to SELL! I declined the offer, but I sent him a scarlet blanket as a present. I also packed up an assortment of handsome articles for M'tese, including many yards of orange-coloured gold brocade, sufficient for a large flowing robe.

I gave presents to the envoys, and they appeared delighted, bowing frequently to the ground while upon their knees, with their hands clasped together, and repeating the word, "N'yanzig," "N'yanzig," "N'yanzig."

In reply to my inquiries, nothing had been heard of Livingstone. I sent M'tese a letter in Arabic, begging him to use every exertion in a search for the great traveller, and to forward him to me, should he be so fortunate as to discover him. At the same time I wrote two letters, which I addressed to Livingstone; in these I gave him the necessary information. I consigned them to the care of M'tese, to be forwarded to any travellers who might be heard of, far or near.

In my letter to M'tese, I complimented him upon the general improvement of his country, and upon his conversion from heathenism to a belief in the Deity. I explained, that owing to his kindness to Speke and Grant, his name had become known throughout the world, and I begged him to show the same attention to Livingstone.

I described the object of the expedition, in opening up a trade from the north that would bring merchandise of every description to his kingdom; but I advised him to send his own carriers, as I felt sure that Kabba Rega was already jealous, and would endeavour to prevent the opening of the commercial road to M'tese, as he would himself wish to monopolize the trade.

This was a little stroke of diplomacy that I felt sure would open a direct communication without delay, as M'tese looked down with contempt upon Kabba Rega, and would at once feel insulted at opposition from such a quarter. (The good effect of this policy will be seen towards the close of the expedition.)

Should I have any open rupture with Kabba Rega, M'tese would at once attribute the cause to the obstructive and selfish character of the ruler in Unyoro.

I explained to the envoys all that I had written to M'tese, and having exhibited the varieties of merchandise that belonged to the expedition, I took them into the wonderful private house, where they were introduced to the Queen, and the Princess of Wales, and the gaudy ladies, together with the fox-hunters and hounds, the large mirrors, the wheel of life, all of which were duly explained to them. A good shock with the magnetic battery wound up the entertainment, and provided them with much material for a report to their royal master upon their return to Uganda.

The geographical information afforded by these people I shall extract verbatim from my journal, in which it was written at that particular time: thus, geographers will hear all that I heard, and they may form various opinions, which will perhaps add still further to the interest pertaining to the mysteries of Central Africa.

"The native name for the Victoria N'yanza is Nerraa Bali: There are two lakes adjoining each other, one is Nerraa Bali, the other Sessi; both of which are very large, and they are separated by a neck of land about a day's march across.

"On the Sessi Lake the natives live on floating islands, and subsist by fishing; exchanging their fish for flour, upon the main land.

"There is a narrow water-communication through the neck of land or isthmus, which can be passed through by a canoe in one day."

On the 5th June the envoys returned towards Uganda, having been highly gratified with their visit. They had appeared much concerned at hearing of poor Speke's death; and continued to exclaim for some minutes, "Wah! Wah! Speekee! Speekee! Wah! Speekee!"