CHAPTER XXV. I SEND TO GONDOKORO FOR REINFORCEMENTS.

On 25th November, 1872, I started Wat-el-Mek to Gondokoro with a force of irregulars, in addition to a captain and twenty regular troops in charge of the post. His party consisted of 100 men.

The fleet from Gondokoro had left on the 3rd of November, 1871: thus it was natural to suppose that reinforcements had arrived from Khartoum, according to my written instructions on that date. I now wrote to Raouf Bey at head-quarters, to send up 200 men under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Tayib Agha, of the Soudani regiment. I also wrote for a supply of cattle, as my stock had dwindled to a small herd of milch cows, and the people at Fabbe had no meat except the flesh of any game that might be killed.

A short time after the departure of Wat-el-Mek and his party for Gondokoro, Suleiman the vakeel arrived from Fabbo with the intelligence that a large body of Abou Saood's slave-hunters, including 3,000 Makkarika cannibals, had arrived on the Nile from the far west, with the intention of taking the ivory from Fabbo!

It appeared that Abou Saood had gone from Gondokoro to his station at the Bohr, upon the White Nile; from thence he had sent a party with a letter to Atroosh, the vakeel of the Makkarika station, about 200 miles distant, with orders that he should send a powerful force, with sufficient carriers, to take the ivory by violence from Fabbo.

Abou Saood had not expected that the people whom he had left at that station would have enlisted under the government standard. Thus he imagined they would at once fraternize with the invading force.

The natives of the country were thoroughly alarmed, as the cannibals were eating the children of the Koshi country on the west bank of the Nile, in about 3 degrees latitude; and should they cross the river, the Madis and Shoolis expected the same fate.

I ordered Suleiman (who had received a letter from Atroosh) to take a letter from me to Ali Emmeen, the vakeel of the invading force, instructing him to present himself before me at Fatiko instantly with an escort of his own people, limited to twenty-five men. At the same time I gave instructions to the natives upon no account to furnish boats for a larger party.

After some days' absence Suleiman returned, but without Ali Emmeen, who was afraid to appear. This vakeel had received my verbal assurance from Suleiman that, should any persons attempt the passage of the river without my permission, they would be instantly shot; at the same time, if he wished to convey the ivory to Gondokoro by the usual route, he could do so with an escort of regulars.

This was an awkward position for Ali Emmeen, who had expected to find allies at Fabbo, but who now found a faithful corps of irregulars with Suleiman at their head acting under my orders.

He accordingly took 100 men and returned about 180 miles to the camp of Atroosh for fresh instructions. The 3,000 Makkarika cannibals were left with the remainder of his company on the west bank of the Nile to feed upon the natives of Koshi until his return.

Every day people arrived at Fatiko with horrible reports of the cannibals, who were devouring the children in the Koshi district. Spies went across the river and brought me every intelligence. It appeared that the 3,000 Makkarikas had been engaged by Ali Emmeen under the pretence that they were "to go to Fatiko and fight a chief called 'the Pacha,' who had enormous flocks and herds, together with thousands of beautiful women and other alluring spoil;" but they had not heard that they were to carry 3,000 elephants' tusks to the station of Atroosh.

My spies now told them the truth. "Fight the Pacha!" they exclaimed: "do you not know who he is? and that he could kill you all like fowls, as he did the people of Ali Hussein? He has no cows for you to carry off, but he has guns that are magic, and which load from behind instead of at the muzzle!"

This was a terrible disappointment to the deluded Makkarikas, which at once spread dissension among them, when they found that they had been cajoled in order to transport the heavy loads of ivory.

A providential visitation suddenly fell upon them. The small-pox broke out and killed upwards of 800 bloodthirsty cannibals who had been devouring the country.

The Nile was reported to be about six miles in width opposite their station, in about 3 degrees latitude, which is only a few miles from the Albert N'yanza. This visitation of small-pox created a panic which entirely broke up and dispersed the invading force, and defeated their plans.

We were now in frequent communication with Rionga, who was always represented in my Fatiko camp by the presence of one of his sheiks and several men.

Ali Genninar had made a combined attack upon Kabba Rega, together with Rionga and the Langgo tribe, and had utterly defeated him. His people were now deserting him in great numbers, and were flocking to the winning side. Kabba Rega had taken to flight, and was supposed to be hiding in the neighbourhood of Chibero, on the borders of the Albert N'yanza.

M'tese, the king of Uganda, had invaded Unyoro from the south, and having heard of Kabba Rega's treachery towards myself, he had sent an army of 6,000 men under his general, Congow, to be placed at my disposal.

This friendship was the result of my diplomacy in having sent him valuable presents from Masindi, together with a letter warning him against Kabba Rega, who wished to prevent the goods of the north from reaching Uganda, in order that he might monopolize the trade in Unyoro.

The subsequent conduct of Kabba Rega had proved this accusation, and M'tese had heard with rage and dismay that I had been forced to burn all the numerous goods, which otherwise would have passed to him in Uganda.

On the 25th December the fort of Fatiko was completed. This was commenced on the 28th August; thus my men had been four months engaged in the work, owing to the extreme hardness of the subsoil, which was a compact gravel resembling concrete.

The three faces of the fort measured 455 yards of fosse and earthen rampart. The fosse was eight feet wide, eight feet deep, and the face of the rampart was protected by chevaux-de-frise of sharpened stakes. The west base of the fort was the rock citadel, which commanded the surrounding country. Upon this solid foundation I had built an excellent powder-magazine and store, of solid masonry. This fire-proof building was roofed with a thick cement of clay from the white-ant hills, that had been tempered for some weeks and mixed with chopped straw.

All my work was completed, and I could do nothing until the reinforcements should arrive from Gondokoro. The natives paid their trifling corn-tax with great good humour, and they generally arrived in crowds of several hundreds, singing and dancing, with large baskets of tullaboon upon their heads, with which they filled our rows of granaries.

The grass was fit to burn, and the bunting season had fairly commenced. All the natives now devoted themselves to this important pursuit. The chase supplies the great tribe of Shooli with clothing. Although the women are perfectly naked, every man wears the skin of an antelope slung across his shoulders, so arranged as to be tolerably decent. The number of animals that are annually destroyed may be imagined from the amount of the skin-clad population.

Although the wilderness between Unyoro and Fatiko is uninhabited, in like manner with extensive tracts between Fabbo and Fatiko, every portion of that apparently abandoned country is nominally possessed by individual proprietors, who claim a right of game by inheritance.

This strictly conservative principle has existed from time immemorial, and may perhaps suggest to those ultra-radicals who would introduce communistic principles into England, that the supposed original equality of human beings is a false datum for their problem. There is no such thing as equality among human beings in their primitive state, any more than there is equality among the waves of the sea, although they may start from the same level of the calm.

In a state of savagedom, the same rules of superiority which advance certain individuals above the general level in civilized societies will be found to exert a natural influence. Those who become eminent will be acknowledged by their inferiors. The man who is clever and wise in council will be listened to: the warrior who leads with courage and judgment will be followed in the battle; the hunter who excels in tracking up the game will be sent to the front when the party are on the blood-track. In this way superiority will be generally admitted. Superiority of intellect will naturally tend to material advancement. The man of sense will gather more than the fool. That which he gathers becomes property, which must be acknowledged by society as an individual right that must be protected by laws.

In tribes where government is weak, there is a difficulty in enforcing laws, as the penalty exacted may be resisted; but even amidst those wild tribes there is a force that exerts a certain moral influence among the savage as among the civilized: that force is public opinion.

Thus, a breach of the game-laws would be regarded by the public as a disgrace to the guilty individual, precisely as an act of poaching would damage the character of a civilized person.

The rights of game are among the first rudiments of property. Man in a primitive state is a hunter, depending for his clothing upon the skins of wild animals, and upon their flesh for his subsistence; therefore the beast that he kills upon the desert must be his property; and in a public hunt, should he be the first to wound a wild animal, he will have gained an increased interest or share in the flesh by having reduced the chance of its escape. Thus public opinion, which we must regard as the foundation of EQUITY, rewards him with a distinct and special right, which, becomes LAW.

It is impossible to trace the origin of game-laws in Central Africa, but it is nevertheless interesting to find that such rights are generally acknowledged, and that large tracts of uninhabited country are possessed by individuals which are simply manorial. These rights are inherited, descending from father to the eldest son.

When the grass is sufficiently dry to burn, the whole thoughts of the community are centred upon sport; but should a person set fire to the grass belonging to another proprietor, he would be at once condemned by public opinion, and he would (if such establishments existed) be certainly expelled from his club.

There was no more work undone in my charming Fatiko station. The roads from the three gates were so far completed as to form respectable approaches. The gardens had produced abundantly, and the troops were all in excellent health and good discipline. On Mondays and Fridays they were exercised at light-infantry drill for several hours. Every man had his post, which he occupied like lightning when the bugle suddenly sounded the alarm. The "Forty Thieves" held the rock citadel, as they could fire over the heads of those in the camp without fear of accident. The night alarm sounded unexpectedly, and as I went the rounds, every man was at his quarters without a whisper. The cleanliness and general order of the camp were perfect.

I now associated with the natives as a hunter. It was in this capacity that I had first won their hearts many years ago. We were so short of meat that I began to feel the necessity that first turned the hand of savage man against the beasts of the forest.

The chase throughout the Shooli country was carried on as a profession, and was conducted by general rules under an admirable organization.

The favourite method of hunting was by means of nets. Every man in the country was provided with a net of strong cord. This was twelve yards long, and about eleven feet deep, if stretched to its maximum. The meshes were about six inches square. There was no promiscuous net-hunting, but the chief of the district organized the chase in the following manner: -

The big nogara was sounded, and the news rapidly spread that an assembly was desired at the village of their headman. At Fatiko the chief was Wat-el-Ajoos Omare. A few hours after the drum had summoned the headmen, natives might be seen approaching from all sides to the appointed spot at which the council was to be held.

After much talking, it was at length decided that the hunt should take place upon the manors of certain individuals whose property was contiguous. The day of the hunt was arranged, and the headmen of the villages retired to make the necessary arrangements.

Should a chief be hospitably disposed, he would frequently give a grand entertainment prior to the meet. On such occasions upwards of a thousand natives would arrive from different villages, in their full-dress costume, consisting of plumes of ostrich feathers, leopard-skin mantles, and their faces painted a frightful colour with fresh cow-dung. On these occasions a large quantity of merissa was consumed, and one or two oxen were slaughtered, according to the wealth of the person who gave the festivity.

The sorcerer was an important personage at such entertainments, as it was necessary to assure good luck by a variety of magic ceremonies, that would not only protect the hunters from accidents, but would also bring the wild animals direct into their nets.

At length the day of the hunt had arrived, when several thousand people would collect at a certain rendezvous, about nine miles distant from Fatiko, on the Fabbo road, which is the best neighbourhood for game.

At a little before 5 A.M. I started on my solitary but powerful horse, "Jamoos," accompanied by Lieutenant Baker and Colonel Abd-el-Kader, with a few soldiers of "The Forty". Gimoro and Shooli, who were renowned hunters, were always with me when shooting. These excellent men had an extraordinary affection for each other, and they were well known as inseparables - the one was rarely seen without the other.

Descending the rocky terrace from the station at Fatiko, we were at once in the lovely, park-like glades, diversified by bold granite rocks, among which were scattered the graceful drooping acacias in clumps of dense foliage.

Crossing the clear, rippling stream, we clambered up the steep bank on the opposite side, and, after a ride of about a mile and a half, we gained the water-shed, and commenced a gradual descent towards the west.

We were now joined by numerous people, both men, women and children, all of whom were bent upon the hunt.

The men carried their nets and spears; the boys were also armed with lighter weapons, and the very little fellows carried tiny lances, all of which had been carefully sharpened for the expected game.

The women were in great numbers, and upon that day the villages were quite deserted. Babies accompanied their mothers, strapped upon their backs with leathern bands, and protected from the weather by the usual tortoise-like coverings of gourd-shells. Thus it may be imagined that the Shooli tribe were born hunters, as they had accompanied the public hunts from their earliest infancy.

My two boys, Saat and Bellaal, carried spare guns. These fine strong lads always attended me, and they had become useful gun-bearers. They were both plucky fellows. Little Amarn had been suffering for more than twelve months from an ulcerated leg; therefore he was spared from unnecessary fatigue, and was the pet boy at home.

As we proceeded, the number of natives increased, but there was no noise or loud talking. Every one appeared thoroughly to understand his duties.

Having crossed the beautiful Un-y-Ame river, we entered the game country. Extensive prairies, devoid of forest, now stretched before us in graceful undulations to the base of distant mountains. The country was watered by numerous clear streams, all of which drained into the main channel of the Un-y-Ame river, that became a roaring torrent during the wet season.

We now left the Fabbo path and struck off to our left for several miles, over ground that had been cleared by burning, which showed in many directions the crimson fruit of the wild ginger, growing half-exposed from the earth. This is a leathery, hard pod, about the size of a goose-egg, filled with a semi-transparent pulp of a subacid flavour, with a delicious perfume between pine-apple and lemon-peel. It is very juicy and refreshing, and is decidedly the best wild fruit of Central Africa.

The natives immediately collected a quantity, and we quickly pushed forward to the rendezvous, where, upon arrival, we found a great number of people were collected.

A line of about a mile and a half was quickly protected by netting, and the natives were already in position.

Each man had lashed his net to that of his neighbour and supported it with bamboos, which were secured with ropes fastened to twisted grass. Thus the entire net resembled a fence, that would be invisible to the game in the high grass, until, when driven, they should burst suddenly upon it.

The grass was as dry as straw, and several thousand acres would be fired up to windward, which would compel the animals to run before the flames, until they reached the netting placed a few paces in front; where the high grass had been purposely cleared to resist the advance of the fire.

Before each section of net, a man was concealed both within and without, behind a screen, simply formed of the long, grass tied together at the top.

The rule of sport decided that the proprietor of each section of netting of twelve yards length would be entitled to all game that should be killed within these limits; but that the owners of the manors which formed the hunt upon that day should receive a hind leg from every animal captured.

This was fair play; but in such hunts a breach of the peace was of common occurrence, as a large animal might charge the net and receive a spear from the owner of the section, after which he might break back, and eventually be killed in the net of another hunter; which would cause a hot dispute.

The nets had been arranged with perfect stillness, and the men having concealed themselves, we were placed in positions on the extreme flanks with the rifles.

Rifle-shooting was dangerous work, as the country was alive with people, who were hidden in every direction.

I took my position behind a white-ant hill in front of a stream which rippled in a hollow about forty yards beneath me.

Molodi had quite recovered from the wound he had received on 2nd August, and he carried the basket that contained our luncheon. This consisted of three bottles of milk and a few hard-boiled eggs, with a supply of salt and pepper.

There is nothing so good as milk for support during a long day's work, provided it is used with water, in a proportion of one-third milk. A bottle of rich milk will therefore produce three bottles of wholesome drink. This is far preferable to the use of spirits, which are merely a temporary stimulant, and frequently are great enemies to good rifle-shooting.

Molodi's basket was arranged with a white napkin over the contents. As such a colour would attract attention, I ordered him to conceal himself and his basket behind a neighbouring ant-hill.

Mr. Baker was far away on my right; and Abd-el-Kader was upon the extreme right flank.

Everything was ready, and men had already been stationed at regular intervals about two miles to windward, where they waited with their fire-stick for the appointed signal.

A shrill whistle disturbed the silence. This signal was repeated at intervals to windward.

In a few minutes after the signal, a long line of separate thin pillars of smoke ascended into the blue sky, forming a band extending over about two miles of the horizon.

The thin pillars rapidly thickened, and became dense volumes, until at length they united, and formed a long black cloud of smoke that drifted before the wind over the bright yellow surface of the high grass.

The natives were so thoroughly concealed, that no one would have supposed that a human being beside ourselves was in the neighbourhood. I had stuck a few twigs into the top of the ant-hill to hide my cap; and having cut out a step in the side for my feet at the required height, I waited in patience.

The wind was brisk, and the fire travelled at about four miles an hour. We could soon hear the distant roar, as the great volume of flame shot high through the centre of the smoke.

The natives had also lighted the grass a few hundred yards in our rear.

Presently I saw a slate-coloured mass trotting along the face of the opposite slope, about 250 yards distant. I quickly made out a rhinoceros, and I was in hopes that he was coming towards me. Suddenly he turned to my right, and continued along the face of the inclination.

Some of the beautiful leucotis antelope now appeared and cantered towards me, but halted when they approached the stream, and listened. The game understood the hunting as well as the natives. In the same manner that the young children went out to hunt with their parents, so had the wild animals been hunted together with their parents ever since their birth.

The leucotis now charged across the stream; at the same time a herd of hartebeest dashed past. I knocked over one, and with the left-hand barrel I wounded a leucotis. At this moment a lion and lioness, that had been disturbed by the fire in our rear, came bounding along close to where Molodi had been concealed with the luncheon. Away went Molodi at a tremendous pace! and he came rushing past me as though the lions were chasing him; but they were endeavouring to escape themselves, and had no idea of attacking.

I was just going to take the inviting shot, when, as my finger was on the trigger, I saw the head of a native rise out of the grass exactly in the line of fire; then another head popped up from a native who had been concealed, and rather than risk an accident I allowed the lion to pass. In one magnificent bound it cleared the stream, and disappeared in the high grass.

The fire was advancing rapidly, and the game was coming up fast. A small herd of leucotis crossed the brook, and I killed another, but the smoke had become so thick that I was nearly blinded. It was at length impossible to see; the roar of the fire and the heat were terrific, as the blast swept before the advancing flames, and filled the air and eyes with fine black ashes. I literally had to turn and run hard into fresher atmosphere to get a gasp of cool air, and to wipe my streaming eyes. Just as I emerged from the smoke, a leucotis came past, and received both the right and left bullets in a good place, before it fell.

The fire reached the stream and at once expired. The wind swept the smoke on before, and left in view the velvety black surface, that had been completely denuded by the flames.

The natives had killed many antelopes, but the rhinoceros had gone through their nets like a cobweb. Several buffaloes had been seen, but they had broken out in a different direction. Lieut. Baker had killed three leucotis, Abd-el-Kader had killed one, and had hit a native in the leg with a bullet, while aiming at a galloping antelope. I had killed five.

I doctored the native, and gave him some milk to drink, and his friends carried him home. This was a very unfortunate accident, and from that day the natives gave Abd-el-Kader a wide berth.

Most of the women were heavily laden with meat: the nets were quickly gathered up, and, with whistles blowing as a rejoicing, the natives returned homewards.

The women were very industrious, and never went home empty-handed; but if some were unfortunate in their supply of meat, they gathered immense bundles of firewood, which they carried many miles upon their heads to their respective villages . . . .

The time passed very happily at Fatiko, and the fact of my joining with the natives in their sports added to the confidence already established.

I frequently went into their villages to smoke a pipe, and to chat with the people: this always pleased them, and the children generally crowded round me, as I never went empty-handed, but a few beads or other trifles were always forthcoming as presents.

Gimoro had been very unfortunate in losing his children when young, and I understood that the mortality was very great among all infants from two years old to five.

I attribute this to the absurd custom of public night nurseries. According to the population of the village, there are certain houses built upon pedestals or stone supports about three feet from the ground. In the clay wall of the circular building is a round hole about a foot in diameter; this is the only aperture.

At sunset, when the children have been fed, they are put to bed in the simplest manner, by being thrust headforemost through the hole in the wall, assisted, if refractory, by a smack behind, until the night nursery shall have received the limited number. The aperture is then stopped up with a bundle of grass if the nights are cool.

The children lie together on the clay floor like a litter of young puppies, and breathe the foulest air until morning, at which time they are released from the suffocating oven, to be suddenly exposed to the chilly daybreak. Their naked little bodies shiver round a fire until the sun warms them, but the seeds of diarrhoea and dysentery have already been sown.

It may be readily imagined that accidents frequently occur in the great hunts already described, as it is quite impossible to speculate upon the species of animal that may be driven into the net. A fine little lad of about eleven years was killed by a leopard within a mile of my Fatiko station. The grass had been fired, and the animals instinctively knew that they were pursued.

The boy went to drink at a stream close to some high reeds, when a leopard pounced upon him without the slightest warning. A native who was close to the spot rushed up to the rescue, and threw his spear with such dexterity that he struck the leopard through the neck while it had the boy in its mouth, killing it upon the spot. The boy was immediately brought to me, but the lungs were lacerated, and he died during the night.

On another occasion five men were wounded (two fatally) by a lioness, which fought so gallantly that she at length escaped from her assailants with two spears in her body.

I was not present on that occasion, but I have frequently admired the pluck of the Shooli natives, who attack every animal with the simple hunting-spear, which of course necessitates a close approach.

On 30th December I went out with a few natives on the Fabbo road, simply to shoot in order to procure meat for the camp. We were about ten miles from the station, and the game was so wild on the open prairies that we found it impossible to approach within shot. We had seen great numbers of the beautiful leucotis antelope (rather larger than a fine fallow buck), also hartebeest (Antelope bubalis), all of which had quitted the clean ground which had recently been burnt, and had retired to the high grass upon a long sloping undulation.

Among our natives were two men who were the owners of the manor; they therefore proposed that we should place the guns in position, while they should march up to windward, and fire the grass in the usual manner.

Lieutenant Baker was placed about 300 yards to my left, and Colonel Abd-el-Kader about 150 paces to my right. As we faced the high grass we had the ground clear at our backs, as the young herbage was just sprouting after the recent burning.

As usual, I was concealed by a large ant-hill, behind which, my two boys Saat and Bellaal squatted with my spare guns. About 100 yards before me, in a slight hollow, the grass was quite green, as the depression had until lately held water. This rank herbage would of course stop the fire upon its arrival from the sloping hill-face. About forty yards from me the grass was high and dry.

About half an hour after the guns were posted we heard the whistles, and shortly after, the smoke rose in various places until at last a crescent of fire spread over the hill. The wind was very light, therefore the fire travelled slowly, and the game advanced at an easy pace. I now heard shots upon my left at the extreme flank, where I had posted a few of the best shots of the "Forty Thieves," including Ferritch Ajoke.

I saw the game breaking covert in herds of several hundreds in that direction. Presently Abd-el-Kader had a shot upon my right, and I observed several antelopes bounding along upon the clear space in our rear.

I was not in luck, but I now saw a splendid buck leucotis walking quietly through the grass, and slowly descending the slope to the green hollow, which would bring him straight towards me should he keep this direction.

Just at that moment I saw a long yellow tail rise suddenly from the green hollow, and an instant later I saw a fine lion, with tail erect, that had evidently been disturbed by the advancing fire.

The lion was down wind of the buck leucotis, which was now close to the unseen enemy, and was just descending the bank which dipped into the green hollow: this would bring the antelope almost upon the lion's back. The two animals suddenly appeared to touch each other as the leucotis jumped down the bank, and the lion sprang to one side, apparently as much startled as the antelope, which bounded off in another direction,. The lion now disappeared in the high grass, with the head towards my position.

I whispered to my boys not to be afraid should it appear close to us, and at the same time I took the spare gun from; Bellal, and laid it against the ant-hill to be in readiness. This was a breechloader, with buckshot cartridges for small antelopes.

In a few minutes I heard a distinct rustling in the high grass before me. The two boys were squatting on the ground to my right.

Presently a louder rustling in the grass, within forty yards in my front, was followed by the head and shoulders of a large lioness, who apparently saw the two boys, and with her brilliant eyes fixed, she advanced slowly towards them.

Not wishing to allow a closer acquaintance, I aimed at her chest, and fired the "Dutchman."

The lioness rolled completely over, backwards, and three times she turned convulsive somersaults, at the same time roaring tremendously; but to my astonishment she appeared to recover, and I immediately fired my left-hand barrel. At this she charged in high bounds straight towards my two boys.

I had just time to snatch up my spare gun and show myself from behind the ant-hill, when the lioness, startled by my sudden appearance, turned, and I fired a charge of buck-shot into her hind-quarters as she disappeared in the high grass upon my right.

I now heard her groaning in a succession of deep guttural sounds, within fifty yards of me.

In a few minutes I heard a shot from Abd-el-Kader, and he shortly came to tell me that the wounded lioness, with her chest and shoulder covered with blood, had come close to his hiding-place; he had fired, and had broken her ankle joint, but she was still concealed in the grass.

Shooli and Gimoro now came up with some of the natives, as they had heard the lioness roar, and feared some accident might have happened.

These were very plucky fellows, and they at once proposed to go close up and spear her in the grass, if I would back them up with the rifles.

We arrived at the supposed spot, and after a search we distinguished a yellowish mass within some withered reeds.

Shooli now proposed that he should throw his spear, upon which the lioness would certainly charge from her covert and afford us a good shot, if the guns were properly arranged.

I would not allow this, but I determined to fire a shot at the yellow mass to bring her out, if every one would be ready to receive her.

Lieutenant Baker was on my right, with a double-barrelled express rifle that carried a No. 70 bullet. This minute projectile was of little use against the charge of a lion.

I fired into the mass at about twenty yards' distance.

The immediate reply was a determined charge, and the enraged animal came bounding towards us with tremendous roars. The natives threw their spears but missed her. Mr. Baker fired, but neither he nor a left-hand barrel from the "Dutchman" could check her. Everybody had to run, and I luckily snatched a breechloading No. 12 smooth-bore loaded with ball from a panic-stricken lad, and rolled her over with a shot in the chest when she was nearly in the midst of us.

She retreated with two or three bounds to her original covert.

I had now reloaded the "Dutchman," and having given orders that every one should keep out of the way, and be ready, I went close up to the grass with Shooli, and quickly discovered her. She was sitting up like a dog, but was looking in the opposite direction, as though expecting an enemy in that quarter.

I was within twelve yards of her, and I immediately put a bullet in the back of her neck, which dropped her dead.

In her inside we discovered a freshly-eaten leucotis calf, which had been simply divided by her teeth in lumps of about two pounds each. This was quite fresh, and my soldiers and the natives divided it among them as a bonne-bouche. Nasty fellows!

The day's sport had been: - One lioness killed by myself; one leucotis buck by Mr. Baker; one leucotis buck by Abd-el-Kader; two does of the same species by Ferritch Ajoke; and the natives had speared three calves. Total, one lioness and seven antelopes, ALL of which were to be eaten.

We reached home at 5.40 p.m., not having had time to eat anything since the preceding evening. The lioness measured nine feet six inches from nose to tail extremity.

As this work is simply an account of the principal events connected with the Khedive's expedition, I cannot afford space for many sporting incidents. Game was very abundant, and we generally kept the station well supplied; at the same time I gave large quantities of flesh to the natives.

I sometimes sent a party of my "Forty" to hunt, in which sport they took a great interest, and the practice with the rifle improved their shooting.

The natives throughout the country were perfectly happy and contented, but the women had been somewhat disturbed by the accounts they had received of our encounter with the lioness. They held a meeting in Gimoro's village.

On the following day both Gimoro and Shooli arrived at my public divan looking rather dejected.

They informed me that the women, having held a meeting, had arrived at the conclusion, "that the Pacha must not be allowed to go out hunting, as he might possibly be killed by a lion or a buffalo." "What would happen to us?" continued the women, "if any accident should befall our father? Would not the slave-hunters immediately return to the country and destroy us, simply because he had protected us? Do we not now sleep in peace? and were we not always awake at night before he came among us?"

The women decided that I was to be kept in the camp as a cojoor or talisman, and that the natives were not to lead me into danger of wild animals.

This declaration of the ladies of Fatiko could hardly be called PETTICOAT government, as their total independence of attire precluded any reference to such a garment; but it was a distinct assertion of women's right to protect the person who had protected them. They were excellent people, and were always well cared for and kindly treated by the men.

My fort at Fatiko was within call of two large villages - those of Gimoro and the sheik of the country: during my sojourn of seven months, I never heard a woman scream, neither was there any domestic or civil disturbance.

There were no police required in that country; there was no pickpockets, as there were no pockets to pick - which was one advantage in favour of nudity. A London police magistrate would have died of ennui; the constables could not even have sworn to a case of intoxication, merely as a matter of form to afford employment. There were no immoral females to disgrace the public streets; neither were there any beggars, vagrants, organ-grinders, or perambulators to worry, deafen, or upset you. My country was a picture of true harmony. We had no complex machinery of law; there was no such difficulty as an estate in Chancery; no Divorce Court, or cases of crim. con. that necessitated an appeal. Adultery would be settled by flogging respondent and co-respondent, with a judicial separation after the punishment.

I had no ecclesiastical difficulties; no High Church, Ritualists, Low Church, Broad Churchmen, Philosophers, Wesleyans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Independents, nor even a Jesuit or a descendant of Israel to bring discord into my harmonious tabernacle.

My troops were Mohammedans, without an opposing sect, therefore, for lack of opposition, they were lukewarm believers.

The natives believed in nothing.

The curious fact remained, that without the slightest principle of worship, or even a natural religious instinct, these people should be free from many vices that disgrace a civilized community. I endeavoured to persuade the most intelligent of the existence of a Deity who could reward or punish; but beyond this I dared not venture, as they would have asked practical questions, which I could not have explained to their material understanding.

I extract verbatim from my journal the short entry of 31st December, 1872 : -

"The close of the year finds us, thank God, at peace in this country, with every prospect of prosperity."